Qatar is one of the most connected countries in the Middle East, with 99% internet penetration. However, it is also one of the most monitored and regulated countries when it comes to online activity.
Why You Need a VPN in Qatar
Qatar offers its citizens a heavily censored version of the internet when it comes to accessing websites and services outside of the country. The government filters out political criticism of the government, LGBTQ content, sexual health resources, and more.
While there have been no reports of the Qatari government conducting active internet surveillance, Wikileaks claims that Qatar’s State Security Bureau has purchased software to allow them to secretly monitor emails and other forms of online communications.
Peer-to-peer file sharing is not technically illegal in Qatar. However, anecdotal evidence on Reddit indicates the government does block file-sharing sites with links to copyrighted materials.
Qatar does not actively restrict access to popular social media networks. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+ are the most popular social networks in the country. A 2006 telecommunications law states that law enforcement can fine or imprison (for up to one year) any person who uses a “telecommunications network” to disturb, irritate, or offend others.
Netflix is available in Qatar. However, users will find only 178 TV shows and 552 movies are available on Netflix in the country, compared to the American version’s 1,326 shows and 4,339 movies. Other streaming services, such as U.S.-based Hulu or U.K.-based BBC iPlayer, restrict access to viewers in their home countries.
Luckily, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is still legal in Qatar.
What Does a VPN Offer to Qatar Internet Users?
A VPN offers residents and visitors to Qatar optimal online privacy and security, while also enhancing their online activities.
In this article, I’ll be sharing information about the seven top VPNs that offer the best performance and protection from inside of Qatar.
Best VPNs for Use in Qatar
The seven VPN providers ranked below are the best VPNs for use while inside Qatar. The brief highlights of each provider are as follows.
Best VPNs for Qatar:
- NordVPN: The top choice for quality VPN protection in Qatar. NordVPN offers optimal privacy and security protections, while also providing enhancements for all of your online activities. Comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget VPN. Good for users who would rather spend their hard-earned riyals on other things besides VPN protection, but don’t want to sacrifice quality online protection. The provider offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
- ExpressVPN: Premium VPN protection. This VPN performs well in multiple categories, especially excelling when it comes to accessing international content thanks to its wide global server network and great content-unblocking ability.
- CyberGhost: Here’s the best option for first-time VPN users. The service delivers excellent online security and privacy, as well as servers enhanced for specific online activities, all via easy-to-use apps. This is one of two providers on this list with servers inside Qatar.
- Private Internet Access (PIA): Reliable VPN protection for Qatar. PIA’s global server network (including servers in Qatar) provides reliable, fast, and well-protected access to geo-fenced content around the globe.
- PrivateVPN: “Stealthy” VPN services. While this provider’s global server coverage and app support could both use a bump, it offers an extra bit of online protection thanks to its “Stealth VPN” feature, which helps disguise your VPN activity as normal browser traffic.
- Atlas VPN: Unlimited protected connections. This VPN puts no limits on how many connections a customer makes to its servers. Unlimited fast, well-protected access to geo-restrained content in many areas of the globe.
When ranking this top seven lineup, I considered the following factors:
- Size of the provider’s global server network
- Security and privacy protections
- Speed of protected connections
- Multi-platform app support
- Customer support
You can find out more information about the criteria I used in the testing methodology section found later in this article.
Here is my list of the seven best VPNs for internet users inside Qatar.
NordVPN is the #1 choice for protecting and enhancing your online activities while visiting or residing in Qatar.
The NordVPN global server network consists of 5,600+ servers in nearly 60 countries. (None inside of Qatar.) The provider’s owned-and-operated servers keep outside contractors away from customers’ personal information.
Connection protection is handled by the provider’s military-level encryption. A kill switch option, IPv6 and DNS leak prevention, and ad and malware blocking are all available. The provider’s NordLynx connection protocol, based on WireGuard, offers improved protection and performance.
No privacy worries here thanks to a no-server-logs-ever policy and a cryptocurrency payment option. In addition, the provider runs its servers 100% from RAM, with no data ever being written to a physical hard drive. All data is completely wiped from the hard drive whenever a NordVPN server is rebooted.
Thanks to the fact that NordVPN’s connection speeds are the fastest of any provider I’ve ever tested, their connection speeds should be more than up to handling HD video, online gaming, and sharing files. No data caps to worry about here.
