The Rise of VPN Usage
A few years ago, VPNs were just a suggestion. A luxury that most people didn’t need; especially considering the relatively expensive pricing for the subscription packages for the best VPNs.
But fast forward to 2019, and you’ve got to like to live dangerously to be using the Internet without a VPN. Cybercrimes are becoming more and more common in the Digital Age, and big tech companies are like vultures; always looking for more and more ways to legally harvest your data. The average consumer is besieged online on both sides, and it can be pretty scary without protection.
VPNs have also gained popularity due to their ability to get around region locks. There is a lot of content out there on the Internet that is geo-restricted, and with VPNs, you can get around these restrictions. The Digital Age has brought about the era of binge culture, and with streaming services like Netflix dropping entire seasons of TV shows in a single day, binging has become a lot easier.
VPN usage has steadily increased over the years and continues to climb each day. People from all over the world use VPNs, but the statistics show that there is a trend of increasing VPN usage in the Middle East and Asia specifically. Surely there is a reason for that, yes? And indeed there is.
Why is VPN usage getting more common in Asia and the Middle East?
Looking at the statistics, nine of the ten top markets for VPNs, are Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Those countries in order are Indonesia, India, Turkey, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, UAE, and the Philippines.
That can’t be a coincidence.
These regions are pretty big on censorship
And it’s not. If you look at the World Press Freedom Index, you will see that the bottom of the list is comprised almost exclusively of Asian and Middle Eastern countries. There is a lot of censorship going on in these two regions, and that means a lot of restricted content. And two of the biggest reasons people use VPNs is to access restricted entertainment, social media, or news sites. And that’s no fun.
If you think it can’t be that bad in some of these countries, think again. China is notoriously pro-censorship, with its Great Fire Wall of China blocking a lot of Western content. In 2017, Indonesia, banned over 80,000 websites for arbitrary adult content reasons. That’s a lot of content that people are missing out on.
Many Asian and Middle Eastern countries have banned or restricted VPN usage.
In many countries in Asian and the Middle East, it is outright illegal to use VPNs. Countries like China and Iran only allow for government-approved VPNs to be used. But can these VPNs really be trusted if the government gives them the okay? Probably not. Because of the crackdown on VPNs, private citizens need to keep one step ahead of the government, so they probably go through a lot of VPNs before they find ones that consistently work.
You know how when you were a kid and were told not to do something? And immediately afterward you felt even more compelled to do it? The same concept pretty much applies here.
If a person in the Middle East just wants to watch a show on Netflix, why should they resign themselves to never being able to use one of the world’s most popular streaming services because the government says so?
As it turns out, most people don’t like the government being the gatekeeper for what they can and cannot watch.
Keeping in touch with friends and family.
Many countries in Asia and the Middle East ban VoIP services such as Skype and WhatsApp due to their video chatting capabilities. This can make keeping in contact with the people you care about a little hard.
What about the rest of the world? Why are people using VPNs more?
Your privacy online is becoming increasingly nonexistent, and your data is at risk.
When people say that everything nowadays is online, they mean literally everything is online. For better and for worse.
With all your data online, there are companies out there who are looking to snatch up said data and use it for their own purposes. From ISPs to Google, to Facebook, all of these big tech companies are like Darth Nihilus, the Lord of Hunger. But instead of feeding off force energy, they feed off your private data. On top of that, you also have cybercriminals who are also looking to steal your data. VPNs provide consumers with a layer of protection. Just in America, nearly 100% of citizens are concerned with how companies are using their data. And with companies like Facebook mired in data breach scandal after data breach scandal, who can blame them?
With a VPN, geo-restrictions are (mostly) a non-issue.
From TV shows to video games, there is a lot of region-locked content in the world. But with a VPN, the online world is quite literally your oyster. Some defenses might be harder to crack than others, but with VPNs, you can access pretty much any content in the world no matter where you are. And with binge culture getting increasingly popular, the usage of VPNs to access entertainment content is only going to increase.
Prices vary depending on the area of purchase.
Not all currencies are equal, so people looking to save some money stand to gain from using VPNs. From subscription packages, to plane tickets, to loot boxes (If that’s your cup of tea), using a VPN to hop onto a different country’s server can save you a few bucks. And this can add up pretty quickly.
Conclusion: VPNs aren’t going anywhere.
Currently, 50% of smartphone users actively use a VPN. Nearly 40% of computer users actively use a VPN. With tech companies getting progressively sleazier, and with streaming becoming the go-to choice for watching content moving forward, it is safe to say that VPNs are here to stay.
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