Middle East tops VPN charts to achieve privacy and block restrictions
Five countries in the Middle East are the world’s highest users of virtual private networks (VPNs), according to new research.
The top five, according to the research by Atlas VPN of the 45 biggest VPN providers for the first half of 2020, are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
“VPN usage varies widely around the world,” said Atlas VPN. “Some use a VPN to maintain their right to privacy online. Some wish to protect themselves from prying eyes. Others want to bypass their country’s network restrictions.”
The company, which unsurprisingly operates its own VPN services, said that in the first half of 2020 “people from 85 selected countries downloaded VPN applications over 134 million times”.
VPN penetration rates in the top five go from 38.72% in the UAE to 13.01% in Kuwait: all of the five show rates above 10%, with Singapore, the sixth in the survey, showing just 8.17%. Next in line are Turkey, Indonesia, Panama and the UK, which has a 6.21% usage rate.
“The lowest adopters of VPN services are Madagascar, Kenya, and Uzbekistan,” says Atlas VPN. “Most downloads were from the United States, reaching 19,935,032 downloads in the first half of 2020.”
Madagascar comes last in the company’s survey of 85 countries, with a download rate of just 0.08%.
One VPN review site says that Atlas VPN started business only at the start of 2020.
VPNoperview.com says: “At first, Atlas VPN logged a lot of personal user information, including your IP address. Although they no longer save your IP address, they do still log other bits of information. Be wary of this when you decide to use this otherwise very decent service.”
From Atlas VPN’s methodology, it seems that the results reflect not only its own customer base but also the wider VPN market.
The company says: “Atlas VPN research team analysed and ranked 85 countries in terms of VPN penetration. … Atlas VPN provides a VPN adoption index that shows how common using a VPN service in the selected country is. The VPN download data is extracted from Google Play Store and Apple App Store using the Sensor Tower service. Download data includes 45 biggest VPN providers.”