Modern VPN protocols
Modern VPN protocols

Whether and how to use a VPN in the UAE

Hello, the Switcherry VPN team is in touch. Previously we wrote about why you need a VPN in China, but now our article in blog is dedicated to the use of VPN in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – another country with strict laws. After reading the article, you will find out when and why it is necessary to use a VPN in the UAE.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s largest economic and tourist centers. Millions of people visit the UAE every year, many of whom come to the country on business. Of the 10 million population of the UAE, about 90 percent are immigrants. Millions of expats have not left the Emirates for years, filling the shortage of specialists and labor. Thus, the United Arab Emirates is a modern state with a highly developed economy and infrastructure and one of the highest living standards in the world.

But at the same time, one should not forget that the UAE is a conservative Muslim country with strict legislation, which is based on the norms and requirements of Sharia law. Strict laws regulate all spheres of life of the local population, including the use of the Internet. Due to numerous censorship restrictions on the Internet, the UAE occupies one of the first places in the world (however, this area in the Emirates is not as bad as, for example, in Iran or China). Naturally, not only UAE citizens are required to comply with local legislation, but also numerous foreigners temporarily or permanently residing in the country. This becomes a serious test for those who are used to unlimited freedom on the Internet. How to safely bypass censorship and other restrictions on Internet use in the UAE will be discussed in this article.

Why you have to use a VPN in the UAE

Imagine, you have come to the Emirates for a rather long time and suddenly found that all instant messengers and voice and video communication programs installed on your devices stopped working. Also, some other popular Internet services and many sites turned out to be unavailable. You cannot contact either your relatives or friends, and if you come to the UAE for business, then also with colleagues and the management of the company, since you use the same instant messengers and video communication programs to communicate with them. What to do? It’s time to panic. Take it easy – a VPN will solve all your problems.

Using a VPN is the easiest and most natural way to reconnect and unblock popular websites and Internet services.
Blocking Internet resources in the UAE
Blocking Internet resources in the UAE

What Internet services are blocked in the UAE

According to the site dubaifaqs.com in the Emirates, all VoIP services without exception (providing voice and video communication over the Internet) are blocked – this is the main thing that foreigners who come to the country for a long time should know. The reason is simple – only companies approved by the government have the right to provide voice and video communication services to the population in the UAE. Obviously, all these companies are local ISPs, and they are not going to give up their monopoly position in the market to anyone. Therefore, Skype and all other popular in the West VoIP services in the Emirates will not work.

Also in the UAE, by order of the government, the following Internet resources are blocked by local Internet providers:

  • first of all, resources that help to bypass censorship restrictions, that is, all popular anonymizers and public proxies are blocked in the UAE;
  • sites that distribute viruses and other malicious software;
  • phishing, fraudulent, fake, etc. sites;
  • sites with offensive content;
  • sites that encourage any kind of criminal activity;
  • porn sites and any other sites and Internet pages with images of a naked human body;
  • sites that violate international copyright laws (that is, all torrent sites and torrent trackers are blocked);
  • sites selling goods, the import of which is prohibited in the UAE (these may be some types of medicines or weapons);
  • websites advertising services prohibited in the UAE (for example, prostitution, certain types of medical services such as termination of pregnancy);
  • websites of terrorist organizations (that is, those recognized as terrorist by the UAE government);
  • some news sites;
  • sites criticizing the UAE government and the country’s order;
  • sites promoting racial discrimination and religious intolerance;
  • sites promoting the use of drugs and describing the methods of their manufacture;
  • all gambling sites, online casinos, sweepstakes, bookmakers and other online services offering money betting are blocked;
  • certain dating sites are regularly blocked.

If you find that you cannot go to your favorite site and your messenger stops working, just use the services of any good VPN service, and you will immediately get free and unlimited access to all Internet resources blocked in the UAE. In addition, using a VPN while traveling abroad for business or pleasure greatly expands your options and offers many benefits. Here are some of them:

  1. If you have a subscription to any popular American streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, Hulu, etc.), then after arriving in the Emirates, you will immediately find that a huge part of the library of these online cinemas in the country is not available. VPN will help you get full and unlimited access to all movies and TV series from Netflix and other streaming services. We told you about how to watch Netflix via VPN.
  2. VPN allows you to anonymously and securely download files from torrents. (The UAE has very strict legislation regarding the protection of copyright and intellectual property and therefore, as stated above, all known torrent sites in the country are blocked). How to download torrents using VPN – read here.
  3. Most likely, you are well aware that public Wi-Fi networks are insecure. Despite this, free Wi-Fi networks at airports, hotels, cafes and other crowded places are very popular among both tourists and businessmen. Of course, you shouldn’t give up all the amenities and benefits that free Wi-Fi provides. Using a VPN, you can access the Internet via Wi-Fi as securely and confidently as if you were at home.
  4. By changing your IP address with a VPN, you can book hotel rooms, buy flights and shop online at the lowest prices, and play your favorite online games wherever you are! Of course, there are other ways to hide your IP address, but in conditions of total control, as in the UAE, they will not provide complete anonymity.