Native app support is a definite plus for this provider, with offerings for Android, iOS, macOS (offering native M1/M2 Mac support), Windows, Android TV, Amazon Fire, and Linux device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
Comprehensive router support protects all of your connected devices via a single access point. Up to six simultaneous connections are allowed using a single set of login credentials.
Customer support is available 24/7 thanks to around-the-clock live chat, email support, and a searchable support library.
- Servers in 60+ countries
- Lightning-fast connection speeds
- Around-the-clock customer support
- Excellent privacy protections
- Low-priced subscriptions
- Apps not as user-friendly as some competitors’ apps
BEST VPN FOR QATAR:NordVPN offers the best service for Qatar. The provider’s security and privacy protections, as well as its fast speeds, great multi-platform support, and extensive global server coverage, make it the top option for protecting and enhancing your connections in Qatar. A risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark is my budget option on this list, providing excellent protection for your hard-earned riyals.
This provider’s server network is currently 3,200+ servers strong, with servers located in 100+ countries. The provider claims to offer access to 30+ Netflix libraries around the globe.
No problems on the connection protection front with this provider thanks to its banking-grade connection encryption, a kill switch option, and IPv6 and DNS leak prevention. Surfshark’s apps also offer ad blocking.
Privacy is also well-protected thanks to a no-server-logs policy and a Bitcoin subscription payment policy. Surfshark has joined the growing ranks of VPN providers who run their servers 100% from RAM, which ensures that all data is securely wiped when rebooted, shut down, or unplugged. The provider says it wipes its servers “occasionally.”
Those well-protected connections are more than up to handling video streams, online gaming, and downloading and sharing large files. The provider’s connection speeds were the best in my most recent tests.
App support from the provider includes options for Android, iOS, Linux, macOS (native support for Apple Silicon), Amazon Fire, and Windows device platforms. Firefox, Edge, and Chrome browser extensions are available. Router coverage is also available.
The provider’s unlimited simultaneous connections policy makes it an excellent option for users who need to protect a large number of devices at once.
In addition to comprehensive VPN protection, Surfshark also offers virus protection, truly private search, and data breach alerts.
Support is available 24/7 thanks to round-the-clock live chat, a support request form, and a searchable support library.
- Bargain pricing
- No simultaneous connections limt
- Top-notch security and privacy
- Worldwide server network
- Not many advanced options
BEST BARGAIN VPN OPTION:Surfshark is the best VPN option for budget-minded individuals who don’t want to give up excellent online protection just to save some money. The provider delivers optimal security and privacy protections, as well as an appreciated unlimited simultaneous connections allowance. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for users who long to get their hands on international content thanks to the provider’s wide-ranging global server coverage and ability to unblock all kinds of content.
The provider offers comprehensive global server coverage, with over 3,000+ servers spread out among 94+ countries. However, none of those servers are located in Qatar. As you’ll see, it’s unusual to find a VPN with servers inside the country.
Security and privacy are never an issue when you’re using ExpressVPN. The provider protects your online antics from being observed by encasing your connection inside a tunnel of bank-grade encryption. The provider’s proprietary Lightway protocol is designed for improved protection and performance.
A kill switch option, along with DNS and IPv6 leak protection, protects your online security. The provider’s desktop apps offer a split tunneling feature, which allows you to specify which apps connect through the protected tunnel.
Your privacy is also well-protected thanks to a strict no-logs policy when it comes to servers and a private Bitcoin subscription payment option. ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology runs all servers only from RAM, with no data whatsoever being written to a physical hard drive. All data is wiped from the server whenever each time it is restarted.
As of January 2020, Qatar’s mobile internet speeds ranked globally in 3rd place, while its broadband speeds were the 40th fastest. ExpressVPN does little to slow down those speeds, as the provider’s connections can easily handle HD and 4K streams, online gaming, and the sharing and downloading of large files. No data caps to get in your way.
ExpressVPN has apps available for Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Windows, macOS (with M1/M2 Mac support), Linux, and Chromebook device platforms.
Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browser extensions are present and accounted for. Comprehensive router compatibility protects all of your connected devices. The provider recently updated its router firmware to provide an improved user interface and improved performance.
Five devices can connect at once while using the same login info.
