VPNs hide your online activity, mask your location and make you anonymous on the web. They also help you bypass geo-restriction and access entertainment services from all over the world. These are the reasons that the modern-day internet user starts using a VPN. The technology of VPNs is not new. Office workers know about this and have spent almost two decades using virtual private networks to connect to their workplace remotely as well as securely. But the way things have unfolded all over the world in the past couple of decades, using a VPN is now quite necessary wherever you are.
VPNs offer a whole range of benefits for anyone using them. But while some people use them to gain something extra, some use best VPNs to gain the basic internet access that should be available to everyone. These are people who live in countries where the internet is heavily censored and content is filtered on a large scale. There are quite a few countries that fall in this bracket.
1. Saudi Arabia
One of the worst places to be if you enjoy freedom on the internet is Saudi Arabia. People in Saudi Arabia don’t have access to a whole bunch of websites. This includes many news websites and many streaming, IM, and VoIP services. The content on websites that are accessible is also regulated by the government. Two lists are maintained to filter websites are content; one that is immoral (related to pornography and the likes), and one that supports Shia Ideology. Anything that the State deems as harmful to its reputation or the peace of the country is blocked and censored.
China’s internet censorship is so extreme that it is famous by the name of the Great Firewall of China. Almost all social media and IM services are blocked in the country. Many news websites and other such services are blocked as well, and the content that people share is monitored actively. While it is better in respect to other internet restricting countries in that China has its own search engines and social networking sites, it makes using a VPN illegal to make matters worse for the people of China.
Censorship is a thing common in most countries that are under Muslim rule. The only difference is how extensive that censorship is. While the situation of internet censorship in UAE was never good for its citizens, the government, in 2015, made it illegal to use an IP-spoofing service to mask the IP address and indulge in criminal activities. While one might argue that there’s more to using a VPN than indulging in crime, we can only wish you luck in trying to explain that to the UAE government.
There are other countries like Thailand and Vietnam where using the internet with any sort of freedom means you have to use a VPN. While these countries require users to use a virtual private network the most, other countries like USA, UK, Australia have data retention laws and activity monitoring practices that warrant the use of VPNs as well.
While people think that VPN users are few and closely grouped together in the world, the true situation is quite different. It is reported that one in four people today uses a VPN for one purpose or the other. This puts the average VPN user percentage as 25% of the world’s population, a figure reaching close to 2 billion people.
As for the most VPN users in a country, the country that tops this list is Indonesia. This is because despite the country’s history of having a liberal stance towards internet usage, some restrictions are now imposed. Since the country doesn’t have its own alternative entertainment and informative services, the people have no choice but to use a VPN. Around 36% of Indonesians use a VPN, while around 35% Vietnamese people use VPNs too. Other countries with high VPN user population are India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and China. Indian users, much like their western counterparts, use VPNs to access streaming and entertainment services like Netflix not available in their countries.