5 Best VPNs for UAE in 2023
Can’t decide whether or not using a VPN for UAE is a good idea? Perhaps you’re not sure which VPN works in the UAE. If you live in the UAE, you’re aware that such a tool can be very valuable. Moreover, if you plan on visiting the country, you should know the privacy and censorship issues that are widespread in the country.
A UAE VPN can help you access blocked and restricted sites, avoid online censorship and protect your privacy, and enjoy services that would otherwise be banned. Unfortunately, many VPNs don’t work in the UAE. This prompted us to assess the best UAE VPN services and sum up the essentials of using a VPN in this country.
Looking for a quick summary?
- NordVPN – Best UAE VPN overall.
- Surfshark – An inexpensive service with loads of advanced features.
- PrivateVPN – Privacy-focused VPN with stable connections.
- AtlasVPN – Great all-around service.
- ExpressVPN – Excellent for unblocking geo-restricted sites.
Top 5 VPNs for the United Arab Emirates
If you’re not willing to settle with anything less than the best UAE VPN, look no further than NordVPN. From privacy and security to servers and connection speeds, NordVPN has proven to be the most capable service for the United Arab Emirates.
This VPN service has over 5,500 servers in its network, covering 60 countries globally. It also offers five servers in the United Arab Emirates. Conveniently, all of its UAE servers support obfuscation, allowing you to slip under the radar when connected to a VPN server.
While NordVPN’s UAE-based servers don’t support features like Double VPN and aren’t optimized for P2P activities, many of its other servers offer these options. Moreover, you can also purchase a dedicated IP.
NordVPN’s apps come with split tunneling support, a kill switch feature, and private DNS. You can connect up to six devices on one subscription plan. This VPN also offers some unique features. Perhaps the most unusual one is Onion over VPN, which combines the VPN’s privacy features with the anonymity of The Onion Router.
NordVPN maintains faultless privacy credentials. It’s based in Panama and has a zero-logs policy. Besides this, it has also been audited several times by independent auditors over the years and has always passed with flying colors.
- Thousands of lightning-fast and well-optimized servers
- Unblocks all the major streaming sites
- Fully supports Torrenting and P2P
- Strict no-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
- Ad blocker and malware protection features
- Robust security features and military-grade encryption to protect you from DDoS attacks and other online threats
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Only 6 simultaneous connections
- No free trial
With over 3,200 servers in 95 countries, Surfshark has one of the best server networks out of all VPNs. It also provides Dubai VPN servers. The service’s entire network supports the excellent WireGuard protocol, as well as other standard protocols like IKEv2 and OpenVPN.
All of its servers have private DNS and support the Camouflage Mode feature. The latter is particularly useful, as it’s Surfshark’s take on standard server obfuscation and hides your VPN traffic.
Surfshark is also loaded with advanced features. For instance, it has a Bypasser tool that lets you set specific apps you want to encrypt. There’s also a CleanWeb feature that protects you against trackers, ads, and malware. Of course, like every top-quality VPN, Surfshark also has a kill switch.
Plus, this affordable VPN provider allows you to connect unlimited simultaneous devices. So, not only is it one of the most advanced VPNs you can get, but it also offers fantastic value for every subscription.
- A very affordable VPN provider
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Ad-blocking feature
- Unblocks streaming platforms
- A fast and light WireGuard protocol
- Allows split-tunneling and has a multi-hop VPN feature
- No-log policy and robust security features
- GPS spoofing on Android devices
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No free version
- Does not allow P2P seeding
Compared to other VPNs on our list, PrivateVPN is a fairly small VPN best suited for those that want a simple service without too many advanced features. It has a solid server network covering 200 server locations in 63 countries. One of these locations covers Dubai.
PrivateVPN is a solid choice for both torrenting and streaming. It can unblock the leading streaming platforms and supports unlimited P2P file sharing. Protection-wise, it offers IP and DNS leak protection and a kill switch.
This Sweden-based VPN provider allows you to connect up to ten devices per subscription. It offers intuitive and well-designed apps for all major OS platforms. PrivateVPN supports a number of payment methods, including Bitcoin, so you can remain anonymous when purchasing your subscription.
Overall, PrivateVPN is one of the most user-friendly VPNs around. It provides a 24/7 customer support service and maintains a total network uptime of 99.98%.
- Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
- Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- Zero-logging policy
- Free Static IP servers
- 10 simultaneous connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Not as many servers as other VPN providers
- No split-tunneling
4. Atlas VPN
Atlas VPN advertises as the best VPN for UAE. And, although we wouldn’t go this far, we would put it among the best VPNs for the United Arab Emirates. It has 750 servers in 43 countries. Handily, you will also find the United Arab Emirates on its list of supported countries.
