25%. That’s the percentage of Internet users who access the Internet with a VPN.
In Thailand and Indonesia, that number is closer to 40%.
Why, though, are they doing it?
Are they doing it because certain websites are illegal in their countries? Or because they want to hide from advertisers? Or hackers? Or because they want to stream Netflix?
Well, the short answer is, “all of the above.”
The reasons for using a VPN are as various as the restrictions that governments, corporations, and hackers put on your privacy.
And we won’t see an end to these restrictions in 2018. Just consider the recent net neutrality laws that passed in the U.S.
For the first time, Internet providers are legally capable of restricting user access to certain websites based on the plan or payment of the user.
Also, consider that 90 million VPN users in China use the service to access restricted social sites.
Clearly, people are fighting for their privacy with VPNs, and here are five reasons why you should do the same thing.
1. Stream Whatever Content You Want
Who doesn’t love watching Netflix or YouTube?
Few things are as enjoyable as finding a show that you really connect with and watching it alone or with friends.
It’s not just a great conversation starter with your friends who are also watching the show. It’s also a great way to pass the time.
Unfortunately, you might not even have legal access to Netflix or YouTube depending on the country you live in.
Which is why 29% of VPN users use the tool to access Netflix.
If you live in a country without access to Netflix, then you can use a VPN to bypass that limitation.
You can simply connect to a different IP address — the U.S, for instance — and then watch your shows as though you were actually in that country, accessing their Wi-Fi instead.
But maybe you don’t live in China or another country where Netflix is completely unavailable. Maybe you’re just traveling to one of those places for a bit.
Fortunately, with VPNs, when traveling to a country without Netflix, you don’t have to give up your favorite shows.
And you’re not alone in your desire to use a VPN to stream the best shows. In fact, accessing better content is the second most common motivation for using a VPN in the first place.
And that trend isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.
The live video streaming market, for instance, is projected to grow from around $30 billion in 2016 to $70 billion in 2021.
As producers and entertainment providers pour money into better shows and more lucrative episodes, the amount of people who stream exceptional video content using a VPN is sure to increase.
After all, no one — including yourself — wants to miss the next episode of Stranger Things or House Of Cards just because they’re in a country that restricts access to Netflix.
With a VPN, you don’t have to, regardless of your location.
2. Protect Your Privacy
Are you sick of everyone and their dog having access to your personal information?
If you’re like most consumers, then you are.
In fact, a whopping 96% of consumers are somewhat or very concerned about the way their private data is being used online.
For better or worse, everyone is trying to get access to your private information.
Advertisers want to use it to sell you their next best product. Governments want to use it to monitor their citizens. And hackers want to steal your identity.
Naturally, that causes a lot of distrust in the minds of consumers.
Just consider, for example, the prevalence of identity theft in the last few years.
21% of people have had their email or social media account stolen, and 11% have had personal information stolen — things like an SSN, credit card, or banking information.
In the last six years, identity thieves have stolen a total of $107 billion from their victims.
How do they do it, though?
Well, employment or tax-related fraud and credit card fraud are the two top ways that identity thieves prefer to access and use your information for their heinous ends.
Unfortunately, your credit card information and tax information is readily available to hackers if you don’t have proper protection when entering it online.
Imagine, for example, that you’re entering your tax information into an unprotected website at a coffee shop with unprotected Wi-Fi. Believe it or not, anyone else in that coffee shop now has access to your private tax information.
And because of the digital age we live in, identity thieves have less trouble than ever accessing your information.
Which is probably why we’ve seen an increase in the damage they’ve done over the last few years.
Naturally, consumers everywhere are trying to combat this vulnerability.
In one study, 34% of people said that they use a secure email provider, encrypted technologies, or install a secure browser for privacy reasons.
One of the best services to protect your privacy, though, is a VPN.
VPNs create a sort of impenetrable tunnel between you and the website you’re accessing. That means when you enter and transfer data, hackers can’t intercept it on a whim.
3. Ignore Restrictive Wi-Fi
Clearly, identity theft and a lack of online privacy is frustrating.
But few things in this life are as annoying as when you’re trying to do research at school or work, and the location’s restrictive Wi-Fi won’t allow you to access pages that you need to access.
Often times, a page with the word “sex” or “breast” on it is enough of a reason for the Wi-Fi to block it.
But what if you’re trying to do research on the human body or sexually transmitted diseases?
The point is, you’ve been there — where you are trying to access a totally legitimate website, but you can’t because of the restrictive Wi-Fi you’re connected to.
