Internet privacy concerns are at an all-time high, and VPNs are being touted far and wide as the one-stop solution to keep internet service providers, governments, hackers, websites, and advertisers out of our online lives. While a VPN can secure your internet connection from all of those entities and more, what about the VPN providers themselves? What’s stopping them from mining your data, recording your online activity, selling it off to third parties, or using it for other nefarious purposes?
In short, nothing. A VPN provider has the power to record each of their user’s browsing data and metadata, and some VPNs do. But in this article, we list only those reputable VPNs that have a verified zero logs policy, keeping no data on their users or their online activities. That way, you can be sure of your privacy online.
We’ll go into more detail about each of these VPNs later on, but if you don’t have time to read the full article, here’s a brief summary.
The best VPNs with no-logs policies:
- NordVPN: Our #1 choice for a logless VPN. Fast speeds, an easy-to-use app, and a stringent no-logs policy. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly.
- Surfshark: Low-cost VPN with an independently-verified no-logs policy. Allows unlimited connections and boasts a fantastic security offering. High speeds.
- ExpressVPN: Retains no logs that contain personally identifiable information. Servers are great for streaming and downloading. Quality customer support.
- CyberGhost: Independently audited no-logs policy. Operates out of Romania, which has no mandatory data retention laws. Impressive server network.
- IPVanish: True zero logs policy, with no traffic or metadata logs recorded of any kind. Allows unlimited connections. Owns and operates all of its servers.
- PrivateVPN: Zero-logs provider operates from Sweden. Built-in privacy tools keep your connection watertight. Offers free remote help and installation.
- Atlas VPN: Accepts multiple cryptocurrencies as payment. No-logs policy with zero traffic logs. Consistent unblocker of content and has MultiHop servers.
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What is a no-log VPN?
Logless VPNs don’t keep a record of their users’ activity–at least not with any personally identifiable information. Unfortunately, the term “log” isn’t entirely clear-cut. There are two main types of logs, and many VPNs lay claim to a “no logs” policy while really only adhering to one.
Traffic logs, sometimes called usage logs, are the ones users should be most concerned about. They contain the contents of all your internet traffic–what websites you visit, emails, search queries, etc. A VPN provider that records this information isn’t doing its job and should be avoided at all costs.
Then, there are metadata logs. These are also referred to as session logs, connection logs, or diagnostic logs. Metadata logs don’t contain the contents of your internet traffic but instead record details about how you use the VPN. Sometimes, metadata logs are harmless and only contain non-personally identifiable information like how much bandwidth or data you use, timestamps of when you use the service, and which servers you connected to.
But the type of metadata log we’re concerned with are those containing users’ source IP addresses. If a VPN records your source IP, then there’s a good chance your activity can be traced back to your device.
The best zero log VPNs: at a glance
We’ve compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for no-log VPNs.
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||Cyberghost.com||IPVanish.com||PrivateVPN.com||atlasvpn.com||Ranking for Logless VPNs:||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||Activity logs||None||None||No identifying data||No identifying data||No logs stored||None||No logs stored||Total number of servers||5,700+||3,200||Undisclosed||7000+||2,200+||200+||1000+||Streaming Services||Netflix|
|Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||39 Mbps||100+ Mbps||Devices Supported||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers||Windows, MacOS, Linux (command line), iOS, Android, Smart TVs Routers||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99|
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The best logless VPNs
We’ve listed the best zero-log VPNs based on the following criteria:
- A strict logging policy with no traffic logs
- No source IP logs
- DNS leak protection
- Shared IP addresses
- Accepts Bitcoin as payment
You can read more about how we test and rank the VPNs we recommend in our methodology section below. For now, let’s take a look at the ones that made the cut.
Here’s our list of the best zero-logs VPNs:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our top choice for a logless VPN. It operates with a strict no-logs policy, meaning that no traffic or metadata logs are stored. Those who don’t want to leave a paper trail can even pay with Bitcoin. NordVPN is incorporated in Panama, where there are no mandatory data retention laws. For the extra-cautious, users can connect to privacy-optimized servers featuring Tor over VPN and double VPNs.
With NordVPN, torrenting is allowed, and this VPN service can securely access a wide range of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. NordVPN’s security consists of 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. A subscription includes 24-hour access to live chat and email support. You’ll also be able to connect up to six of your devices at the same time.
