United Arab Emirates (UAE) has some of the strictest online policies and censorship in the country. Telecom providers like Etisalat have blocked access to VoIP services such as Skype and WhatsApp in the country. Similarly, the Freedom House ranks UAE 17/ 100 which is very low, rating it as a “Not Free Country“.
Considering the current online privacy and internet freedom landscape, the best VPN for UAE seems like the only option to take down these barriers. However, finding a VPN that works in UAE can be a challenging task as the government has blocked most services.
To help you make a decision, we have tested 45+ VPNs to bring you the top 6 VPN services that are still working in UAE despite the heavy restrictions, and censorship. With the help of these VPNs, you can have unrestricted access to the internet in the United Arab Emirates.
Why do you need a VPN for UAE?
You need a VPN for UAE because the country’s Telecom Regulatory Authority imposes strict internet censorship. It is quite transparent in this regard as it states which sites are blocked and why. As a result, if you want to access any website or app that’s blocked i.e. Skype in the UAE, you cannot do so until you use a VPN.
There are multiple reasons why VPNs are becoming more important to use in UAE, such as:
Reduce Internet censorship:
The country has strict regulations against many online content forums, including pornography, gambling, criticism of religious beliefs, etc. ISPs and telecommunication authorities routinely block such content in UAE. VPNs help you bypass these censorship issues by offering encryption and servers all over the world.
Unblocking regular streaming content:
If you’re traveling away from home, and you want to watch Dubai Bling on Netflix AE, you might find it hard to do so because you’ll need a UAE IP address. Similarly, while living in the United Arab Emirates, you’re missing out on exclusive Netflix content available in other countries. With a VPN, you can get the best of both worlds.
Security over public Wi-Fi:
Security is notoriously weak in public Wi-Fi hotspots in UAE. This puts users under threat from hackers that might take advantage of security vulnerabilities to breach user privacy. A VPN with solid encryption and obscure servers like ExpressVPN can significantly enhance your security against such threats.
To unblock Banned VoIP Apps:
As a part of UAE’s censorship, there are a bunch of apps banned by the government. Starting with VoIP services. If you intend to stay in touch with your loved ones while traveling to UAE using WhatsApp calls, you may find it hard to do so. That’s why you’ll need a Dubai VPN to overcome these restrictions and still use services like:
- Facebook Messenger
- FaceTime and many more
6 Best VPNs For UAE (2023 In-Depth Analysis)
After testing 45+ VPNs, the following are the 6 best VPNs for UAE that were selected based on their unblocking capabilities, server network, server speeds, device compatibility, and encryption.
1. ExpressVPN – The Best VPN for UAE
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for UAE, owing to its advanced bypassing ability, audited no-logs policy, and wide server coverage. It has a global network of 3000+ servers in over 94 countries (160 locations). All of these servers are equipped with state-of-the-art encryption techniques to protect your online identity and give you access to content from all around the globe.
Although it doesn’t have a server in UAE, there are multiple servers in the Middle East that you can use to unblock Middle Eastern channels like Netflix AE, HBO Max AE, OSN, Shahid, StarzPlay Arabia, and many more. We were able to unblocked Abu Dhabi Sports in no time with the help of the best VPN for Abu Dhabi Sports UAE. You can access geo-restricted content in the UAE, such as US Netflix with ExpressVPN in UAE, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, and more. Not only that if you’re traveling you can use ExpressVPN as one of the best VPNs for WeChat in UAE to update your family and friends.
Here you can see how we accessed Discord’s website using ExpressVPN’s San Francisco server:
ExpressVPN is also one of the best VPNs for streaming in UAE because it has the ability to unblock any geo-restricted site, and it makes you undetectable with its military-grade 256-bit encryption. This makes it a handy VPN for people fed up with censorship and blocked social media apps within the UAE. You can also gain access to streaming platforms like ITV, Peacock TV and Hotstar in UAE.
With ExpressVPN, you get the fastest speed for browsing, gaming, and streaming in UAE. During our ExpressVPN speed tests in UAE, it gave a download speed of 89.42 Mbps and an upload speed of 84.64 Mbps on its United States – New York server, which is more than enough to enjoy a buffer-less video stream and a lag-free online experience.
