Paid & Free VPN Providers to Use in Saudi Arabia [2023 Update]
In 2013, the government of the kingdom took measures to block WhatsApp and Skype on the wording of that communication as part of its economic reforms. In 2017, they became available again, but the government monitors and censors the calls through such apps.
Fortunately, the use of VPN services is legal in Saudi Arabia, so if you look for how to open banned sites in Saudi Arabia, you need a VPN.
Keep on reading this article, and you will get to know why it is recommended to use a VPN in this place. Besides, you will learn more about the best characteristics to take into consideration while choosing a VPN provider.
Although it’s legal to use VPN services in the kingdom, not all of them are available there. The ones I mention in this article are 100% available at the time of testing.
Internet freedom in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is stated to be one of the most censoring countries. Thus, internet status is reported to be NOT free there. There are such violations as obstacles to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights.
According to the latest data, the following cases took place in the country:
- Telegram throttling for preventing users from sharing photos and files.
- Three lawyers have been sentenced to 10, 9, and 8 years for providing online advocacy against violation of human rights.
- From this year, all the mobile operators functioning on the territory of the country are obliged to take fingerprints when selling a new SIM card.
As you can see, a VPN is a must-have tool in the country. It serves to mask your IP and protect your traffic (including traffic history).
Comparison of VPN services for Saudi Arabia
|Service||Ranking (out of 10)||Speed, Mbps||Country selection||Number of servers||Price (monthly)|
|ExpressVPN||9||>100||105||3000+||$8.32 - 12.95|
|NordVPN||10||>60||60||5900+||$2.99 - 12.99|
|Surfshark||10||>50||100||3200+||$2.21 - 12.95|
|CyberGhost||9||40-70||100||10200+||$2.03 - 12.99|
|PIA||10||>50||84||30000+||$2.03 - 11.95|
VPNs for Saudi Arabia that work in 2023
- ExpressVPN: The provider is great in terms of security and restrictions bypassing thanks to its unique location – the British Virgin Islands.
- NordVPN: It’s great for the residents of Saudi Arabia due to its rich server network – over 5400 units.
- Surfshark: This provider is very beneficial for residents of Saudi Arabia because it provides unrestricted access to the Internet for an unlimited number of devices!
- CyberGhost VPN: Its function of an automatic kill switch protects you even when the VPN connection is lost.
- Private Internet Access: It protects up to 10 devices simultaneously and gets access to unlimited streaming and P2P file-sharing. More than 13000 servers are available!
This VPN provider offers first-class encryption and reliable privacy protection. Its user-friendly apps can be set up on any device or platform.
Users have an opportunity to combine anonymous payment for subscription through Bitcoin transactions and a one-use email address to keep their payment details private. It guarantees 100% confidentiality in Saudi Arabia.
The table lists the ExpressVPN plans and prices
|1 month||6 months||1 year|
- Diskless servers guarantee users’ anonymity
- Private DNS on every server you connect to
- Military-grade encryption
Read more: ExpressVPN review
Obfuscation feature, double VPN, fast connections serve to be one of the best VPN providers for the residents of Saudi Arabia. This Panama-based VPN offers you data privacy while surfing the web.
Extra protection is achieved through a double VPN that routes your traffic through 2 VPN servers to reach the highest level of protection.
The table lists the NordVPN plans and prices
|1 month||1 year||2 years|
|Price (monthly)||$12.99||$4.49||$2.99 (2022 Winter promotion)|
- Available for all platforms
- Protection of 6 devices per subscription
- Low price
Read more: NordVPN review
Surfshark is a relatively young but advantageous VPN with numerous servers worldwide and low-budget packages. Its functions make your web surfing safe and convenient.
CleanWeb serves to block pop-ups with ads, malware, and phishing attacks. Besides, the number of devices one might use per account is unlimited.
The table lists the Surfshark plans and prices
|1 month||6 months||2 years|
- Whitelister as split tunneling
- Camouflage mode for 100% protection
- Kill switch protects you when the secure connection is lost
Read more: Surfshark review
4. CyberGhost VPN
Using 5 different operating modes, you’ll find the most appropriate server in a matter of seconds. The smart system of the app helps you to choose the most optimal server for your needs.
At the same time, reliable tunneling protocols in combination with AES 256-bit encryption method make your online activity hidden from the prying eyes in Saudi Arabia.
The table lists the CyberGhost VPN plans and prices
|1 month||1 year||2 years||3 years|
- 24 servers in Saudi Arabia
- Special servers for unblocking streaming services
Read more: CyberGhost VPN review
5. Private Internet Access
The last worthwhile VPN on the list for Saudi Arabia provides unlimited access to web content without speed limits. You can use it on 10 gadgets simultaneously.
The provider doesn’t keep logs on users’ activity.
