It is imperative to protect yourself with a virtual private network (VPN) if you’re a Qatari internet user. VPN providers bounce your connection to a remote server, and then encrypt that channel to ensure it cannot be monitored or traced.
To help with this, we’ve compiled a list of the best VPN for Qatar based on the requirements outlined above. We’ve chosen eight providers for you to mull over, as well as putting forward the VPN we think is the best choice overall.
Our VPN ranking system
These VPN providers were chosen with the following criteria in mind:
- VPN security
- Entertainment (effectiveness against geo-blocking, torrenting capabilities)
- Reliability against firewalls and censorship
- Ease of use and customer support
After careful consideration, we’ve come to the conclusion that the following five VPNs are the best for users in Qatar.
1. ExpressVPN ‣
The best VPN for Qatar
- Pros: great security, great protocols, large server list, torrenting, live chat support
- Cons: expensive
- Price: starts at $8.32
- VPNpro rating: 9.6
ExpressVPN has long been recognised as one of the very best VPN providers for any need or circumstance. Unsurprisingly, we also think it’s one of the best VPN for Qatar.
To begin with, ExpressVPN achieves the gold standard in security software through its use of the AES-256-CBC encryption cipher. This is widely recognised as a totally impenetrable firewall, and is the same software used by the US government.
As well as this, ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands, which is not only outside the legal jurisdiction of the Fourteen Eyes alliance, it’s also completely free from invasive data retention laws altogether.
ExpressVPN also over two thousand servers across ninety countries, which means there are always routes through which to bypass Qatari content filters. Despite being a slightly pricey product, we would always vouch for Express is as one of the very best VPN for Qatar.
2. NordVPN ‣
The king of security
- Pros: great security, great speeds, massive server list, torrenting, 24/7 support
- Cons: slower than the fastest VPN overall
- Price: starts at $3.49
- VPNpro rating: 9.5
NordVPN is another titan of the cybersecurity industry and a budget-friendly alternative to ExpressVPN.
Of course, lower prices often inspire the knee-jerk reaction of assuming the product itself is of a lower quality. This is not the case for NordVPN, alas, which utilises the same impenetrable encryption methods as ExpressVPN.
Its registry in Panama also promises a similar level of data privacy; the Panamanian authorities have no legal right to monitor their citizens’ online traffic without a warrant. Even if they did obtain one, NordVPN never stores your usage logs, so the information would be of no use to anyone!
One further advantage NordVPN has over its main competitor is its server base. While its servers are spread across fewer countries than with ExpressVPN (60 vs 94), it does utilise well over 5,700 servers in total.
This, of course, makes for some seriously high-quality server connections, which is just another reason we think NordVPN is one of the very best VPN for Qatar.
3. VyprVPN ‣
The sharpest sword against online censorship
- Pros: great security, geo-unblocking, large server fleet, live chat support
- Cons: not the best for torrenting
- Price: starts at $5.00
- VPNpro rating: 8.3
VyprVPN has been one of our favourites for a while, but they recently lowered their rates from a starting price of $5/month to $3.75/month. This is all the more reason to nominate it as one of the best VPN for Qatar.
One of the reasons we like this VPN provider so much is because it supports Chameleon, a custom protocol developed by Vypr’s parent company, Golden Frog.
Chameleon works like many other protocols, only it has the added feature of preventing bandwidth throttling and blocking, two common practices your ISP uses to control data usage.
As such, VyprVPN provides users with a long-term plan for their connection speeds. If you use a lot of bandwidth – remote workers usually fall into this category – then VyprVPN is a great service for ensuring your connection speeds remain consistent for longer.
VyprVPN does not scrimp in other areas. It’s registered in Switzerland, which keeps it free from any invasive data laws, and its no-logs policy has been independently audited. It also adheres to the trusty old AES-256-bit encryption standard which, as you’ll know by now, is best practice.
4. Ivacy VPN ‣
A workhorse fit for the racetrack
- Pros: great security, great speeds, geo-unblocking, torrenting support
- Cons: based in Singapore
- Price: starts at $1.33
- VPNpro rating: 9.5
In many ways, Ivacy is like a budget version of Astrill; its speciality is speed, and with over a thousand servers in use, you can guarantee that there’s enough firepower to keep those speeds consistent.
One of Ivacy’s USPs is that it is particularly great at unblocking geo-restricted content. Again, with the speeds it has, Qatari users will be able to access streaming service libraries from all over the world in ultra HD.
The only real issue with this VPN is that it’s registered in Singapore, a country that has been known to collaborate with the Fourteen Eyes alliance in the past.
This should really make it a not-so-private VPN, and surely not one to be trusted. However, Ivacy’s no-logs policy has been verified as legitimate through an independent audit, which means it’s really just as great for your privacy as any other VPN provider included here.
If you’re primarily after speed and unwilling or unable to stretch to Astrill’s admittedly expensive pricing, then you may well find Ivacy to be the best VPN for Qatar overall.
5. TorGuard ‣
The torrenter’s best friend
- Pros: great security, torrent support, massive server list
- Cons: based in the US
- Price: starts at $4.99
- VPNpro rating: 8.8
As with Ivacy, TorGuard is not conveniently located in the slightest – the United States is, in fact, part of the original Five Eyes alliance.
Why DMCA? Quite simply, TorGuard is a fantastic tool for torrent users. Torrenting isn’t illegal under Qatari law, but any torrented content is subject to the same standards as any other content.
As such, those for whom torrenting is a hobby should definitely consider using TorGuard. With AES-256-bit encryption and a large server fleet to boot, our only issue (besides its US registry) is that it isn’t exactly the cheapest option on the market.
Is it safe to use a VPN in Qatar?
As with many other countries in the Persian Gulf, internet freedom in Qatar is severely lacking. Any content related to pornography, queerness, sexual health, or online privacy is blocked outright.
Similarly, there can be heavy penalties for social media content that, as is vaguely explained in the cybercrimes law, goes against the “general order”. Any criticism against the Emir and his family can land you in prison for a ridiculous length of time, sometimes without charge.
Of course, since the rest of the Gulf countries imposed their trade sanctions on Qatar in 2017, there has been greater permissiveness in critically discussing other Gulf leaders. However, this remains illegal in its own right, and there is little use in testing the waters there.
If you’re in Qatar, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPNs for Qatar? Let us know in the comments below.