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The Best VPNs for UAE Dubai - Access Blocked Sites Anonymously

Last updated on November 7, 2018 Views: 8486 Comments: 45

Why Do I Need A VPN?

A large amount of content on the internet is blocked in the UAE for several reasons. This stops citizens and travelers from watching programs they would otherwise freely view elsewhere.

Even when visiting relatively relaxed cities like Dubai, the larger country laws still apply. This means that the following content is blocked, amongst many others:

  • Social networking and dating sites, like Match.com
  • SIP services, like Skype or IMO
  • Content that is politically sensitive
  • Any site with an Israeli domain
  • Dubai Porn
  • Content that challenges the morals of the UAE

With so much content blocked in the UAE, a VPN is a way around that problem. VPNs allow you to stream the TV shows you want to watch and to call friends on communication apps like Skype.

In this article

What Is A VPN?

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network which allows users to hide where exactly they are in the world.

This is important in the UAE as, if you use a VPN, it means that you can give your IP address the appearance of being in a country, where the content you want to access, is not blocked.

In practice, this means that if you want to access content that is freely available in the USA, your VPN will connect to a server in the States. This makes your computer look like it’s streaming from the US and not in the UAE.

VPNs are a great way to get around local restrictions and internet monitoring. In fact, they basically allow you to access any content you want. In the UAE in particular, you can even access unblocked porn sites.

Additionally, the best VPNs for UAE can simply be used to add another level of security while you browse the internet.

VPNs were initially invented to stop hackers from being able to view sensitive data or browsing history, and they will still allow you to do so today.

Read on to find out how to you can still open blocked sites in the UAE by using a VPN like NordVPN

What Makes A Good VPN?

When choosing a VPN provider, keep an eye out for these factors to make sure you are choosing the best one for you:

  • Connection speed You need a healthy connection speed to make sure your calls or TV programmes don’t cut out midway
  • Number of servers The more servers a VPN provider has, the better. More servers means a faster connection time allowing you to access content more quickly
  • Server location You need servers in locations where your content is not blocked
  • Privacy Browsing the internet and accessing content that may be blocked in the UAE means that you need a VPN provider that offers the best logging policies and encryption software
  • Price VPNs do not need to cost a lot. Being expensive does not necessarily mean you are getting the best either

What if My VPN Doesn’t Work In The UAE?

If your VPN is not working while in the UAE, it is a good idea to check the following:

  1. Simple Configuration Elements Ensure that you are not using your VPN to connect to a server in Dubai. It’s a classic, but easy mistake to make. Make sure you are connected to a server in a country where your content is allowed instead. Places like Russia or China will have similarly strict laws, so it’s best to avoid them.
  2. Website Blocks If your VPN works for most websites, but not one in particular, you may be trying to access content from a site that has imposed its own ban on known VPNs. Netflix is a classic example of this.
  3. Port/IP Blocking Attempts VPNs can be banned in some places, either by government or telecommunication companies. They enforce this ban by blocking certain ports or IP addresses that have been identified as hosting VPN traffic. Follow your VPN instructions on how to switch ports manually.
  4. Connectivity and DNS issues It may not actually be your VPN that is the issue, but simply the strength of your internet connection. Give that a look too. VPN Providers have ways of testing this out, called a Ping test. Look to them for guidance on how to carry one out.
  5. Contact the Provider Make use of the hands-on service you get from VPN providers. Many have chat services that will help you on the spot with any questions.
  6. Try a different VPN While this is very much a fallback option, make the most of free trials or money back guarantees if your VPN is simply not working for you.

Can I Use A Free VPN In UAE Dubai?

A VPN that you don’t have to pay for may sound enticing, but the trouble that comes with it definitely isn’t worth the few dollars you’d save. There are two main reasons why a free VPN for Dubia is a bad idea:

Not Enough Servers

Because users do not pay for this VPN service, the provider does only the bare minimum. Free VPNs typically have a very small number of servers available to their users, which means everyone is using the same ones. This causes very slow internet connections, so you can forget about streaming videos, because they will be constantly buffering.

Not Safe

Free VPN providers may not charge users for their services, but they need to make their money somehow. Many of these companies make a profit off of selling user data to advertisers, authorities, or anyone who is willing to pay for it. this is especially dangerous for those in Dubai wishing to view content that is against the law. Additionally, these VPNs are known to drop out often, which means that your identity could be exposed any any moment, within seconds.

Are VPNs Illegal In UAE Dubai?

Staying within the law is obviously very important, and up until recently, VPNs were totally legal to use in Dubai and the wider UAE.

However, in 2016, a law was passed that made it illegal to use a fake network address, though users would only be subject to prosecution if they used VPNs or other software with the intention of ‘committing a crime or preventing its discovery’. Those who are found guilty of committing such an offense are subject to a short time in prison as well as a fine that can vary between Dhs 500,000 and Dhs 2,000,000.

