Traveling to the UAE or Dubai for the vacations? Then, always make sure that you’re connected to the best VPN for the UAE! Need to know why? Then read ahead and find out!
Short on time? Here’s a list of the top providers chosen that are the best and still work in the UAE and Dubai! They are:
- Surfshark Recommended VPN for UAE and the Middle East. Comes with Camouflage and NoBorders mode, fast speeds, unlimited device connections, access to restricted content, bypassing surveillance in the UAE.
- NordVPN secures you with Double VPN encryption and obfuscated servers in the UAE, bypassing throttling by Etisalat.
- ExpressVPN fastest speeds, bypass heavy geo-restrictions in Dubai using the MediaStreamer feature.
- VyprVPN dodge deep packet inspection using the VyprVPN Chameleon technology, owns its servers making it a safe option in the UAE.
- CyberGhost huge server coverage, optimized for streaming and torrenting, fast speeds and robust privacy features.
- IPVanish allows access to unlimited communication and VoIP services within the UAE.
- PrivateVPN works in the UAE, best for users with simple usage like unblocking a few popular streaming services like Netlfix and Hulu.
There are many top VPN providers in the industry, however, only a few of them work within Dubai or in the UAE.
Etisalat and TRA. Have you heard of it?
TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority), and Etisalat, (more popularly known as one of the world’s largest telecom companies) are two regulatory bodies that impose the laws on the UAE internet.
You’ll find them located in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Etisalat is an important service provider in Dubai, which is why you’ll see this city highlighted across the blog.
This company controls and regulates the laws against the censorship of most services, and the surveillance of all online activities within the UAE. The set the criteria of what’s inappropriate, harmful or affects views against religious and political beliefs.
You’ll find censored websites ranging from pornography, religious and political platforms, journalism and much more. This even includes numerous Wikipedia pages, which might be surprising to many.
This is why most users turn to VPN services to access these services. However, the Etisalat blocks VPN usage as well. This is why we’ve highlighted only the best VPN services that still work in the UAE.
To understand why you’d still need a VPN while in Dubai (UAE) while living or travelling there, then keep reading! But first, I’ll be highlighting each of the chosen VPN services, and what makes them the best for the UAE.
The best VPN services for UAE and Dubai (2020)
The services chosen, possess robust security features that are required within heavily restricted or surveillanced countries. They even offer vast network coverage allowing you to access the best streaming services worldwide!
So, let’s first start with:
1. Surfshark Best All-rounder VPN for UAE
Surfshark is a fairly new provider as compared to many other VPN services in the same league and always manages to rank in the top 5 list. This is because of its exemplary performance and features, which makes it one of the best VPN services for the UAE and overall! The most important part is that this provider still works there!
It’s located within the British Virgin Islands, which is known as a privacy-friendly region. This makes it great for the people travelling to or living within the UAE. You won’t even need to worry about your ISP or this provider stealing your data since it observes a strict privacy and no-data logging policy.
What’s more is Surfshark comes with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN protection, a Kill Switch, and Split-tunneling, which secures you online, keeping your activities private and secure.
Additionally, the provider offers other advanced security features that are required for using the internet in the UAE. They include a Camouflage and NoBorders Mode that allows access to restricted websites in surveillanced countries, DNS leak protection that prohibits your data being exposed to the ISP or the government. However, make sure you’re connected to the NoBorders feature before you arrive in the UAE. There’s also a feature called GPS Spoofing that lets you change your physical GPS.
When we tested Surfshark, not only were the security features up to mark, but so were the speeds. You can see the full performance results in my Surfshark review.
When it comes to network coverage, Surfshark offers around 1700+ servers in 64 countries. It also offers multi-hop server options for double the protection. These servers are optimized for both streaming and P2P file sharing.
During testing, I unblocked BBC iPlayer, Hulu, 16 Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime, among many others. Using these servers, access to communication services like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook were made easier!
You’re probably carrying more than one device when travelling to the UAE or Dubai. Luckily, Surfshark allows unlimited and simultaneous device connections. You’ll be able to connect your Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, a Firestick device and others.
Make sure to test the VPN before investing! It offers a free trial and a money-back guarantee for testing the app’s features! Surfshark is generally one of the more affordable VPN services, and offers regular discounts and coupons over most of its packages.
2. NordVPN secure and great unblocking abilities
Next, we have NordVPN, for all those who’re looking for double the security for online privacy and data protection in the UAE. Its security features and the ability to bypass heavy geo-blocks, is what makes this VPN one of the best for users in Dubai or the UAE.
NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, a region known for being very private. A VPN’s safe location is what users in the UAE require most from the service. It also doesn’t store any data and observes a strict no-logging policy.
When you’re anywhere in Dubai, you’re going to need the best online security you can get from a VPN service, and luckily NordVPN does justice. You wouldn’t have to worry too much about accessing popular websites or communication apps, since the provider shields your traffic with AES 256-bit encryption.
Other advanced features include a Kill Switch, OpenVPN protection, DNS and IP leak protection, all of which help keep your activities private and your data protected. There’s also a CyberSec feature that’ll help you get rid of malicious ads.
Coming to the server network, NordVPN offers around 5000+ in 59 countries. And, that’s not even the best part. Within its server network, it includes Double VPN and obfuscated VPN servers, all of which get you past heavy online surveillance and blocks in the UAE, and allows access to restricted services.
Even if the obfuscated servers fail to work, NordVPN offers a TOR Obfsproxy tool, that’ll allow you to bypass blocked websites from anywhere in the world. So, even if you’re outside the UAE, you’ll be able to access its services from other countries using these obfuscated servers. This will allow you to get past censored websites in the UAE.
By connecting to any one of the 5000+ servers, you can access unlimited websites and download many apps that were previously blocked. During testing, I unblocked Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, ESPN, DAZN, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and others. The speeds were pretty great too!
If you need an idea of how the NordVPN app performed overall, here’s a NordVPN review you can look at.
You’ll be able to protect multiple devices at one time, since NordVPN allows up to 6 multi-device connections. A few of the supported platforms include Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Firestick, Linux, and, Apple TV.
3. ExpressVPN Fastest speeds, advanced security
If fast speeds, access to multiple streaming services and online protection is what you’re looking for, then ExpressVPN is recommended! This provider offers the best performance throughout testing and offers great security features making it one of the best VPN services for users in Dubai or the UAE.
In terms of bypassing heavy geo-blocks, ExpressVPN is one of the few that works in countries like China and Russia. Keeping that in mind, it also works in the UAE that come with equally heavy blocks and online surveillance laws.
Just like Surfshark, ExpressVPN too is located in the British Virgin Islands, a location safe and far away from the 5/9/14-eyes alliance and doesn’t log any user data. It comes with AES 256-bit encryption, which is required to secure all your online activities within the UAE.
It offers other advanced features like a Kill Switch to make sure you data doesn’t leak if ever the VPN stops midway.
To keep you secure in the UAE, ExpressVPN also offers features like DNS and IPv6 leak protection to secure your data, location, and activities. It even offers Stealth servers to use in countries that have the strictest geo-blocks, and a Split-Tunneling feature. This feature lets you choose which services you require to run or exclude from the VPN’s encrypted tunnel.
Where server coverage is concerned, ExpressVPN offers a massive network of 3000+ servers in 94 countries. When in UAE, you’ll be able to access numerous streaming services, apps, or websites that are usually blocked there. It even offers a MediaStreamer feature that assists with bypassing heavy blocks to access services.
When tested, ExpressVPN managed to unblock services like Hulu, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, Messenger, Skype and a couple others. The best part about ExpressVPN is that you won’t experience any lagging or buffering issues, since it delivers some of the fastest speeds.
This provider is known as one of the pricier options, but it does offer regular discount coupons and deals on its yearly package. Need to secure more than one device? ExpressVPN allows up to 6 multi-device connections. A few of the devices and OS it supports include Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Firestick, Android TV, and Linux.
ExpressVPN really works great for users in Dubai or the UAE, and also allows you to test the VPN, using its free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with the service, you can ask the support staff for a refund. For a full glimpse into the ExpressVPN performance and features, here’s a review you can look at.
4. VyprVPN Chameleon technology to bypass geo-blocks
VyprVPN is one of the best VPN services in the industry and for users in the UAE for a number of reasons. However, the main reason is revolving around the fact that it offers solid security features, keeping users safe and secure online, in Dubai.
Where safety of location is concerned, VyprVPN is located in a privacy-friendly region in Switzerland, far away from the eye-regions. This is extremely crucial in a provider where access in the UAE is concerned. With that in mind, this provider doesn’t log any user data, following a very strict no-logs policy.
Coming to the provider’s security features, it runs using military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to help secure users in country’s that observe the harshest surveillance law, like the UAE.
You’ll even have a selection of protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, PPTP, IPsec, IKEv2, and Chameleon) to utilize depending on what you require. The Chameleon protocol is most recommended in this situation. It allows you to access the most blocked services within heavily restricted countries like the UAE. Connect to this protocol and there shouldn’t be any issues.
