Unless you’re using a VPN, censorship in Qatar is impenetrable. The government adheres to a strict code of ethics to protect national interests. This means many social media apps, political websites, and news outlets are blocked in Qatar.
On top of that, any depictions of sexuality are forbidden. Dating sites and pornography websites are banned.
Luckily, you can use a VPN to get past these restrictions. The best VPNs for Qatar are:
Our top choice is NordVPN, which still works in Qatar despite government pushback. In fact, we used NordVPN to access many of the other VPNs in this list.
In Qatar, using a VPN to keep yourself protected online is paramount. The Qatari government blocks many websites and online services, including VoIP apps like WhatsApp and Viber. On top of that, government surveillance is widespread.
Qatari residents, as well as visiting journalists, activists, and businessmen, will need to use a reliable VPN to access a free internet. A VPN encrypts your private data and protects you against all sorts of online threats.
Since Qatari authorities are actively pushing back against VPN use, it can be difficult to find a provider that works reliably. We tested 20+ VPNs on the ground in Qatar to give you an overview of VPNs that actually work in Qatar, starting with our top pick: NordVPN.
What is the Best VPN for Qatar?
In recent years, censorship in Qatar has increased drastically. Internet freedom is restricted on multiple levels, and circumvention tools are often blocked. The best VPNs for Qatar are providers that can still get around these high levels of restriction.
We summarize their main features in the table below.
|Feature||NordVPN||ExpressVPN||Proton VPN||Atlas VPN||Windscribe VPN|
|Number of servers||5,200+||3,000+||1,700+||750||Undisclosed|
|Number of countries with servers||50||94||60+||37||60+|
|Protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, Lightway||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard||IKEv2, WireGuard||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard|
|Price||From $2.99 a month||From $6.67 a month||From $3.99 a month||From $1.64 a month||From $4.08 a month|
|Purchase||Get NordVPN||Get ExpressVPN||Get Proton VPN||Get Atlas VPN||Get Windscribe VPN|
Scroll down to find the details of each VPN provider, including available security protocols compatible operating systems.
1. NordVPN: Best VPN for Qatar
- 5,400+ servers across 60 countries
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Obfuscation technology
- OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, NordLynx (WireGuard)
NordVPN is the best VPN for Qatar. In fact, NordVPN works so well that our experts on the ground used it to access other VPNs.
What makes NordVPN the best VPN for Qatar? First off, it’s one of the most secure VPNs in the world. Not only does it offer robust encryption and the safest VPN protocols in the business, including OpenVPN. NordVPN also comes with additional security features such as DNS leak protection, Threat Protection, and a Dark Web Monitor.
Worried about the Qatari government looking over your shoulders? NordVPN offers obfuscation technology to hide your VPN traffic. NordVPN is also a verified no-log VPN that doesn’t leak any of your data. You can even use special P2P servers or use the Onion over VPN mode if you want to access the Tor browser.
In terms of design, NordVPN works intuitively and is great for beginners, as well as expert users. We recommend downloading the mobile app from the Google Play Store, but you can use Nord on up to 6 different devices at the same time. Customer service is available via live chat 24/7, should you run into any unexpected issues after all.
Finally, NordVPN is a pro at unblocking geo-restricted content. During our testing rounds, we were able to access anything from pornographic sites to social media apps.
Since NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try the best VPN for Qatar for yourself without having to commit right away.
- Excellent protection and a large network of servers
- Nice and pleasing application
- No logs
2. ExpressVPN: Very secure premium VPN for Qatar
- Verified no-log VPN with excellent security protocols
- One of the fastest VPNs around
- Relatively expensive but offers robust security features
- OpenVPN, IkEv2, L2TP/IPsec, Lightway
ExpressVPN is a well-known name in the VPN industry. This zero-logs VPN has built a reputation for great security and a vast VPN server network. At the moment, the ExpressVPN website is blocked in Qatar, but we managed to access it when connected to NordVPN. More about how to do this below.
ExpressVPN offers more than 3,000 servers across 94 different countries. It’s one of the fastest VPNs in the world. The level of security they offer is also very high: you can choose between OpenVPN, IKEv2, and ExpressVPN’s own Lightway protocol. With DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, you don’t have to worry about your data leaking through, even if your VPN connection drops.
With ExpressVPN, we managed to unblock multiple banned websites in Qatar, including social media apps, LGBTQ+ resources, and pornography sites. However, we had trouble unblocking streaming services like Netflix. For this purpose, other VPNs in this list worked better. However, if your main goal is to protect your internet connection, ExpressVPN is a great VPN.