It is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, a place that does not have data retention laws, thus offering a true no-logs policy. The VPN offers a strong set of security features which includes a kill switch, OpenVPN protocol, AES 256-bit encryption, Threat Manager, and many other features to ensure you can use the VPN safely from any threats in UAE and abroad.
For ultimate privacy, ExpressVPN also offers IP and DNS leak protection, to keep you anonymous online. We tested it for IP leaks by connecting to its Albania server, and there were no leaks, as it hid our real IP address throughout the connection.
ExpressVPN supports all major devices, including macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and even Linux. We had no issues setting up ExpressVPN on FireStick in UAE, Android TV, Smart TV, router, and gaming consoles. We also tested ExpressVPN’s 5 simultaneous connections and found it quite impressive upon receiving consistent speeds throughout our devices.
It is available for USD 6.67/mo (US$ 6.67/mo) (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE on its 12-Month Plan) with a 30-day money-back guarantee. With its no-questions-asked refund policy, you can always try ExpressVPN’s free trial in UAE.
Read our latest ExpressVPN review UAE for more details.
- Fast and efficient servers
- Easily unblock local and international channels
- Bypass geo-restrictions on Skype, Whatsapp, and other VoIP services in UAE
- Strict “zero logs” policy
- Slightly more expensive than other options
2. Surfshark – Budget-friendly VPN for UAE
Surfshark is the cheapest VPN in UAE, with plans starting from only USD 2.3/mo (US$ 2.30/mo) (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan). It also offers 3200+ servers across 100 countries, including one server location in the United Arab Emirates.
Surfshark is quite efficient at removing barriers and bypassing geo-restrictions in UAE. You can gain access to streaming platforms like Hotstar, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu with Surfshark in UAE easily. It is also one of the best VPNs for Skype in UAE, Facetime, and WhatsApp calls in UAE. With its UAE server, you can get a UAE IP address and unblock local UAE channels like Dubai Zaman, Dubai Sports, Sama Dubai, Al Dafrah TV, and more abroad. Surfshark’s remarkable unblocking capability makes it the best VPN for OSN Streaming in UAE as well.
Here you can see us unblocking WhatsApp in UAE using Surfshark’s UK – Manchester servers:
On our Surfshark speed test in UAE, we recorded a download speed of 81.32 Mbps and an upload speed of 76.12 Mbps on our 100 Mbps internet connection.
Surfshark also offers advanced features like AES 256-bit encryption, WhiteLister, MultiHop, and CleanWeb, which instantly increase users’ web privacy. Much like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is headquartered in the Netherlands and follows a strict no-logs policy. So, you don’t have to worry about your internet activities being logged.
It also offers IP and DNS leak protection, as you can see from the screenshot below, it masked our real IP and there were no leaks.
It also supports all the major operating systems, including macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, FireOS, and Linux. As a result, we didn’t run into any errors while setting up Surfshark on Apple TV in UAE, FireStick, Roku, and multiple other devices. Since Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, we tested the feature and found out that it is indeed one of the best VPNs for multiple devices upon receiving consistent speeds.
It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test Surfshark’s free trial in UAE for mobile users without any risks.
Read our Surfshark review UAE for more details.
- Unblocks most streaming sites Netflix, HBO Max, etc
- Unlimited bandwidth for UAE
- Bypasses geo-restrictions with ease
- Budget-friendly UAE VPN
- 24/7 live chat
- Some servers may not connect immediately
3. NordVPN – Large Server Network VPN for UAE
NordVPN is the largest server network VPN for UAE with 5500+ servers across 60 countries, including 5 servers in UAE.
NordVPN has indeed become a trusted name in the VPN industry owing to its best-in-the-business security and privacy solutions. But that’s not all, NordVPN packs excellent unblocking ability as well. It is fully capable of letting you access multiple international streaming content such as Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, CBS, and more in UAE. Besides all these channels, we’ve also managed to stream E-Junior using this free VPN’s UAE servers by using its free trial, further cementing its status as a top-notch free VPN for E-junior outside UAE.
Furthermore, NordVPN’s one of the best VPNs for WhatsApp in the UAE. You can bypass the restrictions on VoIP services with ease and call your loved ones without any worries. Here you can see how we’ve accessed Google Meet in UAE using NordVPN’s Adelaide server:
We also conducted a NordVPN speed test in UAE. We recorded an average speed of 83.82 Mbps and an upload speed of 44.64 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
NordVPN is one of the most secure VPNs for UAE with top 256-bit encryption, obfuscation technology, and NordLynx (WireGuard) to help you bypass firewalls. The provider lets you unblock geo-restricted websites in the UAE while also protecting your online identity.
