Users in the UAE deal with a lot of government-sanctioned online censorship via the country’s two ISPs: Etisalat and du. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) provide security and privacy for internet users and help them access blocked VoIP services, gambling sites, porn sites, as well as information on sites like Wikipedia.
VPNs can also keep users safe from surveillance – which is definitely a factor in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Finally, VPNs open up a whole world of streaming content and P2P downloads for users in the UAE, allowing you to defeat Netflix geo-blocking with the click of a button. So read on to find our picks for the best VPN for United Arab Emirates customers, and find the ideal tool to mix security and entertainment.
No time to read? Here are our best VPNs:
Our criteria for ranking the best VPN for UAE users
Before we get into the rankings, you’ll probably want to know what criteria we’ve used to come up with our list. Using the following factors, we’ve balanced every provider, coming up with all-rounders with very few weaknesses:
- Speed: Wide server networks, fast infrastructure, great streams, and lightning-fast P2P all matter.
- Privacy: No logging policies, a location outside the Fourteen Eyes Eyes, and excellent DNS leak protection is what we need here.
- Security: If the encryption isn’t cutting edge, the VPNs aren’t serious.
- Flexibility: Multiple connections, protocols, and customizable clients all come together to widen users’ options, and we like that a lot.
- Price: Cost isn’t critical, but it surely matters. Only great value VPNs make the cut with us.
1. NordVPN ‣
- Location: Panama
- Pricing: starts at $3.49/month
- Server count: 5500+ servers in 58+ countries (including several in the UAE)
- Features: Crypto payments, P2P supported, unblocks Netflix, military-grade encryption, CyberSec, can run TOR through the VPN, kill switch, no logs, DNS protection, 6 devices at one time
In our testing, there was only ever one winner: NordVPN. Based in Panama, NordVPN consistently wins global VPN comparisons, and it easily outshone competitors in the UAE.
One of the major reasons is that NordVPN maintains fast servers in the country. There are 4 local servers, as well as plenty of other Middle Eastern locations, boosting speeds. This helps with ordinary browsing but also turbocharges Netflix and P2P.
Security is untouchable, with military-grade 256-bit encryption, outstanding DNS and IP protection, a cast iron no logs policy, and attentive, genuinely helpful 24/7 support.
Families can connect 6 devices – including computers, phones, and game consoles. And add-ons like CyberSec provide extra defenses against cybercrime – a very handy addition.
All-in-all, NordVPN is head and shoulders above the rest. So give it a try.
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $1.99/month
- Server count: 1000+ servers in 60+ countries
- Features: kill-switch, no-logging policy, unblocks Netflix, unlimited simultaneous connections.
Surfshark VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. This is significant primarily because of their no data retention laws and it is also an important criterion when choosing VPN service. We were pleasantly surprised by the fast internet speeds, great value for the money and always available live chat support in case you run into some trouble.
Surfshark has 1000+ servers in 60+ countries, including the UAE. We had no trouble unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms, and it also worked great for torrenting. The service has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, but supports a range of devices beyond the ones listed here.
We think that it is one of the best VPNs for the UAE and Dubai if you’re looking for ways to bypass the Internet censorship in those countries.
3. CyberGhost ‣
- Location: Romania
- Pricing: starts at $2.75/month
- Server count: 6200+ servers in 90+ countries
- Features: 45-day guarantee, 256-bit encryption, BitCoin supported, P2P friendly, unblocks Netflix, no logs, 7 simultaneous devices, chat and email support, unlimited traffic/bandwidth, kill switch
CyberGhost is a VPN with almost everything – but doesn’t do quite enough to be named our best VPN for UAE users. Based in Romania, it features 256-bit encryption and all major protocols, along with DNS and IP leak protection. And Romania is outside the Fourteen Eyes, so you should be safe there.
There are more than 6200 servers to choose from, and most are extremely fast. Netflix runs like a dream, along with any other streaming service you could name, gaming is smooth, and P2P is supported as well. Moreover, you can connect 7 devices in one household, making CyberGhost suitable for families.
