Censorship and privacy intrusions by government agencies but also private companies are a rising issue all over the world.
The more influence the online world gains over the real one the more it creates the want to control the information and data that is transmitted. And Qatar is not an exception to this.
For 2018 Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index ranked Qatar 125th in the world and a 70/100 in the Freedom of the Press Score by Freedom House - 100 being the worst.
As Freedom House further states the ISPs of Qatar direct any traffic “to a proxy server that maintains a list of banned websites and blocks material deemed inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political, and moral values of Qatar.”
This means you won’t have access to content concerning: Sexual topics, political criticism, certain minority topics, sexual health resources, and dating services.
Like in many non-democratic countries politically or culturally sensitive content is blocked, no matter if you are just visiting or a citizen. There have been a few prominent cases of interference with international press coverage but for most people, it will be more interesting to know what you can or cannot use online.
While the arms race between government agencies and VPN services is speeding up, blocking VPN servers has never been successful for an extended period of time.
They still remain an efficient way to protect your privacy and access content that has been blocked by censorship or regulations.
That’s why we will take the time and look into the best VPNs that are available out there for users from and in Qatar.
The landscape of VPN providers has exploded recently and many offer great services with server capacities of 500-4000 servers around the world.
Therefore we don’t think classical rankings will do you any good. While the issue for Qatar is mostly censorship and blocked services there are other things you might want to consider:
We picked only VPN services with competitive prices and unlimited bandwidth and traffic.
Many providers offer discounts on a regular basis so the prices vary frequently.
Pure VPN is a big and provider and offers a great variety of locations which is great for hiding properly, but they can have issues with DNS security and therefore we don’t wholeheartedly recommend them for use in Qatar.
The most surprising might be that VOIP services are not accessible in Qatar. As ZDnet laid out this is due to the telecommunications regulations that forbid anyone but licensed entities to provide telecommunication services without a license. This affects many popular services like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, FaceTime, and Duo.
The only two providers for telecommunication services of any kind are therefore state-owned Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom) and Vodafone Qatar with government funds being the majority shareholders. Consequently, the government of Qatar has also finical interests to keep free VOIP out of the market.
VPN services act somewhat in a grey area. In theory, VPNs are completely legal, though, the usage of VPNs to circumvent government regulations might be considered illegal.
In Qatar, however, it seems to be deemed not punishable for users to access VOIP via a VPN.
As you noticed there are a lot of choices when picking your VPN provider and many offer a decent service.
Yearly subscription vary between 4$ and 7$ per month while fees for a single month sit around 10$..
All VPNs we listed here offer good privacy and encrypted communication. Many providers offer free trials or money back guarantees.
Therefore we would recommend to try different ones before you you decide for sure.
Making sure also has the advantage that you can be less hesitant when choosing a long-term subscription plan. But look out for special offers that oftentimes offer a significant discount.
After all is said and done it comes down to your preferences of use.
All security tools won’t help if the rest of the package doesn’t suit your needs.
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