5 Best VPNs for UAE in 2023 (Unblock Any Website)
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.
I tested many VPNs, and I can tell, that NordVPN is the best VPN for the UAE and unblocking.
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.
Best VPNs for UAE in 2023
- 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.
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Best VPNs for the United Arab Emirates – Detailed List:
UAE residents need a VPN that can bypass content restrictions and focus on privacy. NordVPN is the best overall VPN for UAE with powerful security features.
Security: NordVPN provides AES-256 encryption guaranteeing user data are uncompromised. Features like Threat Protection, CyberSec, and a kill switch ensure that users are protected from online threats. NordVPN also runs RAM and dedicated IP servers that can bypass restricted content.
Privacy: Hinged on privacy, NordVPN operates based on a strict no-logging policy. It is based outside Fourteen Eyes jurisdiction, in Panama. NordVPN has passed three independent audits showing its commitment to keep your data private.
Performance: NordVPN ensures speedy browsing and streaming. It tested for an impressive download speed of 248.7 Mbps and an upload speed of 126.7 Mbps in the United States. Protocols like NordLynx (WireGuard), OpenVPN, and IKEv2 increase connection speed and stability.
Other features: NordVPN does more than just provide typical VPN services. It unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO Max with the SmartPlay technology. It also supports P2P with optimized servers and offers Onion Over VPN servers. Furthermore, its split tunneling feature allows users to decide which data to route via VPN and which to send over the regular network.
Pricing: NordVPN offers various plans starting at $4.99/month for a 1-year standard plan. The most inclusive ‘Complete Plan’ is set at $5.49/month for a 2-year plan. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and allows users to test the service.
|Plan||1-year plan||1-month plan||2-year plan|
- 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
Surfshark stands as one of the top VPNs for the UAE. Thanks to its robust server network, impeccable security, and affordability.
Security: With AES-256-GCM encryption Surfshark offers unbeatable security. Its CleanWeb feature protects against ads, trackers, malware, and phishing attempts. Furthermore, Surfshark employs GUI-based MultiHop (Double VPN) by routing data through multiple servers.
Privacy: Surfshark upholds a strict no-logs policy, guaranteeing user privacy. Your online activities remain confidential with private DNS on each server. Automatic Kill Switch maintains privacy in case of sudden connection drops.
Performance: Surfshark has high performance with 235 Mbps download and 219 Mbps upload speeds. It supports secure protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and WireGuard.
Other features: Surfshark allows users to set specific apps you want to encrypt with split tunneling. With dedicated servers, Surfshark unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. It also has P2P-friendly servers for torrenting.
Pricing: Diverse subscription options make Surfshark an attractive choice. The starter pack is available for as low as $2.30/month. The Surfshark One+ covers the broadest features for $5.99/month for a 2-year subscription. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for users to try their premium services risk-free.
|Surfshark Plans||2-year price||1-year price||1-month price|
- A very affordable VPN provider
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Ad-blocking feature
- Unblocks streaming platforms
- Ad blocker and malware protection features
- 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
PrivateVPN is one of the best UAE VPNs as it is effective against the strict internet censors of the region. It offers strong features like geo-unblocking, P2P support, and stealth mode.
Security: PrivateVPN boasts solid security features. It uses AES 256-bit encryption, a reliable kill switch, and protects against IP and IPv6 leaks. Its customizable encryption levels give users an opportunity to balance speed and security. However, the kill switch activation is not immediate for the initial connection.
Privacy: Although PrivateVPN is based in Sweden it promises a strict no-logs policy. It offers stealth VPN mode that disguises VPN traffic as regular web traffic. This helps users maintain their online privacy and unblock sites in the UAE. However, the lack of independent audits and ambiguity about its personal data handling practices can be a concern.
Performance: PrivateVPN’s performance is fairly good. It uses advanced protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard (in beta). The service touts its US download and upload speeds at 148 Mbps and 190 Mbps respectively. However, its speeds and latency may vary depending on server location.
Other Features: Besides its core features, PrivateVPN is highly compatible with various platforms. It fully supports P2P traffic and unblocks streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It supports up to 10 simultaneous connections and offers a dedicated IP option. Customer support options are robust, including 24/7 live chat and email.
Pricing: PrivateVPN comes with modest pricing plans: $9.90/month for a 1-month plan and $2.00/month for a 36-month plan. They also offer a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it risk-free to test the service. Payment can be made via credit card, PayPal, or Cryptocurrencies.
|PrivateVPN Plans||Price per Month|
- Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
- Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- Zero-logging policy
- Free Static IP servers
- A fast and light WireGuard protocol
- 10 simultaneous connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Not as many servers as other VPN providers
- No split-tunneling
4. Atlas VPN
Atlas VPN holds its own among the best VPNs for the UAE. Thanks to strong security, privacy, and a free version.
