10 best no logs VPN services to use in 2021 (goodbye tracking)

Last updated by   Ruheni Mathenge
Disclosure
Are you concerned with your online privacy? These best zero-logs VPN services will help you conduct your internet activities privately.

The internet is not a safe place, with threats emerging from every direction. A VPN is a one-stop solution as it will protect your data and activities from internet providers, hackers, and governments. It will secure your internet connections from these elements and more.

Almost all VPNs work by encrypting your traffic and routing it through secure servers before it reaches its destination. Even if your connection is intercepted, the traffic will seem to originate from the VPN server rather than your device.

Nothing stops a provider from logging your data and recording your activities. Therefore, choose a VPN with a no-logs policy if you value your privacy. We thoroughly researched over 50 services to find the 10 with a valid zero-logs policy.

Short on time right now? These are the top 3 logless VPNs

  1. NordVPNOur top recommended no-logs VPN. Strict no-logs policy, fast speed servers, robust security, incredible unblocking capability.
  2. Surfshark – Strong emphasis on privacy and security, budget-friendly, 30-day money-back guarantee.
  3. ExpressVPN – High-speed servers, unblocks streaming services, advanced security, does not keep logs, 30-days money-back guarantee.

And 7 more | The evaluation criteria | FAQs

What is a zero logs VPN?

Is there an utterly no-logs VPN? This is a very controversial question with varied answers. Can a VPN service provider be truly zero-logs if it stores logs for a few minutes before deleting? Or else, what about keeping data on bandwidth and timestamp and not identifiable information like IP address. Also, do aggregate and anonymized usage data count as logs?

These are some of the critical questions you should ask yourself when choosing a VPN. Dig deeper into its privacy policy to see whether it is a genuinely no-logs policy. In fact, some providers have undergone independent audits by reputable firms to verify the no-logs policy. For example, ExpressVPN has recently published its audit by renowned cybersecurity firm Cure53.

Advantages of anonymous VPNs

Without a VPN (Virtual Private Network), your internet service provider can see and record your online activities. However, a VPN will encrypt your traffic and route it through protected servers. This will shield your ISP from accessing your private information and what you are doing on the internet.

While the VPN will protect you from your ISP and other third parties, the provider will see your information instead. This will include even identifiable data such as your IP address, the web pages you visit, and more.

Fortunately, many providers guarantee to protect your privacy, unlike ISPs that are required to surrender logs to government authorities. However, you can only trust a no-log VPN to maintain your utmost security. This is because there will be no information to hand over when push comes to shove.

Best no-logs VPNs

1. NordVPN

Key features

  • No-logs policy
  • 5,500 servers in 59 countries
  • SmartPlay feature
  • P2P optimized servers
  • Quick connect feature
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Perfect forward secrecy
  • Kill switch
  • DNS leak protection
  • Tor compatibility
  • Double VPN
  • NordLocker
  • Obfuscation feature
  • 6 simultaneous devices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
NordVPN review: Offers good speed and security but has a minor (ignorable) snag
NordVPN

NordVPN is a top truly anonymous VPN. It offers the best value for money with high-speed servers and can unblock any geo-block on its way.

Does NordVPN keep logs? The provider has a strict no-logs policy which means it does not store any of your identifiable logs. It has been independently audited by VerSprite and PricewaterhouseCoopers AG (PwC) to verify the zero-logs claims. You can download and read the audit reports yourself. This is a show of transparency.

Besides, it is based in Panama, which is not part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. It is a massive surveillance network that gathers and shares all types of user data. Panama is privacy-friendly and does not have laws that force companies to retain user information, so you will be safe.

Is NordVPN fast enough? Yes, and even trounced the rest to emerge the winner in our recently concluded top VPNs speed test. The Quick Connect feature makes it easy to use service as it will automatically connect you to the fastest server. You can try to manually connect to a nearby server if you can’t find desirable speeds with the auto-connect feature.

NordVPN has worldwide coverage of more than 5,500 servers in 59 countries. It operates multiple servers in each country, with the majority in the US. This makes it easy to unblock geo-blocked content and services from virtually anywhere. The good news is that the company continues to improve its infrastructure. For example, all its servers are now RAM-based, which means your data will be wiped out automatically after you log out.

The VPN has shared IPs, which offers additional anonymity. When you connect to a server, you are assigned the same IPs as other users on the server. The IP address cannot be traced to a single person, so it will be very difficult to find you.

It allows you to buy a static IP address to use alongside the other servers. A static IP address means you will use the same address with all your VPN connections. The biggest advantage is that you can unblock content from a particular country even if other IPs fail. In addition, since you will be using the IP address alone, streaming services will not flag your connection. On the downside, it is not good for privacy as it will be traced back to you.

NordVPN is compatible with the Tor network. In fact, it has an inbuilt Onion over VPN functionality. It will add a level of privacy by routing your traffic through the Onion network after leaving the VPN server. What’s more, you can access the onion.sites safely with any browser without the need to open Tor.

This is the best VPN option for unblocking geo-blocked content from anywhere. It has a SmartPlay feature that bypasses geo-restrictions of several streaming sites such as Voot, Hulu, and ABC iView.

In addition, you will access all the major Netflix libraries, including the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Japan. The provider also works well with Kodi if you prefer to use it to stream your favorite content. Are social media sites blocked in your region, workplace, or school? NordVPN also unblocks all the major platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

It allows unrestricted P2P sharing through BitTorrent or any other torrenting client. Since each server comes with unlimited bandwidth and data, you will torrent without worrying about restrictive data allowance. Actually, hundreds of its servers are optimized for improved speeds and security. It also offers SOCKS5 proxies so you can enjoy faster speeds when torrenting. With its no-logs policy, your torrenting activities will not be retained.

NordVPN security standards go above and beyond the needs of an average user. First, it uses AES 256-bit encryption to safeguard your data and connections. This encryption level has an infinite possible number of codes, so no one will ever intercept your traffic.

