Trust & transparency with VPN providers. The “Trust Level” reveals details.

Anyone who uses an Internet service provider must trust this provider, as it can track all their data and activities on the Internet. Whoever decides to use a VPN provider is, in effect, transferring this “trust” to this VPN service, because this service could now also view, store or even manipulate all of the user’s data. 

The first VPN certification that can rate “trust”!

We are sure that with the “trust level” we are taking a new path that makes VPN providers comparable with each other fairly and also transparently. In addition to the functions, the “trust” and “transparency” of the companies are the most important criteria that we were missing until now. 

Trust

Trust is, therefore, one of the most important skills that a VPN provider should have. Of course, this does not mean that you can trust every company that operates with transparency, but the likelihood of being deceived here is lower than if the openness is not present at the company at all. 

Data protection

is always based on trust that the information provided by companies or about services is correct. However, if you don’t know the background of the service, you can’t make any statements or judgements about it. Lack of information therefore also hinders trust in data protection itself.

Transparenz & openness

Companies that do not cultivate a culture of transparency with their customers involuntarily hide the information that users need to develop trust. Especially companies that handle users’ most personal data should therefore be interested in also informing customers with the necessary and recommended openness.

We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Use our free callback service and let us talk about your questions directly and personally on the phone.

Trust-Level Questions & Transparency

Since the choice of a VPN provider is, therefore, a question of trust, we decided to ask the VPN providers background questions that reveal to what extent they are willing to grant their customers and users transparency about their own actions. Of course, we asked all VPN providers whether they were willing to answer our questions. Some of the providers ignored our messages, others wanted to check whether their management would agree. Some, however, found our idea very good, as transparency and data security seem to be really important to them and they are therefore happy to provide users with information about this. 

We need to mention again that we of course publish the data we collect impartially and independently.

Trustworthy VPN providers 

The following companies have answered our questions completely so far and have therefore been classified as “trustworthy” by us:

OVPN Logo Trust-Level

OVPN

The Swedish provider OVPN was the first to deliver all the data we requested. The provider is characterised by particular transparency and data security. We also visited OVPN personally in Stockholm (at our own expense) and were thus also able to deal directly with the servers and the hardware used. We, therefore, trust OVPN 100 %.

Surfshark VPN Logo Trust-Level

Surfshark VPN

The provider responded enthusiastically right away and answered all of our questions immediately. Surfshark VPN stands for transparency and is considered by us to be one of the best VPNs on the market. It has our trust because we were also able to question and check background data in discussions with the technology. A “trustworthy VPN provider” on the market that acts in an exemplary and responsible manner.

Perfect-Privacy VPN Logo Trust-Level

Perfect-Privacy

The provider, based in Switzerland, is outwardly considered one of the most secretive in the market, but we have been able to build up a good and open relationship with the team over many years. Therefore, all our questions about transparency were answered promptly. In a personal visit, even further details were discussed. Perfect-Privacy is therefore one of the “trustworthy VPN providers” for us!

Hide.me VPN Logo Trust-Level

Hide.me VPN

The provider, which is based in Malaysia, offers super-fast servers and simple apps as well as a whole host of additional features. We particularly like the end-to-end German customer service. The VPN service shared all the transparency data with us, which we were also able to verify. Therefore, we also give this provider a “trust bonus”.

NordVPN Logo Trust-Level

NordVPN

NordVPN answered all our questions and we were able to personally look around the company in Vilnius/Lithuania on 28/29 September 2021 and verify open questions. We can therefore express our “trust” in the provider and appreciate them for their transparency and openness in handling users’ data.

Atlas VPN Logo Trust-Level

AtlasVPN

Atlas VPN answered all our questions and we were also able to verify all the information provided and clear up any unclear points. We can therefore express our “trust” in the provider and appreciate them for their transparency and openness in dealing with the users’ data.

VyprVPN Logo Trust-Level

VyprVPN

The Swiss provider VyprVPN immediately provided us with all the data we requested. The provider is characterised by particular transparency and data security. We also visited the provider in person at its headquarters (at our own expense) and were thus able to deal directly with the servers and the hardware used. We, therefore, trust VyprVPN 100 %.

Bluf VPN Logo (Trust-Level)

Bluf VPN

The US provider Bluf VPN immediately provided us with all the data we requested. The provider is characterised by particular transparency and data security. We also visited the provider in person at its headquarters (at our own expense) and were thus able to deal directly with the servers and the hardware used. We, therefore, trust Bluf VPN 100 %.

Trust.Zone Logo (Trust-Level)

Trust.Zone VPN

The Swiss provider Trust.Zone VPN immediately provided us with all the data we requested. The provider is characterised by particular transparency and data security. We also visited the provider in person at its headquarters (at our own expense) and were thus able to deal directly with the servers and the hardware used. We, therefore, trust Trust Zone VPN 100 %.


Update on HolaVPN

HolaVPN has answered all our questions and we have tried to verify some of them also with a personal on-site visit to Israel.

However, in the meantime, Google has removed the HolaVPN apps and extensions and blocked their use. Google now calls them “malware” and we cannot verify if this is correct. Therefore, we have decided not to include HolaVPN in our list of “trusted VPN providers” at this time. However, we will react to updates and publish them in the HolaVPN review on our site and also here.


