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The best anonymous VPN services in 2022 | Does a VPN make you untraceable?

Looking to stay anonymous online in 2022? We'll take a look at how a VPN can and can't help protect your identity in this guide, and tackle whether they can make you truly untraceable.

What are the best "anonymous" VPNs in 2022?

We recommend checking out any of the following VPNs to stay anonymous online in 2022.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best anonymous VPN. Accepts Bitcoin payments, has a strong no-logs policy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. NordVPN - The best feature-rich anonymous VPN. Highly secure and with advanced tools, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  3. Private Internet Access - The best secure anonymous VPN. Super secure and affordable with zero logs, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  4. PrivateVPN - The best cheap anonymous VPN. Easy-to-use apps for all platforms, no-logs policy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  5. VyprVPN - The best all-rounder anonymous VPN. With tons of features and stealth tools, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Some VPN services, like AnonymousVPN, claim to keep you anonymous. The reality is that they don't – and due to the way they work, there's not a single VPN out there that can make you completely anonymous. Your VPN provider can read your original IP address in real-time when you connect to a server, and some of the more untrustworthy services on the market even store these sensitive logs.

A reliable VPN provides high levels of digital privacy with strong encryption and a no-logs policy. These services won't grant you anonymity (like you get with Tor), but they will ensure that your online activity is kept a tight-lipped secret.

So, whilst it may be discouraging to learn that VPNs can't make you totally invisible online, they're still the best tool around for boosting your privacy and internet freedoms. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic to prevent your ISP, local networks, Wi-Fi hotspots, and even your government, from tracking your browsing activity. A VPN will also prevent websites and services from reading your original IP address.

Again, while many people refer to privacy as "anonymity", the reality is that any anonymous VPN is actually just a secure VPN that keeps zero logs. Without data logs to analyze, there's nothing to pass onto prying surveillance agencies. This is the most secure type of VPN available, but it is important to note that you will never be truly anonymous online unless you use a service like Tor.

When picking out the best private VPN providers for this guide, we made sure that they met the following criteria:

Each and every one of the VPNs listed on this page will improve your online privacy massively, so let's take a closer look.

5 Best VPNs to use to become Anonymous in 2022

If you're serious about increasing your online anonymity, and want an inexpensive way of protecting your browsing sessions from snooping third parties, then a VPN is the best tool for the job. The five services listed below are well-known, jam-packed with features, and easy to use – and we've got detailed review pages you can check out for more information!

ExpressVPN is the best anonymous VPN. Highly private and packed with features, with a zero-logs policy, stealth servers, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months + 3 months FREE + Backblaze backup: $6.67/mth
      49% OFF
    • 6 months: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Super fast - great for streaming!
    • Customizable encryption options to maximize security
    • Easy-to-use apps for all platforms
    • Strict zero-logs policy
    • Worths with a long list of streaming services
  • Cons

    • Only 5 simultaneous connections allowed
    • Expensive, but you get a premium VPN service
    • Lack of port forwarding an issue for torrenters
  • Aggregated or Anonymised Logs?

    • Aggregated

ExpressVPN Demo

ExpressVPN Demo
ExpressVPN Demo


ExpressVPN is an industry-leading provider when it comes to privacy and security, helped in part by its support for cryptocurrency payments, which makes it one of the most 'anonymous' VPNs around. The service is based in the British Virgin Islands – a superb location in terms of privacy protections. And it has a no-logs policy, which means it will never store any records of what its users do online (or even basic connection logs).


I had no trouble installing and using the ExpressVPN apps during testing. They're incredibly easy to navigate, even for beginners, and the advanced security settings can simply be toggled on and off with a click. ExpressVPN also seriously lives up to its name when it comes to speed! I have no problem recommending the service to anyone looking to stream in HD, hop into VoIP calls, or game online with friends. ExpressVPN's free Smart DNS service is a particularly handy tool that makes it easy to stream content directly to your smart TV – so you can enjoy the content you pay for from the comfort of your couch! In addition, ExpressVPN runs its own DNS servers and supports P2P file sharing, which are fantastic bonuses.