This type of non-committal language is not particularly comforting and caused a great deal of confusion for people who wanted to use a VPN for UAE. The Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution offered further clarity on the matter therefore by stating that it is not against the law to install and use a VPN, but it is against the law to use a VPN to access what would otherwise be blocked content.

Outside of those who want to use the best VPN in UAE for personal reasons, difficulties arose from this for companies that regularly use VPNs for their staff. Companies use them as a means for employees to access corporate applications, systems, and files. Plus, many corporations now use VoIP to carry out day to day business, which are seemingly illegal in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the wide UAE.

It is important to note, that while VPNs have often been placed in the grey area of the law anywhere in the world, illegal activity in the UAE of any kind is very harshly received. When those who have been caught committing online infractions, large fines and prison terms have been handed out for what many Western countries would consider to be perfectly normal online activity.

The repercussion of this is that if you are planning to use a VPN while in the UAE, in Dubai or otherwise, it is good practice to use the very best that the market has to offer so that you are kept as safe as possible. In reality, this means:

  • A strong connection (this saves against any drop in service that will expose your identity to anyone)
  • High-grade encryption
  • A kill switch
  • Guaranteed Uptime

The Best VPN For UAE

#1 NordVPN

With a 2-year subscription plan that can cost just $3.99 a month, NordVPN is a great-value offer. With almost 4000 servers with countless locations around the globe, it can almost rival ExpressVPN’s offering in terms of quality of connection and speed.

Its connection is also very secure with its strict policies on anonymity and privacy. If the app does not work for you while streaming TV in Dubai, it also comes with a money back guarantee. NordVPN gives you 30 days to try out their service.


  • $11.95/month for one month
  • $6.99/month for 12 months
  • $3.99/month for two years

Sign up with NordVPN here.

#2 ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN tops our charts continuously for several reasons, and it is easily the best VPN for Dubai that the market has to offer. It ticks all the boxes in terms of what is required of a VPN with its quick and secure connection and unrivaled customer service.

More specifically, it has not only the highest speeds available for streaming content, but it also has the most consistent speeds we have seen. Plus, it has 1,500 servers with over 90 country locations. The app delivered a smooth service throughout our tests and we noticed no drop in quality throughout its use.

The provider allows its app to be used on up to three devices, which can also include mobile phones. Its pricing option for a year is particularly attractive, especially with its 30-day money back guarantee – which is available across all its subscription options.


  • $12.95/month for one month
  • $9.99/month for six months
  • $6.67/month for twelve months plus three months free

Sign up with ExpressVPN here.

#3 SaferVPN

One of the newer VPN’s on the block, SaferVPN is a great option for those in need of a VPN in Dubai. Its attitude to privacy makes it stand out with a no-logging policy that makes streaming and accessing content in Dubai much safer. The company also employs complicated encryption techniques, but can be used on most devices without slowing down its connection.

Torrents are not supported with this provider, but access to content that is blocked due to geography, like Netflix and Skype, is possible. They have a large number of servers in an ever growing amount of countries.

To stay competitive with its rivals, SaferVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee too.


  • $8.99/month for one month
  • $5.49/month for a year
  • $3.29/month for two years

Sign up with SaferVPNhere.

The Bottom Line

If you are moving to Dubai or the UAE, and not just traveling there for a short time, you will find that a VPN is invaluable.

A VPN, like NordVPN, will not only help you watch your favorite TV shows, it will also allow you to keep up with your friends and family via legal VoIP applications.

Article comments

Tess says:

Could anyone give an update with regards the latest update about VPN in UAE 2018
it is legal or still illegal?

Lola Olsen says:

Hi Tess,
As of now, you can ONLY use a VPN legally in the UAE for approved services. Accessing any restricted content is illegal, and can be fined heavily. That’s why it’s important to use a VPN that you can rely on.

Melchor Gutierrez says:

How about if i stay only for two weeks.. Is there a vpn plan for two weeks? If yes, how?

Lola Olsen says:

Hi Melchor,

There is no plan currently for two-weeks. However, many VPN providers offer a 30-day money back guarantee. So you can sign up for the usual subscription, and then cancel it before your 30-days are up.

Robert Rea says:

I live in a relatively new tower block and find that no VPN will connect there, DU is my provider. Someone told me that in newer blocks they have managed to configure the network to block VPN access. Do you know of one I could acquire? I have Hotspot Shield, X-VPN and VPNProxy, all of which do not connect at home

Lola Olsen says:

Hi Robert,
Have you tried NordVPN? It works best for users in the UAE.

