Best VPN for Saudi Arabia

Updated on: 24 June 2019

Finding yourself traveling in Saudi Arabia has its advantages and disadvantages. For one, you’ll get to see the many splendid vistas and the gorgeous seaside environments.

However, the one thing you need to know is that the internet there is highly regulated because of the local censorship halting access to much of the internet. As a result, you’re going to need a solid and modern VPN in order to bypass these limitations.

Now, when looking for a powerful online security provider, there are six main aspects you need to look out for:

  • Security protocols – the overall security level of the VPN, its protection and encryption standards, anti-hacking and anti-surveillance protocols
  • Privacy and logging policy – ideally, a VPN should never collect any personal or identifiable data from its users. No IPs, no internet usage records, nothing
  • Server speed – the overall performance of the servers (download and upload speed), which shows how well a VPN will do in terms of torrenting and streaming
  • Jurisdiction and server locations – a good VPN will be based outside the 14 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, with servers spread around the world, as varied as possible
  • Customer support – 24/7 live chat at the very least, alongside a professional and prompt response system
  • Ease of use – both website and app should be concise, intuitive, and simple to use
  • Pricing – a good price-to-value balance

1. NordVPN

NordVPN

Among the world-leading VPN providers in the industry, NordVPN offers excellent services, premium quality servers, and absolute anonymity for some of the best prices around.

They put a lot of emphasis on security and privacy, as you’ll soon see.

Security protocols

Every bit of user traffic is screened out and covered with the golden encryption standard in the industry – AES-256-bit. What’s more, the Tor compatibility makes it possible to connect to the Tor network and further increase the protection.

Using the DoubleVPN feature, you have the option of doubling your security via a two-server connectivity.

The proprietary Perfect Forward Secrecy protocol that NordVPN implements guarantees beyond the shadow of a doubt that your identity and confidential data are safe from any harm.

We have also been unable to find any leaks of any kind. The IP, DNS, and WebRTC tests all came out negative, signaling the perfect security system that NordVPN uses.

From Saudi Arabia, you can employ the SmartDNS feature to bypass any geo-blocking limitations to access the entirety of the internet. Moreover, there is an option to hide away the tracks of the VPN connection, thus making you inconspicuous.

Logging and privacy

Based in Panama, NordVPN functions on a 100% guaranteed zero-logging policy that’s been tested by users around the world.

The result – absolute anonymity. 

No logs are ever kept on the system. All users only have their emails collected, as well as data related to technical server usage. No IP addresses are collected.

Seeing this, one can only notice the importance that NordVPN places on the safety and privacy of their users.

Server performance

NordVPN functions one level above SurfShark in terms of speed and server performance. These were among the best results we have seen among premium VPN providers.

We’ll see exactly what they’re all about in the comparison section. There are slight fluctuations depending on the server itself and the location one connects from but aside from that, the situation looks verdant and pristine.

Customer support

NordVPN’s customer support has become the stuff of legends among netizens. Simply because they offer a high-quality live chat which is all for professionalism, politeness, and promptness in dealing with user issues.

The many articles on the website as well as the overall presentation offer plenty of information related to their services as well as basic solutions to basic problems.

Aside from that, the email and ticketing system functions much better in comparison to many other VPNs out there.

Ease of Use

Rated by most people to be one of the best VPN apps in the industry, NordVPN’s client presents itself as a very functional and likable tool. Besides the aesthetically pleasing interface which enchants the eye, the overall performance is even better.

There are two main ways in which you can choose and connect to a server:

  • One – by using the minimap occupying most of the app itself. It’s a very intuitive and functional system that makes it a much more enjoyable experience
  • Two – the server list offers the exact same functionality with an even more in-depth decision-making. You can choose between the specialized server types here as well

Pricing

NordVPN is arguably the best price-to-value VPN in the industry, offering the best deals and discounts in exchange for the best security and privacy features.

