Saudi Arabia is a country with the highest level of internet censorship and controls against freedom of expression. Comments against the government/royal family or criticism of religious beliefs are punishable offenses. Many bloggers/activists have been detained by the authoritarian rule due to this issue.
So, if you want to unblock blocked sites in KSA and maintain your anonymity to freely express yourself online without fear of backlash from the government, you need the best VPN for Saudi Arabia.
We tested 150+ VPNs on multiple factors to figure out the ones that work great in Saudi Arabia. Out of them, we’ll discuss 6 VPNs that turned out to be our top picks to bypass censorship and staying protected over the internet in the country.
6 Best VPNs for Saudi Arabia (September 2021 In-Depth Analysis)
We tested 150+ VPN services to figure out the safest ones to use in Saudi Arabia. Our test was dependent on servers, security protocols, multi-logins, privacy features, refund policies, etc. Out of these, the following 6 VPNs proved to be the best VPNs for Saudi Arabia with ExpressVPN being our top recommendation:
1. The Best VPN for Saudi Arabia – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Saudi Arabia. This VPN’s server network includes 3000+ servers in 94 different countries. None of these servers are in Saudi Arabia, but the offshore servers are highly efficient for bypassing geo-restrictions and censorship that is common within Saudi Arabia.
The service is exceptional for a wide range of tasks from streaming to torrenting. Since many TV shows and movies on Netflix are geo-restricted in Saudi Arabia, you can use ExpressVPN to gain complete access to Netflix’s library of content.
It can also be used to unblock BBC iPlayer, YouTube TV, Hulu, NBC, CraveTV, and more without any issues. Such strong unblocking ability makes it one of the best VPNs for streaming movies.
This VPN for Saudi Arabia offers super-fast speeds on all its worldwide servers. While residing in Saudi Arabia, we tested multiple servers present in 94 countries, and here are the top 3:
|ExpressVPN Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
|Australia – Sydney||75.2 Mbps|
|United Kingdom – East London||76.7 Mbps|
|Canada – Toronto||79 Mbps|
ExpressVPN offers 5 simultaneous connections along with compatible and lightweight apps for Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Kodi, Roku, routers, and more.
The provider is based in the British Virgin Islands. The VPN takes full advantage of its jurisdiction to guarantee a completely log-free service to the privacy-conscious users in Saudi Arabia. It also offers multiple security features like a kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN protocol, split tunneling, DNS leak protection, and a MediaStreamer feature.
We tested this VPN’s DNS leak protection feature for IP leaks by connecting to a US server. You can check its results below to ensure that it does not leak your IP address:
Along with all the benefits of this VPN, ExpressVPN also offers a 3-month free subscription to users. You can demand a full refund within 30 days of subscription if you are not satisfied with the service.
Learn more about this VPN in our ExpressVPN review.
2. Budget-friendly VPN for Saudi Arabia – Surfshark
Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN for Saudi Arabia that owns a server network of 3200+ servers in 65 countries. Although it has no servers in Saudi Arabia, you can utilize the overseas servers to evade geo-restrictions and grant access to censored content in Saudi Arabia.
You can instantly access and enjoy streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, CraveTV, NBC, YouTube TV, etc. in Saudi Arabia through using Surfshark.
While this VPN doesn’t offer the speeds that ExpressVPN does, it offers speeds that are good enough to enjoy geo-restricted services without any lags. Surfshark offers an average speed of 67 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. We tested its 3 of the most popular servers in the world and here are the results:
|Surfshark Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
|Canada – Montreal||65.3 Mbps|
|United States – Chicago||68 Mbps|
The best thing about this VPN for Saudi Arabia is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections to users. It’s compatible with Android, iOS, Roku, Kodi, Windows, macOS, and more.
The provider is based in the British Virgin Islands. In this country, the laws protect the online privacy of users and thus data retention is not a legal requirement. Therefore, you do not need to worry about this VPN collecting your logs at all.
On top of this, the service offers great features like CleanWeb, WhiteLister, and MultiHop to enhance your online privacy. We put this VPN’s DNS leak protection feature to test by connecting to a Thailand server and you can see that the VPN did not disappoint us:
Surfshark comes at a super-affordable price of $2.49/mo along with a 30-refund policy.
Learn more about this service in our Surfshark review.
