Wouldn't it be great if every Virtual Private Network (VPN) service stored no logs of your internet activity?
Unfortunately, the reality is far from that and finding a service with a proven and reliable logging policy is next to impossible, right?
- Unclear logging policies
- Audit claims that don't cover the entire service
- Sketchy company ownership
The great news is, it really doesn't need to be this way.
There are reliable providers out there that have either had their privacy policies audited by third parties or had them proven in legal cases.
Inside this guide you'll learn which these are and ultimately which are the best at doing their job.
I'll show you precisely the services you should be using if you value your online privacy and offer exclusive hints and tips on what to look out for when choosing.
So, are you ready to keep your online activity private? Let's dive in.
Top No Log VPN Providers
We have tested all of the major VPN services and our top 7 recommended VPNs that keeps no logs are:
- ExpressVPN – Number 1 recommendation
- CyberGhost VPN
Below you will find more detail on why these VPNs have made it onto our list.
Audited log policy
Real world proven
Super fast download speeds
Month package expensive
ExpressVPN is a VPN service which has a proven no user log guarantee. It was tested a couple of years ago when they found themselves inadvertently caught up in the assassination of a Russian ambassador.
Turkish officials investigating found that a suspect had been using ExpressVPN, but ExpressVPN didn't hand over any details because they didn't have any. This is their no logs policy in action.
ExpressVPN is located offshore, in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no local laws requiring data retention or requirement to keep traffic logs. They also accept payment by bitcoin, which makes it possible to sign up almost entirely anonymously too.
Throw in some of the most robust VPN encryption on the market.
Robust features such as DNS leak protection and a kill switch as standard, a massive server network with thousands of IP Addresses, good speeds, five simultaneous connections, bonus privacy features, the ability to unblock almost all streaming services, and a great range of apps including for iOS and Android, reasonable prices, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN are our undisputed pick for Best Zero Logs VPN.
Our Recommended No Logs VPN Service
30-day money back guarantee
Proven log policy
Worldwide server locations
Not as many countries
They take advantage of this and keep absolutely no user records beyond the names and card details of those who sign up.
A few years ago saw some rumours about NordVPN data mining. So firmly did it reject these accusations, that they have now commissioned an independent audit of their security and their zero logs guarantee. PWC carried these out and once again gave a clean bill of health.
There are no court cases we are aware of that have suggested NordVPN keeps any data on their user activity whatsoever. You can also pay with Bitcoin if you want to ensure stronger privacy protection too.
NordVPN's encryption is as strong as any with 256-bit encryption offered as standard. There are also multiple security features and privacy features that you can use too, such as double-hop VPN server connections, VPN with Tor servers, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch.
NordVPN combines this near-perfect privacy protection with six concurrent connections, a vast server network with thousands of IP Addresses, great apps including for iOS and Android devices, 24/7 live chat support, and fast speeds. It can unblock almost all streaming services too.
If you want privacy, look at NordVPN. It has some of the lowest prices around too and with a 30-day money-back guarantee on offer. It's a great option for the privacy-conscious VPN user.
Confirmed log policy
Registered in Switzerland
Time proven service
Speeds not the fastest
VyprVPN's rapid improvement in this area is a testament to how seriously they take user privacy these days. We certainly have no hesitation in recommending them as a secure and private VPN provider.
This renewed focus on privacy hasn't come at the expense of any other areas of their service either. VyprVPN still offers decent connection speeds, a kill switch, a reasonable server network, and strong 256-bit encryption.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee available. VyprVPN is headquartered in Switzerland which has some of the best privacy laws in Europe.
4. Private Internet Access
Courtcase no log proof
Tons of servers
Registered in the US
Owned by KAPE
Private Internet Access (PIA) is another VPN which offers a no user log guarantee. They are adamant they keep absolutely zero logs.
