VPNs are advertised as the best—even the only—way in which you can be anonymous while browsing. However, there are two big ways you could lose anonymity: The first is the logs some VPNs keep, and the second is the VPN sign-up process itself.
Even if you’re using the best VPN out there, with up-to-date protocols, state-of-the-art encryption, and a privacy advocate’s dream of a no-log agreement, the VPN itself knows who you are for two reasons: your email address and your payment information.
Most VPNs (We’ll talk about the exceptions later.) require that you submit your email address to create an account. You probably signed up to your email provider with your real name and are using it in correspondence, giving the VPN at least one data point to connect with your account activity.