If you’d like to purchase your VPN anonymously, you can use Bitcoin to pay for your ExpressVPN account. Though an ExpressVPN subscription is more expensive than other providers, it’s guaranteed to work as a secure VPN for Qatar. You can use your account on five different devices at the same time. On top of that, you can get the VPN app for all major operating systems, including Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, and Linux.
If you’d like to get support, the ExpressVPN live chat is available 24/7. Like NordVPN, this provider also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Very easy to use VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
3. Proton VPN: Great freemium VPN that works in Qatar
- Offers a free version available that works well
- Secure, fast, zero-logs VPN
- Access to additional services, including Proton Mail
- OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
When testing Proton VPN for Qatar, we were pleased by the fast speeds. If you want to use VoIP services, this is a must. On top of that, this free VPN was able to unblock many websites and services. We could even stream Netflix and access other streaming services.
Proton VPN is located in Switzerland, which has some of the best privacy legislation in the world. This VPN provider doesn’t keep any logs and offers a great security package, including robust encryption with an AES-256 cipher and ChaCha20. Proton VPN also comes with DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch. When you sign up, the VPN only requests your email address.
For anyone in Qatar looking for a free service to browse the web with, Proton VPN is the best option.
Of course, the premium version is only $3.99 a month, so it’s a good option for those looking for a cheap VPN for Qatar. The benefit of paying for your account means you can connect to Proton’s full server network: 1,700+ VPN servers in more than 60 countries. The free version only allows you access to server locations in Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. You can also pay with Bitcoin.
With Proton VPN, we were able to unblock tons of geo-restricted content, including adult sites and LGBTQ+ dating platforms. Social media and email apps were also easily accessible. Recently, Proton announced a new stealth protocol that keeps your VPN connection hidden even better. It’s specifically designed for high-censorship regions, like Qatar.
In essence, this VPN for Qatar does everything that it needs to do and is a great option for those who are looking for an affordable way to protect themselves online.
- Strong encryption
- Specialized servers
- Free subscription available
4. Atlas VPN: Unblocks streaming services and news sites
- Part of Nord Security, which owns NordVPN
- Free and premium plans available
- Decent speeds
- IKEv2, WireGuard
Atlas VPN is very comparable to Proton VPN. When testing it in Qatar, the only difference we found was speed. The results for Atlas VPN were a bit lower. Still, Atlas VPN is a worthy choice. It unblocked all major streaming services and international news websites we tried. On top of that, the provider doesn’t track your online activities.
All you need to create an Atlas VPN account is an email address and a selected payment method. It offers some of the best protocols in the world, including WireGuard. With a kill switch on the desktop and mobile apps, Atlas VPN doesn’t leak any of your data.
Though the Atlas VPN headquarters are located in the US (part of the “5 Eyes” alliance), the provider’s strict no-logs policy will prevent the company from being able to share data.
Do keep in mind that Atlas VPN’s server network is a lot smaller than that of other VPN services. They only have 750 VPN servers across 37 countries. Another downside of the Atlas free VPN is the daily data cap of 2 GB. However, if you want to get around this, the premium version only costs $1.64 a month. You have the option of paying with cryptocurrency, and the VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Free servers
- Access to Netflix with Premium version
- Has some technical issues
5. Windscribe VPN: Feature-rich Qatar VPN with a free plan
- Independent VPN (not owned by a major corporation)
- Advanced security features, including split-tunneling
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
Windscribe VPN has many benefits, including AES-256 encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and an always-on firewall. Their split-tunneling feature allows you to decide which traffic to run via a VPN server, to maintain good speeds.
The VPN provider offers solid protocols and good security. The free version is quite generous. On top of that, you can have unlimited simultaneous connections with Windscribe, a great benefit if you’re sharing your account with others. Torrenting is also allowed with this VPN for Qatar.
When testing this service, we found that all social media apps and email services were working properly. Certain news websites, such as the CNN website, were lagging a bit when loading. However, we didn’t have any issues with streaming services and could access many banned websites, including adult sites and gambling websites. LGBTQ+ content was also available.
The free plan has an initial data cap of 2 GB per month, which is disappointing. However, there are ways you can earn more free data, for example by confirming your email (+10 GB) or referring a friend (+1 GB). Windscribe’s cheapest Pro plan starts at $4.08.