The app also comes with a Kill Switch feature that protects your data and physical location if ever the VPN connection fails or stops working. Sadly, the Kill Switch isn’t available on the iOS app. So, if you’re looking for security mainly on the iOS, it is better you look up another provider mentioned on this list.
Other than that, the VPN offers DNS and leak protection, protecting you from being exposed over the internet in the UAE. It also hides your activities from prying ISP eyes.
Did you know that VyprVPN owns its servers, some of which are DNS protected? Not many providers can say that. It offers around, 700+ servers in 65+ counties, all of which are optimized for streaming and torrenting.
During testing, I was able to jet past some of the most popular, yet geo-blocked services in the UAE. A few of them include Hulu, Netflix, Facebook, WhatsApp, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and HBO GO. I even tested the speeds and the results were very satisfactory. You can check out the results and its full performance in my VyprVPN review.
You’ll be able to connect to more than one device since VyprVPN allows up to 5 multi-device connections. To mention a few platforms, it supports apps for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Smart TVs.
To test the app and its features, VyprVPN offers a 3-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
5. CyberGhost Privacy features and no-logs policy
Next, on best VPN for UAE list, we have CyberGhost. This provider in general, among others on this list, is known to offer the best privacy and security features. This is what users traveling to or living within Dubai require for online protection, dodging laws implanted by Etisalat.
CyberGhost is located in a privacy friendly region in Romania, which is free from any data-retention laws. The provider itself doesn’t log any user data. This means users within Dubai or the UAE as a whole don’t have to worry too much about using the service amidst all the heavy censorships or restrictions.
This provider, just like the others on the list are built with AES 256-bit encryption for protecting you over the UAE internet. What’s very different is that CyberGhost offer OpenVPN connections on majority of its apps including iOS. This isn’t what most providers offer.
Additionally, other CyberGhost security features include a Kill Switch, Split-tunneling, DNS and IP leak protection, all of which are required to keep your data and physical location from being exposed within the UAE.
If you’re planning on unblocking a number of restricted or censored streaming services, websites, or apps in the UAE, then CyberGhost offers great server coverage for it. You’ll have access to over 6000+ servers in 90 countries! Plus, you’ll see on the app that these servers are placed according to the streaming service it unblocks. This saves a lot of time for you!
When I tested the CyberGhost unblocking abilities, I got access to BBC iPlayer, ESPN, WhatsApp, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and many more! The speeds were tested too and the results were pretty great! For a full test report on this provider, take a look at my CyberGhost review.
Also, just in case you feel like connecting to more than one device, CyberGhost offers up to 7 multi-device connections. A few of its supported devices include Windows, iOS, and macOS, Android, Firestick and Linux.
If you feel like testing the app, CyberGhost offers a free trial and a 45-day refund period.
6. IPVanish Unblocks US-based services in the UAE
IPVanish is a US-based provider and is located within the 14-eyes alliance. This could easily trigger offer a few warnings for users in the UAE. However, to understand what a provider offers in terms of security, you need to first take a look at its privacy policies. IPVanish might be a US-based provider but it follows pretty strict no-logging policies.
However, but because this provider is a US provider, it means you’ll be able to access more services within the US that are usually blocked in the UAE.
Compared to other providers, it doesn’t offer a huge selection of security features, but it does get the job done and is one of the few providers that are working in the Dubai. It operates using AES 250-bit encryption, and offers a Kill Switch to protect users online, even after the VPN connection fails.
It offers a list of protocols, with OpenVPN being the most recommended for faster and secure access to services. Then, there’s also a Split-tunneling feature, allowing you to choose which services or apps you’d like to run through the VPN’s encrypted tunnel in the UAE.
For more details on this provider, here’s an IPVanish review you can look at!
As mentioned above, IPVanish is great for unblocking US-based streaming services. In general, it offers around 1400+ servers in 75+ countries, all of which are optimized for streaming and torrenting. During testing, I unblocked Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Skype, Facebook, and BBC iPlayer.
Just like Surfshark, IPVanish too allows unlimited device connections. A few of the devices or platforms it supports includes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Firestick.
Unfortunately, there’s no free trial. But, you’ll be able to test the VPN and its features using the 30-day free-trial refund policy. Don’t like the service? Just ask for a refund!
7. PrivateVPN For simple usage, secure and fast
Last on the list, we have PrivateVPN. Compared to the other providers on this list, PrivateVPN is mostly for simpler usage and falls on this list for the best UAE VPN mostly because it still works and is reliable.