NordVPN’s kill switch in UAE kills the internet when the VPN connection drops to keep you safe online. It is based in Panama, a country that doesn’t have data-retention laws. Furthermore, NordVPN also offers IP and DNS leak protection. We also tested for leaks by connecting to its UK server, and it showed no leaks.
You can stream on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and others. We were able to successfully set up NordVPN on PlayStation in UAE, Android TV, and other devices easily. NordVPN also supports 6 devices on one account, so you can protect your online privacy and stream on multiple devices at the same time.
NordVPN costs USD 3.99/mo (US$ 3.99/mo) (Get 57% Off + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan) with a 30-day refund policy. Feel free to test all these features through NordVPN’s free trial in UAE for iOS and Android users.
You can learn more about this provider in our NordVPN review UAE.
- Large server network across 60 countries
- Lag-free streaming of UAE channels and abroad
- Encrypts your data and follows a strict no-logs policy
- Live chat help 24 hours a day
- Occasional speed fluctuation
- Desktop app occupies much screen space
4. IPVanish – One of the Fastest VPNs for UAE
IPVanish is one of the fastest UAE VPNs on this list of best VPNs for UAE. During testing, it managed to deliver a high speed of 85 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection, which was absolutely thrilling. If we talk about servers, IPVanish has a smaller server network as compared to other VPNs, however, it does offer 4 servers in UAE, and 2000+ overall across 75+ countries.
With its local servers in UAE, you can access different UAE-based local content like Al Sabeeha TV, ALAAN TV, Fox Rewayat, Al Wousta from Al Dhaid, Al Dafrah TV, Noor Dubai, Fujairah TV, Ajman TV, and many more from abroad. With its international servers, you can unblock sites like Netflix with IPVanish in UAE, BBC iPlayer, and VoIP apps along with social media in UAE. That’s why IPVanish is one of the best VPNs for VoIP apps in UAE.
Here you can see how we’ve unblocked a local website of UAE – Dubai Zaman using IPVanish’s Dubai, UAE servers:
Testing IPVanish’s claim of being one of the fastest VPN providers, we carried out IPVanish speed tests in UAE. On average, we received a download speed of 86.75 Mbps and an upload speed of 73.67 Mbps, and there we no buffering issues.
IPVanish does not store any logs, and it offers AES 256-bit encryption, which is the strongest encryption in the market. For users in UAE, this gives the benefit of anonymity and privacy from hackers and government surveillance. IPVanish also offers IP and DNS leak protection. We tested IPVanish for possible leaks by connecting to its Canadian server, and it was foolproof as there were no leaks detected.
IPVanish’s offshore servers will come in handy if you want to unblock VoIP services like Skype and WhatsApp on your phone in the UAE. It also works with macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and others. You can easily install IPVanish on Firestick in UAE, routers, and gaming consoles.
The customer support of IPVanish is quite efficient as well, with 24/7 live chat support. It is also quite affordable, available for only USD3.33/mo (US$ 3.33/mo) with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also check out IPVanish’s free trial in UAE for mobile users to try its features before signing up for a long-term subscription plan.
For more information, read our IPVanish review UAE.
- Overall fast servers
- Easily unblocks international streaming services in UAE
- Strict “no logs” policy
- SOCKS5 proxy to mask your IP address
- US-based VPN service (member of the 14 Eyes)
- Customer service response is too slow
5. CyberGhost – User-Friendly VPN for UAE
CyberGhost is the most user-friendly VPN for UAE with apps for all major platforms. It offers friendly apps supporting all major devices, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, & Routers. You can download its apps from its website and install CyberGhost on FireStick in UAE, Android TV, and multiple other devices within the country.
If you need to acquire a UAE-based IP address to access local channels such as Dubai Sports, Sama Dubai, Al Dafrah TV, Noor Dubai, and others, you can connect to its 12 servers in UAE.
However, if you’re aiming to counter censorship and deal with geo-restrictions in UAE, you can use its 9700+ servers in 91 countries. CyberGhost offers dedicated servers for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and more. So, you can choose the one that suits your needs. Torrenting with CyberGhost in UAE is also quite smooth.