- Excellent security features
- Works with Netflix
- Unstable speeds
How We Picked the Best VPNs for Qatar
Depending on where you’re located in the world, there are different VPN services most suited to your needs. In determining the best VPN for Qatar, we paid specific attention to the following factors:
- Accessibility. Not every VPN is easily available for download in Qatar. At the moment, many VPNs are blocked. You should only invest in a reliable and accessible VPN service.
- Getting around restrictions. If your VPN can’t unblock online content, there’s no point in using it. Our experts on the ground have tested a wide range of banned websites and services to assure that the VPNs we recommend here can get around geo-blocks.
- Security. Arguably, the most important factor in any VPN is great security. Your VPN should use the best VPN protocols available in the VPN industry (namely OpenVPN and WireGuard) and have a strict no-logs policy to keep your data safe.
- Features. Does the VPN have a built-in kill switch to keep you protected when your VPN connection drops? Can you split-tunnel your VPN traffic? What about obfuscation software or Double VPN options? A great VPN offers these, and many more, security features.
- Server network. Finally, a large server network is a benefit of any VPN. The more server locations you can connect to worldwide, the easier it is to browse the web freely. A large server network also means VPN servers won’t get crowded so easily.
Of course, other factors such as the speed of your internet connection, the price (including being able to make use of a 30-day money-back guarantee), and customer support are also important. NordVPN, the best VPN for Qatar, scores highly on all these fronts.
We always make sure to test these and other factors in all our VPN reviews.
Why Does Qatar Block Websites?
The main reason that the Qatari government exercises censorship on its media and online landscape is to protect “national ethics and interests.”
When it comes to politics and certain social issues, Qatar takes a hard-line stance. Criticism of the Emir and the Arab States of the Persian Gulf is not allowed. Political diversity — that is, the existence of multiple political parties — is forbidden by law in Qatar.
Qatar also forbids the online and offline publication of any sexual content. This includes not only pornography but also dating apps like Tinder or Happn. Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Qatar, a contentious issue during the 2022 FIFA World Cup for men’s soccer.
What’s more, women can’t get access to reproductive health care sources without the explicit permission of a male guardian. Qatar has also legalized domestic abuse. Finally, anyone who publishes “fake news” can face up to five years in prison.
By limiting the content people can access, both online and offline, Qatar wishes to enforce its code of ethics onto the population and crush any dissent.
Why Should You Use A VPN in Qatar?
If you’re looking to optimize your online safety, investing in a good VPN is a smart idea. In Qatar, however, you can’t really go online without a reliable VPN service.
Not only is a virtual private network an excellent tool to bypass government censorship and internet restrictions, but it also keeps you safe in light of growing surveillance and monitoring.
Encrypt your private data
Our personal data is increasingly vulnerable to outside threats. An internet service provider can easily monitor your internet traffic, while hackers and cybercriminals are out to collect sensitive information to sell or bargain for. On top of that, malware can completely wreck your devices.
With a VPN, you can keep your personal data private and mitigate external risks. Whenever you connect to the internet with a VPN service, a secure encryption protocol will route your data through a private tunnel.
This makes it much more difficult for others, including a Qatari internet service provider or government institution, to access your personal information or see your online activity.
Get around internet restrictions
Many people in Qatar are used to practicing a degree of self-censorship. This is because the internet is less free in Qatar than it is in other places around the world. The Qatari authorities are not tolerant of criticism or opposition.
On top of that, they’ll censor content that “goes against national security” or the political code of ethics. To limit political dissent, people living in Qatar also struggle to use Voice over IP services (VoIP services), which makes it difficult to access Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp.
These categories of restricted content are difficult to access:
- Foreign news outlets
- Pornography and sex
- LGBTQ+ content
- Political dissent and criticism of the Emir
- Sexual health resources
- Gambling websites
On top of that, Qatar actively pushes back against proxy services or other circumvention tools.
A great VPN like NordVPN, however, can still get past these restrictions. It unblocks almost all websites and has good enough speeds for VoIP services.
Are VPNs Legal in Qatar?
While you might be able to use a VPN service without any issues in Qatar, keep in mind that using a VPN to access blocked websites is illegal. It is unclear whether you might be persecuted for using a VPN, as you would be in places like Myanmar and North Korea.
Most likely, you won’t be persecuted for using a circumvention tool like a VPN but rather for offenses that align with the type of websites you visit. Use your common sense when going online with a VPN in Qatar, and choose a provider that can guarantee it keeps your VPN connection hidden.
