There are two ways to buy a VPN anonymously which this article will discuss, using cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin) or a gift card.
If you want to use Bitcoin and remain completely anonymous, make sure you:
- Get a secure Bitcoin Wallet, ideally even a physical one such as a Ledger Nano or Trezor One.
- Buy Bitcoin from a cash-only Bitcoin ATM. You can also use another cryptocurrency, but Bitcoin is the most widely used.
- Use a free VPN (without registering) or the Tor browser to anonymously get your subscription.
- Choose a VPN provider that accepts Bitcoin payments, like ExpressVPN or Surfshark.
- Get an anonymous email address, for instance with ProtonMail, to sign up with.
If you want to use a gift card, make sure you:
- Buy the gift card at a local mall, or via an app store account (not using your real name, of course, to stay completely anonymous).
- Choose a VPN that accepts gift card payments, like NordVPN.
However, keep in mind that some of the main VPNs we recommend don’t accept gift cards, so we suggest using Bitcoin.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are pieces of software that can help you navigate the web anonymously, by rerouting your connection and as such changing your IP. This helps you hide your location and online identity. However, you might want to take your efforts to stay anonymous online to the next level.
If you want to be 100% hidden while browsing, leaving absolutely no trace behind, you might also be thinking about how to buy a VPN completely anonymously. It’s possible, and today we’re going to show you how to do it.
How To Buy A VPN Anonymously: Using Bitcoin
Whenever you purchase something online using conventional payment methods, there will be a “money trace” of what you do. Even if the merchants you buy from use secure payment processors, there is a ledger out there with your name and card details on it, if you make an online purchase.
However, there are a few ways to get around this. The first one we’re going to talk about is buying a VPN with Bitcoin. If you want to anonymously buy a VPN with Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind:
- Make sure you get a secure and anonymous digital wallet
- Look for opportunities to buy Bitcoin with cash (more on this later)
- Use a free VPN, or Tor while browsing for a paid VPN
- Use Protonmail to get an anonymous email address for your VPN sign-up
Getting Started: Use a Free VPN or Tor for Anonymity
While going through the process we’ll outline below, we suggest either using a free VPN, or Tor, a secure browser that lets you navigate the internet anonymously through triple-layered encryption. It’s the only choice you have if you want to be completely anonymous all throughout.
If you don’t want to download Tor, and you don’t trust a free VPN, you can try to use public Wi-Fi. However, it’s not necessarily the best choice, since there are other risks involved in using public Wi-Fi with no VPN, as is explained in this article.
Once the process is finalized, make sure you sign-up for a VPN service with a temporary email address, and of course, a fake name (and personal details) to maintain your anonymity. If you want to sign up for an anonymous email service that doesn’t snoop into your data, you can try ProtonMail. It’s an email service provider that guarantees anonymity, so you can go through this whole process without exposing your identity.
Getting a Secure Bitcoin Wallet and Buying Bitcoin
The first thing you’ll need to do, even before acquiring Bitcoin, much less buying something with it, is getting a Bitcoin wallet. A Bitcoin wallet is, as the name suggests, a digital wallet that stores your Bitcoin for later use.
One of the most famous “wallet providers” is Coinbase, and it’s a pretty reliable company. However, Coinbase will ask for your personal information during the signup process, so it’s just adding onto the money trace, instead of actually getting rid of it.
If you want to stay completely anonymous on the net, you’ll need to buy something like the Ledger Nano X, which is a physical Bitcoin ledger. Apart from being the most anonymous way to store your Bitcoin, a so-called “cold wallet” (physical wallet) is also by far the most secure one. This is like having a small part of the entire blockchain register, where you store the cryptocurrency you own. This may be a bit outside your budget and effort commitment, so what are the cheaper alternatives?
If you’re not willing to invest in a physical ledger, you can sign-up for a service like The Samourai Wallet. It’s not the same as having your own ledger since you have an account in a database, but at least it doesn’t ask for your personal information when signing up.