3. Secure VPN for Saudi Arabia – NordVPN
NordVPN is the most secure VPN for Saudi Arabia. It has a large network of servers in the VPN industry with 5200+ servers distributed in 60 countries. This provider also lacks Saudi Arabian servers, but its offshore server strength can unblock everything on the web from torrents to streaming sites.
Saudi residents can use this VPN’s wide server network to enjoy Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, NBC, and more in the country. While this VPN offers an average speed of 75 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection, let’s check out its top 3 worldwide servers and their speeds in the table below:
|NordVPN Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
|United States – New York||76.2 Mbps|
|Japan – Tokyo||71.1 Mbps|
NordVPN offers compatibility with all popular devices including iOS, Android, Roku, Windows, Mac, Kodi, and more along with 6 simultaneous connections for you to enjoy.
The provider is headquartered in Panama and it is thus highly focused on user privacy, taking advantage of the country’s data protection laws. This makes it appealing for bloggers and online activists in Saudi Arabia who want anonymity and to stay protected from government control.
NordVPN also features technologies like DoubleVPN, CyberSec, Onion over VPN, kill switch which can significantly boost your anonymity on the web. This is really useful if you are a journalist/blogger in Saudi Arabia and want to keep your identity under wraps.
While this VPN claims to offer a DNS leak protection feature, we conducted a test to confirm it by connecting to a Canadian server:
Our IP leak test confirmed that the VPN does not leak user IP addresses and is completely safe to use.
You can get this VPN’s robust security features at a price of $3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE) along with a 30-day money-back guarantee that comes with all packages.
Learn more about this service in our NordVPN review.
4. The Fastest VPN for Saudi Arabia – IPVanish
IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs for Saudi Arabia. This VPN offers 1900+ servers in 75+ locations, with no servers in Saudi Arabia. But that doesn’t matter because these offshore servers are what you will be using mostly to give Saudi Arabians the ability to change their virtual location online.
This not only benefits users in terms of protecting their identities on the web but also enables access to restricted sites, considering heavy censorship in Saudi Arabia.
Using IPVanish’s global servers, Saudi Arabians can easily unblock and access Netflix US, Hulu, Amazon Prime, NBC, and more within the country.
Since it’s the fastest VPN for Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t fail to offer super-fast speeds. IPVanish offers an average speed of 81 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. While residing in Saudi Arabia, we tested IPVanish’s worldwide servers and these are the top-recommended ones along with their speeds:
|IPVanish Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
|United Kingdom||82.6 Mbps|
IPVanish offers 10 multi-logins and compatibility with all popular devices like Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Kodi, Roku, and more.
IPVanish ensures zero-logging of your data to preclude the Saudi government from keeping track of your online activities. Furthermore, with features like a kill switch, military-grade encryption, and DNS leak protection, you can further consolidate your online security/privacy to stay safe from government surveillance in Saudi Arabia.
We confirmed that IPVanish does not leak user IP by connecting to a German server. As you can see, it passed our test without any issues:
5. User-friendly VPN for Saudi Arabia – CyberGhost
CyberGhost is a user-friendly option for Saudi Arabia that offers a remarkably large network of 7000+ servers distributed in 90 countries including 14 virtual servers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
You can use these servers to watch local channels like Al Arabiya and Al Akhbariya easily.
The majority of the overseas servers are compatible with torrenting as well as Netflix. So, users in Saudi Arabia looking for a way to remove censorship on entertainment services can take advantage of this VPN service by unblocking US Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and more using its extensive server network.
CyberGhost offers an average speed of 65 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. We tested this VPN’s Saudi Arabian servers and here are the most recommended ones along with their speeds:
|CyberGhost Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
This VPN offers 7 simultaneous connections and is compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Fire Stick, and more.
CyberGhost is based in Romania where censorship is pretty lax and no mandatory data logging regulations apply. As such, it is an excellent choice to have for Saudi citizens concerned about the vulnerability of their privacy.
It offers multiple security features including kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN protocol, and an ad-blocker. We tested this VPN’s DNS leak protection feature by connecting to an Italy server and the VPN didn’t leak our IP at all:
Learn more about this service in our CyberGhost review.