You can use NordVPN apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. Browser extensions are offered for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. NordVPN can also be used with compatible routers, but manual configuration is required.
- Enjoy complete anonymity with no activity logs and cryptocurrency payments
- Operates a network of more than 5,500 servers in 60+ countries
- Works with most streaming services
- Excellent speeds for streaming and downloading
- Top-notch security and privacy protection
- Customer service available via 24/7 live chat
- Desktop app can take some getting used to
BEST LOGLESS VPN:NordVPN is our first choice. It has incredible speeds for streaming and torrenting, keeps no logs, and allows up to six simultaneous connections. A 30-day money-back guarantee makes it risk-free.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN that keeps snoopers at bay with 256-bit encryption, multi-hop servers, a kill switch, and DNS and IPv6 leak protection. It also has a strict no-logs policy, which means Surfshark doesn’t keep any activity logs. Additionally, it accepts Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum payments, just in case you’d like an extra layer of anonymity.
Given that Surfshark’s NoBorders mode can even bypass China’s Great Firewall, streaming platforms like Netflix don’t pose any kind of a challenge. This VPN allows unlimited simultaneous connections. We’re particularly impressed by Surfshark’s server network, which consists of more than 3,000 servers in 100 countries — more countries than any other VPN on this list.
Surfshark provides apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. You also have the option of browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Use with Wi-Fi routers requires manual setup.
- Servers in around 100 countries
- Speedy VPN with great unblocking ability
- Connect any number of devices
- Excellent security and encryption standards
- Accepts several cryptocurrencies as payment
- Some servers are much slower than others
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is a great value option that has a proven no-logs policy. It’s fast too, and boasts a solid set of security tools, making it ideal for anyone looking to surf the web in private. All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN doesn’t record or store any web traffic content or personally identifiable information on its users. If you want to sign up anonymously, you can even use a burner email address, pay in Bitcoin, and register on its .onion website through Tor. Some diagnostic information, such as dates (not times), server, and the amount of data transferred, is recorded but not associated with a specific IP address or any other personally identifiable information.
The company is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which has no mandatory data retention laws. Torrenting is allowed, and ExpressVPN is also great for streaming Netflix and Hulu when traveling abroad. Overall, ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries, and you can use it to secure up to 8 of your devices simultaneously.
ExpressVPN is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions are also available, as is custom firmware for routers.
- Fast connections with no bandwidth or data restrictions
- Large network of servers can securely access just about any popular streaming service
- Allows Bitcoin payments
- 24-hour live chat support, 7 days a week
- Not as cheap as some other services
- Lack of advanced configuration options
BROWSE ANONYMOUSLY:ExpressVPN holds its own. A fast and reliable choice. Great privacy features and keeps no logs. Great for all major geo-restricted streaming services. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost operates a strict no-logs policy that has been independently audited by Deloitte. It doesn’t keep any traffic logs or any connection logs by which you can be identified as a user. What’s more, it publishes its annual Transparency Report, which provides data such as how many data requests it receives from the police (even though it has nothing of substance to provide because it doesn’t keep logs).
This VPN provider also accepts payment in Bitcoin and is headquartered in Romania, a country that has no mandatory data retention laws. CyberGhost operates a vast network of approximately 9,000 servers in 100 countries. It’s also very fast, making it ideal for accessing and watching popular streaming platforms while traveling abroad (such as Netflix US). Security comprises high-end encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and an automatic kill switch.
Secure up to seven of your devices at the same time with CyberGhost’s apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. Note that you can also use browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, although routers require manual setup.
- Independently audited no-logs policy
- Accepts anonymous payment in Bitcoin
- Huge network of approximately 9,000 servers
- Very fast connection speeds for streaming
- Use it to secure up to seven devices at once
- Fails to bypass VPN blocks in China
- Lack of configuration options for advanced users
AUDITED NO-LOGS POLICY:CyberGhost operates out of Romania which has no mandatory data retention laws. It also has an independently audited no-logs policy. Some 9,000 servers available and very fast speeds. Includes a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish maintains a true zero logs policy, meaning no traffic or metadata logs of any sort are recorded. The company is based in the United States, which might put off some users if they’re wary of the NSA and FBI, but the truth is that the US has no mandatory data retention laws.
