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100+ VPN Logging Policies Debunked

Rob Mardisalu

Rob Mardisalu

Extensive case-study on 100+ VPN providers and their logging policy.

100 VPN Logging Policies Debunked
Be aware: Some VPNs can have access to your browsing logs.

With over 300 VPN providers on the market, it’s difficult to know who to trust. You want your VPN to be completely private, anonymous and secure.

After all, most VPNs claim “Anonymity & Privacy” when using their services.Unfortunately, what they claim often does not reflect the truth.

To uncover this problem, we fact-checked 100 VPN privacy policies on logging.

Our research revealed that many VPNs store or log some kind of data for the purpose of either; selling/sharing your data to 3rd parties, limiting bandwidth, improving their service, logging with rental servers (VPS) or applying with laws.

Below are the commonly collected logs/data according to VPN privacy policies. (Last checked April, 2019)

  • Bandwidth (51%)
  • Connection Timestamps (49%)
  • Your IP address (40%)
  • Websites you visit (19%)
    For detailed info on which logs are kept by different VPN services, see this spreadsheet.

Popular VPNs That Keep Usage Logs

Let’s start off with the ones who simply keep usage logs which basically make your VPN not private or anonymous. Table 1 lists out the VPNs that keep your browsing history and compromising the idea of a secure and private connection.

Table 1. VPNs that access your browsing history.

VPN Provider Type of Logs Privacy Policy Share/Sell Data?
1. McAfee Safe Connect
1+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • Your IP address
  • Apps installed on your device
  • Timestamps
We may collect and use…details about your internet or network usage (including URLs or domain names of websites you visit, information about the applications installed on your device, or traffic data… (source)
We may also share aggregate data that does not identify you or any specific device with third parties.
2. Hola VPN
50+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • Time on those pages
  • Timestamps
We collect log data that may include browser type, web pages you visit, time on those pages, access items and dates… (source)
We may also transfer or disclose Personal Information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies.
3. Hoxx VPN
<1 million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • Your IP address
  • Timestamps
We collect log information about … access times, pages viewed, your IP address… (source)
We may share your data with our services providers…  We have contracts with our service providers that prohibit them from sharing the information about you that they collect or that we provide to them with anyone else, or using it for other purposes.
4. Hotspot VPN
1+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • Things you type into fields
  • Your device information
  • Your IP address
We log information and other data from your device, such as webpage addresses and data fields… (source)
We may share, sell, transmit, or otherwise make available to third parties information that does not include personally identifying information.
5. AVG VPN
1+ million installs
  • All logs
We collect and use VPN Data for the operation of our business to… VPN Data is stored for between 2 and 3 months on our secure servers…(source)
Not disclosed
6. Psiphon
10+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • Your IP address
  • Timestamps
We collect what sites are popular…
This information is shared with our partners so that they can see how often their sites are visited… (source)
All statistics shared with sponsors are further aggregated by date, sponsor, and region.

 

7. Unlocator
<1 million installs
  • All logs*
*We keep a log at a personal identifiable level which is automatically purged at a 24 hour interval… (source)
We are transferring your personal data, when necessary to be able to deliver the ordered service to you. These are typically Hosting Providers.
8. Seed 4 Me
<1 million installs
  • All logs
We do keep all logs…(source)
Not disclosed

As you can see, many popular VPNs keep your browsing logs, websites you visit, your IP address and many more.

For example, McAfee’s Safe Connect claims to encrypt your online activity and defend you against cybercriminals. On their homepage, they also claim to protect your privacy.

Unfortunately, your privacy is not protected, since in their privacy policy McAfee claims the following:

McAfee claims to store logs

Another disturbing VPN is Hola VPN with over 50 million installs on Google play alone. They also have a browser extensions. What Hola does it simple,

Hola Full Logging
https://hola.org/legal/privacy

Hola don’t even try to hide it. Why would they? Hola actively sell access to your device and network through which 3rd parties can access the internet.

Hola VPN uses you as a peer
Image from: https://hola.org/legal/privacy

As if it’s not concerning enough that a VPN, meant to protect you, is the very one that is abusing your trust and data, popular Chinese based VPNs like Hotspot VPN and Hoxx VPN go further by caliming to Log information and other data from your device, such as webpage addresses and data field.

hotspot vpn logging policy
Source: Hotspot VPN logging policy (http://vpn-hotspot.com/privacy)

Popular VPNs That Keep Aggregated Usage Logs

Some very popular VPNs collect aggregated browsing logs. Aggregate means the VPN service is supposedly ensuring the collected data is anonymized and not connected to specific users. However, in some cases these VPNs claim to keep “no logs”. See table 2 which VPNs collect aggregated data.

