5 Best VPNs for Dubai & The UAE – Safe & Fast in 2021

Featured Image Best VPNs for Dubai

If you live in Dubai or have been there in the past five years, you may already be aware of the popularity of VPNs throughout the UAE. From Skype to Netflix, VPNs have been used to bypass censorship and unblock all sorts of restricted content.

Unfortunately, things have changed for VPN users in the gulf country. Today, it’s much harder to find a reliable service for Dubai — although VPN usage remains popular, there are a few important things you need to know in order to remain safe and secure while surfing the web.

I have carefully researched and put together an up-to-date list of the best VPNs for Dubai (and elsewhere in the UAE). After concluding my tests, whether you’re a long-time resident or simply visiting, there is no better VPN for surfing the web anonymously in Dubai than NordVPN.

Short on Time? Here’s a Quick List of the Best VPNs for Dubai

  1. NordVPN — Our #1 VPN has thousands of servers and unmatched security features, but most importantly, it allows you to obfuscate your connection in two different ways so you can remain undetected. If you’re looking for the perfect mix of performance and privacy, NordVPN is definitely the best option.
  2. ExpressVPN — Thanks to its “stealth” servers, ExpressVPN is a highly-reliable solution to the problem of geo-blocking. Add a versatile server network, easy setup, and amazing speeds into the mix, and you have one of the most impressive VPN services on the market.
  3. Surfshark — Easy-to-use VPN app and Camouflage Mode that masks your traffic, causing it to blend in with regular traffic, is perfect for browsing the web anonymously in Dubai.
  4. CyberGhost — A kill switch disconnects the VPN (and all connected apps) should your server fail, and DNS leak protection prevents DNS requests from being revealed to your ISP and other third-parties.
  5. Private Internet Access — Strong encryption combined with an automatic kill switch keeps you safe while torrenting.

Our Research Methodology | FAQs

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The Best VPNs for Dubai — Full Analysis (Updated March 2021)

Since mid-2017, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and major telecom operators have been cracking down on VPNs in the UAE — the reasons for which have a lot to do with religion, politics, and business.

The UAE’s stance on content blocking forbids access to any content that goes against the “ethics and morality of the UAE”. Examples include pornography, gambling, anti-religious websites, and much more. Even Wikipedia articles and Israeli websites have been blocked — as are VoIP services like WhatsApp and Skype. Skype used to be a major reason for the use of VPNs in Dubai, however, using Skype nowadays is considered a crime under UAE law.

1. NordVPN — Best Overall VPN for Dubai

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with NordVPN.
  • 5,480+ servers in more than 60 countries
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 6 simultaneous device connections
  • Lightning-fast servers
  • Works with: Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO GO, Disney+, and more
  • Compatible with: 

NordVPN is famous for its vast server network (currently at over 5,480 servers in 60 countries), as well as unmatched performance for its price; however, NordVPN is also great for combating censorship, too.

NordVPN uses obfuscated servers, specially designed for browsing the internet in heavily-censored countries. Essentially, they “obscure” your Internet traffic, making it appear as if you aren’t using a VPN at all. With a few obfuscated servers located in the UAE, you can have full access to your favorite websites and services back home in Dubai, even if you’re overseas on vacation.

The best part is, you aren’t limited to just Windows or Mac — NordVPN supports virtually all major platforms. Aside from laptop and desktop computers, you can also install NordVPN on your mobile devices as well.

I love that NordVPN is compatible with Obfsproxy, an anti-censorship solution developed by Tor. Tor Browser is perhaps the safest way to browse the web anonymously. I could easily combine NordVPN with Tor, for an extremely safe and heavily encrypted web-browsing experience — an amazing feature especially when connecting to the Internet in Dubai.

Lastly, NordVPN provides excellent customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. As part of my testing, I had to try their policy for myself: after requesting my money back after two weeks of use, without question, they processed my refund straight away — the money was back in my account in less than a week.

NordVPN is fast, capable, and easy to use, which is why it takes the #1 spot as a crowd favorite.

Try NordVPN Today!

2. ExpressVPN — Military-Grade Encryption for Maximum Privacy

ExpressVPN Devices Image
  • 3,000+ servers
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Zero-logs policy
  • Works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Vudu, HBO GO, Disney+
  • Compatible with:

When it comes to speed combined with security, ExpressVPN is one of the best choices available for use in Dubai.

Although ExpressVPN’s stealth servers were originally implemented for bypassing the Great Firewall of China, they are an ideal solution for any destination with heavy censorship.