The table lists the PIA plans and prices
|1 month||1 year||2 years|
- Ad and malware blocker
- P2P support
Read more: PIA review
Free VPNs for Saudi Arabia
The reason to use a VPN service is usually to become less restricted on the Internet. And only reputable and trustworthy providers cope with this task successfully. Unfortunately, free VPNs are usually less reliable. Their speeds are slower, whereas the number of servers and functions is limited.
If you are resource-constraint, you can use a free trial of the best VPN providers.
- ProtonVPN: It has 4 plans, one of them is free. When using it, you’ll be limited in locations, speed, and some features.
- Windscribe: Another premium VPN offers its service for free. The period of use is not unlimited.
- Hide.me: Its free package offers you 5 locations for 1 device. The monthly traffic is limited to 10 GB.
- HotspotShield: This VPN also offers one of its plans on a free basis. It provides its subscribers with 500 MB daily traffic.
- TunnelBear: A free package from a premium provider with traffic restrictions to 500MB per month (max 1.5GB).
Here, you’ll find VPN apps that are rather reliable because they are free plans of premium providers. But you should know that there are some limits you should consider.
This Swiss-based VPN provider doesn’t impose restrictions on speed or bandwidth for the users of its free plan users.
The restrictions for the users of a free package are not so severe – 10 GB of traffic per month and servers in 10 countries.
Free Hide.me VPN
The credit card is not required to make use of the hide.me free plan. Your traffic (but only 10 GB/mo) will route through secure tunneling protocols.
Free HotspotShield VPN
The monthly traffic for the free plan users is limited to 15 GB monthly. But only 500 MB is available daily.
Although this VPN’s free plan traffic is only 500 MB per month, it deserves being mentioned here because it offers access to all its servers.
Is anonymous blogging real in Saudi Arabia?
Bloggers and vloggers in Saudi Arabia frequently undergo arrests, fines, and other types of punishments. Some actions that might seem to be legal are reckoned to be unethical in the country.
A good VPN is a way-out in this situation. It serves to mask the user’s IP and make him unknown. Thus, a person can express his ideas without fear to be punished.
Is using VPNs in Saudi Arabia legal?
According to the latest data on internet freedom, Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that commit total surveillance over its citizens.
An average rate of internet penetration in the country has made up to 70%. At the same time social media, political and social content, as well as the press are being blocked. Besides, average customers undergo web oppression too.
It has become known that in 2016 Telegram was throttled by the company to deprive people of sharing photos and files over the messenger. Besides, mobile service providers are now obliged to save fingerprints when selling new SIM cards to their clients.
However, numerous Saudi customers have switched to the usage of such up-to-date technology as a VPN. Nevertheless, many VPNs are banned by the government, whereas only the best outputs of the market can provide their customers with reliable protection on the internet in the country.
Therefore, having decided to make your internet free for surfing in the country, you need to look for the most credible services that run all the military-grade measures for making a network protected from unauthorized penetration. So, if you want to avoid any content manipulations, you need to apply for one of the best VPN products presented on the market today.
Although VPN usage is not prohibited by law in the country, you may have some difficulties with establishing such a protected connection. However, the censorship policy followed by the government is illegal if it looks at it on the part of some democratic countries.
Is it safe to use a VPN service in Saudi Arabia?
Providing that Saudi Arabia has scored 34 to 40 grades in violation of users' rights, you need top-notch protection for your network there. In case you have subscribed for a service that lacks all the main characteristics the best service should possess, you need to reverse your decision, otherwise, it can lead to some undesired consequences like network penetration or data leakage.
For you to choose a reliable service you need to pay attention to such basic characteristics as:
In case all the main features are proposed by a service, you have all reasons to subscribe to it without any fear of being compromised. Besides, a free trial version gives you a possibility to test the service before subscribing to it, which makes you protected from extra expenses and monetary losses.
With the help of a money-back guarantee, you can get all your money back in case you are dissatisfied with the service. So, living in the country you need reliable protection of your web activities, therefore, take a fundamental approach to the choice of a suitable service.
What websites are on the black-list in Saudi Arabia?
Like the majority of eastern countries, Saudi Arabia is quite negative towards the websites popularizing pornography, gambling, and LGBT. Thus, any website possessing the materials (articles, photos, videos, etc.) connected with such spheres will be banned by Internet Service Providers.
Besides, the websites with undesirable political and religious content are blocked as well. For example, a lot of articles in English and Arabian on Wikipedia are blocked.
In general, it can’t be said that the censorship in Saudi Arabia is heavy-handed. To put it subjectively, it is stricter than in China but less strict than in Iran and North Korea.
Nevertheless, no country in the world can be compared with North Korea.
Not only sites but some applications are banned in Saudi Arabia as well. The apps for information exchange are banned first of all. Among forbidden messengers, one will find WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Telegram, Snapchat, and whatnot.