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Best No-Log VPN Services for Total Anonymity in 2022

Published: January 5, 2022 By Dean Chester

No-Log VPN services

Image source - Shutterstock

Just about every provider claims they don’t keep logs. But do they deliver what they promise on the tin? And if not, how are you supposed to test the service without risking your anonymity?

Immediately you connect to a VPN that has a bogus logging policy, you’ll be exposed. We spent days examining over a hundred top services to find the 7 best no-log VPNs. In addition to comping through the privacy policies, we looked at the providers’ jurisdiction and track record.

Keep scrolling to see our best VPNs for anonymity.

After reading this article you’ll know:

  • What a no-log VPN is
  • The type of logs you should worry about
  • What makes a good no-log VPN
  • Which no-log VPNs perform best
  • How to buy a VPN anonymously

Here’s a summary of the top no-log services:

  1. ExpressVPN - Our top recommendation for anonymity. Verified no-logs policy, powerful encryption, and proven leak prevention
  2. NordVPN - A lightning-fast VPN with a genuine no-logs service backed by RAM disk servers
  3. Surfshark - A secure no-log VPN with unlimited simultaneous connections
  4. VyprVPN - Retains no logs and Advanced security features to help bypass censorship. Works well in China.
  5. CyberGhost - A reputable no-logs VPNs with a global server network. Offers a 1-day free trial and 100% free browser extensions
  6. ProtonVPN - A no-logs VPN with s open-source apps that have undergone independent security audits. It comes with a basic free version
  7. Private Internet Access - Proven in court, PIA is a solid no-logs VPN that’s affordable and easy-to-use

What is No-Log VPN?

A no-log VPN means that the service won’t record the information you send through their network. Remember, VPNs work by encrypting your data and routing it through their servers before it reaches your ISP. Technically, a VPN company has the ability to access your internet traffic.

So, what’s to prevent them from storing or “logging” that information and sharing it with third parties? The simple answer: nothing. But if your VPN has a proven no-logging policy, there isn’t much to worry about. That’s because all your information is instantly discarded, ensuring that no one, not even the provider, can see it.

Today, several providers have undergone independent audits by third parties to verify their no-log claims.

What Type of VPN Logs Should You Worry About?

Not all VPN logs are created equal. Some are pretty harmless, while others are quite invasive. Generally, there are two main types of logs:

Activity Logs

When we talk about invasive logs, we refer to usage or activity logs. They contain every bit of your encrypted traffic data, from browsing history to downloads and app usage. Simply put, steer clear of any provider that keeps these logs.

Connection Logs

Connection logs or metadata logs contain data about your VPN sessions, such as IP addresses, timestamps, and bandwidth usage. These logs are usually anonymized and, therefore, are not personally identifiable.

However, if your provider collects your real IP, you’re not safe, and your activities can be traced back to you.

Beware of Fake No-Log VPNs

It’s not unheard of to see a self-proclaimed no-logs VPN provide user data to the authorities when subpoenaed. While this is the best way to ascertain a no-logging policy, it’s not often that VPN companies get tested in the wild.

While we recommend reading through the fine print when getting a VPN, only a real-world test or an audit by reputable companies can verify a no-logs policy.

In 2017, PureVPN was caught misleading users about its no-logging policy. When the FBI raided its premises, the company provided a user’s actual IP address leading to his arrest. At the time, PureVPN claimed to be a no-logs VPN.

Although the company didn’t log browsing history, they did keep users originating IP addresses at the time. Now, if PureVPN kept no logs at all, the FBI would have hit a dead end as it happened in another case involving PIA.

While investigating a bomb threat, the authorities asked the VPN company to provide its IP logs to logs in an attempt to try and pin the hoaxer. But just as PIA maintained in its privacy policy, the company did keep actual user IP addresses.

According to the FBI, “the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States.” While we do not endorse any criminal activity, it was good to see that some VPN companies have genuine zero-log policies.

