Virtual Private Networks and online privacy are two ideas that go hand in hand in the minds of many internet users. But are all VPNs best for ensuring online privacy? Maybe not!
For instance, the business model of many VPNs involves logging their users’ activities and selling them to their commercial partners. Such a VPN service is lethal for your privacy, even if it gives you the desired service.
So let’s face it, not every VPN in the industry prioritizes user security and privacy.
But then, which VPN vendors respect my privacy? We hear you ask. Keep reading as this article give you the list of the best five VPNs you can trust in 2023.
Top privacy VPNs – quick list
If you’re short on time to know the insights of the best privacy VPNs, then here we quickly list the top service providers for you.
- ExpressVPN: Delivers outstanding performance as a VPN that offers good privacy features.
- Private Internet Access (PIA): One of the most popular VPNs globally, well known for their commitment to privacy.
- NordVPN: NordVPN is our top pick as the best privacy VPN. It’s the industry’s foremost service provider for online security.
- Surfshark: This relatively new provider has turned the market upside down by offering top-notch service for a significantly reduced price.
- SaferVPN: A VPN focused on ease of use that, nevertheless, keeps privacy as a priority.
How are the best VPNs for privacy distinct?
A VPN service worth the name must perform two tasks without any problems.
First, it must encrypt all the traffic going out of your device (whether it’s a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone) and route it through a secure tunnel in one of the servers in the VPN network. Second, it must show the world an IP address that belongs to the VPN network instead of yours. Nobody should know your actual IP address when connected to the VPN. That’s what the service should do.
Many VPNs offer various additional excellent services and enhance your security as a user. But encryption and IP masking are the beef when it comes down to the basics.
So, do these VPNs guarantee your privacy? Unfortunately, no. Keeping your privacy safe is not a technical matter like encryption. Instead, it has to do with the provider’s policy. Hence, it’s complicated and involves trust and technical expertise.
The VPNs that care about your privacy keep no logs of users’ activities, referred to as “zero log policy” within the industry. Sticking to this policy ensures that your VPN provider doesn’t know anything about what you do online, even though you’re doing it through its servers. In addition, a zero log policy ensures that a VPN can’t spill the beans on you because it has nothing behind for a start.
So which are the best VPNs for privacy? This is not an easy question because the VPN market has exploded over the recent years and all kinds of vendors are around. Figuring out which ones are good from the user experience and privacy perspectives needs some work and expertise. But don’t worry. We’ve done the job for you by listing the best services below.
Common VPN privacy policies
Privacy policies vary from provider to provider. Therefore, you can’t assume any particular policy as an industry standard that whatever VPN you choose would inevitably hold.
Therefore, read the VPN’s privacy policies before you sign up. Otherwise, you’ll be surprised when your data appears in the hands of a third party, which could even be your government.
Fortunately, declaring their privacy policies is mandatory for VPNs. Specifically, the law requires them to do so clearly — and that includes the information they keep on record and how they use that data.
The most common features you can expect in a VPN’s policy include:
- No log policy. This “no log” has a concrete meaning in the VPN context: the provider does not keep your browsing history on record.
- Timestamps and IP addresses. The VPN will record the times you log in and out and the IP address from which you’re reaching your VPN. The VPN server you choose to use will get logged as well.
- Data usage. Most providers will measure and log the number of bytes you upload and download.
- Registration data and payment information. You will need a username to log into the network and an email to create an account in most cases. All that information will be on file somewhere in your provider’s central server.
- DNS leak protection. A good VPN will prevent any DNS query you need to navigate the web from revealing your IP address to the world.
- Kill Switch. It is a security measure to protect your real IP address from exposure during connection failures.