As the time we spend online on all our digital devices increases, so does the risk of falling victim to cyberattacks.
They were 82% more ransomware (opens in a new tab)related to data breaches last year. Online censorship and internet outages have increased globally, by Liberty House (opens in a new tab). Still, too many big tech companies abuse user data.
So it’s no surprise that even the less technical among us have been looking for the right security software to download – among the best VPNs and antivirus software, proxies and password management tools.
When it comes to anonymous browsing, the best options available are VPN apps, proxy servers, and the Tor browser. But which one is the most popular?
It was exactly what the hosting provider did Fasthosts wanted to know. Namely, how users have changed their online privacy habits. They found that VPNs trace a path forward.
Read on for all the details!
Proxy disabled, VPN up
“Given how popular VPNs have become with the continued growth of interest in cybersecurity, it is not surprising that the technology has seen such a dramatic increase in searches,” said Michelle Stark, director of sales and marketing at Fasthosts.
From their data, interest in VPN companies has been booming since 2015. Virtual private network providers are reaching more and more people who want to secure their digital lives.
NordVPN has seen a staggering 2523% increase in searches. Its nearest competitor ExpressVPN has achieved 597% more searches, while Surfshark has seen a 490% increase since its inception in 2018.
At the same time, interest in proxy servers is declining. Despite a sharp increase over the past year, searches for such software have fallen by 62% over the same period. Amid occasional declines over the past few years, the Tor browser has also seen a 46% decline in popularity.
Fasthosts believes there are several reasons for this trend.
Two main factors seem to be the growing emphasis on cybersecurity among all types of users and the development of streaming services.
VPNs are generally easier to use than proxies. They can also accommodate a wider range of user cases while offering enhanced security features. It is also worth noting the increase in marketing campaigns of VPN providers over the past few years.
Whatever the reason for choosing tools, the trend shows how more and more users around the world are concerned about their online privacy and want to learn how to protect their data.
“We’re even seeing people using Virtual Private Servers (VPS) to create their own VPNs for added security, to what extent are people willing to go to protect themselves in an increasingly digital world,” said Stark.
“I don’t imagine interest in these services will drop anytime soon, either for security reasons or to access a whole range of streaming content that would otherwise be unavailable, so it will be interesting to see how corporations adapt to these virtually invisible data – blocker”.
Proxy vs Tor vs VPN: Which one to choose?
Even though the purpose of VPNs, proxies, and Tor is ultimately the same – protecting users’ anonymity to enhance their online privacy – the way each software does it is different.
AND proxy it acts as a gateway between your device and the servers of the websites you access. Since all requests will go through the proxy server instead, this allows you to hide your true IP address location and bypass geographic restrictions.
AND VPN is very similar to a proxy. It hides your IP and makes you appear in a completely different place in the world with just a few clicks. However, in this case, all traffic coming out of your device is encrypted in a VPN tunnel so that intruders cannot access your information while in transit. You can also check out our proxy vs VPN explanation for more information.
The Pole browser is a free, open and secure browser run by volunteers. This is due to a practice known as onion routing. Directs traffic on ul in least three servers, encrypting data at every stage to ensure the greatest possible privacy.
Despite being very secure, Tor has a few downsides. Greater encryption can slow down your connection, for example. The service also has a stigma associated with cybercrime, meaning sites often block access.
VPNs seem to be better at evading reprisals by using new obfuscation technology as proxies and Tor exit nodes are more recognizable. So streaming VPN is the best way to unblock foreign directory on streaming platforms.
However, all this does not mean that there are no uses for proxies and Tor.
The latest WhatsApp update now offers unprecedented proxy support to allow users to communicate freely, for example, when the Internet is turned off. Even VPN providers recommend using Tor alongside a VPN app when privacy is paramount.