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VPNs are all the rage these days. Despite Netflix changing their terms of use to disavow customers using a VPN Why the Netflix Crackdown on VPNs Will Ultimately Fail Why the Netflix Crackdown on VPNs Will Ultimately Fail Netflix is set to crack down on VPNs to satisfy the rights-holders from whom it sources its content. So, how will Netflix’ ban work? And how effective will it be? Read More  to access region locked content, more and more people are turning to VPN services What's The Difference Between VPN and Cloud Computing? What's The Difference Between VPN and Cloud Computing? Despite major differences between VPNs and cloud computing, the two are conflated far too often. It's important to know the differences so you can better understand which one is right for you. Read More to allow genuinely anonymous Internet browsing. In an age where every online movement is tracked and logged, it seems a highly logical choice.

A VPN by Any Other Name

However, it is only as logical as the VPN provider you choose. Whilst there may be some fantastic free options available, you might not be as truly anonymous as other, paid-for options.

A truly private and anonymous service does not maintain any logs detailing your Internet use while connected to their servers. They should actively ensure your personal details remain private, offer a consistently encrypted Internet connection, and ideally operate their own DNS to further alleviate any external logging that usually takes place.

We’ve taken a look at six VPNs that take your anonymity seriously, and here they are — in no particular order, we must add.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access (PIA) is currently one of the best VPN providers, offering a substantial amount of services for a very reasonable amount of money. They’ve won multiple awards, and are used by many major organizations for their steadfast approach to privacy and anonymity.

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PIA has publicly stated “We do not store logs relating to traffic, session, DNS or metadata,” as well as operating “our own DNS servers on our high throughput network.” PIA offer high levels of privacy and anonymity, as well as the option to choose either 128- or 256-bit encryption (or interestingly, none at all).

Due to the size and spread of their network infrastructure, PIA also offer a fast and stable connection, as well as an integrated VPN kill switch to immediately disconnect from the Internet This One Vulnerability Might Leak Your IP When Using A VPN This One Vulnerability Might Leak Your IP When Using A VPN A recently discovered vulnerability in many VPN providers means that in some cases, your IP address can be seen. This security flaw could potentially see people lose their anonymity whilst using VPNs. Here's how. Read More in the event the VPN fails.

Private Internet Access comes in at $6.95 for a single month, dropping to $3.33/$39.95 for a 12-month subscription.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has become one of the most popular VPN services through a combination of hard-work and consumer awareness. In the modern digital age we demand service, and ExpressVPN delivers this in many ways.

As well as offering a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a rarely-seen referral system to encourage you to spread the word, an ExpressVPN account comes with zero logging of your activities, 256-bit encryption, and a range of VPN protocols to suit your connection.

Many users report ExpressVPN as the fastest and most stable solution they’ve used, with others commending the excellent ticket-response time from its customer support team.

ExpressVPN comes in at $12.95 for a single month, dropping to $8.32/$99.84 for a 12-month subscription.

TorGuard

TorGuard is another VPN service that has substantially expanded throughout the last few years. Even with expansion, TorGuard takes its responsibility to maintain your privacy seriously, as “No logs or time stamps are kept whatsoever. [They] do not store any traffic logs or user session data” on its network, and uses a shared IP configuration across all internal servers. This makes it impossible to match a single user IP address with a single time stamp, ensuring your privacy.

TorGuard suggests using the OpenVPN protocol with high level encryption, offering users a choice of 128- and 256-bit, depending on their requirements and local network infrastructure. The package also includes “a connection kill switch, application kill switch, DNS leak protection How DNS Leaks Can Destroy Anonymity When Using a VPN, And How to Stop Them How DNS Leaks Can Destroy Anonymity When Using a VPN, And How to Stop Them When you're trying to stay anonymous online, a VPN is the simplest solution, by masking your IP address, service provider, and location. But a DNS leak can totally undermine the purpose of a VPN... Read More , IPv6 leak protection, WebRTC leak protection, and Stealth VPN services,” as well as the choice between its own private TorGuard DNS servers, or Google DNS servers.

