Dubai is one of the UAE’s biggest cities and is a major tourist destination with millions of visitors every year. However, there is heavy internet censorship, and you cannot access certain content and services while in the country.
That is why VPNs are very popular in the UAE and are used to bypass censorship and unblock everything from Skype, WhatsApp, Netflix, etc. Unfortunately, finding a reliable VPN service that works in the UAE is becoming difficult recently.
In this article, we will present you with up-to-date and thoroughly researched best VPNs for UAE and Dubai, Why you need a VPN in the country, factors to consider when choosing a VPN, and more.
A quick guide to the best VPNs for UAE and Dubai
- NordVPN – Obfusacted features, strong encryption, 30-days money-back guarantee, fast-speed servers
- ExpressVPN – Stealth feature, zero-logs policy, huge server network, impressive unblocking capabilities
- Surfshark VPN – Servers in the UAE, unlimited simultaneous connections, blazing-fast servers
Best VPNs for UAE and Dubai
NordVPN Main features
- 5,500+ servers in 60 countries
- P2P specialty servers
- SmartPlay feature
- Automatic kill switch
- Split tunneling
- Double encryption
- Obfuscated servers
NordVPN is famous for its vast network of more than 5,500 servers in over 60 countries, including the UAE. It offers unmatched performance and all the features you need to bypass censorship and restrictions at very affordable plans.
One of NordVPN’s greatest privacy features is the obfuscated servers. They are specifically designed for regions with heavy internet censorship, like the UAE. The servers will mask not only your traffic and location but also your VPN activities. This means that no one will know that you are using a VPN, which will help you access blocked content and avoid censorship.
The double encryption feature passes your traffic through several servers instead of one for additional security. Because there would be no single traffic line, it will be almost impossible to track your online activities.
This VPN is compatible with Onion over VPN. In fact, some of its servers have dedicated Onion over Tor to create a smooth connection with the Tor network. Combining Tor with a VPN will give you unprecedented security and privacy.
NordVPN offers compatibility across all major devices such as Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and routers. It allows you to connect up to 6 simultaneous devices on a single plan. You can enjoy the services risk-free with the 30-days money-back guarantee.
- Great value for money
- Fast-speed servers for HD streaming
- Robust security and privacy credentials
- Sluggish desktop app
ExpressVPN Main features
- 3,000+ servers in 160 locations
- Stealth servers
- 30-days money-back guarantee
- Perfect forward secrecy
- Network Lock
- TrustedServer Technology
ExpressVPN is a well-established VPN for UAE and Dubai. It has a massive network of over 3,000 servers distributed in more than 160 locations across the world.
The VPN uses obfuscation across its entire server network so you can access digitally censored sites undetected. The obfuscation feature disguises your VPN activities to look like you are using the normal internet traffic. You will be able to unblock Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and other blocked sites.
The TrustedServer technology is a crucial security feature as it ensures that all your data from previous sessions are entirely wiped out. This means there are no traces of your data so no one can trace your online activities.
ExpressVPN employs several security and privacy measures such as AES 256-bit encryption, automatic kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, zero logs policy, Tor compatibility, and split tunneling. These features will keep you secure and anonymous from ISPs and government agencies.
It successfully unblocked the CBS US library during our test. The VPN also works well with Netflix, Disney +, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc.
- Effective obfuscation feature
- Top-notch privacy and security features
- Unlimited bandwidth and data
- Expensive plans
Surfshark Main features
- 1,800+ servers in 75+ countries
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- 30-days money-back guarantee
- Zero-logs policy
- Camouflage mode
- NoBorders feature
Surfshark is a reputable VPN service that offers everything you will need in a VPN. It has a decent-sized network of 1,800 servers spread across 75 countries, including the UAE. Owing to the latest discounts, it is one the most affordable VPNs on the market.
The camouflage mode is Surfshark’s obfuscation feature that makes your VPN activities look like regular traffic. Your internet service provider or the government cannot see what you are doing online. On the other hand, the NoBorders mode will automatically detect censorship and present you with special servers to connect to.
