Global Mobile VPN Report 2019

Over 480 million mobile VPN apps were downloaded around the world in the last 12 months, which is 54% more than the year before. Browse the interactive map to see where the most downloads took place.
Simon Migliano

UPDATED 22 Nov 2019 11:31 GMT to include additional supporting data.

Key Findings: Mobile VPN Installs 2019

  • 480.1 million mobile VPN app installs globally in last 12 months, a 54% year-over-year increase
  • 75% of all installs were for Android (358.3 million). There were 121.9 million iOS installs.
  • Biggest mobile VPN markets: Indonesia (75.5 million), U.S. (74.6 million), and India (57 million)
  • Fastest-growing mobile VPN markets: India (405% YOY), Jordan (387%) and Kazakhstan (210%)
  • 84% of all mobile VPN installs in last 12 months were free VPN services
  • Most popular mobile VPN service: Turbo VPN (51.3 million installs Android & iOS, free)
  • Most popular paid mobile VPN service: NordVPN (15.5 million installs Android & iOS)

VPN Download Data Analysis Overview

The 2019 Global Mobile VPN Report is the first study of its kind and includes VPN (Virtual Private Network) app download data for 73 countries, dating back to 2016.

It shows global demand for mobile VPN apps from Apple’s App Store and Google Play is growing rapidly: the number of VPN app installs worldwide has increased by over 50% two years in a row.

As mobile internet users around the world endure the various effects of digital authoritarianism and become more aware of the value of their browsing data, it’s clear that VPN apps are an increasingly mainstream anti-censorship and internet privacy tool.

This report provides mobile VPN app install data at the global, regional, country and app-level, with a focus on the last 12 months, starting October 2018, compared to the previous period.

We also looked at:

  • The biggest growth markets for mobile VPN
  • Correlations between internet shutdowns and month-to-month surges in VPN installs
  • Free/paid VPN app distribution
  • The most popular mobile VPN services
  • Fastest growing mobile VPN apps
  • Top mobile VPN apps by platform and country

Global VPN App Installs

VPN Mobile App Installs By 12-month Period

Each 12-month install period runs from October to September.

Period Total VPN Installs Growth (YoY)
2018/19 480.1 million 54.3%
2017/18 311.3 million 57.2%
2016/17 198 million

Mobile VPN App Installs By Platform

12-month period starting Oct 2018

  • Android: 358.2 million (74.6%)
  • iOS: 121.9 million (25.4%)

VPN App Installs by Region


Region Installs 2018/20a19 Growth (YOY)
APAC 188.4 million 122%
EUROPE 79.6 million 20%
LATAM 48.7 million 50%
MEA 81.9 million 43%
NORTHAM 81.5 million 16%

Top 20 Countries by VPN App Installs

Note: China is excluded from this report despite the historic prevalence of VPN use in that country.

This is due to the increased unreliability of download data following the removal of VPN apps from Apple’s App Store in 2017 and the ongoing censorship of all Google services, including the Play Store.

The countries with the most VPN app installs over the 12 months starting October 2018 are ranked below. The most rapidly growing markets, such as Indonesia, India and Vietnam are examined in more detail in the next section.

Other countries in the table experienced strong but more stable year-over-year increase in 12-month VPN install totals. In the U.S. and the UK, the collection of consumer browsing data by ISPs for both profit and surveillance continues to drive demand. As do threats to net neutrality in the U.S.

UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan all operate under highly-censorious, conservative and authoritarian governments.

Meanwhile, Brazil bears a mix of media conservatism and a desire to move away from US telecommunication infrastructure after revelations of US spying surfaced in 2013.

Country VPN Installs 2018/2019 Growth (YOY) Rank
Indonesia 75.5 million 111% 1
US 74.6 million 17% 2
India 57.0 million 405% 3
UAE 30.6 million 32% 4
Brazil 23.5 million 76% 5
Saudi Arabia 19.9 million 14% 6
Turkey 16.4 million 39% 7
UK 14.0 million 33% 8
Russia 10.9 million 19% 9
Pakistan 10.4 million 60% 10
Mexico 8.2 million 27% 11
Philippines 7.9 million 28% 12
Canada 6.9 million 9% 13
Ukraine 6.4 million -18% 14
South Korea 5.8 million 65% 15
Egypt 5.8 million 95% 16
Vietna million 5.6 million 140% 17
Argentina 5.4 million 37% 18
Germany 5.3 million -1% 19
Colombia 5.3 million 51% 20

Jump to full list of countries, alphabetized.

