VPN for Saudi Arabia

The Best VPNs for Saudi Arabia (KSA) To Unblock All Internet Sites and Services

Last updated on December 31, 2019 Comments: 22
VPNs for Saudi Arabia are one of the best ways to access websites that are considered illegal by the Saudi government, and allow users to utilize otherwise banned content.

VPNs work by creating the illusion that your IP address is located within a country where that particular content is not blocked. VPN providers, like Express VPN, let you hook up to their servers in other locations, which makes your computer look like it is in the USA or any other country you want to look like you are in.

If you want to unblock websites in Saudi Arabia, sign up for ExpressVPN as the best VPN for Saudi Arabia, today! ExpressVPN also offers a special deal, get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual plan!

If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s our list of the best VPNs for Saudi Arabia:

  1. ExpressVPN Great for Speed, top-notch security, large server network and keeps your anonymity and privacy.
  2. NordVPN Has double VPN, six simultaneous connections, above-average privacy features.
  3. Surfshark Large network of servers, No data or bandwidth limits, Unlimited simultaneous device connections.
  4. HideMyAss Strong connection speeds, users proficient protection whilst streaming, Servers are located in most countries in the world.

The Best VPNs In Saudi Arabia

Here’s my list of the top 4 VPNs for Saudi Arabia.

#1 ExpressVPN

Reasons why ExpressVPN is one of the best Saudi Arabia VPN:

  • Premium speed – an absolute must for consistent TV streaming
  • Top notch security – a prerequisite for anyone accessing Saudi xxx sites
  • Reliability – always performs as you would want it to for all your streaming and access needs
  • Large server network – allows content from any country to be viewed whilst in Saudi Arabia
  • Live chat support function – this is a great help when you have immediate issues that you need resolving whilst in Saudi Arabia
  • 99.99% uptime – you can be certain that your anonymity and privacy will be upheld if streaming through this VPN in Saudi
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Price: as low as $6.67/month for twelve months plus three months free

Sign up with ExpressVPN here

You can Check ExpressVPN’s Arabic site version here: احصل على ExpressVPN


#2 NordVPN

Reasons why NordVPN is one of the best VPNs in Saudi Arabia:

  • Autoconfiguration from dedicated servers. This allows streaming, watertight security and torrenting
  • Double VPN. Having a double VPN diminishes the risk of a connection dropping out which enhances user privacy
  • Six simultaneous connections. Families and small businesses can use a VPN to access content at the same time
  • Best for security due to its above average privacy features
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Price: as low as$2.99 a month

Sign up with NordVPN here

You can Check ExpressVPN’s Arabic site version here: احصل على ExpressVPN


#3 Surfshark

With the incredibly strict censorship laws that Saudi Arabia has, Surfshark is a great VPN to subscribe to because:

  • Large and Wide Network – With over 800 servers in over 50 different countries, Surfshark’s VPN can unblock and circumvent the majority of restrictions placed on content from Saudi Arabian IP addresses
  • 30 day money back guarantee – If Saudi Arabian users of Surfshark do not like the product, they can have a full refund after 30 days of use
  • No data or bandwidth limits – Users in Saudi Arabia can stream as much content as they want due to no capping of bandwidth or data usage on any Surfshark subscription plan
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections – Watch or unblock content wherever you are in Saudi Arabia with any one of your handheld devices, laptop or desktop computer. This is thanks to Surfshark’s market leading offering of having no limit on the amount of devices you can have connected to its VPN servers at any one time.

Price: as low as $1.99

Sign up with Surfshark here


#4 HideMyAss

Reasons why HideMyAss is one of the best VPNs in Saudi Arabia:

  • Strong connection speeds – as stated before, a VPN is only as useful as its connection so HideMyAss’s strong connection speeds allow for a good service when accessing blocked content
  • Stringent encryption software – offering users proficient protection whilst streaming banned TV in Saudi Arabia
  • Servers are located in most countries in the world – this lets users access any content they require or want
  • A BusinessVPN option is available which allows for multiple connections from multiple devices

Reasons for caution:

  • HideMyAss does keep data logs
  • You can’t select protocols

Price: as low as$4.99 a month

Pay For Your VPN with Cryptocurrency and Stay Anonymous in Saudi Arabia

When you purchase a VPN in Saudi Arabia, you will likely pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This will reveal your transaction to your bank, including details like your name as well as your address.

To get around this, you can pay with cryptocurrency if that is an option with your VPN service provider. Bitcoin is a different currency than any other that we are familiar with as there is no physical money or banks as well as no centralized authority controlling the currency.

