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Does a VPN sell my data?

This really depends on which VPN you subscribe to. The vast majority of premium VPNs never sell their user’s data to third parties. This is because they understand that a VPN’s job is to provide privacy for their users. 

The very best VPNs have a no logs policy. This policy ensures that the VPN never stores any records of its subscriber’s traffic, so, the VPN has no data about its subscribers to sell. It is the best kind of VPN policy. 

It is vital to understand your particular VPN's policy to know for sure what it is doing (if anything) with your data...

Connection logs

Some VPNs keep a few connection logs. These are primarily used to keep the service running smoothly. Connection logs may or may not be secure, depending on whether they are also stored with the user’s IP address. Connection logs such as bandwidth logs are not particularly troubling because they cannot be used to ascertain what the VPN user did online. 

However, connection timestamps that are stored with the user’s IP address can be used to mount a time correlation attack. These kinds of logs could be used to connect a VPN user to his or her online habits. 

Despite this possibility, it is worth understanding that a time correlation attack is a very specific and targeted attack that is only ever carried out if a VPN is approached by law enforcement during an ongoing criminal investigation. This data is very unlikely to ever be sold by a VPN provider, because it has little value to anybody but law enforcement. 

For more information about VPN logs, see our no logs VPN guide. 

Which VPNs sell data?

The majority of VPNs that sell their user’s data to third parties are the untrustworthy free VPN services. These kinds of VPNs rely on the income from selling their user’s data to keep the VPN up and running. Managing a VPN service is not cheap, and in order to keep a service up and running some kind of income is necessary. That is why the best VPNs charge a subscription fee.

The problem with free providers that sell data instead of charging a fee, is that you never know who the VPN provider is selling your data to. Your privacy is at serious risk when you use these kinds of VPN services, and we strongly recommend that you stay away from them.

If you want to know whether a VPN is selling data, the best thing is to either read the VPN reviews here at BestVPN.com or to check its privacy policy carefully. If a VPN gives itself permission to sell user data to third parties - such as marketing companies - this should set off alarm bells. If a VPN grants itself permission to sell your data, it almost certainly is.

Is a VPN selling my data - Conclusion

If you are paying for a reputable premium VPN service, the provider is almost certainly not selling your data. Assuming the VPN has a no logs policy (or only keeps a few connection logs/aggregated statistics), the provider does not have any valuable data to sell to third parties. These VPNs are by far the best choice because their policy is transparent and assures its subscribers’ data privacy.

Always check your VPN provider's privacy policy to fully understand what it is doing with your data.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh is one of BestVPN's resident VPN experts. Ray is currently ranked #1 VPN authority in the world by agilience.com. During his time at BestVPN.com Ray has reviewed some of the world's foremost VPNs. Ray is an advocate for digital privacy, with vast experience writing about the political and social aspects of infosec, cybersec, and data privacy. Find him @newsglug on Twitter.

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