5 Best VPNs for UAE in 2023

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: May 16, 2023 Read time: 37 minutes Disclosure

VPN services are helpful everywhere globally, but in the UAE, they're vital because the internet is so heavily censored there. This article shows you the best VPNs that will make your UAE digital life accessible and secure.

UAE leads among the countries famous for the worst internet censorship and restriction laws for its residents. Until now, a considerable number of websites are blocked in UAE. Moreover, VoIP services are also restricted. Thus, free calling via WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime, and similar services is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, Emirates’ local ISPs Du and Etisalat can block VPNs too, specifically, when used for accessing VoIP services. Therefore, choosing the VPN for UAE is challenging, as not all services available today can bypass those harsh restrictions. In this guide, we have enlisted the best UAE VPNs to protect you from the prying eyes of the Emirates government, ISPs, third parties, and cyber attackers. These VPNs are also best known for unblocking the content and websites otherwise inaccessible to you.

If you are in a successful business, you will probably end up in Dubai for whatever reason at some point in the future; the sooner, the better. Maybe you’re already there, and that’s why you are reading this.

And if you become Dubai-based, temporarily or permanently, you will have to use the domestic internet services there – and you’ll find them very problematic.

The internet censorship in the UAE is substantial. Hence, the providers like Du and Etisalat do their best to restrict VPN services. Of course, they can’t go against VPNs wholeheartedly because they’re too important to keep business as usual in the UAE, but it’s not for lack of trying. That’s why you need a UAE VPN right now that works in Dubai and all over the United Arab Emirates.

The official policies in UAE are very progressive in so many subjects, and yet VoIP is banned. Skype, WhatsApp, and Facetime are banned too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The UAE’s internet restrictions are medieval if such an adjective applies to state-of-the-art communications.

If you want internet freedom like your own country (almost every government is better than the UAE), you need a good UAE VPN. And this applies to you even if you’re just looking to spend a few days on holiday in the Emirates.

We hope we have persuaded you already: A VPN is an essential tool if you’re spending time in the UAE. This article explains everything about the best VPN services that will make your stay in Dubai a better experience.

The best five VPNs for UAE – The quick list

Elsewhere in this guide, we will describe each of the best five VPNs to have in Dubai and the UAE. But for the time-challenged readers, here’s the gist of it:

  1. NordVPN – It’s consistently the best and most cost-effective VPN service in the industry for any VPN-related task. In the UAE case, though, it’s inconsistent with Etisalat.
  2. Surfshark – This VPN gives DU users a good service with good speeds and security. However, it might not work as effectively with Etisalat.
  3. ExpressVPN – It will cost you a bit more than the rest. But this is one of the best options for the UAE. It excels at privacy and unblocking power.
  4. PrivateVPN – The VPN that fits any budget is also an excellent unblocking tool for UAE-based users.
  5. VyprVPN – The stealth feature in this VPN lets you get around even the most intrusive censorship in Dubai and the surrounding areas.

Internet restrictions in the UAE

The world’s greatest fortunes owe their existence to fossil fuel, and the power their holders have reaches every aspect of our lives constantly – just stop for a second and ask yourself where the richest are enjoying these days.

Of course, the poster boys for petrodollars are the royal families of Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

However, it’s no secret that we are witnessing the last decades (or years) of the oil and gas bonanza that has fueled (no pun intended) the world’s economic development over the last century. The UAE government is very aware of this reality.

That is why it has spent a lot of effort in diversifying the country’s economy away from oil. It has also invested a lot of money in creating a whole new world economic hub centered in Dubai.

And they are succeeding. The Fly Emirates is now one of the world’s premier airlines after disrupting a market that seemed unassailable. Doing business in Dubai has become de rigueur for many industries. So Telegram is based in Dubai now, and that’s also where Roger Federer’s headquarter is. All is great about UAE so far. Things change from here.

In most jurisdictions with solid limitations on internet use, the motivation is political for the most part. But that’s not so in the UAE. Here, the government owns or controls the local telecom industry. So, it traditionally wants the residents to pay for their phone calls. Therefore, voice-over IP calls are unwelcomed competition, and so is everything else that facilitates their use – and that includes VPNs.

Etisalat, a UAE ISP, is particularly keen on blocking VPNs so that its users can’t find their way to VoIP calls. It’s become proficient at this art, investing a lot of energy, resources, and knowledge to meet this goal, and it’s achieved a high degree of success because many great VPNs won’t work for Etisalat users. 

The other leading internet provider in the country, DU, is also of an anti-VPN persuasion. But it’s nowhere near as good as Etisalat in blocking them.

Choosing a good VPN is never easy. The market is overcrowded, and there are too many mediocre vendors around. But when you’re looking for a VPN to use in the UAE, this task is much more critical. Any negligence here would make you end up using one of those networks that DU or Etisalat know how to neutralize.

The options listed in this guide are five VPNs that excel in the features you want in any good VPN. Besides, they know how to help users in the UAE despite the ongoing efforts by the local ISPs to nullify them.