Best VPN for Dubai & UAE

Updated on: 7 July 2019

Let’s face it – Dubai and the UAE have certain restrictions on the internet, especially since the laws voted in 2012 which encompassed a clear limitation of VPN use within the country.

Nowadays, if you want to travel to Dubai or the UAE, you’re left with two choices – either succumb to the censorship or use some of the few VPNs that are able to freely work there.

And before we get started, I’ll simply address a very pertinent question – Aren’t free VPNs good enough for the job?

The answer is most definitely no. It won’t only fail to bypass the country’s detection systems but it will most likely reveal your identity to anyone prowling the internet.

At the end of this article, you’ll have found out that:

  • You can use the recommended VPNs to unlock any website you want
  • You can use WhatsApp and any other prohibited apps
  • You’ll remain private even if you’re accessing unavailable and restricted content
  • Your browsing logs will not be made public with these VPNs
  • Without further ado, here are the best VPNs for Dubai and UAE

Top VPN Services

1. NordVPN

NordVPN

The most performant and popular online security provider in the industry, NordVPN is our first pick for Dubai and UAE. We’ve tested it back in April this year and it performed marvelously in that region.

The Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS apps all functioned at their full potential without encountering so much as an issue.

Speed

Server performance has always been one of NordVPN’s premier attributes, and one of the main reasons why its clientele love it. We’re talking about speeds up to 500 Mbps if your ISP contract allows those kinds of speeds.

If it’s within the realm of possibility, NordVPN can likely achieve it with extra speed. Netflix, Hulu, and all the other streaming websites are completely accessible. No freezes, no mid-movie bumps, and no waiting for any buffering.

Watch anything at HD or 4K with NordVPN.

We’ve tested a few servers just to be sure. Starting from this benchmark:

  • Ping – 13ms
  • Download speed – 93.23 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 94.09 Mbps

The Netherlands server performed admirably:

  • Ping – 38ms
  • Download speed – 74.39 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 67.42 Mbps

In the UK, the situation was slightly worse but still well within the ideal parameters:

  • Ping – 78ms
  • Download speed – 42.57 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 50.72 Mbps

Locations

NordVPN has over 5000 servers in 62 countries, with more of them popping out now and then. For a professional VPN, I’d say this is exceptional, and you couldn’t ask for more.

Evidently, you can connect to the free internet from anywhere in the world, even from Dubai or the UAE. That’s how expansive and large this server coverage is. There’s literally no location in the world where NordVPN isn’t available.

Privacy

When it comes to privacy and security measures, NordVPN is the absolute leader of this ferocious pack of wolves. It functions based on the AES-256-bit encryption protocol that the top-secret government agencies use to secure their secret data.

The zero-logging policy is as clear as they come. As for assurances, what more do you need other than the Panama jurisdiction? NordVPN is based outside the 14-Eyes Surveillance Alliance, hence they will never log user data.

Upon further analyses and check-ups, we have discovered absolutely no IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks. The app itself is free from viruses, just to be sure.

If you’re thinking about hacking attempts or intrusive tools used by third parties, then you have to understand this – NordVPN uses state-of-the-art encryption. Its security system is unmatched in the industry.

It is literally impenetrable. Unless someone finds out your logging credentials, no one can hope to break this VPN’s encryption.

Using the Double VPN feature, you can benefit from the added encryption of yet another server. After all, if you can go overkill, why not do it? NordVPN gives you this opportunity.

You can use the Tor browser + encryption alongside the OpenVPN protective protocols, as yet another overkill defense mechanism. There are so many of these that you even start feeling sorry for anyone crazy enough to attempt a cracking of this system.

Ease of Use

The NordVPN app is as simple as it gets. You have everything you will ever need on a single intuitive interface that shows you exactly what’s what. Choose a server from the server list or the self-explanatory minimap, and there you go.

You’ve just started your sea-journey down the digital oceans on the NordVP Man-o-War that’s ready to smoke any potential attacker.

You might want to take a look at the specialized servers listed on the right. That’s where you’ll be spending most of your time anyway.

As per most of the user reviews we have consulted for the purpose of this article, the vast majority have said that the NordVPN app is one of the easiest ones to use.

Customer Support

Whether you can to contact the NordVPN staff via the email ticketing system or the live chat, you’ll be met with professional people who know their stuff.