It combines encryption with a 2048-bit DH key and SHA2-384 authentication. Essentially, the DH key is the cipher that encrypts and decrypts your data. On the other hand, the authentication helps to ensure that your data packets reach the correct server successfully. This feature also prevents hackers from intercepting or rerouting your traffic to another server.

The perfect forward secrecy (PFS) is another crucial NordVPN’s security feature. It will assign you a new encryption key every time you start a session to make you look like a new user. Any data and activities of your current session will be deleted and unrelated to your next session.

If you use macOS and iOS devices, IKEv2/IPSec is the default protocol with the option to switch to OpenVPN. However, if you use Android and Windows, there is only the OpenVPN option. The company has recently introduced the NordLynx protocol that offers double the speed of the other protocols. It is an extension of the Wireguard protocol, which is hailed for its simplicity and efficiency.

The automatic kill switch is one of the best ways to stay secure when using a VPN. It will prevent the traffic from leaving your device if the VPN connection drops to stop any leakage. This feature is automatically enabled on mobile applications, but you will need to turn it on the desktop client.

NordVPN goes a step further to allow you to choose the apps the kill switch will block. So, if the VPN connection gets compromised, only risky apps will be blocked while your internet connection remains intact.

NordVPN takes your anonymity a notch higher than other vendors. It provides a double VPN feature that passes your connection through two servers in separate locations rather than one server. This makes it extremely difficult to trace your online activities.

Would you like to upload your files to the cloud securely? The NordLocker will scramble your files before you upload or share them on the cloud. However, only people with NordLocker can decrypt the file, which helps to reduce man-in-the-middle attacks. The best part is that you will get up to 5GB of free data when you sign up for the NordLocker package.

You can connect up to 6 six simultaneous devices on a single subscription. This includes your smartphone, laptop, PC, tablet, or any other that is compatible with a VPN. Remember, you can also install it on your router to enjoy unlimited simultaneous connections. Fortunately, the service works well with Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS operating systems.

Does NordVPN have good value for money? Despite all these high-end features, NordVPN is incredibly affordable. You can opt for the monthly plan, but it is pricier at $8.84. However, the price falls by more than half to $3.64 for the annual plan. The two-year plan is the best deal at $2.74, which represents a 68% discount. All the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try the service risk-free.

Pros

  • Does not store logs
  • Super fast servers
  • Unblocks streaming sites

Cons

  • Clumsy desktop application

2. Surfshark VPN

Key features

  • Zero-logs policy
  • 3,200 servers in 65 locations
  • Static IP address
  • P2P sharing
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Shadowsock
  • WireGuard
  • DNS leak protection
  • Camouflage mode
  • Two-factor authentication
  • CleanWeb
  • Warrant Canary
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Ultimate Surfshark Review: Affordable But Does It Provide Enough Value?
Surfshark

Surfshark is a newbie in the VPN industry that is rapidly growing and competing with bigwigs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. It boasts an impressive list of unique features and works in almost any location on top of a lower cost.

Regardless of the server you connect to, you will be able to stream content in 4K definition without any issues. Use servers closer to your location for faster speeds. It is worth noting that many factors can affect your speeds. So, you might see inconsistencies in speeds depending on your base internet speed.

Surfshark zero-logs policy states that it does not collect any identifiable data like session information, browsing history, or IP address. The company only stores your email address and basic billing information. You can create a new email address instead of using your personal one and pay anonymously with cryptocurrency.

Furthermore, the service also gathers diagnostic reports and analytics information on the application. For example, it collects your location data when you use the ‘Auto-Connect’ feature. Although this information is not shared with third parties, you can disable it in the setting menu.

The provider is registered in the British Virgin Islands. This country doesn’t have strict data retention laws or practices making it an ideal location for a VPN. It is also not a member of the 5/9/14 Eye Alliance, which means it cannot be forced to share user information.

Surfshark has gone a step further to provide a warrant canary. This is where you can find out whether the company has been served with any court orders. The best part is that it is updated daily to keep you in the loop.

Unfortunately, the no-logs policy claim has not been independently audited. This is a bit disappointing as it shows transparency. Nonetheless, the Chrome and Firefox extensions have been audited by cybersecurity firm Cure53.

Leaks can easily compromise your privacy and security when using a VPN. One of the most crucial features that can prevent this from happening is the automatic kill switch. It will temporarily hold your internet traffic if the VPN connection gets compromised. The feature is not activated automatically, and you will have to switch it on manually.

Another feature that prevents leaks is DNS leak protection. Your ISP will be able to see your internet activity if your DNS requests leak. Surfshark has private DNS on every server to prevent this from happening. Besides DNS leaks, the provider also prevents IPv4, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks.

It uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is nearly impenetrable. This is the same encryption standard used by governments and militaries to protect sensitive information. So, it means your ISP and other third parties will not see what you are doing online.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is another great security feature. Instead of relying only on a password to log in, 2FA offers a temporary code. It helps to ensure that no one else can access your account.

Surfshark has a MultiHop feature that allows you to double your encryption by routing your traffic through two servers. This may not be useful for regular users, but you can use it if you are concerned with your security. However, remember that the feature can potentially lower your speeds.

The VPN runs RAM-only servers that automatically delete all your data when you end a session. This means you will start the next session on a clean slate. So, even if a hacker manages to intercept your connection, there will be no data to steal.

It allows you to choose from 4 VPN protocols to protect your connections. They are the IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP/TCP, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks. The VPN client will automatically detect the right one depending on your connection.

Sursfshark provides fast and consistent speeds for all kinds of activities. The auto-connect feature will connect you to the fastest server, and the drop in your speed will be minuscule. You will still get similar results even when you manually connect to international servers.

The provider has a decent-sized network with over 3,200 servers in 65 locations. The majority of them are spread across 24 US locations, so accessing US geo-blocked content will be easy. It also has a bigger coverage in Europe, Australia, Canada, and India.