ExpressVPN's encryption is well-implemented and hard to beat. Strong OpenVPN encryption will prevent hacking attempts and keep your identifiable information out of the hands of snoopers (including your ISP and nosey third parties), and I'm glad to see that the service also offers DNS leak protection. The automatically-enabled ExpressVPN kill-switch (called Network Lock) is another vital feature that ensures you don't ever accidentally leak unencrypted data to your ISP. And ExpressVPN provides obfuscation to let you conceal VPN use from your ISP (by disguising it as regular HTTPS traffic). This stealth feature also lets you evade firewalls in locations such as Iran and China.


While VPNs do not technically provide anonymity (you will need to use Tor to surf anonymously online), ExpressVPN is a fast and reliable VPN that has proven that it can completely conceal your online habits from your ISP, the government, and local networks (such as employers or Wi-Fi hotspots). In addition, it will prevent websites from tracking your home IP address. Well worth testing using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Tested by River Hart

Tested by River Hart

NordVPN is the best feature-rich anonymous VPN. Includes a kill-switch, leak protection, and stealth servers, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • NordVPN Special Deal - 24 months: $3.29/mth
      73% OFF
    • 24 months: $3.99/mth
      67% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      59% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Accepts bitcoin for more anonymous payments
    • Ad and malware blocking tools included in the offer
    • Consistently fast connections
    • Plenty of customization for privacy
  • Cons

    • More expensive than the VPNs below
    • No port-forwarding, not ideal for torrenters
    • Only six simultaneous connections
  • Aggregated or Anonymised Logs?

    • Anonymized
  • Accepts Cryptocurrency?

    • Yes

Nord Demo

Nord Demo
Nord Demo


NordVPN is a Panama-based service that effortlessly combines privacy and value for money. Like ExpressVPN, you can count on battle-tested OpenVPN encryption to keep your browsing sessions secure – which is hugely important if you'll be using public Wi-Fi hotspots at any point. I'm also glad to see NordVPN offering a kill-switch and DNS leak protection, too. For folks looking to bypass ISP firewalls and acquire an additional layer of privacy, there are obfuscated (stealth) servers available, and I like that NordVPN sticks to a strict zero-logs policy. This audited claim ensures that none of your connection details are ever stored – so there's nothing to hand over to authorities who might come knocking.


I used the NordVPN apps on various platforms and found them all easy to use. I found the choice of servers to be great, and I was impressed with the amount of content I could unblock (which included iPlayer on my Kodi, and Netflix US). Being based in Panama means that this service is well out of reach of invasive jurisdictions such as the UK, the EU, and the US.


Starting at just $2.99 per month, this VPN is incredibly good value for money - especially considering that it has scarcer VPN features such as double hop encryption and Tor over VPN. Admittedly, it does have fewer servers than the number one VPN on this list, but you still get an awful lot of choice in over 60 countries .


This is still a massively generous selection, with coverage across most of the globe, and NordVPN is even cheaper than ExpressVPN – so you're getting a bargain! It's well worth taking NordVPN for a trial run with its 30-day money-back guarantee, and remember than an excellent customer service team is available 24/7 to field any questions you might have.

Tested by Shaun Dewhirst

Tested by Shaun Dewhirst

Private Internet Access is the best secure anonymous VPN. With a court-proven zero-logs policy and customizable security features. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 26 months + 2 months FREE: $2.19/mth
      82% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.33/mth
      72% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Advanced encryption options (including OpenVPN and WireGuard)
    • No-logs policy proven in court (twice!)
    • Huge network of servers
  • Cons

    • Not the best VPN for beginners who need hands-on support
    • US-based company
    • Not quite as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN
  • Aggregated or Anonymised Logs?

    • Anonymized
  • Audited?

    • Yes
  • Accepts Cryptocurrency?

