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The 10 Best VPN for the UAE and Dubai (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / November 2022

Why do you need a VPN? In an increasingly connected world, protecting your online privacy is crucial. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the best tool to keep your data safe. Here are three reasons why you should consider using a VPN:

  • It encrypts your traffic, making it difficult for advertisers to snoop on your activities.
  • It can help you bypass censorship and restrictions, allowing you to access blocked websites and TV shows.
  • It improves your security when using public Wi-Fi networks, making it impossible for hackers to access your data.

VPN software masks your identity so you can browse the web anonymously. Buying the best VPN for the UAE and Dubai is the ultimate way to protect your online privacy.

CyberGhost VPN - The best VPN

CyberGhost VPN

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  • Security and Privacy 100% 100%
  • Speed 100% 100%

CyberGhost is the best affordable VPN of 2023. It’s ultra-fast, private, and secure. And it temporarily offers deep discounts.

✓ Stream: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and more
✓ Torrent: Optimized P2P servers
✓ Return: 45-day money-back guarantee
✓ Privacy: Maximum (no logs)
✓ Servers: 91 countries
✓ Protect: 7 devices

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 45-day return policy.

NordVPN - The most advanced VPN

NordVPN

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  • Security and Privacy 100% 100%
  • Speed 100% 100%

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN of 2023. It has the best privacy technology (RAM-Servers and Double VPN) and a beautiful design.

✓ Stream: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and more
✓ Torrent: Optimized P2P servers
✓ Return: 30-day money-back guarantee
✓ Privacy: Maximum (no logs)
✓ Servers: 59 countries
✓ Protect: 6 devices

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Ranking of the best VPN services of 2023

We have tested cybersecurity software since 2014. Below, we have selected the top 4 from 30 paid and free VPN services (Virtual Private Networks).

Click the links or scroll down for more.

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN Review

Ranked #1 out of 30 VPNs

CyberGhost VPN Review

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CyberGhost VPN Review

CyberGhost is the fastest VPN in our test. It also has the lowest price and the biggest server network. It's one of the best VPN services you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix US, Disney, Amazon, HBO Max, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on P2P servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 9,000 Servers in 91 countries
  • Connections: 7
  • 1-Year Price: € 47.64
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 45 days

Streaming

CyberGhost has dedicated streaming servers for Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and more.

Torrenting

CyberGhost has optimized P2P servers. It is an excellent VPN for torrenting, thanks to its kill switch, IP- and DNS-leak protection, and no logs policy.

Privacy

CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy: It does not monitor or record what you do online, and it does not store your IP address. Therefore, you are completely anonymous when using CyberGhost.

Ownership

CyberGhost is owned and operated by CyberGhost S.A. from Romania. Its parent company is Kape Technologies from the UK, which also owns ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ZenMate.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN services:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

CyberGhost applies the most important security and privacy features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling (on Windows and Android)
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP

But it lacks RAM-only servers and Double VPN, which NordVPN does offer.

Censorship

CyberGhost does not use obfuscation technology, which hides your VPN usage. Therefore, it is not the right VPN for high-censorship countries like China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, or the UAE.

Servers

CyberGhost has a huge number of servers: 9,000 in 91 countries.

60 Countries have physical servers within their borders, while the other 31 are virtual servers. Although virtual servers are not located within the indicated country, they will give you a local IP address from that country.

It also offers specialized servers:

  • Servers optimized for P2P
  • Servers optimized for streaming
  • Servers with static IP addresses
  • Servers with dedicated IP addresses
  • Fully owned NoSpy servers

Devices

You can install CyberGhost on 7 devices at the same time. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and a range of routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Prices

CyberGhost has the lowest 1-year price in the industry.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is CyberGhost VPN the best VPN software of 2023?

CyberGhost is the fastest VPN in our test and has the most affordable 1-year contract. On top of that, it is secure, private, and has one of the largest server networks. It's excellent.

You can try CyberGhost risk-free, thanks to its 45-day return policy.

NordVPN

NordVPN Review

Ranked #2 out of 30 VPNs

NordVPN Review

NordVPN Review

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN service you can buy. It uses the latest privacy technology, like RAM servers and double VPN, and works in China. It's one of the best VPN providers you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on 80% of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 5,600 Servers in 59 countries
  • Connections: 6
  • 1-Year Price: € 52.68
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

NordVPN unblocks Netflix in 10 countries, including the United States. It also works with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

Torrenting

NordVPN allows torrenting on most of its servers. On top of that, it has optimized P2P servers for extra high download speeds.

