All You Need to Know About VPNs in the UAE

Published August 26th, 2021 - 06:00 GMT
Qatar tops the world's usage of VPNs with about 44% of its population. (Shutterstock: metamorworks)

Using the massive internet network is a different experience in different parts of the world, depending on where an individual is and how varied internet censorship laws are.

VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are applications and software programs through which internet users can have access to blocked content, by changing their IP addresses to make it look like they are in a different geographical location.

While there are countless VPN services online, most users are often looking for the best, reliable, and safe VPN software. For long-term use of VPN services, most individuals also prefer using the cheapest VPN options, let alone the millions of people who would rather a fee VPN service.

Over the years, VPN usage has been increasing due to growing censorship in different countries, which leads individuals to look for "not so legal" ways to reach online portals limited by authorities.

Besides blocked websites that either contain adult or politically sensitive content, some people use VPN services to, play video games or watch movies on streaming services that are not yet available in their geographical locations. 

Moreover, many individuals utilize VPN services so they can make VOIP audio and video calls using restricted applications, such as Skype, Viber, or others.

According to the Global VPN Adoption Index prepared by the US-based Atlas VPN, Qatar, the UAE, and Singapore top the world's usage of VPNs as of 2021. Out of the top 10 countries with the highest usage of VPN services in 2021, there are 7 Arabic-speaking countries; Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Algeria.

Almost 40% of the UAE population uses VPN services on a regular basis. Yet, some of these practices do comply with local laws.


- UAE residents can legally use VPNs to access online services that they have purchased online while outside the UAE. Such as a valid subscription to an online streaming service that is not available within the UAE borders.

- Using VPNs in the UAE to commit any form of cybercrimes such as virtual fraud is punishable with jail time and-or a fine estimated between Dh500,000 to Dh2 million.

- Accessing content by a VPN is illegal when it aims to reach websites that are deliberately blocked by authorities.

- It is also illegal to use VPN to access content that violates UAE laws, culture, or social norms, including ones that express anti-religion rhetoric. 

- VPN access to reach content that promotes hate or racism is illegal in the UAE.

- VPN usage to access porn or gambling websites is illegal in the UAE.

Best Free VPN for UAE users

Now that you have learned all about the legal use of VPN services in the UAE, you are probably wondering which VPN services are the best to use. Most VPN users try to relocate lists of reliable, cheap or free, trusted, and secure VPN services that can be used from their geographical location. 

In this article, we will try to explore some of the best, free, reliable, and safe VPN websites that can be used from the United Arab Emirates for legal purposes.

As we mentioned before, most VPN users would prefer to use trusted and free VPN services because they can be efficient in the long term;

1- ExpressVPN

This service is rated as the #1 best VPN service for users from the UAE. ExpressVPN is one of the most reliable VPN services for the UAE, one that is 100% risk-free. 

ExpressVPN is not a free VPN service, yet it is one of the cheapest options available for VPN users in the UAE.

2- NordVPN 

This is also one of the best, most trusted, secure, and cheap VPN services available for UAE users. 

3- Surfshark

Surfshark is another one of the best VPN services that are available in the UAE. It is an affordable, secure, and trusted VPN service available across the UAE, including Dubai.

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