It is hard to find a VPN that you can trust when there are so many to choose from. New services constantly appear that claim to be the best and keep no logs. But the reality is, that for many, zero-log policies are just a marketing trick.
A VPN can not be trusted blindly. But, some criteria make one service more transparent than the other.
Let’s take a look at how you can distinguish trustworthy VPN providers from shady ones.
How do I know if my VPN is trustworthy?
Since trust is quite a subjective concept there is no straightforward answer. When it comes to protecting your privacy and personal data with a VPN you should always take it with a grain of salt.
Even though you might think that a service is trustworthy, you never know what can happen in the future. It is unclear how VPN companies run their business or what technologies they use.
Here are a few factors you can look up to tell if your VPN is trustworthy. A trusted VPN will always have:
- Strict No-Logs Policy (Preferably audited)
- Is Privacy-focused
- Well-known in the industry
- Technically advanced and without IP leaks
- Has a great reputation
- Is a part of VPN Trust Initiative
How to choose a VPN you can trust
Research No-logs Policy
The initial no-logs policy checkup would quickly tell if a VPN service can be trusted.
As it is hard to prove that a VPN truly keeps no logs, some VPNs did an Independent Audit. The audit is one of the most important factors for no-logs policy proof.
Look for a privacy-focused VPN
The most trusted VPNs are the ones who put your privacy in the first place. There are a few traits that can tell you that.
A privacy-focused VPN would have features that protect you online. These providers may have RAM-disk servers, tracking protection, and a kill switch.
The best providers are often based in countries with user-friendly data privacy laws. Those countries can be Panama, The British Virgin Islands, or Switzerland.
Pick a well-known brand
The most trusted VPNs are at the top positions for a reason. The brand reputation, awareness, and serving the customer plays a big role here.
A well-known VPN provider must stay true to its claims. The lies about the no-log policy and their services could damage the brand’s reputation. A well-known brand would never risk or make false claims because the whole business is at stake.
On the other hand, there are new services with new technology that appear in the market. It does not mean that they can not be trusted, but do they have anything to back it up?
Check for IP leaks
IP leaks might happen when a provider did not put enough effort into their tech. If your VPN leaks your IP this means that you can not trust this VPN at all. IP leaks reveal who you are online and where you connect so all the privacy is lost.
The services that care about privacy have extra features that prevent leaks. These are internet kill switch, DNS and WebRTC leak protection, and IPv6 block.
You can check if your VPN provider leaks your IP on ipleak.net.
See if it’s a part of VPN Trust Initiative
In 2020 some of the well-known VPNs joined into a coalition called VPN Trust Initiative. It states that it works on strengthening public trust in VPNs. The coalition also promotes guidelines and informed decisions on choosing a VPN service.
It’s a good move for the VPN companies to start this coalition. But it is still very new and not yet clear what value it will bring.
Can Free VPNs be trusted?
Many free VPNs are not trustworthy. Their business model is focused on advertising and selling its users’ data. Generally, your data can not be trusted with free VPNs. A freemium plan of a well-known service might be decent, but it usually comes with limited use.
Which VPN to trust
NordVPN is based in Panama and has a strict no-log policy proven by the independent audit. The service has been a long time in the game and is one of the most reputable and well-rounded VPN services out there.
It has more than 5200 servers in 59 countries and works with streaming services such as Netflix.
NordVPN has recently released its new and secure WireGuard-based technology NordLynx. It can reach even higher speeds when downloading, torrenting, or HD streaming.
Overall it’s one of the most well-rounded, affordable, and trusted VPN providers on the market.
PrivateVPN is undoubtedly one of the most trustworthy VPNs on the current market. It comes with a good set of privacy and security features that will meet the requirements of even the most demanding privacy advocates.
When it comes to encryption, you can pick between a handful of options. The key differences boil down to the possibilities between 128-bit and 256-bit encryption. These two options allow you to balance speed and performance and tailor your service to suit you best. You can also set your preferred protocols and choose between OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP.
The service is based in privacy-friendly Sweden. And, while this country has some data retention laws, PrivateVPN itself keeps a strict no-logs policy, so users don’t have to worry about any of their data getting into the wrong hands. The built-in kill switch works perfectly, and you can count on several other connection guard features to keep you safe.
ExpressVPN is by far one of the most trusted providers in the industry. It has an audited zero-log policy and is based in the British Virgin Islands.
This service has no IP or DNS leaks and best-in-class encryption. A great RAM-disk server infrastructure has many locations and servers to choose from.
Once, ExpressVPNs server was seized by authorities that found no-logs there. This proves that this service truly stays true to their claims about privacy.
Also, an independent audit firm PwC has done an audit and that proved that it keeps no logs. This service checks all the boxes for a trusted VPN provider and makes the best choice so far.
To find a trusted VPN, you need to look for a few things – no-log policy, privacy-features, and reputation. The most trusted VPNs try to be as transparent as possible. They would never compromise their users’ data at any cost. That being said, you should still take everything with a grain of salt.