For 2013, I wanted to update my recommendations for Anonymous VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). If you’d like a general introduction to VPNs, see this article. There are only a limited number of VPN providers that take privacy seriously. When choosing a provider, make sure that:
- They perform no logging of internet activities (not even the time and dates you connect)
- They support anonymous payments, and require only minimal information for registration
- They allow unrestricted internet usage
If a VPN provider restricts your usage of the internet via their VPN, that indicates that they are monitoring your connections in some manner.
It’s a good idea to ensure that the VPN provider doesn’t know who you are. You can do this by paying anonymously, providing artificial credentials, and signing while using a Tor browser.
If you use the Tor network while connected to a VPN, it will give you an extra degree of anonymity, because the VPN solves the major issue of compromised or malicious TOR relays. For more info, check our tips for using VPNs, and our general article on Online Privacy.
These are our recommendations for the Best Anonymous VPN For 2013:
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is a VPN service that is highly regarded by privacy advocates. The company operates out of the United States with gigabit gateways in the U.S., Canada, UK, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
I’ve been testing their VPN service for about 9 months, and so far the service has been fast and reliable. I use it continuously now, and I don’t notice any lag when browsing the web, or downloading files.
Their VPN service supports all the major platforms: Window, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android. They support the following VPN protocols: PPTP, IPSEC, OpenVPN and L2TP. You can also configure Private Internet Access to work on a DD-WRT router or Tomato router (via SSL/OpenVPN) for constant security.
Their VPN client also has handy features like DNS leakage blocking and an “internet kill switch” (a feature that shuts off your internet connection if your VPN connection goes down).
In regards to logging user activity, the company says:
We absolutely do not maintain any VPN logs of any kind. We utilize shared IP addresses rather than dynamic or static IPs, so it is not possible to match a user to an external IP. These are some of the many solutions we have implemented to enable the strongest levels of anonymity amongst VPN services. Further, we would like to encourage our users to use an anonymous e-mail and pay with Bitcoins to ensure even higher levels of anonymity should it be required. Our core verticals are privacy, quality of service, and prompt customer support. We will not share any information with third parties without a valid court order. With that said, it is impossible to match a user to any activity on our system since we utilize shared IPs and maintain absolutely no logs.
For payment they accept credit cards, Paypal, Bitcoin, and Liberty Reserve.
The service costs $6.95 per month, or $40 per year. This is about half the cost of the other VPN providers listed here.
Link: Private Internet Access
BTGuard is a VPN provider based in Canada. As you can tell by their name, this company specializes in creating anonymous internet connections for Bittorrent users. The service works on Windows, Mac and Linux. Besides using the pre-configured client, users can also set up their own client to work with BTGuard (any client that supports “Socks V5″ proxies including uTorrent and Vuze). In addition, BTGuard also includes encryption tunnel software for security purists.
In regards to logging user activity, the company says:
The jurisdiction is Canada. Since we do not have log files, we have no information to share. We do not communicate with any third parties. The only event we would even communicate with a third party is if we received a court order. We would then be forced to notify them we have no information. This has not happened yet.
On the negative side, I’ve seen some user complaints about BTGuard’s email support being slow, and some users also report that they are occasionally dropped from the service when using the Canadian servers.
The price for the BTGuard VPN is $9.95 per month, or $6.95 a month for their Bittorrent Proxy service. You are only allowed to connect to their servers from one household at a time, but you can connect to their servers from unlimited computers simultaneously inside that one household.
BolehVPN was founded 2007 in Malaysia, and it is now one of the largest VPN providers in South East Asia. BolehVPN does not log internet activity and they support P2P transfers. The company is known for their personalized customer support, and they have active community of customers. Aside from VPN services, they also provide game server hosting and Mumble hosting for customers in the South-East Asian region.
The have 25 servers in 9 different countries, including one located in Hong Kong.
For payment they accept Bitcoin, PayPal, Liberty Reserve, WebCash, online banking transfer (Malaysian customers only) or even cash deposits (Malaysian customers only).
he cost of the service is $10.50 per month or $85.90 per year.
Air VPN is a VPN provider located in Italy that puts a great deal of attention on providing a truly anonymous service. The company says “When we built our infrastructure we had in mind access from people who live in freedom of expression extremely hostile areas, where identity disclosure can lead to critical threats to physical safety and to personal freedom.”
Their servers are located in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, United States and United Kingdom, and in each country there’s at least a 1 Gbit/second server. The company says:
All servers come with dedicated uplink ports. IP addresses are shared with option to forward ports from the control panel. Servers exit-IP and entry-IP are different, against correlation attacks. No logs are kept, and there’s no traffic limit.
For payment, Air VPN accepts Bitcoin, Paypal and credit cards. The price of the service is 7 euros ($9) per month, or 54 euros ($72) per year.
Link: Air VPN