It also has physical servers in countries with strict internet censorship, such as Vietnam, Russia, and Turkey. You can activate the camouflage mode to hide the fact that you are encrypting your traffic with a VPN. The feature uses a technology that makes your VPN traffic look normal.

Moreover, Surfshark provides static IP servers. Unlike other servers where you are assigned a random IP address, the static servers will offer a fixed one. This means you will have the same address every time you connect. Although the static IP may not be suitable for optimum privacy, it is helpful for secure sites like PayPal. Besides, it will eliminate the need to complete unending CAPTCHA checks. The static servers are available in Japan, Germany, Singapore, Germany, and the UK.

The CleanWeb feature is Surfshark’s in-built ad blocker. We tested it with YouTube, and it successfully blocked the annoying ads. This feature will also protect you from malicious trackers and malware that might compromise your security and privacy.

All its servers allow P2P sharing, although it is difficult to identify the optimized ones. Use nearby servers to get better speeds for downloading and sharing torrent files without buffering. Take advantage of the unlimited bandwidth and data to torrent large files. In addition, it works well with popular P2P clients such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, etc.

Surfshark has native VPN apps for Android, Windows, macOS, Android, Fire devices, and Linux. Although there are slight layout differences, all the applications are easy to navigate. You can also install the app on your router to use it on devices that don’t work with VPN. Luckily, it does not limit the number of devices you can connect to.

It has a simple pricing structure with only three plans. The monthly plan is priced higher, but longer plans offer bigger discounts. In addition, Surshark allows you to test the features risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Does not keep logs
  • Unblocks streaming sites
  • Unlimited number of connections

Cons

  • Customer support could be better

3. ExpressVPN

Key features

  • Zero-logs policy
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • TrustedServer technology
  • Smart Location feature
  • P2P sharing
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous devices
  • Split tunneling
  • Tor compatibility
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN Review: A fast and furious solution to your internet privacy
ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a popular VPN with a truly no log policy. It performs independent audits by renowned audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and reputable cybersecurity company Cure53 to verify its no-logs claims.

The only data the company stores is the information you provide when signing up, like your email and payment information. You can even opt to pay with cryptocurrency if you require more privacy since the transaction will not be traceable. Also, you can create a new email account instead of your personal email address.

ExpressVPN has TrustedServer technology for improved security. It ensures that the servers run on RAM, so they cannot store any data. All your information will be deleted completely after every session. In addition, everything, including the operating system, will be loaded afresh with each reboot.

The VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption on every connection to ensure no one will tamper with your information. On top of the stealthy protection, it also employs 4096-bit encryption and SHA-512 HMAC authentication for additional security.

There is also perfect forward secrecy (PFS) that alters your encryption key every time you start a new VPN session. As a result, the data and activities from your previous session will not be related to your current one. This makes you look like a new person every time you use the VPN.

ExpressVPN offers multiple protocols. It has made OpenVPN UDP the default, but you can also opt for OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP depending on your connection. Want to know more? Check out our VPN protocols guide.

The Network Lock feature (kill switch) will kick in to secure your data. It is designed to temporarily hold your traffic from leaving the encrypted tunnel if the VPN stops working. It is automatically enabled already so you won’t need to configure it manually.

Your traffic can still leak, although it is passed through an encrypted tunnel. This is known as a DNS leak and can potentially reveal your online activities to your ISP and other third parties. Our tests proved that ExpressVPN is completely leakproof and does not leak DNS, IPv6, or WebRTC leaks.

It operates more than 3,000 servers dispersed in over 94 countries. This makes it easy to access content and services from anywhere around the world. Many locations have multiple servers with the best coverage in the US and the UK.

Does ExpressVPN offer sufficient speeds? This is one of the fastest VPNs on the market, and the drop in your speeds will be barely noticeable. The improved speeds can be attributed to its proprietary protocol dubbed Lightway. It offers double the speed that the OpenVPN protocol offers. The servers offered consistent speeds across all locations we tested.

ExpressVPN logging policy states that it does not store any identifiable information such as IP address or connection timestamps. It only keeps the location you connect to (not specific servers), dates (not time), and daily data usage. This is only for diagnostic purposes and cannot be traced back to you. Moreover, the company is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which has friendly privacy laws.

The Smart Location feature will give you the fastest connection. It measures your speed, latency, and distance to connect you to the fastest server every time. You can always manually connect to another server if you experience slow speeds or your connection is blocked.

Can ExpressVPN unblock Netflix? Yes. We tested it in several Netflix libraries, including the US, the UK, and Japan. It was a success, and we were able to stream in HD without any buffering. It also unblocks other major streaming such as Indian Zee5, Canadian CuriosityStream, Brazilian Globo, among others. Does your school or workplace administrator block YouTube, TikTok, and social media platforms? ExpressVPN is also reliable to unblock these sites.

The VPN service provider supports P2P sharing. With its superfast speeds and unrestricted bandwidth, you can torrent unrestricted across its entire server network.

It works well with all operating systems. Go for the desktop clients (Windows and macOS) if you want to get the full functionality of the VPN. Its mobile VPN apps (Android and iOS) lack a few important features such as Tor compatibility and IP leak protection. Fortunately, it allows you to connect up to 5 devices at the same time.

ExpressVPN is compatible with a wide range of routers. It means you can install it on your router to add more simultaneous connections. This includes devices that don’t support VPN software, such as smart TVs, Xbox, and PS4 consoles.

Can ExpressVPN bypass the Great Firewall of China? The Chinese government uses the firewall to block access to certain websites such as Google, YouTube, and Twitter. It is very powerful, and many VPNs are unable to circumvent it, but ExpressVPN can. In fact, this China VPN has an obfuscation feature to conceal your activities.

The pricing structure is straightforward, with only three plans with the same premium features. Although ExpressVPN is pricier than its competitors, it is more affordable with bigger discounts on the longer plans. The service supports a long list of payment methods, including bitcoin.

