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Like the title says, can you trust a VPS service not to log any data?

Is creating your own email server with a VPS service really a private solution?

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2 Answers 2

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Like the title says, can you trust a VPS service not to log any data?

First of all you need to clarify what you mean by this. What is the data you're concerned with ?

A commercial service will always need to log some data, at a minimum customer details and billing history. And very likely traffic statistics. Your host may offer unmetered hosting and not charge extras for excess traffic but they will still collect some stats. It's normal, they have to monitor quality of service and service load.

For instance some hosts explicitly disallow cryptocurrency mining on their systems. To enforce the rule, it stands to reason that they must look at certain patterns like CPU or network traffic. That doesn't mean they are spying but monitoring.

As for the server itself, if it "unmanaged" they are not supposed to touch it but it's something you might want to clarify with them.

In general, people buying web hosting or dedicated server rental do not know the people running the service, or even the effective location. So it's blind trust more or less, possibly backed up by some research into the overall reputation of the outfit and customer reviews.

For more serious projects like server colocation on-site visits are routine though. Why not try to meet the owners in person if you can ?

Otherwise the only "private" solution would be to host the server inside your home or premises. But since most E-mail transits in plain text over the Internet assume all your correspondence has already been sniffed by interested parties.

That said, I agree with your intent. If you have the technical skills it's better to take care of your own mail with a domain name that you control, rather than rely on a third party that will mine your data for profit (and already has too much data on you anyway), and can revoke the privilege at any time.

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..., can you trust a VPS service not to log any data?

No. You might trust the VPS provider more or less depending on various information (geographic presence, reputation, ...), but you can never be absolutely sure.

Is creating your own email server with a VPS service really a private solution?

There is no absolute privacy either, there is only more or less. So running your own email server on a VPS might provide more or less privacy compared to the solution you currently use but it will never offer absolute privacy.

In the end it boils down to the classic cost vs. benefit: the more money, time and knowledge you are willing to invest and the more loss of usability you are willing to accept, the more privacy you will be able to achieve.

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