They haven't yet conducted an independent audit which we would like to see. PIA has however been subpoenaed in multiple court cases and not coughed up any information. This strongly suggests that they don't hold any information about theirs users.
PIA's is headquartered in the USA. This is a country which doesn't have the best data retention laws in the world. Crucially, those laws that are already in place are yet to be applied to VPNs so, for now at least, PIA is fine.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee and you can pay for PIA using a massive range of methods including privacy-friendly Bitcoin and even anonymous gift cards. Their encryption is as strong as anything on the market and their overall service is pretty impressive too with decent speeds, a kill switch and a good network of servers.
Time proven service
Apps for all devices
Registered in the US
Not great for streaming
IPVanish is regarded as one of the best privacy-focused VPNs on the market.
They are planning an independent audit to prove this but at the time of writing this has not yet been conducted.
IPVanish is located in the USA which comes with the same pros and cons as VyprVPN above. They do offer impressively strong encryption as standard, and their all-round service includes unlimited concurrent connections, super-fast speeds, a huge range of VPN servers, a kill switch, and a vast server network, which is excellent.
There are plenty of bonus features too like DNS leak protection and a kill switch.
They do not accept payment by Bitcoin, which is a shame and something we would like to see them add. But there is now a 30-day money-back guarantee and we are still confident that IPVanish is a strong contender on this list.
6. CyberGhost VPN
Registered in Romania
Great for streaming
No log audit
Owned by KAPE
CyberGhost VPN is based in Romania, a location which has both pros and cons and claims to be a zero logs VPN.
It is inside the EU which is far from ideal, not least because it links them to a number of the 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes information sharing alliance countries. But domestic laws are still fairly strong and CyberGhost VPN appears to have robust privacy protections in place and a strong logging policy.
These have not been tested in court as far as we are aware and they are yet to conduct an independent review like some of the other VPN providers on this list. However, we have scrutinised their privacy policies in some details and are satisfied with what we have seen there.
CyberGhost VPN have also invested in their infrastructure in recent years too meaning they have very strong encryption, good connection speeds, DNS leak protection, and some nice extra features too.
The CyberGhost VPN apps are exceptional. They are very easy to use, especially for novice VPN users, and available on most devices too. CyberGhost VPN is competitively priced and comes with a huge 45-day money-back guarantee.
Another top-quality, privacy-friendly VPN.
Fast download speeds
Excellent for streaming
Log policy not audited
Surfshark is a new VPN provider to the market and claims to be a no logs VPN with a logging policy that backs up their declaration.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, an offshore location with great local laws that means it can offer some of the best user-privacy protections, including a no logs policy and not share your data with any third party.
Quite simply it is all too vague and they appear to log far more information than they need to.
This is a shame as it detracts from an otherwise excellent VPN that comes with other little perks like unlimited simultaneous connections, low prices, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It also has a wide range of impressive apps that are all packed with features yet still provide an easy to use experience.
An impressive package but there is more work to be done before Surfshark will climb any higher up this list.
How to choose a ‘No Logs' VPN
If privacy is your top priority, then it is essential to research your Virtual Private Network thoroughly before signing up to use a VPN. This is because just about every VPN will claim to offer a no logs policy, but the truth is that some of these guarantees are far more dependable than others.
In this section, we are going to offer some tips on how to identify a reputable no user logs VPN guarantee from one that is little more than a hollow promise.
The key features you should be looking out for are:
A no user log guarantee
The first thing to look for is whether your VPN is offering a no user log guarantee or not.
The majority will make the claim even if it is a shaky one. If the VPN you are looking at makes no such claim, this almost guarantees that it will be hoovering up your internet traffic.
This type of VPN is definitely best avoided.
Minimal additional data retention
Keeping zero logs of your internet activity and internet traffic is crucial but this is not the only data that VPNs can collect. Some will legitimately claim a no user log guarantee, but still collect a huge amount of information and metadata about your activities.
