We live in an era where data has become one of the most valuable resources in the world, and a funny thing about data is that, unlike other commodities such as oil, data would never run out. There would be no shortage of it. Since data is such a valuable resource, its security should also be dealt with with the same importance, and one of the best ways to do that is download VPN, like Ivacy VPN. With more online activity and the constantly growing data, it is no surprise that using a VPN has become an absolute necessity for everyone.
The primary purpose of a VPN is to encrypt your data and protect you from cyberattacks. However, since data has become such a valuable resource, some VPN companies have started monitoring your data and selling it to earn revenue. A VPN company monitors your data and captures your sensitive information with the help of logging.
What are VPN logs?
A VPN log is a set of data your VPN provider collects from their application. This data is collected while you use the VPN on your device. VPN companies that are considered reliable are said to maintain no logs. However, that is not true because there isn’t a VPN company that logs absolutely nothing. However, that is not something you should worry about because these reliable VPN companies only collect data sometimes, and that data is for analytical purposes; hence the term no logs is okay to be used by such companies.
On the other hand, some non-reliable free VPN services log your data to generate revenue. The premium and free VPN companies have different policies related to logging; however, to understand these policies, we also need to understand the types of VPN logs that these companies maintain.
Types of VPN Logs and their Policies
There are different types of logs that a VPN maintains, and these logs fall into three categories. Understanding the types of logs and their categories would allow you to protect your data more efficiently.
- Connection Logs
In this category, logs are usually collected at the server level; this means that whatever is logged on this level is purely for the optimization purpose of the network. The logs that could fall in this category could include:
- The VPN server IP address.
- Date and Time of connection.
- The IP address of the source.
- Bandwidth usage.
Some VPN companies could misuse this information despite being the safest logging category. These companies could use connection logs to match you to your activity and personally identify you. The logging policy of connection logs is that they are stored for a short period, typically around 15 days.
- Activity Logs
Activity logs consist of the most sensitive information from the user, this kind of logs are also known as the usage logs. Companies can benefit the most from your usage logs because your entire online activity gets exposed in usage logs, which is why there should be no compromise on these logs. This category’s logs include URLs visited, browsing history, DNS requested, and user metadata.
Reliable VPN companies have a policy of instantly deleting these kinds of logs. However, it is best to choose the ones that are technically incapable of collecting activity logs due to specific network configurations.
- Aggregated Logs
The VPN collects these kinds of logs at almost every level. However, these logs are said to be anonymized as they cannot link to a specific user. Some VPNs collect these logs at a smaller scale and keep adding them to a larger database, so it is often better not to take the risk and choose a VPN with a no logs policy.
Logging Policies Explained
Now that we understand the types of logs let’s look at the log policies of most VPNs in the market. Before we dive deep into these policies, let us tell you that a VPN company should not store any logs.
Here are some policies that are also used as justifications by VPN companies for logging.
- Logging on Rental Servers
Some VPN providers don’t have enough resources to set up physical VPN servers, which is why they use virtual servers. These virtual servers are often rented and must keep logs due to local law. In this case, the no-log policy of a foreign VPN means nothing if the local law does not agree.
- Bandwidth Limiting
Another logging policy is the bandwidth limiting policy; a VPN company logs the bandwidth information because they have to monitor if an account is using more bandwidth than is offered.
- Device Restriction
Another logging policy includes restricting the number of devices; a company would log the number of devices used on an account. VPN companies only allow a specific number of users to use their services from a single account which is why they have to log device information.
Best No-Logs VPNs and Their Policies
Now that we have looked at some general logging policies, let’s look at zero-log VPNs and their policies.
- Ivacy VPN
Ivacy VPN is one of the best no-logging VPNs; since they are located in Hong Kong, it is said that they don’t require logging user data. Ivacy VPN does not log usage or connection logs; they log server load information, cookies, and customer service information to optimize and personalize site content.
- SurfShark VPN
Surf Shark are also known for their strict no logs policy as it does not log usage and connection logs. The logs mentioned by SurfShark themselves in their information section include the user’s email, encrypted password, and billing information.
- Express VPN
Since Express VPN is situated in the British Virgin Islands, they also do not log user activities; however, the information they collect includes the user’s first name, payment information, and email address.