Security: Atlas VPN keeps user information secure by utilizing AES-256 encryption. It deploys WireGuard protocol for fast and secure connectivity. Additionally, the system-wide kill switch and built-in 2FA for Windows devices reduce any risk of data leaks.
Privacy: Atlas VPN’s privacy features ensure a safe browsing experience. These features include:
- No-logs claims for user anonymity
- Data breach monitoring to alert users of potential threats
- SafeSwap for IP rotation, ensuring online activities remain private
Performance: Atlas VPN has good speeds on all its servers for streaming and P2P file sharing. It reaches a download speed of 183 Mbps and an upload speed of 309 Mbps in the United States. Supported protocols include OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2. for stable connections.
Other features: Streaming and P2P support are robust in Atlas VPN. It unblocks Netflix’s 11 different libraries, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max. It also efficiently unblocks geo-restricted content in the UAE. User experience is enhanced with an intuitive interface and ease of customization.
Pricing: With both free and premium plans available, Atlas VPN offers flexible pricing. Plans range from $11.99 per month to as low as $1.82 for a 2-year plan, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Multiple payment options are available, including credit cards, Google Pay, PayPal, and Cryptocurrency.
- 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 is great at circumventing censorship even in highly authoritarian regions. This makes it a great premium VPN for the UAE. However, the price might seem too steep for some.
Security: ExpressVPN employs AES 256-GCM encryption and SHA-512 hash function for authentication. A key feature, Network Lock (kill switch), safeguards data in case of connection loss. All servers operate on RAM (TrustedServer technology) making sure data is never stored on a hard drive.
Privacy: Privacy features include:
- No-logs policy
- Private DNS on each server
- Independent audits by PwC and Cure53
- Stealth servers that hide VPN use
Performance: Using the Lightway protocol for quicker connection times, provides remarkable speeds. Server speeds average 137 Mbps for downloads and 162 Mbps for uploads in the United States. Which is a competitive performance among other VPN providers.
Other features: ExpressVPN excels in streaming and P2P capabilities. It can unblock major platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Its smart DNS feature, MediaStreamer, enhances streaming experience. It supports P2P and torrenting across all servers.
Pricing: ExpressVPN offers different plans: $12.95 for one month, $9.99/month for six months, and $6.67/month for an annual plan. Each supports up to 8 simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
|ExpressVPN Plans||Price per Month||Simultaneous Connections|
|6-Month Plan||$9.99||Up to 8|
|1-Year Plan||$6.67||Up to 8|
- 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.
What is the Best Free VPN for the UAE?
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 Did I Test and Choose VPNs for the UAE?
I conducted a thorough evaluation of various VPN services to select the best ones for use in the UAE and Dubai. This assessment involved considering the following factors:
- Unblocking Content: The selected VPNs were tested and chosen because they can unblock geo-restricted content. They provide reliable service in regions with strict internet censorship, such as the United Arab Emirates.
- Strong Security Features: I made sure that the VPNs I tested had robust security features. Strong encryption protocols and stable connections that are resistant to the UAE’s restrictions. The presence of a kill switch for network protection in case of a VPN connection drop was also a crucial factor.
- Firm Privacy Practices: I prioritized VPNs with a strict no-logs policy so they do not keep any user data. Additionally, I looked for features like IP and DNS leak protection, and RAM-based servers to cut data storage.
- Quality Server Network: I considered VPNs with servers in various global regions. The obfuscated servers, which disguise VPN usage, were also a significant advantage.
- Fast Connection Speeds: I tested the connection speeds of the VPNs to ensure they were fast enough. They should support activities like 4K video streaming and online gaming without experiencing lag or network drops.
- Streaming and Torrenting Support: I assessed the VPNs’ ability to bypass geo-blocking restrictions. Verified their compatibility with popular platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. For those interested in torrenting, I looked for VPNs that offered servers for P2P file sharing and port forwarding.
- Additional Subjective Criteria: I considered factors based on user preferences. For example the availability of apps for the devices they intend to use and support for simultaneous connections. This also included user-friendly app interfaces and the availability of responsive customer support.
By evaluating these criteria, I identified the top VPN services suitable for use in the United Arab Emirates.
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
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.
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.
Cybersecurity and VPN researcher