You can access international content such as Netflix with CyberGhost in UAE, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, CBS, HBO Now, Yupp TV, and Fox Sports, and use VoIP applications such as Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, and Skype on your devices in UAE. It is also one of the few VPNs in UAE with servers near Oman in the Middle East. It is also one of the best VPNs for Etisalat in UAE. Here you can see how we’ve unblocked Shahid, a local VOD in UAE using CyberGhost’s Dubai, UAE servers:
CyberGhost does not store any logs. The provider manages to offer rock-solid security with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, NoSpy servers, and unlimited bandwidth. The NoSpy servers are all located in Romania (a country with no data retention laws), so you don’t have to worry about mass surveillance and ISP snooping.
It also offers IP and DNS leak protection. We checked CyberGhost for data leaks, and it did not leak any IP or DNS whatsoever while using its Japan server.
- Offers 12+ servers in Dubai, UAE
- A good number of servers across the globe
- Stream most local and international content
- 45 days money-back guarantee
- Occasional speed fluctuation
- Does not work in China
6. Private Internet Access VPN – Best VPN for Torrenting in UAE
Private Internet Access is the best UAE VPN for torrenting with 26 servers in UAE and 35000+ servers in 84 countries around the world. All these servers are optimized for P2P file sharing, with a SOCKS5 proxy. Additionally, it also offers good connection speeds (65.78 Mbps on 100 Mbps connection) for downloading large files.
With its international server, you can access streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, beIN Sports, Netflix using PIA in UAE, and more in the UAE. Similarly, with its 26 servers in UAE, there is no local content or website that you can not unblock from abroad. Popular local content that you can access with this VPN includes Zee Aflam, Quest Arabiya, CNBC Arabiya, Sharjah TV Bengal Digital, Dubai Media City, and much more. See how we’ve unblocked Alaan TV using PIA’s UAE server:
On our PIA speed tests in UAE, the servers provided us with a download speed of 65.78 Mbps and an upload speed of 57.16 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
Private Internet Access uses AES-256 encryption and is equipped with security-boosting features that include leak protection and a kill switch to ensure your privacy remains intact when performing sensitive tasks such as torrenting with PIA in UAE.
It also offers DNS and IP leak protection. In order to test its leak protection, we used ipleak.net and conducted the test by connecting to its US – California server and found PIA totally free of any leaks.
PIA also supports most platforms, including macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux. We were able to easily set up PIA on routers in UAE, FireStick, Roku, and multiple other devices. It allows 10 simultaneous connections, so you can protect multiple devices at the same time on a single PIA account.
Also, the provider follows a no-logging policy that guarantees user privacy from government surveillance. Price-wise, PIA VPN is quite affordable. You can get this VPN for USD2.11/mo (US$ 2.11/mo) which comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You should definitely check out PIA’s free trial in UAE if you’re interested in getting this VPN subscription.
For more information, you can read our PIA VPN review UAE.
- Servers across 80 countries
- Connect up to 10 devices of choice
- Doesn’t throttle bandwidth for browsing in UAE
- Struggles with major streaming sites
- China servers don’t work that reliably
- Unsafe jurisdiction
Methodology: How to choose the best VPN for UAE in 2023
Because of censorship laws, finding a reliable VPN that works in the UAE is quite challenging. After thorough testing of 45+ VPNs, we were able to find 6 VPNs that unblock popular VoIP services like Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime, and others in UAE.
Keeping certain factors in mind, we were able to test multiple VPNs over a week-long period to find trustworthy VPNs that won’t leak your data. Here are some important criteria to consider when choosing the best VPN for UAE:
1. Large Server Network
Ensure the VPN you choose offers a wide server network across the world in different locations to access international content, websites, and streaming platforms in UAE. It should have plenty of servers in the USA, UK, Canada, Israel, Germany, etc. The best VPN in UAE ought to have servers all across the globe.
The VPN you choose must have 256-bit AES encryption and nothing below that because it is the most secure right now. Along with strong encryption, it should also support OpenVPN protocol, and offer kill switch and IP leak protection for maximum online privacy and security.
3. Unblocking VoIP apps & Streaming Platforms
We handpicked these VPNs because all of them succeeded in unblocking VoIP apps like Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat, Zoom, and others since most of them are blocked in UAE. As a tourist to the country, the VPNs you pick must be able to bypass the restrictions because of UAE’s censorship.
