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5 Best VPNs for UAE in 2022 That Work — Fast, Safe, and Legal

Not only does the UAE highly restrict its internet, but its online surveillance practices are highly concerning. The country blocks apps like WhatsApp and Skype, so it’s best to install a VPN before setting foot. If you get caught using a VPN to access illegal sites, it can result in a $500,000 fine or jail time. So, using a trustworthy VPN that works in the UAE is crucial.

To put your mind at ease, my team and I tested 100+ VPNs and shortlisted the top 5 for the UAE. They all have world-class security features and a global server network that can unblock VoIP services and streaming sites. But most importantly, they’re safe to use in the UAE.

My favorite VPN for the UAE is ExpressVPN, as its fast speeds, military-grade encryption, and server network make it well-rounded. It even comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it without any risk. If it’s not for you, you can ask for a refund.

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Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for the UAE

  1. ExpressVPN — The top VPN for the UAE with robust security features and a global server network that unblocks restricted sites. You can try it with confidence as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. CyberGhost — Optimized streaming servers and a no-logs policy, but expensive short-term plans.
  3. Private Internet Access — Customizable security features and massive server network, but based in the 5 Eyes Alliance
  4. IPVanish — Unlimited simultaneous device connections and a kill switch, but no cryptocurrency payments.
  5. PrivateVPN — Beginner-friendly app and advanced security settings, but small server network.

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The Best VPNs for the UAE – Full Analysis (Updated in 2022)

You might not have access to your favorite content in the UAE as the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) blocks websites and services deemed inappropriate. This even includes Wikipedia articles and politically sensitive information.

Every VPN on my list comes with state-of-the-art security features that protect your data in the UAE. You can also use them to access blocked sites and conceal your online activity safely. And since they all come with a money-back guarantee, you can try them without risk.

1.ExpressVPN — Excellent Security Features That Always Keep You Safe in the UAE

  • Server speed and location: The fastest VPN for the UAE. 160 servers in 94 countries.
  • Security capability: AES 256-bit encryption and RAM-only servers
  • Simultaneous Device Connections: 5
  • Stream local & Global content: Netflix (US), Amazon Prime Video, Abu Dhabi TV, Hulu, Dubai TV, BBC iPlayer, MBC, Disney+, and more.
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more
ExpressVPN Offer May 2022: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN has several world-class security features that keep you safe in the UAE. Its military-grade encryption makes your connection impenetrable, while its kill switch and DNS/IP leak protection prevent any accidental exposure of your data. No DNS/IP leaks were detected when I tested its US servers on ipleak.net.

For privacy, ExpressVPN only uses RAM-based servers that wipe all your data after a reboot. This and its no-logs policy ensure ExpressVPN won’t record your data anywhere. It also hides your IP address to conceal your location and identity, while its home base is in the British Virgin Islands, which is outside the 14 Eyes Alliance. It means it can't be subjected to any data retention laws if authorities investigate it.

You can also bypass geoblocks and restrictions with ease in the UAE, thanks to ExpressVPN’s server network of 160 servers in 94 countries. This even includes obfuscated servers that can get around firewalls. When I connected to its US and UK servers, I accessed sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer and VoIP services like Skype and Zoom. I even unblocked local UAE channels like Abu Dhabi TV by connecting to nearby servers in Egypt.

Screenshot of Netflix player unblocked with ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN easily unblocked Netflix US and allowed me to watch without interruptions

Its ultra-fast speeds make it ideal for streaming content in the UAE. During my speed tests, my download speed averaged 47.6 Mbps on its US servers, while its Egypt servers produced an average of 46.5 Mbps. Considering you only need 25 Mbps to stream shows in Ultra HD, this was highly sufficient. Therefore, you won’t experience any buffering while watching shows.

The only downside to ExpressVPN is its expensive pricing plans. The long-term plans are the cheapest and stat at $6.67/month. But by going to its website, you can take advantage of some deals and save. I even got my first 2 months for free upon signing up.

If you’re undecided, you can test all of ExpressVPN’s features risk-free since it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. I asked a live chat representative to cancel my subscription after 28 days to see if it was trustworthy. After asking for my cancelation reason, she proceeded with my request, and I got my money back after 3 business days.