Around-the-clock customer support is available, including 24/7 live chat, email support, a trouble ticket tracking system, and a searchable support knowledgebase.
- Reliable access to geo-blocked content around the globe
- Comprehensive global server coverage
- Excellent all-around security and privacy protections
- Excellent app support
- More expensive than many other VPNs
- Only five simultaneous connections
WORLDWIDE ACCESS:ExpressVPN sports an impressive global server network, fast speeds and reliable content-unblocking ability, making it great for accessing international content and enjoying gaming, streaming, and more. The provider’s security and privacy protections are optimal. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
If you’re a beginner VPN user or heck, if you’re a beginner device user, you’ll appreciate a VPN that offers ease of use while not sacrificing features. CyberGhost is that VPN.
This provider offers excellent global server coverage, with over 9,000 servers based in 90+ countries around the globe. CyberGhost is one of only two providers on this list that has VPN servers stationed inside of Qatar (14 servers). Their server options include streaming- and file-sharing-optimized options.
The provider delivers optimal online security thanks to government-grade encryption, a kill switch, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection. The provider’s desktop apps also offer ad and tracking blocking, as well as the ability to force websites to serve up HTTPS versions of their pages if available.
Privacy is another plus when it comes to CyberGhost thanks to a strict no-server-logs policy and its acceptance of Bitcoin in return for its services.
All of the above-listed protections don’t slow down your connection by much, as CyberGhost’s servers offer download speeds that can easily handle both 4K and HD video streams, fast-moving online gaming, and downloading and sharing large files. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about bumping up against any data caps when using this VPN.
All popular device platforms are protected thanks to easy-to-use apps for Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows device platforms. Chrome and Firefox extensions are also available.
Comprehensive router support keeps your other connected devices protected. Up to seven simultaneous connections can be made using a single login.
The provider also offers a password manager, as well as an ID Guard feature to alert you when your email address is included in a data breach. CyberGhost’s “Security Suite for Windows” provides antivirus protection, the ability to customize how much personal data Microsoft can access, and a utility that scans your PC’s hard drive for vulnerable versions of software.
24/7 support includes always-available live chat, email support, a trouble ticket tracking system, and a searchable knowledge base.
- Servers in 90+ countries (Qatar included)
- 4K-ready download speeds
- Easy-to-use apps
- Streaming- and downloading-optimized servers
- Advanced users might miss some options
- Can’t unblock some streaming sites
BEST FOR VPN OR DEVICE NEWBIES:CyberGhost is my top VPN pick for beginner users who are looking for optimal protection without the need to flip a bunch of virtual switches to set up optional VPN protection. A 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
5. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access (PIA) provides reliable online protection for Qatar citizens and visitors.
The PIA global server network is made up of over 3,300 servers located in 80+ countries, including Qatar. This global network provides reliable access to content in most areas of the globe.
The provider protects its customers’ connections by using banking-grade encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and kill switch protection. The provider also offers blocking of ads, tracker, malware, and dangerous websites.
PIA’s servers never record your online travels, so there will be nothing to come back and bite you later on. The provider also accepts cryptocurrency as a subscription payment. A disposable email address when you subscribe and you’ll add an additional layer of privacy to your account.
PIA’s native app support includes offerings for Android, Android TV, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux device platforms. Chrome, Opera, and Firefox browser extensions also make an appearance.
The provider offers comprehensive router compatibility to keep all of your connected devices protected, while consuming only one connection out of the provider’s 10 simultaneous connection allowance.
While it’s true that the provider’s connection speeds are the slowest on this list, it can still handle popular online activities like streaming, online gaming, and more. No data caps or bandwidth to ever spoil the fun.
Customer support offerings include a live chat option, a trouble ticket system, and a searchable support library.
- Reliable access to content in Qatar and elsewhere
- Top-notch security and privacy
- Large global server network
- No streaming or downloading-optimized servers
- Doesn’t work in some overly-restrictive countries
RELIABLE VPN PROTECTION FOR QATAR:The Private Internet Access global server network provides well-protected access to content around the globe. The provider’s fast connections make it easy to enjoy your favorite online activities. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Private Internet Access.
PrivateVPN is one of the more recent companies to offer VPN protection, and it has plenty of room to improve its already above-average service.
The provider’s global server coverage is a bit thin, as it currently has just 200+ servers spread thinly among 60+ countries around the globe.