Thanks to its no-logs policy, kill switch, DNS- and IP-leak blocking, it is a safe choice for torrenting.

Privacy

NordVPN has a strict no-log policy. So it does not record your IP address or online activities. It was the first VPN company to subject its privacy policy to an independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ownership

NordVPN is owned and operated by NordVPN S.A. from Panama. Its parent company, Nord Security, merged with the parent company of SurfShark to form Cyberspace BV in the Netherlands.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN providers:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN in our comparison. It includes both the mainstream security features and the highly advanced ones:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Meshnet (on Windows and Linux)

NordVPN is also available in a bundle, including NordLocker (encrypted cloud storage) and NordPass (password manager and data breach scanner).

Censorship

NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that work in highly censored countries like China, the UAE, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. This is thanks to its obfuscation technology that hides your VPN traffic.

Servers

NordVPN has an extensive VPN server network, with 5,600 servers in 59 countries. They are all physical servers, meaning every server is located within the country's borders.

It also offers specialty servers:

  • P2P servers
  • Streaming servers
  • Static IP address servers
  • Double VPN servers
  • Onion over VPN servers
  • Obfuscated servers

Devices

You can install NordVPN on 6 devices at the same time. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Prices

Considering that NordVPN is the most advanced VPN, it is a bargain.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is NordVPN the best VPN service of 2023?

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN software you can buy, thanks to its RAM servers, double VPN, Onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers.

You can try NordVPN risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

SurfShark VPN

Surfshark VPN Review

Ranked #3 out of 30 VPNs

SurfShark VPN Review

Surfshark VPN Review

Surfshark offers the best value for money. It is fast, secure, and affordable. And it allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices. It's one of the best VPN programs you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on all of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 3,200 Servers in 95 countries
  • Connections: Unlimited
  • 1-Year Price: € 47.88
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

Surfshark can stream Netflix in 10 countries, including the United States. It also works with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

Torrenting

Surfshark allows P2P file-sharing on all of its servers and offers optimized P2P servers for higher download speeds. Due to its kill-switch, no-logs policy, and leak-blocking, Surfshark is a safe choice for torrenting.

Privacy

Surfshark has a clear no-logs policy. It does not track what you do online and does not store your IP address. In 2021, Surfshark underwent an independent server audit by Cure53, a German cybersecurity firm.

Ownership

Surfshark BV from the Netherlands owns Surfshark. In 2022, its parent company merged with Nord Security, creating the holding company Cyberspace BV, also located in the Netherlands.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN programs:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

After NordVPN, Surfshark is the most advanced VPN in our comparison. It covers all mainstream and advanced features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Rotating IP
  • Override GPS Location on Android

Next to its VPN service, Surfshark also offers antivirus software, personal data breach alert, and a private search engine. These features are sold separately or together with the VPN in SurfShark One.

Censorship

Thanks to its Camouflage and NoBorders Mode, Surfshark works well in censored countries like Russia, the UAE, Turkey, and Iran. However, it does not consistently work in China.

Servers

Surfshark has an extensive network, with 3,200 servers in 95 countries. However, some of these servers are virtual. That means that although you get a local IP address from the country of your choice, the physical server is located in a different country.

Surfshark also offers specialized servers, including:

  • P2P servers
  • Static IP address servers
  • Double VPN servers (Multihop servers)

Devices

Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Prices

Surfshark's price is excellent. Especially considering that you can install it on an unlimited number of devices.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is Surfshark the best VPN service of 2023?

Surfshark offers the best value for money in the VPN industry. It is advanced, affordable, and allows you to protect an unlimited number of devices. It is one of the best VPN deals out there.

You can try Surfshark risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

IPVanish VPN

IPVanish Review

Ranked #4 out of 30 VPNs

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish: Temporarily get 61% OFF  🔥

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish is an excellent VPN. It's fast, secure, and affordable. And it allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices. However, it's not as advanced as the others in this list and has a smaller server network.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix USA, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu
  • Torrenting: Allowed on all of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 2,000 Servers in 50 countries
  • Connections: Unlimited
  • 1-Year Price: $ 47.89
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

IPVanish is not the best VPN service for streaming. Although it works with Netflix in the United States, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, it has problems with streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Torrenting

IPVanish allows torrenting on all its servers. And thanks to its no-log policy, kill switch, and no DNS leaks, it is a safe option to do so. The kill switch is necessary because it will block the internet traffic if the VPN connection drops.