Pros

  • Strict zero-logs policy
  • Easily bypasses geo-blocks
  • Reliable customer support

Cons

  • Slightly pricier than rivals

4. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Key features

  • Zero-logs policy
  • 29,336 servers in 99 locations
  • WireGuard protocol
  • P2P support
  • AES 128-bit encryption
  • Split tunneling
  • MACE feature
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a lightweight and highly customizable no-logs VPN. It offers decent speeds, excellent security, and unblocks content in many locations.

One thing that will impress you with PIA is its zero-logs policy. The provider is based in the US and is therefore supposed to abide by US laws and demands.

For example, it is required to hand over any user information if the government requests it. The US also falls under the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance jurisdiction and shares intelligence information with other countries. However, don’t worry as the company does not gather any traffic logs or its VPN/proxy usage.

There have been several instances where PIA proved that it follows its no-logs policy. For example, in 2015 and 2017, it was requested to produce log data for an ongoing investigation. However, the company did not have any information to hand over on both occasions. It is difficult to verify a VPN no-log claim, but the two instances make PIA a truly private VPN.

When you sign up, PIA will send your username and password through an email. This is separate from the one you used to create your account. Although it may be a bit inconvenient, it adds an encrypted layer.

PIA uses the latest security features that can be customized to a great extent. The AES 128-bit encryption is the default, but you can remove it (not recommended) or upgrade it to 256-bit. Although a majority of VPNs use 256-bit AES, 128-bit is still secure and takes less toll on performance.

In addition, OpenVPN UDP is the default protocol, but you can switch to OpenVPN TCP, PPTP, or L2TP/IPSec. There is also a WireGuard protocol that is lightweight and faster than other protocols.

The provider offers a split tunneling on the desktop apps. This feature allows you to decide the applications to pass through the VPN and the ones to use directly. For instance, you can encrypt your banking data or torrenting traffic and browse the web outside the encrypted tunnel.

PIA’s ad blocker is dubbed MACE, and you can easily turn it on in the settings. It will effectively block ads, trackers, and malware to protect your connections. This feature is available on Windows, Android, macOS, and Linux but not on iOS. We tested the ad blocker on YouTube, and it successfully blocked all the ads.

Can PIA bypass the Great Firewall of China? This is a very strong firewall that many VPNs struggle to circumvent. Unfortunately, PIA does not currently work in China. However, it has plenty of servers closer to China in places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mongolia, and India.

PIA has native clients for Windows, Android, Mac, Linux, and iOS. The features are uniform in all the apps except for the iOS application. It does not have the MACE feature and can only use the IPsec protocol without switching to OpenVPN. You will also get Chrome, Opera, and Firefox secure browser extensions. The biggest advantage is that it allows you to connect up to 10 simultaneous devices at the same time.

On the downside, it does not offer 24/7 live chat support like its rivals. Nonetheless, the help section has a wide range of resources such as easy-to-follow tutorials, a searchable knowledge base, and troubleshooting tips. You can also seek answers on the FAQ section that covers some of the common issues associated with the service.

The highlight of the service is the user-friendly interface on all the apps. Getting started is easy as you will only need to input the login credentials you received. After logging in, use the big power button in the middle of the screen to connect to the fastest server available. The server list interface is also intuitive, making it very easy to connect to the servers manually. It shows the ping times on each server location so you can know which server to use.

PIA quotes its monthly plan at $9.95. However, the yearly plan cuts the price significantly to only $3.33, but the icing on the cake is the 2-year plan. It is available at $2.69, a 77% saving. You will get a full refund of your money if you ask within 30 days. This allows you to test the service risk-free.

Pros

  • Keeps no logs
  • Strong security
  • Generous simultaneous connections

Cons

  • Unreliable customer support

5. PrivateVPN

Key features

  • No-logs policy
  • 150 servers in 60 locations
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Stealth mode
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

PrivateVPN may not be as fancy as its competitors, but it has a strict no-logs policy. The ability to unblock geo-blocked content and reliable connections make it ideal for streaming. Although the servers are few, they are powerful enough to handle any task.

The VPN is incorporated in Sweden, which is a member of the 14 Eye Alliance. This means it can be forced to store user logs and even hand them over to authorities. However, PrivateVPN is committed to a zero-logs policy to protect your privacy and security. According to the policy, it does not collect any traffic logs or any other identifiable information.

It is very easy to get started with PrivateVPN. For example, when you click on the current location, a separate window will pop up with a list of the other server location. Each location shows the ping time, so you can always connect to the fastest server.

PrivateVPN is an excellent option for streaming. It makes the process user-friendly by labeling specialized servers for streaming specific sites. While the other servers could not bypass Netflix’s restriction, the labeled servers did it successfully. The provider also works with a plethora of other streaming services such as ITV Hub, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc.

It supports P2P sharing activities. The VPN allows unlimited bandwidth, so you will not need to worry about data restrictions even when downloading large files. Port forwarding is also available and will enable you to access more peers, thus more content to download.

The service offers several customization options for data security. First, you can choose between 128 or 256-bit encryption, both of which are unbreakable. While 256-bit is more powerful, 128-bit is lightweight and faster. It pairs the encryption with SHA256 authentication alongside 2048-bit RSA keys. There are multiple protocols available, but it will depend on the device you are using.

PrivateVPN is affordable, with the monthly plan starting at $8.10. The price will plummet to $5.03 if you pay for the 3-month plan upfront. Get the best value with the two-year plan at $2.07. The VPN guarantees to give you your full refund within 30 days if you are not satisfied with the service.