The company owns its global network of physical servers (over 2,000 in 75+ locations) rather than renting, giving maximum control over who has access. Customers can pay in Bitcoin and even hide the fact that they’re using a VPN using a special traffic obfuscation feature. Torrenting is allowed. Best of all, there’s no limit to the number of connections you can connect simultaneously.
Connect to IPVanish servers via apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Fire TV. It’s also possible to manually configure a connection with Linux as well as VPN-compatible routers.
- Keeps zero logs of user activity and metadata
- Owns and operates all the servers on their network, providing good speeds
- Strong encryption and privacy protections
- Scramble obfuscation toggle helps get around bandwidth throttling
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Apps don’t work in China
- Based in the US – a 5 eyes member
ULTRAFAST VPN:IPVanish is a strong, secure choice. Keeps zero logs. Own network of super-fast servers and score top marks for privacy and security. A favorite with Kodi users and torrenters. Try it risk-free with the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a Swedish-based VPN provider and operates under strict privacy laws that ensure the protection of user data. The company maintains a strict no-logs policy, which means they do not store any information about your online activities or connection details. Despite the smaller server count compared to some competitors (200+ servers in 60+ countries), PrivateVPN delivers exceptional speeds and unblocking.
If you need help, PrivateVPN’s responsive customer support team is available via live chat and email. Security is a top priority for PrivateVPN, and they employ military-grade AES-256 encryption to ensure your data remains safe from prying eyes. Additional features, such as IPv6 and DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, further enhance your online security by preventing accidental data leaks.
PrivateVPN allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and has desktop (Windows and Mac) and mobile (Android and iOS) apps. You can use it with routers if you manually configure the connection.
- Strong privacy credentials
- Fantastic for streaming
- Allows anonymous payment with Bitcoin
- Support staff only operate during European business hours
- Relatively small network
EPIC UNBLOCKING:PrivateVPN allows you to pay by Bitcoin. Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and includes a desktop kill switch. Try it risk-free with the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Atlas VPN operates out of the US, which is a Five Eyes member. This means that any data obtained by the US government could be shared with other member countries. However, Atlas VPN has a no-logs policy. Not only does it not keep any traffic logs, but it keeps only minimal connection logs that can’t be linked to you. As such, it has nothing to provide, even if requested.
Atlas VPN accepts multiple cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin included. It offers a respectable 1,000 servers across dozens of countries. However, one of the main benefits of Atlas VPN is its powerful unblocking of geo-restricted content. It can be used to securely access Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and more. Atlas VPN is highly secure thanks to its use of encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. It even offers MultiHop servers for extra protection.
There’s no limit to the number of devices you can connect simultaneously with Atlas VPN. It has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. It doesn’t provide support for routers as yet, however.
- Doesn’t keep any traffic logs
- Accepts multiple cryptocurrencies
- Lots of security features, such as MultiHop servers
- Smaller (but growing) network of servers
- Doesn’t provide router support
STRONG UNBLOCKER:Atlas VPN has a proven no-logs policy, accepts cryptocurrency as payment, and offers MultiHop servers. It’s also a strong unblocker of content with very good server speeds. Unlimited simultaneous connections. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Atlas VPN review.
Methodology: How we found the best logless VPNs
While many VPNs claim to be logless, this isn’t always the case. Our methodology for finding the best logless VPNs involves looking for the following:
- Privacy: A VPN must operate a no-logs policy in order to be included in this post. We looked at over 140 VPN logging policies to determine those that best protect your privacy. Ideally, the VPN won’t require much personal information for signup and may even accept Bitcoin as anonymous payment.
- Servers worldwide: Some VPNs offer thousands of servers in dozens of countries. This makes it that much easier to bypass restrictions while traveling overseas. We look for the VPNs we recommend to provide you with plenty of choices with servers in countries such as the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
- Speed: A VPN shouldn’t dictate what you can or can’t do online. Indeed, you should still be able to stream and torrent, albeit with improved online security. We have carried out speed tests on each VPN’s servers. As such, not only are these the best logless VPNs around, but they’re also among the fastest VPNs available.
- Unblocking: While a VPN can help you access geo-blocked content, not all VPNs excel in this area. As part of our testing, we use each VPN with streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and Disney+. Having access to such strong unblocking is particularly useful if you regularly travel abroad.
