The Best No-Log VPNs

No logs means complete anonymity.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Aug 24, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Aug 24, 2021
Finding the Best VPN

Here’s a little secret: There’s no such thing as a true “no-log VPN.” Every VPN keeps some information about you, if only for billing purposes.

When we talk about “no-log VPNs,” what we really mean is “VPNs that log the minimum amount of information about you.” The best VPNs never keep any information that could connect you to your online activity: no IP addresses, no browsing activity, no timestamps, etc. We’ve put together a list of the VPNs that treat your data as sacred, because you have a right to privacy.

Single-Month Price

Private Internet Access $9.95
FastestVPN $10
PureVPN $10.95
NordVPN $11.95
ExpressVPN $12.95
Our Top Picks

ExpressVPN

Editor's Rating
9.5
/10
Editor's Rating
9.5
/10
ExpressVPN kept our data safe with AES-256 encryption and a kill switch on all its platforms. What we really liked, though, is that it doesn’t log any information related to our online activities.

NordVPN

Editor's Rating
9.3
/10
Editor's Rating
9.3
/10
High speeds combined with a strict privacy policy make NordVPN a great choice, especially for Mac users.

Comparison of the Best No-Log VPNs

System
ExpressVPN
NordVPN
PureVPN
Private Internet Access VPN
FastestVPN
Ranking 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Ratings 9.3/10
Best for Mac
9.1/10
Best for Streaming
8.6/10
Best for Windows
8.3/10
Best VPN for Families
Monthly cost range $3.67 - $11.95 $2.91 - $10.95 $2.19 - $9.95 $1.11 - $10
Contract length 1-36 months 1-24 months 1-36 months 1-36 months
Split tunneling No Yes No Yes
Netflix Yes Yes Depends on the server Yes
Torrenting Yes Yes Yes Yes
IP addresses Static or dedicated Static Dynamic Static
Headquartered in a 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes member country? No No Yes No
Read Review NordVPN Review PureVPN Review Private Internet Access VPN Review FastestVPN Review

Summary of the Best No-Log VPNs

Detailed List of the Best No-Log VPNs

  • 1. ExpressVPN - Best No Log VPN Overall

    Editor's Rating
    9.5
    /10

    ExpressVPN logs the absolute minimum information about our activities, like what app version we use and how much total data we transfer each day. It never logs timestamps, IP addresses, or browsing histories. The company is based in the British Virgin Islands, so governments can’t force it to turn over any information, and it employs the latest tools to encrypt our data.

    At $12.95 for a single-month subscription, ExpressVPN’s prices are a bit higher than those of the other VPNs on our list. We don’t mind, though. Nothing does a better job of keeping us safe and secure online, and isn’t that the whole point of a VPN?

    What We Liked
    • Outside Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes
    • High speeds
    • Netflix access
    • Split tunneling
    What We Don’t Liked
    • A bit pricier than other VPNs
    • No multi-hop
    • No phone support
    • Only five simultaneous connections

    Minimal Logging

    Lots of VPNs say they are “no log.” What does “no log” mean in ExpressVPN’s case, though? The company itself notes in its privacy policy that its “guiding principle toward data collection is to collect only the minimal data required.”1 So, what does it collect?

    • The app version we used to connect
    • Dates when we connected
    • Our choice of server connection
    • Total amount of data we transferred each day

    ExpressVPN needs this information in order to keep the service running. However, it never records this information:

    • IP addresses
    • Browsing activities
    • Traffic destinations or metadata about those destinations
    • DNS queries

    In short, ExpressVPN knows only the bare minimum about us, and that’s exactly the way we like it.

    British Virgin Islands Headquarters

    Here’s the thing about ExpressVPN: No governments can ever force it to turn over what little information it does collect.

    Why not? Because the British Virgin Islands, where the company is headquartered, isn’t a member of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes surveillance organizations. That means law enforcement can’t make it turn over any data to the government.

    The way we see it, we’re doubly protected. ExpressVPN collects almost no information about us, and it won’t hand over what little information it has.

