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5 Best VPNs For UAE – 2016 Update

IMPORTANT UPDATE 1st August 2016: A new law means that use of a VPN is illegal in UAE and can result in significant fines and / or prison time. We recommend you refer to our news item here and make a personal decision on whether the risk is worth taking depending on your requirements.

Few nations are as synonymous with wealth and capital accumulation as the United Arab Emirates since the Persian Gulf state began exporting oil in the middle of the 20th century while still under British rule. Fast forward 50 odd years, to find the UAE positioned not only as one of the wealthiest sovereign states on Earth but, also, a clear juxtaposition. Traditional ways of life meet newfound nouveau riche in a fascinating example of ‘restricted openness’. One need only examine internet regulations, or the steady leak of labor and Human Rights controversies emanating out of the Gulf.

In the case of the former, censorship is widespread. Blocks are in effect for any material deemed lascivious (pornography, gambling, dating, and sex), VOIP solutions like Skype or Whatsapp, Isreali domains, or materials deemed divisive or invidious to the citizens of the UAE (political dissent). While not quite as stringent as their North Korean and Chinese neighbors to the East, web control exercised in the UAE may well prove bothersome for expats living in or traveling through this particular Arab State. Read on for our top 5 VPN picks to access websites blocked in the Emirates.

5 Best VPNs For UAE Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.2/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

VyprVPN Logo
Read Review7.6/10
$8.33 / monthVisit Site

5

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review6.6/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

VPN UAE

  • ProsPROS
  • Dedicated iOS & Android Apps
  • Wide Server Coverage
  • Fast Speeds
  • Two Simultaneous Connections
  • No Usage Logs
  • ConsCONS
  • Pricey
  • Some Connection Logs

ExpressVPN is an industry mainstay with the presence of mind and service to match. The fast service runs on servers in more than 78 countries, covering the globe quite evenly. Bespoke Android and iOS apps are more than just minimized offerings of their desktop counterparts, making ExpressVPN a superlative choice for those with multiple devices who are always on-the-go.

Pleasingly, there’s a 30-day no-holds-barred money back guarantee in place – in line with the professionally astute business model. Similarly to VyprVPN – ExpressVPN is on the pricier side – though a top-notch package comes with commensurate outlay, in any marketplace. Take a test run with ExpressVPN, and see if they provide the right service for your needs.

Get the best UAE VPN today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30 day moneyback guarantee!

2nd place

IPVanish

4.4/5

IPVanish Screenshot

  • ProsPROS
  • Tier 1 Speeds
  • Minimal Info To Register
  • P2P Allowed
  • No Logs
  • ConsCONS
  • Limited Simultaneous Connections
  • Support Only During Working Hours

IPVanish is consistently rated as one of the top providers around for good reason, as the combination of functionality and form is amongst the best on the market. No logs are kept, in line with the ‘Vanish’ part of the company’s moniker. While support is only active during working hours, the LiveChat specialists are helpful when online, and the setup guides in place are some of the best around – technical without potentially overwhelming a novice – informative without pandering.

Another slight drawback is that simultaneous connections are only an option if you use two different protocols for each device, as in OpenVPn on your PC and L2TP on your smartphone. Despite these minor stumbling blocks, encryption standards are impressively rock-solid. Refunds are in place up to seven days, so go on and give IPVanish a try in Dubai (or elsewhere in the Emirates).

Visit IPVanish »


3rd place

NordVPN

4.1/5

NordVPN Screenshot

  • ProsPROS
  • Massive Server Network
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • No Logs Kept
  • ConsCONS
  • Medium Speeds

When it comes to the UAE, having a VPN provider that takes a tough stance on user security and privacy is vital. NordVPN does just that. Being based in Panama means that NordVPN is under no obligation to retain data, of which it takes full advantage. In addition to a strict no logs policy, it offers its users other means of staying as close to anonymous as possible, including multi-hop connections, the option to pay with Bitcoin, and support for Tor over VPN.

While NordVPN doesn’t have any servers situated in the UAE, it has several that are close by, as well as a selection of over 550 others in 47 different countries. In addition, while its speeds leave a little to be desired, it can be improved by accessing their dedicated streaming servers, which are noticeably faster.

See if NordVPN is the right VPN for you today by signing up via the blue button below.