Regardless of the problem, you’re experiencing chances are you’ll find a solution on the FAQ section before you even get a chance to use the live chat function. From what we could see, the website information articles numbered in the hundreds.

Guides, tutorials, tips and tricks, user inputs, anything you want is there.

Pricing

NordVPN has four subscriptions you need to know about:

  • 1-month plan – $11.82 paid every month
  • 1-year plan – $6.91 per month or $83.04 per year
  • 2-year plan – $3.94 per month or $94.79 every two years
  • 3-year plan – $2.95 per month or $107.59 every three years

These are the prices converted from Euros at the time of writing, so there might be some changes with the fluctuation of the fiat currencies.

At this time, the 3-year plan appears to be the most advantageous one, in the sense that the price-to-period factor easily wins out against all other plans.

If you decide NordVPN is not for you, the 30-day guarantee is there to make sure that you can get your money back.

Moreover, you also have this promotional offer:

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Website

The next in line is ExpressVPN, the VPN that started the live-chat customer support tradition in this industry. It has come to be known as the absolute fastest VPN in the industry, and the results confirm this.

Speed

In ExpressVPN’s case, we had to test some of the servers just so you can see how fast these servers are. Forget about torrenting because that’s simplistic enough. You can stream anything on any quality from any device.

ExpressVPN will connect to a server and deliver lightning speeds for your entertainment.

This is the benchmark we started from:

  • Ping – 43ms
  • Download speed – 90.83 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 93.16 Mbps

UK server:

  • Ping – 68ms
  • Download speed – 82.73 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 81.03 Mbps

German server:

  • Ping – 70ms
  • Download speed – 85.65 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 79.88 Mbps

We had absolutely no problem with accessing Netflix from some of these fastest servers you can see here.

Locations

More than 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries – a total of 3000+ servers active at all times throughout the world. This is what ExpressVPN is all about. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Yes, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are on their server coverage as well. So, whether you’re traveling there with work interests or simply a vacation, ExpressVPN has you covered.

The more popular locations like the US and the UK have many more servers in the important cities.

Privacy

This should be enough to set your worries or second thoughts aside if you had any in the first place. ExpressVPN collects no logs. This is even further supported by the British Virgin Isles jurisdiction.

No client has ever complained about the authorities finding out about his/her activities on the internet while under the protection of ExpressVPN. Their DNS servers don’t collect any data at all, and everything is backed up by the Perfect Forward Secrecy.

As for the security standards and the encryption protocols, ExpressVPN’s overarching system is made up of:

  • AES-256 technology
  • Split Tunneling
  • Killswitch
  • TrustedServer technology
  • OpenVPN protocol (UDP and TCP)

This level of encryption makes it impossible for anyone to attempt a brute-force attack against these servers. It’s simply impossible to break this encryption using such a method because it would literally take lots of years to decipher it.

As such, we issue our seal of approval on ExpressVPN for being a safe and secure online security service.

Ease of Use

ExpressVPN can be used on the following devices:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • SmartTV
  • Routers
  • Web browsers

As you can see, you’d be wasting your time in trying to find a device that isn’t compatible with ExpressVPN.

As for the client itself, people have called it very easy to use, straightforward, and pretty much the basic interface that a VPN user would want. There’s nothing special to it. Instead, it gets the job done with no issues at all.

Customer support

Wherever you look in the VPN industry, you see lackluster customer services that are simply bad. The staff knows next to nothing about their own services, and you’re left waiting for a long period of time before receiving a reply to your queries.

Not ExpressVPN though. We’re happy to say that ExpressVPN performed admirably in this department. It’s like we’re dealing with a different kind of online security provider. A premium one at that.

The live chat is available 24/7, and you only have to press a button to start the conversation with one of the staff team. If you weren’t able to find an answer to your problem on the website itself, that is.

Pricing

ExpressVPN is more straightforward with its prices:

  • 1-month plan – $12.95 per month
  • 6-month plan – $59.95 per total, $9.99 per month
  • 1-year plan – $99.95 per total, $8.32 per month

All of these subscriptions are protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee that you can issue at any time, no questions asked.