Our test revealed that Surfshark is secure and uses multiple state-of-the-art security and privacy features to keep you secure and anonymous. There is DNS/IPv6 leak protection, automatic kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, MultiHop mode, and HackLock.
It has an inbuilt ad, malware, and tracker blocker dubbed the CleanWeb. It works efficiently to block intrusive ads on YouTube and other streaming sites.
- Affordable plans
- Compatible with major devices
- Steady and reliable connections
- Smaller server network
Reasons why a VPN is a necessity in UAE
Recently, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) has been blocking VPNs in the country in collaboration with DU and Etisalat. This is done to protect the interest of the local business.
Already, the UAE prohibits access to content that compromises ethics and morality. For example, gambling, pornography, and anti-government news sites are blocked. Furthermore, many Wikipedia articles and VoIP services like Zoom and Skype are also inaccessible.
This is where a VPN comes in handy. It will help you bypass government censorship and access content and services from all over the world. Also, you can use it to browse securely and even download and share torrent files.
The legality of VPNs in Dubai
As long as you are not using it to commit fraudulent activities, it is legal to use a VPN in the UAE and Dubai. The notion that the VPNs are banned in the country is not right. However, you have to trend careful and avoid breaking any rules because you can be fined heavily or even incarcerated.
Choose a VPN that offers strong encryption, DNS leak protection, automatic kill switch, and obfuscation to stay safe. Using a VPN with inferior features or a free VPN could be very risky, and you can easily get into trouble.
Factors to consider when choosing a VPN for UAE and Dubai
Due to the country’s heavy restrictions, you will need more than just an average VPN to access the blocked content and services. Here are the things you should look out for.
Your top of the list priority should be the security measures employed by the VPN. A good VPN should use AES 256-bit encryption combined with other features such as perfect forward secrecy, SHA- authentication, etc.
Choose a VPN with an obfuscation feature so you can access the internet undetected. In addition, look for SSL encryption, stealth mode, or anything that obscures your VPN activities.
Extensive server network
Some VPNs are relatively new with a small server network, while others are well-established with a massive server roster. Having access to many servers is a great and effective way to bypass blocks. In addition, you will have better chances of getting the fastest and optimal servers.
If you want to access local geo-blocked content and services when abroad, you should look for a VPN with servers in the UAE. The more servers are available in the country or the surrounding region, the better.
It is difficult to determine that a VPN will work efficiently in Dubai since VPN blocking changes constantly. Choose a VPN with a free trial or money-back guarantee to ensure it is reliable and meet your needs to avoid any disappointments or wasted money.
Best VPNs for UAE and Dubai frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Is it illegal to use a VPN in Dubai?
No, it is perfectly legal to use a VPN in the UAE. However, the authorities can get suspicious of you for installing the VPN app on your devices. This is risky because you can get hefty fines or even incarceration for accessing restricted content or copyrighted materials. So, it is good to choose a VPN with strong encryption and obfuscation features.
Can I use a free VPN in the UAE?
If you have a tight budget, you might get tempted to use free VPNs. Fortunately, there are few premium VPN providers that offer reliable and trustworthy free services but with some caveats. For instance, some of the essential features like bandwidth and speed are limited to compel you to upgrade to the paid plans. However, you should be careful with some free VPN services as they can compromise your security and privacy.
What are some of the blocked sites in the UAE?
Using illegal VoIP services and accessing restricted content can easily get you into trouble. As a result, a UAE VPN should have certain specific features to bypass blocked content and services. Some of the restricted sites include pornographic sites, LGBTQ sites, anti-religious sites, gambling sites, all VoIP services, and anti-government sites.
Internet users in the UAE and Dubai have it tough due to ISP restrictions and government censorship. However, you can bypass the censorship and restrictions and keep your online activities private with a reliable VPN. Our top choice is NordVPN because of its affordable long-term plan and advanced features to keep you safe in the UAE.