Not all VPN services can be trusted but these honest VPN providers can be.
You trust your VPN provider to protect your privacy. But are they really trustworthy? Not all of them, unfortunately.
As VPN use becomes more popular and the VPN business gets even more crowded with companies trying to make a buck, we’re also seeing a lot of false claims and shady marketing.
These dirty deeds include providers that say they don’t log – until a major court case reveals they do. Or providers that simply exaggerate what their service can do in general, like promising a VPN can make you “totally 100% anonymous”.
Of course, false advertising and exaggerated claims are common in all industries. But do you really want to trust your data to a company that can’t be trusted? Do you really want to be left vulnerable when you think your privacy is being protected?
We didn’t think so. That’s why we’re going to tackle some of the most common false claims made by VPN providers, as well as highlight some of the most honest VPN services.
The Truth About Online “Anonymity”
First, let’s look at some of the myths and misunderstandings regarding online anonymity. Contrary to what some VPN providers might claim, you don’t suddenly become “anonymous” the moment you turn on a VPN.
In fact, some would argue that it’s impossible to be totally anonymous online. Regardless, it’s definitely a lot harder than simply enabling a VPN.
That means VPN providers that claim to make you 100% anonymous are being dishonest.
The Truth About Logging
Logging by your VPN provider is one of the greatest threats to your privacy when it comes to using a VPN, since their server logs can contain everything from your IP address to what sites you visit.
That’s why it’s so important to choose a VPN provider that keeps minimal or, better yet, no logs.
Plus, there are other VPN providers who’ve touted themselves as “no logs” services, right until they were served a warrant – and immediately turned over user logs!
- Read more about VPN no log claims.
Now, some VPN providers would argue that it’s necessary for them to keep minimal logs to properly run and support their services. That’s fine. But it’s very important that, whether they keep logs or don’t, that they’re honest and transparent about what they do or don’t log.
The Truth About Rented or Leased VPN Servers
Renting or leasing servers is very common in the VPN industry. Most of the big providers do it, which is how they’re able to offer so many servers in so many different cities and countries.
Unfortunately, this can create yet another vulnerability for your anonymity.
For starters, it means that the VPN provider does not have full control over the servers – or what information is being collected by or on the server. For example, there have been instances where law enforcement went straight to the server itself to gain information on a VPN user.
Of course, the leasing of servers isn’t something to fret too much about. Most providers do it, and it’s usually not a problem. But it’s yet another example of why you shouldn’t assume anonymity simply by using a VPN, and why it’s important to choose honest VPN services that are serious about your privacy and will take the necessary steps to vet and secure their servers, whether owned or leased.
The Truth About Free VPNs
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that goes double for VPNs. While it may be tempting to save a few bucks a month, how do you think that “free” VPN pays for their servers and personnel?
By selling your data, that’s usually how. Don’t assume that any free VPN is safe, private, or trustworthy.
Until a court case arises proving that a free VPN service isn’t keeping logs and will protect the identity of its users, we’d suggest avoiding them.
OK, So Which are the Most Honest VPN Providers?
Now that we’ve established that not all VPN providers are trustworthy, you’re probably wondering: “So, which VPNs can I trust?”
That’s a great question. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most honest VPNs. To be clear, that doesn’t mean these are necessarily the best VPNs or that you should never use any VPN that’s not on this list.
But these are the VPN providers that say what they do and do what they say. They’re telling the truth when they say they’re not logging (or tell you what they are logging), and they don’t advertise things that aren’t true.
Despite NordVPN being our top pick for privacy features, you won’t find any exaggerated claims on its website about making you anonymous with the click of a mouse (though their affiliates may not always be as transparent). And they’ve even had their claims recently verified by independent testing lab AV-TEST of Germany.
In addition to their honesty and transparency, here are some other things to like about NordVPN:
- Strong security features, like ‘Double VPN’ and ‘Onion Router over VPN’
- Based in Panama
- 5,500 servers in 59 countries
- 30 -day money-back guarantee
- Hard-to-beat annual subscription price of $3.49/mo
Mullvad offers serious privacy, straightforward marketing, and maintains strict control over their servers. Not only do they accept Bitcoin, they even allow cash payments, making it easy to protect your identity.
That’s why we consider them one of the most honest VPNs. And so does ThatOnePrivacySite, a trusted tester of VPN services, which awarded Mullvad its ‘Top Choice’ badge including for its trusted privacy features and ethical approach.
Mullvad is also one of only a handful of VPNs that fully answered the Center for Democracy & Technology's Signals of Trustworthy VPNs questions.
What else does Mullvad have going for it?
- WireGuard servers, with fast speeds and strong encryption
- Built-in kill switch technology
- 231+ servers across 31 countries
- 30-day money-back refund period
- Very affordable, at just 5€ per month
30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied
VyprVPN is not a “no-logging” VPN service – but they don’t advertise themselves as one. They’re transparent and honest about what they can and can’t do.
They also own all their servers, network, and DNS, rather than leasing them like most other VPN providers. That earns them a spot on our list of honest VPNs.
VyprVPN was also one of the first VPN services to fully answer the Signals of Trustworthy VPNs questionnaire prepared by the Center for Democracy & Technology.
Here are some other great VyprVPN features:
- Built-in stealth VPN technology
- 700+ servers in 64 countries
- App UI is intuitive and available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
- 3-day free trial
3-day, no obligation free trial
With VPN use exploding around the world and big money to be made, VPN customers have to be on guard more than ever about exaggerated or dishonest claims and sometimes outright lies.
Do your research, check the VPN’s website’s fine print and rely on trustworthy sources of third-party information like privacytools.io, ThatOnePrivacySite and Cogipas.com.
In no time, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Is the VPN honest about what they do and don’t log?
- Have these claims been tested (for example, in court) and proven to be true?
- Does the VPN promise “100% anonymity” that they can’t deliver?
Once informed with some good reliable information, you can then make a sound decision on what honest VPN service to choose.