Which VPN Services Keep You Anonymous in 2017?
VPN services have become an important tool to counter the growing threat of Internet surveillance. Encrypting one's traffic through a VPN connection helps to keep online communications private, but is your VPN truly anonymous? We take a look at the logging policies of dozens of top VPN providers.
Millions of Internet users around the world use a VPN to protect their privacy online.
Unfortunately, however, not all VPN services are as private as you might think. In fact, some are known to keep extensive logs that can easily identify specific users on their network.
This is the main reason why we have launched a yearly VPN review, asking providers about their respective logging policies as well as other security and privacy aspects. This year’s questions are as follows:
1. Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you to match an IP-address and a time stamp to a user/users of your service? If so, what information do you hold and for how long?
2. What is the registered name of the company and under what jurisdiction(s) does it operate?
3. Do you use any external visitor tracking, email providers or support tools that hold information about your users/visitors?
4. In the event you receive a takedown notice (DMCA or other), how are these handled?
5. What steps are taken when a valid court order or subpoena requires your company to identify an active user of your service? Has this ever happened?
6. Is BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic allowed (and treated equally to other traffic) on all servers? If not, why?
7. Which payment systems do you use and how are these linked to individual user accounts?
8. What is the most secure VPN connection and encryption algorithm you would recommend to your users?
9. How do you currently handle IPv6 connections and potential IPv6 leaks? Do you provide DNS leak protection and tools such as “kill switches” if a connection drops?
10. Do you offer a custom VPN application to your users? If so, for which platforms?
11. Do you have physical control over your VPN servers and network or are they hosted by/accessible to a third party? Do you use your own DNS servers?
12. What countries are your servers located in?
Below is the list of responses from the VPN services in their own words. Providers who didn’t answer our questions directly or failed by logging extensively were excluded. We specifically chose to leave room for detailed answers where needed. The order of the list holds no value.