    FYI: Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes are surveillance alliances made up of countries that have agreed to share signals intelligence with one another. This means that any country in one of these alliances can demand VPN records from companies headquartered in any other member country.2

    ExpressVPN App
    ExpressVPN App

    Other Privacy Perks

    Everything about ExpressVPN demonstrates just how seriously it takes our privacy and security. For example, it encrypts our data using 256-bit AES, the same encryption method the United States military employs. It has a built-in kill switch, so if we lost our VPN connection, all our browsing activity would stop instantly. That means we can access Netflix around the world and even torrent with a VPN without worrying that anyone might be tracking us.

  • 2. NordVPN - Best No Log VPN for Macs

    Editor's Rating
    9.3
    /10

    We loved NordVPN’s service, especially its speed. In addition, we knew we could enjoy those speeds without worry over whether the company was logging any of our vital information.

    What We Liked
    • Headquarters in Panama
    • Highly rated apps
    • High speeds on Macs
    • Multi-hop
    What We Don’t Liked
    • No split tunneling
    • Static IP addresses
    • No phone support
    • Unreliable kill switch on iOS

    Privacy Policy

    Let’s start with what’s most important: What exactly does NordVPN log? The company’s privacy policy is quite clear about what it collects and why.

    Basically, it logs information necessary for billing purposes. That includes our email addresses and our credit card numbers. However, NordVPN accepts cryptocurrency, so we didn’t actually have to give our credit card information if we didn’t want to. Many of these currencies — such as Litecoin, Opencoin, and MintChip — allow you to pay anonymously.3

    Meanwhile, NordVPN never logs IP addresses, connection timestamps, or browsing activity (i.e., our connection logs). Finally, just to be on the safe side, NordVPN never shares any information with third-party vendors like advertisers or internet service providers (ISPs).

    Multi-Hop Routing

    We were impressed that NordVPN uses multi-hop technology. Multi-hop means the VPN routes our connection through not just one server but two or more. Each server adds another layer of encryption.

    As a result, our activities were virtually impossible to follow. We knew the server protected us from any hackers who might be trying to steal our passwords or credit card numbers.

    NordVPN Mac App Screenshot
    NordVPN Mac App Screenshot

    High Speeds on Mac

    A no-log VPN isn’t much use if the service itself is poor. That wasn’t a problem with NordVPN. We weren’t just protected; we also had a lightning-fast connection. That meant we had uninterrupted Netflix signals at all times, which is important (we hate it when “Stranger Things” has to pause for buffering).

    While NordVPN was fast across the board, we were blown away by how fast it worked on Macs in particular. Of course, all VPNs slow computers down to some degree, but with NordVPN, our connection was only 20 percent slower than it was with no VPN at all. We barely noticed a difference. That’s just one reason why NordVPN is among our best VPNs for Macs.

    NordVPN Mac Speed Tests

    Latency difference with and without VPN (in milliseconds) 42 46 10%
    Download difference with and without VPN (in Mbps) 55 41 24%
    Upload difference with and without VPN (in Mbps) 34 27 20%
  • 3. PureVPN - Best No Log VPN for Streaming

    Editor's Rating
    9.1
    /10

    PureVPN has gone to the trouble of hiring KPMG, a Fortune 500 company that specializes in risk management and auditing, to test its no-logging claims. As a result, we knew for certain that when we were streaming Netflix from countries like the U.K., we had complete online anonymity — and a U.K. IP address to boot.

    What We Liked
    • Over 6,500 servers
    • Independently audited logging policy
    • AES-256 encryption
    • Split tunneling
    What We Don’t Liked
    • Static IP addresses
    • No support for Safari
    • Only five simultaneous connections
    • No VPN free trial

    Logging Audits

    It’s one thing to say you don’t log sensitive user data, or to promise that in your privacy policy. If you’re willing to have an independent third party evaluate that claim, though, you’re putting your money where your mouth is.

