What is the best no logs VPN provider and which of them are actually trustworthy and proven?
This is a tough question since there are so many VPNs claiming to be “no logs” – but there’s no real way that a user can verify a VPN’s logging practices. Even worse, there have been a few “no logs” VPNs that have logged user data and provided the information to authorities. Two examples of this are with PureVPN (logging case) and also IPVanish (logging case).
Fortunately, there are also a few no logs VPNs that have been tested and proven to be truly no logs. We will examine these in detail below. Here are the best no logs VPN services that have been tested and proven in real-life cases:
- ExpressVPN – As part of an investigation into a crime in Turkey, Turkish authorities demanded user information from ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN denied the data request because they did not have any logs to provide, and they also did not fall under Turkey’s legal jurisdiction (based in the British Virgin Islands). As a final attempt, Turkish authorities then raided the datacenter and seized ExpressVPN’s Turkey server – but they still were not able to obtain any logs or customer data.
- Perfect Privacy – Authorities in Rotterdam, Netherlands were attempting to obtain customer data and seized one of Perfect Privacy’s servers. They were not able to obtain any information and customer data remained secure.
- Private Internet Access – PIA’s no logs claims have been verified in two separate court cases – one in 2016 and another in 2018.
Now we’ll take a close look at each VPN provider and the respective case that proved their no logs policies to be true.
British Virgin Islands
Overview: ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands VPN and it’s currently the top recommendation in the best VPN comparison guide. It offers user-friendly VPN apps with excellent performance and security. ExpressVPN is also one of the few VPNs that work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and many other services.
No logs: ExpressVPN server seized in Turkey
In December 2017 Turkish news outlets reported that Turkish authorities attempted to force ExpressVPN into handing over customer data for an investigation into a political assassination. According to these reports, Turkish authorities allege that an unknown individual using ExpressVPN deleted evidence on social media related to the investigation.
While the Turkish news article falsely claims ExpressVPN is based in the US (when it’s in fact based in the British Virgin Islands), it does reveal that the authorities’ attempts to collect user data failed:
The prosecution’s contact with the company did not yield results as Express VPN stated that it is not subject to the rules of U.S. and EU laws.
After failing in their attempts to coerce data from ExpressVPN, the Turkish police then decided to physically seize ExpressVPN’s server, which they obtained from a data center in Turkey. However, this also did not reveal any information because ExpressVPN does not keep any logs on its servers – or otherwise.
ExpressVPN further clarified that all customer data was safe when they issued a statement on the case:
As we stated to Turkish authorities in January 2017, ExpressVPN does not and has never possessed any customer connection logs that would enable us to know which customer was using the specific IPs cited by the investigators. Furthermore, we were unable to see which customers accessed Gmail or Facebook during the time in question, as we do not keep activity logs. We believe that the investigators’ seizure and inspection of the VPN server in question confirmed these points.
While the criminal nature of this case is indeed unfortunate, it does further validate ExpressVPN’s commitment to strict customer privacy. The three main items we learned from this are:
- ExpressVPN is truly a no logs VPN provider.
- ExpressVPN does not cave in to government agencies demanding user data.
- ExpressVPN servers do not contain any data that could de-anonymize users.
This commitment to customer privacy is one reason ExpressVPN is currently our top recommendation.
Discount: You can also get an exclusive three months free coupon here, which includes a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Overview: Perfect Privacy is a premium, Switzerland-based VPN that offers advanced online anonymity and security features. It is a no logs service that does not restrict user accounts in any way. You get an unlimited number of connections/devices to use with your subscription as well as very advanced privacy features. These features include multi-hop VPN configurations, port forwarding, and an advanced advertisement and tracking blocker called TrackStop.
No logs: Perfect Privacy server seized in the Netherlands
In August 2016 Perfect Privacy announced that Dutch authorities had seized one of their servers in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Although the reason for seizing the server was never revealed, Perfect Privacy confirmed no customer data was obtained:
Since we are not logging any data there is currently no reason to believe that any user data was compromised.
…We can now conclude that no customer information was compromised due to the seizure. The Rotterdam location will continue to operate using the replacement servers.
To further protect customer data in the event of a server seizure, Perfect Privacy runs all their servers in RAM disk mode, as they explain on their log policy page:
Our infrastructure is built on this philosophy: All our services are running within strongly encrypted RAM disks so that it is technically impossible for data to be stored on hard drives. This also means that no data can be recovered if the power is disconnected.
Nobody can force us to log your data. If that were the case we would rather discontinue Perfect Privacy than to record your data and compromise your privacy.
