Summary: Internet access in Saudi Arabia is a topic of hot debate – and for good reason. The country’s censorship laws make it difficult to access a lot of content, frustrating tourists and citizens alike. In addition, your activity can be tracked and logged, regardless of its innocence.
You can get around these issues by using a VPN. A VPN allows you to effectively tunnel-out behind these restrictions and browse the internet like a user in any country you choose – meaning you can access any website or web tool you want. You can also avoid having your access tracked and logged as your internet access is encrypted.
We reviewed 168 VPNs and tested the top three, and the best VPN for Saudi Arabia is ExpressVPN. It has the best mix of price, customer support, and a fast connection speed, while allowing you to browse the web freely and securely.
If you want to unblock websites in Saudi Arabia, sign up with Express VPN today!
Why Is My Access Limited to Web Content in Saudi Arabia?
The government of Saudi Arabia is the primary reason for content restriction for the country’s internet access. The government blocks a large number of websites, including, but definitely not limited to:
- pornography/explicit content
- political blogs
- news sites that are defamatory to the government
- sites that seek to convert Muslims
As you can see, a large amount of their content blocks concern sexual and political content. The government takes these content restrictions so seriously, that accessing, storing, or distributing banned content is a crime, actually punishable by imprisonment or corporal punishment.
That being said, using a VPN will get allow you to unblock Saudi Arabian websites and content blocks, and protect your identity and location information while doing so.
What Is a VPN?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. Basically what it does is, through a host company, puts you on a private network through one of their servers.
They encrypt all of your information and conceal your IP address (this is the code in your electronic devices that tells servers where you’re logging on from), so your geographic location is never revealed.
Using a VPN not only guarantees your privacy and anonymity, but gets you around content blocks, giving you access to anything and everything you want. Here are a few of the top VPN companies on the web right now, and how they stack up.
Best VPN for Saudi Arabia – Our Recommended List
#1 Choice: Express VPN – 9/10 – Safety, Speed, User-Friendliness
If you’re looking for a VPN company that offers the best of everything, well, look no further-Express VPN has it all.
Their encryption is top notch, and they never log any of their users’ data, which means not only are you invisible to the Saudi government, but even to the company themselves-you can surf completely anonymously.
In addition, their connection speed is tough to beat, making this a great option if you love to use streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.
If you’re a gadget hoarder and have a device for every occasion, you’re in luck. Express VPN can be used on any wifi-compatible device, and even on more than one at a time, making it a very versatile VPN service.
If you’re new to VPNs and worried you’ll be intimidated by the software, don’t be. Express VPNs programs are very user-friendly, making them great for beginners.
If you do get stuck, they have a great customer service team on call 24/7 to answer your every question via live chat or email. Better yet, their average email inquiry response time is under 30 minutes, so you’re never waiting for an answer for long.
They even have a 30-day money back guarantee, so you’re not out any money if you decide it’s not going to work for you. But if you try it and love it, be sure to tell your friends-you both could get a month of free service through their referral program.
If you plan on spending some time in Saudi Arabia anytime soon and want to have full access to the internet and protect your privacy, then get ExpressVPN now.
Read our full ExpressVPN review for more details.
#2: NordVPN – 8.5/10 – Double Your Online Security
NordVPN offers a number of different security measures to ensure your complete privacy, anonymity, and data security while using the internet in heavily-censored countries like Saudi Arabia.
One of Nord’s notable security features is a rare ‘Double VPN’, a double encryption of data sent to and from your computer or device. If the VPN drops, it has a dedicated kill switch to cut your internet connection instantly, preventing a scenario in which your online activity will be momentarily exposed.
Nord operates with a strict ‘no logs’ policy, so they have no information on what you do while online. The company is based in Panama, so the Saudi government has no jurisdictional power to make them give up any information.
The VPN freely admits that some websites might not work in Saudi Arabia, due to the extremely rigid level of censorship in the Kingdom. Nord offers a fix in the form of its Obfuscated Servers, which are optimized to access blocked content in heavily restricted countries. The feature is currently only available for Windows.
Nord offers over 1000 servers worldwide, including quite a few in the Middle East. Servers in Israel and Egypt are among the closest to Saudi Arabia, so any drop-off in connection speed should be negligible.
The user-interface is one of the best we’ve seen, and it’s easy to get started. If you do encounter any problems, you’ll be able to contact Nord for support via a 24/7 live chat, as well as an email ticketing service.
Nord’s pricing structure consists of three tiers. It’s either $11.95 for a month, $7.00 per month for six months, or $5.75 for a year. Although it’s a small added expense to your monthly budget, it’s a lot less stressful than having the Saudi police knocking at your door. In addition, they are now offering a 72% discount if you subscribe for 2 years, or a price of $3.29/month. All plans come their 30-day money back guarantee.
More information and our expert opinion can be read at our NordVPN review.
#2: IPVanish – 8/10 – Not as fast but user friendly and low cost
If for some odd reason you can’t connect with Express VPN, try IPVanish next.
With simple, user-friendly software, they’re another option for people that just want to surf Reddit in Saudi, without having to be a tech savant to do it.
Though IPVanish allows up to two simultaneous connections like ExpressVPN, those connections just typically aren’t quite as fast, so be prepared for that.
Also, despite their software’s ease of use, IPVanish is not compatible with iOS.
They do however have a support team that’s available 24/7, and a live chat feature for more immediate assistance.
Though their team isn’t typically as prompt to respond to email inquiries as Express VPN, their service is nonetheless polite and professional.
IPVanish does have 256 bit encryption and a wide ranging server network, but I still found Express VPN to be superior in every way.
More details can be found on our IPVanish VPN review.
#3: HideMyAss – 6/10 – Unreliable connection
HideMyAss has a pretty big network of servers, with 151 locations around the world, but their connection is often unreliable, so they may not be the best VPN to use if you’re in Saudi Arabia.
With legal consequences for users that breech their internet censorship laws, the last thing you want is a VPN that’s going to leave your activity unexpectedly wide open.
Another aspect of HideMyAss that is occasionally frustrating is their customer service. Express VPN gave me terrific and quick customer support.
They have all the right ingredients for great customer support – 24/7 hours, but sometimes leave their customers in the dark when it comes to actually answering their questions.
In my experience, there’s almost always a wait to speak to a service representative, and the support is often a copied and pasted reply from their FAQs section.
Even with their software compatibility and encryption strength, the unreliability of HideMyAss’s connection is kind of a deal breaker.
HideMyAss is here.
Conclusion: Use Express VPN for Fast, Unlimited Access
Saudi Arabia no doubt has a lot to offer with its rich, cultural history to tourists and its citizens.
However, internet usage still has a long way to go in this country before users can access their favorite content censorship-free.
Not only is it important for you to access your favorite content and protect your privacy, but even to avoid possible legal ramifications for your internet activity, it is crucial that you use a VPN while getting online in Saudi Arabia.
The best VPN, Express VPN, covers all the bases to make sure your information is secure:
- block your IP address
- encrypt your data
- provide you with a private network on one of their secure servers
- never log your information or activity
These are definitely the features you need if you’ll be in Saudi Arabia. To get these features, along with blazing fast speeds and incredible customer service, sign up with Express VPN today!