4. Fast Speed
Ensure that the best UAE VPN offers fast speed for uninterrupted calling and streaming HD content without any buffering or lags. We were able to stream for hours using these VPNs. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with a VPN that barely works while streaming or takes hours while loading a website.
5. No IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks
We tried and tested multiple VPNs to ensure we were not facing any sort of leaks that would ruin our browsing, streaming, or torrenting experience. Only the ones that passed each of these tests are recommended to you. So if you’re doing your own research, don’t forget these crucial tests.
Quick Comparison Table: Best VPN for UAE in 2023
Here’s a quick comparison of the best VPN for UAE along with its alternatives:
|Worldwide Servers||3000+ servers in 94 countries||3200+ servers in 100 countries||5500+ servers in 60 countries||2000+ servers in countries||9700+ servers in 91 countries||35000+ servers in 84 countries|
|Servers in UAE||Nearby servers: Egypt, Israel||1 server location||5 servers||4 servers||12 servers||26 server|
|Avg. Speed||89.42 Mbps||81.32 Mbps||83.82 Mbps||86.75 Mbps||75.47 Mbps||65.78 Mbps|
|Unblocks||VoIP services: WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, IMO, and more||Skype, WhatsApp, Dubai Sports, Sama Dubai, and more||Skype, WhatsApp, Dubai Sports, Sama Dubai, and more||Skype, WhatsApp, Dubai Sports, Sama Dubai, and more||Skype, WhatsApp, Dubai Sports, Sama Dubai, and more||Skype, WhatsApp, Dubai Sports, Sama Dubai, and more|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers|
|Best For||Overall Best VPN||Budget-friendly VPN||Largest Sever Network VPN||Fast-speed VPN||User-friendly VPN||Torrenting VPN|
|Pricing||USD 6.67/mo (US$ 6.67/mo) (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE on its 12-Month Plan)||USD 2.3/mo (US$ 2.30/mo) (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan)||USD 3.99/mo (US$ 3.99/mo) (Get 57% Off + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan)||USD 3.33/mo (US$ 3.33/mo)||USD 2.11/mo (US$ 2.11/mo)||USD 2.11/mo (US$ 2.11/mo)|
Is streaming allowed in the UAE?
Yes, streaming is allowed in the UAE. In fact, some streaming services in the UAE have joined hands with local telecom operators to offer special pricing plans. Some of these streaming sites include OSN+, Disney+, Netflix AE, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, STARZPlay Arabia, MBC Shahid, EROS Now, and multiple others.
If you want to access any of these local websites abroad you’ll need to use a premium VPN to bypass UAE’s geo-restrictions.
Use a VPN to Access Popular Websites and Apps in the UAE
The UAE, including Dubai, blocks many popular websites and applications. You can not access Facebook, Instagram, or use WhatsApp or Skype. Internet Service Providers like Du or Etisalat track all internet traffic and restrict online freedom. We have listed down some popular websites and applications blocked in the UAE:
- Facebook Messenger
Fortunately, with a VPN, you can bypass government restrictions and access these sites in UAE. All you need to do is connect to a VPN and get a new IP address to access blocked content.
Can I use a free VPN for UAE?
Yes, you can use a free VPN for UAE, however, we don’t recommend it. That’s because a free VPN may fail to unblock streaming services and be incapable of encrypting your online connection to protect your privacy in the UAE. It won’t be offering any servers that will hide your IP address with a single tap. Even if they do, it may be for only a while and may cause IP and DNS leaks.
Instead, you can use an efficient VPN service like ExpressVPN which provides IP and DNS leak protection, encrypts data using AES 256-bit, and offers a variety of Middle Eastern servers that you can connect to. Feel free to browse other VPN deals to explore more options.
Get ExpressVPN30 Days Money Back Guarantee
How to get over VPN blocking in UAE?