When you make a bitcoin transaction for your VPN subscription, the transaction is broadcast to the bitcoin network. From there, miners, which are mostly regular people with regular computers process the transaction with their computers creating a block.

Those computers need to solve a crypto puzzle as well as submit proof of the work back to the public network where other miners need to verify the integrity of the block.

This ensures that bitcoin transactions are verified, creating a reliable, self-sustaining payment system.

If you wish to remain anonymous when purchasing your VPN subscription in Saudi Arabia, you will want to do so with bitcoin.

How To Find The Best VPN in Saudi Arabia?

In order to make sure you are choosing the best VPN for Saudi Arabia so that you will get access to all the content you want, you’ll need to look at the following factors:

DNS leak protection – a  (Domain Name System) DNS leak is an easy way for anyone to detect that you are using a VPN, so having protection against such leaks is extremely important in protecting you against the authorities monitoring your internet use.

Strong Encryption – a VPN provider that offers strong encryption software means that you will be using a VPN that is able to protect your identity.

No log policy – VPN providers have been known to give customer data to authorities when asked. Providers that do not keep logs in the first place have nothing to hand over, even if it’s requested from them.

Large server network – Using a provider with a large number of servers means that you’ll have access to websites located in any location. This is due to the vast amount of sites that are blocked by the Saudi government that are located all over the globe.

Kill Switch – This automatically kills your internet connection should your VPN drop out for any reason. If it drops out and does not cut out the connection at the same time, you risk having your identity exposed.

Fast speeds – Fast connection and streaming speeds are necessary to enjoy a buffer free browsing session.

No bandwidth caps – Throttling can be common with VPN providers as a way of squeezing money out of you, but not all VPN providers employ this tactic. By choosing a provider without a bandwidth cap, you can be sure that your privacy is upheld as no cap will ever be reached.

Sites That Are Banned In Saudi

Before you sign up for a VPN provider to use while in Saudi Arabia, it helps to know what sites and what content is banned in the country. For example, sites that a VPN can help you connect to while in Saudi are:

  • Porn Sites
  • LGBTQ+ Websites
  • Messenger apps
  • Some social media outlets
  • Some news outlets
  • Sites with 18+ content
  • Circumvention resource sites
  • Alternative religious belief sites

But what does that mean in practice?

Well, in practice, Saudi Arabia censorship laws have a direct impact on those who want to use some of the most popular sites on the internet – sites that are deemed legal elsewhere in the world. For instance, the following sites and apps are blocked or heavily monitored:

If you want to access these websites, or any of the above content (xxx or not), VPNs are a method of viewing content that is otherwise blocked.

Is It Legal To Use a VPN in Saudi Arabia?

Before buying a VPN subscription so that you can access content that is blocked in Saudi Arabia, it is important to understand the legality surrounding the use of a VPN. For starters, is it legal to use a VPN to access Saudi porn or any other content that is banned?

In short, there is no law banning the software itself in Saudi. That being said, there are Saudi-enforced blocks on some VPN provider sites and the law is a great deal more harsh against those that are watching censored content. The government is not pleased when its citizens use a VPN to find sites they have otherwise blocked.

To summarize, using a VPN is not illegal, but accessing sites and content that are against the law definitely is.

It is therefore important to use a VPN with caution if you are using it with the intention of bypassing blocks.

Why Are XXX Sites Blocked In Saudi Arabia?

Censorship in Saudi Arabia is strict for several reasons.

  • Sinful Content- This means that any content that is seen by the Saudi government as immoral is banned.
  • Promotion of other Faiths- To protect the nation’s religion, any site or any content that seems to question Islam, or is seen to promote another Faith, is banned.
  • Politically controversial content- The Saudi Government, as well as the Saudi Royal family, are never to receive any type of negative press against them. If they do, the person who created it, or those who publicize it, can be sentenced to death if found guilty.
  • Terrorism- In an effort to stop the proliferation of terrorism, the Saudi Government increased their censorship laws in 2014 to include blocking any content that is deemed as inciting terror.

Surfing in Saudi without a VPN

Heading out into Saudi Arabian cyberspace without a VPN won’t get you very far and exposes you to a cornucopia of possible dangers. Many sites are officially banned in Saudi Arabia, including anything deemed to contain harmful or offensive material or have an anti-Islamic sentiment.

Banned content includes anything relating to drugs, gambling, and pornography, with sites that are known to be illegally distributing copyrighted content also being blocked.

