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5 Best VPNs for Oman That Work in 2017 – Secure & Easy to Install VPNs

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

August 25, 2017

The Sultanate of Oman is an absolute monarchy. That means that there is no democracy and laws can be changed immediately on the order of the Sultan. The general legal climate in Oman, as in the rest of the Arabian Peninsular, does not encourage freedom of expression. You have to be very careful in Oman about the websites you visit and the things you write there. Laws are very vaguely framed in Oman, so the authorities pretty much have free reign to interpret them however they wish. Being a foreigner in the country offers no protection from arrest or prosecution.

Quick Links to our 5 best VPNs for Oman

  1. VyprVPN
  2. CyberGhost
  3. PureVPN
  4. IPVanish
  5. Mullvad

The main purpose of all media controls in the Sultanate is to maintain the moral and religious standards of the population. These controls do not just apply to internet access – TV and music are also subject to tight censorship and phone calls are frequently monitored for seditious or blasphemous content. The second aim of the authorities is to stamp out potential political unrest. All government workers are direct employees of the Sultan. One one of their main tasks is to keep him in power without any restrictions on his rights to control the population. Thus, even a favorable comment about democratic procedures abroad can get you into trouble.

Oman also bans internet telephony. This is because the only phone provider for landlines in Oman is state-owned. Mobile services are a lot more deregulated. Omanis can get their 3G service from Omanmobile, a division of Omantel (the state-owned phone company), or from Ooredoo, which is owned by the Sultan of Qatar. He has similar views on freedom of expression to his Omani counterpart. You can access mobile networks of two other companies in Oman (Renna and Frendi), but neither offers data packages.

Skype is not available in Oman. Neither are Viber, IMO, or Google Hangouts. Chat systems in social media sites are available, but providers disable their voice and video functions. Surprisingly, WhatsApp and Signal work occasionally, although no one can predict when they will work and when they won’t.

You can access banned sites if you can circumvent the blocks that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) implement. However, Oman blocks both proxy servers and the Tor network. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are allowed and widely used in the country. Thus, if you want access to better entertainment, or to visit dating, porn, gay, gambling, or political sites, you had better use a VPN.

You can read more about how the Omani government implements its internet controls further on in this report. However, first let’s take a look at our five best VPNs for Oman.

Best VPNs for Oman: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
VyprVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Three-day free trial
  • Servers in more than 70 countries
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
  • Secret cloaking technology
  • Good for peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading
CONS:
  • No money-back guarantee

VyprVPN is very good at getting around the regional restrictions on streaming services, so it will be a great help to you when you're in Oman and want to watch some lively entertainment. China has the most advanced internet access control systems in the world and VyprVPN beats them every time. This bodes well for the service's ability to keep ahead of the developing controls in Oman. By using cloaking techniques, VyprVPN can defeat detection systems. Its encryption is uncrackable, so Omantel won't be able to see inside the code that gets delivered to your browser from banned websites. This service has good speeds and gives great protection for torrent downloads. You're allowed to connect to the VPN network with five devices at the same time, which makes it a good choice for a family.

Check out the best VPN for Oman!

Visit VyprVPN »Three-day free trial

#2 Best VPN for Oman: CyberGhost

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free version
  • Self-installing, easy-to-use app
  • Servers in 27 countries
  • Improves connection speeds
CONS:
  • Can't get into Netflix

The broadband speeds in Oman aren't great. Our CyberGhost review shows that they excel at improving poor internet speeds, so this is a great choice for streaming, downloading, and real-time applications, such as voice and video chat. The VPN uses very high levels of encryption, so is good for resisting any attempts that Omantel might try to break into the tunnel. Although this VPN can get you into most streaming services, it can't get you into Netflix, which shows that its cloaking methodology is not quite as good as the techniques used by VyprVPN. The client interface has a really stylish feel to it and the app is very easy to use. The company's network includes 918 servers in 27 countries. You can give the service a spin by installing a free version.

#3 Best VPN for Oman: PureVPN

PureVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Three-day trial available
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 141 countries
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
  • Gets into Netflix
CONS:
  • Some servers are slow

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong. It was created to assist Chinese citizens to get through the Great Firewall of China. As with VyprVPN, the service's performance in China is a good indicator that it will work in Oman for years to come. If you need to use the VPN for voice and video chat, you should check out your favorite app with several of the PureVPN servers, because not all of the company's equipment brings high speeds. However, you have plenty of servers to choose from because this company runs sites in 141 countries. This extensive network is an essential feature for those who want to view streaming video from less known countries. Smaller VPN networks usually only include server locations in a fairly standard list of countries in Europe and North America.

#4 Best VPN for Oman: IPVanish

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 60 countries
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
  • Gets into Netflix
  • Fast speeds
CONS:
  • Customer support isn't very responsive

When reviewing IPVanish we were pleased to find that the service can get into Netflix, meaning that it has excellent cloaking and privacy procedures. This VPN will get past the deep packet inspection methods of SmartFilter. IPVanish has notably faster speeds than a lot of its rivals, which makes this a good service for those who want to play online games, watch streaming video, or use video and voice chat systems. The app installs itself and works on Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS devices. There's also a version of the app for Amazon Fire TV, and you can set up the service on Linux machines and routers. IPVanish owns and runs all of its infrastructure, without having to resort to third party services. That infrastructure includes servers in 60 countries.

