Should You Trust Your VPN?

A VPN logo.

The best way to determine if a VPN is worthy of your trust is how transparent it is about how it handles your data. Look for blogs explaining its practices and third-party audit reports verifying the provider’s trustworthiness.

VPNs love to claim that they keep users’ data private and their browsing anonymous. However, because of the way VPNs work, you’re taking them at their word on most of this, meaning that you’re trusting them to keep you safe. Should you, though?

It’s not an easy question to answer. There are VPNs that shouldn’t be trusted for any number of reasons, and there are also ones that are likely safe to use. After all, we have a selection of the best VPNs we recommend to our readers; we wouldn’t do that if we felt there were no trustworthy VPNs.

Why Do You Need to Trust Your VPN?

Let’s take a look at why the question is even important, first. We use virtual private networks to hide what we do online and to spoof our location. The reason we’re hiding our online activity can be simply to avoid scrutiny from marketers, or could be because we’re torrenting files or trying to avoid surveillance from authoritarian governments.

However, while you may be hiding from Big Brother, the VPN also has the potential to have a lot of information about you. For example, most of them will have your email address, and if you paid by credit card, they likely have your name and home address, too—it’s why we recommend signing up anonymously.

On top of that, VPN providers also could know what you were doing online the whole time you were connected, negating much of the VPN’s usefulness entirely. To prevent this from happening, VPNs promise that they’re no-log VPNs, services that destroy any record of your online activity. After all, if there’s no record, there’s nothing to sell to marketers or to hand over to the authorities.

However, it’s very hard to prove that logs are destroyed, meaning that the claims VPNs make of protecting your anonymity are taken on faith. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make sure a VPN is worth your trust.

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