PrivateVPN doesn’t lack anything in the online protection department thanks to its government-class connection encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak prevention. Its proprietary “Stealth VPN” option hides your VPN activity by disguising it as regular browser activity.
Privacy is also well-served thanks to a lack of server logs, as well as a Bitcoin subscription payment option.
Connection speeds from the provider should be up to handling any of your favorite online activities. The service never imposes any data caps.
App support is another department where PrivateVPN could stand some improvement, as its app selection covers only the big four device platforms (Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows).
You can gain protection for the other connected devices in your home or office by taking advantage of the provider’s router features. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously on the same set of user credentials.
Customer support includes email support and an FAQ library. While the provider claims it has 24/7 live chat functionality, I’ve visited the site plenty of times when the chat balloon was red, indicating no one was manning the chat station. (If it’s green, there should be someone available.)
- Stealth VPN option hides your VPN activity
- Fast download speeds
- Up to 10 devices can be connected at once
- Server numbers are the lowest I’ve seen
- App support could also stand to be improved
EXTRA PROTECTION FOR QATAR:PrivateVPN offers reliable VPN protection via its somewhat limited global server network. The service’s “Stealth VPN” feature allows users to disguise their VPN activity as normal browser traffic. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of PrivateVPN.
7. Atlas VPN
Atlas VPN provides comprehensive online protection, as well as delivering access to normally unavailable content around much of the globe.
The provider’s 750+ servers based in more than 42+ countries worldwide adds up to a substantial server network. That network provides reliable access to content in many areas of the globe.
Atlas VPN provides fast connections that can handle streaming, gaming, and other popular online activities. The provider puts no data caps or bandwidth limitations on its customers’ usage.
All Atlas VPN-provided connections are protected with banking-grade encryption, a kill switch, IP/DNS leak protection, and other protective features. The provider’s proprietary Safebrowse and Safebrowse Plus features block various online dangers and those pesky ads.
Atlas VPN’s servers run user tracking log-free and the provider also accepts cryptocurrency as a subscription payment.
The provider offers apps for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV device platforms. While no support for browser extensions or routers are available, Atlas says both are in development.
There is no limit on how many devices users can concurrently connect to Atlas VPN’s servers.
While live chat is available only to paying customers, all users can benefit from the provider’s email support, contact form, and support library.
- Fast connections
- Blocks online dangers and ads
- No simultaneous connections limit
- Live chat is available only to paying customers
- No browser or router support
UNLIMITED ENCRYPTED CONNECTIONS:Atlas VPN provides powerful, well-protected and unlimited connections to global content. Its Safebrowse options protect against online dangers and irritating ads. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Atlas VPN.
Methodology for Assessing VPNs for Qatar
Even though Qatar residents and visitors aren’t currently monitored online, the government has thrown up several roadblocks to various types of content. Potential VPN users should carefully consider several factors before subscribing to a VPN service provider.
- Connection speed: Let’s face it, a fast internet connection makes all of your online activities more enjoyable, especially if you’re a streaming or gaming fan. All of the VPNs included on my list do little to slow your connection speeds.
- Server network: A good-sized global server network provides better access to geo-blocked content. Plus, look for a large number of servers in an individual country, as it lessens the chance of a single server being overloaded from serving too many users at once.
- Value: A VPN provider’s value can best be calculated by comparing the VPN’s asking price to the list of features it offers. All VPNs that I include on my list offer an excellent return on investment.
- Ease of use: You likely have multiple connected devices, making native app support an important feature to keep in mind. Each VPN provider that I include on my list offers easy-to-use, reliable apps for many popular device platforms.
- Security and privacy: A VPN should always protect its users’ connections with banking-level encryption, a kill switch, and DNS/IP leak protection. A no-logs policy is also a must. The VPNs I include on my list provide comprehensive privacy and online security protection.
- Streaming: Streaming video content is arguably one of the most popular pastimes for VPN users. Each VPN I include on my list provides reliable access to popular streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and others.
My research doesn’t end here. In fact, evaluating the factors above are just a small part of my comprehensive VPN testing methodology. This data-driven approach helps me to better understand the VPNs and their services, so I can recommend only those that are a good fit for your needs.
How to Use a VPN From Inside Qatar
To protect and enhance your online activities while residing in or visiting Qatar, do the following:
- Subscribe to the VPN provider of your choice. (NordVPN is my #1 choice.)
