Oman’s capital, Muscat, is full of natural charm and architectural beauty and there are amazing beaches, castles, and mosques to marvel at elsewhere in the country. There’s plenty to do there, but you’re most likely going to connect to the internet during your visit and it’d be wise to use one of our best VPN for Oman to do so.
Using a virtual private network has many benefits, no matter where you are. It will not only ensure your safety, but also help you access restricted content. For this article, we’re going to focus on the reasons you should use one in Oman.
As in many countries, the internet is tightly controlled in Oman, though it’s nowhere near as bad as China. It blocks websites containing pornography, gay and lesbian material and content relating to illegal drugs. Some dating websites have been blocked, too, but that may have been because they had sexually explicit images on them.
Internet users are bound by the terms and conditions agreements of the internet service providers. They stipulate that users may not carry out unlawful activities that contradict the social, cultural, political, religious or economical values of the monarchy or could harm a third-party. Failure to do so can lead to termination of service and even a criminal or civil lawsuit.
Voice over IP services such as Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp are banned, but our best VPN for Skype could help you with that. In 2007, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority made it illegal for internet cafes to allow people to use those services. Internet cafes throughout the country have been raided and many people have been arrested for providing VoIP services. Violators can face imprisonment and fines.
Along with those restrictions, some websites for circumvention tools have been blocked. You can get around that by downloading the software before arriving in Oman, though.
Online Speech in Oman
Article 29 of Oman’s Constitution guarantees freedom of opinion and expression as long as it is within the limits of the law. Speech that is critical of the country’s rulers or government is not allowed, nor is hate toward Islam. There have been arrests, interrogations and jail sentences for criticism of the government on social media, which has lead many people to censor themselves.
The 1984 Press and Publication Law allows the government to censor publications considered politically, culturally or sexually offensive, as well as content that violates the security of the country or causes public discord.
Journalists practice self-censorship on certain topics to avoid punishment. The government has the authority to close media outlets, block websites, cancel licenses and prosecute for content violations.
An example of that is the case of the well-known writer and activist Abdullah Habib, who was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 2,000 Omani rials ($2,600) in 2016 for Facebook posts about political and human rights issues.
Surveillance in Oman
A U.S. Department of State report said Oman monitors private communications, including mobile phone, email and chat rooms. Those who are found to be critical of the government could be tracked down by their IP address and interrogated.
For instance, in 2006, an administrator and several moderators for a popular discussion forum were detained by authorities. They were charged with defamation after an article about corruption in the country was posted in the forum.
Internet cafes must have an approved floor plan that makes all computer screens visible to the floor supervisor. There must not be curtains or other obstructions and operators are asked to install proxy servers to monitor user activity and keep a record of it.
Best VPN for Oman 2018
What Makes a VPN the Best for Oman
VPNs have many features, but they differ from provider to provider, so you need to make sure you pick the one that suits your needs. Good security is a must as it will keep you protected from online dangers. In addition, a built-in killswitch is beneficial because it will disconnect you from the internet if the VPN fails, keeping your data safe.
To bypass restrictions, you want to choose one with a large server network that covers as many countries as possible. Doing so will give you the best chance of getting around censorship and geoblocks. If you want to access content that is only available in Oman, you’ll need servers there, too.
Speed and bandwidth limits are also factors to consider, especially if you plan on streaming.
You might want to think about its ease of use and what devices you can set it up on, as well. Plus, good customer support is handy and your budget will play a part in your decision.
Our selections are dependent on certain activities, so make sure you pick a provider that suits your needs.
Best VPN for Oman: ExpressVPN
Our winner for Oman is ExpressVPN. It’s often listed in our top five articles because of its excellent all-around service. It’s one of the best VPN providers and has great security with AES 256-bit encryption and the option to increase it to 4096-bit, ensuring your protection from online dangers. There’s a killswitch, too, for extra peace of mind.
The provider has a strict no-logs policy, so you won’t need to worry about your privacy. Read our full ExpressVPN review for more information about it.
Its server network is large and covers 94 countries, giving you plenty to choose from to bypass blocks. It doesn’t have any in Oman, though. If you need that, you should go straight to our fourth choice, HideMyAss. Our other picks come first as your privacy and security take priority.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
It’s a perfect choice for those who don’t have experience with VPNs. It handles almost everything for you. All you have to do is make sure you’re connected to the correct server. You can tweak some settings if you want to, though.
It’s available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS and there are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Customer support is great, but it’s slower than other services. Still, it strives to resolve your problem as soon as possible through live chat. You can also contact it via email if you prefer. Either way, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable.
ExpressVPN is expensive compared to its rivals, but we still recommend it. The excellent service you get is well worth the money and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you’ve got nothing to lose.
- 148 locations
- Slow switch time
Our second choice is NordVPN. It has top-notch security with excellent encryption protocols and the addition of double-hop servers. There’s also a built-in killswitch and it ranks well in privacy by having a solid no-logs policy.
It has thousands of servers in over 60 countries. Though that’s more than ExpressVPN has, there still aren’t any in Oman, but you should have no problem accessing other content.