Privacy

IPVanish has a clear no-logs policy. However, in 2018, it handed user data to the US government. Data it wasn't supposed to have, according to its log policy. Since then, it has changed owners twice, but the reputation remains.

Speed

We test every VPN service on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN connection set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the fastest VPN connections:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

IPVanish is the only VPN in our comparison that owns all of its servers and doesn't rely on third-party server parks, which is excellent. That said, it is not the most advanced VPN in our test.

It includes the following mainstream features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling

But it misses many of the advanced features:

  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers

Censorship

IPVanish does not work in censored countries like China, the UAE, Iran, Turkey, or Russia.

Servers

IPVanish has 2,000 VPN servers in 50 countries. All servers are physically located within the country and entirely owned by IPVanish. Because it doesn't rely on third-party server providers, it has complete control over the hardware and software, which theoretically should increase its security.

Devices

IPVanish allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. But it has no browser extensions.

Prices

IPVanish has a very attractive price, especially as you can install it on an unlimited number of devices.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is IPVanish the best VPN provider of 2023?

IPVanish is fast, secure, and affordable. It owns its entire server network and allows you to install the software on unlimited devices. But it's not the most advanced VPN in our test and not the best option for streaming.

You can try IPVanish risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Comparison table of the best VPN services 

CyberGhost
NordVPN
Surfshark
IPVanish
Icon
CyberGhost VPN Icon
NordVPN Icon
Surfshark VPN Icon
IPVanish VPN Icon
Ranking
#1 / 30
#2 / 30
#3 / 30
#4 / 30
Logging Policy
No Logs
No Logs
No Logs
No Logs
Operating Company
CyberGhost S.A. (Romania)
NordVPN S.A. (Panama)
Surfshark BV (Netherlands)
Ziff Davis, Inc (USA)
Holding Company
Kape Technologies PLC (UK)
Cyberspace BV (Netherlands)
Cyberspace BV (Netherlands)
Ziff Davis, Inc (USA)
VPN Protocols
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard)
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
Encryption
AES-256
AES-256
AES-256
AES-256
US Netflix




Torrenting




VPN Kill Switch




Split Tunneling




Ad & Tracker Blocker



No
Smart DNS



No
First-Party DNS


No

Dedicated IP


No
No
Double VPN
No


No
RAM Servers
No


No
Works in China
No


No
Countries
91
59
95
50
Servers
9,000+
5,600+
3,200+
2,000+
Speed on WireGuard or proprietary protocol
825-850 Mbps
725-800 Mbps
700-800 Mbps
700-725 Mbps
Comptatible Devices
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Number of Connections
7
6
Unlimited
Unlimited
1-Month Price
€ 12.65
€ 10.49
€ 12.95
$ 10.99
1-Year Price
€ 47.64
€ 52.68
€ 47.88
$ 47.89
2-Year Price
€ 74.88
€ 69.36
€ 59.76
-
3-Year Price
€ 82.29
-
-
-
Customer Support
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
Free Trial
1 Day
7 Days
7 Days
No
Money Back Guarantee
45 Days
30 Days
30 Days
30 Days

How we test the best VPN for the UAE and Dubai

Our team gathered 30 paid and free VPN services and conducted a series of tests using devices running different operating systems, including Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android. The tests were as follows:

> Test 1: Logging policy

What is a logging policy?

A logging policy is a statement from a VPN service provider about the types of user data captured or kept by its servers. The policy also specifies how long such information is retained.

When choosing a VPN service, the logging policy is an important consideration because the service can potentially see all of the traffic passing through its servers. Any logs kept could contain sensitive information, including your online purchases, browsing history, and credit card data.

Fortunately, there are several different logging policies that VPN providers can choose from. The most common is no logging, which means that the provider does not keep any records of the traffic passing through its servers. This provides the highest level of privacy but also means that the provider may not help if you experience problems with your connection.

The other option is partial logging, which means the provider only keeps records of some of the traffic passing through its servers. This provides a lower level of privacy than no logging, but it can be useful if you need help troubleshooting a problem.