Pros

  • Does not keep identifiable information
  • Support torrenting
  • Fast VPNs

Cons

  • Kill switch only available on Windows

6. CyberGhost

CyberGhost-Best-VPNs-600x300-1
www.cyberghost.com

Key features

  • Zero-logs policy
  • 7050 servers in 90 countries
  • Streaming/gaming/torrenting optimized servers
  • No-Spy servers
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • WireGuard
  • Kill switch
  • Wi-Fi protection
  • Tor compatibility
  • 7 simultaneous connections
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost is among the best VPNs for stealthy security. It has a robust network with easy-to-use apps and a generous money-back guarantee.

The VPN keeps a strict no-logs policy. This means it does not collect information that can be traced back to you. However, it gathers a fair amount of non-identifiable data for analytics purposes. This includes connection attempts but not timestamps, IP address, VPN server, or user ID.

You can even pay anonymously through bitcoin. However, we found out that the provider keeps some hardware information to monitor the simultaneous connections. Don’t worry, as this cannot compromise your security and privacy.

Romania, where CyberGhost headquarters are based, is privacy-friendly and not part of the fourteen Eye countries. This means that it is not under any obligation to hand over your information to government agencies.

The company has not been audited recently, but it has routine independent testing on the security processes. In addition, it issues a transparency report after every three months. This is to provide you information on infrastructural improvements and malware activity flags. Nonetheless, the VPN should still perform audits on its zero-logs policy.

CyberGhost has a massive network of 7050 servers with great coverage in 90 countries. It runs servers even in highly-restricted countries such as Turkey, Qatar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. The more the server, the higher chances of getting better speeds and unblock content from any region.

Fortunately, it uses RAM-based servers that don’t have the capacity to store anything. This means your information will be deleted automatically after every VPN session. In addition, the company reboots the servers regularly to wipe out any traces of user logs.

You should try the NoSpy servers if you need maximum security, although at an extra cost. These servers are based in the company’s private data center, where they are attended by a specialized team. Since there is no third-party involved, it eliminates the risks of a man-in-the-middle-attack. The NoSpy package also includes dedicated uplinks and premium hardware.

CyberGhost also offers virtual servers which are not in the indicated country. For example, a server can be specified in the UK, but it is not actually there but somewhere else. The advantage of these servers is that they offer faster and reliable connections and work well in countries that restrict VPN usage. However, these servers can raise pertinent security concerns. For instance, a server can be located in a 14-Eye Alliance country yet indicated in a safe country.

Does CyberGhost unblock content? Yes, it is powerful enough to bypass geo-restrictions of all major streaming services. The service reliably unblocks AMC, Netflix, Sling TV, DAZN, Fox Sports Go, and more. In fact, it has specialized streaming optimized servers that are designed to give you better speeds. The company recycles the IPs regularly, so streaming services are unlikely to block your connections. 

The gaming-optimized servers are supposed to improve the gaming experience. However, they didn’t work during our testing but instead produced a high ping rate. You can use nearby servers if you want faster speeds for gaming.

While many VPNs guarantee superior security, only a few do. CyberGhost uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your connections from third parties such as your ISP. There are even 2048-bit RSA keys, SHA256 authentication, and perfect forward secrecy that frequently generates new encryption keys.

CyberGhost offers multiple connection protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN UDP/TCP, and IKEv2. Although the VPN client will automatically choose the most optimal protocol, you can choose the one you prefer.

WireGuard is the latest VPN protocol that trounces the others in terms of speed. However, it may not be safe to use as it assigns static rather than dynamic IPs. This means you will be using the same IP address every time you connect, which raises privacy concerns. In addition, WireGuard collects your IP and timestamps to establish and discontinue your connection. CyberGhost combines RESTful API with RSA certificated and daemon that assigns dynamic IPs to keep you safe.

All CyberGhost applications come with an automatic kill switch. It is an essential security feature that will prevent leakage if the VPN connections are affected. On top of that, it also has in-built DNS/IPv6 leak protection in both the apps and browser extensions. It will make sure your DNS request does not pass through your ISP servers and blocks any IPv6 request. This will prevent third parties from seeing your real IP address.

You can set the desktop and mobile apps to launch automatically when using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. In addition, it can be set to ask whether to connect to or ignore specific networks. This is extremely convenient and eliminates the hassle of turning the VPN client on.

CyberGhost works well with Tor. Use the Onion over VPN setup by first connecting to the VPN server and then launch the Tor network. This will give you an extra layer of security and anonymity, but it may slow your speeds slightly.

It has P2P optimized servers, making it a great choice for torrenting. These servers are designed to offer high-speeds while maintaining your security and anonymity. You can easily access the servers under the ‘for torrenting’ tab to share and download files easily.

The VPN works on all popular operating systems. It has easy-to-use applications for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. You can connect up to seven simultaneous devices on a single plan. There is also a free browser extension, although insecure, unable to bypass geo-blocks and connects to only four locations.

Pros

  • Has a strict zero-logs policy
  • Makes it easy to unblock geo-blocked content
  • Robust privacy and security

Cons

  • No apps for routers

7. IPVanish

IPVanish-Best-VPNs-600x300-1
www.ipvanish.com

Key features

  • No-logs policy
  • 1,600 servers in 75+ Locations
  • 250GB SugarSync storage
  • Automatic kill switch
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • P2P servers
  • 30-Day money-back guarantee

IPVanish has an impressive list of privacy and security features, making it the best anonymous VPN. It will hide your IP address, secure your connections, and unblock streaming sites.

The VPN has a strict no-logs policy and does not keep the traffic, connection, or any other activity data. However, the provider collects unidentifiable information to monitor its site activity and improve functionality.

It is also important to note that IPVanish is based in the US, a member of the 14-Eye Alliance. This means that the company can be summoned by the government to hand over user information. However, you shouldn’t worry as the company has new management that guarantees zero-logs.

IPvanish uses rock-solid AES 256-bit encryption to ensure your safety. Additional security features include DH-RSA 2048 key exchange and SHA512 authentication for maximum protection. The perfect forward secrecy will make you appear like a new user every time you start a session. The combinations of all these features are virtually unbreakable, and no one will get their hand on your private information.