- Security: It’s little good if a VPN is logless but doesn’t encrypt your data. This would simply leave it exposed and vulnerable to cybercriminals. For this reason, any VPN we recommend must offer 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. If that’s not enough, NordVPN and Surfshark also have Double VPN servers.
- Ease of use: Some logless VPNs weren’t included here because they’re simply not easy enough to use. Rest assured that whichever VPN you choose from this list will have beginner-friendly apps for desktop and mobile. Better still, 24-hour live chat and email support will be at hand to help should you have any issues.
- Value for money: Even though the best logless VPNs all offer the above, they remain affordable. You can opt between a month-to-month, annual, or multi-year deal (you’ll pay less per month the longer you commit), while the VPN discount coupons listed in this post allow you to get an even better deal.
We have a VPN testing methodology that starts by looking for the above. We then test each VPN in areas including server speed and strength of security.
VPNs with a history of logging
HMA was implicated in the arrest of a Lulzsec hacker due to its poor logging policy. HMA complied with a court order to hand over data related to one of its users, Cody Kretsinger. Kretsinger was involved in a cyber attack on Sony Pictures and used HMA to conceal his identity. HMA says it never stores the contents of users’ internet traffic, but it does record detailed metadata logs that contain users’ real IP addresses, which was enough to eventually land Kretsinger in jail.
VyprVPN is a solid VPN save for one thing: it logs source IP addresses. This has led many users to complain about receiving letters demanding they stop torrenting, even though they only do so when connected to the VPN.
VPNBook logs source IP addresses and connection timestamps, which are deleted weekly. In early 2013, however, hacking collective Anonymous accused VPNBook of being a honeypot for law enforcement. Anonymous stated user logs “appeared in the court discoveries and indictments of some Anons facing prosecution for their involvement in #Anonymous activities.”
How to decide if your VPN is trustworthy
No matter what their privacy policies say, using a VPN that claims to be logless still requires a certain degree of trust. There’s simply no way to know whether a company stays true to its word or how it will respond when confronted with a court order. VPN providers are also vulnerable to internal abuse and external coercion.
But for the most trusted VPN companies, it’s simply not in their best interests to keep logs. It opens them up to government demands, requires time and resources to collect and store data, and can irreparably damage their reputations, resulting in a loss of business.
While you can never be 100 percent confident that a VPN won’t log, there are a few key signs to look for in those that don’t. Below is the list of the key policies and services you should check out before signing up with any VPN provider.
Here’s what to check to see if your VPN is secure:
- Torrenting Policy
- Country of incorporation
- Physical servers
- Shared IP addresses
- DNS Leak protection
1. Torrenting policy
A VPN provider’s torrenting policy is often a good indicator of whether it stores any identifying logs or not. When a VPN user downloads copyrighted content illegally using BitTorrent, there’s a good chance someone working on behalf of the copyright owner will notice and take action. This could come in the form of a settlement letter asking for compensation or a DMCA takedown request.
Depending on the VPN provider’s country, they might be legally obligated to forward these letters and requests to the user. But if the provider has no log of who downloaded what, they can’t possibly know who to forward that information to, and the request is dead on arrival. A VPN that does log, however, might forward those letters or requests to their customers or send its own cease-and-desist notice.
Related: Best VPN for torrenting and some to avoid.
2. Country of incorporation
Some countries require all types of internet service providers, including VPNs, to record and store logs for a specified period of time and make those logs available to law enforcement upon request. This was the case with HideMyAss, a UK-based VPN provider now notorious for its logging practices, which are mandated by the UK government. HMA’s logs allegedly led to the arrest of a UK-based Lulzsec hacker using its service.
This is the reason why many VPNs are incorporated in seemingly odd locations. ExpressVPN is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (not part of the UK), and NordVPN in Panama, for example.
The United States has no such data retention laws that apply to VPNs, but a healthy dose of skepticism should still be applied. It’s not unprecedented for US law enforcement and intelligence agencies to work with tech companies to spy on customers behind closed doors, as we now know, thanks to Edward Snowden.
3. Physical servers
All of the VPNs on this list either rent or own physical server hardware. This gives them maximum control over who can access the information on that server. Some VPN companies cut costs by using virtual servers, which can add another undesired player into the mix. If a provider only owns a virtual server, then the physical operator could plausibly install some sort of network analysis tool to capture traffic and metadata.