TorGuard offers a range of solutions, starting at $9.99 for a single month, dropping to $4.99/$59.99 for a 12-month subscription.

Mullvad

Onto the Swedish VPN service named “Mole.” With a growing reputation for privacy, anonymity, and reliability, Mullvad is fast becoming a global VPN favorite. Mullvad does not maintain any logs as “This would make both us and our users more vulnerable,” as well as using a range of private servers “lovingly assembled and configured by us.”

Mullvad supports a range of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, as well as offering DNS leak protection, a VPN kill switch, active filter detection and automatic reconnections, and strong encryption credentials. However, Mullvad has a limited range of servers, currently only located in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Canada, and the US, so some users may find speeds somewhat limited.

A Mullvad VPN solution is available for roughly $5.66 per month.

IVPN

IVPN is seemingly one of the most ardent supports of your right to privacy and anonymity while browsing the Internet. No records of your time online are created or maintained; IVPN believes it is “fundamental to the service we provide.” Furthermore, IVPN considers that “It is also in our interests not to do so as it minimizes our own liability and is not required by law,” giving you a clear understanding of their stance on user monitoring and logging.

IVPN Logging Information

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that IVPN uses 256-bit encryption, utilizing the OpenVPN protocol to offer you maximum security, as well as an “advanced VPN firewall” to block any potential IP leaking. The firewall is activated during the boot process to ensure no network traffic can take place outside of the VPN tunnel What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up Read More , further guaranteeing your privacy.

My only slight concern would be IVPN’s Gibraltar-registered status, and whether any pending or future alterations to United Kingdom and European Union digital privacy laws will have an immediate effect on its users. However, for the time being, this is not a worry!

An IVPN solution comes in at $15 for a single month, dropping to $8.33/$100 for a 12-month subscription.

CryptoStorm

We finish our list with one of the best VPN packages around, but one that doesn’t always gather the kudos it might deserve for a job well done. CryptoStorm is the VPN of choice for many users because of its additional features, and the additional choices available in accessing the service. Want to pay using alternative Bitcoin currencies? Sure, send us some Dogecoin (such wow, very pay). Need a VPN provider actively supporting worldwide open-data culture? CryptoStorm are there again.

Their network is slightly different to your run of the mill VPN providers, too. CryptoStorm offers a token-based authentication system to do away with anything resembling identification, at the same time distancing themselves from the users accessing the network. You purchase a token from a dedicated reseller, such as vpndark.net, then activate your VPN service, leaving no discernable trace of purchasing the service in the hands of CryptoStorm.

It also uses “OpenVPN with logs set to /dev/null” and have “even gone the extra mile by preventing client IPs from appearing in the temporary ‘status’ logs.”

CryptoStorm is serious about your privacy, and you can access a single month of privacy for $6.99, or select a 12-month subscription for $4.58/$54.99.

Are You Ready To Choose?

It is a somewhat problematic decision, but it isn’t difficult to understand the importance of using a VPN, or why so many global citizens are concerned about the reach of both government 8 Instances You Weren't Using a VPN, but Should've Been: The VPN Checklist 8 Instances You Weren't Using a VPN, but Should've Been: The VPN Checklist If you haven't already considered subscribing to a VPN to secure your privacy, now is the time. Read More and corporations alike. The Snowden revelations didn’t so much as kick-start a movement Snowden's on Twitter, Here Are 7 More Privacy Advocates to Follow Snowden's on Twitter, Here Are 7 More Privacy Advocates to Follow Snowden is hardly the only privacy advocate on Twitter, or the world's leading authority on the subject. The social network has several prominent voices who care about user data and how to protect it. Read More , but breathed life into and gave weight to the feeling of surveillance and tracking many believed existed.

You don’t have to secede your right to privacy and anonymity Why Have Americans Given Up On Privacy? Why Have Americans Given Up On Privacy? A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication concluded Americans are resigned to giving up data. Why is this, and does it affect more than just Americans? Read More just because of the Internet, and with these VPNs, you can begin to take some of it back.