This is what we’re looking at:

  • $11.74 for the 1-month plan
  • $6.86 per month for a 1-year plan (a total of $82.48)
  • $3.91 per month for a 2-year plan (a total of $94.15)
  • $2.93 per month for a 3-year plan (a total of $105.74)

All the subscriptions have a 30-day money-back guarantee in effect. Just in case you change your mind or have any issues with their services.

Just think of it as a free trial of sorts where you get to try their services for 30 days, and you can get your money back, no questions asked, before the period ends.

What makes NordVPN even more interesting is that it allows cryptocurrencies as a payment method, further increasing the anonymity of any potential user.

So, if you have any reasons to believe you’re watched in Saudi Arabia, pay with crypto for a NordVPN subscription, and enjoy 100% anonymity, limitless access to the internet, and more.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

With more than 20.000 IP addresses under its name, ExpressVPN offers one of the most varied and versatile privacy tools that a Saudi Arabian user can use. It doesn’t matter where you connect from because you will remain anonymous all the time.

How strong is the encryption?

Very strong.

With more than 94 countries, the IP cloaking mechanisms of ExpressVPN are at the height of the class. Regardless of the platform you’re using (PC, Android, iOS, Mac, Linux or routers), you’ll be protected all the same.

To best explain the encryption levels, let’s take a look at how they tell the story.

From the settings options in the VPN app, you can switch from UDP to TCP and back, focusing on security or speed at your own leisure.

There is an HMAC authentication in effect, as well as the Perfect Forward Secrecy that protects your data against unforeseen invasive attacks.

The control and data channels are protected by the AES technology, encrypted with a DH key exchange.

Is there a logging policy in effect?

Yes, yes there is. An excellent one that leaves nothing to be suspicious about.

The privacy and logging policy specifically states that they never have and never will collect and identifiable logs from users.

The British Virgin Isles jurisdiction makes this even more believable.

Are the servers fast enough?

Terrifyingly fast, indeed. Out of three VPNs on this list, ExpressVPN is the absolute fastest. It has scored premium results consistently, without a hitch.

The comparison charts will show precisely how excellent this VPN is in this sense. Torrenting and streaming are one of the aspects that ExpressVPN specifically focuses on.

Does it have good customer support?

It wouldn’t be on this list if it didn’t. ExpressVPN offers one of the best customer services in the industry. An absolute golden professionalism that permeates through the website.

The 24/7 live chat is a godsend for any issue you might have. So, I suggest utilizing it whenever possible.

Ease of use

Similar to NordVPN and other premium online security providers, ExpressVPN has a highly functional and easy-to-use VPN app. You only need to select a server, connect to it, and you’re officially anonymous.

You’ve no escaped the censorship native to Saudi Arabia, and you can use the internet as it was meant to be used – without limits.

We had absolutely no issues with the app while using it, and it’s been enjoyable using it.

Pricing

ExpressVPN plans:

  • $12.95 for the 1-month plan
  • $9.99 per month for the 6-month plan (a total of $59.55)
  • $8.32 per month for the 1-year plan (a total of $99.95)

Paying with Bitcoin for any of these plans is the most useful and beneficial method, since it ensures your anonymity and privacy much better than the standard paying options.

3. SurfShark

SurfShark

One of the top players in the VPN industry, SurfShark has everything you need in terms of security, performance, and privacy guarantees. You’re going to need its services if you’re planning on going to Saudi Arabia.

Security protocols

SurfShark employs a state-of-the-art encryption) alongside the OpenVPN protocol diverging into UDP and TCP. The first is mostly used for speed while the latter for increased security.

Generally speaking, most reviews attest to the splendid security protocols that this VPN utilizes in the fight against censorship or hackers. Its Camouflage Mode guarantee the anonymity of all Saudi Arabian users who connect from within the country itself.

Once you connect to SurfShark, you’re going all in.

Unlike free VPNs, SurfShark will protect you even if you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, anywhere within the country. It’ll also hide your IP so that a potential hacker won’t be able to invade your device.

