Some countries have a stringent policy when it comes to online privacy. They outright ban or censor the internet or related technology. Although UAE is not amongst them, it does have a rather harsh approach towards privacy on the web. While the UAE doesn’t ban the use of VPNs straightaway, it declares that any illegal activity done with the aid of VPN will result in additional reproach. However, this doesn’t negate the fact you can legally use VPNs in the UAE, and you should employ one!
Thus, we have brought our readers an article on the best VPNs for the UAE. We will also explain why there is a need for VPNs in the United Arab Emirates and which services to avoid.
Disclaimer: We strongly suggest readers heed their judgment regarding VPN use. We do not condone the use of VPNs for anything illegal. Doing so won’t make the activity legal under any circumstances. We recommend users follow the laws and practice discretion.
Are VPNs legal in the UAE?
In broader terms, yes, VPNs are lawful in the United Arab Emirates. Although, this only includes VPNs the government approves. The UAE government has barred the use of VPNs outside approval since 2021, offsetting the advent of VoIP services in favor of telecommunication giants. However, you can still use a VPN in the UAE. For detailed information on this topic, refer to our original article on are VPNs against the law in the UAE?
Do you need a VPN in the UAE?
UAE practices severe internet censorship. If you are traveling to the country, chances are you won’t be able to access any of the following websites:
- All dating services
However, there are also strict laws that oppose illegal activities regarding the abuse of the internet. Thus, using a VPN becomes paramount within the UAE if you want to exercise internet freedom. Beware, though. While the country has legalized VPNs, if you engage in anything illegal, a severe reprimand for the VPN use will follow.
Best VPNs for the UAE (United Arab Emirates)
Given below is a rundown of several VPNs that perform at the top of their class. However, this list is solely subjective and doesn’t hold authority.
ExpressVPN is likely our forever top pick for any list regarding VPNs. The British Virgin Islands provider is the best at its craft and offers one of the most comprehensive VPNs on the market. However, that’s not all. The vendor doesn’t disappoint when it comes to high censorship states. Its exclusive Smart Location feature allows users to connect to an obfuscated server. Combined with the proprietary protocol, Lightway, and a kill switch, it is a service suitable for use in the UAE.
Unlike Astrill, ExpressVPN is a beginner-friendly service. Without compromising quality or advanced features, the provider allows the user to experience a simple yet intuitive VPN client. Although the vendor lacks exclusive UAE servers, there are numerous available ones in nearby Pakistan, India, Israel, and Egypt. The company adheres to a strict no-logging policy while offering a 30-day money-back guarantee. True, the VPN is a bit pricey, but it proffers unparalleled speed and reliability. You can learn more about the service in our ExpressVPN review.
VyprVPN may not be as popular as the other VPNs on this list, but it offers decent service. The vendor has servers available in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, making it one of the best VPNs for the Middle East region. Although this Switzerland-based VPN is costly at $8.3, it caters to the privacy-centric crowd. It is a strict no-logs VPN under a data protection jurisdiction.
The vendor has its proprietary protocol, Chameleon, that works well to bypass censorship, but it offers average speed. The VPN has around 700 servers globally, which isn’t a lot. However, the provider offers a 3-day trial to entice users. Readers can find a detailed VyprVPN review we wrote.
3. Astrill VPN
Astrill VPN is the uncrowded king when it comes to bypassing censorship. It is a unique VPN that actively advertises its inability to unblock streaming content. But it is the most appropriate VPN for high censorship countries. It is the only VPN on this list that works consistently in China, despite the DPI (Deep Packet Inspection). The Astrill VPN server network is small but strategically located to aid users in circumventing censorship. Furthermore, the provider incorporates numerous protocols. One is the Stealth VPN protocol, successful at bypassing VPN blocks.
The reason we didn’t put Astrill on top of this list is its sole flaw: its price. Astrill is the costliest VPN on this list, with the cheapest subscription costing around $10 per month. However, the VPN is highly customizable and works well for advanced users. Although we don’t recommend this VPN for beginners, Astrill is suitable for the UAE. It practices a no-logs policy, hails from Seychelles, and offers robust privacy and security features. If the price is of no concern, we recommend reading the Astrill VPN review before signing up. No other VPN may come close in that regard.
We consider PrivateVPN to be the cheaper alternative to Astrill VPN. It has obfuscated servers too, and it can overcome censorship but at an affordable cost. Although, the VPN may lack a few advanced features and has a comparatively weaker network. This Sweden-based VPN boasts a price of only $2 with a server number of 200. Furthermore, it is a no-logs VPN, making it safe to use in the UAE.
The service comes with an exclusive Stealth VPN protocol, making it a value for money product. It also has servers in the UAE. But the best part about the service is its 5-day free trial. It is among the best and most genuine trials we came across. The vendor doesn’t limit anything during the trial period. You get to experience firsthand how PrivateVPN works for free. We also have a detailed PrivateVPN review for your convenience.
The final VPN on our list is the StrongVPN. However, it hails from the United States, which doesn’t favor data privacy laws. The service is somewhat slow, and it lacks exclusive UAE servers. But it still bypassed the censorship, landing a spot on our list. While it lacks the consistency of Astrill VPN, speed of ExpressVPN, price of PrivateVPN, and privacy of VyprVPN, it still managed to surprise. The VPN is average, no doubt, but it is consistent across key parameters. While it may not be the best VPN, it certainly isn’t the worst either.
The service offers an exclusive Scramble tool that can fool firewalls into mistaking interesting VPN traffic as generic HTTP ones. Furthermore, the provider has self-owned DNS servers that can ensure leak protection. Sadly, the provider files to deliver at the server front. It has a smaller network of servers and only a few in India, Israel, and UAE. You can find an in-depth StrongVPN review on our website.