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I do know that my ISP is keeping logs permanently, which I'm not comfortable with because I like my privacy.

Having said that, is VPN the only option to prevent my ISP from logging my traffic?

The reason why I don't like VPNs is that a) they slow down my workflow, b) I can't afford the non-free ones.

  • Just keep in mind, even if they can't see the data, they get other information. Even with a vpn, the connection goes through them, so the only way to keep them from storing information is to not use an ISP (yes, no Internet). science.opposingviews.com/proxies-block-isp-providers-2981.html. Just stating the fact, since I'm not sure what you are trying to hide from your isp. – dakre18 Dec 27 '15 at 5:23
  • The link doesn't really answer the question, it says that my ISP will see increase in traffic. I'm fine with that. What I'm not fine with is them seeing all the sites I visit and being able to log other (unencrypted in some cases?) traffic. My reason is privacy. I'm not trying to hide anything, I'm just not comfortable with someone being able to go through my logs and see any details about my online activity. They can look at the download/upload speeds all they want though, I don't care. – Jack Dec 27 '15 at 5:33
  • That's why it's not posted as an answer. It's helpful information, and it does state that they can see what sites you visit. Not in every case, but again you can't hide everything. Also I was just thinking, but it doesn't help the issue. Advertisements will track your information, but a vpn can block your information from going to them. – dakre18 Dec 27 '15 at 5:36
  • VPN is not necessary to block advertisements, you can install extensions unless you use something as useless as IE. I don't even want to see advertisements, I never in my life clicked on any anyway. – Jack Dec 27 '15 at 6:07
  • 1
    Not to block advertisements, but it would block your information from being sent to them. For example, your IP address and ISP will be hidden from their servers. You will still see ads, but you can prevent most of your information from being sent to them. Even ad blockers won't block every ad, but it will get most of them. – dakre18 Dec 27 '15 at 8:01
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When you use a VPN service, your provider won't be able to log anything except encrypted communication with the VPN service. However, the VPN service will be able to log all of your traffic instead. Whether or not this is better depends on who you trust more: your ISP or your VPN provider.

An alternative to VPN providers is TOR. It also encrypts your traffic and proxies it through other users. But keep in mind that the exit node can see your connection in clear-text. Even though it doesn't know your IP address it might be able to deanonymize you as soon as you transmit private information. Unfortunately TOR is quite slow, even compared to cheap VPN providers.

  • Tor is extremely slow, and free VPN services already slow me down enough for me to be constantly annoyed by how slow everything's working. I do think however, that it's easier to trust VPN provider if you do your research over an ISP. – Jack Dec 27 '15 at 4:51
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Unfortunately, i think it's the only way.
VPN's such as ExpressVPN are very cheap now, but make sure that you check the VPN provider prior to signing up as some VPN providers keep logs.
Also consider installing DNSCrypt or similar. Using a VPN alone won't secure you completely if your DNS requests are going out through your ISP.

  • I have installed it (I think properly), but I don't think it's working properly. More details here: serverfault.com/questions/745395/… – Jack Dec 27 '15 at 3:37
  • As per serverfault.com/questions/745395/…. If your DNS is 127.0.0.1 then DNSCrypt is working correctly. Try this to check your DNS Server - dnsleak.com Also, check out "Etherape". It's a good app to visually see what's going on with your network. You'll be able to see where your DNS requests are going. – mk444 Dec 27 '15 at 3:43
  • Also, i forgot to ask. What type of device are you connecting from? – mk444 Dec 27 '15 at 3:43
  • As per serverfault.com: dnsleak.com connects to DNSCrypt, but tracert doesn't as explained above. I'm using Windows, so unfortunately I can't use Etherape. And I'm connecting using my PC only, no other devices. – Jack Dec 27 '15 at 3:58
  • Fyi: PrivateInternetaccess.com is less than half the price of Express VPN. – Neil Smithline Dec 27 '15 at 5:39

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