VPN Articles and News

Can You Trust Your VPN Provider? 5 Tips to Check For

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Over the last few years, VPN services have become the preferred medium to protect one’s privacy on the internet. A VPN service not only shields your data and privacy from all kinds of security threats but also protects you from surveillance and censorship measures used by the governments. But can you really trust your VPN service provider to keep your identity and traffic details secure? In this article, we will suggest few tips to check the trustworthiness of your VPN service provider.

Tip #1: Check the Privacy Policy
Before you subscribe to a VPN service, you need to read the provider’s Privacy Policy and Terms Of Service documents in detail. The policies should clearly mention what kind of logs are kept and for how long. Ideally, you should not subscribe to a VPN service if the provider keeps IP addresses (or other details like email address, location etc.) for more than 2-3 days. This is important because by the time law enforcement agencies get a valid court order and ask the provider to reveal customers’ details, the data would have already been purged. Most reputed VPN companies do not log traffic usage details or any other kind of personally identifiable information so your personal details would never get compromised.

Tip #2: Do Your Research
Next, you need to do research about the company and verify whether it has revealed customer details in the past. This information may not be readily available but you can dig it out by visiting internet security forums. By doing some research about the company’s history, you should get a clear idea about whether the company is really serious about customer privacy. While most VPN companies comply with a valid court notice and reveal customer details, some VPN providers do fight till the end and are even willing to shut their shop if forced to reveal customer data.

Tip #3: What Data Do They Share
Next, you must check and/or ask whether the company shares customer data with advertisers or third parties. This is usually not a problem for paid VPN services but a lot of free VPN service providers do share subscriber data with their partners and server advertisements to their users. Such VPN companies even send promotional emails from time to time which goes against the very principles of a privacy service. Ideally, you should not rely on free VPN services to keep your privacy safe since they are tracking your browsing habits and sharing them with other companies for their own gains.

Tip #4: Check the Company Infrastructure
Next, you need to evaluate what kind of infrastructure the company owns. Most fly by night VPN companies rent substandard hardware at remote datacenters so they themselves are vulnerable to data thefts and other kinds of security breaches. You should also stay away from VPN resellers since they usually oversell their service and are not able to deliver the promised speed or bandwidth. Most reputed VPN companies deploy their servers at Tier-1 data centers so you are assured of a reasonable performance and service uptime.

Tip #5: Does the Provider Allow Anonymous Subscription
Finally, you must check whether the provider allows you to subscribe anonymously. While most providers insist on a valid email address and payment information, some VPN companies allow you to subscribe with a disposable address and pay via bitcoins. If the provider insists on having your address or phone number and is based in US or UK then you can be reasonably certain that the company would hand over your data if such a request is made by law enforcement agencies.

May 21, 2014

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