A VPN by Any Other NameHowever, it is only as logical as the VPN provider you choose. Whilst there may be some fantastic free options available, you might not be as truly anonymous as other, paid-for options.
A truly private and anonymous service does not maintain any logs detailing your Internet use while connected to their servers. They should actively ensure your personal details remain private, offer a consistently encrypted Internet connection, and ideally operate their own DNS to further alleviate any external logging that usually takes place.
We’ve taken a look at six VPNs that take your anonymity seriously, and here they are — in no particular order, we must add.
PIA has publicly stated “We do not store logs relating to traffic, session, DNS or metadata,” as well as operating “our own DNS servers on our high throughput network.” PIA offer high levels of privacy and anonymity, as well as the option to choose either 128- or 256-bit encryption (or interestingly, none at all).
Due to the size and spread of their network infrastructure, PIA also offer a fast and stable connection, as well as an integrated VPN kill switch to immediately disconnect from the Internet in the event the VPN fails.@raena I've been using Private Internet Access for a year now with no issues. Fast & reliable, plus they leave you alone.— Dollah (@jinkies) August 31, 2015
As well as offering a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a rarely-seen referral system to encourage you to spread the word, an ExpressVPN account comes with zero logging of your activities, 256-bit encryption, and a range of VPN protocols to suit your connection.
ExpressVPN comes in at $12.95 for a single month, dropping to $8.32/$99.84 for a 12 month subscription.Shout out to Noel and @expressvpn for great online customer service. This company deliver every time!— Clare Biddle (@BiddleClare) May 9, 2016
TorGuard suggests using the OpenVPN protocol with high level encryption, offering users a choice of 128- and 256-bit, depending on their requirements and local network infrastructure. The package also includes “a connection kill switch, application kill switch, DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, WebRTC leak protection, and Stealth VPN services,” as well as the choice between its own private TorGuard DNS servers, or Google DNS servers.
TorGuard offers a range of solutions, starting at $9.99 for a single month, dropping to $4.99/$59.99 for a 12 month subscription.@TorGuard Best VPN that works!— Keith See (@keithsee) May 14, 2016
A Mullvad VPN solution is available for roughly $5.66 per month.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that IVPN uses 256-bit encryption, utilizing the OpenVPN protocol to offer you maximum security, as well as an “advanced VPN firewall” to block any potential IP leaking. The firewall is activated during the boot process to ensure no network traffic can take place outside of the VPN tunnel, further guaranteeing your privacy.
My only slight concern would be IVPN’s Gibraltar-registered status, and whether any pending or future alterations to United Kingdom and European Union digital privacy laws will have an immediate effect on its users. However, for the time being, this is not a worry!
An IVPN solution comes in at $15 for a single month, dropping to $8.33/$100 for a 12 month subscription.
Their network is slightly different to your run of the mill VPN providers, too. CryptoStorm offers a token-based authentication system to do away with anything resembling identification, at the same time distancing themselves from the users accessing the network. You purchase a token from a dedicated reseller, such as vpndark.net, then activate your VPN service, leaving no discernable trace of purchasing the service in the hands of CryptoStorm.@DAkacki @cryptostorm_is Token based auth, ability to pay in BTC, reliable and fast. Never had an issue. Just wanted to send them some love.— thomas.dll (@sehque) February 6, 2016
It also uses “OpenVPN with logs set to /dev/null” and have “even gone the extra mile by preventing client IPs from appearing in the temporary ‘status’ logs.”
CryptoStorm is serious about your privacy, and you can access a single month of privacy for $6.99, or select a 12 month subscription for $4.58/$54.99.
Are You Ready To Choose?It is a somewhat problematic decision, but it isn’t difficult to understand the importance of using a VPN, or why so many global citizens are concerned about the reach of both government and corporations alike. The Snowden revelations didn’t so much as kick-start a movement, but breathed life into and gave weight to the feeling of surveillance and tracking many believed existed.
You don’t have to secede your right to privacy and anonymity just because of the Internet, and with these VPNs, you can begin to take some of it back.