The United Arab Emirates is a popular vacation and working location for people all around the world. Because of this, there are many who depend on online communication to talk with their families and loved ones from abroad. But like any country that one dwells, knowing the law is a must. The country’s cybercrime laws, while not wholly intrusive, have resulted in people looking for ways to totally hide what they do over the internet in the Emirates.
The following reviews below are the best VPNs that you’ll find in the UAE, with each of them having little to no restrictions for purchase and download. Once that’s done, head over to the FAQ for more important info concerning VPN use in the Middle Eastern kingdom.
Choosing the Right VPN in the Emirates
VPNs aren’t completely banned in the UAE, a fact that’s often misunderstood. One could say that their laws operate almost similar to those of the “fourteen eyes,” except a little more heightened. Using a VPN service isn’t illegal, and all the popular services can be accessed in each emirate without issue. However, problems can arise from using the services for illegal purposes.
This could entail anything from sharing the content of peer-to-peer servers to accessing restricted websites. Opinions over these issues are diverse but must be kept in mind before buying a VPN in the Persian Gulf nation. With this being said, getting the provider that will mask your identity is of the utmost importance, regardless of the user’s intent.
VOIP may also be important for you. If you’ve used Skype, Whatsapp, and various other applications on a smartphone to talk with your friends and loved ones, then you should check to see if the VPN offer something to allow your access to both the former and latter. The UAE has placed some restrictions on these, which is further detailed in the FAQ.
How They Compare and Contrast
The comparison table shows the server count and other major features that you should take into consideration for a VPN. Numbers are average, so the actual amount of servers will be slightly higher than what’s given in the stats.
|Number of Servers||Supports Killswitch Feature||Encryption Provided|
|AirVPN||130||Yes (Network Lock)||AES-256-GCM|
|Private Internet Access||3300||Yes||AES-128-256|
Top 10 Best UAE VPN Servers Reviewed
NordVPN has been in the business since 2012 but has built a large and dedicated user base in that short lifespan. They have all of the features that an advanced user would look for in a VPN, and more. Don’t view this as a let down for beginners though. Controlling all of its wonderful attributes doesn’t take much effort. If you’re in the UAE, the security is simply top of the line and offers 256 AES, along with fast up and download speeds that average nearly 50 megabytes per second on a good connection. Your IP also won’t leak if the server does shut down for whatever reason, and there’s DNS backup as well. In short, if you’re going to be taking part in activities that involve the highest level of privacy (P2P file sharing) and streaming speed.
- The site itself isn’t blocked in any of the Emirates of the UAE, so signup is easy
- 2K and 4K streaming support
- The company doesn’t save the personal details of its user base
- Has both 256 and 2048 encryption options
- Some operating systems may experience slow connection speeds due to heavy RAM use
With ExpressVPN, it doesn’t get any better than this. You not only have access to the UAE’S metropolises of Dubai and Abu Dhabi but the rest of the region as well. If you for some reason traveled to nearby Oman of Bahrain, your connection with this VPN shouldn’t falter. It’s probably the most known of all the ten featured and has a great customer reputation that’s unmatched. If you’re planning on using a torrent, you will be able to connect to most web and software servers without a problem. Streaming over US and European servers is fast and buffer-free. Other than that, there’s no much negative to say about ExpressVPN. If you like high-end VPNs that don’t stall, leak or collect your personal info, then settle on this provider.
- Work in the entire Middle East region
- P2P networks are fully supported and reliable; no speed reductions
- Streams most popular web video content
- Like many paid VPN providers, the trial period ends fast
VyprVPN can be used to browse websites in the UAE that are restricted. Of course, there’s much more than its servers can tackle too. The company prioritizes privacy, and won’t gather any of your private data. Being safe from the hands of third parties is a great trust that could potentially be used to find out your identity, so any VPN that keeps the user anonymous is a plus. Their headquarters is located in Switzerland, a great nation that’s well known for not having any draconian privacy laws in place. Speed is acceptable, but may not be as fast as one would expect, particularly in the UAE. But don’t let this stop you from trying it out; there’s more to like here than not, and VyprVPN would be a hit for any internet activity.
- Will bypass all content that’s restricted in the UAE
- The site collects no personal information or user activity during server connection
- Based in Switzerland, a nation that values network privacy
- When analyzed among some VPN servers, speed tests are slower (not by a significant amount)
AirVPN is one of the lesser known providers on the list, but don’t get suspicious of them. They have solid downloading speeds, and lots of servers do go with most regions around the world. But if you’re still not sold, you would also like it for how it’s able to be used in region-specific areas of the UAE that are more prone to heavier restrictions, such as Sharjah. And if you’re just starting out with VPNs, the controls are easy to adopt. Startup times are okay but could be better. The average time that it will take for you to connect is 1.5 minutes. Additionally, if you’re looking for one with a trial period, look elsewhere because no such this is given with the service. But the curious would do well with AirVPN and should suffice for any web activity in the UAE.