While Perfect Privacy is a higher-priced service, it remains a great option for privacy and security, with a proven no logs policy and Switzerland jurisdiction.
Overview: Private Internet Access is a United States-based provider that offers a cheap, simple, and user-friendly VPN service. While it’s not a bad service for the price, it does have some drawbacks. PIA is limited on features and I’ve also seen users complain about their support department – discussed in the PIA review. Nonetheless, it may be worth considering if you don’t mind the US jurisdiction (five eyes) and some of the other minor drawbacks.
No logs: PIA logging claims verified in two court cases
Unlike with ExpressVPN and Perfect Privacy, PIA did not have any servers seized, but instead had their no logs claims verified in court cases. Since providing false information in a court of law is a serious offense, we can consider both of these cases to conclusively verify the “no logs” policy.
The first court case was from 2016 and it involved a man who allegedly made bomb threats while connected to PIA’s VPN. The FBI officially subpoenaed PIA demanding logs of the user, but they simply could not provide anything, as described in official court documents:
A subpoena was sent to London Trust Media [Private Internet Access] and the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States.
In a second case from June 2018, Private Internet Access was again subpoenaed in court for user logs and evidence related to a hacking case. As with the previous court case, Private Internet Access was not able to provider any data, because there were no logs available to hand over. Here is a brief summary from a news article discussing London Trust Media, which is the parent company of PIA:
John Allan Arsenault, general counsel for London Trust Media, a VPN company, testified about how many VPN companies, including his, intentionally don’t retain logs of internet activity of their clients so that they cannot be produced in response to subpoenas from law enforcement or others. London Trust Media operates the brand Private Internet Access (PIA), which owns several IP addresses used to hack Embarcadero Media.
Private Internet Access does not log user activity, such as what files they accessed or changes they made to a website.
Based on these two court cases, Private Internet Access is indeed a no logs VPN provider.
Other no logs VPNs worth mentioning
Additionally, there are a few no logs VPNs that are also good choices, although their logging claims have not been tested/proven in any real-life case… yet.
If and when these providers have a real-life test of their logging policies, I will update this guide with that information.
NordVPN is a no logs provider based in Panama that offers a wide selection of apps for a decent price. In the latest round of testing for the NordVPN review it performed very well in terms of speed and reliability. NordVPN’s new apps also have excellent leak protection settings as well as advanced privacy features, such as double-hop VPN server configurations.
Logging policy – NordVPN has a strict no logging policy; here are a few important excerpts from the NordVPN website:
NordVPN strictly keeps no logs of your activity online.That means we do not track the time or duration of any online session, and neither do we keep logs of IP addresses or servers used, websites visited or files downloaded. In other words, none of your private and secure data is logged and gathered at any time. As a result, we are not able to provide any details about your behavior online, even if you request it yourself.
NordVPN is based away from the EU and US jurisdiction and is not required to collect your personal data and information– it means nothing is recorded, monitored, stored, logged or passed to third parties.
In a recent blog post, NordVPN has also stated they will be going through a third-party audit to further verify their no logs claims. I have yet to see any VPN undergo an audit specifically of their logging claims, other than Tunnelbear, which had a third-party security audit. I’ll update this guide when the results are available in the next few months.
You can get more information in the NordVPN review.
NordVPN is also offering a 66% discount on two-year plans.
VPNArea is another great choice for a no logs VPN service. It is based in Bulgaria and offers apps for many devices, as well as server hubs for Netflix and BBC iPlayer. VPNArea also supports anonymous payment with Bitcoin and other options.
Logging policy – VPNArea’s no logs policy is simple and straightforward:
No logs. Shared IPs. We don’t record any logs on our VPN or DNS servers.
We do not record or keep logs of your activity or any server usage logs.
Best no logs VPN
The best no logs VPN available right now appears to be ExpressVPN. It is an all-around great choice offering excellent speeds, great security, user-friendly apps for all devices, and access to Netflix and other streaming services. While it is on the higher end of the price range, the three months free coupon drops the monthly price down to $6.67.
The second runner up for the best no logs VPN would be Perfect Privacy. Perfect Privacy is one of the most expensive VPNs you will find, but it also offers some of the most advanced privacy features, such as NeuroRouting, TrackStop, multi-hop VPN cascades, and it also gives you an unlimited number of connections.
Private Internet Access is also a decent option for a no logs VPN provider, but the US jurisdiction is somewhat troubling.
I’ll update this guide if any other VPNs are publicly verified to be no logs in real-world test cases.