Content removal is also widespread and, since 2011, the Saudi government has made it necessary for any media outlet or blogger to apply for a license should they want to publish articles or blogs online. The following year, a high-profile case highlighted the dangers of blogging without a license. Raid Badawi managed a website called Free Saudi Liberals and after making a joke about hardline religious fundamentals, he was sentenced to “10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for the crime of “insulting Islam through electronic channels”.”

Saudi Arabia isn’t averse to using mass surveillance technology to keep an eye on both its citizens and visitors. Even an innocent trip to YouTube to check out that latest cat video could be tracked even if, once you get there, you find that the cat video has been blocked!

Although access to the internet is widespread in Saudi Arabia with plenty of internet cafes and public Wi-Fi connections available, in 2009 Saudi authorities decided to extend their surveillance capabilities and ordered all internet cafes “to install hidden cameras and provide a record of names and identities of their customers”.

Saudi Arabia isn’t the friendliest of places and its harsh internet laws make its cyberspace even less inviting. Last week, two men were arrested after they appeared to be kissing each other in a video posted on Twitter. The men now face possible prosecution as homosexuality is illegal in Saudi. Let this be a warning to anyone thinking of straying into Saudi cyberspace without a reliable VPN.

Don’t Be Tempted by a Free VPN for Saudi Arabia

It’s tempting to believe that free VPNs offer sufficient protection that you could use them safely even in countries like Saudi Arabia where the government is “relentless in its censorship of the Saudi media and the Internet“. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and many free VPNs are compromising the privacy and security of the users they claim to protect.

Many free VPNs fail to provide the same level of security and encryption as the best VPNs for Saudi Arabia, thereby exposing their users to possible data leaks. Worse still, according to a research paper published in Australia in 2016, many free VPNs have malware bundled into their apps or include third-party trackers that negate the very purpose of a VPN which is designed to provide an anonymous browsing experience that leaves no digital footprint.

The dangers of using a free VPN exist everywhere in the world but in a country like Saudi Arabia where people have been arrested for speaking their minds on social media, the dangers are intensified. A data leak could expose your private thoughts and potentially, should your private thoughts have included criticizing Saudi Arabia’s government policies, land you in prison.

The Muted Media of Saudi Arabia

The print media is privately owned in Saudi Arabia but that doesn’t stop the government from having a heavily influential hold over them. Not only must newspapers seek government approval when registering new staff members or creating new outlets, but they are also reliant on government subsidies, making it difficult for them to offer unbiased reports.

Surprisingly, social media hasn’t been banned in Saudi Arabia, although many VoIP services have. Twitter and Facebook are among the most popular social media platforms even though “liberal citizens, and more recently conservatives, have been arrested and sometimes given punishments, such as prison time and fines, for criticizing the government on social media”. Despite its desire to curb its citizen’s freedom of expression, the Saudi Arabian government has turned to social media to unearth and silence its critics.

Recently, two ex-Twitter employees were arrested and charged with spying on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government. Reports indicate that the men charged shared sensitive account information such as including the name and IP address of the user. One note included the information: “This one is a professional. He’s a Saudi that uses encryption…”.

Although some social media content is removed by Saudi authorities, its approach to VoIP services is even harsher. WhatsApp voice calls have been banned on and off for years and are currently banned once again for failing to meet specific regulatory requirements, although there are rumors this ban may soon be lifted.

Case Studies Reveal Dangers of Saudi Arabian Cyberspace

The examples below should give you a better understanding of how Saudi Arabian authorities react to inappropriate content:

  • In 2012, Raid Badawi managed a website called Free Saudi Liberals and after making a joke about hardline religious fundamentalists, was sentenced to “10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for the crime of “insulting Islam through electronic channels”.
  • Last week two men were arrested after they appeared to be kissing each other in a video posted on Twitter. The men now face possible prosecution as homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia.
  • Between 2007 and 2013, journalist and human rights activist, Mikhlif al-Shammari was arrested three times for “criticizing corruption, double standards, and the hypocrisy of some religious figures”.

Don’t Be Tempted by a Free VPN for Saudi Arabia

The dangers of using a free VPN include:

  • Social media posts and other information protected by the VPN could be leaked due to insufficient security protocols and poor encryption
  • Inbuilt trackers are common among free VPNs, meaning your online activities are neither private nor anonymous. Some free VPNs have been known to sell such information to third parties
  • Most free VPN services restrict their users, whether by limiting bandwidth or speed, making them virtually unusable in countries like Saudi Arabia.

