5 Best VPN for Saudi Arabia - Bypass Websites Bans

article by Maria Perinic
July 10, 2019

When you go overseas you have to make sure all your documents are in order ahead of time and you usually read up on cultural traditions and possible legal issues that you might encounter. Saudi Arabia is one country that has incredibly strict laws in terms of internet freedoms. It comes as no surprise, then, that a lot of citizens of Saudi Arabia themselves rely on VPNs as a means of using the internet anonymously and without legal backlash.

Websites that are considered to contain harmful content including that of anti-Islamic, pornographic, drug or gambling related will also be blocked. Did you know that the country has only one political party and that their website is blocked because political parties are illegal in Saudi Arabia? As you can see this would be a huge shock to any westerner visiting or living in Saudi Arabia. If you are heading over to this beautiful country, a VPN is essential.

Top VPNs for Saudi Arabia

#1 ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN LogoIf you love to sit back and watch streaming platforms such as Netflix, you should know that accessing them will be either impossible or extremely restricted. With ExpressVPN you can get around geo-blocked content even in countries like Saudi Arabia. Connect to audio and video streaming sites like YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling TV, iPlayer, ESPN, BBC, and everyone’s favorite, Netflix.

These guys have over 2,000 servers in 100 countries and ExpressVPN headquarters are located in the Virgin Islands, which means they are out of sight of the 5-9-14 Eyes Alliance, so your anonymity will never be compromised.

Lightning fast speeds are normal for ExpressVPN users, but unlike other VPN providers, you can count on ExpressVPN to have constantly fast speeds. This means it is ideal for streaming and torrenting. On top of all that ExpressVPN supports P2P connections on all servers and their Smart Location feature will choose the best server for you depending on what you need to use it for.

Protecting your internet connection is not an issue in Saudi Arabia as ExpressVPN offer military-grade security as well as OpenVPN support, DNS leak protection and a Network Lock setting which is just another name for a kill switch.

Setup should only take a couple of minutes and with a one-click startup, you will be well on your way to internet freedom in moments. If you don’t consider yourself very tech savvy, you should know that customer support is on call 24-hours a day with knowledgeable and friendly agents waiting to help you out.

Here are some of the top reasons to choose ExpressVPN for Saudi Arabia:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Ultra-fast streaming speeds
  • Compatible with Android TV (Box) and Fire TV
  • Apps available for every device
  • Hides your streaming activity
  • No connection logs
  • No activity logs
  • P2P possibility
  • Ping times that are minimally affected
  • ExpressVPN works extremely well in high censorship countries
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Large international server network
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Outstanding customer service
  • 99% uptime guarantee

ExpressVPN also offers a special deal, get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual subscription plan!

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.

#2 Surfshark

Surfshark VPNThese guys are relatively new in the VPN world, but they’re having no trouble giving their competition a run for their money. This is primarily due to Surfshark offering a service that currently no other VPN provider can match. When subscribing to Surfshark you will have the rare bonus of unlimited simultaneous connections, so if you want to protect yourself, your family and use multiple devices with a VPN connection, Surfshark is the VPN to beat.

This wouldn’t mean much if Surfshark were not able to provide their customers with a great service, but they do that as well. Heavily restricted countries will not be able to stop you from accessing your favorite sites with Surfshark’s NoBorders feature. On top of that, they offer split tunneling and kill switch, along with a security suite called CleanWeb which will block ads as well as any malware coming your way.

Their growing network now includes over 800 servers in 50 countries around the world which means you will always have a connection available to connect to when in Saudi Arabia.

Torrenting is also not an issue because you have multiple servers available in countries like the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK, but you won’t have to connect to them manually. Just start a P2P connection and connect to a random server, the app will switch you over to the best torrenting location.

Here are more reasons why Surfshark makes for a great VPN for Saudi Arabia:

  • Good download speeds
  •  Zero logging
  •  Unlimited bandwidth
  •  Unlimited platform protection
  • Unlimited Server Switching
  • Some servers work with Netflix
  • Strong encryption
  • Torrenting allowed
  • NoBorders feature

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.

#3 CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPNIf you have a lot of trouble when it comes to using computers and technical devices in general, this might be the VPN for you. Installation and setup will not be a problem as CyberGhost offers a one-click setup and use. It cannot get much simpler than that.

Having over 3,000 servers in 60 countries, CyberGhost also offers servers for streaming and torrenting as well as a kill switch. With jurisdiction in Romania, CyberGhost claim not to log any of your internet data and a solid encryption means third parties will not be able to spy on your online activities.

CyberGhost puts all their faith in their VPN and that can be seen in their 45-day money-back guarantee when you subscribe to their three-year plan.

Here are some more reasons why we recommend CyberGhost for Saudi Arabia:

  • Strict No Logs Policy
  • High speeds
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 7 devices
  • Easy to use
  • 256-bit AES Encryption
  • Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
  • OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP protocols
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here

#4 NordVPN

Nord VPN 210X100This is one of our top recommendations when it comes to the best VPNs to use in Saudi Arabia. With great performance and fantastic features, Nord is one VPN service provider that few are able to beat.

Nord has jurisdiction in Panama which means that your online activity will remain anonymous and out of reach from data retention laws. Also, their ample amount of servers of over 5,000 in 60 countries will mean you are never at a loss for a connection. Nord has a special feature that sets them apart called DoubleVPN which basically means your internet traffic will be encrypted twice. This is fantastic in terms of security, but note that it might slow down your connection.

