VPNs have become a recent subject of discussion and debate due to the freedom that they give individuals to browse and interact with whomever they choose to on the Internet.

Depending on where you reside around the globe using a VPN may be absolutely necessary or not required to access the majority of the websites you are looking for.

In order to know whether you need a VPN, it is important to understand what a VPN is and which countries really do require the use of a VPN to access major news websites, social media sites such as Facebook or email suites like Gmail. In order to understand more about VPNs, consider the conversation below.

What Is a VPN and Why Do People Use It?

A VPN is a server that allows an Internet user to browse the web anonymously. The user is able to sign onto the Internet as a subscriber from countries around the globe when currently in any country they desire.

For example, an individual in Mainland China can sign in from New York City in order to access the New York Times or secure banking sites.

VPNs can be used for basic purposes such as having different options on Netflix due to geographic location all the way to hacking into individual’s private information from an anonymous IP server.

Where VPNs have become quite controversial is in government policy with regards to individual freedoms combined with the need to balance safety to the public/governmental affairs. Conversely, VPN usage continues to grow daily due to the convenience that users experience from using VPNs. In fact, 42% of VPN users use their VPN daily or between four to five times per week.

What Makes People Use a VPN in Particular Countries?

There are many factors that can contribute to why individuals decide to use a VPN when they are accessing the Internet. One of the primary factors that correlates with VPN usage is government censorship. When governments censor information to their population that also travels abroad, individuals will come back to their home country and find a way to access the content that they would like to on the Internet.

Another factor that encourages VPN use is espionage and the desire to browse the Internet anonymously. Due to increased government surveillance individuals that are striving to protect their identity for either good faith or bad faith practices such as hacking use VPNs to ensure that it is more difficult to track their Internet activities. This is where VPN usage can be dangerous.

Inaccessibility to certain websites from their IP is another force that contributes to VPNs becoming so popular. China does not allow their citizens to access Instagram, Facebook, What’sApp or Twitter. One reason for this is that China has technology companies that have developed the Chinese version of these social media platforms and the other is to quell rebellions that start in Tibet or the Wigur provinces of Western China against the government.

Where VPNs Are the Most and Least Popular?

When thinking of VPN usage, one of the immediate countries that comes to mind is Mainland China. In fact, 29% of Internet users in Mainland China utilize VPNs like HideMyAss in order to access blocked social media or news sites. This is becoming more common as the government periodically cracks down on what Internet content can be viewed in China.

Other countries that have very high VPN usage are: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

What is interesting about these statistics is that the two primary countries that have high levels of Internet censorship are China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, and UAE. That said, Malaysia, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Indonesia have comparatively low levels of Internet censorship, yet still opt to use VPNs quite frequently.

Final Remarks on the Subject

VPNs really do bring up a fascinating debate that will have to be addressed in the coming years and that debate is whether governments should be able to control their citizen’s online browsing habits when arguably the Internet allows people to contact one another from multiple jurisdictions. The need for national security also ways into this debate and is difficult to divide the line between governments censoring their citizens for their own political interests or merely being protective of the dangers that the Internet presents in terms of national security.

This debate aside, individuals are enjoying the freedom to access content from private IP addresses based in whichever country they choose. Due to how many individuals work abroad, it allows them to access things they need to from their home country while working or traveling abroad. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how VPN companies succeed while balancing relationships with governments around the globe.