Several fake no-log VPNs such as UFO VPN have been caught collecting and leaving user data exposed and even accessible by the public. And that’s despite boldly stating that they “do not track user activities outside of our site, nor do we track the website browsing or connection activities of users who are using our Services.”

If you’re, for example, a journalist in a restrictive country, trusting the wrong VPN can leave you in trouble.

What You Should Look For in a No-Log VPN

Every no-log VPN worth its salt should meet the following criteria:

No activity logs

Keeping information such as search queries, app usage, and browsing history goes against the very purpose of a VPN.

No source IP logs

ISPs and other third parties can use originating IP addresses to expose the identity and location of a VPN user.

DNS leak protection

If your VPN connection is leaking, it means your IP and search queries are exposed to any prying eyes. The best no-log VPNs offer an automatic kill switch and DNS leak prevention to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Shared IP address

When one IP is assigned (shared) to many users, it becomes impossible to know who’s browsing what.

Privacy-friendly jurisdiction

A no-logs VPN can only adhere to its privacy policy if it’s located in a country without mandatory data retention laws. We recommend providers located outside the 14-Eyes sphere of influence.

Accepts anonymous payments

Many VPNs now accept anonymous payments like Bitcoin and gift cards to add an extra layer of protection.

The Best No-Log VPN Services

Now let’s take an in-depth look at our top VPNs for anonymity.

1. ExpressVPN – Our Recommended No-Log VPN
ExpressVPN Logo

ExpressVPN is one of the leading VPN services on the market. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of performance and takes user privacy seriously.

ExpressVPN maintains a strict no-logging policy that Cure53 and PwC have audited and verified. They keep neither connection nor activity logs, meaning you don’t have to worry about your IP or browsing history falling into the wrong hands.

And that’s not all. ExpressVPN accepts payments via cryptocurrency, ensuring your purchase can’t be traced back to you. The company operates out of the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly country with no mandatory data retention laws.

Another thing we liked about ExpressVPN is its TrustedServer Technology, where the VPN runs on RAM-disk servers for additional security.

In regards to security, ExpressVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, the gold standard in VPN security. This, combined with its robust protocols, ensures that your traffic is impregnable even when on public WiFi.

The VPN also features DNS leak prevention and a kill switch that automatically blocks internet access to keep you safe if your VPN connection drops.

ExpressVPN also offers perfect forward secrecy, which generates a new key every time you connect to the VPN. This keeps all your other sessions safe if a previous one is compromised.

But security and privacy aren’t the only reasons ExpressVPN is such a popular VPN. The service provides access to 3000+ servers in 94 countries worldwide. This, combined with its fast speeds, makes it one of the best VPNs for streaming.

We were pleased to see that the VPN works reliably with major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. The service also supports P2P, and thanks to speedy connections, you don’t have to wait for ages for torrents to download.

ExpressVPN has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. You can also use the service with your router, smart TV, and gaming console.

A single ExpressVPN subscription allows you to connect 5 devices at a go. Want to check it out? You can take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee and test it risk-free.

Pros: Cons:
  • Total anonymity with no logs
  • Top-notch security features
  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Fast server speeds
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Few simultaneous connections
  • Relatively more expensive

2. NordVPN – Best for Torrenting
NordVPN Logo

The first to conduct an audit of its logging policy, NordVPN continues to lead the way in VPN privacy. The provider goes all out to keep you safe with military-grade encryption alongside best-in-class protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and NordLynx (WireGuard).

We also like NordVPN’s Double VPN feature, which routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, encrypting your data twice. The VPN also offers protection against DDoS attacks, making it an ideal choice for gaming.

On top of that, NordVPN comes with DNS leak protection, an internet kill switch, and CyberSec, a malware blocking tool.

We found CyberSeC, in particular, to be quite useful when surfing or streaming on your browser. It not only blocks phishing domains but also allows you to do away with unwanted popup ads.

Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN’s servers run on RAM and not hard drives. The company is based in Panama, which is not a part of the 14 Eyes Alliance. That means the provider can’t be forced to hand your data to any of the member governments.

