When it comes to freedom of accessing content on the Internet, Saudi Arabia ranks among the worst countries. There are many social media apps and websites that are inaccessible in the country. Furthermore, bloggers have been prosecuted and imprisoned for speaking out against the authoritarian regime.
According to Freedom House, Saudi Arabia (KSA) is not free, because commentary and access to online content is often highly restricted. It is for that reason that a large portion of Internet users in the country use a VPN to access the Internet. The best VPNs to use in KSA are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, CyberGhost and VyprVPN.
A VPN enables you to securely access the Internet. It disguises your actual location and encrypts all your incoming and outgoing traffic through an intermediary server in a different country. As a result, the government, hackers, and your ISP have no way of knowing what you’re doing online.
This software is your best bet, especially if you’re an expat in the KSA because with it you can still access your best shows and sports programs from your country of origin through streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Sky Sports and Hulu.
When trying to figure out which VPN service is the best to use in KSA, we took the following characteristics into consideration:
- Large global server network
- Fast, reliable connection
- Highly intuitive
- Powerful encryption
- Compatible across all devices
Let’s take a closer look at the providers.
This provider is consistently ranked the highest because it’s, among other things, one of the fastest and most intuitive. It has a great user interface and employs the best encryption protocols in the industry. You can manually choose a server from the recommended list, or let the app select the best location through the “smart location” feature.
It has more than 1500 servers spread out in 94 countries, some of which are located in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. If you’re an expat in KSA, ExpressVPN is a solid service with which to access streaming websites from back home.
The service keeps minimal records of your metadata, as well as your preferred server and bandwidth usage. It doesn’t log your IP address. If you’re feeling extra paranoid, ExpressVPN offers the option of paying for the service using Bitcoin, in order to add another layer of anonymity.
With regard to security, the service uses a 256-bit AES encryption with perfect forward secrecy and HMAC authentication. You also get a built-in kill switch that disconnects the Internet connection in case your VPN connection drops. ExpressVPN easily bypasses restrictions set by Netflix, allowing you to stream content as if you had never left your home. Torrenting is also supported and the apps are available for all mobile and desktop platforms.
Subscription plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN is one of the longstanding providers on the market that has a huge user base. On the surface, the app might appear somewhat cumbersome and clunky. However, that isn’t a reflection of the quality of service that you will receive. The service is lightning-fast and highly secure. Many VPN enthusiast believe that it is the most secure VPN on the market.
In terms of privacy, the provider has a strict no-logging policy: it doesn’t keep records of users’ timestamps, traffic and sessions. Therefore, in the event that the provider is compelled by the government to hand over all customer information, your privacy is maintained because they will have no records to offer the government. If there’s a country where this is advantageous, then it’s Saudi Arabia.
With a vast worldwide server network in numerous countries, you can be sure that you’ll always find a good connection. NordVPN is among the few VPN providers that have dedicated some of their own servers for specific functions, such as video streaming, anti-DDoS, Tor over VPN, double VPN and dedicated IP addresses.
This provider employs 256-bit AES encryption that is accompanied by a 2048-bit SSL key. For optimal security, DNS leak protection comes with the package. NordVPN has native apps for all platforms.
This provider has built a powerful reputation thanks to its high encryption standards and fast speeds. Among the advantages of this service is its affordability. Some prospective users may take issue with the fact that IPVanish is based in the US. This should, however, not worry you because the provider does not keep your data. The system administrators of the service cannot even see your bandwidth usage, preferred servers, or your session history.
IPVanish’s encryption is formidable. To accompany its 256-bit encryption standard, the package also includes SHA512 authentication, default OpenVPN security protocol, perfect forward secrecy and a DHE-RSA 2048 key exchange. Therefore, even if your account with the provider is compromised, your past records are still inaccessible because they’re still encrypted.
For additional security, IPVanish offers an automatic kill switch that disables your Internet connection in the event that your VPN connection is lost. A wide variety of server locations means that you can easily find a suitable connection for accessing Geo-restricted content. Just keep in mind that Netflix and Hulu aren’t among the online services that the provider can unblock. It does support torrenting, though.
This provider comes in particularly handy for Kodi users because it helps speed up downloads of content to your device. The price plans come with the 7-day money-back guarantee.
Beginners usually prefer this service because in addition to being affordable, it’s also highly intuitive, because it operates on a plug-and-play basis. Admittedly, CyberGhost might not have a global server network as large as the ones of other providers on this list. Nonetheless, its speeds are hard to beat and the security features work well. The provider is not bound by any data retention laws seeing as it’s based in Romania. In any case, CyberGhost doesn’t keep any user data.
Moreover, CyberGhost is not a one-hit wonder in the industry. Even with its relatively small server network, it’s present in more than 27 countries and has more than 850 servers. The provider continuously increases the number of servers in its network, so that it can improve the quality of service it offers its users.
Security-wise, CyberGhost employs powerful encryption protocols to ensure that your network cannot be broken into. The encryption used is 256-bit AES which is accompanied with OpenVPN, MD5 HMAC authentication and 2048-bit RSA keys.
This service is favored by people whose top priority are security and privacy. It is also a popular service because of its proprietary service, which easily circumvents Geo-restrictions set up by the market.
However, VyprVPN does keep some logs of your data; that is, the VyprVPN IP address, the user’s source IP address, bandwidth usage data and connection timestamps. For some users, this would be a deal-breaker. But it’s important to note that logs of the content of your communication aren’t kept and all your data is cleared from the server in 30 days.
The premium version of the VPN provides you with the Chameleon VPN protocol, the company’s proprietary security protocol. With this feature, the government or your ISP cannot tell whether or not you’re using a VPN. Also essential to note with this provider is that it runs its whole server network and thus optimizes its own speed, performance and security.