Albert says:

I have need a dubai vpn so plz guide me to purchase vpn to your website…

Lola Olsen says:

Hi Albert,
Please choose one of the VPNs listed in the article above, and click on the link. It will guide you directly to the VPN’s website where you can purchase the plan of your choosing and start watching all of your preferred content from Dubai.

alnuaimi says:

I need a VPN works on dubai and for free because i dont have VISA

Jerry Hines - Cyber Security Expert says:

Hey there,
If you’re looking for a free VPN, this article can help. However, you should know that these free VPN’s are not recommended for full privacy. ExpressVPN excels in privacy and anonymity, and it accepts PayPal, so a Visa is not necessary!

Prasanta Shee says:

Why to use VPN when you can use tools like R-HUB web video conferencing servers, webex, gomeetnow, gotomeeting etc. They work well and are not banned in UAE.

Sacha - Security Expert says:

Because you do not have the same level of security, privacy and anonymity. when surfing from UAE you need to understand that the government/ISP is tracking every connection. in few words you can get in trouble if you do not know what you are doing. those software you mentioned were not build for privacy and anonymity, The VPN we are reviewing here are 100% secure, no-log and we have tested them for DNS and IP leak etc…

Setu says:

Hi is it crime to watch adult movies using vpn in uae?

ST Editor says:

Hi, and thanks for the interesting question. To answer you concern, let’s start with the laws regarding adult content. It is still not permitted to access any adult content in the UAE, and such websites are blocked by the government. Viewing them carries a hefty fine. You can still access them through a VPN, and in many cases you will likely not be detected. However, the government can charge you with fraudulent use of an IP address, which also brings fines and other consequences. While a VPN can help you avoid the law, you should always learn a little more about local laws before deciding for yourself. Let us know how it works for you!

Meghami says:

In Dubai, VPNs are critical for businesses or nearly all companies to securely exchange data between their branches and their partners, and to allow their employees to work remotely. Without it, financial transactions will not be secure.
Furthermore, as popular social media sites like IMO and Skype remains banned, the cost of using a VPN on a daily basis also comes into consideration. Even though ExpressVPN is one of the most secure and fastest VPN in use today, its high subscription fee is a concern for many.
As Dubai bans the usage of VPNs and imposes strict internet usage laws, isn’t the high subscription fee also an added disadvantage for the user?

ST Editor says:

Hello, and thank you for the considerate question! We appreciate ExpressVPN because it allows users across the world to handle the business needs you’ve described easily alongside reliable speeds and security. We understand that many users have expressed concerns about the service’s high subscription fee, but it can be greatly offset when you purchase one of the company’s long-term plans. For a VPN that offers a strong combination of features, we feel the price is reasonable, but understand that each user has unique financial constraints and VPN needs. If you feel ExpressVPN is truly unaffordable, we recommend you take a look at the other VPNs we recommend in the article, which all provide great features and privacy protections when you’re accessing the web from Dubai. Let us know which service you choose!

Gem James says:

I was transferred to UAE for a year. I am still shocked that Skype barred. It’s almost unthinkable. I wasn’t able to use Skype till I stumbled upon your article and used Express VPN. It’s reliable and affordable I’d totally recommend.

Meghami says:

This article does provide helpful ideas for those visiting or residing in Dubai and might want to access popular apps like IMO that are banned in Dubai. However, as ExpressVPN is an expensive VPN for usage, there are other VPNs that are relatively cheaper like PrivateVPN as mentioned above. But such cost-friendly VPNs also provide the risk of inefficient privacy and protection which might prove vulnerable for the user as if detected by the authorities, legal actions might be taken as Dubai exhibits strict censorship and internet usage laws. Don’t you think ExpressVPN might not be the ultimate solution for this problem then?

ST Editor says:

Hello, and thank you for such a well-thought question! We base our recommendations on a rigorous series of tests that gives us a good idea of what a VPN can actually do in the real world. ExpressVPN is on the pricier side of the industry standard, but we recommend it because it offers a great combination of reliably fast speeds and excellent security features alongside a spotless record of bypassing geo-restrictions. However, choosing a VPN is not solely about performance, as you noted, and sometimes price is an important consideration. For this reason, we try to recommend a variety of options that can meet a broad array of users’ needs. All the VPNs you see listed are strong alternatives, and you’d be well suited with any of them. Let us know which you do end up choosing and why!

James Anderson says:

hey thanks for sharing information about vpn in UAE and it is very useful.Can you tell me about the vpn in China means can i access social media through these vpn in china also?

ST Editor says:

Hi James,
You’re very welcome!
As for travelling in China, please consult with the following articles: best vpns for China and how to unblock whatsapp in China.

Ahmed says:

Is still true that can’t use VPN from Dubai? Listed VPN is secure from govement police and will not get caught? Thanks.