- Install the VPN provider’s app on all of your devices.
- Log into the VPN service on any device.
- Select a VPN server located outside of Qatar to access content based in other countries, or select a server inside of Qatar to hide your in-country online activities from observation.
- Enjoy your new online protection and freedom!
Won’t a Free VPN Work in Qatar?
It is possible that you could find a “free” VPN that will work from inside of Qatar, but I can almost guarantee that you will not be happy with the protections and performance a free VPN can offer.
First, there is the inconvenience of using a free VPN. Many no-cost VPN providers may force you to wait in a queue before allowing you to connect to the service.
Then, once you’ve been given the green light for connecting, you’ll find that you’re automatically connected to a server of the provider’s choice, or that you have a quite limited server selection to choose from.
As for performance, many freebie providers will throttle your connection speeds. Then, they’ll likely impose a daily or monthly data cap on your usage. So much for using your VPN to stream video or share files, as both of those activities burn through data fairly quickly.
As for your security and privacy, free VPNs are lacking in this area too. Even a free VPN needs to make money to keep its servers humming. Some free VPNs will monitor their users’ online activities, log that activity and then sell the information to advertisers and other nosy third parties.
Plus, some free VPNs have been known to inject unwanted tracking cookies and even ads into their users’ browsing sessions. (And those tracking cookies stick around to track you, even when you’re not using the VPN servers. Sneaky!)
I don’t know about you, but to me, all of the above makes paying for a VPN service a lot more attractive than trying to use a freebie provider.
What Can I Do With A VPN?
A Virtual Private Network offers a number of advantages, delivering multiple enhancements and protections for your online activities.
A VPN has the ability to temporarily assign a new IP address to your connected device. Since an IP address can be used to determine your geographic location, a new IP address can make it appear to the rest of the internet that you’re located somewhere other than your actual location.
This enables access to video, music, gaming, and other kinds of content that you may normally be blocked from.
A VPN encrypts your internet connection, hiding your online activities from your Internet Service Provider, the government, and other Nosy Nellies.
Since your ISP can’t see your online activities, it can’t block or throttle your connection simply because you’re participating in frowned-upon activities like sharing files or watching video from an “unapproved” provider.
That same connection encryption comes in quite handy when you’re using an unprotected public Wi-Fi connection at a hotel or your favorite coffee shop. Unencrypted WiFi hotspots are an attractive target for hackers and other bad actors. A VPN prevents the bad guys from monitoring your online shopping, banking, and other sensitive online activities.
Qatar VPN FAQs
Are VPNs Illegal in Qatar?
VPNs are legal in Qatar. However, using one in the commission of a crime is illegal.
What Is the Best Free VPN for Qatar?
Free VPNs are a hazard to your privacy and security, and they offer an overall bad experience. Not only do they impose data caps, throttle connection speeds, and make users wait in a queue, but they also track and monitor users' online activities in order to sell that information to third parties. Keep to paid VPNs for your own good.
What Is the Best VPN for Android and iPhone in Qatar?
NordVPN is the best VPN for both Android and iPhone. It offers apps for both devices, as well as for Android TV. Its connection speeds, wide global server coverage, excellent privacy and security protections, and more make it an attractive option.
Qatar residents and visitors will appreciate the protective and enhancing abilities of a Virtual Private Network. A VPN keeps prying eyes away from your online activities while opening up access to content that you normally can’t touch.
NordVPN provides reliable access to content around the globe thanks to its comprehensive global server coverage. Its fast and well-protected connections offer swift and reliable access to the rest of the world. Its security and privacy protections ensure you aren’t being monitored while online, keeping your private activities private.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
- Why You Need a VPN in Qatar
- What Does a VPN Offer to Qatar Internet Users?
- Best VPNs for Use in Qatar
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. Private Internet Access
- 6. PrivateVPN
- 7. Atlas VPN
- Methodology for Assessing VPNs for Qatar
- How to Use a VPN From Inside Qatar
- Won’t a Free VPN Work in Qatar?
- What Can I Do With A VPN?
- Qatar VPN FAQs
- Are VPNs Illegal in Qatar?
- What Is the Best Free VPN for Qatar?
- What Is the Best VPN for Android and iPhone in Qatar?