Finally, full logging means the provider keeps complete records of all traffic passing through its servers, including the originating IP address. This can be useful for debugging purposes, but it also means your privacy is at risk.

For example, your data can be harvested and sold to advertisers and data brokers. In the worst-case scenario, your information may end up in the hands of persons with malicious intent if the provider’s servers are hacked.

Unfortunately, most VPN providers do not live up to their promises. In fact, our research has revealed that around 30% of VPN providers store your original IP address, and around 5% harvest your browsing data.

Even though the logging policy is supposed to protect consumers, most providers craft it vaguely or opt for complicated language that leaves room for dispute if the provider finds itself in a tight spot.

What do we test for?

We comb through the logging policy of each provider to find out the type of information stored on its servers. We have no problem if the provider tracks information for the sole purpose of improving the service. That includes aggregated bandwidth usage and server load data. However, any tracking of the browsing history of users or their original IP address is unacceptable. We consider this to be a breach of consumer privacy.

> Test 2: Ownership

What do we mean by ownership?

Most VPN services are owned and operated by a company that’s owned by another company. In some cases, a single parent company can own several VPN providers. For example,

  • Aura, based in the U.S., owns Hotspot Shield, JustVPN, and TouchVPN. In addition, it’s a major partner of popular antivirus program developers including Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Panda.
  • Kape Technologies, based in the U.K., owns CyberGhost VPN, ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ZenMate.
  • Gaditek, a Pakistan-based company, owns PureVPN, Ivacy VPN, and Unblock VPN.

While owning multiple businesses is legal in most jurisdictions, it can create problems:

  • Conflict of interest: For purposes of planning, marketing, or expansion, the parent company may demand access to crucial user data in contravention of the provider’s logging policy.
  • Unique Data Retention Laws: Different countries have different data retention laws, and a provider may find itself under two or more sets of possibly conflicting requirements. In the end, the user may lose their privacy.

What do we test for?

We investigate the ownership structure of every VPN provider and the jurisdiction in which the owner is registered. We also check whether the provider has been embroiled in any scandal in the past.

For example, IPVanish, which claims to abide by a strict no-logging policy, provided Homeland Security with user logs in 2016 during a criminal investigation involving one of its users. Even though the company was eventually sold to a new owner, it has yet to regain the trust of a majority of consumers.

> Test 3: Independent audit

What is an independent audit?

An independent audit involves examining a VPN provider’s systems and policies to check whether the provider is operating securely and responsibly and whether all its systems comply with industry best practices. The entire process is carried out by an external, independent body.

To project confidence and demonstrate their commitment to transparency and protection of user data, VPN providers regularly invite external bodies for audit:

  • In 2022, Deloitte was commissioned to investigate the server environment of Private Internet Access (PIA).
  • In 2019, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was hired to analyze ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology and investigate whether the company’s servers indeed deleted all user data after every reboot.
  • In 2020, PwC audited NordVPN’s systems with a focus on the server infrastructure, configuration, and technical logs.

What do we test for?

We check whether the VPN providers we’re considering have undergone an independent audit. This is important because it allows us to see what potential flaws exist and whether the provider is taking steps to address them.

We also look at what the audit investigated, as this can give us some insight into the provider’s overall security posture.

> Test 4: Available VPN protocols

What is a VPN protocol?

A VPN protocol is a set of communication rules that determine how a VPN server and a VPN app identify each other, how the app logs into the server, how data is sent, and how encryption works. Different protocols can have different impacts on VPN connection speeds and security.

For example, switching from one protocol to another can dramatically improve download speeds. However, it’s important to choose a protocol that strikes the right balance between speed and security for your needs.

The most popular VPN protocols are Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2), and Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP). Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll need to decide which is best for you.

For example, PPTP is the oldest and most basic protocol but is relatively insecure. L2TP is more secure than PPTP but can be slower.

What do we test for?

We check the VPN protocols offered to users by the VPN service and whether the user has an option to choose the protocol that best fits their needs. We also test the protocols to see whether they work on all devices, not just a few.

> Test 5: Supported encryption standard

What is an encryption standard?

Encryption is a process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format through the use of algorithms. Symmetric and asymmetric encryption are the two most common types of encryption.

Symmetric encryption uses the same key in encrypting and decrypting data. Asymmetric encryption uses two different keys: a public key and a private key. While the private key needs to be kept a secret, the public key can be shared with anyone.