Atlas VPN supports the WireGuard protocol on all of its server locations. All of its servers are optimized for P2P activities, so you can download and upload files at high speeds and with maximum privacy.
A small number of Atlas VPN’s servers are also optimized for streaming. These streaming-optimized servers strategically cover popular regions like the US, the UK, Japan, and other countries that generally feature the best content libraries.
Atlas VPN has some splendid features that allow you to tailor your service as it suits you most. Some of the best ones include SafeSwap, MultiHop+, and split tunneling. You’ll also find superior web traffic encryption, private DNS, and a network kill switch.
- Very affordable plans and it has a free version
- Fast Speeds
- Helpful against an ISP throttling your connection
- Unlimited device support
- WireGuard protocol, DNS leak protection, and strong security features
- Unblocks streaming services
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Limited Linux app
- Based in the US
- Not so many servers
ExpressVPN offers servers in 94 locations globally. Unfortunately, it currently doesn’t have any servers in the United Arab Emirates. So, if you’re looking for a UAE IP address when going outside of the country, we recommend choosing one of the above providers.
Still, ExpressVPN has some strong selling points. This VPN service is known for its ability to work in highly authoritarian countries. It’s one of a few VPNs that can bypass The Great Firewall of China, so you’ll have no problems using it in the United Arab Emirates.
This makes it an excellent VPN for unblocking censored platforms and accessing streaming sites. ExpressVPN also only uses RAM-based servers and has private DNS on every server, ensuring your data never falls into the wrong hands.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN delivers impeccable privacy. You can count on 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and a handful of protocols. This includes the provider’s in-house Lightway protocol. All of these features are nicely packed in easy-to-use and streamlined apps.
- Works with streaming
- Supports torrenting
- No-logs policy
- TrustedServer technology with RAM-only servers
- Premium security features
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Expensive subscription plans
- Only 5 simultaneous connections
Why Should You Use a VPN in the UAE?
There’s a laundry list of reasons why you should use a UAE VPN. That said, United Arab Emirates citizens and tourists that visit the country who use VPNs often do so because of three main reasons. To go more in-depth, here are the three main reasons why you should use a VPN service in UAE and Dubai:
Access VoIP Services
Arguably the most common reason most locals and tourists in the United Arab Emirates use VPNs is to use VoIP services like Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, and others. This is because major ISPs in the country, Etisalat and Du, practically have a monopoly on the industry.
Due to this, these two ISPs can even block free VoIP services like those we’ve listed. Moreover, Etisalat and Du offer their own alternatives you can use by paying an extra fee. That way, they are not only earning extra profit but also have the power to directly monitor your conversations. You don’t have to put in too much thought to see how unfair this is towards users.
Luckily, with a VPN service, you can avoid getting the short end of the stick and enjoy the same treatment as most users in any free country across the globe. Simply connect to a VPN server to avoid using state-sanctioned VoIP services and use the real thing.
Protect Your Online Privacy
There’s no going about it. The United Arab Emirates is an authoritarian state. The UAE government has great control over the country’s Internet landscape and doesn’t shy away from surveilling and censoring online users.
In a censored and heavily monitored environment like this, using a VPN service is the best way to regain online privacy and ensure unrestricted access to your preferred content.
With a VPN, you don’t have to worry about your favorite news sites being blocked. You don’t need to sweat because of an anonymous comment you made that someone from the government might not appreciate. Your private and sensitive information will be unavailable to anyone else.
Secure Your Information and Devices
UAE and Dubai, more specifically, are among the world’s fastest-growing and most popular tech hubs, especially for new companies. But, this also means the door is more open for malicious users and hackers who want to take advantage of the growing number of users in the UAE.
If you want to ensure the security of your device while in the United Arab Emirates, a VPN can take your cybersecurity to the next level. You can use it to protect against malware, infected websites, trackers, and other threats most online users, unfortunately, don’t pay enough attention to.
Stream Without Restrictions
Lastly, besides obtaining more freedom, securing your devices, and using mainstream VoIP services, a VPN serves one more practical purpose. You can use it to access media and streaming platforms in the United Arab Emirates and abroad without any restrictions.
While Netflix is available in the United Arab Emirates, copyright laws mean that the UAE library is significantly different from other Netflix libraries worldwide. For example, libraries like Netflix US, Netflix Canada, and Netflix UK offer several thousand titles more than Netflix UAE.
This means that you’re missing out on many great shows and movies just because of your geographical location. Moreover, apart from exploring Netflix in different regions, you can use a UAE VPN to access streaming platforms like Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and countless more.
This also conveniently works in the opposite direction. Let’s say that you’re a UAE citizen traveling outside of the country and want to access UAE Dubai-based channels like MBC 4, Dubai TV, or other programs. You can connect to a United Arab Emirates server and access these channels from anywhere in the world.
