The best UAE and Dubai VPN in 2022

best UAE/Dubai VPN
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The United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, are attracting more and more tourists and businesspeople nowadays. But here, the internet traffic is well-known to be heavily monitored and regimentally censored. That's why you absolutely need one of the best VPN services to protect your online privacy and access restricted sites — no matter if you are a resident, expat, or just passing by.

Online content isn't just censored, though. Authorities also ban the use of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) apps such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Skype. This means that a UAE VPN is a necessity if you want to keep in touch with loved ones free of charge during your stay. 

By hiding your real IP address, a UAE VPN can make you appear as though you're in a complete different location. This grants you the access to such services and other blocked content, while boosting your online anonymity and preventing snoopers to track you down. 

As the government is working hard to restrict VPNs' personal usage, you should choose your security service cautiously. Likewise, we also recommend installing your UAE VPN before you arrive in the country. Keep reading as we narrow down the top VPN for the UAE and Dubai with our top five choices.

What makes a good VPN for UAE and Dubai?

When it comes to the UAE and Dubai, your most important feature in a VPN is its ability to get around the blocking from the government and networks like Etisalat and Du as well as any other geo-restrictions. 

Since there are specific blocks on the likes of WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and Google Meet, a VPN can more than earn its cost when you're over there. Watch out for services offering a reliable VPN obfuscation technology, able to bypass even the toughest restrictions.

Fast speeds and huge network coverage (especially in and around the UAE) are also important factors. Once online, you'll want to actually be able to enjoy reliable connection to easily stream your favorite shows or have Skype chats without talking to a mess of jumpy pixels.

The 24/7 live chat support is also invaluable as it'll mean you can rest easy knowing even if you run into problems, there is a professional that's probably dealt with them before ready to help.

Our list of today's top 3 best UAE/Dubai VPNs:

1. ExpressVPN - the #1 best UAE/Dubai VPN (opens in new tab)

1. ExpressVPN - the #1 best UAE/Dubai VPN (opens in new tab)
Thanks to its solid security suite, top global speeds and knack of unblocking geo-restricted apps and sites, ExpressVPN tops our list of UAE VPNs - and, indeed, the best overall services. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee and get 3 months extra free with an annual plan.

2. NordVPN - a great choice for the security cautious (opens in new tab)

2. NordVPN - a great choice for the security cautious (opens in new tab)
Double VPN; Onion over VPN; Obfuscated servers; independently audited no-logging policy from PricewaterhouseCoopers. NordVPN clearly means business when it comes to keeping your web traffic encrypted and your identity anonymous.

3. Surfshark - the VPN to go for to save money (opens in new tab)

3. Surfshark - the VPN to go for to save money (opens in new tab)
We should say first of all that Surfshark is an excellent, friendly-to-use VPN in its own right. But probably its biggest draw is the fantastic pricing on offer. Sign up for an annual plan, and you'll be spending less than $2.50 USD per month - none of the other main players can match that.

The best UAE/Dubai VPN in 2022:

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)
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1. ExpressVPN

The number one VPN for UAE, Dubai and everywhere

Server/s in UAE: No | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Trial length: 30 days | 24/7 live chat support: Yes

Huge selection of servers
24/7 live chat support, ideal for UAE
Strong on encryption and unblocking
Easy to run on almost any platform
Above average prices
No UAE servers

Best UAE and Dubai VPN 2022 - Get 3 months free with an annual plan (opens in new tab)

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The best all-round virtual private network is ExpressVPN, and that's for both the UAE and Dubai. This VPN will work its magic in the UAE by giving you access to its wide range of secure international servers with great unblocking powers. 

Anonymity and security are big positives with ExpressVPN as it boasts enterprise-grade AES-256 encryption, numerous protocols to choose from (including its very own, speedy and open-sourced Lightway model), a kill switch on most platforms plus IPv6 leak protection. Not only will this do the job of keeping your web activity hidden, but it'll also help you unblock geo-restricted content, allowing you to watch BBC iPlayer or US Netflix while in Dubai, for example.

The huge draw for us has to be the excellent, tried and tested 24/7 live chat support. All that good stuff above is fine, but largely useless if you can't get it working. Plus, Express offers obfuscated servers so that UAE ISPs will struggle to detect that you're using a VPN service.

The only real downside is that, at the time of writing, ExpressVPN doesn't have servers within the country. So, if you need to privately browse locally, this may be not the service for you. It also has a limit to five simultaneous connections at once —some providers allow use on one subscription for unlimited devices these days. But even that should be plenty for most users.