With the service, you can access over 5100 servers spread across 60 countries in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. Besides the standard servers, the VPN offers specialty servers such as Onion over VPN and Obfuscated servers.

There is an “Invisibility in LAN” feature too. Available on Windows, this makes your computer invisible when connected to a local area network.

The VPN’s no-log policy, advanced security features, and P2P compatibility make it one of the best VPNs for torrenting. In our tests, the service also allowed us to unlock foreign Netflix catalogs.

In addition to content blocks, NordVPN also bypasses the Great Firewall and is perfect if you live or are traveling to China.

You can use the service on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and routers.

NordVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and support for up to 6 devices simultaneously.

If you run into any issues, the provider has 24/7 live chat support where you can get help.

Pros: Cons:
  • Independently audited no-logs policy
  • Advanced security & privacy features
  • Over 5000 servers in 60 countries
  • Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
  • Works in China
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Few simultaneous connections

3. Surfshark – Best for Multiple Devices
Surfshark Logo

If you have several devices or a large household, we recommend Surfshark. The service tops our best VPNs for multiple devices list thanks to its unlimited simultaneous connections and powerful privacy features.

Surfshark has a trustworthy no-logs policy and uses a Cure53 approved server infrastructure. The provider also has a warrant canary on their websites that’s updated daily.

 

Surfshark warrant canary

Surfshark combines AES 256-bit encryption with IKEv2, OpenVPN, or Shadowsocks to keep you safe. The VPN also uses 100% diskless servers and supports perfect forward secrecy and DNS leak prevention.

It supports two-factor authentication (2FA), which can come in handy against automated attacks like brute-forcing.

With the service, you also get another unique feature – GPS spoofing. It is available on Android and enables you to change your smartphone’s GPS location easily.

With over 3200 servers spread across 60 countries, Surfshark is another ideal option for bypassing geo-restrictions. It unblocks multiple Netflix versions, including Netflix US, Netflix UK, and Netflix CA.

Surfshark works in china thanks to its Camouflage Mode (obfuscated servers) that make your VPN traffic look like regular traffic.

The VPN is compatible with virtually every device, from PCs to Mac, iPhones, Android, and routers. Its Smart DNS service allows you to unblock content on Xbox, PlayStation, and smart TVs.

Surfshark is relatively affordable and has a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to try it before purchasing.

Pros: Cons:
  • Verified no-logs policy
  • Impenetrable encryption
  • Ad & malware blocker
  • Unlimited devices at a go
  • Smart DNS service
  • 3200+ servers in 60+ countries
  • No live chat support

4. VyprVPN - Best No-Logs VPN for Bypassing Censorship
VyprVPN Logo

VyprVPN is a secure no-log VPN that can bypass restrictive censorship imposed by any government. This is made possible by its proprietary Chameleon technology that scrabbles VPN metadata to ensure it’s unrecognizable via deep packet inspection (DPI).

It’s ideal for users in countries like China and Iran, where VPNs are illegal. In addition to having a verified no-logging policy, VyprVPN uses a self-owned server network.

VyprVPN is located in Switzerland, which is not a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes. The country does not have mandatory data retention laws and is also one of the few where torrenting is protected by law.

VyprVPN’s security is top-of-the-line with bank-level encryption and support for WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN protocols. It also offers a network lock, IP/DNS leak protection, and NAT firewall for port forwarding.

Thanks to its Chameleon protocol, the VyprVPN is also effective against the VPN blocks imposed by streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu. VyprVPN's speeds are fast enough for watching movies and TV shows in HD.

Another feature we liked is the VyprVPN allows you to connect an incredible 30 devices at once. All its subscription plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee allowing you to try it out for free.

Pros: Cons:
  • Verified no-logs policy
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Works in China
  • 30 simultaneous connections
  • Small server network

5. CyberGhost – Best for Streaming
CyberGhost VPN Logo

A mainstay in our top lists, CyberGhost VPN has fast speeds, making it perfect for bandwidth-intensive tasks.

