Best Middle East VPNs for Staying Absolutely Secure

Living in the Middle East requires you to be very careful about what you do online. You need a way to browse anonymously. Did you know a mere Facebook rant can land you in jail in the United Arab Emirates? Actually, you could get deported from Dubai if you insult someone on Twitter. Well, it may seem like the Middle East treats the internet as the enemy, but there are good reasons for this.
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Why is the Middle East So Strict on Internet Use?

The truth is, cybercrime laws in this region are very tough. They have been enacted to fight terrorism. In many instances, the voices of activists and campaigners are knocked over by Arabian governments just to stop any form of public incitement. It is worth noting that most Internet Service Providers in the Middle East block any content deemed ‘haram.’ This includes pornography sites, gambling platforms, and websites which sell alcohol. This legislation helps to protect underage kids.

How to Enjoy Internet in the Middle East

Imagine waking up one day and finding your messenger app blocked because it has been banned countrywide. Not to mention, you may not be able to login to geo-blocked content such as YouTube and streaming websites. Many of the social sites are censored temporarily, and in some places, permanently blocked. Luckily, you can sidestep these restrictions with the help of the best VPN for the Middle East. A VPN enables you to log in to geo-restricted sites and apps. You can unlock a whole world of social networks with a useful Middle East VPN.

Criteria to Look for in the Best VPN for the Middle East

With the increasing need for online privacy by internet users in the Middle East, the number of VPN providers is escalating day by day. Different VPNs offer various features, and all of them claim to be the most effective. But can you identify the best VPN for the Middle East? What are the most important criteria to look at? See below the characteristics of a reliable VPN.

Powerful Encryption

A Middle East VPN is only as good as its security level. You need the highest encryption level to safeguard your information so that even the most vigilant snooper cannot decrypt your online traffic if they come across it. One of the strongest encryption mechanisms to consider is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The best VPNs feature a military-grade security level, i.e. AES-256 to encrypt user’s data.

In addition to powerful encryption, the best VPN for the Middle East comes with added features including a kill switch to stop all connections in case of network failure and offer IP leak protection. These qualities ensure that online privacy and anonymity is not compromised even when the internet connection drops.

No-Logs Policy

The main aim of using a Middle East VPN is to stay away from prying eyes. The last thing you want is the government monitoring your online behavior. It will be such a huge disappointment if your VPN provider is forced by the authorities to submit your personal information. So, you want to make sure that they do not store any logs whatsoever. A reliable VPN doesn’t keep personally identifiable data. It should be able to stop third parties and ISPs from checking what you do on the web. If a VPN doesn’t have a strict no-logs policy, dismiss it, because third parties may access your information in some way. Even worse, your data might be compromised in case of a security breach.

VPN Protocols

In terms of security, OpenVPN is the best in the industry, and its processing overhead is low. Some of the open-source technologies which OpenVPN uses include SSL v3/TLS v1 and OpenSSL encryption. You can configure the VPN server to work over any port, e.g. TCP port 443. The good thing is that OpenSSL traffic remains indistinguishable from typical HTTPS traffic from secure websites. As such, it is hard for anyone to block OpenSSL. It is worth remembering that OpenVPN doesn’t use weak Blowfish encryptions but rather the military-grade AES as mentioned earlier.

If possible, forget the PPTP protocol as it is quite outdated. Its encryption mechanism is weak and has several security issues. The only place you can use PPTP is when surfing from a public Wi-Fi so that no one steals your passwords. However, it may not suffice when you need serious security in the Middle East

Another VPN protocol which has made significant improvements in the past few years is the Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol (L2TP/IPsec). But its speed and security levels do not compare to OpenVPN. Keep in mind that L2PT offers no encryption, and that is why it is best combined with IPsec. Because it utilizes the UDP port 500, it is hard to hide on a different port, unlike OpenVPN. As such, any ISP can block your traffic when using a VPN with L2TP. Generally, this protocol can hardly bypass notorious firewalls.