Since VPN services are on Telecom Regulatory Authority’s radar, it is a possibility that the VPN you will use in UAE may get blocked. Don’t worry; there are different methods by which you can overcome VPN blocks. We have listed a few of them for you below:
Don’t use a free VPN
Free VPN providers are highly shady hence a huge risk that may not pay off most of the time. Especially if you’re traveling to the UAE on a business trip or even as a tourist. They are known for:
- keeping user logs
- employing ineffective encryption methods
- fewer server options
- throttle bandwidth and limit the use
- sell user data to third parties
- allow malware ads
Move your TCP Port to the 443
Port 443 is used for secure web browser communication. Data transferred across such connections are highly resistant to eavesdropping and interception. On OpenVPN TCP protocol data can also travel through port 443, and changing the port number makes your VPN traffic look just like regular SSL traffic from an HTTPS website. This way, the chances of a VPN being blocked drop significantly.
Try changing to a different protocol
Almost all of the premium VPN providers offer multiple VPN connection protocols. Usually, this set of protocols consists of (OpenVPN TCP and UDP, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and IKEv). If you cannot establish the VPN connection using any particular protocol, then it is advised to change the connection protocol and try again. Most of the time, a network blocking one of the protocols for connection allows the other one to work just fine.
VPNs you should avoid in UAE
Not all VPNs are safe to use in UAE. In your search for the best VPNs for UAE, it would be wise to avoid a few of the VPN providers. We have listed down two VPN providers that would do more harm than good and you should avoid them in UAE.
Hola is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network service that uses idle bandwidth on other people’s computers to create a VPN tunnel. In 2015, Hola was accused of turning its users into botnets for carrying out DDoS attacks and other illegal activities. You can become a liability for someone else and they for you, and it will create a high risk for you while you are in UAE or Dubai. You can learn the details in our HolaVPN review UAE.
This VPN provider stores detailed metadata user logs, including your real IP address. To a non-VPN user, this may not be a huge deal, but to a VPN user, this is more than enough to be skeptical of HideMyAss’ “no-logs” claims. Due to their cooperation with the law authorities under court order, Cody Kretsinger, a LulzSec hacker involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, was arrested.
Are VPNs legal in the UAE?
Yes, VPNs are legal in the UAE but only if they’re not used to commit a crime. There are certain laws related to VPN use in the country. The Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) responsible for internet censorship in the UAE specifically states that as long as a VPN isn’t used to commit illegal acts such as gambling, pornography, phishing, discrimination, contempt of religion, drugs, etc.
UAE’s Content and VPN Laws
The UAE’s internet censorship blocking laws are divided into two categories: protecting businesses and religious principles.
It is no surprise that the religious principles aspect of the censorship law is a mixture of Sharia and secular civil ideals. As the country’s laws have a significant basis in Sharia, the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s online censorship blocking makes sense per the UAE’s Muslim belief system.
According to the TRA, content that “contradicts the ethics and morality of the UAE” is blocked straightaway. Including:
- Websites that cover the distribution, sale, and production of illegal drugs
- Websites promoting anti-religious hate speech
- Any content that contradicts the beliefs of the majority Sunni population
- Israeli websites
- A bunch of Wikipedia pages
- VoIP sites and services (Skype)
VPN Law and the 2016 Amendment in UAE
In early 2016, the UAE changed its cybercrime legislation to specify more VPN uses. The law reads:
Even after the amendment of this law, VPN usage is very high and common in UAE and Dubai. Many websites which are not going against the ethics law are not banned and are still accessible from UAE. These websites include VPN sites as well. As long as the VPN you are using is doing its job and you are not using it for anything illegal, you are not likely to catch any authorities’ attention.
VoIP Apps are blocked in UAE to help Local Telecom Services
UAE relies heavily on international business traffic as it is one of the major contributors to its economy. In Dubai, many non-Muslims and temporary residents live and work in the city year-round and long-term. To stay in their international business partners’ good books, the country doesn’t enforce some parts of the laws.
Most of the country’s businesses encourage and enjoy some of the censorship laws as they are designed to protect their interests. With the introduction of multiple VoIP services and other messaging applications, such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Google Hangouts, the telecommunications industry is losing its business. Therefore, by imposing specific censorship laws, the country is trying to help the local telecommunications industry stay in business.
Best VPN for UAE Region-wise
Here’s a brief summary of which VPN you ought to opt for UAE region-wise:
There are multiple VPN options you can use for Dubai. Since most VPNs have their servers located in Dubai. We suggest using Surfshark because it offers 1 physically located server in the city.
Umm Al Quvain
No VPN offers servers within Umm Al Quvain. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use a VPN within the city at all. You can opt for any of ExpressVPN‘s Middle Eastern servers like Egypt. You can also use IPVanish‘s Dubai servers in Umm Al Quvain.