It is worth noting that we experienced a decrease in its top speeds last time we checked, dropping from 630 to 560Mbps when using Lightway. However, our cybersecurity expert Mike Williams assures that these performances should be enough for most users. Anyway, there's no need to take our word for granted, as you can try it out yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee instead. 

Get the best UAE and Dubai VPN 2022 with 3 months FREE (opens in new tab)

Get the best UAE and Dubai VPN 2022 with 3 months FREE (opens in new tab)
As you can probably tell, we really rate ExpressVPN when it comes to staying safer in distant climes. And the good news is that TechRadar readers can get a little perk, too. ExpressVPN has agreed to give readers three months extra free when you sign up — fantastic value for a brilliant UAE and Dubai VPN.

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2. NordVPN

The top UAE VPN to safely browse locally

Server/s in UAE: Yes | Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 80+ | Maximum devices supported: 6 | Trial length: 30 days | 24/7 live chat support: Yes

Ultra secure double encryption
Excellent speeds
Great at most unblocking
Speedy live chat support 
Other VPNs have better mobile apps
Basic browser extensions

Perhaps the best known VPN name on the market, NordVPN got its fame thanks to some impressive performances. And it hasn't given any signs to pull back either, with improved connection speeds reaching 820 Mbps with WireGuard and 470 with OpenVPN last time we checked.

Its focus on security is pretty evident with things like double kill switches, DNS leak protection and 256-bit encryption. To enhance your security even further, switch on its Double VPN option and all your internet traffic will be encrypted not once, but twice. Plus, its new addition Meshnet is ideal for those seeking to secure their workload across multiple devices. 

NordVPN boasts over 5,500 speedy servers dotted about the globe that can be accessed from the UAE with great reliability. Some of those are actually in the UAE, meaning you can get the best possible speeds by keeping your connection local. A great feature if you live locally and want to keep search results locally focused. These UAE-based locations even host obfuscated servers that are specifically configured to bypass network firewalls in countries with the toughest restrictions.

Despite restriction efforts by Etisalat and Du, NordVPN performs well as both a Netflix VPN and BBC iPlayer VPN while in the UAE. Yep, NordVPN is also among the planet's very best streaming VPN providers. Plus, thanks to a speedy 24/7 live chat support, you will be able to address any issues in no time. 

While the map-based interface on smaller screens isn't ideal and its browser extensions are still a bit basic, this remains one of the best UAE VPNs for Dubai and Abu Dhabi you can get.

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3. Surfshark

Bargain UAE VPN that doesn't compromise

Server/s in UAE: Yes | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+ | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Trial length: 30 days | 24/7 live chat support: Yes

Super price
Unlimited device use
Excellent unblocking
Improved WireGuard speeds
Kill switch issues in extreme situations
Below average OpenVPN speeds 

You may be drawn to Surfshark because of the price. But you'll keep using it because of the impressive feature list, easy-to-use apps, and performance that punches well above the affordability of this VPN service. Despite being a budget option, Surfshark is still one of our favorite overall services.

Among its 3,200+ servers across the world, Surfshark offers UAE servers too. This means you can get some of the best speeds possible while still keeping yourself secure and anonymous online within the country. That's ideal for those living there or staying for prolonged periods who have their online security at heart. 

You can also turn on its obfuscation option - here called Camouflage mode - to escape UAE VPN blocks and boost reliability. Plus, its No Borders feature will automatically connect you to the servers performing the best under network restrictions. 

Surfshark also sits among the most secure VPN services thanks to its top-notch features like DNS leak protection, kill switch and an AES-256 encryption with double-hop for extra safety, but also split tunneling for easy access to areas outside the VPN. An IP rotator feature included with its new Nexus technology will make it even more difficult to track your online activities.

From Netflix and Hulu to iPlayer and Peacock, Surfshark unblocks all the major streaming platforms, and it'll do so while giving you great speeds, too. However, it's worth noting that while Shurfshark was the fastest VPN we tried out when connected to WireGuard, its speeds were below average with OpenVPN. However, this is unlikely to be a huge factor for most users.

Proton VPN interface for various platforms

(Image credit: Proton VPN)
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4. ProtonVPN

Secure and speedy UAE and Dubai VPN with decent free option

Server/s in UAE: Yes | Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server locations: 85+ | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Trial length: 30 days - free version available | 24/7 live chat support: No

Free plan with unlimited bandwidth
Secure core UAE servers (paid only)
Open source, audited and top-quality apps 
Improved network coverage on free plan 
Customer support needs improvement
Some features limited to Plus plan

It's true, ProtonVPN isn't certainly the most affordable provider out there. However, its commitment to internet freedom is evident looking at its completely free VPN with unlimited bandwidth that just passed from having only 29 free servers to over 100.  