6. Best VPN for Torrenting in Saudi Arabia – PIA
Private Internet Access is the best VPN for torrenting in Saudi Arabia. This VPN offers 15 dedicated servers in Saudi Arabia and 35500+ P2P-optimized servers in 78 countries overall. After connecting to its Saudi Arabian server, you can access famous local channels be it Al Arabiya, Al Akhbariya, ART, and others from anywhere.
You can easily enjoy this VPN’s extensive server network from Saudi Arabia and unblock Netflix, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more within the country.
PIA offers an average speed of 60 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. While in Saudi Arabia, we tested multiple worldwide servers to list down the top 3 along with their speeds, and here are the results:
|PIA Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
|United Kingdom||62.1 Mbps|
While this VPN offers 10 multi-logins, it also offers compatible apps for all popular devices including Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Fire Stick, Linux, and more.
Despite being headquartered in the USA, which is part of the 5 Eyes, this VPN offers a zero-logs policy that secures your online activities from ISPs and hackers.
Furthermore, you can use different privacy features like internet kill switch, DNS or WebRTC protection, split tunneling, and more that protect you from accidental leaks. This VPN passed its IP leak test that we conducted by connecting this VPN to a Denmark server:
This fantastic torrenting VPN starts at a reasonable cost of $2.08/mo and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for users.
Test Methodology: How we tested the best VPN for Saudi Arabia
We set particular criteria to select the best VPN for Saudi Arabia and tested 150+ VPNs on it. Following were the few factors on which our criteria was based:
1. Privacy and Security – These two factors are the major concerns of all VPN users. To protect themselves over the internet is the primary motive of all VPN users. All the VPNs we listed above offer multiple security features like split tunnelling, kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, and DNS leak protection to keep Saudi Arabian users safe over the internet.
2. Bypassing geo-restrictions – VPNs are popular for bypassing geo-restrictions and offering access to blocked services across the world. All the VPNs mentioned above can bypass geo-restrictions from all over the world. Some of these VPNs also offer servers within Saudi Arabia which is a plus for all outsiders wanting to stream local Saudi channels.
3. Server network – VPNs should offer thousands of servers so users can connect to any server of their choice and access anything they like. All VPNs listed above offer a vast range of servers all over the world. The servers they offer are not just the best in number but also in speed.
4. Compatible devices – We further checked whether these VPNs are compatible with all major devices or not. You can use all the VPNs above on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Fire Stick, Smart TVs, Kodi, Roku, PS4, and more.
5. Torrenting – We wanted the VPNs we list to be torrent-friendly so users in Saudi Arabia can enjoy this service. The VPNs we listed as the best for Saudi Arabia offer P2P-optimized servers along with port forwarding and Socks5 support for successful torrenting within the country.
6. Simultaneous connections – Paying for a reliable VPN service and getting only a single VPN connection seems absurd. Therefore, all the VPNs above offer multiple connections on a single account with a minimum of 5 multi-logins.
VPNs you should avoid in Saudi Arabia
Some VPNs are simply red flags for some countries. Either these VPNs do not have good reputations or have ruined it sometime in the past. Here is a list of the VPNs you need to avoid in Saudi Arabia:
While this VPN attracted users by offering them the best services, it used their data without their consent. Yes, it’s true. This Israel-based VPN collected user bandwidth and used it in illegal activities, like the promotion of pornography and copyrighted content, attacks, and so on. With a reputation like this, we do not recommend this VPN to be used in Saudi Arabia or any other country at all.
This is one of those services that shouldn’t be used if you’re concerned about your privacy and security. This VPN always claimed to offer a no-logs policy to users but in a piece of evidence handed over to the court, it was clear that HMA keeps meta logs instead that include users’ actual IP addresses. We all know we wouldn’t want that at all and should definitely avoid this VPN in KSA.
4 reasons why you need a VPN in Saudi Arabia
The greatest problem in Saudi Arabian cyberspace is that of censorship and heavy regulation. Here is a brief overview of the situation in KSA:
1. Censorship and Internet Freedom
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman takes an oppressive stance on freedom of expression. The internet is tightly regulated by authorities and any activity, message, or post on social media critical of the Crown Prince is considered a criminal penalty. This totalitarian treatment of critical voices compels journalists/bloggers/reporters towards self-censorship, stifling freedom of speech.
Furthermore, VoIP services like Skype and FaceTime have become accessible, but are still strictly monitored in the country which remains a cause of great inconvenience for the people.