Privacy and logging policies

Based in the British Virgin Isles where there are no data-retention laws in effect, SurfShark is outside the 14 Eyes, and as such it can guarantee the anonymity of any user. In terms of privacy, SurfShark only collects information related to the account, the payment of a subscription, as well as data concerning the server performance.

The logging policy is clear, concise, and straightforward – SurfShark doesn’t collect any connection logs or IP addresses.

From this point of view, a user’s identity is as safe as it gets when using their services. There are no issues whatsoever while dealing with the censorship machine in Saudi Arabia either. They won’t find out you’re using a VPN.

Server performance

Being based in the British Virgin Isles, there are credible guarantees related to the speed performance, seeing as though the ISPs in the country are all about speed.

SurfShark has one of the best speeds in the industry, among premium VPN providers. We’ll see exactly how it fares in the comparison between the three VPNs in the section below

Customer support

The 24/7 live chat support which is currently unavailable as per the official website’s report does a fairly good job in answering any user queries.

They are professional, concise, and very helpful when any issues appear. Generally, though, the FAQ section is more than enough for any basic problems.

The ticketing system has an overall bad reputation with any VPN out there, so we suggest you go ahead and use the live chat for more prompt and efficient support.

Ease of use

The VPN app itself is nothing short of simplistic and intuitive when it comes to being user-friendly.

You have an On/Off button which does exactly that, a list of servers which you can pick freely from, and the settings options where you can change between UDP and TCP, for instance.

All in all, we’ve had a good experience with SurfShark’s proprietary app. The interface was good looking, and it had everything a user needs.

Pricing

This is where most users draw a line between VPN providers, even though we highly suggest you pay more for better security. Though, the decision is entirely yours.

SurfShark has the following subscription plans:

  • $11.95 for a one-month plan
  • $5.99 every month for a 1-year plan (for a total of $71.88)
  • $1.99 every month for a 2-year plan (for a total of $47.76)

From what we could observe, the 2-year subscription seems to be the best possible option in terms of price-to-value standards.

All plans are protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked.

4. VPN speed comparison

We tested two servers from each VPN provider, starting from the following benchmark results:

Ping – 15ms

Download speed – 91.46 Mbps

Upload speed – 90.93 Mbps

We’ll start with NordVPN

UK server:

Ping – 70ms

Download speed – 37.88 Mbps

Upload speed – 41.05 Mbps

Netherlands server:

Ping – 41ms

Download speed – 77.91 Mbps

Upload speed – 63.53

Moving on with ExpresVPN

German server:

Ping – 71ms

Download speed – 83.92 Mbps

Upload speed – 78.24 Mbps

UK server:

Ping – 55ms

Download speed – 73.05 Mbps

Upload speed – 82.84 Mbps

Finally, SurfShark

US server:

Ping – 127ms

Download speed – 18.37 Mbps

Upload speed – 8.12 Mbps

German server:

Ping – 55ms

Download speed – 80.93 Mbps

Upload speed – 81.57 Mbps

As such, you’ll see that ExpressVPN takes the top spot, followed by NordVPN, and the last contender is SurfShark.

The last two fluctuate more or less in terms of performance, whereas ExpressVPN maintains constancy 99% of the time.

In all reality, if you’re living or traveling in Saudi Arabia, using one of these three online security providers will be your best bet if you want to escape the oppressive censorship system, and increase your online anonymity.

Torrenting and streaming are entirely possible with the high-speed servers of our top three picks.

The choice is up to you.

Written by: Bogdan Patru

Author, creative writer, and tech-geek. Bogdan has followed his passion for the digital world ever since he got his hands of his first pc. After years of accumulating knowledge and experience, the good Samaritan in him whispered him one day about the virtue of sharing that knowledge with those who needed it. It was 2014 when that idea would grow into a life-defining passion. One that keeps driving him to this day.