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5 Best Anonymous VPN Services (2016)

Before we begin, let’s make one thing very clear: There’s no such thing as an anonymous VPN.

We know what you’re thinking: “So what’s up with the title of this post, then?” That’s because we know that the erroneous belief exists that using a VPN makes you anonymous on the Internet, and we wanted to catch and educate the individuals who think this way. We explain why a a VPN will never be anonymous at the end of the article.

That said, there are some methods you can use to increase your privacy online in addition to using a VPN. There are even ways you can become truly anonymous on the web with the help of a VPN. We’ll delve into further detail later on in this article. Before we do so, however, we’ve written up a list for you of trustworthy providers. We believe these will bring you as close to anonymous browsing as possible using only a VPN.

Check out our roundup of (nearly) anonymous VPNs after the jump!

Best Anonymous VPN Services Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

IPVanish Logo
Read Review10/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN Logo
Read Review9.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

iVPN Logo
Read Review9/10
$8.33 / monthVisit Site

4

AirVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

5

Windscribe Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$7.50 / monthVisit Site
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

IPVanish

5/5

Best Anonymous VPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • P2P allowed
  • Uses shared IPs
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • ConsCONS
  • Based in the US

The name says it all: IPVanish helps you navigate the World Wide Web while leaving next to no trace. It may not give customers absolute anonymity (no VPN provider does), it gets them as close as possible to it. No logs are kept on record and 256-bit AES encryption is used. On top of this, there is P2P support, the use of shared IPs, and the option to pay with Bitcoins.

There’s no major trade-off involved for these great features either. As is commonly the case for VPN providers that are extra tough on security; IPVanish’s speeds are consistently fast, and their superb service is a good value for money at $10 a month.

Try the best (almost as good as) anonymous VPN today!

Visit IPVanish »

7-day money back guarantee

2nd place

NordVPN

4.7/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Accepts Bitcoins
  • Tor over VPN
  • Double encryption
  • Uses shared IPs
  • ConsCONS
  • Some speed inconsistency

NordVPN’s position in Panama keeps it safe from nosey US and EU jurisdiction. Thereby giving it the ability to properly protect its network from would-be prying eyes. Not that users have much to be worried about in the first place; NordVPN boasts an exceptionally high level of security that makes it virtually impossible to track down any individual using their services.

Sadly, NordVPN’s strong security measures—which include the likes of double encryption and no record of usage and connection logs—come at a cost. The provider’s speeds are known for being unreliable, and its pricing can be considered above average (albeit not especially expensive at $8 a month).

Visit NordVPN »


3rd place

iVPN

4.5/5

anonymous VPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • P2P allowed
  • Uses shared IPs
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • ConsCONS
  • Lack of server coverage on some continents

Users who are yearn to have a near anonymous VPN will not be disappointed with what iVPN has to offer. In addition to not keeping any usage or connection logs, it’s located in digital privacy-friendly Gibraltar. Furthermore, it accepts Bitcoins as payments, uses shared IPs, and is even an EFF member.

The pricing could be lower (it rings up at around $8.33 a month) but you pay for what you get. Namely, privacy measures that go above and beyond and a wonderfully responsive client. Not convinced? Give the service a spin and see for yourself. It’s risk free thanks to iVPN’s 3-day free trial and 7-day money back guarantee!

Visit iVPN »


4th place

AirVPN

4.2/5

AirVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Supports Tor over VPN
  • Supports VPN through SSL and SSH tunnel
  • P2P allowed
  • ConsCONS
  • Website could be improved

Italy-based AirVPN has all the same privacy bells and whistles of the aforementioned VPN providers and more. Its support of Tor over VPN allows its users to enjoy a high degree of anonymity while avoiding attempts to block Tor exit nodes. While its support for VPN through SSL and SSH makes it easy for users to hide the fact that they’re using a VPN at all.

True, AirVPN’s website could use a little work, but this is a minute issue at best. Especially when it makes up for it with goodies such as three simultaneous connections, and no maximum speed limit. Furthermore it has transparent policies, and exceptional levels of OpenVPN encryption.

Visit AirVPN »


5th place

Windscribe

3.7/5

Windscribe

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • High transparency
  • Uses shared IPs
  • P2P allowed
  • Dedicated killswitch
  • ConsCONS
  • Limited support options
  • Newer service

Despite being a newbie in the VPN game, Canada-based Windscribe’s high transparency and strong dedication to user privacy has already proven them worthy to rank among the best of them. It offers all the usual’s of strong privacy features, such as 256-bit AES encryption, as well as a dedicated kill switch that will “kill” or block your Internet connection when and if Windscribe is disconnected while in use.

Windscribe is easy to access and use once downloaded, too. It has a great Windows client, and a Chrome proxy service too. To top it off, they’ve recently released their iOS and Android app as well!

Visit Windscribe »


Anonymous VPN Services Considerations

Anonymous VPN Services

To repeat what I said at the beginning of this article: When used on its own, a VPN will never make you truly anonymous online. Anonymous VPNs simply do not and cannot exist. A VPN provider can always identify their users’ IP addresses and see what they’re getting up to on the Internet, even if no one else can. Moreover, even providers that claim to keep no logs can monitor in real-time (not to mention, they can be ordered to start keeping logs without a user’s knowledge by government entities).