The automatic kill switch will reduce the chances of your data and activities being accidentally exposed. It is designed to stop your traffic flow if the VPN connection is interrupted. It is disappointing that IPvanish only offers a useful feature on Windows and macOS.

Sometimes your DNS requests can leave the encrypted tunnel even when connected to a VPN. This can expose your IP address to websites and allow your ISP to monitor your online activities. IPVanish has effective DNS leak protection to prevent any leakage.

A single subscription will allow you to connect unlimited simultaneous devices, making it an excellent option for large households. It has apps for macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Fire TV. Unfortunately, it does not have a Linux application and web browser extensions like its competitors. 

The IPVanish pricing structure is very confusing. There are two sets of both monthly and yearly plans. On the first set, the monthly plan is available at $3.49 and the annual plan at $2.62. The cost increases slightly on the second set, with the monthly plan at $3.84 and the yearly plan at $2.92. It does not have a free trial, but you’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee on all the plans.

Pros

  • Committed to its no-logs policy
  • Decent speeds
  • Does not limit the number of connections

Cons

  • Lacks split tunneling

8. Windscribe

Windscribe-VPN-Best-Free-VPNs-600x300-1
www.windscribe.com

Key features

  • 179 servers in 63 countries
  • 10GB free monthly data
  • Stealth mode
  • ROBERT ad blocker
  • 3-day money-back guarantee

Windscribe is the best no-logs free VPN. Don’t be fooled with the simple interface, as it is capable of handling all your VPN needs.

It is headquartered in Canada, which falls under the fourteen Eyes Alliance. This is a thorny issue if you are concerned with your privacy. However, the provider guarantees that it does not collect data that can be traced back to you.

It will protect your data with AES 256-bit encryption together with a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA512 authentication. There is also perfect forward secrecy that will generate new encryption keys for your connections.

IKEv2 is the default protocol on Windscribe’s apps, which has a good mixture of speed and security. You can also switch to OpenVPN and choose between the UDP or TCP connection. The stealth mode is a solution for those who live in countries with heavy censorship like China.

Windscribe offers both the paid and free versions. If you are not sure about the VPN’s services, the free version offers the opportunity to test it out risk-free. However, it is highly limited and may not be ideal for long-term use. For instance, you will not be able to bypass geo-restrictions, only access 11 server locations, and data capped to 10GB. The best part is that you will receive full protection even on the free version.

Upgrading your plan gives you unlimited data and access to the entire network of 179 servers. In addition, you will have the ability to create custom IKEv2, SOCKS5, and OpenVPN configurations. There is also no limitation on the simultaneous connections as long as you don’t share your account with others. The monthly plan is available at $9, while the annual plan at $4.08.

It has dedicated apps for all major operating systems as well as router installation guides. In fact, the company also produces pre-configured routers so you can protect your entire network at home or work. The Firefox and Chrome extensions come with malware and phishing blockers alongside API and location spoofing.

Pros

  • Does store logs
  • Watertight security
  • Free version

Cons

  • Mobile application has limited features

9. TunnelBear

TunnelBear-Best-VPNs-600x300-1
www.tunnelbear.com

Key features

  • Zero-logs policy
  • 2,630 servers in 26 countries
  • GhostBear mode
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Vigilante mode

TunnelBear is another amazing no-log free VPN. You will be assigned a different IPs each time you start a session to make you less susceptible to hacking.  

The VPN is based in Canada, which is not good for privacy. This is because it can be forced to collect user information and share it with the government. Worse of all, the company was recently acquired by McAfee, which is also under US jurisdiction. On the bright side, the VPN follows its no-logs policy and does not collect personal data. It only stores basic information such as email addresses and connections date (not time) for operational purposes. The no-logs claims have been independently verified by Cure53, a reputable cybersecurity firm.

It operates a network of over 2,660 servers in 26 countries. Use the Closest Tunnel feature to automatically connect to the fastest server based on your location. If you have a strong base internet, you will be able to play games and stream movies smoothly. The downside is that international servers may slow your speeds to a crawl. This is because your traffic has to travel a longer distance before reaching the destination.

TunnelBear is packed with the latest security features to maintain your online security. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption paired with SHA256 authentication. On top of that, it offers OpenVPN and IKEv2, two of the most common protocols in the VPN industry. The app will automatically choose the most optimal protocol, and there is no option to switch between them manually.

The GhostBear mode works like the obfuscation feature to hide your VPN traffic so you can easily bypass firewalls. Your connection may slow down slightly when you turn on the GhostBear feature. This feature is available on Android, Windows, and macOS apps but not on the iOS application.

Pros

  • Doesn’t keep logs
  • Latest security features
  • Free version

Cons

  • No option to switch protocols

10. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN-Best-VPNs-600x300-1
www.protonvpn.com

Key features

  • Zero-logs policy
  • 1,232 servers in 54 countries
  • P2P support
  • AES 256-bit encryption

ProtonVPN is another VPN with the best zero-logs policy. On top of that, it boasts fast speeds, adept unblocking capability, and offers unlimited data.

It is based in Switzerland, which is known for its strong privacy laws. The VPN is not obligated to save any user connection logs or any other identifiable information. In addition, it cannot be compelled to conduct targeted logging on its users. We dug deeper into its privacy policy and found out that the service does not keep traffic logs. This makes you completely anonymous.

The VPN has an impressive collection of security features for your online safety. First, there is the AES 256-bit encryption that it uses together with a 2048-bit RSA key and perfect forward secrecy. In terms of protocol, OpenVPN is the only option on desktop apps. This is a disappointment as many providers are adopting the latest and faster WireGuard protocol. Mobile apps allow you to switch to the faster but less secure alternative IKEv2.

ProtonVPN excels when it comes to unblocking geo-blocked content. We easily bypassed Netflix US’s geo-restrictions on several servers. It also works well with other streaming services such as Channel 4, Disney plus, CTV, and more.