- Provides decent connection speeds to server throughout the day and night
- Regardless of the Emirate, access will be granted to all content
- The controls are very easy for beginners to learn and use
- There’s no way to test it through a trial period
- No IP leak protections
Surfshark is a leading VPN provider for encryption, an important component that you should consider in your purchase in the UAE. The industry standard, for now, is AES-256 bit, but there are others given too (128-bit). Differences aside, they will both boost your computer’s security without taking away speeds, on most occasions. Unfortunately, speed could be lacking with Surkshark if you’re going to use its DNS server during connection times. But that’s forgiven by the location of the company alone, which dwells in the British Virgin Islands. Having no logging or confusing user agreements, the government collecting anything from customers there isn’t nearly impossible. Recommended for anyone that’s in need of something with the latest encryption features.
- Offers the standard military-grade protections that other high-end VPN providers share
- Contains app on just about any hardware and OS, including Android and Ubuntu (Linux)
- DNS servers don’t sacrifice privacy for connection speeds
- Headquarters is located in the Caribbean (British Virgin Islands), far away from other larger, potentially intrusive governments
- Long startup times for top servers
TorGuard has security that’s comparable to products shown at the top of this list, and there are no blocks in the region of the UAE at all. Getting through to your favorite sites in all the GCC countries is easy. Just turn on the VPN, choose one of its servers, and surf away. No caps are added with the service, meaning you can download to your heart’s content and never have to fret getting a reduced speed near the end on the month. In short, TorGuard is a good choice if you want to get a VPN but don’t mind having a small number of server locations to pick. Granted, it will connect to popular destinations, but there are not many options for obscure locations that other VPNs tend to feature.
- No regional restrictions for the Middle East, including the UAE
- Speeds are consistent with the rate as advertised
- Supports automatic updates to new servers
- No bandwidth limitations
- Only ten servers available by the software
AstrillVPN hits high marks for the business oriented. Or maybe you just want something for home use. If you’re one of the two, the service is a great tool to have around when you need to download large volumes of data at a fast rate. Router connections are also easy, something that could be highly beneficial to a business that must secure their electronics on the job. And if you’re ever disconnected, the kill switch will safely keep your personal info private by shutting down the connection entirely.
- Offers UAE-based personal and business VPN servers and routers
- Torrent software and mainstream P2P sites are fully accessible
- The kill switch feature included with the VPN protects against exploit attempts by hackers
- User interface may not be easy to use for beginners
Private VPN does well with VOIP servers. Recently, the UAE government came down hard on Skype use, which became blocked due to the heavy bandwidth that calls over the internet must rely upon (among other issues). Private VPN should get through for call on the platform, and maintain good connections with WhatsApp, another seasons VOIP. But making these calls in the UAE will definitely require some sort of encryption, to which you’re covered with 256-AES. The VPN is advised for people that have friends or family on communications applications, while also doing a fine job for normal internet browsing.
- Penetrates through the VOIP blocks that are common among UAE internet providers
- Provides access to Skype and Whatsapp
- Strong encryption features
- Speeds over video messengers may lag during the evening hours
IPVanish has good customer support and performs high on most speed tests. When you’re connected, you’ll quickly take note of how the VPN handles downloads very efficiently. Picking server may prove to be a bit tricky, however. Not all of them will work in the UAE, so you might spend some time before getting one that’ll put you through. This could get annoying really fast, so don’t settle for it if you’re going to be in the country for a long period of time. But for tourists and those passing through temporarily, IPVanish should hold up well in any Emirate that you travel to in the country.
- Logging is a non-issue; will never occur
- With the right server, the connection isn’t likely to slow down, even during streaming or torrenting
- Servers available for most popular countries
- Could be difficult to find a working server in the UAE, at times
- May not infiltrate all blocked web content; some restricted site may remain that way, regardless of the server that’s being used
10. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is the best for protection against leaking. The kill switch performs successfully on every instance of downtime, and will not expose your computer to the service provider’s location. Protecting your IP address is key, so try this one out if you’re online with a company that periodically cuts out from time to time. If you use it’s encryption feature, prepare for slow download and upload speeds. It’s bearable, but potentially pesky when you’re trying to get files on your computer in a hurry. The number of countries provided could be better too, but shouldn’t present an issue if you’re using it for standard regions.