The topics we touch on below detail ways in which you can try to overcome this issue, but always keep in mind that a VPN will never make you 100% anonymous. VPNs provide their users with privacy, not anonymity. If you want or need true anonymity, we strongly urge you sign up for Tor instead of a VPN.

No Logs

When we say no logs or logless in reference to a VPN provider, we mean that they keep both no usage logs and no connection logs. Usage logs are details of your online activities (for example, what websites you visit), while connection logs are details such as when you connected and how long you were connected for. Logless providers do not keep either of these, and therefore retain no records of what their users have done online.

For more detailed information on logless VPNs and how they’re as close to anonymous VPNs as you can get, check out our dedicated article.

No Logs

Shared IPs

The use of shared IPs is a feature of nearly every VPN provider currently available on the market (and if it isn’t, that provider is not worth signing up for). By using them, the provider makes it near-impossible to find out what user on a shared IP did what action online. The puzzle can be solved, however, through the launching of an end-to-end timing attack, which unmasks otherwise anonymous users by analyzing connection logs to find out who was connected to the IP in question at the time the activity of interest occurred.

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim to such an attack, stay far away from providers that admit to keeping connection records.

Email Addresses

For the majority of people, their email address is connected to just about everything about them online, such as their online bank, Facebook profile, PayPal account, and more. We could go on for ages about the dangers of having so many important websites linked to a single address, but for now we’ll just introduce you to the idea of disposable email addresses. A good first step towards a more secure VPN experience is to look for providers that allow you to sign up using one. If they do, it prevents you from being identified by your personal email address, in addition to keeping both it – and all the important personal accounts linked to it – confidential.

Bitcoins and Other Anonymous Payment Methods

Paying for a VPN service using a method that is not linked to your bank account, name, or address, will bring you one step closer to anonymity online. Bitcoin is by far the most popular method, though even that is not truly anonymous (even when properly mixed). We’d suggest looking for providers that offer even more private types of payment. Such as cash sent by post or anonymously purchased store cards.

Bitcoin VPN

Double-Hop or Chaining VPNs

You can reap some extra security benefits by “chaining” VPN servers (that is to say, routing your data between two or more VPN servers to provide more of a buffer between you and the Internet). You can do it yourself using a Virtual Machine, or by signing up for a VPN provider that offers it as a feature, such as NordVPN and iVPN.

Chaining VPNs comes at the cost of painfully slow speeds, though. However, if you’re willing to swap swiftness for improved security, it’s worth a try. Read more about how it works and how to set it up here.

For True Anonymity, Use Tor

Tor is infamous for being the one true anonymous browsing solution. The open source secure online browsing solution works by routing your connection through at least three random “nodes” (servers run by volunteers), which each re-encrypt your data as it passes through them. Each node is only aware of the IP addresses in front of it, and the IP address of the node behind it. If everything goes smoothly, no one should be able to map out the path between your IP address and the website you’re visiting at any point in the process.

While Tor’s anonymization process sounds great in theory, actually using it can be a painful experience. Passing through so many nodes cause your Internet’s speed to suffer greatly, so much that we’d strongly recommend against Tor for day-to-day use. Not to mention security issues such as malicious exit nodes and man-in-the-middle attacks.

VPN Through Tor

VPNs cannot make a user anonymous when used on their own, but they can do so when used in combination with Tor (this is only true for VPN through Tor, and not Tor through VPN, however—read about the crucial difference here).

Using VPN over Tor makes you anonymous because connecting to the VPN server through Tor prevents your VPN provider from seeing your real IP address (instead they will see that of the Tor exit node). This prevents the provider from connecting any Internet traffic they monitor in real-time to you.

That said, keep in mind that you won’t be truly anonymous if you pay via credit card or some other payment method that would give way to identification. If you want to be truly anonymous, you will have to pay for the VPN service through Tor using Bitcoin.

Threat Model

If you’ve decided that you want anonymity on the Internet, it is wise to first identify why exactly you’re looking to be anonymous and (perhaps most importantly) from who. Once you’ve figured that out, you’ll have yourself a threat model which will determine what level of privacy you actually require on the web. There is a big difference between being a whistleblower on the run from a government secret service, and being an everyman looking to avoid getting into trouble for torrenting movies on their laptop. The former will definitely need the bulletproof protection that the likes of Tor provides, while the latter does not actually require absolute anonymity, and can have their security needs met by most VPNs.

Best Anonymous VPNs Conclusion

Here at BestVPN we find it worrisome that there exists such a strong public conviction that using a VPN will anonymize your Internet activities. While using a VPN will undoubtedly make you a thousand times more secure than if you use nothing at all to surf online, the only way to become truly anonymous on the Internet is by using even more security measures on top of a VPN, such as signing up with disposable email addresses, paying only with digital currency, and using Tor.

If you’re only looking to increase the privacy of your web browsing, we strongly believe that you need look no further than any of the trustworthy and transparent providers recommend above. Alternatively, if you require true anonymity—say, if you’re a whistleblower or living under an oppressive government—we hope that the resources linked in our considerations section for anonymous VPNs helped to point you in the right direction.

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

IPVanish Logo
Read Review10/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN Logo
Read Review9.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

iVPN Logo
Read Review9/10
$8.33 / monthVisit Site

4

AirVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

5

Windscribe Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$7.50 / monthVisit Site


Katrina Power Canadian writer currently living in Hungary. Avid lover of travel, technology, politics, fashion, and French music.

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