This can include information as diverse as your actual IP Address, the IP Addresses you were using, the times that you logged on and logged off, how much data you used, which servers you connect to and so on.
This information can corroborate other data about your IP Address or your activity available elsewhere and reveal a great deal about your online activity to government agencies, a hacker or other third parties.
Users should be wary of VPN providers that collect too much of this type of data.
A more recent trend for VPNs serious about their online privacy provisions is to get an external auditor to test their systems and processes to prove that their no user log guarantee is watertight.
These are generally carried out by either specialist systems analysts or major accountancy firms.
There are only few VPNs that have taken this step so far, but more are following their lead and such an independent audit is well worth looking for since it ensures that the claims a VPN service is making are credible.
Criminal Case history
A good test of how robust a no logs policy is whether data from their users has turned up in court cases.
Courts and law enforcement agencies will often request data from VPNs when IP Addresses owned by them is connected to a case.
A reputable VPN will say they have no data about your information usage to share, but some will cough up information to a court or a government which reveals a lot about what information they are retaining about you.
All of the cases like this we are aware of are referenced in our VPN reviews.
Be sure your VPN offers robust encryption to make sure your data won't be compromised while travelling between servers.
256-bit Encryption on a secure protocol like OpenVPN or WireGuard is the least you should be accepting.
The laws are different in every country and some countries require VPNs based there to keep far more information than others.
Look for a VPN that is based in a country and under a government with minimal data retention requirements. Offshore locations like the British Virgin Islands and Panama are ideal.
Payment by Bitcoin
If you genuinely want your VPN usage to be completely private, you will need to make payment by a crypto-currency such as Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is one of the few genuinely semi-anonymous payment options which means there is no record that you even have an account with your VPN service (assuming you use an anonymous email address to register).
Almost all VPNs will keep some records of payment so if you are using a credit card, it will be possible to determine that you have a VPN account with a specific provider.
Not all VPN providers offer Bitcoin payments, but some do and if privacy is your priority, it is worth seeking out.
What does a No Logs Guarantee actually mean?
A no logs guarantee is a promise from a VPN provider that it will not collect any information about its users' internet usage or share the traffic data with third parties.
VPNs offer privacy and security features to their users but this is all built on trust since you are sending all of your information through their servers
A disreputable VPN, like a free VPN we see on the market, will collect up this data and sell it on for profit to anyone willing to pay.
This does not deliver online privacy so the premium VPNs that charge for their service will usually promise not to do this.
A no user logs policy should mean your VPN provider keep no records of any website you visit, the messages or emails that you send, the files you are downloading, or what you are doing online.
If they are based in some countries, this can be hard since there are legal obligations for providers of online services like VPNs to keep records of what their users are doing for a minimal amount of time.
Australia is perhaps the most prominent example of this but the UK has similar laws in place too.
Whether VPNs fall under such rules is open to debate and is yet to be tested in the courts, but if privacy is your priority, it is best to choose a VPN located in a country where there are no such risks such as the British Virgin Islands or Panama.
What are logs?
When using a VPN, logs are essentially a record of what you have been doing online.
The best VPN keeps no logs whatsoever about this and if asked to disclose details by a law enforcement agency or a court, will have nothing to reveal.
There are two main types of log and it is worth distinguishing between the two since one type is far worse than the other.
These are a record of any website that you visit while using a VPN and what you are doing while you are there. They're often referred to as ‘Traffic Logs'.
If you are using an email service or an online messenger service, it can also include the contents of the messages you are sending too.
Needless to say, details like a website you visit is all private and sensitive information that no VPN user wants to be logged. If your VPN provider is collecting this type of information, ditch them now and choose one of the VPN providers we have recommended in this guide instead.
Connection logs is a term used to refer to the metadata that a VPN can sometimes collect about your online activity. These are often called ‘Connection Timestamps'.
It doesn't include the content of what you are doing online or the website you are visiting but can include sensitive session information like your actual IP Address, the IP Addresses you were using, the time that you connected and disconnected from the service, the amount of data you used during your session and so on.