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2. CyberGhost — Optimized Streaming Servers for Reliable Connection in the UAE

  • Server speed and location: Super-fast connections. 8,028 servers 91 countries, including 10+ in the UAE
  • Security capability: Military-grade encryption and based in Romania
  • Simultaneous Device Connections: 7
  • Stream local & Global content: Netflix (US & UAE), Amazon Prime Video, Abu Dhabi TV, Hulu, Dubai TV, BBC iPlayer, MBC, Disney+, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more
May 2022 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 82% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost’s server network of 8,028 servers worldwide includes optimized servers for streaming and downloading. These servers are labeled by streaming site and designed to provide reliable access to a specific site. When I tested its US Netflix and Disney+ servers, I accessed both platforms without problems and streamed shows for extended periods. So, you won’t waste any time trying to bypass geoblocks.

Screenshot of Netflix player unblocked with CyberGhostVPN

I could watch my favorite Netflix US shows with CyberGhost

Its user-friendly app makes it super easy to connect to a server, making CyberGhost ideal for beginners. The interface has a connect button and a drop-down box, which let me find a server I was after and connect to it. Downloading and installing it on my MacBook Pro took me around 20 seconds while installing it on my Android phone took closer to 10.

You’ll also be able to stream content on a smooth and reliable stream, thanks to CyberGhost’s fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. When I tested 4 of its UAE servers, I recorded an average download speed of 46.2 Mbps. Since I’m more than 10,000 kilometers from the country, this was impressive because further distances usually result in reduced speeds.

For security, CyberGhost has a range of features that keep you well-protected. In addition to its military-grade encryption, it has its own ad and malware blocker that keeps you safe from malicious attacks. Plus, its kill switch and DNS/IP leak protection stop your personal information from being leaked accidentally. In short, your data will be in safe hands while you’re in the UAE.

You need to be mindful of CyberGhost’s short-term plans, which tend to be quite expensive. Plus, they come with a shortened money-back guarantee (14 days vs. 45). But its yearly plans are more affordable, with the cheapest option starting from 45. You can also add a dedicated IP address as an extra.

By subscribing to a long-term plan, you can use CyberGhost’s generous 45-day money-back guarantee and try everything it offers for free for 45 days. I didn't experience any issues getting my money back, as all I had to do was ask them to cancel my subscription on live chat. After 3 business days, my money was in my bank account.

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3. Private Internet Access — Massive Server Network That Unblocks Global Content in the UAE

  • Server speed and location: Decently fast speeds. 29,650 servers in 84 countries, including virtual servers in the UAE
  • Security capability: Customizable encryption settings and advanced protocols
  • Simultaneous Device Connections: 10
  • Stream local & Global content: Netflix (US & UAE), Amazon Prime Video, Abu Dhabi TV, Hulu, Dubai TV, MBC, Disney+, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more
May 2022 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 82% off!

Private Internet Access (PIA) has a massive server network of 29,650 servers in 84 countries, giving you plenty of options to access blocked content. I connected to its US and UAE servers for my tests and accessed US Netflix and Dubai TV in under 10 seconds. Whether you’re in the UAE or a UAE resident abroad, you can unblock your favorite websites.

It has robust security features to keep you safe in the UAE. You can choose between AES-128 and 256-bit encryption and from different protocols to optimize your connection for speed and security. My favorite protocol is WireGuard, as it's very fast but still secure. Plus, its kill switch acts as your last line of defense if your internet disconnects suddenly.

Graphic showing PIA security feautures

You can balance speeds and security with Private Internet Access

You can enjoy watching your favorite shows without any interruptions, as PIA can produce fast and reliable speeds. During my speed tests, my download speed never went below 45.6 Mbps on its US servers, while the figure was 45.9 Mbps on the UAE ones. And because it provides unlimited bandwidth, your ISP can’t throttle your speeds either.

A concern of PIA is its US home base, which is at the heart of the 5 Eyes Alliance. However, its no-logs policy has been independently audited, which proves that it doesn’t collect any data.

When looking at its pricing plans, I found its 3-year plan to be the most affordable at $2.19/month. It has all the same features as the other plans and provides greater savings over the long term.

There’s no need to immediately commit to a long-term plan, as you can test PIA completely free by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee. I wanted to see if it was legitimate, so I asked them to cancel my subscription via live chat. After asking about my experience, the agent proceeded with my request, and I was fully refunded in 4 business days.