Now that you have a wallet, you’ll need to buy some (fractions of) Bitcoin. You can purchase some electronically through the interface of services like the Samourai Wallet, but if you want to be completely anonymous you should buy your Bitcoin in person, using cash.
Go to the nearest mall and look for payment terminals that accept cash for Bitcoin. If you can buy Bitcoin using that particular ATM, it’ll usually feature a BTC sign somewhere on its cover.
Once you’re there, keep your Bitcoin wallet ready with a receiving address, and follow the transaction instructions detailed on-screen. Most Bitcoin ATMs will guide you smoothly through the whole process.
However, keep in mind that some Bitcoin ATMs will feature two-step verification through SMS. If you want to buy Bitcoin completely anonymously, you should have a prepaid SIM ready for that SMS. Once that’s done, your BTC should be in your Bitcoin wallet.
What VPNs Can I Buy With Bitcoin?
If you want to know what the best VPNs are out there, you should read our roundup of the best 5 VPNs. However, not all VPNs take Bitcoin payments, so let’s narrow the list down to the ones that do.
ExpressVPN: the best choice
ExpressVPN is the best all-round VPN. It has a reliable connection, a lot of servers all across the world, and dedicated features for streaming. It’s a good pick in general, and to make things even better: ExpressVPN accepts payments in Bitcoin. Moreover, ExpressVPN works with diskless servers and TrustedServer technology, meaning all data (including yours) frequently gets wiped from their servers (automatically). Needless to say, this is great for privacy and anonymity.
- Very easy to use VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
Surfshark: the budget friendly alternative
Buying a physical ledger for your Bitcoin can be pretty expensive. If that has set your budget back, you can go ahead and get a Surfshark subscription. It might not be as much of a premium choice as ExpressVPN, but it’s still a very good one. Furthermore, it accepts Bitcoin as a payment method.
- Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
- 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked!
- Cheap with many extra options
Other Bitcoin-friendly VPNs
ExpressVPN and Surfshark are the best options in terms of VPNs that can be purchased with Bitcoin, but if you have any problems with the two options, or if you want to do your own research and you’re curious about what other options are out there, here are some other VPNs that accept Bitcoin payments:
If you don’t want to go to all these lengths to buy a VPN, there is a more efficient method, although it’s not as anonymous: buying a VPN with gift cards
Gift Cards As A Payment Method For VPNs
Buying a VPN with a gift card can be another anonymous option for your safe browsing needs, but it’s not always completely anonymous. The following are some VPNs that allow users to pay with a gift card:
- Hotspot Shield
Just go to Apple or Google’s gifting center, pick a type of gift card, pay for it, and then use it when signing up for those VPNs.
However, while the VPN provider won’t have access to your data, the gift card processor will. Buying gift cards through Google, for example, means you’ll be using your Google account, which you can’t set up anonymously. To get around that, you can look for gift cards at malls that you can buy with cash. However, remember that VPN-compatible gift cards can usually only be found in the UK and US.
Even then, your VPN options are limited when buying cash gift cards. Some of the most popular options are Private Internet Access, Black VPN and VPN Unlimited, which are not bad VPNs but make up a more limited selection of options and features nonetheless. Therefore, going down the Bitcoin route is generally a better idea.
To actually buy a VPN with Bitcoin, you’ll usually only have to pick Bitcoin as your payment method of choice at checkout:
Usually, choosing Bitcoin as your payment method will lead you to a secure Bitpay window, which works pretty much like any other payment processor, but there’s a twist. Bitpay doesn’t accept all types of Bitcoin wallets. You can check here to see their list of supported wallets. If your chosen wallet isn’t there (for example, as of writing this article, Samourai isn’t there) you can use a free VPN and an anonymous Protonmail account to sign-up for a Bitpay wallet, and then transfer funds from your wallet to that wallet. If you need more information about this, please refer to the section “Buying a VPN with Bitcoin” above.
