There are many things to consider when shopping for a VPN provider. Of course, you want to choose a provider that supports the features you’re after.
But, if your primary reason for using a VPN to enhance your online privacy, then there’s a key element you need to check before signing-up: their logging policy.
The logging policy can make or break a VPN provider – at least on the privacy front.
In this post, we ask the question: does PureVPN keep logs? And the answer is not as clear-cut as you might think.
Let’s take a closer look at this and try to make some sense of this apparent contradiction.Visit PureVPN (7 day trial)
What Makes a Trustworthy VPN?
It’s not just the logging policy that makes a VPN provider trustworthy. A VPN provider that doesn’t log your traffic but that uses obsolete protocols, for example, wouldn’t be considered trustworthy.
So what does a “trustworthy” VPN provider mean? It means you should be able to answer the following questions:
Security Considerations In Assessing VPNs Providers:
- Encryption Strength: Which protocols and ciphers do the provider support? Are they weak and obsolete? Are they free of known vulnerabilities?
- VPN Kill Switch: Do their apps include a network kill switch that blocks your traffic in the event of a disconnect?
- DNS Leak Protection: Do they run their own in-tunnel no-logging DNS servers?
- Ads & Tracker Blocking: Does their subscription come with an ad and tracker blocker?
- WebRTC Protection: Do they mitigate WebRTC leaks?
- Tor Over VPN: Do they support bouncing your VPN traffic over the Tor network?
- Jurisdiction: Are they based outside a 14 Eyes jurisdiction and is it legal for them to run a no-logging service in that jurisdiction?
- Support for Anonymous Payments: Are cash or Bitcoin payments accepted?
These are all important questions you should have answered before signing-up for any VPN service.
But my point here is that even if all the above boxes are ticked, but that your VPN provider logs your traffic, the benefits reaped from all of the above points evaporate.
Why is the Logging Policy so Important?
The logging policy supports and enables all of the other safeguards typically associated with VPNs.
A VPN provider can use the latest protocols and ciphers and provide you with internal DNS servers and a kill switch, but if they log your activities, what have you gained, really?
Name the feature, it gets undercut if your VPN provider logs.
And while on the subject, stay away from free VPN services (except perhaps ProtonVPN – which is a notable exception to this hard rule). They log your activities and may even inject ads in your traffic.
Get familiar with a provider’s logging policy before handing over your cash. Always.
What Does No-Logging Mean?
A strong, trustworthy no-logging policy will explicitly not collect the following:
- Traffic logs
- IP address logs
- Connection logs
- Connection/disconnection timestamps
- Bandwidth logs
When using a VPN, you’re protected from ISP snooping. Your ISP can no longer see what you’re doing online, aside form connecting to a VPN server.
But you’re not invisible, per se. You’ve simply shifted the ability to snoop on your traffic from your ISP to your VPN provider.
So trust is essential and it’s essential that they do not log to be considered trustworthy.
So, What About PureVPN’s Logging Policy?
So, first off, PureVPN has a dedicated page on its website, explaining its no-logging policy. We find this at the top of that page:
So this is their “reviewed” logging policy, which dates back to 2018.
OK. But it just so happens that in 2017, as was reported by The Register, PureVPN logged and handed over the details of one of its users to law enforcement. I wrote about this in a nit more depth in our PureVPN review.
But in a nutshell, PureVPN collected and handed over the originating IP addresses, as well as the IP addresses of the VPN servers that users connected to, to law enforcement.
That criminals need to pay for their crimes is a given. But that’s not the point here. The individual in question could just as easily have been a dissident, a journalist, or an activist, to name a few.
And what PureVPN did, directly contradicts their existing policies.
To their credit, they also submitted to an independent audit, in 2018, which founded their claims.
But it’s very difficult (impossible?) for a VPN provider to recover from such blatant breach of customer trust.
But that’s not all.
Wow… That’s a lot of tracking…
So if you use PureVPN’s native apps, you’re also connecting to Google, Facebook, and Microsoft (Firebase). That. Makes. No. Sense.
A product designed to enhance your privacy, built with APIs from the world’s worst privacy violators, that provides analytics on your usage (and quite frankly, who knows what else?)? No thanks.
You’re likely using a VPN to thwart tracking from Facebook, Google & company (among others). But by using PureVPN’s apps, you’re enabling those very companies to track you.
It’s Still a Trust Issue
That’s right. It still, and always will come down to trust.
A provider can have as many policies as it wants, whether it adheres to its own policies is another question.
And in PureVPN’s case, we have a company that claims to not log your traffic, but that did log user data and shared it with law enforcement, in the past.
We also have a company that stuffs their client apps with trackers. No wonder they don’t provide an ad & tracker blocker with their service. They’d be blocking their own apps’ tracking…
Can we trust PureVPN? No, we cannot.
In the End…
Does PureVPN keep logs? They apparently don’t. But it’s difficult to trust them.
Then we find out they were successfully audited, and we may want to give them the benefit of the doubt.
After that, we find out that their apps are bloated with trackers and our doubts are confirmed: PureVPN is not a good choice for the privacy-minded.
So while we can’t really be 100% sure about whether PureVPN logs or not. We should treat them as if they do.
So does PureVPN log? No, but yes, so stay away – my two cents.Visit PureVPN (7 day trial)
Does PureVPN Keep Logs?
By Marc Dahan
Last updated: July 17, 2020