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Fewer Than One-Third of Consumers Use a VPN

why axis data chart vpn usage pcmag survey

Understand the value of a virtual private network (VPN) but still don’t use one? You’re not alone.

The Why Axis Bug

In a recent PCMag survey of 3,000 US consumers conducted between September 23 and 26, more than half of respondents (52 percent) said they do or would need a VPN for security purposes. Yet 48 percent said they have never used a VPN, and 23 percent have in the past but don’t anymore. Just 29 percent—or almost one in three respondents—said they actually do use one.

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A VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy and data security. These services encrypt your internet traffic, preventing prying eyes from stealing your personal information and your internet service provider from seeing which sites you’re visiting.

Of those who reported using a VPN, 18 percent said they do so on their laptop or desktop, while just 5 percent use one on their smartphone or tablet. A mere 6 percent said they use one on all of their devices.

Notably, the survey also indicated that VPN use has increased since the FCC’s April rollback of Obama-era net neutrality rules, which prevented ISPs from, for example, slowing down or blocking a video streaming service unless a user pays extra. Twenty-six percent of respondents said the repeal of net neutrality rules was a factor in their decision to pay for a VPN. Moreover, 52 percent said they are more likely to use a VPN after the repeal.

“People don’t want for their traffic to be prioritized depending on the content they are trying to access,” NordVPN Communications Director Ruby Gonzalez told PCMag. “After the repeal of net neutrality, such prioritizing became possible, and VPN usage eliminates such possibility.”

If you’re looking for advice on purchasing a VPN, you’ve come to the right place. PCMag has tested many VPN services; our favorites for Windows include NordVPN, Private Internet Access VPN, andTunnelBear VPN.

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