VPN services use different encryption standards to protect the data transmitted over their networks. AES-128 and AES-256 are the two most common VPN standards in use today. AES-128 is the older of the two, and while still considered highly secure, AES-256 is generally considered more secure.

Both AES-128 and AES-256 use symmetric key encryption. AES-128 uses a 128-bit key, while AES-256 uses a 256-bit key. The larger the key, the more difficult it is to crack the encryption.

What do we test for?

We check the default encryption standard the VPN provider offers and whether we can bypass the default selection and work with a different standard.

> Test 6: Basic security features

What are basic security features?

Most VPN services offer several basic security features, including a kill switch, AES-256 encryption, and split tunneling.

  • AES-256 is a symmetric-key algorithm that uses a 256-bit key. It is specified in the FIPS Publication 197 and is intended for use by the U.S. government. It provides very strong security and has been adopted by many organizations around the world.
  • Split tunneling allows you to choose which apps will use the VPN and which will not. This can be helpful if you want to use a VPN for security but don’t want it to slow down your internet connection.
  • A kill switch will disconnect you from the internet if the VPN connection is lost. This helps to prevent your traffic from being exposed in the event that the VPN connection is interrupted.

What do we test for?

We check whether the provider offers these features. In the case of split tunneling or kill switches, we test whether these features work as intended.

> Test 7: Advanced security features

What are advanced security features?

Beyond the basic features, VPN providers offer users several advanced security features:

  • Obfuscated servers: These are servers configured to disguise the fact that they are running a VPN. This can be useful for users in countries where VPNs are blocked or monitored, as it allows them to connect to a server without drawing attention.
  • RAM-only servers: These are servers that store all data in RAM instead of on disk. This makes them faster and more reliable, as there is no risk of data being lost if the server crashes.
  • GPS location override: Some VPNs allow you to override your device’s GPS location with one provided by the VPN server. This can be useful for accessing geo-restricted content or for avoiding censorship.
  • Double VPN: This is a type of VPN connection that passes through two separate VPN servers before reaching its destination. This provides an extra layer of security and can help to mask your identity online.

What do we test for?

We check the advanced security features every VPN provider provides and connect our devices to see whether they are working properly.

> Test 8: IP leak

What is an IP leak?

When you use a VPN, your internet traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server. This protects your data from hackers and snoopers, but it may not prevent your ISP from seeing that you’re using a VPN. This is what’s called an IP leak.

If your ISP can see that you’re using a VPN, they may throttle your connection or even block access to certain websites. In addition, some ISPs may keep track of which websites you visit while using a VPN, and this information could be used to sell targeted advertisements.

An IP leak can also occur when your VPN connection drops and your computer reconnects to the internet using your regular (unprotected) IP address. This can be dangerous because anyone who wants to track your online activity can see what you’re doing.

Additionally, if someone manages to track down your real IP address, they could attempt to hack into your devices or steal your personal information.

To prevent these issues, you can use a VPN that’s committed to a “zero-logging” policy. This means your ISP will not be able to see which websites you visit or what type of traffic you’re sending through the VPN. However, zero-logging policies are not foolproof, and there is always a small risk that your data could be exposed.

What do we test for?

We connect our devices to a provider’s network and then conduct an IP address lookup. If we can only see the server-generated IP address, the service is up to scratch. When the address is our own rather than that of the server, there’s a big problem.

> Test 9: DNS leak

What is a DNS leak?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It’s a protocol that translates human-readable website addresses (like “www.google.com”) into machine-readable IP addresses (like “173.194.33.11”). This is necessary because computers can’t understand regular language, only numbers.

The DNS system is managed by a global network of servers that keep track of all the domain names and IP addresses on the internet. When you type a website address into your browser, your computer queries one of these servers to get the IP address for that website and then loads the website from that IP address.

When using a VPN, your computer will send all DNS requests through the VPN tunnel instead of directly to your ISP. This is done to protect your privacy, as your ISP can see all the websites you visit. Using a DNS server located outside your country, you can hide your browsing activity from your ISP and make it appear as if you are visiting websites from another country.

A DNS leak happens when your computer accidentally uses your regular, unencrypted internet connection to look up the address of a website instead of using the VPN. This can happen if your VPN software isn’t working properly or due to problems with your internet connection.

What do we test for?

To find out whether a VPN service is leaking our DNS information, we connect to the VPN service and then run a DNS server lookup. If the VPN service does not own the DNS servers, there’s a DNS leak.