CyberSec is one more feature that is unique to Nord which will provide you with ad blocking features as well as extra protection against malware. Advanced obfuscation settings will ensure that your VPN even works in countries with tough censorship laws, even getting around the ‘Great Firewall of China’. Custom DNS settings and two different kill switches mean that even if things go south you know you will be safe.

Taking your privacy extremely seriously, NordVPN’s privacy policy is very clear.

“We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data. From the moment a NordVPN.com user turns on the NordVPN.com software, their internet data becomes encrypted. Any online traffic coming from their user’s device is no longer visible to ISP, third-party snoopers or cybercriminals.”

If you want to pay for your subscription with PayPal, think about using a different service provider because Nord does not accept this method of payment.

Here are some more cool features NordVPN have on offer:

  • Over 5000 servers in 62 countries
  • IP Leak protection
  • Double VPN
  • CyberSec
  • Onion over VPN
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 6 devices
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Set-up and installation takes just minutes
  • 24-hour customer support

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.

Saudi Arabia Privacy Laws and Regulations

As we mentioned earlier, you will find that many websites are blocked in Saudi Arabia. These include those websites that promote anti-Islamic or offensive content. This can also extend to licensed news websites as well as human rights and political websites.

Pornographic, drug, and gambling websites are also targeted with service providers having to block any and all sites that the Communications and Information Technology Commission asks them to. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines of up to 5 million SAR ($1.33 million).

Although social media platforms are available to access, there have been restrictions imposed which make those same platforms either slow down or not function completely. This is said to stop extremist groups from using them, but affects everyone.

Piracy is illegal in Saudi Arabia so if you wish to torrent, a VPN will be your best bet as many websites thought to distribute copyrighted materials are completely banned.

When it comes to the content that you distribute on the internet, criticism of the Saudi royal family is not tolerated and it is best for individuals to be cautious of their words that they post on social media. “Insulting the reputation of the state” as well as “harming public order” means that a variety of things can be deemed inappropriate and criminalized.

Anti-Cyber Crime Laws limit freedom of expression and if you are thought to be harming public order, religious values or public morals you could face a penalty of up to five years in jail or even a fine of 3 million SAR ($800,000). Surveillance is avid with websites, blogs, social media, chat rooms, emails, and text messages all being monitored.

Are VPNs Legal in Saudi Arabia

The short answer is yes, however you do need to be careful. Although there are no particular laws that have officially banned the use of a VPN there are over 400,000 websites that are blocked in Saudi Arabia. There are also methods that the government can use in order to see if you have committed illegal online activity.

As long as you are aware of the internet laws and regulations in Saudi Arabia and use your VPN for legal purposes you shouldn’t have any issues.

Saudi Arabian Streaming Services

If you’re leaving Saudi Arabia either for a holiday, to study or for business reasons, you won’t want to miss out on some of your favorite shows. With a reliable VPN, you can connect to these platforms and watch as though from the comfort of your own home.

Starz Play Arabia

Launched in 2015, this Dubai-based platform has its biggest market in Saudi Arabia and offers viewers the ability to watch English films, original content, children’s programs as well as content in Arabic.

Icflix

Available in Arabic, English, and French, this streaming platform offers a wide range of content. In 2015 they also partnered with the United Nations in order to produce a series which reported on the efforts of UN workers around the globe to reduce human suffering.

Telly

Considered to be the Netflix of the Middle East, Telly produces their own original material and is available in countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt amongst many others.

Shahid

Probably the most popular VOD platform, Shahid offers a wide range of video content including films, soap operas as well as premium content.

Choosing a VPN for Saudi Arabia

When you are looking for the right VPN for Saudi Arabia, some features are much more important than others. Firstly, security is something that you have to consider, so that you are not only out of sight when it comes to surveillance, but will also keep you protected from malicious hackers.

A killswitch is definitely needed in Saudi Arabia so that if your VPN connection drops, your internet connection will do the same. You do not want to get in trouble with the law here so a VPN company that might keep logs is out of the question.

Great speed is essential for any VPN, and although many promise it, few will actually live up to their word. Customer service is essential when you get stuck, especially in a place like Saudi Arabia. Having VPN customer service agents available around the clock to help you is key here.

Here are some more things to consider when investing in the best VPN for Saudi Arabia:

  • Unlock gaming and TV show streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime
  • Strong encryption
  • Bypass ISP throttling
  • Fast performance
  • Avoid ISP monitoring and tracking
  • Easy setup
  • Trusted military-grade protection
  • Circumvent any campus or office firewall
  • Malware protection
  • Supports numerous devices
  • Protect your data from hackers
  • Large amount of servers
  • Transparent privacy policy
  • No logs
  • Fantastic customer service

The Bottom Line

Saudi Arabia has a lot of gray areas when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed in terms of content found on the internet. With over 400,000 websites blacklisted, you should be aware that you will not be able to access various sites including those thought to shame Islam, porn sites, gambling or drug-related sites. Political and human rights websites are also often blocked.

When traveling to Saudi Arabia, whether for business or pleasure, you want to make sure that you are completely protected from outside sources, so investing in a VPN is vital. Having a VPN means that your internet traffic is rerouted to another country and your data encrypted, making your internet experience anonymous.

A kill switch is an indispensable feature that will shut down your online activity should your VPN connection drop. With fantastic speeds, user protection and fantastic customer service, our VPN of choice for Saudi Arabia is ExpressVPN.