Where security is concerned, it offers military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN support, a Kill Switch, and DNS leak protection. This is what’s required for using the internet in the UAE.
It includes around 150+ servers in 60 countries, which is extremely limited compared to the other services on this list. This is why I said it’s for simple usage. I managed to unblock BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Skype, Facebook, and Amazon Prime.
Even if you’d like to connect to more than one device, it allows up to 6 multi-device connections. It supports Windows, Android, iOS devices, macOS, Linux, Kodi and routers.
Unfortunately, there’s no free trial, but you can use its 30-day refund period for testing the app!
Why do you need the best VPN in the UAE?
Most businesses, or tourists travelling to the UAE, usually hit Dubai, one of the best and busiest cities in the UAE. It’s where all the attractions are! However, regardless of who you are or where you’re from, it’s a fact that online restrictions, surveillance and the aftermath penalties in the UAE are for everyone.
The city and country might be modern or advanced, but the laws are extremely strict. You’ll find many streaming services, electronic, gaming or political websites, VoIP services, and numerous apps blocked in Dubai or UAE as a whole.
For instance, tourists or business executives travelling there won’t be able to access social communication or networking sites like Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Messenger, FaceTime or Skype. These services are considered as illegal.
You’ll even find the most popular streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon prime and many others completely blocked off within the country. This is why most residents in the Gulf States rely on Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
When a resident accesses these prohibited websites or apps within the country, there are certain penalties that come with it. For instance, imprisonment or a fine of Dh200’000 are the charges for accessing illegal or blocked websites, regardless of it being Netflix or TikTok. This is why you need to use a VPN while travelling to or residing in the UAE.
How the best UAE VPN services were chosen
Going through the entire blog, you now have an idea of what can and cannot be done within the UAE. This is why users are recommended to use a VPN while travelling there. However, along with services, apps or websites, most VPN providers are blocked there too.
Only a few work, the selected few have been further shortlisted according to the kind of services and overall performance they offer. Here’s how they were chosen:
This is extremely crucial to look into especially since users require all the privacy and online protection they can get in the UAE. The providers chosen all come with strict no-data retention policies, keeping user data secure.
Most streaming services, VoIP services, communication apps and websites are actively blocked in the UAE. To access them, you’re going to need another IP address depending on what service you’re trying to unblock. The VPN services chosen offer large network coverage and numerous IP addresses that you can connect to, to access international and local services from anywhere in the world.
By this, I mean obfuscated technology, military encryption, stealth mode servers and more, all of which are necessary tools to get you past the major restrictions and blocks in Dubai or the UAE. I could’ve chosen them based on just fast speeds and unblocking abilities, but they’ll come to no use if you’re VPN is detected. This is why security features or tools are so important in a UAE VPN.
Free trial and refund period
I believe in trying a product or test driving it before investing, especially for something as big as online protection. The VPN services chosen all come with a free trial or a refund policy, allowing you to test the app’s ability to perform.
Are VPN services legal in the UAE?
Technically speaking using a VPN isn’t illegal in the UAE. However, the illegality lies in how you use it. For starters, you’ll find everyone using a VPN in the UAE. If you try and access a service that’s usually restricted in the UAE, that’s considered as illegal. This is why you need to be extra careful while choosing a provider. Make sure to use the VPN according to the TRA guidelines or at your own risk.
Is there a free VPN that works in Dubai?
No there isn’t. Generally speaking there are only a couple free VPN services that are deemed as reliable, but I wouldn’t recommend using a free VPN in the UAE. They come with poorer encryption standards, and other features necessary for using the internet in Dubai or dodging ISP and TRA surveillance. The providers mentioned on the list above all offer either a free trial or a refund period that you can use for testing periods.
Is it safe to access WhatsApp and other VoIP services in the UAE?
Technically speaking, yes, it’s safe to use a VPN to access VoIP services and WhatsApp in the UAE. Even though most services are blocked in the UAE that doesn’t mean all are illegal to access. TRA/Etisalat, are more concerned with other illegal websites and activities being accessed with a VPN. However, for the safer side, make sure you’re connected to the best VPN to access these services.
It’s pretty simple, if you want to remain safe online and continue to use the best VPN for the UAE, make sure you’re following the TRA guidelines and laws. Yes, internet users have it tough in the UAE, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is attainable. For accurate results, I tested the VPN providers enlisted above to check if they still work in Dubai (UAE).
Plus, if you’re looking for the most affordable packages, you can take a look at our deals page. These top providers are all offering big discounts on their yearly and biennial plans.