    • Yes

PIA Demo

PIA Demo
PIA Demo


Private Internet Access (PIA) makes it onto our list thanks to its glowing reputation within the Reddit community and high-end privacy services. It is a VPN that is often praised because of its highly secure apps and advanced privacy and security features. This is outstanding considering the relatively low cost of a subscription.


I enjoyed using Private Internet Access' app because it allowed me to personalize it a lot. This customization allows you to set it up exactly how you prefer. You also have a choice of 5 themes for the app, including a dark mode, which is a nice touch. It comes with a great range of privacy features, including OpenVPN on all apps including Mac and iOS apps – which isn't offered by a lot of providers.


With PIA you get apps for all platforms that come with a kill switch, DNS leak protection, strong OpenVPN encryption, obfuscation, a SOCKS5 proxy, port forwarding, and split tunneling. Encryption can be set to be stronger or weaker depending on your specific needs – with subscribers able to switch between OpenVPN UDP, TCP, and a bunch of different ciphers and settings. This makes the VPN great for techy users who want higher levels of customization, or those doing sensitive tasks such as torrenting.


Although the VPN is based in the US, it has proven its zero-logs policy in court. The service has also previously refused to allow authorities to log user data, and the VPN maintains a transparency report and a warrant canary. In addition, PIA accepts crypto payments, which is as anonymous as a VPN can really get. It also has fast servers in 84 countries to let you unblock anything you need, and to easily bypass censorship. And I could unblock Netflix US, which is always a bonus. Overall, I found this to be a secure and reliable VPN. You can take it for a test run using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Tested by Sam Dawson

Tested by Sam Dawson

PrivateVPN is the best cheap anonymous VPN. Plans are inexpensive, apps are easy to use, and there are no logs. With a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months + 12 months FREE: $2.49/mth
      79% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • The cheapest VPN on this list
    • Beginner-friendly, smooth interface
    • Works seamlessly with most streaming platforms
  • Cons

    • Not independently audited
    • Slower than some competitors
    • Fewer servers than ExpressVPN and PIA
  • Aggregated or Anonymised Logs?

    • Anonymized
  • Audited?

    • No
  • Accepts Cryptocurrency?

    • Yes

PrivateVPN Demo

PrivateVPN Demo
PrivateVPN Demo


PrivateVPN is a service based in Sweden, a location that is good in terms of privacy. I found this service to be a great all-rounder and it's easy to see why it gets rave reviews from its subscribers. Although it has fewer servers than the VPNs on this list, it impressed me a lot during testing – particularly considering the price.


True to its name the VPN has a no-logs policy, which means that it can be trusted not to store any logs of what you do while connected. It also has a wealth of advanced features including DNS leak protection and obfuscated servers. All of these features made me feel safe and secure when using it.


A kill switch is available on its Windows client but not on its other apps. This makes PrivateVPN a better prospect for Windows users who need high levels of privacy. And, for those who want to pay for their subscription with added anonymity, Bitcoin payments are accepted. Overall, this is a cheap VPN that is private, efficient, and provides decent speeds for streaming. Like others on this list, PrivateVPN has a money-back guarantee, meaning you can refund it within the first 30 days if you are unhappy.

Tested by Danka Delić

Tested by Danka Delić

VyprVPN is the best all-rounder anonymous VPN. With slick apps for all platforms, an audited zero-logs policy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 12 months FREE: $1.81/mth
      86% OFF
    • 12 months + 6 months FREE: $2.5/mth
      80% OFF
    • 1 month + 1 month FREE: $6.47/mth
      50% OFF
  • Pros

    • Audited no-logs policy
    • Very fast and secure due to own infrastructure
    • Proprietary Chameleon stealth servers for advanced obfuscation
  • Cons

    • Connection times can be a little slow
    • Does not accept crypto payments
    • Other providers have more servers to choose from
  • Aggregated or Anonymised Logs?

    • Anonymized
  • Audited?

    • Yes
  • Accepts Cryptocurrency?