Why Buy a VPN Anonymously?
In some cases, going through all the trouble to buy a VPN anonymously can be out of a simple desire for complete online anonymity. Considering the constant data breaches, and privacy concerns around big tech giants, it’s no wonder that people want to stay protected whenever they do something online.
However, that’s not all. There are countries with little respect for internet freedom, usually with a dictatorial regime as well, where the use of a VPN is prohibited, and in that case, it’s crucial that you go through this process to stay safe. Moreover, even if the use of a VPN isn’t prohibited, people with a certain profession like journalists or activists might want to buy a VPN anonymously to stay ahead of a government keen on persecution.
That’s especially important when you consider what data is saved whenever you buy a VPN. It’s not just about your payment information stored safely in a payment processor’s digital vault. Depending on your cookie settings and whether or not you use other anonymity-improving software, just buying a VPN can mean sharing:
- Your IP address
- The timestamp of your purchase
- Your name
- Your email address
- Payment details
So if you’re wondering “Why buy a VPN anonymously?” – it’s to make sure you keep the above information private. That being said, there are downsides to buying VPNs anonymously
The Downsides Of Buying VPNs Anonymously
If you’re not living under an invasive government, and if you’re not actively targeted by any entity online, you might want to consider the downsides to buying a VPN completely anonymously.
First of all, the process can be daunting. It’s not as simple as toggling a “privacy” switch and adding a subscription to your cart. You need to first make sure you’re anonymous when you start the buying process, then you need to settle on a BTC wallet, and if you really want to do everything anonymously, take a stroll to your nearest Bitcoin ATM.
And that’s before you set up anonymous accounts, buy a prepaid card for any two-step authentication needed, and then weigh your VPN options. It’s a lengthy process, and if you’re not really worried about anyone finding out your identity, you may want to consider this downside.
Moreover, it’s not as easy to get a refund when you buy a VPN with Bitcoin or gift cards. There’s no payment information in-store, so if you don’t like the product you get, it’s either tough luck or risk exposing your personal information if you want a refund.
Furthermore, banks and online payment processors have a lot of failsafe mechanisms in place in case buyers are unhappy with a transaction. For example, if you feel like the product you got isn’t quite what you were promised, you can ask for a card chargeback from your bank at any time. Since Bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed, that’s not possible when you buy a VPN completely anonymously (using Bitcoin).
A VPN is a wonderful tool to help you stay anonymous on the internet, but if you want to go the extra mile and buy the VPN anonymously, you’ll need to jump through some hoops.
In short, you’ll need to:
- Get a free VPN or the Tor Browser to go through this process anonymously.
- Find a Bitcoin Wallet (compatible with BitPay) or a suitable gift card.
- Physically go to a physical Bitcoin ATM to get your BTC.
- Sign-up for your desired VPN with a fake email address and prepaid SIM card.
If you’ve got a question about this article, you’ll most likely find the answer here. If not, feel free to contact us in the comments below!
To buy a VPN anonymously, you’ll need to get a Bitcoin wallet, buy Bitcoin with cash at a Bitcoin ATM, sign-up for a ProtonMail account and then use that email address to subscribe to your desired VPN service (of course, as long as it accepts payments via Bitcoin).
However, learning how to buy a VPN completely anonymously may require some extra steps, so read our article to find out exactly what you need to do.
People buy VPNs anonymously to make sure that none of their personal information, like their IP address, name, email address, purchase timestamp or payment details get exposed. This can be out of a simple desire to stay anonymous on the internet, or it can be related to perceived or actual danger to the individual. For example, activists and journalists that live under dictatorial regimes might do this so that their online activities cannot be tracked.
If you live under a privacy-friendly government and you value the convenience of buying something through a regular bank account, you might want to think twice before buying a VPN anonymously. Doing so can be pretty time consuming, it can cost you a bit more, and you probably won’t be able to get a refund as easily. Find out more in our article on How To Buy A VPN Anonymously.