A VPN or “virtual private network” is the easiest way to make your internet activities private. If you want to browse the web privately or share files privately, a VPN will encrypt and redirect your internet connections. This means all the data leaving your computer is encrypted, making it very difficult for hackers or eavesdroppers to monitor your internet connections. Note that a VPN is different to a web proxy, which only redirects your browser connections. A VPN encrypts and redirects all your internet connections. However, many VPN providers retain logs of your online activities, which means they become just another company tracking you. This is not optimal if you wish to remain anonymous. We present here two good VPN providers that do not retain user logs:
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is a U.S.-based VPN provider that doesn’t retain user logs. The company currently operates out of the United States with gigabit gateways in the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
I’ve been testing their VPN service for a couple months now, and so far it’s been fast and reliable. It use it continuously now, and I don’t notice any lag when browsing the web, or downloading files.
Concerning activity logging, the company says:
We absolutely do not maintain any VPN logs of any kind. We utilize shared IP addresses rather than dynamic or static IPs, so it is not possible to match a user to an external IP. These are some of the many solutions we have implemented to enable the strongest levels of anonymity amongst VPN services. Further, we would like to encourage our users to use an anonymous e-mail and pay with Bitcoins to ensure even higher levels of anonymity should it be required. Our core verticals are privacy, quality of service, and prompt customer support. We will not share any information with third parties without a valid court order. With that said, it is impossible to match a user to any activity on our system since we utilize shared IPs and maintain absolutely no logs.
Their services cost $6.95 per month, and they accept credit cards, Paypal, Bitcoin, and Liberty reserve. The support all the major platforms: Window, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Andriod. They support the following VPN protocols: PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP.
Link: Private Internet Access
A newcomer to the VPN scene, IPVanish started operation in 2012, and is headquartered in the USA. They have already earned a good reputation for privacy and fast connection speeds. According to the company there are “no restrictions on any legal use of the VPN”, and protocols such as bittorrent are not filtered. The service costs $10 per month or $77 per year. IPVanish has 35 VPN servers located throughout 14 countries giving 2,500+ potential IP addresses. They run their own tier-1 network, and they company claims that they have the fastest VPN connection speeds. IPVanish supports OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols.
IPVanish offers a 7 Day Free Trial in the form of a money back guarantee. You will need a credit card to signup, but if you decide that you do not enjoy the service, email the IPVanish Support Team (available 24×7) and they’ll issue a refund.
Based in the Seychelles, Astrill is another VPN that gets consistently high ratings from reviews sites and customers, due to their straightforward connection software, robust support and comprehensive documentation.
Astrill supports Mac OS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android, and they have 80 VPN servers in 44 countries. According to VPNSP, when connected to an Astrill VPN in the U.S., the resulting internet connection speeds were: 40.27 Mbps download and 1.51 Mbps upstream. Connected to Astrill’s German VPN, the connection speeds were 24.60 Mbps download and 1.25 Mbps upstream. Astrill supports a wide range of VPN protocols — Astrill OpenWeb, OpenVPN (SSL VPN), PPTP, L2TP/IPSec and Cisco IPSec.
If you’re in the market for a new router, Astrill sell routers pre-configured with the Astrill VPN — so you don’t need an additional client to protect your data.
Astrill does not provide dedicated IPs, and they do not offer monthly service plans (the 3 months plan is the shortest they offer). Their service costs $9.98 per month or $69.95 per year.
I also review other VPNs in my article The Best VPNs Of 2012.