25/09/2013
How to Find a Secure VPN Provider

One troubling fact about many VPN providers is that they are based in countries that force them by law to have low standards regarding the security of their customers’ data. This seriously undermines any claim to be offering real privacy and security.

Log keeping

In defending their customers’ privacy, the most important thing a VPN provider can do is to refrain from log keeping. Unfortunately most countries do not allow this, instead forcing providers to keep logs. Many VPNs which are not compelled to keep logs by law still choose to do so; this includes most providers in the United States.

Though many providers will assure customers that they will resist requests to have logs handed over to the authorities, no guarantee can be given that logs will be kept safe. The only way a VPN provider can offer a genuine assurance of protecting customers is if there are no logs available to be handed over in the first place.

Another thing to be wary of is when VPNs record of traffic logs. Traffic logs don’t record which sites you have visited, but instead log things like times of connection & disconnection, the IP address from which you connected, and other such metadata. Though normally recorded just for the purpose of troubleshooting, this metadata can still be very revealing and potentially dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands.

Use of shared IPs

Every serious VPN provider uses shared IP addresses, which allow multiple customers to share a single IP when connecting to the web. Though it’s not a hundred percent fail-safe, picking out an individual among multiple users is very tricky. It’s strongly recommended to only use VPN providers offering shared IPs.

VPN clients

Some of the VPN clients offered by VPN providers can have great additional features, such as port forwarding, built-in DNS leak protection, server load information, and internet kill switches. Though impressive and often highly useful, these applications aren’t guaranteed to be free from malicious code. If you’re concerned about NSA snooping, it’s best to stick with free and open-source software (FOSS), which can be peer-reviewed and audited by anyone. It’s much harder for the NSA to tamper with an open source program such as OpenVPN than closed source proprietary software

Bitcoin payments

If a VPN provider is truly committed to privacy it should allow anonymous payments in Bitcoins. Though a VPN can still track you to your IP address, paying anonymously in Bitcoins means you are surrendering one less source of personal information. Even if you’re not planning to use anonymous payments, accepting Bitcoins is a good sign that a VPN provider is genuinely committed to protecting its users’ privacy.

Final thoughts

With so many VPN providers to choose from and so many failing to offer adequate security, finding the right provider is a challenge. We recommend Faceless VPN, a VPN provider that really takes security seriously.

Read more: VPN Service ReviewVPN ProvidersHow to Setup a VPN Tunnel.