Ras Al Khaimah
Although this region’s relatively unknown, you still shouldn’t risk your online privacy. If you plan on using a VPN for additional safety while conducting your online transactions, we suggest you opt for NordVPN since it offers obfuscated servers that can provide you the anonymity you need.
Ajman is the second furthest city from Dubai. Much like Sharjah, you can use any VPN for Ajman that offers servers in Dubai. For instance, Surfshark or CyberGhost. We’ll suggest the latter since it offers more servers compared to the former.
For Abu Dhabi, using IPVanish servers is your best bet since it provides complete privacy over the web. You can also use its other servers to explore games of geo-restricted regions.
Since the closest city to Sharjah is Dubai, you can use any VPN that offers servers within Dubai. One of the best options is using PIA since it offers quite a decent number of servers in Dubai so you won’t have any issues unblocking local Emirati websites from abroad.
VPN Guides for Other Countries
You may also refer to our VPN guides for other countries:
- Best VPN for Saudi Arabia For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Uganda For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Sudan For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Ecuador For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Belarus For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Jamaica For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Iran For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Jordan For UAE Users
- Best VPN for Hungary For UAE Users
- Best Cuba VPN For UAE Users
FAQs – Best VPNs for UAE
Can I be tracked when using a VPN in the UAE?
Yes, you can be tracked while using a VPN in the UAE when the VPN doesn’t offer the necessary privacy and security features. Such issues are quite common among many VPNs which can seriously expose your system to certain risks. Without any layer of protection, you can be under surveillance by the government or ISPs.
However, as long as you use a premium VPN like ExpressVPN, you’re in good hands because of its strong encryption and security protocols. Its features ensure you don’t face any IP or DNS leaks.
Can I use a VPN for torrenting in the UAE?
Yes, you may use a VPN for torrenting in the UAE however we don’t recommend it. Because under certain situations, VPN use is deemed illegal in UAE so torrenting isn’t a smart option. Specifically when you indulge in cybercrime or anything that goes against the laws in UAE. In fact, if you upload torrents, you’d be punishable by law and prisoned, fined, or even deported from the country depending upon your circumstances.
Is it safe to use a VPN for online banking and shopping in UAE?
Yes, it is totally safe to shop online or access your online bank account in the UAE with a VPN. However, you should ensure the UAE VPN has a verified and strict no-logs policy to guarantee user safety and identity. It should also provide IP and DNS leak protection for security and anonymity while using the VPN in UAE. Based on our experience, we ensured the UAE VPNs we’re recommending passed our IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests.
Will I get fined for using a VPN in UAE?
No, you will not be fined for using a VPN in UAE. According to UAE laws, VPN usage is only illegal when you use it to commit crimes. Such as using a VPN to facilitate or hide any criminal activities such as cybercrime or theft. As long as you don’t use it with malicious intent or anything illegal, you do not have to worry about getting fined while using a VPN.
What is an obfuscated server and why is this important for UAE VPN services?
An obfuscated server is a VPN server, specially designed to hide your VPN connection from ISPs and governments. Through obfuscation, your web traffic will look like regular HTTPS requests being used by secure websites. Meaning, your ISP won’t be able to detect that you’re using a VPN at all in UAE.
Obfuscation servers can easily fool DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) so that you can get away with your activities without the government keeping an eye on you.
Is it safe to use VPN to unblock WhatsApp calls and other VoIP services in UAE?
Yes, it is safe to use a VPN to unblock VoIP services in UAE. Through a VPN, you can unblock WhatsApp calling features in the country by connecting to servers abroad. Although, there have been complaints by users of C’Me and BOTIM of their apps crashing and malfunctioning. That’s why we’d suggest you use a premium VPN like ExpressVPN to ensure you don’t face such issues.
UAE is one of the few countries in the world with strict censorship laws to this day. If you are in the UAE, you will not be able to access most VoIP apps such as Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, Facetime, Zoom, and others.
The easiest workaround to this problem is to use ExpressVPN, which is the best VPN for UAE, as it offers a network of 3,000+ fast-speed servers. With ExpressVPN, you’ll not only be able to access different geo-restricted streaming websites but also boosts your online privacy at the same time. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can use it free for 30 days in Dubai and cancel anytime to get a full refund.