ExpressVPN

What does ‘no logs’ mean?

If you are interested in using a VPN to protect your privacy then it is vital that it keeps no logs of your internet activities. If logs are kept, then (whatever the company says) it can be made to hand them over to the authorities, or they can be hacked by criminals. If no logs are kept then there is nothing to hand over or hack.

However, what providers’ mean when they say ‘no logs’ can vary dramatically from provider to provider, so here at BestVPN we make a distinction between keeping logs, usage logs, connection logs and no logs;

  • Usage logs – details of what you get up to on the internet, such as which web sites you visit etc. These are the most important (and potentially damaging logs).
  • Connection logs  – many ‘no logs’ providers keep metadata about users’ connections, but not usage logs. Exactly what is logged varies by provider, but typically includes things like when you connected, how long for, how often etc. Providers usually justify this as necessary for dealing with technical issues and instances of abuse. In general we are not too bothered by this level log keeping, but the truly paranoid should be aware that, at least in theory, it could be used to identify an individual with known internet behavior through an ‘end to end timing attack’.  This should not be a big concern for most users however.
  • Keeps logs – it is depressingly common for VPN providers to keep logs of everything (usage and connection). In general, if a provider keeps usage logs it will also keep connection logs
  • No logs – what it says. The provider promises not to keep any logs (usage or connection)

‘No usage logs’ = keeps connection logs (only).


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

Related Coverage


4 responses to “What does ‘no logs’ mean?

  1. just curious VPN.ht site states
    No logs

    You value your privacy. So do we. We don’t keep logs, we don’t know the sites you’ve visited or the applications you’ve used.
    have they changed their policy, as your article states , this would mean “no logs”?. By the way thank you for the article found it very helpful.

    1. Hi Rich,

      Thanks :). According to VPN.ht’s Privacy Policy,

      “We are committed to your privacy and do not collect or log traffic data or browsing activity from individual users connected to our VPN.”

      but…

      “Our software may send diagnostic data to a third party analytics provider for the purpose of identifying connection errors and possible bugs in our application. The information collected is generic in nature and does not contain personally identifying information.”

      The wording is not very clear, but I would say this means that VPN.ht keeps no usage logs, but does keep some connection logs…

  2. Appreciate the clarity of your article. Could you possibly give advice in comments on a low tech user friendly no logs vpn?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *