​The Best VPNs for ​Saudi Arabia in 2018: Free & Paid Providers

VPNs in the KSA

​Saudi Arabia ranks very poorly on internet freedom. In recent years, the government has been increasingly engaging in censorship and actively monitors the online behaviour of residents.

According to Freedom House, Social media use is restricted and bloggers have been arrested for posting social and political content.

If you live in or are travelling to Saudi Arabia, a VPN can help you access blocked content and stay safe when online. Below we take a look at some of the top VPN options that will allow you to bypass internet restrictions and stay safe when online.

​The 4 Best-Rated VPNs

​Why you should get a Virtual Private Network in Saudi Arabia ​?

There are several reasons why you may need a VPN when in Saudi Arabia. These in include:

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    ​​Censorship: ​​​The Saudi Arabian government has absolute control over the content accessible over the internet. Filters are applied to both local and international traffic and content that is deemed “immoral” or critical of the government is blocked. In addition, torrent sites like The Pirate Bay are also banned and users trying to access the site are met with the following message.

​“Sorry, the requested page is violating the regulations of the Ministry of Culture and Information.”

​Fortunately, using a VPN you can obfuscate your internet traffic allowing you to access any content on the internet.

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    ​Geo-restrictions: ​​​​When in Saudi Arabia, you will be surprised by the sheer number of sites that are inaccessible from within the country. This includes popular streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix US which are only available in the UK and US respectively.
    ​With a VPN you can spoof your location and make it appear as if you are accessing the internet from a different country. All you have to do is choose a VPN that provides servers in that particular country. For instance, in order to access BBC iPlayer, you will need to get a VPN that has servers in the UK.

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    ​​Online privacy: ​​​​​As long as you are connected to the internet, your privacy and anonymity are no longer guaranteed. Your IP address is visible to your ISP and the government can use it to track you. Simply posting content anonymously is no longer enough. 
    For maximum anonymity, a VPN is necessary. When using a VPN, you are assigned a new IP and your real IP is hidden ensuring your identity is protected.

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    ​​Public Wi-Fi Security: ​​​​​Although public Wi-Fi networks are undeniably convenient, most are often unsecured leaving users exposed. All data you send can be read by individuals on the same network. This makes ‘open hotspots’ risky and a prime target for hackers and other malicious individuals looking to steal login details, credit card info and other personal details. To avoid this, it’s important to always use a VPN when on a public Wi-Fi network. All your traffic including your communications will be encrypted protecting it from any prying eyes.

​Is it legal to use a ​​​Virtual ​Private ​Network provider in Saudi Arabia?

Argentina is a relatively free country that respects its citizens’ internet rights. VPNs are not prohibited and you are unlikely to find yourself in any kind of legal jeopardy for using one. Also, you can check if VPN services are legal in other countries.

How to Choose the Top-notch Service?

​Below are some of the factors you should consider when choosing a VPN:

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    ​​Speed: ​​​​You already know that when you use a VPN, your traffic is encrypted and tunneled through an intermediary server. Generally, this causes your internet speed to get slower. As such, you should ensure that you choose a service provider that can guarantee a minimal change in speed. This will allow you to make the most of your internet subscription and enjoy lag-free streaming.
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    ​​Server coverage: ​​​​Selecting a VPN with servers in multiple countries will make it easier for you to get around blocks and censorship. Essentially, the higher the number of servers the better. It also an added advantage speed-wise to choose a VPN that has servers in Saudi Arabia. However, only a handful of providers have servers in the country due to the strict internet restrictions but many VPNs have servers in nearby countries.
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    ​​​​​Security: ​​​​​A VPN that offers advanced security protocols and strong encryption will safeguard your privacy when online. Most providers give users a wide choice VPN protocols including PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN and IKEv2. While each has its pros and cons, OpenVPN remains the most recommended protocol. In addition to OpenVPN, you should also pick a VPN provides 256-bit encryption.
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    ​Number of simultaneous connections: ​​​Most top VPNs allow simultaneous connections. You are able to connect a certain number of devices at the same time ensuring all your devices are protected without the need to get an additional subscription.
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    ​​​​​Apps for multiple platforms: ​​​​​The best VPN providers have software for all the major platforms including Android, IOS, Mac, Windows and Linux clients. 

​Free vs paid VPNs

​Deciding between free and paid VPNs can be challenging. On one hand, you have a VPN service that doesn’t cost you a dime and, on the other hand, you have an option that comes with advanced features but requires you to pay a fee.

Although most free VPNs will work just fine, they pale in comparison to paid VPNs. Their features are limited and can prove to be disappointing to the privacy-oriented users. Again, many free VPNs have data caps and bandwidth limits making them unsuitable for streaming and downloading large files.

Free VPNs can also be greatly unreliable when accessing premium sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Both services have upped their game and can detect and block VPN IP addresses. To avoid detection and enjoy high definition streaming, you will need a VPN that not only offers Dedicated IPs but also one which actively replaces blocked IPs.

All these are features you will only find in a paid VPN service.

​Top paid VPNs for Saudi Arabia

​With over 2000 servers in over 90 countries around the world, ExpressVPN remains one of the best VPNs available.

Number 1 provider - ExpressVPN

​All their servers are optimised for fast speeds making the VPN ideal for streaming HD content. The British Virgin Islands VPN also boasts strict ‘no logs’ policy and you can rest easy knowing your online privacy and anonymity are guaranteed.

ExpressVPN comes with some of the best security features. The VPN provides 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch which ensures you are protected in the event your VPN connection fails.

ExpressVPN also supports port-forwarding and P2P sharing as well as Double VPN which routes data through an extra VPN server for added security.

In addition to speed and security, we were also impressed by the VPN’s split-tunneling capabilities. When switched on, the feature allows you to route select traffic through the VPN while allowing the rest direct access to the internet.

This allows you to protect your browsing without losing access to local network devices.

There are apps for all the major platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, IOS and Android as well as firmware routers. In addition, ExpressVPN users are provided with browser extensions for Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

ExpressVPN does not come cheap and is priced at $12.95 per month on a monthly subscription. Still, you can get the VPN services at a much affordable rate by opting for the 6-month plan at $9.99 per month or the annual plan at $8.32 per month.

All the pricing plans come with the standard 30-day money back guarantee.

Pros

  • ​2000 plus servers
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    ​Fast connection speeds
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    Powerful AES-256 encryption
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    Zero logging
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    P2P file sharing
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    Split tunneling
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    Automatic Kill Switch
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    30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ​Expensive when on a monthly plan

​Perfect Privacy has been around for over a decade and the VPN accomplishes absolutely everything a modern VPN should. The VPN offers strong AES 256-bit encryption with zero logging and fast connection speeds. Users are given access to dedicated bare-metal servers in 23 countries across the world. 

​Where Perfect Privacy really impresses is in its security features. The VPN uses best-in-class standards like OpenVPN and IPSec and fully supports both IPv4 and IPv6.

In addition, you get to enjoy added security features like Stealth VPN, DNS leak protection, firewall kill switch and TrackStop which gets rid of ad-tracking and phishing domains.

The VPN has native clients for all major platforms including apps for mobile devices. At $15.20 per month, its monthly pricing plan remains one of the highest but when you consider that the provider allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections it can seem like a bargain.

Additional pricing plans include a 3-month plan at $14.00 per month, a bi-annual plan at $12.80 per month, an annual plan at $11.70 per month and a 2-year plan at $10.50 per month. Each plan comes with a money back guarantee allowing you to try the product risk-free for a week.

Pros

  • ​Unlimited number of simultaneous connections
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    Zero logging
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    DNS leak protection
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    Integrated firewall protection
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    TrackStop ad blocker
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    Port forwarding
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    Ad and malware blocking
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    Servers in 60 countries including Argentina

Cons

  • ​Costly when on a month-to-month subscription
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    Short 7-day money back guarantee

​Another amazing ​VPN. Based in Panama, NordVPN enjoys some of the most relaxed online regulations. Privacy-focused users will be happy to know the provider does not retain any activity logs. The VPN’s great speeds and 99% guaranteed uptime make it a popular choice not only in KSA but also across the world.