Ideally, IPsec is secure, but the NSA can compromise it. Note that it is slower than OpenVPN but a better option than PPTP. The only time you get to choose L2TP over OpenVPN is when you are working on Android and iOS phones because these two operating systems do not support OpenVPN. For the Windows OS, Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is a reliable option as it is integrated into the system. Again it uses SSL v3 just like OpenVPN, and so you can rely on SSTP to get around firewalls.

A Wider Network of Servers

Before you subscribe to any VPN to use in the Middle Eastern countries, find out how many servers it supports and in what regions. Also, check where the provider is based to see if they match your needs. If you are worried about government surveillance, avoid any VPN based in a country which is in close ties with yours. Perhaps you want to be streaming content from YouTube and Netflix. In this case, you need a VPN with many servers located in Western countries, because Asian and African servers would not help much. Basically, look for a diverse network of servers across the world.

High-Speed Connections

A VPN’s job is to reroute your online activity through private servers. As such, it is normal to lose connection speed when you connect to the VPN. But a reliable provider can counteract this issue with numerous servers. The more server locations there are, the lower the load time and consequently a speedy connection. Always look for the closest server to your real location because distance plays a big role when it comes to speed.

Device Compatibility

Even the best VPN in the world will be of no use if it’s incompatible with your device. Before you download the app, ensure that it is supported on your OS. The good news is that the best VPNs for the Middle East support all popular operating systems and devices. You probably want to be using the same VPN on various devices simultaneously. Then opt for an option that allows multiple connections. This will save you money as you protect all your family members or office workers.

Eight Highly Recommended VPNs for the Middle East

The use of VPN in the Middle East is imperative. Still, not all VPNs offer reliable services, including some premium subscriptions. To avoid the hassle of trying every available VPN, here is a list you can trust.

1. ExpressVPN
2. NordVPN
3. CyberGhost
4. PrivateVPN
5. IPVanish
6. VyprVPN
7. BulletVPN
8. Surfshark

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a high-speed VPN with powerful unblocking abilities. You can start with a 30-day free trial with premium protection, although you need to pay upfront. At the end of the trial period, you are refunded the money. With a huge network of 130 servers in 87 locations, there’s so much benefit from ExpressVPN when you are in the Middle East. Thanks to a strong privacy policy plus the strongest encryption, AES with 256-bit keys, you can bypass censorship with ExpressVPN knowing that your information is safe from government surveillance.

Benefits

  • Uncrackable military-grade encryption
  • Protection against IPV6 and DNS leaks
  • OpenVPN protocols (TCP and UDP)
  • A kill switch for desktop
  • No-logs policy
  • Impeccable performance on Android, Mac, Windows, Linus, and iOS

Drawbacks

  • Limited to three simultaneous connections

2. NordVPN

This VPN offers hard-to-beat subscription prices, particularly the long-term plans. Highly secure with AES-256-GCM encryption, it works well for the Middle East. The number of servers on NordVPN exceeds 4000 and spreads across 62 countries. As a strong contender in the VPN industry, this service pushes all the necessary buttons in terms of speed, security, and user privacy.

Benefits

  • Double VPN for a stronger security
  • Protects against DNS leaks
  • Impeccable speeds except in Malaysia
  • Affordable payment plans
  • Allows six simultaneous device connections
  • A kill switch for added protection
  • Accepts payments in cryptocurrencies
  • Updated Netflix support

Drawbacks

  • Configuring the OpenVPN is not easy
  • Most servers do not support torrenting

3. CyberGhost

This Romanian-based VPN provider has been on the market for seven years. It packs an AES 256-bit encryption along with OpenVPN and IPSec protocols. The long-term pricing strategy is very affordable like that of NordVPN. The network is huge, with 3999 IP addresses from 60 countries. Most servers are in the US, the UK, and the EU but sparsely distributed in Asia.