Biggest VPN Markets by App Install Growth

The following list is ordered by increase in VPN installs year-on-year as a percentage. Install period is the 12 months from October to September. Absolute VPN install totals for 2018/19 are in brackets.

  • India – 405% (57.0 million)
  • Jordan – 387% (3.6 million)
  • Kazakhstan – 210% (4.1 million)
  • Algeria – 205% (4.8 million)
  • Vietnam – 140% (5.6 million)
  • Indonesia – 111% (75.5 million)
  • Nigeria – 107% (5.3 million)
  • Egypt – 95% (5.8 million)
  • Singapore – 83% (1.9 million)
  • South Africa – 82% (1.5 million)

Note: Countries with less than 1 million installs over last 12 months were excluded from this list

The largest increases in mobile VPN installs year-over-year, in India, Jordan, Kazakhstan and Algeria, were largely driven by specific spikes in demand in those countries, which we explore in the next section of this report.

Other, more incremental growth markets, shared a common theme surrounding either the introduction or tightening of cybercrime-related legislation.

Vietnam and Singapore both passed new laws in 2019, which allow authorities to censor online content through obliging technology companies to relinquish user information and remove unfavorable posts.

Egyptian authorities made use of their new 2018 Cybercrimes Law, to block 34,000 websites connected to an opposition campaign called “Void”.[1] The campaign had gained 250,000 signatures against Egypt’s constitutional referendum earlier this year. The referendum extended President el-Sisi’s political reach and presidential term to 2030.

Similarly, Nigeria has ramped up targeted attacks on journalists and publicly critical postings that exposed police brutality, corruption and covert oil blocks in the Niger Delta on the basis of breaching “cybercrime” regulations.[2]

VPN installs increased in South Africa when the government was caught undertaking mass surveillance on all communications. The government tried to justify this breach of their own Regulation of Interception of Communications Act of 2002 (RICA) and the National Security Act of 1994 (NSIA) on national security grounds. This was rejected by the High Court, which ruled the state’s activities were unlawful.[3]

Countries with smaller volumes of total installs but who also experienced significant year-over-year increases included:

Zimbabwe – There were over 320,000 mobile VPN installs in last 12 months. This 250% surge compared to the prior year coincided with the suppression of social media access from January 2019 in response to mass unrest prompted by a 150% jump in fuel prices.

The government has also moved to block VPN services that the public were using to bypass website restrictions. Since the shutdown, VPN specific searches from Google also increased by over 850%.

Lebanon – Almost 995,000 mobile VPN apps were downloaded over the last 12 months, an increase of 119% year-on-year. Over the same period, the country experienced a spike in online content-related arrests of citizens, activists and journalists. The LGBTQ community also became a target with arrests relating to LGBTQ content online, while popular LGBTQ app Grindr was blocked in January 2019.[4]

A block of 50 websites also targeted adult entertainment, illegal gambling and Israel-related content. New laws granted security officials unlimited access to all telecommunications metadata.

Jump to full list of country-level install data, alphabetized

VPN Demand Spikes

Analysis of monthly VPN app install data around the world revealed frequent surges in demand for Android and iOS VPN apps. Many of these spikes came in response to governments using DNS filtering to disrupt internet access as local internet users sought to circumvent censorship. Notable highlights follow:

Oct-Dec 2018, India: increased 66% on average each month for three months. India endured 134 internet shutdowns in 2018 alone, with almost all of them targeting mobile internet services. The shutdowns were imposed due to a range of issues: civil conflicts, local elections, political killings, and, in particular, to control the flow of information in the disputed region of Kashmir. A ban on 827 adult websites in October[5] could also explain the spike in VPN installs. This is supported by a correlating surge in VPN related searches in the month following the ban.

Feb 2019, Algeria: 73% increase in installs, likely due to internet outages taking place during protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeking a fifth consecutive term.

Feb 2019, South Korea: 75% jump following enforcement of a ban on 895 blacklisted websites by the government. This was shortly followed by a ramp up in government mass surveillance techniques.

