About two years ago I did my first investigation in mapping different VPN providers internet egress points. Now at the start of 2020, and with more VPN providers existing on the market, I was interested to know how the precious picture has been changed.
The mapping has been done by selecting some of the existing VPN providers and connecting several times to the selected countries with their service or by evaluating the providers VPN config files and mapping their servers used in the selected countries.
The counties selected for this investigation are:
- United Kingdom
Sure, there are a lot more countries available to include, but I was focusing on a larger variation of VPN providers instead of more countries.
VPN providers selected:
- F-Secure Freedome
- Private Internet Access (PIA)
- Surfshark VPN
- Trust.Zone VPN
M247 Ltd the most used provider
As already in my last review, M247 Ltd is still the most used egress point provider for VPN services, with the difference that it has been grown even more now in 2020. Nearly all VPN providers, except from F-Secure, are renting internet egress points from M247 Ltd in at least two of the four tested countries.
Some VPN providers are relying heavily on M247 only, as for example PIA (except from UK where also UK-2 Limited is used).
Another change compared to the last review is the fact that M247 Ltd now also has servers available in Sweden, which of course three of the four tested VPN providers are using as their Swedish internet egress points.
The usage of the company M247 Ltd is very dominating. When calculating the number of VPN providers (10) in combination with the countries tested (4), M247 Ltd was used in 28 out of 40 possible VPN / location combinations.
In other words, M247 Ltd is used as VPN egress point in 70% of all tested VPN / Location combinations!
Other providers used by many VPN providers in several countries are:
- Datacamp Limited (8/40 = 15 %)
- Leasweb Deutschland / UK (5/40 = 13%)
NordVPN using many different providers
NordVPN is the VPN provider which uses by far the most variety of different ISP as their internet egress points in three out of four countries. Here, the egress point selection has been changed nearly completely compared to the last review, except of that they are still using M247 Ltd and Leaseweb.
NordVPN & Surfshark VPN
When looking at Surfshark’s selection of internet egress points, it is very much a copy of what NordVPN is using as well, with the difference that Surfshark is not using as many different egress point providers as NordVPN. But we see M247 Ltd, Datacamp Limited, and Hydra Communications been used by Surfshark at the same locations where also NordVPN is using those. Is this a coincident or do both VPN providers have a hidden connection to each other? I keep that question open for speculations.
The trust of VPN providers and their marketing
VPN providers are using different marketing arguments to differentiate themselves from others. The most bizarre argument used is of course the 5/9/14 eyes argument, where I wrote an article about before. Additional to this, the most VPN providers are using so called “affiliate programs”, to get bloggers and youtubers to recommend their product before others. Not to forget all dedicated “VPN Review” sites which came out of nowhere during the last years, using well paid affiliate programs to “review” VPN providers, while the ranking of many are very often the same. It’s very easy to see which must be the VPN providers with the most earnings when connecting to their affiliate programs.
But do those VPN providers actually differentiate so much, if the same provider for internet egress points is used in 70% of the tested possible VPN / location combinations? That’s for yourself to decide.
Also keep in mind that both, VPN providers who have their company location inside and outside the 5/9/14 eyes countries, are taking usage of M247 Ltd as their VPN egress point. Some even more often than other VPN providers form inside the 5/9/14 eyes regions.
And taking in consideration the “hiding” and “anonymity” argument of VPN providers, I would not be surprised if some of the companies, offering internet egress points for VPN providers, are already today of special interest for different countries intelligence services.
Which VPN provider should you trust? Are they really differentiation so much if many of them are using the same providers as their internet egress points? There are a lot of things to think about, when choosing a VPN provider, which may not differ so much from others.