Netizens in the United Arab Emirates are faced with one of the highest amounts of internet censorship of thousands of websites across various categories. If you’re located in the UAE, you already know just how many popular websites and online services are completely blocked. The emirate of Dubai is not excluded, and residents face the same restrictions and censorship. Being that Dubai is known for having very technological infrastructures, and internet usage has increased as high as 93% of the UAE’s population in 2015.
The local government controls what you get when it comes to the web and the list of restrictions is extensive. Censorship is applied to pornography, political news, social media and dating sites, Wikipedia pages, and even VoIP apps such as Skype. A certain amount of moral and political ideals determine what local authorities allow the public to access. ISPs such as Etisalat and Du are know for throttling connection speeds and blocking VOIP services like Whatsapp and Snapchat.
Fortunately, these blocks can easily be bypassed by using a VPN. VPNs allow you to browse in the UAE and Dubai through encrypted servers located elsewhere in the world, allowing you to access or use any blocked websites and services, all while encrypting and hiding your web traffic from local ISPs or local data collection banks.
The biggest downside, is that using a server located in the U.S. for example, will cause speed to deteriorate due to the long route it must travel. Using regional servers provide much better speeds for United Arab Emirate users, but U.S. access remains popular, just be forewarned that some speed loss is inevitable. Additionally, if you we’re hoping to get access to local UAE servers, due to heavy regulation, almost no providers currently offer servers there with some exceptions on the list. Vice-versa, many users actually seek to access content originating in Dubai from other parts of the world, and if this is what you need make sure to select a service provider that provides a local server.
Here are my top picks for best VPN services for UAE and Dubai
ExpressVPN – Full Review
ExpressVPN promises great service or your money back with a solid 30-day guarantee. The service comes with some of the best software in the industry, and global access to 78 countries. Unfortunately no local UAE servers are available at this time. SmartDNS is included for gaming consoles and Apple TV, but what users may benefit from most, is their quality setup tutorials and customer service. ExpressVPN is a little more expensive but the team goes above and beyond to provide a premium service to ensure customer satisfaction.
Hide My Ass – Full Review
HideMyAss provides a very good service that includes great software clients for all platforms. They have been around long enough to amass a large network spanning over 190 countries, with over 850 servers in more than 300 locations. Of course, this includes one high bandwidth server in UAE – Dubai, and a very extensive coverage of Asia. The yearly plan cuts cost down to $6.55 per month and allows up to 2 simultaneous connections per account. Europe and North America have hundreds of servers each, providing fast routes for various key locations UAE residents may want to access. The service comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, allowing you to test their VPN risk free.
PureVPN – Full Review
Cost is low and software works well with PureVPN’s service. The routes between UAE and US can be improved by using the Asia to US route, but more than 10 other connection points can be selected in attempt of finding the best possible speeds. The service offers one premium server located in Dubai for access to local content, as well as the best speeds for residents looking to encrypt local web surfing traffic. As far as global access goes, over 100 countries are accessible over 6 continents. All plans allow for up to 5 connections at one time, and the yearly plan comes in at a very competitive price.
IPVanish – Full Review
IPVanish has a very fast tier-1 network with a guarantee of fast speeds or your money back within 7 days of purchase, so if you’re having a hard time finding the speeds you need, they are worth the consideration. Although no local servers are provided in Dubai or UAE at all, for local residents only looking for external access to unblock websites and serviced, the service provides good coverage of Asia, Europe and U.S. with short routes in order to reduce bandwidth loss. The service comes with simple but complete software clients, and the yearly plan only costs $6.49 per month.
VyprVPN – Full Review
Another good choice for UAE and Dubai residents looking for a VPN service, with good coverage of Asia, Europe and America, VyprVPN has technology and software that looks and operates better than most. With a coverage of over 50 countries and included cloud storage to encrypt your backups, the service is interesting to consider, but cost is also a little higher than most and unfortunately does not have any local UAE or Dubai servers at this moment. If you want apps that look really high tech, or have yet to find fast enough speeds from your location, VyprVPN has a risk free trial that you can use to test the service. I highly suggest to take the trial offer if you continuously suffer from slow speeds when using overseas servers.