Benefits

  • Supports up to seven devices connected at the same time
  • Easy to install and use
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Allows torrenting
  • No IP leaks

Drawbacks

Slow customer service

4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is another best VPN for the Middle East. It offers greater speeds than most of its counterparts. But the major disadvantage is a small network of servers, i.e. 88 of them located in 59 countries. As far as security goes, PrivateVPN takes the crown with 256-bit encryption, IP/WebTRC leak protection, and a kill switch. Allowing six simultaneous connections, you can secure most of your devices at home. Notably, registering an account with PrivateVPN is absolutely anonymous and so is making payments with Bitcoin.

Benefits

  • Excellent speeds
  • Powerful unlocking abilities
  • Strong privacy policy

Drawbacks

  • Requires manual configuration on Linux devices and routers
  • Few servers

5. IPVanish

A US-based VPN, IPVanish, claims to be the leading VPN in the world. Its 1300 plus servers cut across 75 countries in North America and Europe. It is compatible with almost any Operating System on earth. It provides dedicated software for iOS, Android, Windows, Fire TV, and Mac. With any router, Chromebook, and Ubuntu, you can manually configure IPVanish and enjoy the service. Like many leading VPNs, IPVanish uses AES-256 encryption and allows torrenting.

Benefits

  • Ten device connection limit
  • Impressive download speed
  • No-logging of user data
  • Most servers work with Netflix

Drawback

  • Pricier than the rivals

6. VyprVPN

If you are seeking a fast VPN with numerous servers in the Middle East, then VyprVPN is your best choice. You can start with a three-day trial to see if their advanced security features are true. With a regular subscription, you get three simultaneous connections. Still, you can upgrade to a premium service with up to five connections per account. VyprVPN can unblock streaming websites without a hassle.

Benefits

  • 256-bit encryption
  • Kill switch for desktop applications
  • Doesn’t log personal information

Drawbacks

Does not allow synonymous registration

7. BulletVPN

At a glance, BulletVPN offers an enjoyable experience, kudos to numerous VPN protocols, smart DNS, multiplatform support, unlimited bandwidth, and fast speeds. Even though it has a limited number of servers (71 only) in 37 countries, it strives to give the Middle East the best unblocking services. Using OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv1 and 2, and PPTP, BulletVPN can circumvent geo-blocks for Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, and Pandora. Reliable connections can lift all sorts of bans. Meanwhile, the provider does not retain any personal data to ensure the ultimate online privacy.

Benefits

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • P2P torrenting access
  • Prompt customer service
  • Unblocks most geo-blocked content

Drawbacks

  • Limited number of servers
  • Lacks a free trial

8. Surfshark

Surfshark is a security-conscious VPN with high speeds and a wider network reach of about 500 servers in 50 countries. With a decent speed, Surfshark allows you to access most geo-blocked content. By default, the VPN uses 256-bit encryption and protects the user against any form of IP leak. The most distinguishing quality of Surfshark is the ability to connect to an unlimited number of devices. It also provides an extra feature of blocking ads and malware.

Benefits

  • Unbeatable number of security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • Multi-platform support
  • No logging

Drawbacks

  • Smaller network
  • Fewer P2P servers with low speeds

Conclusion

Internet connectivity is growing big. Still, the Middle East may lag behind as the governments continue to deny residents the freedom to use the World Wide Web. If you are living in the Middle East, you need to do something about this. You have the right to continue using Telegram, WhatsApp, and Skype. Similarly, you should keep up with informative content on YouTube and streaming networks.

What you need is a new online identity, which is only possible with a VPN. The above eight services can improve your online security by hiding your real IP. To start browsing anonymously, you only need to follow a few steps.

I. Register an account with one of the above Middle East VPN services
II. Opt for a paid version
III. Download the VPN software and install
IV. Sign in using your credentials
V. Choose a server and connect
VI. Check whether your IP has changed

Bravo! Your real IP is officially hidden. No ISP or third party can spy on you.