What is your favorite VPN provider? What are the best free VPNs for privacy and anonymity? Or do you believe once you’re the product, nothing is really free? Let us know below!

  1. TH
    November 14, 2016 at 9:32 am

    I use Freedome from F secure.
    So far so good.

  2. Byju Subhash
    August 27, 2016 at 6:45 am

    How about Windscribe?

  3. David S
    August 27, 2016 at 12:33 am

    What about StrongVPN? How does that rate?

  4. jerryb
    June 22, 2016 at 4:26 am

    It seems to me that the client app would be the security "weak link".
    Some info about client programs, OSs supported, and country of corporate ownership would have been helpful. Or a link to a more thorough listing ~ (thanks for the help in the above comments) Yes, throughput and bittorrent ability, also.

  5. Todd Clay
    May 28, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Wouldn't it be helpful to see some throughput by IP provider by VPN to like the top 100 sites or something? My experience with VPN's has always been the lack of throughput.

  6. David
    May 28, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Are any of the claims made by these suppliers externally verified by some suitably trusted organisation.

    If not there is nothing to stop them claiming they don't log when they do. etc.

    • Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
      June 13, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      I'm curious who you would think is a suitably trusted organization? Consumer Reports? VPN's are used for sneaky stuff. Such as repressed people in repressed nations attempting to dial out. First world nations, not so much. Sneaky for other reasons. Except me of course.

      • Jerry
        June 22, 2016 at 4:17 am

        EFF.org, that's who.

  7. Dave
    May 27, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for mentioning Cryptostorm. The token based system is truly the way to go. Been a user for well over a year now and they are top notch. Number of servers is a bit limited but have never had an issue.

  8. IB2
    May 27, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    before deciding on a VPN provider, look for the following things

    1. Are their servers or business from countries that are members of the 5, 9 or 14 eyes
    https://www.privacytools.io/

    2. Detailed VPN comparison chart can be found here
    https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-comparison-chart/

    • Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
      June 13, 2016 at 11:51 pm

      Yeah but...., I'm thinking there is no way to tell what these countries don't share with the world populace. These are spy agencies after all. Do you think that that the 5,9 or 14 is the only game in town? Perhaps those are the ones that are more difficult for the NSA types to crack due to more open societies? And that's why what we think we know is out there. It's a crapshoot. If one is going to do very illegal 'thangs', one has a good chance of getting caught, if someone wants you caught, enough.

  9. ki
    May 26, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I use slickvpn and their terms say they dont log but I cannot confirm this.

  10. Yegor KS
    May 26, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Another great newcomer is Windscribe (https://windscribe.com/privacy). Free for 10GB/month, $9 for unlimited.

  11. Walter Cooper
    May 25, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    You have missed PureVPN in the list. they dont keep logs and they have the 2nd largest VPN servers network in the world..

  12. Lance
    May 24, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    The EU actually has data retention directives. In many cases US based VPN providers are actually more secure and have better legal protections than those outside the US. The key is that they have to architect the system to ensure that there is never any data recorded about usage even in real time.

    • l_mckeon
      May 26, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Until the US Feds come along with a secret National Security Letter from a secret court that forces them to log your connection, and prevents them from ever telling you about it.

      • Lance
        May 26, 2016 at 10:25 pm

        Forcing you to log is very different than being forced to hand over logs. If the system is properly designed it would take re-architecture not just flipping a switch to initiate logging. That takes you out of national security letter territory and into Apple / FBI arguments.
        I know in 20 years under my watch Anonymizer.com has never been forced to hand over or create any usage logs.

  13. Jacob
    May 24, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    I have been using TorGuard for 2+ years...

  14. frank billson
    May 24, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Yes, It is the measure reason I never use those VPNs which actually based in United States because we have already read many times that Hidemyass share it's information with ISP's and other country officials.

    I am currently using Ivacy VPN which never keep logs and provides complete online security. Geek-time also created a list of best VPN service in which they mentioned Ivacy VPN first position because of its effective service.

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