It has a free version and three paid plans. The free version allows only one connection, 3 server locations, and medium speeds. Upgrade to either the basic, plus, or visionary plans to get more features.

Pros

  • Transparent privacy policy
  • Anonymous payment option
  • Unblock streaming sites

Cons

  • Sluggish email support

What are VPN logs?

VPN logs can be simply defined as the data VPN providers keep about your activities. The reality is that no VPN service does not store logs completely. Even the VPN with the most stringent zero-logs policy needs a way to gather specific information for operations. For example, the details you submit during signing up help the provider know when your subscription has expired.

Below, we highlight some of the common types of logs a VPN provider might keep. We’ll also indicate whether the service must collect your information or it’s an infringement of your privacy.

Usage logs

Basically, this is a record of the sites you visit. Many internet service providers (ISPs) keep this kind of information. Sometimes they are compelled by the law to do so though there is a limited duration to store the logs.

Interestingly, most VPN providers do not admit that they keep usage logs. This is notwithstanding the fact that the no-logs claim at times contradicts the laws where the provider is headquartered. For instance, UK-based ISPs and VPN providers are required by law to store users’ logs for twelve months. Different government departments can easily access this information. On the other hand, the US ISPs have successfully petitioned Congress to share and sell user browsing data to third parties.

Connection logs

Also known as metadata, connection logs are the information about data. The most common VPN metadata includes your IP address, timestamp (when the connection was started and finished), bandwidth usage, etc. Remember that a connection log does not include the sites you visit unless you are in the UK.

These logs have information that can potentially compromise your privacy. In fact, most cases where people were caught doing illegal activities with a VPN were because of the metadata. The VPN provider analyses the connection logs and hands over the information to authorities.

Real-time logs

Notably, all networks produce logs in real-time as the derivative of their operation, including VPNs. Although these logs may be deleted immediately, they still exist for a short while. This means there is a small window for your information to be breached. 

Even a provider with a strict no-logs policy will monitor logs in real-time to resolve network issues as they arise. Keeping some of the logs momentarily is understandable as it helps the VPN companies continue offering the services. Since the real-time logs are deleted afterward, they pose a negligible risk to your privacy.

Server logs

The majority of VPN companies subcontract third-party servers. Therefore, even if the provider has a robust no-logs policy, the servers’ service center may be keeping logs. It is the VPN company that has the responsibility of maintaining user privacy and not the service center.

This is not an ideal situation, no matter how you look at it. However, a privacy-conscious VPN provider will always find a way to alleviate the issue. 

It is the server logs kept by the VPN provider that poses the greatest risk to your security. Some providers like NordVPN use RAM-based servers that are incapable of holding any data. All your information is deleted after every session.

Will a no-logs policy keep me completely anonymous?

Why
(123RF)

No. By encrypting your data, a VPN will only give you privacy and not anonymity. It is essential to differentiate between the two as there is a fallacy that VPNs also provide anonymity. Despite having a strict no-logs policy, a VPN provider can begin to collect user logs at any time. Regrettably, most VPNs are not entirely candid about the information they keep.

A high-quality provider should offer top-level protection by preventing third parties from seeing your online activities. It will also keep you safe when torrenting if you accidentally download or share copyrighted material. However, you shouldn’t rely on a VPN to offer protection when committing a crime.

Look for a VPN with Tor compatibility if you want to maintain your online privacy. The Tor browser is designed to offer online anonymity by passing your traffic through several relay nodes. This makes it extremely difficult to trace your online activities. Some VPN services, such as NordVPN, support the Onion over VPN setup.

Can a VPN provider turn on logging? 

Regardless of how a service is enthusiastic about privacy, the VPN service provider can be forced to start keeping logs. No VPN operator will risk incarceration for protecting criminal activities. So, don’t use a VPN to do activities that may contravene the laws of your country.

So, why do I need a no-logs policy?

By and large, the zero-logs policy is more about professionalism and not an absolute assurance that it’ll keep you private. If a VPN promises to offer stealthy protection, it should be designed in its core foundation. For instance, having a true logs-policy is one way to maintain users’ privacy.

Keeping logs is the direct opposite of privacy. Therefore, a VPN that keeps any identifiable information cannot claim to maintain your privacy.

How do I know a VPN is not keeping logs?

It is difficult to verify whether a provider does not keep logs, so we’ll just take providers at their word. However, some VPNs are going further by undergoing independent audits to set them apart from the rest. At PrivacySavvy, we hope such audits become widespread in the industry as they show a level of transparency.

Read the privacy policies and terms of service (ToS) 

It is imperative to dig deeper into the VPN’s privacy policy and ToS before committing to a plan. Many VPNs will make a bold declaration of no-logs policy on their website but contradicts the claims in the policy’s finer details.

Warrant canaries 

Court orders and warranties that compel companies to submit customer details often come with gag orders. This is to prevent the company from notifying its customers that something is going wrong. Some VPNs, such as Surfshark, have a warrant canary to prevent this from happening.

A canary warrant is basically a method companies use to inform their customers about an impending court subpoena. However, it has to be up to date.

Is there a free no log VPN?

It will mainly depend on the service you are using. Many completely free VPN providers are known for collecting users’ logs and selling them to third parties. Choose the free version of no-logs premium VPNs if you are on a budget and care about your privacy.

The only issue is that the free version is highly limited. For example, you should expect capped bandwidth data, slow speeds, and reduced server selection. This means that it is not reliable for unblocking content, torrenting, or gaming. However, you can use it for light tasks such as browsing but not reliable for activities such as torrenting or gaming

Jurisdiction and logging policies

When choosing a VPN, it is very crucial to consider where the provider is legally based. This is because its jurisdiction can affect your privacy as the VPN has to abide by the country’s laws. For example, some countries have strict laws that can undermine your online security and privacy.

The United States

The US has austere data retention laws. It is the founding member of the 5 Eye countries, a group of countries that share intelligence information. Government agencies such as the FBI can force companies to store and hand over user information.