Paid subscribers can choose among more than 1,800 servers across 85+ locations, too. These include 12 located within UAE borders. Users who need extra security can even enjoy its Secure Core tech and have their traffic rerouted through multiple ultra-secure servers instead. This means your unencrypted data will still be safe even if the UAE server got compromised.

In terms of security, ProtonVPN boasts a wide range of excellent security features, like its ad blocker, NetShield, terrific kill switches, powerful encryption, strong protocols to choose from, DNS leak protection and built-in Tor support for accessing Onion sites. 

When it comes to speed, we have experienced some slower speeds this time around, with its WireGuard peaks dropping from 670 to 510Mpbs. However, this is unlikely to be a problem for most users. Proton also boasts great unlocking power, allowing to easily access foreign libraries of the likes of Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Disney+ during your stay in the UAE.  

Unlike its aforementioned competitors, Proton doesn't have a 24/7 live chat just yet. This may be a problem for some customers, especially those new to the world of VPNs. Despite this, for those already comfortable using VPNs, it's a privacy-focused provider that's well worth testing out.

Private Internet Access apps running on desktops, mobiles and tablets

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)
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5. Private Internet Access (PIA)

The best value for money Turkey VPN

Server/s in UAE: Yes | Number of servers: 10,000+ | Server locations: 110 | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Trial length: 30 days | 24/7 live chat support: Yes

Open source apps 
Great value for money
Excellent kill switch 
Tons of servers
No security audit (yet)
Features might intimidate newbies

A provider that we see constantly improving, Private Internet Access (PIA) has also recently lowered its price. It even beats Surfshark as one of the cheapest services around right now.

However, although its price got lower, PIA's servers offer did quite the opposite. Users can now choose among over 10,000 across 84 countries. Some of those are located in the UAE, too. You will be then able to browse locally, if you're interested in doing so. 

In terms of privacy features, PIA offers a long list of options that will accommodate any types of users — especially those more advanced. These include an excellent kill switch, browser extensions with extra privacy perks, open-source apps and a live chat support service. A recently added SmartDNS feature will help you to smoothly bypass online censorship and streaming geo-restrictions, too. 

During our testing, it successfully unlocked US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Disney+. It's not quite as good as previous services yet, though, as it failed to do so with failed to do so with 10Play and some foreign Netflix catalogs. 

In terms of speed, PIA is not yet among the fastest VPN services, too. But in reality, it's still capable of speeds far faster than your average domestic internet connection - its peaks even rose from 450 to 510Mbps when using WireGuard. Plus, the provider is showing commitment in transparency with an independently audited no-logging policy under its belts, and one on its security infrastructure coming soon.   

UAE flag on laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

VPN for UAE and Dubai FAQ

Are VPNs illegal in the UAE?

Due to how heavily the UAE relies on the use of VPN in businesses, the government has not outright banned them. The use of a VPN, therefore, is not illegal.

That said, like in just about any country where a VPN is legal, that doesn't automatically give you a safety net if you're found to be committing crimes behind a VPN. 

It has been stated those using a VPN for the "purpose of committing a crime or prevent its discovery" could face a fine of up to AED2,000,000. That's about $500,000. It is worth noting that also accessing restricted content such as dating, gambling, pornography, drugs, and VoIP websites is against the law in the UAE and sanctionable with fines. 

We do not condone breaking the law, and it is at the user's discretion to determine the risk of using a VPN.

Are VPNs working in the UAE?

VPN services are facing more and more obstacles to operate within the country. And that's why the UAE government is actively blocking personal VPN usage to prevent people to bypass the restrictions in place. 

The situation is complex and ever-changing, with VPN providers doping the best they can to find new ways to escape these blocks.

The good news is that some of the VPN services listed here use obfuscated servers able to evade VPN detection. Plus, they all offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can try them out without losing any money. 

Why should you download a UAE VPN?

As outlined, there are a number of reasons having a VPN for the UAE and Dubai is a good idea. With the ability to bypass internet censorship and access content, you can also use the usual messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and so on and work around Etisalat and Du's monopoly of the VoIP market.

Of course, as is a popular perk of a VPN, you can stream even more, including live sporting events, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more when outside the country. Great for travelers and expats especially, this allows you to access broadcasts from your home country by virtually relocating thanks to a streaming VPN