    That’s exactly what PureVPN has done. The company hired KPMG to investigate whether the VPN logs IP addresses, timestamps, or online activity. Given that PureVPN was willing to put its reputation on the line, it’s no surprise that KPMG certified that the company had a clean record not just once but twice, in 2018 and 2020.

    In fact, in 2021, PureVPN gave KPMG free rein to audit its service at any time without warning. That’s confidence.

    Split Tunneling

    Running Spotify or Pandora through the same VPN connection can slow down our connection. That’s why we’re glad PureVPN offers split tunneling.

    With split tunneling, we can stream music over public networks but still keep all our sensitive information secure by running it through a VPN. In addition, the more data we route through our VPN, the lower the speed. Split tunneling saves our VPN bandwidth, which keeps everything running as fast as possible.

    PureVPN Kill Switch
    PureVPN Kill Switch

    Streaming

    If we’re going to use a VPN to hide our activities, we want to have some activities worth hiding. One of the advantages of PureVPN was that it let us stream content from all the big streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, and ESPN.

    That meant we could access content libraries in other countries. As it turns out, Netflix U.K. has almost 200 more shows than Netflix U.S.4 Check out our complete list of the best VPNs for streaming for more information. If you prefer specific streaming services, you can browse our many lists, including the best VPNs for Netflix, the best VPNs for Hulu, the best VPNs for Prime Video, the best VPNs for ESPN+, the best VPNs for Disney+, and the best VPNs for YouTube TV.

  • 4. Private Internet Access - Best No Log VPN for Windows

    Editor's Rating
    8.6
    /10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is located squarely in Five Eyes jurisdiction, but its privacy policy is so tight we don’t worry about that. Simply put, PIA has nothing to turn over, even if the government shows up with a subpoena.

    What We Liked
    • High speeds on Windows computers
    • Dynamic IP addresses
    • Torrenting
    • Great mobile apps
    What We Don’t Liked
    • No multi-hop routing
    • No split tunneling
    • Headquarters in a Five Eyes member country
    • Only five simultaneous connections

    Nothing to Share

    Private Internet Access shows up on our list of the best VPN services regularly. However, when it comes to privacy, the company may seem like an odd choice. After all, it’s headquartered right here in the U.S., in Greenwood, Colorado. That means that PIA falls under the Five Eyes surveillance group, so the government can force it to turn over any information it collects.

    The good news is that PIA has hardly any information to turn over. Like the other VPNs on this list, the company collects billing information such as email addresses and credit card numbers. However, its privacy policy clearly states, “Any kind of activity done by the user inside the Private Internet Access VPN […] is NOT recorded, logged or stored at all.” That means it doesn’t collect browsing activity, timestamp data, or IP addresses.

    Did You Know: There is no such thing as a truly no-log VPN. Every VPN logs some information, if only for communication and billing purposes. In practice, “no log” usually means the VPN doesn’t log any data about how you use its service, such as your browsing history, timestamps, or IP addresses.

    Connecting to Private Internet Access
    Connecting to Private Internet Access

    High Speeds on Windows

    We use our Lenovo laptop for Zoom meetings pretty regularly, but there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow connection when we’re trying to talk with co-workers. Last week, one of our colleagues laughed at one of our jokes a full minute after we’d made it. Awkward.

    Luckily, Private Internet Access barely slowed down our Windows device at all. When it came to upload speed (an essential component of video chats), PIA slowed things down by a mere 15 percent. If you’re looking for a Windows VPN, you really can’t beat PIA’s speeds.

    Oh, and in case you’re wondering, our tests showed that it was almost as fast on Mac. We clocked download speeds on Macs at 65 percent slower with the VPN than without it, and upload speeds at just 30 percent slower with the VPN than without it.

    PIA Speed Test for Windows

    Latency difference with and without VPN (in milliseconds) 12 16 33%
    Download difference with and without VPN (in Mbps) 72 62 14%
    Upload difference without and without VPN (in Mbps) 41 39 5%

    Dynamic IP Addresses

    PIA offers dynamic IP addresses. We prefer these to static. “Dynamic” means that the addresses change regularly so that we never have the same one for long.