The Best Free UAE VPNs
To begin with, we believe that free VPN providers are a gamble that most often doesn’t pay off. This is because free VPNs are often riddled with problems. Most free VPNs keep logs, feature ads, or even inject malware into your device. Even those that aren’t malicious are limited by their small server networks and poor network speeds.
Considering that, when it comes to using a free VPN in the United Arab Emirates, it’s essential to know which free VPNs to stay clear of. And, we say this knowing that there are many more malicious free services than good ones. For example, even well-known free VPNs like Hola and Betternet have been proven to host malicious software or have significant privacy issues with their app clients.
Having said all of this, we’re comfortable recommending Atlas VPN as the best VPN UAE free service. Atlas VPN is a proven VPN service that provides both free and paid subscription plans.
With the Atlas VPN free plan, you get many of the perks premium users enjoy, but with some limitations. Namely, you’ll have only three servers to pick from, none of which are based in the UAE.
Still, even though the Atlas VPN free plan offers a solid service, we only recommend it as a tool to try out a UAE VPN for free. Past that, if you want to use a VPN in the UAE regularly and without limitations, we suggest you opt for a premium VPN and pay for a subscription plan.
Moreover, seeing that VPN use in UAE and Dubai places you in a gray area legally, it’s best to pay a few bucks for a trusted and private VPN and save yourself from any potential headaches.
How to Get a VPN for UAE?
You can get a VPN for UAE and Dubai in just a few minutes by following our step-by-step guide.
- Choose a UAE VPN and select a suitable price plan (We recommend NordVPN).
- Download and install the app from the provider’s site.
- Log in and pick a server to connect to.
In these three quick steps, you can get a UAE VPN. Additionally, we also advise you to clear your cookies and cache before you connect to a VPN server. Doing so will lower the chances of you exposing your actual location, particularly if you also use the browser in Incognito Mode.
While getting a VPN for UAE is a bit easier than getting one for Russia and especially China, you might still have issues downloading such a service. So, if you’re visiting the country touristically, we recommend you download and install the app before you get to the UAE.
With that in mind, this tip isn’t very practical for locals. That said, if you live in the country and want to use a VPN in the UAE, the only way to find you can download a particular service is to try it manually with different services until you find one that works.
How to Choose UAE VPN
Choosing the right VPN service for UAE and Dubai is perhaps even more important than doing so in a country with more lax privacy laws. When picking the best UAE VPN based on your needs, you need to be absolutely certain that you can trust the service to keep you private at all times while ensuring a seamless experience. In this regard, here are the most important aspects to look for in a UAE VPN:
Strong Security Features
Because the United Arab Emirates has restrictions on VPN usage, many average VPNs in the industry simply won’t work in the country. So, for a VPN service to work in the United Arab Emirates, it needs to have strong encryption protocols and be able to establish secure and stable connections immune to these restrictions.
Additionally, a great UAE VPN should have extra protection in the form of a kill switch that cuts off your network in case of VPN connection drops. Some VPNs even allow you to route your connection through two VPN servers simultaneously and secure double protection for your network.
Firm Privacy Practices
Without question, the service you deem the best UAE VPN should have a strong no-logs policy. This ensures that it doesn’t hold any data about your activities and can’t share anything with any regulatory body even when backed up to a corner.
But, to fully lock up your privacy, it should do much more than this. The right VPN should preferably offer IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection. Moreover, it should use only RAM-based servers to guarantee that no data can be stored and collected.
Quality Server Network
The best VPNs for the United Arab Emirates offer quality servers physically based in the country. In addition, they also provide servers in many other regions worldwide. This enables you to always find a suitable and uncrowded server, regardless if you’re in the UAE or abroad.
If possible, the VPN you pick should also have obfuscated servers, a feature crucial for maintaining privacy while using a VPN in the United Arab Emirates. Obfuscated servers mask that you’re using a VPN server and trick anyone observing into thinking you’re connected to a regular network.
Fast Connection Speeds
When evaluating VPN services in this regard, there’s only one rule to keep in mind. The faster, the better. Top industry UAE VPN services are fast enough to ensure 4K video streaming and smooth gaming with any annoying lag issues.
In line with that, it’s also crucial for connections to be stable enough so you don’t encounter any network drops while watching your favorite show or movie.
Streaming and Torrenting Support
A useful VPN for the United Arab Emirates should also be powerful enough to bypass geo-blocking restrictions that streaming sites impose on international audiences. For example, the VPNs we’ve featured above are all powerful enough to unblock popular streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
Those who like torrenting should also pay attention to services that offer servers specifically optimized for P2P file sharing. Additionally, UAE VPNs with a port forwarding feature particularly excel for torrenting.