NordVPN uses special obfuscation technology that masks your VPN usage as regular internet traffic.
Can I Use a Free VPN in Qatar?
In most cases, we don’t recommend using a free VPN, though great free VPN services certainly exist. Many free VPNs can and will sell your data to advertisers. Some services that advertise themselves as VPNs aren’t even real VPNs.
There are several risks involved with using a free VPN. When you’re comparing services, keep the following things in mind:
- More often than not, free VPN services have restrictions, either when it comes to data use or bandwidth.
- Finally, free VPNs usually have fewer server locations than premium VPNs. If you’re looking to unblock restricted content from around the world, a small server network will be a limitation.
That said, free VPNs can be used to access premium VPNs whose websites are blocked in Qatar. ExpressVPN’s website, for instance, is unavailable in Qatar. In this case, you can use a free VPN like Proton VPN to access ExpressVPN’s website.
In this article, we recommend three different VPN providers that offer a free plan. These VPNs measure up to the security standards of the best VPN services, even if they might be limited in other ways. For that reason, it’s certainly worth your time to check out the free VPNs we tried and tested successfully: Proton VPN, Atlas VPN, and Windscribe VPN.
My VPN Doesn’t Work: What Can I Do?
Since the Qatari government tends to block VPN providers’ websites, it can be difficult to get access to the VPN you want. In that case, the best thing you can do is use another VPN to access the provider’s homepage.
- Download a VPN service that works in Qatar. We recommend NordVPN.
- Once you’ve installed this reliable VPN, connect to a foreign server.
- Navigate to your chosen VPN provider’s website once again. You should now be able to get around censorship and unblock the homepage.
Once you’ve managed to download the VPN, you can cancel NordVPN if you want. As long as you do so within 30 days, the 30-day money-back guarantee applies.
The Tor browser
If you find that your VPN is not working at all, there are also other circumvention tools you can try, like the Tor browser. The Tor browser works especially well in areas that experience high levels of internet censorship. This encrypted browser routes your traffic via multiple nodes, anonymizing it along the way.
Around the world, many journalists, hackers, and activists use Tor every day. If you wish, you can use Tor to navigate to a VPN website of your choice.
VPNs to Avoid
Not all VPNs are safe to use everywhere. If you’re looking for a VPN to use in Qatar, it’s best the avoid the following VPN providers.
Here are some VPN providers to avoid in Qatar:
|VPN Provider||Why You Should Avoid It|
|VPN Gate||Logs your real IP; tracks everything you do with the VPN.|
|Speedify VPN||Crippling speed drops, and therefore unsuited to access VoIP services.|
|Tuxler VPN||Lacks the necessary privacy and security features to keep you safe online.|
These VPNs are certainly not the best VPNs for Qatar. It’s best to stay away from them.
Stay Safe Online in Qatar: Use a VPN
Without a VPN, you will find that many websites, news outlets, and even social media apps are blocked in Qatar. The government exercises high levels of censorship to enforce a political code of ethics that restricts journalists, activists, and ordinary citizens in Qatar every day.
The best way to get around censorship is by using a virtual private network. These are the top 5 VPNs we recommend for Qatar:
NordVPN, the best overall VPN for Qatar, will certainly keep your data safe and allow you to browse the web freely.
Do you have any questions about the best VPNs for Qatar or why it’s useful to invest in one? Check out the FAQ below for some answers.
The best VPN for Qatar is NordVPN. This is a very secure VPN with excellent encryption, great unblocking powers, and a zero-logs policy. On top of that, NordVPN’s obfuscation technology will keep your VPN use hidden from the Qatari authorities.
Since many VPN websites are currently blocked in Qatar, we recommend downloading NordVPN from the Google Play Store. This is one of the only VPNs still accessible. Once you’ve got NordVPN installed, you can stick with this excellent VPN or use it to try and access any other VPN of your choice.
Yes, NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that still works in Qatar. NordVPN is easily the best VPN for Qatar, but if you wish, you can use this VPN provider to access other VPNs.
The internet in Qatar is extremely censored. Without a VPN, you’ll find many websites, social media apps, and news content blocked. This is because the Qatari government keeps a tight grip on all media, in order to enforce its national interests.
Reproductive health resources, LGBTQ+ content, and online political dissent are all banned. Unless you use a VPN, you won’t be able to access a free internet.