How a VPN helps you bypass bans and restrictions

To bypass censorship and unblock the Internet, you need to protect your Internet traffic from being monitored and monitored by your ISP. The easiest way to do this is to use any VPN service. The companies that provide VPN services are called VPN providers.

Principle of VPN work
Principle of VPN work

VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology protects data transmitted over open networks from unauthorized access. A secure VPN network is based on virtual connections (so-called VPN tunnels), which are created using modern cryptographic methods. In other words, VPN tunnels are secure, encrypted connections between VPN servers that VPN providers deploy and user devices. Since the data passing through the VPN tunnel is securely encrypted, the ISP loses the ability to track users on the network and block their access to certain sites. In addition, the user’s own IP address is spoofed by the IP address of the VPN server, making it possible to bypass geo-blocking as well.

Security, anonymity and confidentiality are the main things that give a VPN to an ordinary user. You can learn more about VPN technology and all the benefits of using it if you refer to my article “What is a VPN and why you need it.”

Is it legal to use a VPN in the UAE?

By itself, using a VPN in the UAE does not contradict local laws. According to the latest (late 2021) statistics, in the Emirates, VPNs are regularly used by about 40 percent of all residents of the country with Internet access. Problems arise only for those who use VPNs to commit crimes. VPN misuse is punishable by imprisonment or fines ranging from AED 500,000 to AED 2,000,000 (1 UAE Dirham is approximately equal to $ 0.27).

However, local law enforcement agencies begin to apply punitive measures only in cases where the VPN is used to commit really serious (from the point of view of local law) offenses. This can be, for example, calls for the overthrow of the existing government, financing of terrorist organizations, the distribution of drugs and illegal medicines, all types of cybercrimes and Internet fraud, etc.

Thus, if you start using a VPN in the Emirates for simple surfing the network, for communicating with relatives and friends, or with colleagues and business partners, you should not be afraid of any sanctions from the local authorities.

Which VPNs are suitable for working in the UAE

Not all VPN services are able to provide a VPN connection with the appropriate level of security. In order not to get problems when using a VPN in the UAE, it is necessary to take responsibility for choosing a reliable VPN provider. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • first of all, find out which VPN protocols the VPN provider supports. Your VPN connection is only completely secure if the VPN provider uses modern strong cryptographic protocols. To learn more about VPN protocols, see this article.
  • choose a VPN protocol that can disguise your VPN traffic as HTTPS traffic;
  • then make sure that the VPN connection does not have any leaks (for how to do this, see my article “How to check if your VPN connection is secure?“;
  • there must be a Kill-switch emergency switch, preferably built-in;
  • finally, take a look at the total number of VPN servers the VPN provider has and their geographic location. The more modern high-speed servers a VPN provider has, the more reliable and stable the VPN connection it can provide.

Most importantly, you must choose a VPN provider and install VPN clients on your devices before you arrive in the UAE.

Modern VPN protocols
Modern VPN protocols

Switcherry VPN – Superior Choice to Unblock Internet in UAE

If you need a reliable VPN provider to bypass censorship in the UAE, we recommend that you pay attention to our company. Our main advantages:

  • we guarantee a reliable and secure VPN connection;
  • we do not track user activities on the network, do not keep logs and do not provide data about our customers to third-party companies and organizations;
  • our thousands of modern high-speed servers are located in dozens of countries around the world;
  • ready-made solutions for both individuals and businesses;
  • on one tariff plan, it is allowed to connect up to 7 devices at the same time;
  • we have developed convenient VPN clients for computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones running operating systems Windows 7,8,10, Android, iOS, Mac OS, Chrome OS

Even a child can handle the installation of VPN on any device. Our instructions are simple and straightforward – here for Android, here – for iPhone, and here – for Windows 10.

FAQ

1. logged on to the Internet via VPN, but after a while my VPN connection stopped working. What is the reason and what should I do?

1. logged on to the Internet via VPN, but after a while my VPN connection stopped working. What is the reason and what should I do?

Here are the most common reasons for this and possible solutions to this problem:

  • problems on the VPN server side. In this case, try turning off the VPN and reconnecting, but this time to a different VPN server;
  • If the previous advice didn’t help, then your ISP may have discovered that you are using a VPN and blocked your Internet access. This usually happens when outdated, unreliable encryption methods are used and a kill switch is missing. The only solution to this problem is choosing a new VPN provider.

2. I am American and have a Netflix subscription. Will I be punished if the UAE authorities somehow find out that I am watching Netflix movies via VPN that are not available in their country?

2. I am American and have a Netflix subscription. Will I be punished if the UAE authorities somehow find out that I am watching Netflix movies via VPN that are not available in their country?

It depends on what kind of movies you will be watching. If the content of the film does not contradict local traditions and culture, then you are absolutely not in danger. At the same time, remember that all films without exception showing a naked human body are considered pornographic in the UAE and you can be fined a large sum or even imprisoned for watching them.

3. Will the free VPN service work in the UAE?

3. Will the free VPN service work in the UAE?

Perhaps it will, but using a free VPN service in the UAE and other countries where there is strict legislation regulating the activity of citizens on the Internet is strongly discouraged. As practice shows, using completely free VPN services is unsafe, as it always leads to leakage of confidential data. But our company also has a free tariff plan.

Author: SwitcherryVPN Team

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