- Allows user the choice of either 256 or 128-bit encryption (including in the UAE)
- If the VPN shuts down for whatever reason, user IP addresses won’t leak in the process (with killswitch and IVp6 protection)
- In line with the growing diversity of the UAE, supports multiple languages
- Using 256-bit encryption may result in longer download times and buffering issues (when streaming)
- Server countries are low in number
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I do everything behind a proxy in the UAE?
For most activity, yes. You will be able to browse the net, check your email, and download/upload data to your favorite cloud storage. But when referring to all activity that’s deemed questionable by the laws of the UAE, it’s best to understand the stipulations first, so as to have an idea of which VPN you want from the list above later. As previously mentioned, you should not pick one that has poor encryption or lacks a kill switch, which is vital to guard you against mistakenly revealing your IP address. And once your IP is known, you’re location can be easily discovered.
Why is Encryption important?
Encryption is important because it allows the user to keep the information they share online in a format that’s very difficult to decipher. For example, if a hacker were to gain access to your web data being transferred to another server, your protocol can protect the content with an encryption key. Such a scenario would play out in a man-in-the-middle attack. Pay attention to any encryption abilities being offered by the VPN, and be sure that either 128 or 256-AES is possible. These are military-grade encryption services that have been used to safeguard sensitive information by the armed forces throughout the globe.
Are individual Emirates within the UAE a concern?
It depends on how you plan on using the internet. The UAE has a reputation for being a bit liberal when compared to the other GCC nations that surround the kingdom, but this is no way should apply that its laws should be carelessly looked over. In general, The Emirate of Dubai is more relaxed, while Sharjah tends to be the most restrictive. Thankfully, most of the differences apply to laws that are outside of cybersecurity. Just be sure that you’re not taking the proper measures to hide your IP over P2P networks, most importantly. If you’ve never been to the UAE but are planning on a trip soon, you’ll quickly discover that many providers have begun to block not only torrent sites but their download of the software also. This won’t change with any Emirate you travel in between, an example of how internet stipulations generally will affect the entire country as a whole.
What about Browser Safety?
One good thing about VPNs of today is that most have their own browser extensions. That means you won’t’ have to turn on the server from the application itself, and can just do it from the program intended for web surfing. Extensions could be hit or miss though and may disconnect more often than the primary app. Still, this isn’t the case on every occasion. Don’t place browser extensions as your first priority, unless you’re unable to download the entire package to your computer.
Are the Number of devices that one account can connect to an important feature?
Absolutely! If you’re in the UAE with friends or family, you could share the connection with them and not lose a bit of bandwidth, at least on good servers. Most providers offer compatibility with Windows, OSX, and smartphones, so you’ll always be protected regardless of the hardware being used to get online. But the best part is that most VPN providers allow the ability of at least two to five connections. It’s sort of a universal feature that’s expected with all VPNs right now. Linux is another one that’s becoming quite popular among more advanced computer users, but the setup remains easy over most of its clients. Google’s usually the last in line but still supported by most.
Will a VPN keep me safe from Hackers over a public Network?
Yes and no. The yes is from the way that encryption services work with good VPN companies. And there’s also DNS serves with the providers that add more security for public network, places that are prone to attacks. The no is due to user responsibility. A VPN cannot completely protect careless activity online. Downloading of malware will compromise any computer, no matter how good of an encryption service you’re given with the providers reviewed. Try to be well read on the dangers that malware, and be careful what websites you visit each time you’re logged on.
What are the Best Ways to purchase a VPN in the UAE?
Most top-shelf VPN companies will offer the customer multiple payment options that range from very conspicuous to extremely secure. You could use your credit card if you wanted, or really get things private by making a Bitcoin wallet. Zcash may also be available for some, which is better for concealing your identity after payment (even more so than Bitcoin). The providers have really thought up everything that you’ll need to “stay off the grid,” so to speak. Feel free to take your buying privacy back, if you must.
Overall, the choices of VPNs shown are varied, but all of them do offer good speeds and connectivity to the Middle East. If not the servers, then the entire software itself. Those featured at the top (starting from 1 and higher) are among the most recommended and highly reviewed. Using a VPN in the UAE isn’t that difficult, and you should be satisfied once given access to the websites you love. Communication over software can commence with VOIP, and encryption makes everything better when handling P2P file sharing. In other words, settle on the provider that you think is best from the list. You’ll be happy with the service they all provide.