Best VPN for UAE in 2018

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When it comes to online censorship, it’s hard to find the middle ground in the Middle East. Many mid-east countries are notorious for their varying levels of government control of private citizens’ online activity. The United Arab Emirates is no exception. Despite the modern skyscrapers and wealthy cyber image, the UAE inflicts some pretty harsh media regulations that prevent access to an open, free internet for its citizens, businesspeople, and tourists. Although there’s risk involved, the only way to bypass the draconian internet laws in UAE is a VPN.

In the UAE, we recommend ExpressVPN for its comprehensive and high-level security protocols and features designed to keep your internet connection private and safe.

best vpn for dubai

In spite of internet restrictions, UAE is a highly networked society, with over 90% of its nine-million citizens having an internet connection. According to a recent survey, WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube are the most popular social media and sharing sites. UAE residents are also a highly mobile society, with 75% using their smartphones once a week or more to stream or download videos. Recently, the UAE government implemented a new Media Resolution, which seeks to enforce stricter guidelines for media content. For example, media content must respect Islamic religious beliefs and the state, and must not contain anything that may harm political security or the economy. In real terms, this means that there is a whole host of websites in UAE that are banned or blocked.

What Websites are Blocked in the UAE?

Rated as ‘Not Free’ by the international Freedom on the Net organization, the UAE is notorious for blocking access to a wide range of websites or internet services deemed inappropriate. These include:

  • Dating websites
  • Gambling/casino websites
  • Networking sites that are considered by the government as ‘dating’ sites
  • Pornographic content
  • VOIP cheap online phone calls, such as WhatsApp calls
  • VPN websites
  • Some websites or pages that contain content critical of the UAE or its government

Get the Best VPN for the UAE in 2018

For citizens or visitors to the UAE, there’s an easy and cost-effective way to bypass restrictions to internet access. It’s called VPN, or Virtual Private Network. Using a VPN enables you to connect to the internet anonymously via a remote server in another country. VPNs use high-level encryption and tunneling technology to hide your internet connection, making it extremely difficult or impossible for the government or other entities to track and monitor your activity online. By connecting to a server in another country, it also enables you to access geo-restricted content.

When choosing the best VPN for UAE, there are a few key features to look out for:

  • Privacy: In the UAE, staying anonymous online is critical to staying safe and free. A VPN that doesn’t keep activity logs, and uses the best encryption technology, is a must.
  • Security: In the UAE, choose a VPN that uses advanced tunneling protocols to hide your online activity, allowing you to freely access restricted content.
  • Speed: Apart from safety, you also want a comfortable and fast internet connection. Check out VPN reviews to see which ones are recommended in the UAE for reliable, fast connections.
  • Kill Switch: in the event that the VPN connection drops out, you can prevent your device from automatically connecting to the internet via a kill switch. The kill switch instantly kills your internet connection if your VP fails, ensuring you are safe and protected online at all times. For the UAE, it’s essential to choose a VPN that has a kill switch feature.

Based on these criteria, here are our five choices for best VPN for UAE:

#1 ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a solid choice for best VPN for UAE, covering all the necessary features with outstanding reliability and performance. With over 1700 servers, ExpressVPN is fast, and you’ll stay well protected with 265-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling and the essential kill switch feature. All price plans below come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

1 Month


6 Months


1 Year

$6.673 months free, Save 49%

#2 NordVPN

Privacy and safety are the names of the game with NordVPN, which uses double data encryption, meaning your online data is encrypted twice for extra solid protection. With over 2500 servers, speed and reliability are solid, and a strict no logs policy and killswitch feature seal the deal for VPN in UAE. All price plans below come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

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1 Year


2 Years



#3 SaferVPN

As a contender for best VPN in UAE, there’s a lot going for Safer VPN, including advanced IKEv2, Open VPN, PPTP and L2TP-IPSec security protocols, an excellent uptime record of 99.9%, over 700 high-speed servers worldwide, zero logging policy, and that all-important kill switch. All price plans below come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

1 Month


1 Year

$4.49Save 55%

2 Years

$2.49Save 75%

#4 HideMyAss

More than 860 servers worldwide keep HideMyAss users well covered when using VPN in UAE. Solid security and kill switch are critical features, but HideMyAss truly excels in the easy-to-use interface, one-click connect, multi-language platform, and very good results in speed tests. All price plans below come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