What didn’t we like? Well, speeds are good, but not as reliable as they could be (and not as good as our top picks). So we couldn’t give this VPN top marks, although it’s not far off.
4. ExpressVPN ‣
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $6.67/month
- Server count: 3000+ servers in 90+ countries
- Features: 256-bit encryption, unblocks Netflix, OpenVPN and IPsec supported, P2P friendly, no logs, kill switch, DNS leak protection.
Based safely outside the extended Fourteen Eyes surveillance umbrella, ExpressVPN is firmly in the global VPN elite. One of the fastest VPNs around, it’s a great option for streamers and torrenters alike. Full P2P support and excellent Netflix unblocking make it perfect for entertainment fans.
Encryption is strong, there are no DNS leaks, and you’ll even enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee – so it’s essentially a try before you buy the product. Cryptocurrencies are supported, allowing anonymous payments. So this is a VPN that gets most things right.
So why isn’t it the best VPN for UAE customers? Well, the price is slightly higher than our main pick, and users can only connect 5 devices – which is somewhat low, considering the competition.
5. PureVPN ‣
- Location: Hong Kong
- Pricing: starts at $3.33/month
- Server count: 2000+ servers in 140+ countries
- Features: Many cryptocurrencies supported, 256-bit encryption, supports P2P, unblocks Netflix, 24/7 support, 5 devices at one time, no data limits
Available with amazing discounts at times, PureVPN is Asia’s leading VPN provider. Based in Hong Kong, it’s been around for a while now and has a massive customer base, including plenty of Emirati web users, and it’s easy to see why.
There are more than 300 Asian servers, including locations in the Arab World, so finding a good connection for streaming shouldn’t be tough. P2P is well supported too, making PureVPN great for torrents.
Encryption and leak protection couldn’t be tighter, and the easy to use client is available for all major platforms, while you can connect up to 5 simultaneous devices. That should be enough for most people.
However, it’s worth remembering that Hong Kong is politically close to China, and China isn’t a VPN-friendly regime. So there’s a danger that PureVPN may be subject to official meddling. And if you miss out on the discounts, regular prices are quite high by elite standards.
Encryption and protocols are right up to date.
6. VPNArea ‣
- Location: Bulgaria
- Pricing: starts at $2.99/month
- Server count: 200+ servers in 60+ countries
- Features: kill switch, 256-bit encryption, P2P friendly, unblocks Netflix, supports routers, can set up private VPN servers
Bulgaria’s VPNArea is a less well-known but high-quality alternative to industry leaders. Outside the Fourteen Eyes, it has gold standard encryption and leak protection, features a kill switch for extra insurance, as well as an automatic IP change which alters your identity every few minutes.
You can install VPNArea onto routers if you’d prefer to manage security through a central hub, and the VPN manages to work around pretty much any geo-blockers. P2P bandwidth is unlimited as well, so torrenting isn’t an issue.
The only problem here is speed. 200 global servers isn’t much, and users can sometimes struggle to find a super-fast connection. You can often find one, but if you want a hassle-free experience, try other providers.
- Location: Switzerland
- Pricing: starts at $8.95/month
- Server count: 50+ servers in 26+ countries
- Features: No logs, unlimited devices, apps for all major platforms, excellent security features, TOR and SOCKS5 included, supports IPv6, 7-day guarantee
Aimed at professionals more than home users, Switzerland’s Perfect Privacy VPN is an elite-tier VPN with a few features that you won’t find elsewhere. For instance, the VPN bundles in NeuroRouting and TrackStop – tools that speed up browsing and neutralize online tracking.
There’s StealthVPN to hide your VPN usage, a very strict no-logs policy, and one of the most comprehensive support teams in the industry. So if you need to set up an office VPN, you can give them a call and Perfect Privacy will help out.
Add in unlimited bandwidth and devices, and you’d seem to have a great product. However, the price can be too much for some users, and speeds are rarely as fast as our pick for the best VPN for UAE. Still, it’s great for businesses and pro-tier users.
If you’re in the UAE, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPNs for the UAE? Let us know in the comments below.