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4. IPVanish — Connect as Many Devices as You Want Using One Subscription

  • Server speed and location: Ultra-fast speeds. 2,000 servers 75 countries, including 2 servers in the UAE
  • Security capability: Military-grade encryption and an automatic kill switch
  • Simultaneous Device Connections: Unlimited
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix (US & UAE), HBO Max, ESPN Abu Dhabi TV, BBC iPlayer, Dubai TV, MBC, Disney+, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more
IPVanish May 2022 Deal: It's hard to find active IPVanish offers so I was really surprised to find this one! Click here to get 63% off your IPVanish subscription today! Discount automatically applied (no code required).

IPVanish lets you connect any number of devices simultaneously under 1 subscription. To test this feature, I connected my MacBook Pro, Android tablet, smartphone, and Windows desktop while streaming Netflix and Abu Dhabi TV. It felt no different from having 1 device connected the entire time as everything ran smoothly.

It has 2,000 servers across 75 countries, so you can easily unblock websites in the UAE. I had no problems accessing US Netflix and HBO Max on its US servers, while its UAE servers unblocked Abu Dhabi TV and MBC with ease. All I had to do was click the “Connect” button to connect to the best server available in my chosen region.

There’s no way for unwanted third parties to obtain your personal data, thanks to IPVanish’s reliable security features. Its AES-256 bit encryption makes it impossible to intercept your connection, while its DNS/IP leak protection prevents any accidental exposure of your data. In short, your connection will be protected by the highest standards.

Graphic showing IPVanish leak text

IPVanish makes sure you data won’t be revealed accidentally

No one will see what you do online, too, as IPVanish adheres to a strict no-logs policy. This ensures that your online behavior won’t be recorded or shared. Another benefit is that it owns its entire server network, which means third parties can’t compromise your privacy.

I was disappointed to see that IPVanish doesn’t accept any cryptocurrency payments. However, it’s possible to pay by credit card, online gift card, and PayPal. The long-term plans are the most affordable, with the cheapest one starting at $3.99/month.

If you’re still on the fence, then you can try IPVanish for free before committing to an ongoing subscription because it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Getting my money back was super easy, too, as I just had to log into my account and request a cancelation. 2 clicks and 4 business days later, I got all my money back.

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5. PrivateVPN — User-Friendly Apps That are Great for Beginners

  • Server speed and location: Ultra-fast speeds. 200 servers 63 countries, including the UAE
  • Security capability: StealthVPN and DNS/IP leak protection
  • Simultaneous Device Connections: 10
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix (US & UAE), HBO Max, ESPN Abu Dhabi TV, BBC iPlayer, Dubai TV, MBC, Disney+, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more

PriavteVPN is one of the easiest VPNs to use. Its apps are intuitive and let you connect to any server in a couple of clicks. Best of all, no configuration is necessary. And for experienced users, it has an advanced mode that lets you customize your setting to your liking. Therefore, you can stay protected in the UAE without any technical knowledge.

You can also unblock your streaming accounts from the UAE, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. By connecting to its US and UK servers, I accessed these sites in no time. Additionally, its StealthMode feature scrambles your data to bypass geoblocks and can also be used to get around firewalls. This is handy in a place with many online restrictions like the UAE.

Graphic showing StealthVPN

PrivateVPN can reliably get past online restrictions

Its powerful security and privacy features make it impossible for unwanted parties to see your online data and activity. The military-grade encryption makes your data unreadable, while its no logs policy ensures that it won’t record your browsing behavior. There’s also the option to choose from advanced protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, and PPTP, so you can make the most out of speed and security.

A minor con of PirvateVPN is that its server network is small compared to other VPNs. I thought I’d have a harder time unblocking restricted websites, but I easily unblocked restricted sites.

The plan I recommend is its 2-year plan, which is the cheapest at $2/month. It comes with all the same features as the short-term plans but is cheaper in the long run.

There’s even a 30-day money-back guarantee, which lets you test all of PrivateVPN’s features for free. I wanted to test this policy, so I asked them to cancel my subscription through live chat. After telling them that it wasn't for me, they went ahead with my request, and I was refunded after 4 business days.

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Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN for the UAE in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. My favorite is ExpressVPN because of its robust security features, and geoblocking abilities. Plus, its 30-day money-back guarantee lets you try it risk-free.
  2. Connect to a server. Select a server that can unblock the content you want. For example, connect to a USE server if you want to access US Netflix.
  3. Start using the internet. Enjoy browsing the internet safely.

Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN for the UAE

The VPNs that made it on my shortlist were selected on the following criteria. The main aspects I looked out for were security features, global server networks, and fast speeds. Feel free to use this checklist to help make an informed decision:

  • Robust security features — Only select VPNs with top-notch security features, synch as AES-256 bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS/IP leak protection, and advanced protocols. This keeps you safe from hackers and other malicious parties in the UAE.
  • Global server network — Get a VPN that has servers in the UAE as well as overseas locations. If it has no UAE servers, then make sure it some in nearby locations. This lets you unblock geo-restricted content.
  • Strict no-logs policy — Always go for a VPN that adheres to a strict no-logs policy that’s been independently audited. This ensures that no one can track your online behavior.
  • Fast speeds — Being able to stream content in Ultra HD should be the bare requirement for VPN speeds. Even though VPNs slow your connection, a good one will make the drop barely noticeable.
  • Ease of use — It’s best to get a VPN that has a user-friendly app that is easy to download and install. Additionally, you should be able to use it on most devices.
  • Support channels — If you ever need help, then there should be various ways to contact your VPN for support. These include live chat, email, phone, and a comprehensive FAQ page.

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FAQs on Using a VPN for the UAE

Are VPNs legal in the UAE?

It’s legal to have a VPN installed on your devices in the UAE, but it’s illegal to use it for criminal purposes. According to its laws, you can face jail time or be fined up to $500,000 for using a false IP address to conduct illegal activities. The main thing is to follow the rules set out by the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, although its guidelines are always changing.

It’s also unclear whether the UAE government targets tourists more than UAE citizens. For this reason, I recommend you get a trustworthy VPN that’s proven to work in the UAE, so you don't risk getting into trouble.

How can I use a VPN in the UAE?

Most VPN websites are blocked in the UAE, so it’s best to download and install a VPN on your devices before arriving in the country. Once you have done that, then you just need to connect to a server while you’re in the country. If you want to access restricted content from back home, then you need to connect to a server in your home country. You should also enable obfuscation if your VPN has it, which makes your VPN traffic look normal.

Is using WhatsApp and other VoIP services in the UAE safe?

As long as you use a reliable VPN that’s proven to work in the UAE, then accessing WhatsApp and other VoIP services is safe. The UAE government is more concerned with people using VPNs for illegal purposes, instead of unblocking restricted sites. A lot of reports that claim people have gotten into trouble for using a VPN are misleading, too. But the situation in the UAE is constantly changing, so make sure you stay on top of the changes.

Why do I need to use a VPN in the UAE?

You need a VPN for the UAE to access geo-restricted websites, online bank accounts, and use VoIP services to keep in touch with people overseas. Just make sure you download and install a VPN before setting foot in the country because most VPN websites are blocked there. A VPN also protects your data and conceals your activity from unwanted third parties, keeping you private. But keep in mind that the UAE has some harsh penalties for people that use VPNs unlawfully, so always abide by the law when possible.

Which VPNs have servers in the UAE?

VPNs with UAE servers include CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, IPVanish, and PrivateVPN. All of these options can reliably access UAE channels like Abu Dhabi TV and MBC when you’re not in the country. ExpressVPN is another option because it has servers in Egypt that can unblock UAE channels. And since it’s higher quality than the other VPNs I mentioned, it’s the VPN I recommend.

Can I use a free VPN in the UAE?

There are huge risks when using a free VPN in the UAE, so I would strongly advise against it. According to local laws, using a VPN to access illegal websites can result in heft fines and even jail time. Consequently, the UAE government and ISPs crack down on VPNs and store VPN IP addresses. Most of them belong to free VPNs.

Free VPNs also lack reliable security features and are known to collect personal information, which they sell to advertisers to make a profit. And since they have small server networks, you’ll probably connect to an overcrowded server that produces slow speeds. With all these negatives, it’s much better to get a trustworthy VPN like ExpressVPN that comes with a money-back guarantee, which lets you use it risk-free for a certain amount of time.

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Get a VPN for the UAE Now

The UAE is notorious for its internet restrictions, which means you run the risk of harsh punishments by not complying. The best way to use the internet safely and access blocked websites is to use a trustworthy VPN. It encrypts your connection and replaces your IP address, so you can safely access services like WhatsApp and Skype.

The VPN I recommend for the UAE is ExpressVPN. Its world-class security features, no-logs policy, and global server network keep you well-protected online. Plus, its Egypt servers can unblock UAE content. And since it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try all of its features risk-free. Therefore, you can get your money back if you don’t like it.

To summarize, the best VPNs for the UAE are…

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — 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 49% off.

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About the Author

Ren is a technology researcher and writer. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and digital freedom.

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