For most of us who use a VPN, enhancing our digital privacy is the principal goal. To achieve that goal, it’s critical to choose a VPN provider that does not log your activities over their network.
The VPN provider you choose must commit to a robust and strongly-worded no-logging policy. If they do not, you should not hand over your cash or your trust.
So in this post, we’re going to look at Windscribe’s logging policy to answer the question: does Windscribe keep logs?
And the answer is no, they do not. Windscribe provides a strong no-logging policy and they commit to it, with one small caveat we’ll get into a bit later.
Let’s look at the importance of logging policies relative to VPNs in general and then take a detailed look at Windscribe’s logging policies.
What Makes a Trustworthy VPN?
For a VPN provider to be considered trustworthy, there are quite a few boxes to tick. One of those boxes will obviously be the provider’s logging policies. But it won’t the only one.
So what does it take to be a trustworthy VPN provider? A trustworthy VPN provider should have no trouble answering these questions:
Security Considerations In Assessing VPNs Providers:
- Encryption Strength: What protocols and ciphers does the VPN provider support? Are they strong and modern or weak and obsolete?
- VPN Kill Switch: Do the native apps supplied by the VPN provider include a VPN kill switch that will block your (unencrypted) traffic if the connection should drop?
- DNS Leak Protection: Do they provide in-tunnel no-logging DNS servers?
- Ads & Tracker Blocking: Do they provide an ad and tracker blocker?
- WebRTC Protection: Do they guard against WebRTC leaks?
- Tor Over VPN: Do they support bouncing your VPN traffic over the Tor network?
- Jurisdiction: Is it legal for them to run a no-logging service in their country of operation? In which jurisdiction are they based? Are they outside a 14 Eyes jurisdiction?
- Support for Anonymous Payments: Do they enable anonymous payments, by accepting cash or Bitcoin payments?
A serious VPN provider that deserves your trust should have no trouble answering all of these questions. A good place to look for such answers would be TorrentFreak’s annual Which VPN Providers Really Take Anonymity Seriously in 2020? guide.
But the point is that all of the above points are undermined if your VPN provider logs your activities. So no-logging tops that list.
Why is the Logging Policy so Important?
As stated above, the logging policy is critical because it enables all of the other privacy benefits provided by VPNs.
When you use a VPN, you take away your ISP’s ability to directly view your activities. But you’re not immune to tracking simply because you’re connected to a VPN.
You’ve essentially handed over to your VPN provider what you took away from your ISP: the ability to track you.
Without a strong no-logging policy & commitment and the technical infrastructure to enable no-logging, your VPN might not be so beneficial to your online privacy…
Your VPN provider can use 4096-bit RSA keys, if it logs your traffic, that won't make any difference.
What Does No-Logging Mean?
Any relevant no-logging policy will make sure not to collect the following data:
- IP address logs
- Connection logs
- Connection/disconnection timestamps
- Traffic logs
- Bandwidth logs
If your VPN provider did indeed log the above data points, what would be the point of using their service, really?
Trust is the crux of the commercial VPN market. And to obtain that trust, it’s critical that they do not log.
So, What About Windscribe’s Logging Policy?
Windscribe’s no-logging policy is quite good. It ticks most of the boxes.
They have a dedicated page on their website that briefly explains their no-logging policy. Here’s a screenshot:
So, they do log some things:
- Connection timestamp
- Total bandwidth over a 30-day period
Now, we can understand the bandwidth logs because Windscribe actually offers a very useable free plan, which is capped at 10GBs monthly bandwidth.
VPN services that offer a capped free tier need to keep track of the amount of data consumed, somehow…
Maybe they could disable it for paying customers?
The connection timestamps should go, in my opinion. Mitigating abuse is what is always touted to justify such collection.
But there are other ways of achieving that goal, as evidenced by other serious & secure VPN providers who do not log that information. NordVPN and ExpressVPN come to mind.
Windscribe offers its paying customers unlimited bandwidth and unlimited simultaneous connections. Why do they need timestamps?
Even if, as they say, this data is kept in “a rolling counter and is not kept historically”, I don’t see the justification for paid users, at the very least.
I do not believe anything ominous is going on, and in my review of Windscribe, I gave them the highest score of any provider so far. I think they provide an excellent VPN service.
But there is still room for improvement and this one area where they have such an opportunity.
It’s Still a Trust Issue
There’s just no way around it: digital privacy is based on trust. You need to trust your proxy network (the VPN) because it has the ability to see everything you do online.
As I’ve said before, you can quite easily check your IP address, once connected to the VPN, to make sure your traffic appears to come from the VPN server.
But you can’t perform any kind of test to know if your provider is logging your activities. You have no choice other than trust (or not using the service at all).
Is Windscribe trustworthy? I believe so. They’re transparent about what they collect and don’t collect and they’re very much a privacy-focused VPN provider.
I just think that they could log even less.
Does Windscribe VPN keep logs? No, but… I believe they should stop logging connection timestamps, whether kept in “a rolling counter [that] is not kept historically” or not.
Would I recommend Windscribe? Absolutely.
You can even sign up to Windscribe without supplying an email address.
Thanks for reading!
Does Windscribe VPN Keep Logs?
By Marc Dahan
Last updated: September 17, 2020