Additional Subjective Criteria
Apart from the five essential and objective criteria above, we can bundle up several other aspects that every user can subjectively assess and evaluate depending on their needs. For starters, you need to know whether or not the VPN offers apps for the devices you want to use.
Moreover, you’d also want to avoid being restricted by the number of devices you can connect. That’s why you should also pick a UAE VPN that supports enough simultaneous connections to meet your requirements.
Besides these two, you should find the VPN’s apps pleasant to use. Lastly, some VPN users also appreciate a constant availability of customer support, so this factor is worth keeping in mind if you’re looking for the same.
VPN for UAE FAQs
Is a VPN legal in the UAE?
Despite VPN use being prevalent in the United Arab Emirates, it’s not quite clear whether or not VPNs are legal in the country. The most precise way to put it is to say that VPN use falls into a legal gray zone. But, you can still get in trouble with the law if you use a VPN to access content blocked by the government.
This is because the United Arab Emirates blocks a lot of content it deems to contradict the ethics and morality of the country. This includes content like pornography, gambling, websites with anti-religious hate speech, and even VoIP services like Skype and some Wikipedia pages, among many other things.
So, if you use a VPN for any of these activities and get caught, you could face jail time and/or get a potentially massive fine. To be more exact, the Cybercrimes Law sets a maximum fine of up to two million dirhams. For foreigners, this is a little over $544,000.
Do I need a VPN in the United Arab Emirates?
The UAE ranks close to the top of the list of countries with the strictest Internet censorship laws. In 2023, the renowned international freedom ranking organization Freedom House gave the country a 27 out of 100 Internet Freedom Score, a number that is only getting lower with each year.
What’s more, many ISPs (internet service providers) in the UAE utilize content blockers. Plus, there’s no way of precisely telling how much data they collect and relay to the UAE government. Because of all of this, Internet users in the UAE should use a UAE VPN to protect their online privacy.
How do I get a UAE IP address?
- Sign up with a VPN (We recommend NordVPN)
- Download and install the app on your device.
- Log in to the application
- Select a UAE server and connect
- You’re now free to access any UAE site!
Is torrenting legal in the United Arab Emirates?
Downloading and uploading content on torrent sites is illegal in the United Arab Emirates. There have been numerous examples of people who had to pay several thousand dollars in fines or were even sentenced to jail time because they got caught illegally sharing copyrighted files.
So, we definitely do not recommend testing your luck with torrenting in this country. But, if you’re set on downloading copyrighted games, movies, and TV shows, it’s best to use a UAE VPN, preferably one with obfuscated servers.
Which VPNs have UAE servers?
Out of the top UAE VPNs we recommend, NordVPN, Surfshark, PrivateVPN, and Atlas VPN all offer at least one VPN server based in the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, all of these have servers in Dubai, making each of them a great pick when it comes to the best VPNs for Dubai.
To expand on this, if you’re looking for the best VPN for the Middle East in general, these three VPNs remain excellent picks for this as well. For example, VPN Arabic-speaking users can take advantage of servers in Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco, among many others.
What VPNs are from UAE?
There aren’t any VPNs based in the UAE that we would recommend. Even if such services exist, using a UAE VPN based in this country is not the smartest way to go about it because such a VPN might be controlled by the government.
Moreover, the best VPN to use in UAE should ideally be located in a privacy-friendly location. The most popular locations for VPN operators are Panama and the British Virgin Islands. On the other hand, countries less preferred are those that are a part of international surveillance alliances or have strict online privacy laws.
What content can you access with a VPN in the UAE?
With a reputable UAE VPN, you can access any content worldwide. You can enjoy international content libraries like Netflix US, Netflix UK, Hulu, and others, simply by connecting to a server in the country whose content you want to watch. Likewise, you can also access any United Arab Emirates platform when abroad.
What’s the best VPN for UAE and Dubai?
NordVPN is the best VPN to use in the UAE and its most populous city, Dubai. While this service doesn’t offer servers in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, NordVPN UAE servers in Dubai offer you five connection options. Thanks to this, you can switch between servers to always find the Dubai server with the least users.
What is the best UAE mobile VPN service?
The best VPN for Android in UAE is NordVPN. On the other hand, if you prefer using iOS devices and are looking for the best VPN for iPhone in UAE, we recommend ExpressVPN and Surfshark as two services that stand out the most in this category.
Keeping in mind everything we’ve shared with you in this guide on UAE VPN services, it’s not really a dilemma whether or not using a VPN in this authoritarian country is a good idea. Regardless if you’re a local resident or a tourist visiting for vacation, a VPN will help you stay private and avoid censorship and restrictions.
But, to take advantage of these perks, you need a trustworthy and tested VPN service. This is why we advise you to avoid unproven services and free VPNs and stick to our thoroughly examined providers. Still and all, we’ve found NordVPN to be the best VPN in UAE.