A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a fantastic solution for those who want to keep their personal data private as well as control what kind of devices can connect to their Wi-Fi network. Since VPNs encrypt your network traffic, log files don’t grow as much as with traditional networks. In addition, most vendors offer limited-log or no-log policies, so you don’t have to worry about over-watching your company’s performance.
Overview Of A VPN Log
VPNs hide their users’ identities by bouncing IP (Internet Protocol) traffic off of multiple servers located around the world to prevent tracking. When a VPN connects to a server, all of that traffic is recorded in a log file. While this might not sound like much, keep in mind that these files can grow quite large over time and consume a lot of space.
Here’s an example of a small VPN log file from Private Internet Access:
- 443 bytes of log data
- 0.14 seconds of connection time
Let’s go over what makes up a VPN log file.
Everyday items like browsing history, search queries, and login attempts are recorded when you connect to a VPN. Apart from that, you also get the exact same list of the websites you’ve visited when connected to a VPN as you would if you weren’t logged in. This is one of the biggest differences between regular browsing and browsing while connected to a VPN. Since your data is encrypted when sent over a VPN, the site you visit doesn’t know or see that you’re connected to a VPN. This also means they don’t know or see what kind of data they can or cannot use to profile you.
More Than Meets The Eye
Apart from your browsing history, searches, and login attempts, VPNs also store a few essential pieces of information. This includes the location of the server you connected to (IP address), the time you connected to the server (date/time), and the duration of your session (in minutes).
As you’d expect, the exact same list of temporary internet files and cookies are also saved when you connect to a VPN. These are small files that allow websites to remember your preferences and setting. For example, if you set your browser to automatically log you off after a certain period of time, that setting will be remembered when you connect to a VPN.
A Few Things To Be On The Look Out For
When you connect to a VPN, you’re usually presented with a popup window that offers additional protection and privacy controls. Take a look at the list of features and controls offered by Private Internet Access:
- Kill switch: Disconnects your device from the internet when your subscription is inactive or cancelled.
- IPv6 tunneling: Allows you to connect to IPv6 (Next Generation Internet) enabled servers.
- Data compression: Uses fewer resources when transmitting data, resulting in faster speeds.
- Full packet encryption: Ensures that no data is captured or logged by anyone
- Limited-logging policy: Only logs certain data such as the amount of data used and the identity of those who use the system.
VPNs And Cloud Computing
Since most VPNs are designed to be used on a range of devices, they can also work on a cloud server. This allows the administrator of the server to set limits on the bandwidth used by each user. In addition, the administrator can manage the daily throughput cap for the entire server. This ensures that each user doesn’t blow through all the available bandwidth and prevents the server from slowing down as a result.
More Than Meets The Eye
The benefits of using a VPN extend far beyond just browsing the web more securely. You can use a VPN to unlock and login to websites that limit their users to specific countries. For example, Carpooled offers a free VPN service that allows its users to log in to websites and apps that are only available in certain countries. Similarly, Hola Unblocks users from restricted areas of the internet.
Some VPNs also provide additional security features that allow you to sign into websites with a simple click. For example, the Private Internet Access button above will automatically log you into sites like Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
That was a lot of information! Let’s recap. A VPN log is simply a collection of data that shows when you connected to the network, for how long, and what kind of activity you did while connected. In addition to that, a VPN can also store a few unique pieces of information about you including the location of the server you connected to (IP address), the date/time of your connection, and the duration of your session. Keep all of that in mind the next time you decide to connect to a VPN.