Saudi Arabia is one of the most restricted and reserved countries on the planet regarding internet freedom. So much so that out of the more than 180 countries that the Reporters Without Borders (RWB) examined, Saudi Arabian internet was ranked at 164th in 2014. Furthermore, the country is placed on the list of the “enemies of the internet” and has been there since 2006. Indeed, the policies Saudi Arabia practices regarding its internet are quite restrictive. Still, there is a demand for a more open online domain, and thus – as an effective solution – some VPN providers have connections to Saudi Arabia while offering people in Saudi Arabia the opportunity to connect to the web using a foreign IP. This article is about examining the conditions in the country and eventually recommending three VPN companies that we think best suit Saudi Arabia.
Best VPN Services for Saudi Arabia of 2018
Using a Saudi Arabian IP
Saudi Arabia is a kingdom, meaning that the structure of power follows a different trend and laws are passed in a different manner than western countries that employ more democratic means to do so. Additionally, religion is an aspect of the Saudi culture that affects the internet as well, both in the displayed content and whether or not something can be displayed or not. Therefore, if you connect to the country’s internet via a Saudi Arabian VPN connection, expect content that has a pinch of Sunni Islam in it here and there. In fact, the cultural environment created by this religious background is so intertwined with Saudi internet policy that it extends to comments and blog posts as well. Still, if you think about the nature of Islam culture, the nature of the internet is probably a lot less disturbing to the country’s inhabitants than for people of other cultures and religions. They grew up experiencing the very school of thought that spawned the Saudi Arabian internet policy.
Saudi Arabian Online Privacy Laws
As mentioned before, the internet law of Saudi Arabia is quite a restrictive one. The most important thing to note here is that all foreign content is regulated by the government. One of the main principles of governance law is preserving a “unity” of the nation, and thus any non-Saudi Arabian content is supervised before being made public, or rather, if it is made public at all. This task is the responsibility of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) in the country. We also suggest taking the content you see with a pinch of salt. To create a single blog post or a newspaper article online, you need a government license, meaning that what you are able to read again falls under restrictions.
Internet Censorship in Saudi Arabia
Because of the above, many forms of censorship are widespread in Saudi Arabia. As you can imagine, any online content undergoes an effective indirect censorship by the CITC, who are selective about what they allow online in the country. Furthermore, the freedom of expression is generally deteriorated, as self-censorship is highly encouraged. Any content that is non-heterosexual is automatically censored, and the same is true for pornographic content: both are deemed immoral in Saudi Arabia.
Information related to what the country categorizes as drugs are also heavily filtered, along with gambling. Furthermore, this very article might not be allowed in Saudi Arabia, as information about bypassing online restrictions is also restricted. Websites like Wikipedia and some Google owned websites are also blocked. The video website YouTube is also getting censored in the near future. Overall, almost any type of content, in any shape or form that does not conform to the ideals of the Saudi Arabian leadership is restricted in various ways.
Streaming Services in Saudi Arabia
Streaming availability in Saudi Arabia is therefore not the best, at least from the perspective of the websites that are popular in the “western” world. For music streaming however, you have some options. Apple Music is allowed within the borders of the country, although as with other areas of internet content, the selection of songs is trimmed quite heavily. Another participant in Saudi Arabia is Guevra. We can say that the permission of these streamers is more functional rather than representing a certain side of music culture. For film, the situation is perhaps even worse. Apart from less reliable websites, there are no streamers like Netflix allowed in Saudi Arabia. The region’s most watched channel, Al-Jazeera however, is operational in the country.
Free Saudi Arabian VPN Trials
So Saudi Arabia is one of the most restricted countries online. Still, though there are not many of them, there are some VPN providers that offer safe connections in and out of the country. As stated in the introduction of this article, we are now going to recommend three providers that fit the Saudi online domain. Our main criteria are safety and accessibility.
First, we would like to advise you on reading about PureVPN. The safety of your connection is provided via a kill switch for this company. In case anything suspicious happens to your VPN, it will automatically be deactivated. Of course, PureVPN also offers the standard security protocols like OpenVPN or L2TP – the kill switch can be used on top of these, in unison. Apart from these, you also have SSL support on your hands.
Secondly, we brief you on the US VPN provider IPVanish. Next to the same level of security PureVPN provides, this company excels in every aspect of service. Widespread device support, 24/7 customer service and more experience are on their side. However, unlike PureVPN, IPVanish does not offer a free trial and has slightly less favorable prices.
Lastly, we would like to suggest Swiss-based VyprVPN. Another top company, they have additional safety routines embedded into their VPN. For one, you can utilize VyprVPN’s own brand of SmartDNS proxy called VyprDNS. This tool is helpful in bypassing more severe blocks and restrictions on streaming channels. To provide protection for the riskier adventures, the company also has a built-in NAT Firewall to boot, that will surely be very helpful against threats from the outside.