Speeds are good, but can slow down when connecting over long distances. Your bandwidth won’t be limited, though.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
NordVPN can be installed on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Setup is smooth and you can get connected within minutes. For more details about the service, read our NordVPN review.
If you run into issues, you can search through the large knowledgebase and try to fix them yourself. Failing that, you can contact a member of support through live chat and email. Live chat is the quickest option and the staff are helpful.
It’s monthly price is okay, but it makes sense to sign up for one of its longer-term plans as the cost comes down considerably. It has a 30-day refund, too, just in case it’s not for you.
- Double-hop servers
- Lack of detail on server location
CyberGhost is our next choice and, though it’s not as good as our first picks, it does have great security. A killswitch is provided and there’s a firm no-logs policy to keep your activities private.
There are plenty of servers to choose from covering 60 countries. Once again, there are none in Oman, but you’ll be able to circumvent other blocks with those that are available.
It has good speeds, but, like NordVPN, it can get slow over long distances. Still, it should be fine in most cases and there are no bandwidth limits to worry about. Check out our CyberGhost review for more on the service.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
Desktop clients are available for Windows and macOS, but they have a tiled interface that you may not like. It’s okay once you get used to it, though. You can get the mobile app for Android and iOS.
If you have problems, you can use the extensive knowledgebase to try to solve them. If that doesn’t work, you can contact support through live chat or email. Live chat is the fastest route and the staff are useful.
CyberGhost’s monthly plan is affordable, but you can save money by opting for a lengthier plan. There’s a seven-day trial to take advantage of and a 45-day money-back guarantee in case you need more time to decide.
- Dynamic tile interface
Our next pick is HideMyAss, which has good security and a killswitch to keep you protected from online dangers. There’s an issue with privacy, though, because it keeps logs about connection times, etc. It states that it can keep more detailed logs if asked, as well. Read our full HideMyAss review for more details.
It has a good server network, with more than 900 spread over 190 countries, which is far more places than other providers. Some are in Oman, so you’ll be able to access content restricted to the region, if that’s what you want.
Its speeds are okay for most activities and there are no bandwidth caps.
Other Reasons We Like HideMyAss
You can get it for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS and the clients are easy to use.
If you need help, you can start with the handy knowledgebase, which should be enough to fix most common issues. For more technical queries, you can contact a member of support through email or live chat. The fastest option is live chat, but the staff are friendly and helpful either way.
The monthly rate is quite expensive, but you can save by subscribing to a longer period. If you don’t want to jump straight in, you can use the seven-day trial to see if you like it. Make sure to cancel during the trial period, though. If you don’t, you’ll be billed for a one-year subscription.
You’ll still be able to use the full seven days after you cancel.
- Over 900 servers
- No bandwidth limits
- User-friendly client
- No choice of encryption protocols
- Logs information
Our last pick is TorGuard. It has good, customizable security with different protocols to choose from. There’s also a killswitch and your privacy is honored with a no-logs policy.
It has servers covering over 50 countries, but none are in Oman. One downside is that it isn’t good at getting past the geoblocks set by some streaming services. If that’s something you want to do, though, you can use its dedicated IP feature. It costs extra, but it’s guaranteed to work.
Speeds are okay, but they can vary. Some of that is due to the extra security it has. Still, it’s fast enough and doesn’t have a bandwidth limit. Take a look at our TorGuard review for more on the service.
Other Reasons We Like TorGuard
Clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, but the mobile app can be a pain to setup at first.
If you have minor problems, you can use the online guides and forums to help you get back on track. If you’re still stuck, you can contact support through live chat, but it isn’t always staffed, so you may end up leaving a message and waiting for a reply via email.
The monthly price isn’t great, but you can save money by signing up for a longer plan. There’s a seven-day money-back guarantee, just in case it’s not for you.
- Multiple protocol options
- Difficult to switch servers
Honorable Mention: PureVPN
PureVPN wouldn’t make this list if it wasn’t for the fact that it has servers in Oman. If your online activities are quite sensitive, we don’t recommend you use it and you should take another look at our other picks.
It has a good network, though, with over 2,000 servers in 140 countries, including Oman.
Speeds are good and it doesn’t impose bandwidth caps. There are clients available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, but you may not like its tiled interface.
Live chat and email are available 24/7 in case you have trouble. It’s okay, but could be better.
Compared to its rivals, PureVPN is one of the cheaper options and there’s a 31-day money-back guarantee.
As with anywhere, there are good reasons to use a VPN while you’re in Oman. The one you choose should have good security, along with a built-in killswitch to make sure you’re protected from online threats. Plus, a strict no-logs policy will keep your activities secret.
A good network of servers is beneficial, too, as it’ll help you get around blocks easier. Don’t forget to look for servers in Oman, as well, if you want to view content restricted to it.ExpressVPN is our winner for Oman because of its excellent security and large server network. It’s a great service that ticks all the boxes except for having servers there. If that’s a deal breaker, you’ll want to go with our fourth choice, HideMyAss.
If you have experience with or suggestions for using a VPN in Oman, let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.