> Test 10: WebRTC leak

What is a WebRTC leak?

WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a free, open-source project that enables real-time communication of audio, video, and data in web browsers and mobile apps.

Originally developed by Google, WebRTC is now supported by a coalition of companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla, and Opera. With WebRTC, businesses can create innovative new applications such as audio and video conferencing, file sharing, and chatbots.

In addition, WebRTC supports high-quality audio and video streaming, peer-to-peer file sharing, and encrypted communications. As a result, it has emerged as a leading technology for developing real-time applications such as voice and video chat, online gaming, and live event broadcasting.

A WebRTC leak occurs when your browser leaks your real IP address to the websites you visit, even if you’re using a VPN. This can be a problem because it allows websites to track your movements and activities even when you think you’re protecting your privacy.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from WebRTC leaks, including using a browser that doesn’t support WebRTC (like Opera) or disabling WebRTC in your browser settings. However, the best option is to install a VPN service that offers built-in protection against WebRTC leaks.

What do we test for?

We connect to a VPN service and run a WebRTC lookup. Our original IP address should never be displayed when there are no WebRTC leaks.

> Test 11: Download speed via OpenVPN

What is OpenVPN?

OpenVPN is a powerful and widely used VPN protocol. It offers several advantages over other protocols, including security, speed, and flexibility. However, OpenVPN can be configured to use either UDP (User Datagram Protocol) or TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) as its transport protocol.

UDP is generally faster than TCP but is less reliable. This is because UDP doesn’t guarantee the delivery of packets, so some data may be lost along the way. However, this loss can often go unnoticed, making UDP a good choice for applications like streaming media or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), where speed is more important than reliability.

On the other hand, TCP is slower than UDP but offers much greater reliability. This is because TCP ensures that all packets are delivered successfully, even if it takes longer to do so. For this reason, TCP is often the best choice for applications like web browsing or email, where data integrity is more important than speed.

What do we test for?

We test the download speeds of the top VPN services while connecting to a 1 Gbps internet connection. We measure the speed of each service while using the OpenVPN protocol in the Windows app.

> Test 12: Supported speed via WireGuard

What is WireGuard?

WireGuard is a next-generation VPN protocol that promises to provide a faster, more secure, and more reliable experience than its predecessors. One of the key features of WireGuard is its simplicity: it uses a streamlined cryptographic design that makes it easier to implement and audit than other VPN protocols.

As a result, WireGuard is able to achieve excellent performance even on low-powered devices. WireGuard is often faster than other VPN protocols, making it an ideal choice for users who need speed without sacrificing security. In our tests across multiple VPN services, WireGuard was roughly 60% faster than OpenVPN.

In addition to its speed, WireGuard also offers improved security thanks to its use of cutting-edge cryptography. By using state-of-the-art techniques, WireGuard can offer a higher level of protection against potential attacks.

What do we test for?

We test the download speed for each VPN provider by connecting the Windows app to the WireGuard protocol. In those tests, we use a 1 Gbps (1.000 Mbps) internet connection to simulate the VPN’s performance when pushed to the limit.

> Test 13: (Virtual) VPN servers and locations

What are (virtual) VPN servers?

VPN servers are an important part of how a VPN works. Most VPN servers are physical servers located in the country indicated in the VPN app. After connecting to one of these servers, your web traffic is routed through the physical server in that country, which gives you a local IP address.

However, smaller or less developed countries usually lack a well-developed server infrastructure. For instance, Andorra, the small mountainous country between France and Spain, does not have a single physical VPN server. Instead, it relies on virtual VPN servers located in neighboring countries.

Thus, a virtual server in France may give you an IP address located in Andorra. This allows you to access websites and services as if you were physically located in Andorra.

At the moment, not a single VPN service has been able to install servers in every country around the world. Those with extensive server networks have servers in roughly 60 countries, with the rest being virtual servers.

What do we test for?

We test the number of servers the provider offers and the total number of locations that can be selected. We also examine whether one can choose servers at the city level and whether a user can opt for a virtual server if there are no physical servers in the country of interest.

> Test 14: Streaming compatibility

What is compatibility with a streaming service?

VPNs are also great for unlocking content that’s restricted in your region. For instance, all you have to do to see your favorite Netflix show while traveling abroad is sign up for a VPN service and connect to a server in the United States. This will make it look like you’re somewhere in the United States, and you’ll be able to stream all of Netflix.