As for the payment methods, you have the following:

  • Credit Cards, many of them
  • Bitcoin
  • PayPal
  • Others, including Mint, GiroPay, WebMoney, AliPay, and so forth

3. Surfshark

SurfShark

Last but not least, we have Surfshark, an emerging online security provider that has taken the world by surprise. It’s become very popular amongst VPN users for being a cheap and yet quality-based provider.

As you’ll soon see, this is only covering the outermost layer of this great VPN.

Speed

Just like the other two, we tested two Surfshark servers, and the results were more or less surprising. One thing can be said about it – there are many fluctuations and differences between the servers but many of them are fast as lightning.

We began testing from this benchmark:

  • Ping – 60ms
  • Download speed – 83.29 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 88.43 Mbps

German server:

  • Ping – 49ms
  • Download speed – 79.90 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 81.25 Mbps

We’re off to a good start it seems. Let’s see if the other one we tested stays on the same line.

US server:

  • Ping – 119ms
  • Download speed – 16.46 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 10.22 Mbps

It seems not. Unfortunately, most of the US servers we tested had approximately the same results.

However, Surfshark still has some of the fastest servers in the industry, certainly deserving of the third spot on this list. You’ll be able to do anything from Dubai or the UAE, including watching Netflix or torrenting.

Locations

Their infrastructure is not as large as NordVPN’s or ExpressVPN’s but it’s still large enough to allow even the most isolated users to connect to its closes servers.

Sporting 800+ servers in more than 50 countries across the world, Surfshark boils down to one word – efficient. This provider might have a lower number of servers than its competitors but it’s certainly aiming for the top as well.

You benefit from private DNS on all servers, alongside a nifty P2P-friendly policy. This means you can download anything you like because no one will be the wiser. This shouldn’t be taken as condoning torrenting or piracy though.

Privacy

Surfshark has a few unique features that the other two lack:

Camouflage mode – covers your tracks so that not even the VPN itself can be identified by anyone

MultiHop – bounces your traffic through multiple servers so that you apply an even stronger encryption infrastructure over your private data

NoBorders Mode – exactly what you need in Dubai or the UAE, a system that allows you to access the internet in censored countries

CleanWeb – stops any add or malware from causing problems to your device

The core encryption protocol remains the same as that of NordVPN or ExpressVPN. The strongest in the industry – the AES-256.

The zero-logging policy should be trusted because Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Isles just as ExpressVPN. As such, there’s no reason to believe they break their principles willingly.

As far as we have noticed, no user ever complained about any breach of the zero-logging policy until now.

Ease of Use

Though not as good-looking as the other two apps, Surfshark’s client has a simple and intuitive interface that tells you all you need to know. The big on/off button is there to turn the VPN on or off. Big surprise here!

As for the servers, you can choose which you’ll choose from a list on the left-hand side of the screen.

First and foremost, you should be looking at the special features that are innately turned off. CleanWeb, for example, is naturally turned off.

Customer Support

You can contact the support team via the live chat or by using the ticketing system. We strongly advise the former because of how responsive and professional the staff team is.

We asked a few questions just to be sure, and we received a reply in a few seconds detailing the exact contents of what we needed to know. For once, we saw customer support that isn’t based on a copy-paste run-of-the-mill reply structure.

Pricing

Before you choose one of the following plans, make sure you apply the coupon code that they offer for free at this moment.

Here are the subscription plans:

  • $11.95 per month for the 1-month plan
  • $71.88 for the 1-year plan ($5.99 per month)
  • $47.76 for the 2-year plan ($1.99 per month)

The 2-year plan is currently under an 83% discount by using the coupon available on the website. All three plans are eligible for a 30-day money-back guarantee. You know, just in case you decide NordVPN or ExpressVPN are better.

The good thing is that you can choose to pay anonymously by using cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin or Ethereum.

To conclude, we offer you the top three best VPNs for Dubai and UAE. Which of them you choose to use depends on your judgment alone. We provide the information, you make the decision.

As always, the choice is yours.

Written by: Bogdan Patru

Author, creative writer, and tech-geek. Bogdan has followed his passion for the digital world ever since he got his hands of his first pc. After years of accumulating knowledge and experience, the good Samaritan in him whispered him one day about the virtue of sharing that knowledge with those who needed it. It was 2014 when that idea would grow into a life-defining passion. One that keeps driving him to this day.