ExpressVPN is equipped with an automatic kill switch — a great way for protecting all of your sensitive information, including your true IP address, if the VPN gets disconnected. It also has a strict, zero-logs policy (meaning no data or history is stored).

Similar to NordVPN, ExpressVPN is compatible with all macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android devices and allows you to use one subscription on up to five devices. Whether I was surfing the web on my phone or my laptop, I was completely protected at all times.

I could easily access geo-blocked streaming services including Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more.

ExpressVPN also features a 30-day money-back guarantee, which I had to try out. After a few attempts to get me to stay, they gave up and deposited the money back into my account — no problems at all. If you’re still feeling a little unsure security-wise, you can further hide your identity by paying with Bitcoin.

Try ExpressVPN Today!

3. Surfshark — Most User-Friendly VPN for Dubai

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with Surfshark.
  • 3,200+ servers in 65 countries
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Camouflage Mode
  • Works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Vudu, HBO GO, Disney+
  • Compatible with:

Aside from its user-friendliness, Surfshark is also one of the most affordable VPNs on the market today.

Although its server network is smaller compared to the other VPNs on my list (3,200 servers located in roughly 65 countries), Surfshark provides plenty of reliable options for obtaining a secure connection both inside and outside of Dubai. I could easily unblock major streaming providers, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO GO, Disney, and more.

Surfshark comes equipped with a NoBorders Mode, specially designed for use in regions with strict internet control, making it a great VPN service for remaining undetected and anonymous while surfing the web in Dubai.

Like the other VPNs on my list, Surfshark takes user security and privacy seriously. Equipped with a MultiHop Mode, Surfshark ensures your anonymity by routing all of your internet traffic through multiple servers. For additional security, a Camouflage Mode prevents your ISP from even detecting that you’re using a VPN.

Unlike a lot of other popular VPN services that limit the number of devices you can connect to, Surfshark offers unlimited connections. Personally, I love their CleanWeb feature that blocks malware, phishing attempts, ads, and tracking for uninterrupted streaming.

Surfshark offers 24/7 customer support — I reached out to them multiple times and they were always quick to respond. Good support goes a long way, especially during the initial setup period. Sufshark also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee; just contact them via live chat support and they’ll deposit the money back into your account with no questions asked.

Try Surfshark Today!

4. CyberGhost — Best VPN for Streaming, 12 servers in Dubai

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with CyberGhost.
  • Over 6,400 servers in 90 countries — over 12 located throughout the UAE
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • Streaming and torrenting-optimized servers
  • Works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Vudu, HBO GO, Disney+
  • Compatible with:

Boasting over 6,400 servers (at least 12 servers located in Dubai), CyberGhost is both incredibly fast and highly reliable when it comes to unblocking and streaming content in Dubai.

Making use of 256-bit AES encryption, a built-in kill switch, and leak protection software for maximum security, CyberGhost is another VPN that takes security seriously. In addition, a no-logs policy is firmly in place to make sure none of your personal data or history is stored.

I really like how CyberGhost’s servers are labeled based on which streaming providers they provide access to best — this way, you don’t have to cycle between servers, searching for the best fit.

CyberGhost offers a whopping 45-day money-back guarantee, which is almost unheard of when it comes to VPNs of this quality. I literally waited until the 44th day then contacted them via their 24/7 live chat support — without even a question asked, I had the money safely back in my bank account in less than a week.

Try CyberGhost Today!

5. Private Internet Access — Best VPN For Torrenting

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with Private Internet Access.
  • More than 30,080 servers in 75 countries
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • High-speed
  • Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Sky Go
  • Compatible with:

Due to its vast number of servers spread throughout the world, Private Internet Access is a popular choice when it comes to unblocking content and streaming services, such as Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and more.

Speaking as someone who prefers torrenting to streaming — this VPN has it all. With the insane number of servers aside, Private Internet Access features first-class encryption, an automatic kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy, making it an amazing option for downloading your favorite torrents with speed and privacy.

Aside from torrenting and streaming, it’s high speeds make it a great option for gaming and video-calling, too.

Although Private Internet Access features 24/7 live chat support, I found it to be a little slow. The good news is their website is jam-packed with tons of useful troubleshooting information.

Try Private Internet Access Today!

How To Unblock Websites In Dubai Using A VPN

  1. Choose a VPN service that has servers both inside and outside of the UAE. I recommend NordVPN, as it allows you to unblock international content including Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, and many more.
  2. Install the VPN application and connect to a server in your target location.
  3. That’s it — you’re now fully connected and your desired websites/services have been unblocked.