Table 2. VPN’s that keep aggregated usage logs

VPN Provider Aggregated Logs When Connected to VPN Purpose of Aggregate Data
1. HotSpot Shield
50+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
(1) Perform analytics on our services, including measuring whether our users, in aggregate, are able to successfully access certain websites or apps; (2) Troubleshoot service issues and improve service quality.
2. Betternet
10+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
We may use and disclose aggregate information…
3. TouchVPN
10+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
We share Anonymous Information with third parties, when this is required in order to provide, maintain or improve the Services. Such third parties may have access to your information only to the extant needed to provide such services. We may also share Anonymous Information with third parties for additional purposes, including for marketing, research and analytics purposes.
4. HexaTech
1+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
We may use and disclose aggregate information…
5. VPN In Touch
1+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
To our third party service providers who provide services such as website hosting, payment processing, data analysis, information technology and related infrastructure provision, customer service, email delivery, online advertising, auditing, and other services.
6. VPNHub
5+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
We may also collect, use and share your data to produce and share aggregated data that do not identify you and therefore not considered as Personal Information.
7. AppVPN
1+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
We may share aggregated information we collect, under any of the above circumstances, with third parties, including advisors, advertisers
8. X-VPN
*5+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
Advertisers may be able to collect certain information independently from you or your device when serving ads from the X-VPN, including your device’s advertising ID
9. Browsec
1+ million installs
  • Websites you visit
  • IP Address
  • Bandwidth
  • Timestamps
Browsec may use automatically-collected information in the aggregate for the purpose of monitoring, research or analysis.

Many free VPNs can also share your aggregated data with 3rd parties. Here’s how most of these privacy policies look like:

Common VPN logging policies

Usually, when using a VPN, websites that you visit, bandwidth and connection times are put into a form of data that not identifiable at personal level. Below are common sentences or phrases from the privacy policies of VPNs that either store or share aggregated data:

  • Website visited via our servers are aggregated and stored.
  • Usage Data includes aggregated information about how you use our Services
  • We may share your general (city level) location
  • We may aggregate your usage data to … calculate ad impressions clicked on
  • “We may log your data including information about your IP, the webpages you visit, time spent on those pages, access times and dates
  • … advertisers may be able to collect certain information…
  • We may also share Anonymous Information with third parties for additional purposes, including marketing, research and analytics purposes.
  • … advertisers may be able to access your IP address if your device is not connected to the VPN.”
  • … advertisers may be able to collect certain information…
  • … we may share aggregated information we collect… with third parties including advisors, advertisers…

All 100 VPNs And What Logs Are Kept:

Aggregate means the VPN service is supposedly ensuring the collected data is anonymized and not connected to specific users.

VPN Provider Browsing History IP Address Timestamps Bandwidth
Hola VPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
Safe Connect VPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hotspot VPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
AVG VPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
Seed 4 Me Yes Yes Yes Yes
Psiphon Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hoxx VPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unlocator Yes Yes Yes Yes
Browsec VPN Aggregate Yes Yes Yes
Betternet Aggregate Yes Aggregate Aggregate
TouchVPN Aggregate Yes Aggregate Aggregate
HotSpot Shield Aggregate Yes Aggregate Aggregate
Kaspersky VPN Aggregate Yes Aggregate Aggregate
HexaTech Aggregate Yes Aggregate Aggregate
VPN In Touch Aggregate Yes Aggregate Aggregate
X-VPN Aggregate Yes Yes Aggregate
VPNHub Aggregate No Aggregate Aggregate
Hide My IP No Yes Yes Yes
VPN AC No Yes Yes Yes
HideMyAss No Yes Yes Yes
Bitdefender VPN No Yes Yes Yes
Astrill No Yes Yes Yes
Buffered No Yes Yes Yes
VPN Unlimited No Yes Yes Yes
Avast Secureline No Yes Yes Yes
Encrypt Me No Yes Yes Yes
F-Secure Freedome No Yes Yes Yes
TigerVPN No Yes Yes Yes
Speedify No Yes Yes Yes
OvpnSpider No Yes Yes Yes
AppVPN No Yes Yes Yes
Thunder VPN No Yes Yes Yes
VPN 360 No Yes Yes Yes
VPN Gate No Yes Yes No
TurboVPN No Yes Yes No
ZenMate No Yes No No
DotVPN No Yes No No
UltraSurf No Yes No No
Opera VPN No Yes No No
Ace VPN No Yes No No
TunnelBear No No Yes Yes
Private Tunnel No No Yes Yes
OpenVPN No No Yes Yes
SaferVPN No No Yes Yes
Avira Phantom No No Yes Yes
Star VPN No No Yes Yes
Anonymous VPN No No Yes Yes
ProtonVPN No No Yes No
CyberGhost No No Yes No
ExpressVPN No No No Yes
SurfEasy VPN No No No Yes
WindScribe No No No Yes
Hide Me No No No Yes
Goose VPN No No No Yes
Ivacy No No Aggregate Aggregate
SpyOFF No No Aggregate Aggregate
Norton No No Aggregate Aggregate
Trust.Zone No No Aggregate Aggregate
SurfShark No No No No
Witopia No No No No
Private Internet Access No No No No
StrongVPN No No No No
IPVanish No No No No
ibVPN No No No No
VPNSecure No No No No
VPNArea No No No No
OneVPN No No No No
CactusVPN No No No No
ZoogVPN No No No No
PrivateVPN No No No No
NordVPN No No No No
FastestVPN No No No No
SwitchVPN No No No No
VPN Tunnel No No No No
TorGuard No No No No
VyprVPN No No No No
iVPN No No No No
proxPN No No No No
VPNSecure No No No No
Disconnect VPN No No No No
VPN Proxy Master No No No No
Yoga VPN No No No No
VPN One Click No No No No
FreeVPN Org No No No No
BlackVPN No No No No
BTGuard No No No No
AirVPN No No No No
Celo VPN No No No No
SlickVPN No No No No
LiquidVPN No No No No
PureVPN No No No No
Hide All IP No No No No
AzireVPN No No No No
Mullvad No No No No
Ra4w VPN No No No No
Perfect Privacy No No No No
BolehVPN No No No No