The Best VPNs for Saudi Arabia (KSA) To Unblock All Internet Sites and Services
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:
- ExpressVPN Great for Speed, top-notch security, large server network and keeps your anonymity and privacy.
- NordVPN Has double VPN, six simultaneous connections, above-average privacy features.
- Surfshark Large network of servers, No data or bandwidth limits, Unlimited simultaneous device connections.
- 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.
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
You can Check ExpressVPN’s Arabic site version here: احصل على ExpressVPN
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
You can Check ExpressVPN’s Arabic site version here: احصل على ExpressVPN
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
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:
- Skype (heavily monitored)
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Translate
- Rolling Stone
- Whatsapp (heavily monitored)
- Al Jazeera
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.
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.