#5 Best VPN for Oman: Mullvad

Mullvad Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Three-hour free trial
  • Good anonymity for customers
  • Versions for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
CONS:
  • Small server network
  • Some technical problems

Mullvad has a unique charging system. It operates a flat rate per month, so there's no need to choose whether you should take out the service for a longer period to get a lower rate. There is also no repeat billing. Your account is identified by a number and you don't give the VPN company any of your personal details. A separate company collects payments and that loads credit onto your account - a little like paying for a pay-as-you-go mobile plan. The server network is small but rapidly expanding. The company currently has a presence in 25 countries. These include the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, so English speakers have plenty of options when they want to access streaming services with this VPN.

Using a VPN in Oman: Considerations

Keeping internet access in the hands of just the state-owned telephone company, and a mobile company that a friend of the Sultan owns makes centralizing internet controls easy. You can only connect to the internet with your computer or phone if you have a contract with an ISP – which means Omantel or Ooredoo.

WiFi hotspots are non-existent in the Sultanate. You can’t gain anonymity by surfing at an internet café. The owners of these establishments have to get a licence to operate. In order to get that permit, owners have to submit floor-plans of the space, showing that all screens are visible by a centrally-located human vigilator. Internet cafes also have to install network proxies, which block access to banned sites. They’re also required to log all the activities of their computers.

ISPs in Oman operate blacklists of sites. These block access to a long list of addresses. Individual webpages on permitted sites can also be blocked for delivery if they contain images of indecently dressed people, or include any of a list of alert keywords. A piece of software that was produced by a division of McAfee in the United States carries out these checks. This filtering program is called SmartFilter. Just about every government in the Middle East enforces its use, including Oman.

VPNs in Oman

The use of VPNs is not illegal in Oman. Indeed, a large percentage of the population uses them. However, as with all things in Oman, you have to be careful what you talk about and to whom. That means that asking around for help to get your VPN working could be risky. Therefore, it’s important to get a VPN that is self-installing and easy to use. A strong customer support team at the VPN company is also important. That will enable you to get advice from experts who won’t report your activities to the Omani government.

VPNs get around ISPs’ basic blacklist strategy because they obscure the destination address of the traffic they carry. The VPN client software on your computer establishes a connection with its home server. This is called a “tunnel.” The client and server encrypt all communications. That encryption even covers the header information, which contains the source and destination addresses.

The address of the VPN server will not be on the blacklist. When your messages get to the server, software there strips off the outer layer and sends the originally protected packet on its way to its destination. The tunnel doesn’t protect your traffic on its entire journey, just on the stretch between your computer and the VPN server. Thankfully, this security is enough to bamboozle an ISP’s internet access controls.

The VPN server mediates all of the traffic that leaves and enters your computer. Responses to your requests come back through the tunnel. The SmartFilter program can’t read fully encrypted packets, so can’t detect any illicit images or text in those webpages. Thus, the VPN gets around both blacklist blocks and content scans.

Censored Entertainment in Oman

There are 13 TV stations in Oman. All of their shows are heavily censored. The same is true of the music that is available in the country. Movies and shows are edited to remove offensive content, in many cases to the point of being unwatchable. Furthermore, many popular TV shows around the world are just not shown in Oman.

Fortunately, you can access entertainment from other countries over the internet. There is even an Omani branch of Netflix. However, you don’t get the version they show in the US. The entertainment library that you get access to with Netflix in Oman is pretty similar to the shows that you see on TV there. If you have a Netflix subscription in Oman, you can watch Netflix anywhere in the world. The service is different in each country – the library you get access to depends on your location when you enter the website. As such, if you’re in the US when you log in, you get access to all of the great entertainment available to customers in that country.

You can watch US Netflix in Oman if you can fool the Netflix server into thinking you’re in the US. Thankfully, VPNs can make you appear to be in another country. Most streaming services impose regional restrictions that limit access to people in the same country as the service. Unfortunately, these services realize that people use VPNs to bypass access controls. Thus they try to detect and block VPN traffic. Some government internet control systems also search for VPNs.

Having to evade detection spurred VPN companies to develop cloaking technologies. Systems that block VPN traffic also log the IP addresses of VPNs that they identify. Thus keeping ahead of restrictions is a complicated job. Not all VPNs engage in the fight, so not all VPNs can help you access foreign entertainment from Oman. The five best VPNs for Oman on our list are all adept at getting into streaming services and hiding their identities when their traffic passes through government-mandated inspections.

Best VPNs for Oman: Conclusion

You may grow impatient with the controls on what you can see on the internet in Oman and hope to access banned websites. All of the VPNs in this review work well in Oman. They will protect your identity as well as get you access to overseas streaming services. Remember to cover your tracks in Oman with a VPN.

Image Credit: Tang Yan Song/Shutterstock.com

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