May 2019, Indonesia: 126% spike due to bandwidth throttling, slowing speeds to prevent video and photo uploads to Twitter and other social media platforms in the wake of escalating election protests.[6]

May-June 2019, Kazakhstan: 111% climb resulting from multiple short-lived social media blocks and a brief total internet shutdown, surrounding national election unrest. A further 93% spike in June is likely due to continued protests and a root certificate distributed by the government, found to be used for mass-surveillance.

June 2019, Algeria: 263% surge in VPN installs as social media is blocked to prevent school exam cheating. Internet disruptions also occurred due to ongoing political protests, as Algeria’s former PM and Finance Minister appeared in court.[7]

July 2019, Jordan: 676% spike in VPN installs in the wake of the controversy surrounding TV show Jinn, much-hyped as the first Arabic Netflix series.[8] Jordan’s conservative government forced Netflix to pull the show for local viewers. This act of censorship took place against a backdrop of increased suppression of freedom of speech online due to growing unrest in the country.

Free VPN vs Paid

In the last 12 months, free VPN app installs continued to hugely outnumber those of paid services. Over eight in ten mobile VPN installs were for free VPN services.

  • Free installs as a percentage of all global mobile VPN installs: 84.3%
  • Regionally that figure is:
    • APAC: 89.8%
    • EUROPE: 77.2%
    • LATAM: 90.3%
    • MEA: 91%
    • NORTHAM: 68.1%

The following charts show the free-to-paid mobile VPN install ratio globally, followed by the distribution of all free installs by region, then all paid installs by region.

Free VPN mobile app installs vs paid VPN charts

Top Mobile VPN Services

Most popular VPN services (i.e. combined across platforms and app versions) and the number of times they were installed in the 12 months starting October 2018.

VPN Name Installs 2018-2019 Platforms Free/Paid
TurboVPN 51.3 million Android & iOS Free
Hotspot Shield 42.8 million Android & iOS Free
Betternet 29.9 million Android & iOS Free
Psiphon 25.8 million Android & iOS Free
SuperVPN 16.7 million Android only Free
NordVPN 15.5 million Android & iOS Paid
Hola 14.6 million Android & iOS Free
ExpressVPN 14.3 million Android & iOS Paid
Proxy Master 11.4 million Android only Free
Secure VPN 11.3 million Android only Free

Fastest Growing VPN Apps

The following table highlights the 10 VPN apps where the relative increase in the number of installs over the 12-month period starting October 2018 was most pronounced in comparison with the previous period.

What’s most notable is the lack of established brands among these free VPN services that enjoyed such rising popularity. However, even among these lesser-known apps, a handful were also among the most-downloaded apps in the last 12 months on their respective platforms: VPN – Super Unlimited (10.5 million installs, Android), Solo VPN (8.5 million, Android), Best Ultimate VPN (6.2 million, iOS).

To avoid distorting the results, the above table excludes free apps that were installed fewer than 1 million times in 2018/19 and paid apps downloaded fewer than 250,000 times over the same period.

VPN App Installs by Country

The following tables show top-level data for each country included in the report. “Installs” refers to the number of times a VPN app was installed in each country over the 12-month period starting October 2018.

Jump to countries I-P
Jump to countries Q-Z

Countries A-H

Country Total VPN Installs 18/19 Growth YOY Free VPN Installs*
Algeria 4.8 million 205% 96%
Argentina 5.4 million 37% 94%
Australia 4.1 million 32% 56%
Austria 0.5 million 1% 65%
Belarus 0.5 million 38% 83%
Belgiu million 0.8 million 28% 65%
Brazil 23.5 million 76% 90%
Bulgaria 0.3 million 36% 72%
Canada 6.9 million 9% 70%
Chile 1.9 million 30% 87%
Colombia 5.3 million 51% 92%
Croatia 0.3 million 21% 77%
Czech Republic 0.4 million 13% 67%
Denmark 0.5 million -3% 50%
Ecuador 2.0 million 38% 95%
Egypt 5.8 million 95% 95%
Estonia 1.0 million 2% 70%
Finland 0.4 million 1% 44%
France 4.6 million 29% 64%
Germany 5.3 million -1% 64%
Greece 0.7 million 2% 87%
Hong Kong 1.8 million 27% 78%
Hungary 0.5 million 34% 74%

