For millions of VPN users, privacy is one of the most desirable aspects of a VPN service, if not the most valuable benefit of all. And given that, the amount of logs – the details registered on the user and their online activity – held by a VPN provider is a crucial consideration. And not all VPNs are the same in this sense – far from it.
Almost all the VPNs will trot on their website a sort of “no registry note”, but the truth is that the policies of the various providers regarding the keeping of registers can vary considerably.
The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two main categories of logs: connection logs and usage logs.
Connection or metadata logs include the incoming and outgoing IP address, as well as data such as connection duration, amount of data transferred, the VPN servers you’re connected to, and so on.
This information is not a big deal and is often required to keep an eye on things like data allowances – how else does a supplier know that it has exceeded the deductible if it has not recorded the amount of data you have transferred? Because of this and other reasons, some VPN services will record this information, even if it is hoped that it will only be kept for a certain period of time (this period should be clarified in the company’s privacy notice, with a little bit of thankfully).
The usage or activity logs, on the other hand, are considered much more important and more invasive in terms of privacy, as they substantially cover all data beyond those basic connection logs. So we’re talking about information on the exact websites you’ve visited online, the files you’ve downloaded, and so on.
The good news is that any provider worthy of the name does not keep usage logs. The bad news is that sometimes it is not only difficult to find out what kind of log a VPN provider keeps, you should also bear in mind that there is only confirmation from the company that sticks to any relevant policy. In other words, whatever may be written on the website, you’ll never really know what’s really going on behind the scenes.
Even if a supplier claims not to keep any records, it is likely that some are archived, even though it may be only the maximum connection logs.
The long and short of it is: scouting of VPN services that provide the best levels of privacy and anonymity online is a complicated task. This is exactly why we have researched the best watertight privacy VPNs and are presenting our results in this article.
Here are our top five recommendations for privacy-sensitive VPNs that support their “no registry” policy with the utmost truthfulness to us.
The best 360 ° VPN for privacy: no activity log or connection
- Excellent server coverage
- Number of servers: 2000
- Server locations: 148
- IP addresses: 30000
- Maximum devices supported: 3
- Fast speeds
For those looking to increase speed with maximum privacy, ExpressVPN is the best choice. There are some seriously fast servers in the extensive network of this company that covers 94 countries, while on the software front you get apps for all the major platforms (and even some browser extensions). Native clients are fairly intuitive and user-friendly, with both basic and advanced options to satisfy all types of users.
With a premium service comes a premium price, in this case. ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than the rest of the competition and there is no free trial to test the supplier. However, there is a 30-day reimbursement guarantee for the reassurance, and of the three price plans offered, the 12-month subscription (with three extra months thrown in) is the best choice in the long run.
Brilliant for P2P traffic and Kodi
- Number of servers: 1000+
- IP addresses: 40000+
- Server locations: 60+
- Maximum devices supported: 10
- Configurable software
- Speedy performance
If you’re looking for power and performance from your VPN, while you’re still enjoying privacy at the highest levels, IPVanish is just the ticket. This service satisfies all the right boxes: it offers fast performance, configurable mobile clients and desktops, strict security and a clear and commendable ‘no log’ policy.
Native clients are full of features and are highly configurable, with a mode for beginner VPNs who do not like to deal with fancy settings. A small drawback is that in our tests, we found that the Windows client may be subject to odd network problems in certain situations, mainly when other VPNs are installed. But your mileage may vary.
The provider does not maintain any registry, as mentioned, and clearly states that it does not record any session data (unlike many other VPN services).
IPVanish does not offer a free trial and prices are slightly more expensive than normal (unless you register through TechRadar special discount, that is). Definitely pay for the benefits here and choosing an annual subscription is the best value for money.
- Number of servers: 219
- Server locations: 20
- Maximum devices supported: 3
- IP addresses: N/A
- Reliable performance
- Open and transparent policies
AirVPN is run by “activists and hacktivists” who are all for net neutrality and complete freedom online, so what you get is a very available provider on your service. For example, you get the complete scoop on all available servers and their current load, as well as everything you need to know about AirVPN practices on the security and privacy fronts.
That said, an obvious weakness here is the low number of server locations (especially compared to some rivals you’ll see on this page). However, this provider compensates for this by offering reasonably fast performance, in general, although we have found that in our tests, some long distance connections may be unstable.
Another benefit point is that AirVPN guarantees users a minimum allocated bandwidth of 4 Mbps (download and upload). Although the Windows client may require some improvement, as it has a rather uncomfortable interface that requires some acclimatization.
AirVPN has five fairly affordable plans, including a short-term 3-day plan that serves as an economic proof of service. Payment methods include a number of cryptocurrencies, which is always a bonus on privacy. The 12 month plan boasts the best value for money.
Best Free Vpn
- Number of servers: N/A
- Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
- Server locations: 100
- IP addresses: N/A
- Free plan with 10GB/month data
- Unlimited devices
The fact that Windscribe allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices is a huge advantage, especially for those with larger families that will connect to the VPN. Furthermore, it is certainly not a performance solution, with our tests showing high speeds on shorter hops, although long-distance connections were not as impressive.
The service offers custom apps for all major platforms and although the Android client has had some problems in the beginning, for now everything seems to work normally.
In general, software clients are quite simple, with some low-level options and settings that meet almost every need.
Another great feature is the free plan with a considerable monthly allowance of 10 GB, which allows you to register with your email address. As expected, the free plan limits the number of servers available, but is still much more generous and usable than the free offers you’ll find elsewhere.
Regarding privacy, things are clear and detailed: there is no registration of use of VPN, IP, logs of historical sessions and no registration of IP addresses inbound or outbound or individual activities. All good news
You can also register without providing an email address (but the monthly limit drops to 2 GB on the free plan, in this case) and small items that the service records: OpenVPN username, connected VPN server, connection time and amount data transferred during the session – expire and are discarded within three minutes of the end of the session.
There are three paid plans: the Pro plan with monthly, yearly or two-year billing and this gives you access to the full range of servers. The two-year plan offers the best overall value proposal.
How VPN connections benefit you
Not everyone has the same priorities or uses the Internet the same way. If you want to improve on-line anonymity, VPN providers give you the chance to access the Internet in a discrete way through a “tunnel” service.