Let’s not discuss why you should be using a VPN by now.
Because you really should be.
But since there are so many different VPN service providers, how do you know whom to trust?
A VPN service can look at your internet traffic all they want right?
So how are they different from ISPs?
Can’t VPN services just spy on you?
Is the only thing you can do is to trust your VPN service?
How do you even pick one that is trustable since all can see what you’re doing?
We’ll answer all those questions in this series of VPN trustability.
To answer the last question first, yes, it is true that you have to show some trust in your VPN service provider.
You also have to convince yourself that your VPN service provider is probably looking out for your best interests.
It is simple.
You are relying on VPN service providers to protect your privacy and secure your internet connection.
They do that by encrypting all your internet traffic.
This protects your internet traffic from prying eyes.
Make no mistake, that whenever a user is connected to a VPN service, the user is actually connected to the VPN’s network.
And after that, the user is connected to the VPN’s servers.
So when your VPN service provider tells you that your exit IP is in the UK, then you have no other choice but to believe that your exit IP is really in the UK and the VPN service is pulling wool over your eyes.
Without trust, there is no point in signing up with a VPN service provider.
Trust is the name of the game in the VPN industry.
Why Is It So Important That Users Trust Their VPN Service?
The truth is most VPN services cannot be trusted.
In fact, you’re going to have to work hard to find one that you can trust.
There are VPN services out there that actually log your connection times along with many other pieces of information such as,
- Dates you connected to the VPN service
- IP addresses of the users
- How long the user remained connected
- The type of traffic a specific user sent through the VPN network
And some more.
If you ask these VPN services about this they will simply tell you that they do this so that they can protect their business from users who do illegal stuff on the internet.
They will also tell you that this allows them to stop activities that might damage their VPN network.
But of course, that defeats the purpose of using a VPN service from the beginning.
Or does it?
The best VPN service providers keep that logging to a bare minimum.
Most of all, they are not at all interested in what a user does through their network while he/she is connected to their network.
And that’s how all VPN services should be.
In fact, we know some VPN services that don’t even keep a record of whether a user logged in or out.
Some good VPN service providers do keep logs because of legal restrictions.
But they delete those after a fixed number of days have passed in order to protect user privacy and anonymity.
Privacy and security are the two top reasons why people are willing to pay for a VPN service and hence VPN services should respect their users in that regard.
For users who want complete privacy, VPN services become the weakest link in the chain when they don’t get rid of user logs.
To know if a VPN service is worth your time you should follow the tips below and research VPN services on your own to find out if they are suitable for your requirements.
Firstly, Why Do You Want TO Use A VPN Service?
It doesn’t matter if you have a VPN service provider at the moment or not.
But even if you are searching for a good VPN service, it doesn’t hurt to just stop and think for a moment.
Why do you want a VPN service in the first place?
We’ve already established the fact that most people will be better off if they use a VPN service.
You already know that different types of people need different types of VPN services.
The ultimate reason for a VPN service, however, is the same.
People want security and privacy.
If you’re the type of user who is only interested in security and coincidentally have a VPN service subscription from school or the company you work for, then you don’t really need to look elsewhere.
Our research tells us that most VPN services cover users sufficiently when it comes to security.
And that’s great because most people only want to protect themselves from snoopers that hang around, in most cases, on the same network as the user is on.
Think free Wi-Fi networks at places such as hotels and coffee shops.
Include airports in that list too.
With that said, you still need to make sure that the VPN service provider you have subscribed too isn’t itself keeping a record of your activities.
Sniffing sucks no matter who does it.
Generally speaking, VPN services aren’t themselves a security problem.
We’ll talk more about that in a moment though.
But first, let’s talk about users who are mainly concerned with their privacy.
Ensuring your privacy is protected is slightly tricky.
Why Is Privacy Tricky
Because it is very difficult to tell if your VPN service provider is watching what you’re doing online.
For all you know, your VPN service provider could easily roll over and give up information regarding user activity along with logs and personal data to government agencies or even third-party companies who usually come calling with a subpoena or another type of legal letter.
Users who want privacy have to worry about another thing.
That is, VPN services that keep user data for themselves.
It may not sound like a big deal but that data can be used against the user at some point in the future if a need arises.
E Even worse, that data can be sold to the highest bidder and then get used for marketing purposes.