These problems are exacerbated in countries like Saudi Arabia where people have been arrested for speaking their minds on social media. A data leak could expose your private thoughts and potentially, should your private thoughts have included criticizing Saudi Arabia’s government policies, land you in prison.

The Muted Media of Saudi Arabia

  • While Saudi Arabia allows access to most forms of media, visitors may wish to avoid the following limitations:
  • The print media is privately owned in Saudi Arabia but that doesn’t stop the government from having a heavily influential hold over them.
  • While social media hasn’t been banned in Saudi Arabia, recently, “liberal citizens… have been arrested and sometimes given punishments, such as prison time and fines, for criticizing the government on social media”.
  • The government is more than happy to use social media for its own gain, however, and earlier this month, ex-Twitter employees were arrested and charged with spying on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government.
  • WhatsApp and other VoIP services have been banned on and off for years and are currently banned once again for failing to meet specific regulatory requirements, although there are rumors this ban may soon be lifted.

Bottom Line

The best VPNs in Saudi are the ones that offer continuous service so that your connection to a server elsewhere in the world does not drop in and out, thus exposing your identity. The Government does not take kindly to those who break its censorship laws.

Free VPNs for KSA are probably best to be avoided. To offer a VPN at no charge means that free providers have to save on costs elsewhere. More often than not, this means that users have their identity compromised – either by the company keeping logs of their activity or simply because the connection that is provided regularly drops in and out, thus revealing what sites and content users are accessing. They’re a particularly good idea to avoid if you searching for illicit content.

Instead, by choosing one of our recommendations, you’ll be able to access any content you want, in peace.

Article comments

22 comments
Abdul says:

Great article, However, it has a lot of false information, I’m from Saudi Arabia, and all social media websites are not blocked and not throttled.

Sacha - Security Expert says:

After checking again we found that Saudi lifting ban on Skype, WhatsApp calls, but will monitor them, source: reuters.com (September 21, 2017)
The list of blocked website constantly changing, thank you for the input, i have included this info in our new review.
——————————————–
We did check as well from someone that live in Saudi Arabia and is a tech person, Blocked content is called in Saudi Arabia filtered content, all Saudi Arabia traffic goes “through a proxy farm located in King Abdulaziz City”, this has serious privacy issues, more info:

“Saudi Arabia directs all international Internet traffic through a proxy farm located in King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology. A content filter is implemented there, based on software by Secure Computing.[5] Since October 2006, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has been handling the DNS structure and filtering in Saudi Arabia in the place of KACST. Additionally, a number of sites are blocked according to two lists maintained by the Internet Services Unit (ISU):[6] one containing “immoral” (mostly pornographic or supportive of LGBT-rights) sites and sites promoting Shia Ideology, the others based on directions from a security committee run by the Ministry of Interior (including sites critical of the Saudi government). An interesting feature of this system is that citizens are encouraged to actively report “immoral” sites (mostly adult and pornographic) for blocking, using a provided web form, available on the government’s website.”
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Saudi_Arabia

Other interesting articles:
https://www.justice.gov/eoir/page/file/917391/download
https://opennet.net/studies/saudi

If you have more details, please let us know, we will be more then happy to improve our content, you can contact me at info@securethoughts.com.

Coka says:

Popular media sites like Yahoo messenger and Skype are blocked in Saudi Arabia. Fortunately, VPN service is legal in Saudi Arabia, so if a user wants to unblock banned sites or access the list of blocked sites there, he needs a VPN.
Saudi Arabia is stated to be one of the most censoring countries. Thus, internet status is reported not to be free there. There are such violations as obstacles to access, limits on content, and violations of user right.
ExpressVPN is unanimously selected as the best VPN service out there. They have managed to garner praise with their top quality service consistently over the years. If a user is seeking simplicity and security, then they provide both. They have servers all over the world to give uninterrupted service to their clients. The registration process is really simple when it comes to ExpressVPN. Their customers appreciate their 30-day money-back guarantee scheme provided by them. Hence, ExpressVPN is a very popular VPN service in Saudi Arabia.
However, as ExpressVPN permits simultaneous connections to at most 3, a user might be bothered by the frequent reconnects to the server which he might not have been aware of.

Mohammed says:

Great article! I make use of NordVPN it’s really great and easy to use. It’s what I recommend to my family and friends. The costs of their services are pretty moderate costs! It’s really good.

Steve says:

Any idea if any of these VPN services will support P2P (ala torrenting) from Saudi Arabia? I work as a developer and we use a P2P program to transfer files. We had problems with it the last time we were in Saudi Arabia and we were recommended to use a VPN but we didn’t get a chance to test them at the time.