*Installs of free VPN services as a percentage of all mobile VPN app installs

Countries I-P

Country Total VPN Installs 18/19 Growth YOY Free VPN Installs**
Iceland 0.8 million 55% 69%
India 57.0 million 405% 89%
Indonesia 75.5 million 111% 96%
Ireland 0.7 million 20% 66%
Israel 1.7 million 56% 85%
Italy 3.6 million 48% 74%
Japan 2.5 million 11% 56%
Jordan 3.6 million 387% 93%
Kazakhstan 4.1 million 210% 95%
Kuwait 1.4 million 34% 93%
Latvia 0.1 million 10% 77%
Lebanon 1.0 million 119% 89%
Lithuania 0.2 million 30% 79%
Luxembourg 0.1 million 37% 63%
Malaysia 5.0 million 50% 85%
Mexico 8.2 million 27% 87%
Netherlands 2.2 million -3% 69%
New Zealand 1.1 million 21% 72%
Nigeria 5.3 million 107% 82%
Norway 0.5 million 14% 48%
Oman 3.0 million 27% 94%
Pakistan 10.4 million 60% 89%
Peru 1.5 million 2% 90%
Philippines 7.9 million 28% 84%
Poland 1.2 million 32% 74%
Portugal 0.7 million 39% 70%

*Installs of free VPN services as a percentage of all mobile VPN app installs

Countries Q-Z

Country Total VPN Installs 18/19 Growth YOY Free VPN Installs**
Qatar 3.7 million 4% 97%
Romania 1.3 million 34% 87%
Russia 10.9 million 19% 83%
Saudi Arabia 19.9 million 14% 95%
Singapore 1.9 million 83% 81%
Slovakia 0.2 million 29% 71%
Slovenia 0.2 million 28% 72%
South Africa 1.5 million 82% 83%
South Korea 5.8 million 65% 83%
Spain 2.8 million 8% 80%
Sweden 1.1 million 7% 59%
Switzerland 0.6 million 12% 53%
Taiwan 1.8 million 25% 72%
Thailand 4.0 million -8% 89%
Tunisia 0.9 million 116% 91%
Turkey 16.4 million 39% 92%
Ukraine 6.4 million -18% 93%
UAE 30.6 million 32% 88%
UK 14.0 million 33% 65%
US 74.6 million 17% 68%
Uruguay 0.3 million 4% 84%
Venezuela 0.6 million 29% 86%
Vietna million 5.6 million 140% 86%
Zimbabwe 0.3 million 250% 91%

*Installs of free VPN services as a percentage of all mobile VPN app installs

Top Mobile VPN Apps: Android

Top Mobile VPN Apps: iOS

Fastest Growing VPN Apps: Free

Only free apps that were downloaded at least 1 million times in 2018/19 have been included, to avoid distorting the results. Download period runs from October to September.

Jump to the top apps by download volume and platform over the last 12 months.

Fastest Growing Apps: Paid

Only paid apps that were downloaded at least 250,000 times in 2018/19 have been included, to avoid distorting the results. Download period runs from October to September.

Jump to the top apps by download volume and platform over the last 12 months.

Top Mobile VPN Apps: US

Top Mobile VPN Apps: UK

Top Mobile VPN Apps: Australia

Top Mobile VPN Apps: Canada

Top Mobile VPN Apps: Indonesia

*N/A indicates that there were no downloads in the previous 12 months (2017-2018)

Top Mobile VPN Apps: India

*N/A indicates that there were no downloads in the previous 12 months (2017-2018)

Top Mobile VPN Apps: Brazil

*N/A indicates that there were no downloads in the previous 12 months (2017-2018)


We analyzed every mobile VPN app discoverable in Google Play and Apple’s App Store across multiple locales, for a total of 293 unique apps. Apps were deemed unique based on the app IDs used in the respective stores.

App information and statistics sourced from the Apple App Store, Google Play and App Tweak. App installs are compiled from 73 countries and date back to 2016.

Apps were deemed to be “free” if offered a fully-usable VPN service without providing credit card details. This included any “freemium” services that met that definition.

Download 2016 to 2019 top-level data for the top 250 mobile VPN apps by 2019 downloads as a Google Sheet or as a PDF.