On top of that, the VPN comes with a cluster of streaming-optimized servers allowing you to access Netflix, Disney+, and lots of other platforms while you travel.

Overall, CyberGhost boasts a global network with over 7300 servers in 91 countries. This allows you to get low ping connections from anywhere in the world.

Back to privacy, CyberGhost also holds its own with a verified no-logs policy and a wide array of security features. The VPN also has “NoSpy” specialty servers, which are independently operated.

It also comes with AES 256-bit encryption which you can pair with either IKEv2, OpenVPN, or WireGuard. Plus, there’s perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak prevention, and an internet kill switch. If you are a Tor user, you’ll be glad to know that the VPN supports Onion over VPN.

CyberGhost has its headquarters in Romania. The country is not part of any intelligence-sharing organization and does not have mandatory data retention laws.

CyberGhost is affordably priced and allows users to pay with Bitcoin. A single subscription supports up to 7 devices at a go, and all purchases are backed by an industry-best generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Pros: Cons:
  • Keeps zero logs
  • Powerful encryption
  • Massive server network
  • Streaming optimized servers
  • 7 devices at a go
  • Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Some servers are much slower than others

6. ProtonVPN – Best for Beginners
ProtonVPN Logo

ProtonVPN is a Swiss-based no-log VPN that is ideal for beginners. It features a sleek interface and a prominent “connect” button that allows you to connect with a single click.

Even advanced features like “Secure Core” are conveniently located on the home screen to smooth the whole process.

Like many other top VPNs, ProtonVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption alongside OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. There is an internet kill switch and DNS leak prevention.

Further, the VPN supports perfect forward secrecy and Tor Over VPN. But what we liked the most in terms of security was its Secure Core architecture. The feature routes your connection through multiple servers located in privacy-friendly countries.

When you combine this level of encryption with its zero logging, it’s easy to see why ProtonVPN is increasingly popular.

ProtonVPN has over 1440 servers in more than 61 countries, most of which are optimized for torrenting. You’ll get user-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.

Pros: Cons:
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Owns and operates all the servers
  • Robust encryption
  • 1440+ servers in 61+ countries
  • User-friendly apps
  • Server speeds may vary

7. Private Internet Access (PIA) - Excellent Value for Money
PIA Logo

If you're looking for reliable no-logs on a budget, Private Internet Access is an excellent fit. By far the most affordable service on this list, PIA delivers a great combination of privacy and speed.

Although the VPN is based in the US, it’s worth remembering that the US doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws. And as mentioned earlier, the provider is one of the few that have had their no-logs policy tested by the authorities and come out unscathed.

The provider protects your data with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and is effective against both brute force and man-in-the-middle attacks.

The VPN did not show any IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks in our tests, which is a great testament to its safety. Other excellent security features include port forwarding, a kill switch, and “MACE,” a blocker that protects you from ads, trackers, and malware.

PIA is also among the providers who have switched to diskless servers for added security. The VPN application is highly customizable and allows you to change both your protocol and encryption level.

Depending on your needs, you can choose either AES 256-bit or AES 128-bit encryption. We recommend using the former for privacy, but 128-bit AES is more suitable when streaming.

It has P2P support on all its servers, and since it has no bandwidth and data caps, you can download as many torrents files as you want.

PIA provides access to servers in 78 countries across the globe. It unblocks several streaming platforms, including Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

You can use the service on multiple platforms, and a single subscription will allow you to connect 10 simultaneous connections. Plus, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros: Cons:
  • Keeps zero logs
  • Strong encryption
  • Servers in 78+ countries
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Affordable pricing
  • Based in a 5 Eyes jurisdiction

Are Free No-Log VPNs Safe?

Short answer? No.

Many free VPNs will claim to offer a no-logs service but secretly record your IP and browsing history. Free VPN providers are also faced with the exact costs that other providers face. To meet these costs, they have to generate revenue somehow.

Most do so by selling user data despite having a no-logs policy. In essence, this defeats the very purpose of having a VPN.