    Of course, there are advantages to static addresses, like faster downloads and uploads at times. However, dynamic addresses keep us more secure, since they are harder to track. The way we see things, if we’re going to choose a no-log VPN, we might as well get dynamic addresses for added privacy. PIA fits the bill.

  • 5. FastestVPN - Best No Log VPN for Families

    Editor's Rating
    8.3
    /10

    FastestVPN lived up to its name with some of the highest speeds of any VPN on this list. Of course, if it’s on this list, it doesn’t log IP addresses, timestamps, or online activity. In addition, when we ended our VPN subscription, it erased all the data it had about us, including our email addresses.

    What We Liked
    • 10 simultaneous connections
    • Split tunneling
    • Netflix access
    • Headquarters outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction
    What We Don’t Liked
    • Only 100 VPN servers in 22 countries
    • Static IP addresses
    • No 30-day money-back guarantee (only seven days)
    • No split tunneling

    No-Log Promise

    According to FastestVPN’s privacy policy, the service doesn’t collect any timestamps, browsing activity, or IP addresses. It does, however, keep information such as email addresses and credit card numbers, essentially whatever it needs to bill you and keep the service operational. One advantage to FastestVPN, though, is that if you should discontinue your VPN subscription, it deletes everything about you from its databases immediately. Everything.

    FastestVPN Desktop App
    FastestVPN Desktop App

    10 Devices

    We’ve got a lot of devices, but not quite 10. A lot of our friends have families, though, and even a small family can use at least 10 devices. One recent survey, in fact, says families average 11 devices.5

    For them, we recommend FastestVPN. FastestVPN allowed us to use up to 10 devices, and with 10 simultaneous connections, we could use them all at once. That should keep everyone happy, even if you’re stuck in a crummy hotel room in Bangkok waiting for the monsoon rains to let up.

    Torrenting

    We love our streaming services, but we have eclectic tastes, and many of our favorite films just don’t show up on Netflix. When that happens, we turn to torrenting.

    FastestVPN makes torrenting simple and user-friendly with UNIX-based peer-to-peer optimized servers. In addition, FastestVPN lives up to its name with high speeds on both Windows devices and Macs. The VPN’s latency on Macs was so low that we had to round it down to zero.

    Interested in finding out more great VPNs for torrenting? Check out our list of the best VPNs for torrenting and the best free VPNs for torrenting.

Methodology

We take all of our best-of lists seriously. In making our selections, we use a strict methodology, looking carefully at each VPN’s logging policies, privacy, security, speed, servers, features, and pricing. Below, we explain a bit about our criteria in each category.

Logging

Obviously, for this particular list, we were most interested in each company’s logging policy. We insisted that every VPN have a policy that states it doesn’t log this information:

  • IP addresses
  • Browsing activity
  • Timestamps

Every company logs some information for sign-up and billing purposes. In general, though, the less a VPN knows about us, the more we like it.

Privacy

When we’re talking about privacy, logging is key, but it isn’t the only factor we consider. For example, we prefer companies based in countries outside the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance groups. This way, even if they have some of our data, government agencies can’t force them to turn it over.

In addition, we expect VPNs to use the best encryption methods, at least AES-256 (the same encryption standard the U.S. military uses).

We like features such as multi-hop routing. By routing our activity through at least two servers, multi-hop VPNs provide double encryption. We prefer VPNs with dynamic IP addresses and kill switches as well. Finally, we investigate every VPN’s history to make sure it doesn’t have a record of leaking data or cooperating with data-seeking authorities.

Security

Security really comes down to leaks. The best VPNs shouldn’t allow our data to slip out at any point.

To check this, we run a DNS leak test at DNSLeakTest.com. We also run a WebRTC leak test using a tool from ExpressVPN. All the VPNs on this list passed both of these tests.

