VPN Demand Skyrockets in Texas Following Pornhub’s Withdrawal in Protest

In Texas, the search for “VPN” skyrocketed more than four times this week. This surge happened right after Pornhub and its associated adult websites turned off access for users in Texas, as shown by Google’s data.

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, create a secure link between a user and the internet. They can also hide a user’s location, making it seem like they’re browsing from a different state or country.

This interest in VPNs that can change a user’s location sprang up after Pornhub and its related sites blocked Texas users on March 14. They did this to protest against Texas’ new law. This law demands that adult websites have age-verification steps to make sure only people 18 and older can use them.

On Thursday, Pornhub and other sites under Aylo told Texas users they were cutting off access. They did this to follow the law. The company said it supports age checks but criticized Texas’ law. They believe it’s poorly designed and risky because it asks users to show ID every time they visit an adult site, instead of just checking their age on their device.

Pornhub and Aylo’s websites stated, “We’ve decided to block access to our site in Texas to comply with the law. We always follow the law but hope that governments worldwide will create laws that truly keep users safe and secure.”

Google data shows that in the past week, Dallas-Ft. Worth had the highest number of people searching for VPNs in Texas. Houston, Austin, Waco-Temple-Bryan, and San Antonio followed.

Here’s a chart from Google Trends. It shows how much people in Texas have been searching for “VPN” in the last seven days.

Aylo, the company behind Pornhub, is owned by Ethical Capital Partners, a Canadian private-equity firm. They bought Pornhub’s previous company, MindGeek, last year for an amount they didn’t share.

Alex Kekesi, Aylo’s VP of brand and community, commented on the Texas situation: “This isn’t over. We’re looking at our options and talking to our lawyers… We’ll keep fighting for our industry and the performers who legally make their living from it. We’ll use every legal path to show this law is against the constitution.”

Pornhub and Aylo’s network, which includes Brazzers, RedTube, YouPorn, Mofos, and Reality Kings, face blocks or restrictions in at least seven other U.S. states. These states have passed similar laws: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Virginia, and Utah.