Visit NordVPN »


4th place

VyprVPN

3.8/5

VyprVPN Screenshot

  • ProsPROS
  • Tier-1 Networks
  • Chameleon Stealth Encryption
  • Stylish Software
  • SmartDNS
  • 4 New Middle Eastern Servers
  • ConsCONS
  • Price
  • Connection Logging under US Jurisdiction
  • No P2p

VyprVPN is one piece of the three-pronged service of info security conglomerate Golden Frog, who offer Dump Truck (encrypted alternative to Dropbox), Cyphr (encrypted messaging), and the aforementioned ‘crown jewel’ VyprVPN. VyprVPN is a service built of the nexus of great speed, coupled with reliability, as evidenced by the extensive server network in place (owned and operated by Golden Frog).

That’s not the whole story, as VyprVPN recently released four new Middle Eastern Servers – Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia – including Dubai. Sadly, VyprVPN does keep some connection logs, which is a bit backward for a company based on internet security, though they don’t comply with anything except DMCA notices, as per their strict no-P2P policy. At $14.99 you get a VPN with all the trimmings, while the price drops significantly if you subscribe for a year, as with most competitors.Though the 3-day free trial is somewhat on the shorter side, it should give you ample time to see if VyprVPN is the right choice for your web needs in the UAE.

Visit VyprVPN »


5th place

BolehVPN

3.3/5

BolehVPN Screenshot

  • ProsPROS
  • No Logs
  • Useful Freebies
  • Speedy
  • ConsCONS
  • Tough Website Navigation
  • Support Available During Limited Hours

BolehVPN is a relatively small operation, compared to its competitors – though the services this Malaysian outfit provides are in the upper echelon. No logs of any kind, coupled with Torrent optimization and stealth servers to circumvent the most stringent web restrictions bring an excellent all-round package to the table. On the other hand, the website might leave a bit to be desired, and could be easier to navigate. No money back guarantee is in place though there is a trial offer to test out the service before buying.

On the technical side, BolehVPN boasts great encryption while also allowing you to modulate protocols and encryption levels depending on your needs at any given time – whether they be P2P, secure communication, or general browsing. What’s more, don’t forget the dedicated ‘stealth’ servers in place for those especially concerned with privacy. Give BolehVPN a go after the jump.

Visit BolehVPN »


VPN Considerations While In The Emirates

UAE Siteblocks

Image Via: TRA

It’s understandably easy to feel somewhat in awe of the Emirates on both conceptual and practical levels. The nation is a veritable clash of ideologies, not least of which is the aforementioned battle between free markets and internally autocratic policies with an implicit repressive subtext. The Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) controls to what extent web censorship takes place in the nation pursuant to the categories mentioned in the introduction to this piece and illustrated in the image above. Now, the Emirate’s internet laws shouldn’t be perceived to be entirely as militant as those in China or the DRPK, for instance – as that simply isn’t the case. However, VOIP services such as Skype and Whatsapp aren’t allowed ostensibly to protect local telecom providers such as MNC Etisalat, and prove a thorn in every economically sensible expat’s backside.

There’s more: unless you’re at peace with a limited internet, you’re subject to potentially searching for a Las Vegas’ origin story innocuously (it’s quite the read for the uninitiated), only to be blocked from its Wiki page, or blocked from a host of any other Wiki’s falling under the broad ‘objectionable content’ umbrella. It’s likely that a Network Error message or blank screen will appear in your browser if you’ve visited a blocked site, but luckily, there’s hope with a VPN.

Using the dedicated ‘stealth servers’ mentioned with several of the providers above after setup (if possible while using TOR and paying by Bitcoin!), will allow you a next to untraceable method of enjoying an unfettered online experience. Read on for a quick conclusion, or skip down to the Summary section and try out a VPN service for yourself.

Best VPNs For UAE Conclusion

Now that we’ve discussed some background about the Emirates, and established why you’d need to use a VPN there, let’s recap. The broader web experience an expat would be accustomed to is simply unfeasible due to censorship methods in the place by the TRA regulators in the UAE.

An excellent method for bypassing these restrictions while concurrently taking proactive steps to secure your devices and online footprint in one fell swoop is a VPN. Which provider is top is certainly subjective, but the list below (same as above) is what we feel offers the best blend between price and performance, depending on the broadest range of individual needs we’ve had feedback from and experience with ourselves. Quit reading and hop on the VPN stealth-wagon by experiencing one of the choices below.

Best UAE VPN Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.2/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

VyprVPN Logo
Read Review7.6/10
$8.33 / monthVisit Site

5

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review6.6/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site

Dimitri M Expat in Europe - pathos for good conversation and Italia's Grande Juventus.

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2 responses to “5 Best VPNs For UAE – 2016 Update

    1. Hi Susana,

      Please check out our WiTopia Review. I have not used the service persoanlly, but our reviewer was unhappy with its performance results. There view is admittedly rather old, but the Witopia website is quite bare when it com es to details about the service, so after a quick look I cannot offer much further insight.

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