If you’re confused about the difference between a No Log VPN provider and a VPN provider that keeps Logs then you’re not alone.
The VPN world can be confusing enough and when you’re searching for the best solution to protect your online privacy then it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the number of choices out there and the technical jargon that is thrown around.
In this guide I’m going to explain the difference between a good No Log VPN provider such as IPVanish and a VPN provider that keeps logs such as the many free offerings available out there.
What exactly does ‘No Logs’ mean?
No Logs as you may have guessed is the opposite to having Logs.
A Log is a basically a record of something. In the case of a VPN service Logs refer to records of your connection history.
There are no set rules as what may be contained in these logs but usually it would contain what is known as “metadata”.
Metadata is the who, the where and then when of your usage but not the actual content.
Logs from a paid VPN provider are highly unlikely to contain details of what websites you visited or the details of your chat conversations.
Logs will however contain details like the time you connected, how long you stayed connected for, the amount of data you transferred and more critically your local IP Address. In other words, the IP Address that links you to your physical address.
Why are Logs a problem?
When you sign up to a VPN service from services such as IPVanish and ExpressVPN you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re paying a small fee for these services to provide you with online privacy. It’s the same as paying an insurance company to keep you covered in the event of an accident or illness.
Imagine then asking an insurance company to protect you if you weren’t paying for the service. We all know they wouldn’t. Instead they would aim to make money another way. Usually by advertising or selling details about you.
The problem with VPN services that log is they store information that can link you to what you do online and what you access. This defeats the whole purpose of a VPN in the first place because these logs put your privacy at risk.
Take for example you downloaded a file from a Torrent site while connected to a VPN service that keeps logs. Your home IP Address will be logged and the time you accessed the VPN service.
If a movie company, for example, wanted to bring a case against you for an illegal download they could make legal requests to both the VPN service and your ISP (Internet Service Provider) which can match the times and dates with your IP Address and essentially tie you to the illegal download.
With No Logs this wouldn’t be possible.
So why is a No Log VPN better?
In the example case above if a company sent a legal request to your No Log VPN service then they would not have any information available to offer. This means they comply with the legal request and protect your privacy in the process.
No Logs means there is absolutely no information stored about you. Due to this you’re free to connect, carry out your normal internet activity and disconnect safe in the knowledge your information is encrypted to the VPN service and they store no information about what time you connected, how much data you transferred or any other details.
Where to find a No Log VPN provider?
In the first instance you want to avoid free VPN providers. It’s often said and true that if you’re not paying for the service then you are the service.
Running a VPN service is an expensive business and if you don’t pay that service directly then they’ll make money from you another way, usually by advertising or selling details about you.
They also have no obligation to protect your privacy because after all, you’re not their customer, just another free user.
A good place to start looking for a No Log VPN provider is our comprehensive VPN Comparison Guide that lists many of the top rated VPN services.
If you don’t have time to be sorting through the available options then we recommend IPVanish or ExpressVPN who both claim to store no logs and as of the date of publication of this article there has been no information or scandal to suggest otherwise.
As always there is an element of trust required but by choosing providers recommended by sites like ours and others you can be sure that your privacy is in safe hands.