    • No

VYPR Demo

VYPR Demo
VYPR Demo


VyprVPN is a well-known and well-regarded service headquartered in Switzerland; a location that's generally considered favorable when it comes to privacy. The service easily claims a spot in our top five thanks to its zero-logs policy. VyprVPN simply isn't interested in keeping tabs on your browsing sessions, retaining your data, or passing it on to third parties. Plus, VyprVPN owns all of its own servers and hardware, further eliminating the risk of unauthorized snooping! All in all, I feel completely secure whenever I use VyprVPN, and thanks to the service's roster of easy-to-use apps, it's even possible to use public Wi-Fi hotspots with peace of mind.


Privacy-minded customers will also be glad to hear that VyprVPN's no-logs policy has been independently, and publically, audited. The audit was carried out in 2018 by Leviathan security – and ideally, VyprVPN will pair with the firm (or another big name auditor) to conduct another up-to-date report. VyprVPN also comes stocked with all the important privacy features you'd expect from a premium service. A kill-switch, stealth mode, and DNS leak protection are all available, as is well-implemented OpenVPN encryption, so you can rest assured that your browsing sessions will remain private. Ultimately, it's well worth checking out VyprVPN (and its expansive network of servers in over 64 countries ) by making good use of its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Tested by Danka Delić

Tested by Danka Delić

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Fast Anonymous VPNs in 2022

VPNs might come with a full roster of features to protect your identity, but that doesn't mean that they're slow! In fact, all our recommended anonymous VPN providers offer surprisingly fast speeds, so you can browse the net, stream, torrent, and game without frustration.

We run daily speed tests to help you understand what speeds you can expect from our top VPN picks – and you'll find the latest results in the table below.

Place Provider Average Speed Max Speed Visit Site
1. 61.49 Mbit/s 83.84 Mbit/s Visit Site
2. 56.29 Mbit/s 76.61 Mbit/s Visit Site
3. 46.80 Mbit/s 76.62 Mbit/s Visit Site
4. 41.64 Mbit/s 58.45 Mbit/s Visit Site
5. 39.58 Mbit/s 102.20 Mbit/s Visit Site

Can you get a truly anonymous VPN?

It is impossible for the sites and services you visit to determine your original IP address if you're using a VPN. This allows you to browse the net with a far greater level of anonymity – you'll just need to remember to avoid inputting any real account information or payment details!

However, depending on how you use online services, they may still be able to detect who you are. Websites can do this by:

  • Using cookies 
  • Recognizing your login details 
  • Engaging in browser fingerprinting
  • Tracking device level information (IMEI or MAC number, for example)
  • Your user agent

All these reasons explain why we rarely refer to VPNs as "anonymous".

VPNs provide unprecedented levels of digital privacy, but not true anonymity, mainly because the VPN provider itself knows who you are at all times (or can at least detect your original IP address in real-time if it wants to).

You'll need to use Tor browser to gain true anonymity, but the private VPNs in this guide are well worth testing – and you can do so without risking your money by taking advantage of their zero-log policies and robust encryption.

Regardless of the VPN you pick, just remember that these providers can always identify user IP addresses to figure out what they're doing online – even if nobody else can – and that providers with no-logs policies can still monitor traffic in real-time.

How to be more anonymous with a VPN

The bottom line is that a VPN cannot provide definitive anonymity. However, VPNs do come with features that provide a high degree of digital privacy, and some of these features are completely vital if the service is going to give you the most "anonymous" experience possible.

The VPNs in this guide have all been selected because they provide the highest levels of digital privacy available on the VPN market.

So, if you've been searching for an "Anonymous VPN" on Google, you're really looking for these VPNs!

Let's take a look at the all-important "anonymity" features:

Choose a No logs VPN service

The most private VPNs keep zero logs. That means that once you've finished your VPN session, there are no connection or usage logs stored anywhere. Everything you did online is left completely unrecorded – including your connection timestamps and which VPN servers you connected to.

With no logs stored anywhere, nobody can come knocking at the VPN's door for evidence of a paper trail.