How I Tested The Best VPNs For Dubai

In order to gain unlimited access to geo-blocked content both inside and outside of heavily censored countries, like Dubai, a VPN needs to be lightning-quick, security-focused, and highly reliable. After many sleepless nights spent vigorously testing VPN services, I determined the following features to be absolutely necessary for use in Dubai.

  • State-of-the-art encryption: Security is something that every VPN on my list takes seriously. As online security within Dubai cannot be overstated, look for a VPN that utilizes industry-leading 256-bit AES encryption (including NordVPN and ExpressVPN). This will ensure your browsing habits, personal information, and more, remain safe from any unwanted third-party attention.
  • Obfuscated Servers: A vast server network and blazing speeds won’t matter one bit should your VPN be detected and blocked. Look for obfuscated servers, designed to obscure your Internet traffic, hiding the fact that you’re even using a VPN.
  • No-logs policy: This feature guarantees that your personal information will not be stored and handed over to third-parties. Even if the government were to request a copy of this private information, a copy could not be handed over as, with a no-logs policy, the data simply doesn’t exist.
  • Kill switch: This feature automatically disconnects you from the Internet, to help prevent tracking should your VPN connection drop.
  • Worldwide server network: Server location is essentially what allows you to gain access to geo-blocked content in a specific region. In other words, the more servers a VPN has spread across the globe, the more regionally-restricted content you can access. All of the VPNs that made my list can bypass geo-blocks — the final factor in unlocking true freedom when surfing the web with the UAE.
  • Servers located within the UAE: In order to access local content from outside of Dubai, there must be servers located near, or within the UAE. This way, when you’re traveling outside of Dubai, you can easily access your favorite web content from anywhere in the world. All of the VPN services on my list have servers located near, or directly within the borders of the UAE.
  • High speed: If you’re into gaming, torrenting, or streaming, then speed is going to be a top priority for you. High speed equals less buffering, lagging, and helps eliminate poor image/video quality.

What You Need To Know About Using A VPN In Dubai

As VPN websites within the UAE are often prone to blacklisting, If you’re traveling to Dubai, I always recommend downloading, installing, and making any personalized adjustments to your VPN before arriving in the UAE. This way, upon arrival, you’ll be ready and able to access your favorite content back home.

Because the UAE has banned such free VoIP services such as WhatsApp, Skype, and FaceTime, many people have turned to basic VPN services in order to avoid the networks’ monopoly when it comes to chatting with friends and family inside and outside of Dubai. Although a basic VPN will allow you to make some quick calls, if you wish to remain free from government and hacker surveillance and stream exclusive geo-blocked content from around the globe, then you need one of the VPNs on my list.

FAQs About VPNs For Dubai

😀 Are VPNs legal in Dubai?

Although VPN use is not technically illegal in Dubai, it is a bit of a grey area. As long as you’re not using your VPN to break any “ethics and morality” laws, including the viewing of pornography, gambling, and accessing anti-religious websites, you’ll be just fine. That being said, although I don’t condone breaking the law, I also believe in freedom of information. For this reason, should you choose to use a VPN in Dubai, I recommend you assess issues relating to legality and privacy concerns.

🙂 Can you use a free VPN in Dubai?

Although a free VPN may sound attractive, I would absolutely not recommend using one — especially in Dubai. Security issues aside, free VPNs often can’t cut it when it comes to streaming, video-calling, torrenting, and gaming due to data caps and network congestion. Furthermore, as many countries have begun implementing anti-VPN technology, many free VPNs are simply not equipped with the technology required to by-pass these measures.

😊 Is online shopping safe in Dubai with a VPN?

Absolutely! A VPN provides an extra layer of security when banking and shopping online no matter where you are in the world. As all of the VPNs on my list encrypt your data, even if someone were to intercept your Internet traffic, they couldn’t read its contents. VPNs are especially necessary for those of us who tend to access our banking information using public WiFi — a favorite hangout for online criminals and hackers looking to steal data.

The Bottom Line

VPN providers have it tough in Dubai, but that hasn’t stopped them from maintaining a big presence. If you know the risks, play by the rules, and use one of the VPNs on my list, you can browse the web, safely and anonymously from anywhere in the UAE. For this, consider NordVPN — of all of the VPNs that I tested, it stood out from the rest in terms of speed, privacy, and security while browsing the web in Dubai.

To summarize, the best VPNs for Dubai in March 2021 are…

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VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend NordVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 68% off.

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