Naturally, the two most common places that this happens is on school Wi-Fi or on workplace Wi-Fi.
And you’re not the only person feeling the frustration. Just consider when The New York Times interviewed school students on the web filters they have to regularly put up with.
One student said,
“The other day I was researching birth control for my health class and it took me way longer than it should have to complete my essay because the web filter wouldn’t let me open any websites including Planned Parenthood.”
“It’s too much when I can’t even go on an informal website talking about breast cancer or sexual abuse because they have the words ‘breast’ or ‘sexual.’”
And one more.
“Just recently I was doing a project on Super Smash Bros. and its history for web design. I could not even get to the REAL website which gives information from the creator and what will happen next with the game. For this I had to change my topic to something I was not really wanting to learn more on.”
You get the point. Restrictive Wi-Fi can be a real pain.
But with a VPN, it doesn’t have to be.
A VPN allows you to change your IP address and browse the web as though you’re on Wi-Fi from a different place and location — meaning free access to any website even if the website includes “block-worthy” words.
4. Ignore Government Restrictions
Let’s get the obvious objection out of the way.
Some governments have more restrictions than others.
In the U.S., for instance, you have the freedom to browse as you like with virtually no penalty (unless, of course, you’re using that freedom to access terrorist websites and child pornography).
In other countries, however, the Internet is not so free.
Consider, for example, the countries that VPNs are the most common in.
It’s no coincidence that China and Turkey — two countries where VPNs are illegal — fall toward the top of the list.
Ironically, countries that outlaw VPNs tend to see a greater use of them.
This makes sense when you think about it.
Governments that restrict the use of VPNs often restrict other things like social media sites and entertainment channels.
The citizens, then, respond by using a VPN to access those restricted websites of their own volition.
And VPN users don’t just do this every once in a while. Many of them do it every single day.
Evidently, once people experience true privacy, it’s hard to go back.
Of course, the fault doesn’t completely lie with the governments. Striking a balance between civil liberties and protecting the citizens of a country is difficult.
But for those of you who believe privacy is a right, a VPN is a great way to stake your claim in your online privacy against any government that’s trying to watch you.
If that’s you, you’re not alone in that desire for greater privacy from your government.
Just take the so-called “land of the free” as an example.
52% of Americans describe themselves as somewhat or very concerned about the way their government watches them. And 57% said that it’s unacceptable for their government to monitor their communication between citizens.
Because of this, 86% of Internet users have taken steps to mask their digital footprints. And even more interestingly, 61% of people said they would like to do more to protect their privacy online.
Is that you?
Then a VPN is your answer.
5. Hide From Corporations
It’s not just the government that is watching your information.
Corporations are doing the same thing. And, in some ways, they’re even worse.
That’s because they aren’t just watching your information. They’re regularly selling it to advertisers who want to target you with their special offers.
Sound ethically gray? Well yeah… because it is.
For that reason, consumers don’t really trust any corporations with their information — from credit card companies to cell phone companies to social media sites.
But it’s hard to blame them for their mistrust.
As it turns out, that lack of trust is well placed. In our digital age where the consumer is the product, your interests, desires, and contact information is sold for pennies on the dollar.
Naturally, consumers aren’t too fond of that fact.
74% of people say that it’s very important to them that they remain in control of who has access to their information, and 65% also want to determine what information about them is collected in the first place.
The rise in usage of ad blockers is just one example of those facts coming to life.
Consumers often don’t want advertisers to access them without their permission, and they’re doing everything they can to protect their privacy.
Unfortunately, advertisers still often get ahold of your information and sell it.
Which is why 91% of adults agree that consumers have lost control of corporations collect and use their personal information.
Even a VPN can’t protect you totally. But it can definitely help.
With a VPN, you can browse the Internet anonymously and avoid advertisers who want to target you with annoying marketing pop-ups. And, you can even partially prevent them from getting your information in the first place.
And in case you were concerned, LiquidVPN does not keep any logs of its own about your private information like most other corporations — and even some other VPN providers.
You probably understand now why one-fourth of the Internet population accesses the online world using a VPN.
You can stream whatever content you want, protect your privacy from hackers, ignore restrictive Wi-Fi and governments with a heavy hand, and even avoid corporations trying to buy and sell your information.
If you believe that privacy is a basic human right, then use a VPN to protect that truth.
Because, really, should anyone — government, corporation, school, work, or otherwise — be able to tell you what you can and cannot access online?
Once, the Internet was open for anyone to browse and use. Let’s try to keep it that way.