Therefore, people travelling to Saudi Arabia have no choice but to resort to using VPNs if they want access to the normal web apps and deal with other online restrictions.
However, keep in mind that a few VPN official pages are blocked in the country. However, the VPN apps still work. So, don’t forget to download and install a VPN on your PC/devices before you travel to Saudi Arabia.
2. Accessing Geo-restricted Websites
Geo-restrictions can be quite frustrating for people in Saudi Arabia. For instance, many streaming platforms only work within the US or have only censored versions of a limited amount of shows. This is true for services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
You can gain access to these services using one of the VPNs mentioned above. All you need to do is connect to a US server to gain access to these services and watch all the shows that you normally wouldn’t be able to while residing in KSA.
3. Stay safe over public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is notoriously unsafe because it lacks any password or other forms of protection. As such, hackers on the same network can very easily breach the privacy of other users connected to the Wi-Fi.
VPN services can protect you from being targeted by a hacker because it makes your data encrypted and invisible to other users on the same network. In addition, the IP-changing effect of VPNs further improves your privacy and keeps your tracks hidden from anyone that might be interested in intruding on your privacy.
4. Blogging anonymously in KSA
Censorship of free speech remains a significant hurdle for bloggers, activists, journalists, as well as the common man in Saudi Arabia. The totalitarian policies of the government even led to the arrest of a young man for video chatting with a woman from California. The activist Raif Badawi who was a vocal critic of government oppression and anti-liberal policies in KSA was imprisoned for his dissident views and insulting Islam.
It goes without saying that KSA is not a place that appreciates criticism of state elements and people voicing their opinions if they don’t agree with the views of those in power. A similar sort of situation can be seen in other Muslim majority countries, where the government in power is trying to oppress the individual’s right to freedom of speech. A recent example of this would be Turkey, where people are forced to rely on Turkish VPN providers to bypass different restrictions and attain completely online privacy and freedom.
It is therefore extremely important for activists and anyone wishing to stay safe from government retribution in Saudi Arabia to use a VPN and online aliases to keep their real identities hidden. This can make it tougher for agencies to track your location and find out who you really are if they don’t like reading what you have to say on the web.
VPNs Guides for Other Countries
Online restrictions and censorship are prevalent in many parts of the world. Here are a few articles to deal with privacy/censorship issues specific to certain countries:
- Top VPN for Kuwait
- Top VPN for Bahrain
- Top VPN for UAE
- Top VPN for Iran
- Top VPN for Oman
- Top VPN for Qatar
- Top VPN for Lebanon
- Top VPN for Pakistan
Best VPN for Saudi Arabia – FAQs
Yes, using a VPN in Saudi Arabia is completely legal. However, many VPN official websites have been blocked in the country by the Saudi government. Therefore, if you want to use a VPN in Saudi Arabia, it’s better you download the VPN outside the country before you enter it.
VPN apps often face some issues that need to be taken care of. Some issues may be as simple as updating the VPN app. Use the following troubleshooting tips to make your VPN work again:
1. Refresh your internet connection.
2. Connect to a different server location.
3. Uninstall the VPN app and install it again.
4. Disable the firewall on your device.
No, a free VPN for Saudi Arabia is not recommended at all. Free VPNs are known to log user data and sell it to third-party sites. They are also known to offer limited servers with below-average speeds that do not let you access any blocked website at all.
Here is how you can maximize your privacy in Saudi Arabia using a VPN:
1. Enable all security features of your VPN like Double VPN, kill switch, OpenVPN protocol, etc. before entering the country.
2. You can also download a Tor browser.
3. Completely avoid using public wifi networks.
Best VPN for Saudi Arabia – Wrapping Up!
Saudi Arabia’s online media is not free at all. Most of the popular social media and VoIP services are completely restricted with strict regulation on the internet activities of the residents within the country.
While bypassing geo-restrictions in countries like such is risky, VPNs have actually made this extremely easy for all of us. To ensure our privacy, security, and anonymity while accessing geo-restricted sites in Saudi Arabia is only possible with the right VPN. Choose the best VPN for Saudi Arabia covered in this guide to freely access the web in KSA.
ExpressVPN is our top pick to use in Saudi Arabia. This VPN is an all-rounder that works great for streaming, unblocking websites, torrenting, and staying secure over the internet.