Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world thanks to its impressive oil reserves. Despite the fact that this Middle Eastern country boasts great internet availability, online content is subject to severe censorship due to religious and legal restrictions.
On top of that, many independent observers report that the government actively monitors online activities of its residents as well as Internet publications throughout the country.
In such conditions, the use of a VPN is vital to maintaining online freedom and ensuring anonymity on the net. There are plenty VPNs on the market but not all of them are equally good to be employed in Qatar.
Upon investigating many popular services, I narrowed down a list of the best VPN for Qatar to 3 providers. Read on to find out which VPN actually work in Qatar.
Here are the best VPNs for Qatar
Without long introductions, I am ready to present my list of the best VPNs for using in Qatar. Here it is:
Each service has proven to be effective, fast, and secure. The latter is especially important in a country with such severe Internet restrictions and censorship.
Many VPN services claim that users’ safety is their main priority, but none of them has made as much efforts in this direction as NordVPN. Look for yourself – dual encryption, Onion over VPN, Kill Switch, an automatic shutdown tool, protection against DNS leaks – this is far from a complete list of functions that ensure your security.
With all this, the service manages to maintain a very decent connection speed. It even went an extra mile to offer special super-fast servers. As well as it is necessary to a service focused on safety, NordVPN does not save any logs of users’ activity, therefore no governmental services can learn about what you do on the net.
NordVPN offers software for all available types of devices and operating systems, and from one account you can make up to 5 simultaneous connections.
Firstly, ExpressVPN is known for its amazing speed. Even if you are streaming video in high quality you will not notice any drop in connection speed, as if you are using your usual Internet connection. This was made possible by the massive server network with servers located in 94 counties. To make it easier for you to select the fastest server, ExpressVPN even offers a built-in speed test feature. The service is available for any gadget with an Internet connection, and simultaneously you can connect up to 3 such devices.
As for security, 5 protocols with various combinations of protection and speed are at your disposal. The service keeps no connection or activity logs, so nobody will know what sites you visited or what content you viewed online.
PureVPN’ headquarter is located in Hong Kong. Since the service was primarily targeted at clients from China, a country notorious for having a severe restriction regarding access certain type of content, the provider’s knowledge is very useful for ensuring users’ security in Qatar. That’s why you shouldn’t be scared to entrust your safety and freedom to access any content to PureVPN. Military-grade encryption protocols will successfully hide your internet activity from the Qatar authorities while zero-logs policy will ensure keeping your identity absolutely anonymous.
PureVPN has 2000+ servers in 140 countries including servers in Qatar itself. Along with that, the company offers servers in the neighboring territories such as Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. This guarantees excellent connection speeds when using a VPN.
The service allows 5 multi logins, meaning you can connect up to 5 devices at one time.
Reasons to Use a VPN in Qatar
Due to the fact that the government of Qatar heavily censors information on the Internet, the use of a VPN is seen as simply vital to ensure the safety of users and freedom in the choice of content.
Firstly, let’s talk about blocked content. Streaming availability in Qatar is far from what users in the Western world are used to. Many popular VoIP and video services are not available in Qatar. If you want to use Skype, Whatsapp, Netflix, or even Google, you won’t succeed because they are all blocked. The government explains this by the need to preserve a sense of national identity. This would be a laudable aspiration if not for the fact that most of the country’s population is made up of immigrants and not indigenous people. Such measures allowed the state-controlled Al-Jazeera to become the main media on the Internet.
In addition to circumventing restrictions in Qatar, a VPN benefits to the users’ privacy and anonymity. VPN services encrypt data, so the government will not be able to track your online activity. Moreover, VPNs hide IP addresses of their clients, so that even Internet service providers will not be able to monitor content you watch online or learn about sites that you visit. Because of the situation with privacy and censorship in Qatar, it is extremely important that all data emanating from your devices be encrypted, otherwise, law enforcement agencies may come after you.
Internet Censorship in Qatar
The Middle Eastern states are notorious for their strict limitations regarding dissemination of information. Although Qatar is considered to be one of the freest countries in this respect, you should not keep your hopes high that people can freely use the Internet and openly express their thoughts. According to Reporters Without Borders, the country ranks 125 out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index. This is better than many of their neighbors in the Persian Gulf, but not what people in the Western society are used to.
At the heart of the Qatari’s legislation lies Sharia law – a system based on religious teachings of Islam. Proceeding from this, the government severely censors content that is considered insulting on religious, cultural and political grounds. Authorities obliged the largest Internet provider in the country, Qtel, to monitor online traffic and turn over information about content that violates Internet regulations.
Until recently, Qtel was the only Internet provider, but with the entrance of other companies to the market, it has not lost its power. It is said that it has the ability to monitor data going through networks of other providers. Moreover, according to the 2014 cybercrime law, Internet providers are required to store the connection and content logs for 90 days, and at the request of a procurator, these terms can be extended.
The Constitution of Qatar protects freedom of speech, but this does not mean that this freedom really exists. Many political statements are literally erased from the Internet, especially those that criticize and offend the government. Criticism of the monarchy is also not permissible.
Like any Muslim country, Qatar bans any content that they consider pornographic (although their interpretation of pornography is much broader than in countries that do not act according to the laws of Sharia). Dating sites, content related to sexual health and education, as well as LGBT content also fall under the definition of pornography. Even social networks and many messaging tools have been banned. The government even tries to block services that help users avoid government censorship and surveillance.
Why You Should Not Use Free VPNs in Qatar
There are many free alternatives to the VPN services mentioned above. But in fact, their only advantage is free of payment basis. Yes, they can mask your IP address but you will have to forget about data encryption, security tools, and high-speed servers.
By the same token, such VPNs do not protect against leaks so your IP can easily be exposed. You can also try to have recourse to proxy and DNS services but they can’t ensure your security either. Is it worth taking a risk if even viewing seemingly innocuous content in Qatar can bring law enforcement to your door?
When the safety of your life is at stake, is it worth saving altogether? Let’s figure if it’s really that expensive to use a paid VPN. Many respected VPN providers ask for just about $3 USD per month for their services (although such attractive prices in most cases are valid for long-term subscriptions). Are 3 dollars too much to provide a reliable barrier between you and the all-seeing eye of the Qatari authorities?
After all, every service has a money back policy and this is a pretty convincing argument in favor of paid VPNs. I’m sure once you personally test one out and appreciate all the benefits of premium services, you will no longer want to try anything else.