NordVPN

What does ‘no logs’ mean?

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

April 17, 2014

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).

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