For example, Lavabit was shut down after being forced to provide its email service’s encryption key. In another instance, Riseup, a secure email service, was compelled to surrender data to the FBI and given a gag order.

Australia

The Australian parliament recently passed a law that allows the government to access encrypted communications. In addition, all companies are required to collect customer information and submit it to security agencies and law enforcement.

The United Kingdom

The UK is slowly becoming the most surveilled country in the world. For example, the Investigatory Powers Act (Snoopers Charter) allows the GCHQ to snoop on your data. On top of that, it also forces ISPs to log user information for twelve months.

Note: Some jurisdictions, such as the British Virgin Islands and Panama, are privacy-friendly. So, choose a VPN provider based in these countries to be on the safe side.

VPNs with a history of logging

The no-logs policy should be the standard in the VPN industry. However, we found out that some VPNs still keep usage and connection logs, so you should avoid them.

PureVPN

According to its privacy policy, the provider claims it does not keep user logs. On the contrary, the provider cooperated with authorities to reveal a users’ IP address and the real location. This is an indication that the VPN keeps identifiable information, although it can reliably unblock content.

HideMyAss (HMA)

HMA has a poor logging policy that led to the arrest of a Lulzsec hacker. It’s evident that this VPN logs users’ data as the provider complied with a court order that required it to hand over user information to the authorities. Shockingly, it claims to observe a strict no-logs policy.

Hola

Hola markets itself as a VPN, but it is not a real VPN. It works as a peer-to-peer (P2P) network where it routes your traffic through other people’s devices instead of servers. Worse of all, it admits to storing users’ information. The company is also known for selling free users’ bandwidth to paying customers.

VPNBook

Although VPNBook uses military-grade encryption, the privacy policy raises concern. It clearly states that the provider collects IPs and connection stamps and deletes after every week. This data can easily reveal your online activities and IP address.

BolehVPN

BolehVPN claims that it does not keep logs of browsing activity or connection details. However, we found an interesting caveat upon digging further into its privacy policy: it turns logs on to identify suspicious users. This can easily land you into trouble if you are caught doing an illegal activity.

What makes a good private VPN?

Is the fastest VPNs always the best
(Unsplash)

It is not a guarantee that a VPN won’t keep logs. However, there are certain things you should look out for to know whether the VPN will maintain your privacy.

Torrenting policy

The torrenting policy is an excellent way to know if a VPN is genuinely zero-log. If you use a VPN to download or share a copyrighted material, a copyright troll can notice and take action. This can be in the form of a DMCA takedown request or settlement letter.  The VPN can be legally obligated to forward these requests and letters to the user depending on its jurisdiction. If the provider does not truly keep logs, it won’t know who to deliver to. Check out our best VPNs for torrenting to avoid this.

Leak protection

Even a service with the strictest no-logs policy can experience downtimes that can easily expose your data and identity. One of the most crucial features to consider when choosing a VPN is the kill switch. It will automatically cut your connection until the VPN connection resumes.

When you open a webpage, your browser will send a DNS request to change the domain to a numerical IP address. These requests can sometimes reroute outside the encrypted tunnel and instead pass through your ISP’s servers. This means your ISP will easily see the websites you are visiting. That is why you need to choose a VPN with DNS leak protection. It ensures that your DNS requests never go through your ISP’s private servers.

However, sometimes the DNS leak protection may fail to work. For example, Windows 10 devices stop IPv6 DNS requests from being routed through unencrypted networks. The easiest way to resolve this issue is to disable the IPv6 in your device’s settings.

Shared IP addresses

The majority of VPN services are now embracing shared IPs. This is where multiple users (sometimes more than 100) use the same IP address. When you connect to a server, the IP address assigned to you will also be given to other users. As a result, it won’t be easy to trace particular activities to a single person, thus increasing your privacy.

Some VPN services also use dynamic IP addresses where the shared IPs change frequently. Besides strengthening your privacy, these shared IP addresses are cheaper to maintain for the VPN provider, a win-win solution.

A few VPNs also offer dedicated IPs, which are reserved for a single user. This means that you will be assigned a particular IP address that you will use whenever accessing the internet. It is only you, and no one else can use the address. The disadvantage is that it is effortless to trace your activities and location. However, it can be useful for banking sites that need a specific IP address.

Physical servers

The majority of VPNs on this guide own physical server hardware, giving them maximum access control. However, some VPNs try to reduce the cost by using virtual servers. This is a major disadvantage as it is easy to intercept the connection and capture metadata and traffic.

So, go for a VPN that has its own physical servers if you are concerned with your privacy. Renting servers could give a chance to malicious actors to install backdoors or steal user information.

Some providers such as NordVPN use a technology that allows servers to run only on RAM. This is incapable of storing data, so your information will not remain on the servers after ending your session.

Encryption

Although imperative, the no-logs policy shouldn’t be the only consideration on your list. After all, the main purpose of a VPN is to facilitate a secure connection with minimal risks. Therefore, pay attention to features such as AES 256-bit encryption that contribute to your safety. Other security features to look out for include double VPN, obfuscation, perfect forward secrecy, etc.

Conclusion

A strict zero-logs policy is one of the crucial things you should consider when choosing a VPN. Read into the finer details to see the kind of information the provider keeps. You risk compromising your privacy and security if you use a provider that logs identifiable information like your IP address.

The VPNs we have highlighted observe a strict no-logs policy, so they are safe to use. Our top recommendation is NordVPN due to its TrustedServer technology. It ensures the servers don’t save any data so as to maintain your privacy. 

FAQs

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What is the benefit of an independent audit?
How will we know whether the VPN is keeping logs?
What types of logs should I be concerned with?
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About the author

Ruheni Mathenge
Ruheni Mathenge

Tech researcher and writer with a passion for cybersecurity. Alex is a strong advocate of digital freedom and online privacy.

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