Recommendations?

ST Editor says:

Hi there, and hopefully you’re enjoying your adventure! Unfortunately, a large part of your internet connection is determined by the local ISP, so there’s only so much you can improve. However, there are some small hacks you could try to help get a little boost! First, try to look for networks that are password protected. They tend to have lower traffic, and thus offer better speeds. Additionally, try to reserve your heaviest browsing and streaming for periods when you know your local network is experiencing its lowest traffic. Finding wired connections may also help give you a more reliable streaming experience. Let us know if these strategies work for you! 

Amir says:

Countries Like Saudi Arabia has many limitations on the Internet.Many social media sites are also banned in these countries .So to access these Sites VPN is a very secure and easy way for accessing the blocked content.

Anonymous says:

Anyone know if there is a difference between connecting from Riyadh and the rest of SA? Going to be staying mostly in the city but might have to leave once or twice on business and need to know if I’ll still be able to get access to everything I use day-to-day.

ST Editor says:

Hi, There should be no issues, but it also depends on how strong the internet service is in the areas you are visiting outside Riyadh.

Amelia says:

Saudi Arabia is a nice place to roam for most of the tourists like me. I love exploring the world, know the unknown and see the unseen with my own eyes. It’s also a pleasure to keep in touch with loved ones when away from them. I started planning to visit Saudi Arabia this spring. The only problem here was FB blockage. Luckily, I’m a PrivateVPN user and with more alternatives from this page, I’m free from all the anxieties. Great job, Bryan.

Smith says:

Hi, can you tell me if it’s safe to purchase a VPN subscription while in Saudi Arabia using a credit card issued by a local bank? Can I get around this by using PayPal (never used it before)?

ST Editor says:

Hi! While the Saudi government is not very big on VPNs, they haven’t made any official moves to ban their use or purchase in the country (though they do block many VPN websites). However, if you’re concerned that you may be flagged if you use a local card, PayPal is definitely an option, as you don’t need a credit card to use it. Another solution may be to use cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to pay for your services. Many companies accept them, and they offer a more anonymous way to purchase services. Hopefully, this helps! 

Sahahveer Ali says:

Can I use this VPN service for Egypt too? I am soon going to Egypt and I am concerned if I will be able to access my FB in Egypt. I have heard that FB is banned there. Please guide me in this regard.

ST Editor says:

Hi, and safe travels! The great thing about these VPNs (and others) is that they’re designed to work across borders. Because one of their biggest functions is to provide unrestricted access to the web and bypass censorships, most of these companies offer thier products anywhere in the world. They also should give you free access to blocked websites, though it’s important to learn about local laws and understand them before making any decision. If you do choose to use a VPN, the services on this page are all great options for you!

LIZZY says:

To get unrestricted access to websites in Saudi Arabia, use Express VPN today! It is network friendly and reliable.

Srikanth Abib says:

My VPN rocks here in Saudi Arabia. When I first subscribed, I though it would not work but I was wrong. I enjoy ExpressVPN

Alli says:

Great article. About to subscribe for a month on ExpressVPN so That I can use Skype. Hope it’s very fast and has a stable network?

Jeffrey says:

NordVPN has flawless connection and speed. A few minor problems with captcha and logins to various
sites.Part of the game though, I guess.

Alfie Cumming says:

I just downloaded Express VPN to use in Saudi, parted with $12.95 for the privilege of looking at the usual BBC statement that “Content is not available in your area”. I have also selected the area to emulate as being the UK. I have contacted the company for explanation. Just thought I’d let you know!

I know its not your fault but you are promoting this supplier as one that can be used successfully in Saudi. I have had other issues with other suppliers too, in not even being able to login. IPVanish was one. SuperVPN (Free) works perfectly on my android phone. Cannot install on my laptop though.

ST Editor says:

Hi Alfie, I contacted the brand through their customer support live chat and here are the steps they provided. While this is likely to help, if you still need support, they will be more than happy to assist you. Please contact them at the bottom, right corner on this page.
1. Turn off the ExpressVPN app.
2. Click on the “choose Location” button.
3. Go to ALL tab.
4. Click on the arrow before Europe.
5. Click on the arrow before United Kingdom.
6. Choose either East London or Berkshire – 2.
7. Try BBC iPlayer.

I hope this helps you from Saudi Arabia.

zakir khan says:

i need reentry papar

RC says:

Thanks for the info, I’ll be off to the KSA soon.

How does Express compare with VYPR?