A no log VPN is a false promise or a reality?

Ruth C. | May 04, 2020

Claiming that your product falls into the no log VPN category is no idle matter. In some cases, the no-logging argument is a part of convincing but deceptive marketing campaigns. It is no news that false advertising and mouseprint conditions are a global issue. The VPN industry is no stranger to such manipulative tactics, and companies might take advantage of naive users that are prone to believing flashy ads. But do you make sure that the pro-claimed zero-log VPN actually follows strict no-logging rules? Furthermore, can such a service be free, or is it just too good to be true?

What is a no-log VPN?

First of all, it is best to define the actual meaning behind the “no-log policy VPN” claims. Such a product, in theory, should not collect any information transmitted through the network. Therefore, true no-logging software does not log your personal information, online behavior, search queries, or downloads. Basically, users are a blank page, with no way of identifying them or using their browsing habits as a means for showing ads.

In fact, there are two types of internet logs that a no-log VPN vouches not to gather:

  • Connection logs refer to IP addresses, connected VPN servers, volumes of transferred data, session durations and dates.
  • Usage logs reflect the visited websites, downloads, and used software applications.

While many services claim that they are full-on anonymous VPN services, the level of transparency might differ from product to product. The actual meaning of a no-log policy raises concerns because usually, VPNs receive a significant portion of information about users. For instance, once users start using a no-log VPN, the provider might receive the real IP addresses, bandwidth usage, DNS, connection timestamps, and records of visited websites.

However, even though VPN providers receive such data, they might not use any means to collect it. In the majority of cases, this is the actual meaning of a no-log VPN. Just because such information travels through a VPN, it does not mean that companies keep it in any shape or form.

Security experts frequently claim that with the no-log policy, VPN providers take deliberate and creative choices to the actual meaning of this concept. In some cases, it might mean that a VPN does not log any personally identifiable information. Therefore, be sure to check how a specific company spins this concept.

How to check whether a no-logs VPN is not lying to you?

Here we arrive at the most pressing question: how to act when you see the no-logging promises on a VPN’s landing page? While the latter might feature some misleading information, the official Privacy Policy will not. Therefore, do not hesitate to double-check those privacy claims on VPN logging practices. In the majority of cases, you will immediately notice some contradicting statements.

So, while such a feature is prominent on the landing page, it does not mean that providers will keep their end of the bargain. However, some VPN services take their time to craft strategies that effectively safeguard users’ data. In such cases, VPNs might use only a minimal amount of information to keep their apps running. Nevertheless, if the Privacy Policy reveals that a VPN collects your IP address, traffic logs, and downloaded files, you should consider using a more respectful service or some safer alternatives instead.

A free no-log VPN? Is it possible?

As soon as VPNs firmly entered the market, the idea of a free VPN circulated. Why cannot privacy be a free right for all instead of a privilege? Therefore, security professionals took the time to introduce free apps that would break these financial barriers. However, free software and an anonymous VPN service might seem incompatible for some. The idea is that free software applications need to collect revenue in some other way. For instance, free games display ads or offer privileges for people to purchase some in-game coins. So, can a free app be a VPN that doesn’t log users’ data?

Let’s take a look at the Atlas VPN as an example of a free, no-log VPN. For transparency, our comprehensive Privacy Policy reveals everything in plain writing, without using technical or legal jargon to confuse users. We store no logs that could reflect your activity when using a VPN. Additionally, there is no way of identifying users, meaning that it is impossible to trace internet use back to individuals. As a general rule, we use a random identifier crafted for each user and a signed token of their devices. Visit our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to find out more and see whether Atlas VPN suits your privacy needs.

Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.



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