NordVPN in Nigeria

​NordVPN uses strong protocols and 256-bit encryption for enhanced security and privacy when online. Additionally, users have access to specialty servers including obfuscated servers, dedicated VPN servers and Onion over IP servers.

There are clients for Windows, Mac, Android and IOS and the provider supports simultaneous connections allowing users to cover up to 6 devices on a single account.

The VPN service is fairly priced with a monthly subscription available at $11.95 per month. Additional pricing plans include a 6-month plan at $9.00 per month, an annual plan at $6.99 per month.

Pros

  • ​Over 4500 servers
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    Zero logs policy
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    Double encryption
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    Onion over VPN servers
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    Unlimited bandwidth
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    Dedicated IP
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    24/7 live chat support
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    30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ​Server speeds can sometimes vary

Best Free VPN for Saudi Arabia

​TunnelBear is one of the best free Saudi Arabia VPNs available. The VPN offers numerous server locations in multiple countries across the world making it easy for you to bypass censorship and other forms of internet restrictions. 

​The VPN also provides AES 256-bit encryption which for a free VPN is quite impressive. TunnelBear also maintains a strict ‘zero logs’ policy and it’s easy why it’s so popular in Saudi Arabia. With the VPN, you won’t have to worry about being bombarded with targeted ads as TunnelBear actively blocks ads and tracking domains.

The connections are fast as well and you can stream even in high definition with no problems. The VPN software is easy to use and you can install it on devices running Windows, iOS, MAC and Android operating systems. Users can connect up to 5 devices on a single account.

The major downside to using TunnelBear is that you’ll be limited to only 500 MB per month. You can get an additional 1GB for tweeting but that isn’t much either. To stream or download large files, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription.

Pros

  • ​High-speed connection
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    Good server coverage
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    Powerful 256-bit encryption
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    No logging
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    Kill switch
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    Mobile apps

Cons

  • ​Limited bandwidth
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    ​P2P not supported

​Another Saudi Arabia VPN that offers both free and paid options. Hide comes with top notch security features and servers in multiple countries. However, when on a free subscription you are you are given access to only 3 location.

Hideme logo

​If your main reason for getting a VPN is to access Netflix and BBC iPlayer, then the free version isn’t for you. Their limited number of servers makes it easier for streaming services to identify and block their IPs.

However, what Hide Me lacks in server coverage, it more than makes up for in speed and privacy. The provider does not keep any activity logs and according to their privacy policy, they do not sell data to advertisers and other third parties.

Hide Me security features rank among the best and the VPN supports all popular protocols including L2TP, OpenVPN and IPsec (IKEv1 and IKEv2). The VPN is easy to use and is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.

Pros

  • Military-grade 256-bit AES
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    P2P allowed
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    ​No logging
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    ​Port forwarding
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    ​Kill switch

Cons

  • ​Limited server locations

​Although CyberGhost is not an entirely free VPN, it does offer a great stop gap solution. The Romania based VPN offers incredible security and privacy features and can rival the best VPNs in the industry. Users get to enjoy AES 256-bit encryption and can choose between OpenVPN, L2TP and IPSec protocols.

CyberGhost VPN logo

​With over 2200 servers in 61 countries around the world, the VPN is an incredible choice for bypassing censorship and unblocking Netflix. Over the course of the trial period, you get to enjoy unlimited bandwidth and any other premium feature they offer.

There are apps are apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.

Pros

  • ​Full feature free trial
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    2000 plus servers in 61 countries
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    Zero logs policy
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    256-bit AES Encryption
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    DNS and IP Leak Protection
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    Automatic kill switch
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    7 devices with one subscription
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    24/7 customer care

Cons

  • ​Limited trial period

​Final Word

We recommend using a strong VPN when you are online. Not only will it protect your privacy and anonymity but also it will help keep you secure. All the VPNs we have highlighted offer incredible features and are perfect for users in Saudi Arabia.

We found ​ExpressVPN to be the best option overall. The VPN not only effectively unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but also it provides super-fast speeds. ​You can enjoy a safe and lag-free high definition streaming experience. 

Additionally, the VPN has a 99% guaranteed uptime reliability and the provider maintains a strict ‘no logs’ policy.

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