Ilana says:

Hi Ahmed,
You can definitely use VPNs in Dubai. We re-confirmed with ExpressVPN, NordVPN and all the brands presented in this article for 2018.

Thomas says:

Do any of these providers other than PureVPN work for mobile devices? I will be traveling to Dubai in April and will need a VPN can work on my Smartphone, Tablet, Mac and Laptop. Yes, I actually use all of those (graphics and audio engineer).

I really don’t want to get multiple VPNs but I will if I have to. What do you recommend?

Ilana says:

Hi Thomas,
All of the VPNs provided above work on mobile devices as well. For more precise information, please consult with our best vpn for Android and best vpn for iphone review.

Daisy says:

Want to know, which of the VPN comes with a money back guarantee, I have seen people mentioning NordVPN and ExpressVPN, and am really confused here. I don’t even know the best trusted one to go for.

Ilana says:

Hi Daisy,
As per surveys, I know that the preferred choice is ExpressVPN even if it’s more expensive, based on the service performance. NordVPN and SaferVPN are trusted providers as well. They all have a money back guarantee of 30 days for you to try.

Ali Fakhar says:

Gosh! Thank you for such beautiful service. I was unable to get access to some of my apps in Dubai and now all of them are working perfectly.

Clark says:

I haven’t been to Dubai but I’m planning on taking my family there soon. I sure hope I can access all my social media pages over there? Can I also access Netflix while I’m there?

ST Editor says:

I Clark,
Yes you can, provided there are servers to connect to. You can easily get your answers via ExpressVPN, NordVPN or any other of the providers on this list via their live chat option.

Craig Daniels says:

These listed VPNs are good and I know. The moneyback is what I am concerned about. Is there guarantee on the 30 days moneyback as enlisted in NordVPN?

Ilana says:

Hi Craig, I assure you that NordVPN has a 30-day money back guarantee and that you fill get full refund for the service if you are not satisfied.

Misty says:

I had a very redundant but self-assuring system for my Dubai browsing. I obviously used expressVPN because they’re reliable though they are cost effective.

Karim Aziz says:

I have been trying to access a website in UAE since last week. Got a VPN and still not accssible. Please, could it be that All these VPNs are not working here as I’ve tried about 3 VPNs already. Help!

ST Editor says:

Dear Karim,
We can confirm that these brands do work from the UAE based on their confirmation and other users experience. However, your best bet would be to communicate with their live chat customer service (they are real people, not robots and are very knowledgeable) so that they trouble shoot together with you and walk you through the steps. The reason you are encountering issues is most likely dependent on more than 1 factor (device, streaming service, etc), so getting their direct assistance is the best thing to do.

Rishi says:

Hi lyndon
Can we use VPN fo Facebook calling or IMO calling in UAE? Or this also ban in UAE? Some people are still using VPN in UAE for call quality on facebook and IMO.

Lyndon Seitz says:

Hello Rishi,

Based on my understanding it should be possible, although as to the legality of a VPN in the UAE depends on how you use it. As I am not a UAE Legal expert of any kind, I would recommend checking with more detailed resources on the subject.


A. Higuera says:

Hi Rishi,
With vpn you should be able to do those things. I used a VPN when I was in Dubai and I can do FB and Netflix streaming without any issues.

Anthony says:

If I open match.com with hidemyass…How long would I be on the sites. Whenever I use Vpn to sign up on the site, they block me after few day. I will be getting email notifications but I can’t log in to the site. Any help suggestion would be helpful and very much appreciated. Thanks

Lyndon Seitz says:

Hello Anthony,

I’m afraid I’m not certain enough about your problem in order to properly solve it. It could very well be an issue with Match, and it might be prudent to contact their customer service to find your answer. Depending on how the sites logs and tracks IP addresses (they could get suspicious about different logins from different places) a VPN could simply not work for the dating service.

Hope this helps!


Savith says:

It seems tht every vpn has been restricted in uae and if we use this they might take a particular action towards it. So wat ever vpn u have talked about is safe or not for viber,whatsappcall etc

Lyndon Seitz says:

Hey Savith,

So Dubai is a special situation in that they banned VPNs in the country. We believe these are the Best VPNs for the country at the time being with that in consideration, but each user has to weigh the benefits and costs for themselves.

Hope this helps,

Karl says:

Awesome post, very informative. Was thinking of how to stream on Netflix when I go there for holiday this Christmas. I really hope Express VPN is fast there.

Angela says:

Hello Jen,

Hope you can help me…I have a friend working in Dubai (Suadi). She got the job through an agency. She applied as a nurse and when she arrived there, she had trouble with her VISA, it now turns out that she is there as a teacher (which she is not at all). Now she is blocked on their system and can’t get a VISA. Can you help? What can we do?

Lyndon Seitz says:

Angela you would need to speak with a lawyer about this.