A new report reveals nearly 17% of UK internet users report having used a VPN and the reasons are varied.
YouGov, an international online based market research company in their latest report titled Incognito Individual found that 1 in 6 UK internet users are either using or have used a VPN.
Content is king
Perhaps the most surprising result to come from that is nearly half of all those users (48%) claim their reason for doing so is to access regionally restricted content.
Regionally restricted content is often streaming media websites such as BBC iPlayer, Sky Go and others that block access outside the intended country.
While the report doesn’t specify if the usage of UK users was at home or abroad large portions of UK users often use VPN services while abroad to access content from home.
Other popular uses include using a VPN to access different regions of Netflix.
With US Netflix having a reported 40% more content than the UK site, it is easy to see why VPN use is so popular with those wanting to hop digital region barriers.
Online region restrictions have become more prevalent in recent years which has contributed to the boom in VPN use.
Security not far behind
However, while accessing content is the biggest draw the number of users making use of VPN services to increase their online security was the second biggest stated reason.
44% of respondents said this was their intended use and a further 37% for the extra privacy.
The fourth most popular use was to access websites that are blocked at home or work.
Often social media websites are blocked at work or schools and the latest report shows that the general public is becoming savvy enough to use tools such as VPN services to bypass such blocks.
VPN use continues to grow across the world and the difference in use between western countries eager to access blocked content and those living under repressive regimes who use VPN services to simply access a free and unrestricted internet is stalk.
While UK users are clearly interested mainly in entertainment the growing number also interested in privacy is reassuring.
Although the intended purpose of a VPN is to increase security and privacy a side effect of the increase in users using VPN services solely to access restricted entertainment content is they are also unwittingly protecting their own privacy in the process.