Connection Logs and end-to-end (E2E) timing attacks

A few minimal connection logs or aggregated statistics aren't particularly damaging to a VPN service. It's when these services store connection time stamps and IP addresses, as well as other personally identifiable account details, that it becomes an issue.

Timestamps stored alongside IP addresses allow for time correlation attacks (E2E timing attacks). This is when data gathered from third-party endpoints (websites) is tied to a VPN user by analyzing what time they logged onto a specific VPN server. 

With a little effort, time, and money (and enough information), it is possible to use these logs to figure out what a VPN user did online. For this reason, these kinds of logs can pose a direct risk to your privacy. A no-log VPN is the closest thing you will find to an anonymous VPN.

Shared IPs

Using a VPN server with "shared IPs" means that many other people, as well as yourself, are all using that server IP address at the same time. With a large number of people all using the same IP address, it becomes hard to know what each person did online. 

This provides a certain level of anonymity by mixing your web traffic with the web traffic of many other VPN users. A dedicated IP, on the other hand, is one that only you use, and is much easier to track. If you're the only person using the address, after all, you won't be lost in a sea of fellow VPN users.

Pay with bitcoin or with cash

If you want to boost your online anonymity, you'll need to ensure that your VPN provider knows as little about you as possible. We'd recommend using a burner email and a fake name, and paying with "washed" bitcoins wherever you can. Really privacy-conscious VPNs even allow you to send cash in the post!

Bear in mind that the VPN will still know which IP address you're connecting to their servers from. That IP address will be unique to your home, and can be used to determine where you are as well as some other basic personal details.

Double Hop or Chaining VPNs

Double Hop is a feature that allows VPN users to jump through various VPN tunnels, usually via two (but sometimes more) servers. This helps to further obfuscate the VPN user's web habits and location, particularly if those servers are also shared IPs

Chaining VPNs will slow your internet connection down because of the extra processes it entails. However, if you prefer to trade connection speed for this extra security measure, it is worth a try.

Use a VPN with strong privacy

When you use a VPN that has strong encryption and a zero-logs policy, you're preventing local network administrators (workplaces, schools, shared accommodation, landlords, Wi-Fi hotspots) from being able to tell what you are doing online. 

A VPN will also stop ISP tracking – which means they can't retain web browsing habits on behalf of the government (in countries with mandatory data retention). In the US, where ISPs are legally permitted to retain and sell web browsing histories to create a source of revenue, VPNs prevent ISPs from keeping those logs in the first place. 

If a VPN keeps zero logs it has nothing to hand over to the authorities – even if they come knocking at the VPN's door with a warrant. It is for this reason that a zero-logs VPN with strongly implemented OpenVPN encryption is the most private option on the market.

How to be anonymous online?

True online anonymity would mean that nobody could detect who you really are, or what you're doing, at any stage – and VPNs simply can't do this. A VPN safeguards your privacy from scrutiny by third parties (such as ISPs and network admins) using encryption. This is digital privacy NOT anonymity – it is a subtle difference, but a very important one.

Using a VPN through Tor

Some people want to use Tor and a VPN together. On the whole, this is considered overkill. However, some VPNs accommodate this desire by offering a VPN into Tor and VPN through Tor. For most people, this simply isn't necessary. Allow me to explain why:

  • Using a VPN into Tor stops the first Tor node from knowing your real IP address. If you are somehow traced through the Tor network, then an adversary will find the VPN server, not your real IP. If using the Tor browser the VPN cannot see your data, but if using a service that routes your regular VPN connection to the Tor network, it can. Either way, this provides no protection from malicious Tor exit nodes. Non-HTTPS traffic entering and leaving Tor exit nodes is unencrypted and could be monitored. Tor exit nodes are also often blocked.
  • VPN through Tor. Some people want to route their traffic via Tor before it arrives at the VPN. This has some merits and can provide an anonymous VPN experience since the VPN will not know your real IP address. However, this is only true if you also sign up to the VPN anonymously with a burner email and using an anonymous payment method (like posting cash through the post or using "washed" bitcoins). The fact that the end-point is fixed rather than random (as is normal with Tor), however, reduces your anonymity on the Tor network. 