So physical servers are a must for those concerned about privacy. But whether those servers should be owned or rented is up for debate. There are arguments to be made for both. Obviously, owning a physical server gives the greatest amount of access control. Renting a server could allow intruders to plant backdoors before the VPN company leases it, or steal user data left on the server after the lease ends. However, if a data center suddenly changes its policy on traffic logging, it’s much easier to end the lease for a server in that data center and switch to a new one.
4. Shared IP addresses
Shared IP addresses have become the universal default for most commercial VPN providers these days. A shared IP address works like this: when you connect to a VPN, your outward-facing IP address is changed to that of the VPN server. There may be dozens or even hundreds of other VPN users also connected to that server, all of whom are also assigned the same IP address. That makes it almost impossible to trace any of those users’ activity back to a single person unless the VPN is storing logs.
VPNs also tend to use dynamic IP addresses, which means these shared IP addresses change periodically. Shared IP addresses are a win-win for both users and VPN providers because they not only increase privacy but are cheaper to maintain for the VPN provider.
A handful of VPNs offer dedicated IP addresses. These are usually static, meaning they don’t change, and might be assigned to a single user. This is useful for a handful of cases, such as setting up a peer-to-peer gaming network or repeatedly logging into a banking website that requires a specific IP. But for most users, shared, dynamic IP addresses are the way to go.
5. DNS leak protection
When you load a website, your browser first sends a DNS request that resolves the website domain (“www.comparitech.com”) into a numerical IP address. Sometimes, these requests are sent outside the VPN tunnel and, instead, go to your ISP’s DNS servers. That means even with the VPN enabled, your DNS requests can still reveal what websites you are visiting to your ISP.
That’s why all of the VPNs we recommended on this list have apps with built-in DNS leak protection. They ensure that DNS requests are sent through the VPN and go to the provider’s private DNS servers instead of your ISP’s.
Sometimes, however, this doesn’t always work. In particular, Windows 10 computers have an issue with IPv6 DNS requests being sent over the unencrypted ISP network even while connected to VPNs that claim to have DNS leak protection. To resolve this, we recommend disabling IPv6 in your network settings.
Zero logs VPNs: FAQs
How do I know if my VPN keeps logs?
What types of logs should I be worried about?
Logs of your online activity—web history, search queries, purchases, etc—are the most concerning. These can be used to directly spy on you, and any VPN that engages in this sort of logging should be avoided at all costs.
The second priority are identifying metadata logs. These include information that can be used to identify you and corroborate online activities. Your IP address, the IP address of servers you connect to, and connection timestamps all fall into this category.
Lastly, there’s diagnostic logs. These are not much of a concern because they cannot be used to track you or your activity. Dates (not times) connected, the last location you connected to, and amount of data transferred are not privacy concerns for the vast majority of users.
Am I completely anonymous with a no-logs VPN?
If your VPN follows a no-logs policy, it can’t reveal details of your online activities to anyone, even if the person asking has a warrant. However, this doesn’t mean you’re 100 percent untraceable. After all, you can’t control what kind of information the sites you visit store.
Here’s an example: if you log into your personal Facebook account using the VPN, Facebook will record your IP address, effectively proving that you were using a specific VPN server at a specific time. Additionally, all of your data still has to pass through Facebook’s system, which means Facebook could also tell law enforcement how long your session lasted, which pages you visited, whether you posted anything, what your messages said, and so on.
In short, a VPN’s encryption protects your activities from snoopers such as hotspot owners and hackers. However, there’s no way to fully conceal your activities from whoever owns your favorite website.
Are there any free zero-logs VPNs?
It’s no secret that free VPNs will say anything to get you to try them out. Unfortunately, we’ve seen providers outright lie about their no-logs policies, so here’s a quick hint for finding out which ones are trustworthy.
Most free VPNs limit the amount of data you can use each month. This requires them to record how much you’ve already used, which counts as a log (albeit not one that could personally identify you). If they still claim to be a no-logs provider despite this, they are burying the lede and may be trying to avoid telling you the data they actually store.
Generally, we advise against using free VPNs because of their limitations and the high number of Trojans masquerading as legitimate services. However, if you’re really intent on trying one, we’d suggest ProtonVPN. It’s free, has no bandwidth cap, keeps no logs, and offers a fantastic paid plan.