RAM-only VPN servers help take VPN data privacy to the next level. They allow VPN operators to quickly remove all data on a server, providing users with greater confidence in the safety of their information. On the user side of things, these servers can also result in increased VPN speeds.
What is a RAM-only VPN Server?
A RAM-only VPN server does not store data on a hard drive. Instead, it uses volatile memory to load the operating system and other necessary applications. The result is a highly secure environment where service providers can instantly delete data.
How RAM-only VPN Servers Work
A RAM-only VPN server works using a read-only image containing the operating system and other applications. The read-only image is loaded into RAM and deployed as a complete environment when the server boots up.
Users are permitted access to the service once the VPN provider completes the environment deployment. Any data created during connections remains entirely on the RAM. Such data gets destroyed when the server is shut down or rebooted.
Why RAM-only VPN Servers Are Necessary
VPN servers that only use RAM offer multiple advantages over those relying on traditional hard drives. These advantages include;
1. Better Performance Over Regular Servers
RAM is much faster than traditional hard disk drives. Because of this simple fact, RAM-only VPN servers tend to perform exceptionally well. Compared to modern-day NVMe SSD drives, RAM still has the speed advantage.
The faster a VPN server is, the better the performance for VPN customers. Users will generally notice faster connection times, improved upload and download performance, and perhaps other advantages.
2. Increased Data Security and Privacy
RAM is much stricter in the way it handles processes and associated data. For example, once a specific process is terminated, the operating system will destroy all session-associated data.
A user-initiated VPN connection can theoretically be considered a unique “process” to the server operating system. Once the VPN application concludes the user session, all associated session information gets permanently removed.
In addition, the volatile nature of RAM makes it easier for VPN services to remove every bit of data from their servers quickly. Service providers only need to issue a reboot or shutdown command for all data to be wiped. Even pulling the right power plug from the server rack will suffice in worst-case scenarios.
3. Improved Agility
The “image only” nature of RAM-only VPN servers provides service providers a greater depth of agility. For example, VPN providers can rapidly deploy, set up, or move virtual server locations across multiple locations.
This agility translates well to the end-user advantage. If a VPN provider notes higher connection usage in specific areas, it will be able to adjust its server capacities rapidly. That prevents users from being affected by slow, overburdened VPN servers.
Disadvantages of RAM-only VPN Servers
RAM-only VPN servers have few disadvantages aside from possible complexity in configuration and added cost. In a regular context, RAM is more expensive than traditional hard drives.
On the other hand, server RAM is even more so since it requires ECC – a feature that helps increase reliability. This type of RAM will sell for 10% to 20% above what regular RAM modules cost. The added cost might force VPN providers opting for RAM-only servers to charge higher fees.
Three Best RAM-Only VPN Services
Given the increased expertise and cost associated with deploying RAM-only servers, it isn’t surprising that only a handful of providers have done so. That is surprising since I assume the service providers need to remain more competitive on the user trust scale in this industry.
If you’re interested in RAM-only VPN server providers, here are my recommendations:
NordVPN is a VPN provider close to my heart. They’re one of the earliest brands I tried out and offer several features worth checking out. The company's RAM-only servers are one such feature. These servers offer blazing fast speeds and are perfect for those who want to stream HD content or engage in other activities that require high speeds.
They also have a large server pool with many locations worldwide. That makes it perfect if you need to access specific areas for geo-unblocking. On top of RAM-only servers, NordVPN undergoes periodical independent security audits.
Among VPN brands, I still consider Surfshark my first love. It’s young and has so much to offer. Being a relatively new entrant, it has surprised me more than once, especially in its willingness to adopt newer features like RAM-only VPN servers and the WireGuard protocol.
The most impressive part of Surfshark is that it manages to offer top-notch performance at highly competitive prices. This VPN service provider is an excellent choice if you’re looking for exceptional value.
ExpressVPN is a highly recognized brand in the VPN space. There’s no denying that it provides an excellent service, with reliability being a solid highlight. It’s not the fastest nor slowest but offers a service you can count on any day.
The strange thing about it, though, is that it loves to try and put a unique spin on things. That means even their RAM-only servers get a unique branding. It refers to them as TrustedServers, though touting the same features. If you need an “old faithful” service, then ExpressVPN is a good choice.
RAM-only VPN servers are still relatively rare among VPN service providers. While these servers increase data security and privacy, it is also a sizable investment for many smaller brands. The overall process is primarily transparent for users like us, but knowing it's in place is reassuring.