Despite its illegal status, VPN usage is prevalent among the people of Turkmenistan.
New research from Techopedia reveals the countries where VPNs were searched for the most in 2023, and compared to 2022 data - with Turkmenistan coming out on top across both years.
Analysing Google Trends data from 2022/23, the Central Asian country that’s notorious for its internet censorship scored a max 100 across both years - the only country to do so.
The top 5 included countries known for restricting their citizens' online activity such as Iran, China, Myanmar, and newly for 2023, Ethiopia.
Here’s the Top 10 World VPN Search Ranking for 2023:
Key insights on the findings:
Searches across the top 10 countries increased an average of 97% from 2022 - with not a single decrease showing that internet freedom is getting worse globally.
Turkmenistan was #1 across 2022-2023 - with a max search score of 100 for both years - due to its restrictive internet policy even though VPNs are technically considered illegal there.
Ethiopia was the highest new entry at #2 with a search score of 99 due to the civil unrest that took place, with the government blocking access to social media in February 2023.
Afghanistan had the largest YoY increase of 156%, due to the Taliban’s continued efforts to censor Afghani’s internet.
The search and use of VPNs often indicates the need for citizens to bypass oppressive internet censorship imposed by their governments. To understand more behind the results and rises, Techopedia researched the political and cultural events that occurred in each country across 2023 and detailed how they affected online activity.
Editor of Techopedia, Nick Francis, had this to comment on the research:
“Many of the countries featured come as no surprise considering their well-known restrictions towards online freedoms. The new entries and largest rises give an insightful look into how more current governments are quickly restricting internet access for their citizens as soon as civil unrest unfolds. It’s troubling, but not surprising.
It’ll be interesting to follow these search trends going forwards and see how it correlates with further developments in each country.”
Techopedia is the expert guide through the varied and rapidly evolving world of tech. Whether it’s keeping up with emerging trends, understanding the latest tech releases, or finding the right products at the best price, Techopedia’s experts cut through the noise to deliver clear, unbiased and accurate information.
Google Trends Scoring:
The score is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, indicating how popular the search term ‘VPN’ was in each country for the year 2023. Here’s a quick guide to understanding it:
100 is the country where searches for VPNs were the most popular, as a fraction of that place’s total searches.
50 is a location where searches for VPNs were half as popular as the country with a 100 score.
In this data, a higher value means a higher proportion of all queries – not a higher absolute query count. So, a small country where 80% of searches are for VPNs will score twice that of a large country where just 40% of those queries are for VPNs.
Mihir Gadhvi is the co-founder of illustrake and HAYD. Illustrake is a D2C Enabler and offers Performance Marketing, Retention Marketing, and Content Creation Services. HAYD is a brand New, homegrown fashion line that aims to make clothing easy for us without taxing our planet. Although the concept is quite known now, HAYD wants to accomplish sustainability by reducing its impact on the environment with safe and fair manufacturing.