Best VPN Without Log Files

When trying to decide which Virtual Private Network provider to use, the issue of 'logging' can be quite significant. One of the main reasons customers sign up to a VPN service is because they want to protect their privacy while online. Therefore, they will want to find a service which does not keep records of their internet activity.

Most companies try to convince customers that their service is the best in terms of their privacy policy, but many keep log files. Keeping user logs can be useful for troubleshooting purposes, while many countries have internet communications legislation in place, forcing companies to retain such information for a certain period of time.

Log files take two main forms - usage logs and connection logs. A usage log contains specific details of a user's activity, such as website visits. Yet many 'no logs' companies still keep connection logs, which include information like how long a user is connected for and how much data they use. Although far less problematic than usage logs, these connection logs can still - theoretically - be used to identify a user, compromising their privacy.

So which is truly the best VPN service without log files?

ExpressVPN.com

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services on the market and also claims to offer 'zero logging'. Their privacy policy states that they do not collect information on users' website visits or online activity and the company is now based out of the British Virgin Islands, making it exempt from both US and EU data retention laws.

Like all excellent VPN services, ExpressVPN makes use of shared IP addresses, meaning that individual users are not linked to a single IP address. Additionally, customers can sign up without providing any personal information and pay using the BitCoin cryptocurrency.

Unfortunately, their privacy policy also reveals that they do in fact keep logs of some information, including times when a user is connected to the service, their choice of servers and total amounts of data transferred. The company state that this information is kept and analysed in order to improve the service and although this is less damaging than keeping full usage logs, it still prevents ExpressVPN from being a true 'zero logs' VPN.

IPVanish.com

IPVanish is well-regarded for its transparent privacy policy and the fact that it operates a true 'no logs' service. This means neither usage logs or connections logs are kept. P2P use is allowed and an additional layer of privacy is offered by the option to pay using BitCoin.

One potential issue with the service is the fact that it is based out of the United States. Following Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA, this has become an automatic cause for concern, and the country's Stored Communications Act makes it mandatory for companies to hand over data relating to customers, upon request.

Nevertheless, IPVanish insist they do not keep any logs at all and their implementation of shared IP addresses means that they can legitimately refuse such requests, as they have no way of identifying individual users.

PrivateInternetAccess.com

Much like with IPVanish, the Private Internet Access service is based out of the United States and advertises a 'zero logs' policy. This means that neither usage or connection logs are kept. They do, however, store information such as user's email addresses and payment details, although it is possible to pay via BitCoin and use a disposable email.

It is worth noting that the company's privacy policy explicitly states that they will comply with any valid subpoena requests. That said, they also utilise shared IP addresses, offering an additional level of privacy and ensuring that it is virtually impossible for them to identify individual users.

With that having been said, Private Internet Access' status as a US-based service may still be a cause for concern for the most privacy-conscious customers.

EarthVPN.com

EarthVPN place a strong emphasis on their ability to protect customers' privacy and highlight the fact that they keep "absolutely no logs" of any kind. This includes both usage and connection logs, while the company are also keen to stress that they do not share any customer information with third parties either.

The service provides shared IP addresses, ensuring that no user can be personally connected to a specific address. This means that customers do not need to fear being identified, either by EarthVPN or by third parties.

Perhaps most importantly of all, EarthVPN officially comes under the jurisdiction of Northern Cyprus, which is not subject to the European Union's Data Retention Directive and the country does not have any mandatory data retention laws of its own either. This leaves EarthVPN free to offer a comprehensive privacy package.

Perfect-Privacy.com

Perfect Privacy is a VPN service with its two main offices in New Zealand and Latvia, which helps the company to avoid mandatory data retention legislation. Again, like the other VPNs listed, it claims to provide a service free from log files and insists that no information stored could hinder the anonymity of its customers.

The Perfect Privacy website includes a detailed customer policy, which clarifies that no information, such as website visits or connection data, is kept. Some server bandwidth logs are kept, but this information is general, rather than personalised and is solely for the purposes of monitoring the service and ensuring it runs efficiently.

None of the information stored can lead to individual customers being identified and once again, the service utilises shared IP addresses, to prevent users from being linked to specific activity. The only major downside to the service is that the price of subscription is more expensive than the other VPN providers listed.

Conclusion

For the vast majority of users, any of the VPN services mentioned will offer sufficient privacy, as none of them keep logs of actual user activity, such as website visits or communications. However, for customers who require a truly excellent privacy policy, with zero logs, ExpressVPN's service is hindered by its decision to keep connection logs.

Although both services offer comprehensive privacy policies, IPVanish and Private Internet Access are both based in the United States. This may be an immediate red flag, due to the country's reputation for internet surveillance and its laws, such as the Stored Communications Act, requiring companies to comply with any formal requests for data.

That leaves EarthVPN and Perfect Privacy battling it out for the position as the best VPN service without log files. Both companies offer a full 'zero user logs' service and both are based away from countries with mandatory data retention laws. In the end, EarthVPN comes out slightly ahead, on the basis that it is cheaper and Perfect Privacy does keep some non-personalised bandwidth logs.