Virtual Private Network service providers are growing in global usage at a very fast rate.
With that said, there are still many people that use the internet every single day, multiple times, across many personal devices (from laptops and desktops to mobile phones, tablets... all the way to eReaders and smartTVs) whom are completely unaware of what a VPN is and how incredibly useful a little tool it is.
To put it as simply as possible, if you have ever stumbled upon a website or online service that has been blocked from accessing, because of your physical location at that time - then you should not this hinder you web experience and instead grab a VPN to easily pass such geo-restrictions.
In addition to this, more importantly, the online climate today has become incredibly "Orwellian" in the level of government and third-party surveillance is being conducted on your personal data and activity.
By using a VPN the moment you connect to the internet on any device, you are implementing a very sophisticated (and yes, before you ask - completely legal) level of encryption on everything you do, watch, message and download/upload, making it incredibly (if not entirely) impossible for any prying eyes to connect your online data and activity to your personal location and/or identity.
In spite of the still under-the-radar global usage of VPNs, when compared to the likes of Anti-Virus software for example, this great little piece of software is growing in usage like wildfire.
To illustrate this most compellingly, check out the infographic we put together that breaks down just some of the most interesting statistics and facts about VPNs to date!
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What is explained in this Infographic?
Below is a quick breakdown of each statistic and fact laid out in the infographic above, to give you a bit more information on why each is significant and important to understand.
VPNs and Asia
Asia, specifically China, has reportedly become the country with the single largest number of VPN users in the world. This should come as no surprise, considering that the following major websites and online services have been completely blocked to all users residing within the nation:
Google (most versions like .com, .co.uk, .hk, etc)
China is blocking all these websites and online services via a large scale, nationwide "Great Firewall of China". This is a sophisticated firewall that has been placed at the sever-level of every single ISP (Internet Service Provider).
This has resulted in such a huge countrywide adoption of using VPNs as a way to bypass this firewall and gain access to the otherwise completely blocked sites.
Sadly, Chinese government also have a plan in place to pass a law making the use of VPNs entirely banned by early 2018. However, this will not mean that an individual within China using a VPN will be breaking the law, technically. So we should only expect the use of VPNs to remain and/or increase in volume when this law passes.
According to globalwebindex.net, the average numbers of global internet users that utilise a VPN when connected to the net is as common as 1 in 4 (or 3 in 10, to be exact).
This is incredibly surprising when VPNs are still considered as highly niche and only seen as being used by more 'tech geeky' internet users.
VPN Global Market $
At the point of this infographic being compiled, the global market for VPN service providers was sitting at over $50Billion annually.
This is only set to increase as time goes on, with online privacy becoming more at the forefront of popular media and online culture. Between Hollywood releasing the Snowden movie and online hacking/mass data leaks becoming more and more global and highlighted in major world wide news outlets -- using a VPN as a way to protect one's personal online data and activity is making more sense than ever with each passing day.
VPNs and Netflix
The war between the online media streaming goliath and VPN service providers has waged for over a year now, with both sides refusing to back down.
What has happened is many VPN providers are giving less and less time/effort to keeping the servers they offer 'Netflix-accessible', since it is a relentless game of cat and mouse to stay ahead of Netflix periodically searching and blocking these every day.
However, that has not stopped 20 million users clearly using a VPN to access Netflix, wherein the online streaming service is not officially available.
In addition to that, there are still a small handful of VPN services that are staying ahead of Netflix, allowing their users to successfully bypass the restriction and gain access to the service from around the globe.
There are even a huge number of VPN users outside the US that actually do have access to the service, officially, yet still use a VPN in order to access the most superior library that Netflix offers, which is within the US. Taking Canada as a neighbouring example, wherein users get access to a library with 50% less media than US-based users get.
Most Common VPN Usages
Many people online are taking their privacy protection into their own hands. Using a VPN gives a level of encryption on your online data and activity that no other current software does in such a simple and fast way.
Geo-restricted online content has grown massively in recent years, with more and more online media streaming services and websites realising that they need to adhere to the content licensing agreements they have setup with their media/content providers.
To list just a few online streaming services that are currently implementing geo-restrictions on their service:
This has resulted in many online users connecting to a VPN in order to effectively and quickly bypass such geo-restrictions by utilising the IP address changing capabilities that a VPN service offers.
GLOBAL INSTANT MESSAGING
In addition to geo-restrictions being placed on online media and content, there are a few large countries around the globe that have blocked the ability for their citizens to use popular online messaging services like WhatsApp and Viber to communicate.
This is a blatant move by power-hungry government bodies wanting to force their population to pay for telecommunication services. However, using a VPN allows users to bypass this block and use their preferred free online messaging service.
Although many major governments are not as oppressive and controlling as others, there are much more common restrictions being places at local levels within most major cities.
It is unsurprising to find that your school or workplace will have a block placed on their intranet, restricting such "time-wasting" sites and services as social media, video streaming sites and the like.
Using a VPN in most cases can allow students and employees to jump around these blocks and maintain their online freedom (aka online procrastinating).
All in all, it is pretty clear that using a Virtual Private Network service provider has quickly and quietly becoming a go-to app for online users all around the globe for a variety of reasons.
You can clearly see from the information laid out above that the uses of a VPN range from simply bypassing an annoying little block one might experience when browsing the web -- to tricking a major online service to give you access to their paid content -- all the way to essentially using the VPN as a form of protecting one's fundamental online freedoms and rebelling against an oppressive government that is attempting to infringe on an individual's online rights.
VPN usage is only going to climb and reach more and more homes around the world. This is becoming increasingly obvious with the national privacy-invasions (from, for example, the NSA) being highlighted to the world at scale -- along with the increasing number of online restriction bills attempting to be brought into power by western governments like the US and UK.
If you are not currently using a VPN, understand that this simple-yet-sophisticated little piece of software is the same price as a cup of coffee while legally giving you the power to keep your online data/activity private and unrestricted.
Consider using one from today onwards.
If you already are -- keep fighting the good fight and taking care of your online privacy.
Should you be interested in what the current best and most trustworthy VPN providers are on the market right now, then reference our 5 suggestions below, each of which we have rigorously tested firsthand and determined to be the top providers to go with:
Current Best VPNs Available
Start at $6.67
Start at $5.83
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Start at $9.99