However, most streaming services have deployed tools designed to catch users attempting to unlock content using VPNs. Only the best VPN services have managed to stay one step ahead.

What do we test for?

We connect to a VPN provider and then test whether the service can unblock popular streaming services, like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer in the U.S. For Netflix, we don’t just check the U.S; we test other countries like Australia, Germany, Japan, and the U.K.

> Test 15: Torrenting compatibility

What is compatibility with a torrent network?

Torrenting is a file-sharing technology that lets users download large files from multiple computers simultaneously. Rather than downloading a file from a single server, torrenting allows users to download small pieces of the file from a variety of different sources. This makes downloading large files much faster and easier than traditional methods.

Torrenting is often used to download movies, TV shows, music, and software. However, because it can be used to pirate copyrighted material, it is often associated with illegal activity. For this reason, not all VPNs support torrenting.

Some providers base their business model on providing a secure and private browsing experience and do not allow activities that could put their users at risk of legal action. Others simply do not have the necessary infrastructure in place to support torrenting.

What do we test for?

We check VPN services to find out whether they support the downloading of large files via peer-to-peer networks.

> Test 16: Annual price and price per device

What is the annual price and price per device?

Most VPN services tend to feature monthly subscriptions. However, most providers offer a discount to users who opt for a one-year contract, paid upfront in full. As a result, the price tends to fall with the duration of the contract.

Looking at the fee for a one-year contract and the price per device, you’ll quickly notice that most VPN services are priced similarly. However, ExpressVPN is the most expensive provider on the market.

Some VPN providers like Surfshark and IPVanish allow unlimited simultaneous connections. This significantly reduces the price per device, making them perfect for households or small business entities.

What do we test for?

For each VPN service, we calculate the price for a one-year subscription. We also calculate per-device savings if the provider allows unlimited simultaneous connections.

What VPNs for the UAE and Dubai have we tested?

We have tested 30 paid and free VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Proton VPN is the best free VPN service. But if you have the money, we recommend getting a paid VPN service.

In the best case, the free version allows you to protect only one device and doesn’t offer you unlimited bandwidth / unlimited data. And in the worst case, the free VPN providers show you ads or secretly sell your browsing history to advertisers and your internet service provider.

And should you be strapped for cash, don’t opt for an expensive VPN like ExpressVPN. Instead, get a cheap VPN, like Surfshark, that allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices and share the cost with a friend.

  • Astrill VPN
  • Atlas VPN
  • Avast SecureLine VPN
  • Betternet VPN
  • Bitdefender VPN
  • CactusVPN
  • CyberGhost VPN
  • ExpressVPN
  • HideME VPN
  • HMA VPN (HideMyAss VPN)
  • Hola VPN
  • Hotspot Shield VPN
  • IPVanish VPN
  • Ivacy VPN
  • IVPN
  • Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
  • McAfee Safe Connect VPN
  • Mozilla VPN
  • MullVad VPN
  • NordVPN
  • Norton Secure VPN
  • Private Internet Access VPN
  • PrivateVPN
  • Proton VPN
  • PureVPN
  • StrongVPN
  • Surfshark VPN
  • Tunnelbear VPN
  • VyprVPN
  • Windscribe VPN

The best are: CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark.

Frequently asked questions

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) protects your online privacy. It creates an encrypted VPN tunnel between your device and a VPN server. This tunnel hides your IP address, restores your anonymity online and makes you safe on public Wi-Fi networks.

Why do you need a VPN?

You need a VPN to restore your online privacy and security. Without a VPN, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and advertisers can track everything you read, watch and download online. On top of that, if you don’t use a VPN, hackers will be able to steal your data on public Wi-Fi networks, which can lead to identity theft.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN creates an encrypted connection, called a VPN tunnel, between your devices and a VPN server. This hides your IP address and what you do online. As a result, your ISP won’t be able to see what websites you visit, and advertisers won’t be able to know what your IP address is.

What is the best VPN?

CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark are the best VPN services of 2022. NordVPN is the most advanced VPN service. CyberGhost has the highest download speeds and the lowest one-year price. And Surfshark allows you to install the software on unlimited devices.

What is the fastest VPN?

CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark are the fastest VPN services of 2022. Although CyberGhost is slightly faster than the other two, the difference is not noticeable for most users.

About the author

Tibor Moes

Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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