Staying Anonymous on Mobile 

Because of the reasons mentioned previously, A VPN will not make you anonymous on your Android or iPhone device. On mobile devices, which can be tracked with a MAC address, for example, things get even more tricky. A mobile phone is usually tied to the person that owns it (especially true if you have a mobile contract, but also true for many people with a pay as you go SIM), so anonymity is always going to be hard to come by.

Purchasing a cheap phone and SIM with cash from a supermarket is an option that will provide much higher levels of anonymity. This, combined with a zero-logs VPN purchased with a fake name, a burner email address, and paid for in cash or with bitcoins, is the only way to achieve high levels of anonymity on a mobile device.

However, if you use that mobile device from your home's Wi-Fi address, for example, your IP address will still let the VPN know who you are. If served a warrant by the authorities (and the VPN keeps connection logs), an end-to-end timing attack could be used to figure out your IP address, which would then be tied to you by your ISP. It is for this reason that a zero-logs VPN is necessary for strong privacy.

Furthermore, even if your VPN does not keep logs, it could be served a warrant and gag order, leading to eventual monitoring of its VPN servers in real-time. It is for this reason that a VPN is said to provide privacy, not anonymity.

So, although they can't make you anonymous, VPNs are still a great way of staying secure on public Wi-Fi and unblocking content.

Are any free VPNs anonymous?

Running a good VPN service requires a lot of time, money, and resources. For this reason, any VPN claiming to be "free" should be treated with a healthy amount of suspicion.

Always ask yourself how that free VPN is paying its bills. The worst and most malicious free services have been known to log user data and, in some instances, can sell these logs on to third parties.

Whilst there are reputable VPN services out there that really are free, we'd recommend playing it safe and avoiding them if anonymity is important to you.

Conclusion

Countless VPNs on the market claim to provide total anonymity, but it's typically just a marketing tactic used to generate sales.

But that doesn't mean it's not worth investing in a VPN. They're invaluable online services that provide the highest level of digital privacy available on the market – and all without sacrificing performance. If you have your heart set on achieving true anonymity, however, you should really be using Tor browser.

Just remember that Tor is not suitable for data-intensive tasks like streaming, gaming and P2P torrenting. Luckily, a VPN is an ideal solution in these instances (especially torrenting)!

For this reason, VPNs are a unique privacy service that has no real alternative, and we've covered how to get the most private VPN experience possible in this guide. Our top picks keep no logs, implement high standards of OpenVPN encryption, and come with additional security features to protect your internet traffic – and that's why you'll be secure using any one of our VPN recommendations. If you have any questions about our top 5 VPNs, or have tried them yourself, don't please don't hesitate to get in touch below.

Written by: River Hart

Originally hailing from Wales, River Hart graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a 1:1 in Creative Writing, going on to work as an Editor across a number of trade magazines. As a professional writer, River has worked across both digital and print media, and is familiar with collating news pieces, in-depth reports and producing by lines for international publications. Otherwise, they can be found pouring over a tarot deck or spending more hours than she'll ever admit playing Final Fantasy 14.

3 Comments

Mike
on October 11, 2019
Reply
Express VPN is a chinese company (at least the devs are working under a chinese company) so I have my serious doubts how private and secure it could be
greg
on June 13, 2018
Reply
Buddy. VPN through tor does not expose your traffic to an exit node. You misunderstand how tunneling works.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to greg
on June 13, 2018
Reply
Hi greg, VPN through Tor (Tor -> VPN) does not expose your expose your traffic to an exit node. But Ray (who is on holiday at the moment) did not say this. He said that VPN into Tor (VPN -> Tor) exposes your traffic to exit nodes. I admit that his terminology could be clearer here, and I would prefer to say "Tor through VPN."
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