On top of that, free VPNs come with weak privacy features. They are prone to IP and DNS leaks which means your identity and internet activities aren’t protected.

Even more worrying, some free VPNs can be used to inject viruses into your device. They also lack anti-phishing features, increasing the risk of your device becoming infected.

We recommend avoiding entirely free VPNs. If you have to use a free service, look for a premium provider that offers a free trial or free version.

Better yet, go for a low-cost provider with a verified no-logs policy. Premium VPNs come with industry-standard security features, and most come with a money-back guarantee, so you can test them risk-free.

How to Test for DNS/IP Leaks

DNS leak prevention is one of the key aspects you should look at when getting a VPN. If your VPN is leaking, you aren’t any different than if you weren’t one in the first place.

IP leaks expose your identity, and when your DNS also leaks, your ISP can see your DNS queries and hence your browsing activities.

IP and DNS leaks occur when your traffic data goes directly through the ISP servers bypassing the anonymous VPN servers.

How to Test IP/DNS Leaks in 4 Quick Steps

Here is how you can check whether your VPN is functioning as it should and not leaking your IP or DNS addresses:

  1. Launch your VPN and connect to a VPN server.
  2. Next, go to the IP and DNS leak test site.

Note: In this guide, I used IPLeak.Org. Other options include IPLeak.Net and dnsleaktest.com.

NordVPN UK connected

  1. Check if the IP address displayed on the test site differs from your real IP.

IP address test result

If the test tool shows your actual IP address and not your assigned VPN IP, your VPN is leaking.

How to Buy a VPN Anonymously

VPNs can completely hide your browsing activities, but if you want to leave absolutely no trace behind, it helps to start looking at anonymous payment methods.

While convenient, conventional payment methods are most likely going to leave a “money trace.” However, this should worry you much if you use a trustworthy no-log VPN since your internet activities can’t be associated with your account.

That said, if you’re looking for that extra cover of protection, you might need to consider anonymous payments.

There are two main ways to buy a VPN anonymously:

  • Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin)
  • Gift cards

You can get a gift card at most malls or online. However, you should note that not only a few providers, like PIA accept gift card payments.

Thankfully, most of the no-logs providers we’ve recommended accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

What Is a Warrant Canary?

Before carbon monoxide detectors were a thing, miners used canary birds to alert workers about toxic gases. If the bird stopped singing, everyone knew it was time to get out.

Warrant canaries work in a similar manner, except this time to notify VPN or site users when the government is snooping around.

A warrant canary is a statement saying that a service provider has not received a national security letter (NSL) or a warrant from a government agency.

Since these re are usually accompanied by a gag order, providers use the warrant canary to notify users. If the warrant canary disappears from the website, users can know that the VPN company has received at least one subpoena from the authorities.

Wrap Up

Always remember just because a VPN claims to be safe, it isn’t always so. If your provider keeps logs, especially your IP address and browsing history, then your perceived safety is nothing but a mirage.

Before settling on any VPN service, make sure it has a no-logs policy that has been audited by a reputable independent company.

We spend days testing the top VPNs, and the services in this list have strict no-logging policies and boast robust security features. Plus, they delivered neck-breaking speeds and unblocked every site we threw their way.

FAQs

❓️ What Is a VPN No-Logging Policy

A no-logging policy is a statement by a provider stating that they don’t and won’t collect your data when you’re connected to their VPN servers. A transparent privacy policy should clarify what the VPN company collects and what they don’t.

📝 Do All VPNs Keep Logs?

Not all VPNs collect logs. While many might log unidentifiable data like bandwidth usage, true no-log VPNs do not keep IP addresses or browsing history.

The best VPNs also accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, so you don’t have to provide traceable payment information.

👉 What is a VPN Audit?

A VPNaudit is a process where a provider has an independent security or assurance company like Cure53 and PwC verify their logging policy as well as examine their infrastructure and operations for weaknesses.

What is examined during an audit varies from one provider to the next, and it’s important to look at the whole report rather than just the cherry-picked snippets some providers choose to publish on their websites.

Senior Researcher
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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