This information might not seem important but it can reveal a lot about what you were doing especially if combined with other information such as details from any website you were using.
Do VPN services keep logs?
The type of service that a VPN is means that keeping some logs is inevitable.
These are often automatically generated by the hardware and infrastructure that a VPN uses. The key for a privacy and security-focused VPN is how much effort they go to to minimise and remove this information to ensure they can legitimately claim their service keeps no logs.
For example, ExpressVPN has recently switched to running all of their services from RAM. This means that even if any logs were generated (and ExpressVPN's independent audit proves that they aren't) that data wouldn't be stored locally on servers someone else could access.
How can I trust a VPN service's no log claims?
The truth is that any VPN can claim to offer a no user log guarantee and unless you have the access and technical knowledge to check their systems, you have no real way of knowing.
The reality is that some claims are far more dependable than others. As we have seen, a growing number of VPNs are commissioning independent audits to confirm their no user logs promise.
An audit involves a specialist data security firm looking at their code and systems and checking to see that they are indeed keeping no user logs. An audit is perhaps the single best way to know if a no logs claim is genuine.
Feedback and reputation is another good way. A website like ours have a lot of experience testing VPNs, scrutinising their logging policies, on top of a vast knowledge of the industry.
We've been around 8 years which makes us practically old age in this industry so have seen a lot.
If there are doubts about a provider, we will know and we will not hesitate to tell you.
Court cases are also an important pointer. If a VPN's user data appears in a court case, there are automatically questions for that provider to answer. We keep a close eye on such stories and always report them back to our readers.
Lastly, a good barometer is to look at how long a VPN has been around. Most VPN users insist on a dependable no user log guarantee.
At the first hint that such a guarantee is not what it seems, many customers run for the hills and that provider is usually not around much longer.
If your provider has been in the market for a long time, it is a reasonably safe bet that their no user log guarantee is a genuine one.
Is VPN really untraceable?
This is a tricky question to answer.
A VPN is a hugely effective tool at helping you to avoid becoming a victim of mass surveillance. It stops the likes of your internet service provider, Google, and an average hacker from being able to access your data, see your IP Address, and harvest your personal information.
But a VPN does not make you 100% anonymous online.
If you are a target for the National Security Agency, GCHQ, or the Chinese Communist Regime, there are still ways to track you and it would be naive to think that a $5 a month security tool will protect you.
But it will definitely make their job an awful lot harder and for the average person, a VPN provides more than enough online security features and privacy protections.
Are ‘free' VPNs no logs?
In a word, no.
A free VPN has to make money from somewhere and the most readily available asset they have is the data of their users. Selling this is the way that many ‘free' VPNs generate money and even if they claim to have a no user log guarantee, a look at the fine print often reveals the truth.
There is a growing body of data that links many free VPNs back to Communist China too where local laws require companies to retain all user data and hand them over to the regime.
Add in the frequent use of advertising revenue as well and it is fair to say that the number of free VPNs that offer a no logs promise you can even remotely take at face value can be counted on one hand.
The true figure is probably none.
Most VPNs claim to offer a no user logs guarantee, but as we have seen some are much more dependable than others.
In this article, we have delved into the VPN world to identify the seven providers who offer the best no log VPNs service, the most robust logging policies, and all the overall privacy protections that you want.
ExpressVPN is the provider that has come top of the pile for storing no logs. They are priced very reasonable and come with a long money-back guarantee as well not sharing your information with any third party.
If you want to do your research, we have also offered some pointers on how to identify whether a no user logs guarantee is worth any more than the paper it is written on.
There are a lot of VPNs on the market and sadly, many of them are keen to get hold of your cash without offering you the level of service you want.
If online privacy matters to you and you want to keep your online data safe, you need a VPN with a no user logs guarantee covered by a strong logging policy.