Why We Don't Offer Anonymous/no Logging VPN

by Paul Reinheimer on

With some regularity, people ask if we offer an anonymous or no logging VPN. Our answer is a firm “No.” We thought it might be helpful to explain why.

When you offer VPN services of any sort, people use the VPN service to route their internet traffic. The majority of your customers with use the VPN to protect their basic browsing and email-sending from malicious creepers on public internet connections. These are the folks for whom we created WonderVPN. However, some non-zero portion of customers will use it to torrent movies (a feature some VPN providers even advertise for), spam websites, defraud the elderly, etc.

At some point, someone will complain about the torrenting, spamming, or defrauding: either to you directly or -- more likely -- to your hosting provider. Abuse complaints tend to make hosting providers angry. Providers generally don't automate abuse complaints and smaller providers have their own providers to worry about. A not-uncommon response is for the hosting provider to turn off the offending customer’s server until the customer agrees to investigate and resolve the problem.

And so, here lies our problem: if one of our users does something shady and someone complains to our provider about it, they’ll turn off our server. If we can’t stop the shady traffic from happening, our provider will likely terminate our account altogether. If our account is terminated, we’ll no longer have a server in that location and our other customers will be grumpy.

If our goal was to offer an anonymous VPN service, we could build our network using hosting providers willing to accept some rate of abuse complaints. That’s not our goal, though: our goal is to build a global network to help folks test their applications. We’re left selecting providers based on their location, not on a willingness to look the other way when the complaints roll in, and many locations have only one or two providers to choose from.

We want to make the internet a better place. Helping people spam Craigslist and defraud the elderly doesn’t fit into that paradigm. If there were fifty providers in a location, we still wouldn’t be selecting based on abuse complaint tolerance.

WonderProxy’s VPN logging is terse: customer id, connection time, total transferred. When complaints have come in, and they’ve been very few over the past seven years, we’re able to reach out to the customers that were using the server at that time and ask them to stop if it was them. If the police are involved, we’ll hand over records once appropriate legal steps have been taken.

While we don’t offer Anonymous VPN, we do offer a world-class and globe-spanning network for testing your GeoIP applications. We think it’s the right tradeoff.