Web technologies and the means of internet access keep evolving with time, giving the users a plethora of choices in the process. Even a decade back average web users were not too conscious about online anonymity. Their focus was more on staying safe from malware and other online risks. However, the scenario has changed drastically and now most web users are weary of growing menaces of Internet censorship and surveillance. The debate on net neutrality rages on in different parts of the world. The good thing is amidst all these hassles, you are not without any defense! Like any other web users seeking online anonymity, you can start using a VPN service.
Choosing the apt VPN service for staying invisible online
Using a VPN service makes you invisible online as the service essentially masks your real IP address and encryption tech ensures the data transmitted cannot be deciphered by third-party surveillance agencies. This lets you bypass hurdles of geologically restricted content and you stay anonymous online. However, not all VPN services hide your online activities completely. A section of VPN services have been accused of logging user data online and if you are particular about staying invisible online you should evade these VPNs. This is outside the basic Connection logs which the entities use to monitor data usage and allowance.
Listed below are a few VPN services that offer absolute online anonymity for the users:
One of the most popular and widely used VPN services worldwide, ExpressVPN scores well when it comes to effective zero logging in practice. It does not keep any logs for connection and user activity. There are 2000 servers and it supports 3 devices at the same time. The USP of the company is the faster speed. Most VPNs services are known for slowing down internet access speed which is attributed to the server routing for masking IP address. However, its abundant servers spanning over 94 countries ensure the routing delay is minimal. The UI is pretty simple. There are a few browser extensions and major mobile apps are also supported. The settings section also has an option for advanced users to tinker with.
For the privacy conscious lot, the session logging should not cause much worry. The company does not gather IP addresses and connection times, so the users can stay anonymous eventually.
However, all these benefits do not come for free. ExpressVPN is costlier than most of its rivals. It does not offer any trial for free unlike some of the competing solutions. The money-back guarantee, valid for 30 days, however, is the redeeming aspect. There are multiple packages aimed at different types of users too.
AirVPN is another good contender for web users seeking VPN services that stick to zero logging policy. The services are managed and run by a group of activists who are fighting for net neutrality and online freedom. It has fewer servers and locations, but you can access the details. There are 219 servers spread across 20 locations.
The lack of reduced server locations is somewhat redeemed by its speedy performance. However, the connection speed can vary at times- which is true of most VPN services anyway. The users get the lowest allocated bandwidth equalling 4Mbps.
The Windows client of AirVPN is not very aesthetic looking-which can deter some users. AirVPN has five affordable plans. It also supports a number of cryptocurrencies for payments which is a USP.
Windscribe is another worthy VPN service that scores well on online anonymity front and has some advantages over its rivals too. Very few VPN service providers, for example, offer support for unlimited devices. This can be great for users who have many members in the family who access the web frequently. Besides, the VPN is no slouch as far as internet access speed is concerned. Again, although long-distance connection speeds can vary.
Windscribe has apps for all the major platforms. The apps run smoothly except for the Android client. It takes some time to stabilize. Advanced users who love to tweak with software settings may not be impressed by its basic, simple UI. There are only some Spartan settings.
There are both free and paid plans. As it is natural, the free plan cuts down the available servers. However, its free plan is still more liberal than what most rivals offer in their free plans.
As far as different types of data logging are concerned, it aces the test. There is nothing like IPs, VPN usage, individual activities, and historical session logs. The small logs that are actually recorded during each session for data allowance tracking get erased within a few minutes of session closure.
This should be encouraging even for privacy paranoid users. If you do not want to share your email id and still use its VPN services that is possible. Most VPN services will not allow this! The monthly limit gets restricted though.
IPVanish is another VPN with a good range of servers and speedy performance. The servers are more than 1000 and at a time 10 devices are supported-decent for most users. You get mobile and desktop clients which are configurable and security is satisfying. The company sticks to a tight no logging policy for all users. The service has no free plans and it is a bit pricey compared to other VPN services.
This is the VPN service to pick if you are absolutely new to using VPN services. There are more than 1000 servers in its range and 5 devices are supported by the service at the same time. The UI is simple as it gets! The free plan is limited in terms of bandwidth. All you need to provide is an email id to start using the VPN. There are some browser extensions and native clients for major platforms. There are not many settings to tweak. It scores owing to the simplicity of usage and speedy connections. There are 2 commercial plans too for more advanced users.
Summing it up
You need to look beyond the zero logging policy declared by the VPN services. Not all of the VPN encryption algorithms and protocols are equally secure. To be on the safe side, VPN users should perform a proper IP-leak test to ensure they are covered from IPv6, WebRTC and DNS leaks.