1 Month


6 Months

$8.33Save 28%

1 Year

$6.56Save 43%

#5 PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN uses what they call military grade 2048-bit encryption, highest level protection on the market, combined with excellent speed, making it one of our choices for best VPN for UAE. Although PrivateVPN has fewer servers than our other choices, it stands out due to the no logs policy, and must-have kill switch feature. All price plans below come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

1 Month


3 Months

$5.63Save 48%

1 Year

$3.615 Months, Save 67%

Warning – UAE Bans VPNs

In 2016, the UAE announced a ban on VPNs. Unlawful use of VPN can result in temporary imprisonment and hefty fines. The law came as a nasty surprise to citizens and also to the business community, as the UAE had long positioned itself as a leader in the cyber market. In the wake of the new law, it is more important than ever to ensure you choose a secure VPN that does an outstanding job of keeping your online activity anonymous. For visitors to the UAE, make sure to sign up and download your VPN service before you arrive in the country, as VPN websites are blocked inside the UAE.

A Free UAE VPN is Not the Best VPN

It’s well known that any VPN you get for free simply won’t be able to provide the same level of security, privacy, speed or reliability that you can get from a paid service. When it comes to finding the best free VPN for UAE, you need to take into account that if it’s free, it simply won’t be as good. Having said that, if you’re traveling to the UAE for a short time, whether for business or leisure, you can take advantage of the 30-day free trial period offered by the VPNs recommended in this article. It’s not exactly free VPN for UAE, but it’s as free as you can get for a short-term need.

Which VPN Protocol is the Best for UAE?

With such high stakes in online privacy, using only VPN protocols that offer the highest level of security is strongly recommended in the UAE. OpenVPN is the ideal solution. First developed approximately 15 years ago, OpenVPN is open source VPN technology that features the most robust security, up to 256-bit encryption via OpenSSL, which is the leading software library for securing connections over networks. In addition, OpenVPN supports all platforms, so you’ll be covered on every device, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and a number of less widely used platforms as well.

Choose the Best VPN for the UAE

Maintaining online privacy and anonymity in the UAE is no laughing matter. Since the ban on VPNs last year, a free and open internet in UAE is slipping even further away. For UAE residents or visitors who want to make VOIP calls, such as WhatsApp or Skype – an everyday act taken for granted in western countries – or for those who simply want to access banned online content or websites, the last resort is a VPN. But even then, taking the utmost precautions is critical. Perhaps, one day, the UAE will embrace its cyber giant image and reopen some of these internet blocks. Until then, choose the most secure and best VPN for UAE, and stay safe.


Suggested Articles:

VPN reviews
ExpressVPN review
NordVPN review
SaferVPN review
HideMyAss review
PrivateVPN review


  1. Reply'
    S. Markum
    December 31, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    I’m going on holidays to Dubai and I want a VPN for my mobile phone, as well as my wife and son’s phones. Do any of the VPNs work on more than one device at a time?

    • Reply'
      ST Editor
      January 1, 2018 at 1:04 am

      Hi S. Markum,
      Thank you for your question. Many VPNs offer multiple connections. SaferVPN offers up to 5 simultaneous connections, NordVPN up to 6 devices, and ExpressVPN is up to 3 devices. HMA and PrivateVPN also offer simultaneous connections.

  2. Reply'
    December 28, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Just to clarify, using a VPN in the UAE is not illegal if it is not used to access banned sites or to make VOIP calls. But technically, it is illegal if used for those purposes. Food for thought…

  3. Reply'
    Mark L.
    December 25, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Good advice here – remember to download a VPN before you get to the UAE!! You won’t be able to do it once you’re already there.

  4. Reply'
    December 22, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    On my first trip to the UAE, I used a free VPN. Was really slow and unreliable. On my next two trips, I used ExpressVPN. What a difference. Worth every penny.

  5. Reply'
    December 20, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    I agree with this article. I used ExpressVPN on a business trip to Dubai and it worked great.

  6. Reply'
    December 11, 2017 at 10:46 am

    What’s the fastest VPN service in use. Thinking of going there this Christmas.

    • Reply
      December 19, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      Hi Khalid, the speed will depend on your location, but based on our tests and from reputation, we recommend either Expressvpn, Nordvpn or SaferVPN as some of the fastest.

  7. Reply'
    June 25, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Hey is it allowed to use VPN in uae

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      June 28, 2016 at 9:24 am

      Based on the country’s laws, unfortunately not. People will have to make their own judgments as to whether or not to take the risk of arrest in the UAE, but we have provided the best information we can on the subject.


  8. Reply'
    May 12, 2016 at 6:31 am

    thx for everything

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