Speed

All VPNs slow devices down to some extent, since they require extra processing power to work. We’re looking for VPNs that slow our devices down as little as possible, though.

We run tests on both Windows and Mac devices running a VPN to determine upload speeds, download speeds, and latency. Then, we compare those speeds to how the devices perform when they’re not running the VPN. This gives us a percentage difference.

Servers

One influence on a VPN’s speed is the server you’re using. Typically, the closer you are to a server, the faster your connection. More servers in more places means faster connections, no matter where you are.

In addition, servers in different countries allow you to access streaming libraries in those countries. So the more countries a VPN operates in, the more content we can watch.

Features

A VPN must be safe and secure, but the whole point of having a VPN is to use it. We look for VPNs with useful features, including these:

  • Torrenting support
  • Access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video
  • Split tunneling
  • Highly rated apps
  • Strong customer service

Pricing

Last but certainly not least, we take a close look at the pricing for the VPNs. In general, we prefer plans that cost $10 or less per month, though we can accept a higher price if the VPN offers more features.

For instance, we consider whether a VPN offers split tunneling and torrenting, whether it can access Netflix, and whether it uses the best encryption methods. We also pay attention to how many devices we can use at once. All of these elements tell us just how much value we’re getting for the price.

Of course, it’s nice when companies offer discounts for long-term contracts, since these can be big money-savers. However, we want companies to offer monthly contracts as well, as we don’t always want to make a serious commitment. Our absolute favorite, though, is month-to-month VPNs with year-round deals.

Recap

The whole reason to use a VPN is to maintain your anonymity online. Guaranteeing that anonymity requires encryption. It demands that the VPN doesn’t leak. Most importantly, it means the VPN itself isn’t holding on to your personally identifiable information, meaning it has a strict no-log policy.

In sum, you can be absolutely sure that none of the VPNs on this list log your IP addresses, online activity, or timestamps.

FAQs

  • Which VPN doesn’t keep logs?

    Many VPNs don’t log your activity or your IP addresses, including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, PureVPN, Private Internet Access, and FastestVPN. However, every VPN logs some information when you sign up for the service, usually your contact and billing information. “No log” generally refers to your VPN activity, and none of these companies collect that information.

  • Can you be tracked if you use a VPN?

    You cannot be tracked if you’re using a secure VPN that doesn’t log your activity. A secure VPN requires rigorous encryption methods. The VPN can’t have DNS or WebRTC leaks. It must have a no-log policy, meaning it doesn’t record any information about your IP address, online activity, or logon times.

    Finally, the company behind the VPN should be headquartered outside the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes countries. Otherwise, government agencies could force it to turn over information.

  • Has NordVPN been hacked?

    NordVPN was hacked in early 2018. However, the impact of the hack was minimal.

    According to the company, the hack only took place on one server in Finland. Moreover, a third-party data center account caused the breach, rather than a NordVPN account. Finally, the incident did not endanger any NordVPN users; the hackers only managed to obtain one expired TLS key with no value.

  • Which is better, NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

    ExpressVPN is better than NordVPN. While both companies provide high-quality VPNs, ExpressVPN is slightly faster, and all of its IP addresses are dynamic. In addition, ExpressVPN has servers in more countries — 148 vs. 62 — so there’s always one nearby.

Citations
  1. ExpressVPN. (2021). Privacy Policy.
    expressvpn.com/privacy-policy

  2. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (2021). Five Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council (FIORC).
    dni.gov/index.php/ncsc-how-we-work/217-about/organization/icig-pages/2660-icig-fiorc

  3. Acuant. (2020). How Anonymous Is Cryptocurrency?
    acuant.com/blog/how-anonymous-is-cryptocurrency/

  4. Stream Locator. (2021). Netflix US vs. UK.
    streamlocator.com/articles/netflix-us-vs-uk

  5. Deloitte. (2021). 2021 Connectivity and Mobile Trends Survey.
    deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/telecommunications/connectivity-mobile-trends-survey.html