You can find more VPN providers that we have tested in our VPN provider category. The details all come from our own research and we also vouch for them with our own names. 

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Our Trust Level Questions

We ask the following 69 questions of providers and also ask them to provide us with evidence or proof of this. The trust level value we display indicates how many of these questions were answered. We do not distinguish whether these answers are advantageous or disadvantageous for various aspects of choosing a VPN provider.  We are interested in the transparency that the providers offer and users can use this to get an idea of whether they generally want to trust the company.

> The text is always used in English and therefore the translation into German may not be entirely clear. 

Corporate and background issues:

  1. Publicly known name of the product (Brandname) *
  2. The legally responsible company operating the service
  3. Legal managing director of the operating company
  4. Address of the operational company
  5. Year of foundation
  6. Official website
  7. Has the full legal information also been published on a website in the imprint?
  8. Link to the imprint
  9. The legal name of the clearing company
  10. TaxID
  11. Legal managing director of the clearing company
  12. The legal address of the clearing company
  13. Has the full legal information about the clearing company also been published on a website in the imprint?
  14. Does the service use external payment providers?
  15. The service is provided within the EU data protection directives (GDPR)
  16. The service is provided within the US data protection directives or similar legal acts.
  17. Type of organization that is operating the service
  18. Beneficial shareholders or owners of the company (Full name or legal identity name)
  19. Are any shareholders or owners of your company involved in other VPN services (different branded VPN services)?
  20. Are any shareholders or owners of your company involved in offering other online services?
  21. Are any shareholders from your company involved in publishing other websites, magazines or for example product-review websites?
  22. Is the operational company reachable to customers by post mail?
  23. Is the post address available at the imprint of the official website?
  24. Is the company available by phone?

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Technical questions

  1. Number of VPN servers operated worldwide
  2. Are virtual servers used as VPN servers?
  3. Are the dedicated servers used as VPN servers?
  4. Details on ownership of the servers (hardware)
  5. Do the VPN servers use hard disk drives (HDD) or similar media for permanent storage?
  6. Which operating system (OS) is used for VPN servers? (the most common variant)
  7. Are the IP addresses/own AS network mainly registered to the operating company?
  8. Are DMCA complaints addressed directly to the company?
  9. Own DMCA complaint address?
  10. Are ports blocked to prevent spam or abuse?
  11. Is DPI used to prevent misuse or spam?
  12. Are port forwarding functions available for customers?
  13. Are individual port forwarding functions available for customers?
  14. Are static or dedicated IP addresses available for clients?
  15. Do static IP addresses for clients include all port forwarding?
  16. Are there any technical audits confirming the technical or security aspects of the service?
  17. What external audit has taken place? (Please provide a link to the audit report; what does it include or exclude; what was the objective of the audit in general)?
    Audit of the technical server Audit of the technical application Audit of usability?
    Audit of user privacy?
    Link to the original reports of the audits?
  18. Are torrents or other file sharing methods prevented?
  19. Are there or have there been legal proceedings involving or affecting users’ data?
  20. Has any data been given to identifying users through court rulings
  21. Do you have liability insurance to assist the company in the legal defence of users’ privacy?
  22. Are there publicly available court rulings that can be tracked and prove that the company has also used all legal means to defend itself against disclosure
  23. Are records kept of user behaviour? (Log files or other logged data that can lead to a user being tracked based on certain activities).
  24. Are records kept of user usage? (How long a user is connected, as well as time and date stamps).
  25. Is data on the use of external IP addresses stored? (Timestamp of the IP address)
  26. How is it technically ensured that a user does not establish more than the agreed number of simultaneous connections? What data is checked, queried or stored centrally in the process?
  27. Is there a manually created regular warrant canary that indicates to users that the company has not been given any confidentiality obligations by authorities? (Warrant Canary)
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Questions about customer service

      1. Is the Support team available by email?
      2. Is Customer Service available by phone?
      3. Is Customer Service available by Chat or Messengers?
      4. How many hours per day is Customer Support available?
      5. Which days per week the customer support is available?
      6. Which languages does the customer service replay to the users?
      7. Besides the service and the own applications, will support for other devices like VPN routers, manual integration and others be offered?
      8. Is there a free trial opportunity for the service?
      9. Is there a FREE unlimited or FREE metered usage for the services available?
      10. Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
      11. Do you use third-party trackers on your website?
      12. Do you use third-party trackers in any of your applications or apps?
      13. Which companies/services are used for tracking readers’ or customers’ behaviours or other services in the apps or on the website?

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Many of the questions have further options or additional questions that we do not want to list here. These are necessary so that we can cover the background, function, technology and all details in depth. 

We have deliberately selected these questions because, from our point of view and also from the point of view of other experts and our readers, they represent the most relevant information that is needed to evaluate a VPN provider. There is no information about tariffs, functions or other details because these are not directly relevant to “trust” in the service provider. However, we answer these questions via our own test procedures and in our test reports on VPN providers.

VPN Testberichte


Erstellt am: 18. April 2022

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