You might get lucky and not have your personal data go through the above scenarios.
But even then, sometimes your data is just laying there.
Until someone else comes in and scoops it up.
Whichever way you look at it, the situation is pretty bad.
Unless you do something about it yourself.
Namely, do some research.
But do you research a VPN service properly?
Here is how.
Do The Required Homework
In fact, we think this rule should hold true for everything else you sign up for as well.
When it comes to VPN service though, it is vital that you do some research beforehand.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention free VPN services.
You should spend double the amount of time researching free VPN services than you would for paid VPN services.
Free VPN services aren’t exactly free.
They can’t be.
In order to stay alive, they have to make money somehow.
And because they can’t charge you any money by offering your premium packages or download limits, they do so by selling user data.
Sometimes they make money by logging user activity and then use that for other marketing purposes.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good free VPN service providers out there.
There are and we have talked about them extensively in the past.
In short, you can definitely find VPN services that don’t log user activity and in fact, do a lot of marketing based on this single “feature”.
Some free VPN service providers augment their business by also offering paid and premium packages.
These packages usually have more features and sometimes allow users to use the service more for a nominal fee.
Paid VPN Services Are Slightly Different
In fact, the whole matter is a bit different.
Since users pay for these type of VPN service providers, it should be their duty to make sure security and privacy is taken care of.
Most paid VPN service providers, unfortunately, don’t do that or rather can’t do that.
Some VPN services put too much focus on privacy while others do the same with security.
You can probably spot which one is which by reading their marketing material.
If you want to sign up for such services then, by all means, do so.
But don’t expect much in the way of privacy.
People and organizations will come after such VPN services with appropriate subpoenas and other Cease and Desist letters.
These VPN services will then cancel your VPN account and then provide these organizations with your data.
How about the fact that some VPN services aren’t afraid to admit that they do so and provide data to whoever is asking for it.
Therefore, you can save yourself from a lot of trouble by simply following easy guidelines on how to research paid VPN services the proper way.
Use Google To Search VPN Services And Don’t Forget To Use The Term “Logging” In Your Query
This tip might seem overly simple to you.
But it is not.
Even if it is, it doesn’t change the fact that it is highly effective.
Most of the time though it is buried somewhere deep within the official website.
So prepare to spend some decent amount of time in finding it.
If you can find it though, all your questions will be answered straight away.
As mentioned before, some VPN service providers don’t hide the fact that they don’t keep logs.
And why should they?
It is definitely a plus rather than a negative.
Some VPN service providers tell it as it is and advertise that they only keep access logs.
These “access logs”, they say, are a must because they want to use these in order to bill users for their VPN usage.
VPN service providers also, sometimes, say that they do keep logs.
But immediately following that they mention that they delete those logs on a daily or weekly basis.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the VPN service provider that simply lie.
Or try to dodge tough questions.
These VPN services use sentences like “we only keep logs that are required by law”.
Don’t be fooled by such propaganda.
It only means that these VPN services will do whatever law enforcement agencies ask them to do.
And if you have been following the news for a while, you would know that law enforcement agencies can literally ask for anything.
What About VPN Service Providers That Don’t Address The Issue?
At that point, you should take advantage of the rest of the methods we have discussed before.
Google the VPN company.
Find websites and forums that talk about that VPN company’s commitment to privacy and their logging policies.
You can also find some great articles on some websites (such as the one you’re reading right now) that talk, in depth, about which VPN service offers what with regards to privacy and security.
All of this should be able to help you in figuring out if a VPN service is legit.
Or even good not just legit.
Primarily though, you should always try to find out if a VPN service truly cares about your privacy.
Moreover, the best situation is if a VPN service provider not only cares about your privacy but makes the same effort in ensuring your security as well.
As we have mentioned before, finding such a VPN service provider is awfully hard.
But they are there.
All it requires is a bit of effort on your part.
So do the work.
We haven’t discussed some of the other methods you can use to find out if a VPN service is trustworthy or not.
For that, stay tuned and read the next second part of this series of VPN trustability posts.
If you have any questions or comments then don’t be hesitant to use the comments section below and let us know about them.
Don’t forget to subscribe to SecurityGladiators for more in-depth articles on how to identify the best VPN service provider for your needs.
For the second part of this series of posts, go here.