Qatar draws more than 2 million visitors each year. You can hop on a dhow and view the futuristic skyline in the capital, Doha, or walk the corniche, a seven-kilometer waterfront promenade. Even if you just watch the sunset over the sand dunes, you’re bound to go online at some point and you should use one of our best VPN for Qatar to stay safe while doing so.
Using a virtual private network will ensure that you’re protected from online dangers and you’ll be able to access restricted content. We’re going to go over the reasons to use one in Qatar below, so keep reading.
The Qatari Internet
Censorship is an issue in many countries, China being a fine example, and Qatar is no different. The internet there is filtered and blocks are placed on certain content to keep it in line with the country’s religious and political views.
Anything related to pornography, dating, LGBT issues or sexual health resources is blocked, as is content deemed hateful to Islam or critical of the government (censorship examples in our best VPN for Saudi Arabia are similar). The parameters for some categories are so strict that websites with inoffensive content sometimes get blocked, too.
Netflix arrived in Qatar in 2016, much to the delight of its citizens, but not all the shows and movies available on the U.S. version can be viewed there due to licensing issues. If you want to access the whole selection, you’ll need a VPN with a server in the U.S. Take a look at our best VPN for Netflix piece for recommendations.
Popular VoIP services, such as Skype, FaceTime, Duo and Viber, are also blocked. The government says it is restricting them because they do not have licenses to operate in Qatar. Using a VPN will enable you to access them, though (check out our best VPN for Skype suggestions). WhatsApp calls were also blocked, but people have reported that the ban has been lifted.
That said, Qatar does filter some privacy and circumvention websites, but you can get around that by downloading the software to your devices before arriving.
Censorship in Qatar
News websites, including Doha News, can get blocked for publishing material deemed offensive or questionable. As a result, journalists self-censor on topics such as Islam, government policies and the ruling family.
Interestingly, Qatar subsidizes the famous TV station Al Jazeera, which isn’t shy about criticizing regional governments. It focuses more on regional and international news than local news, though. You can read more about it in our best VPN for Al Jazeera article.
With Qatar’s cybercrime law and penal code, people can get in trouble for making statements that could harm someone’s reputation. That counts for those made on social media or through private means such as email or WhatsApp.
The cybercrime law was introduced in 2014 and states that anyone who commits libel or slander against another person online can face punishment of up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 100,000 Qatari riyals ($27,000). In addition to that, Qatar’s criminal code says it is illegal to insult another person.
Giving Offense in Qatar
One example of that is Dina Abdulhamid, who was evicted from her accommodation and then insulted the man who had arranged it. She sent several messages through WhatsApp calling him names, including a homophobic slur, and even threatened him in one. She received a sentence of six months in jail and a fine of 20,000 Qatari riyals ($5,000).
In another case, three expats were given a five-month suspended jail sentence and fined 1,000 Qatari riyals ($275) for defaming their children’s principal and other school officials on Facebook because they were upset about a tuition increase.
The law instructs telecommunications providers to cooperate with evidence requests for prosecution. Experts have also said that those who post pictures or videos of others’ personal lives or victims of car accidents on social media without consent may get punished.
Qatar’s legislation is quite broad and can restrict freedom of expression. Given the many legal hazards, you should be mindful of what you post. If you criticize the Qatari government, harm its national interests or offend the ruling family, you could face imprisonment or fines. Such freedom of speech restrictions can be seen in our best VPN for Turkey, too.
One of the worst cases was that of poet Mohammed Rashid al-Ajami. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, reduced from life, in 2012 for reciting a poem about the Arab Spring on YouTube. The charge was inciting to overthrow the regime and insulting the emir. Fortunately, he was released after the emir pardoned him.
Surveillance in Qatar
While there are no specific reports of surveillance in Qatar, there is evidence that it has the means to spy on citizens.
WikiLeaks revealed that Qatar’s State Security Bureau spent more than 3 million Qatari riyals ($824,000) on FinFisher, a spying software, between 2010 and 2014. The program can be used to secretly monitor online communication. It’s not known what purpose Qatar had for the purchase.
A U.S. Department of State report stated that the Qatari government uses a proxy server to censor the internet and that it can monitor and block websites, email and chat rooms through the internet service provider.
ISPs have to keep user information for one year and a record of electronic information, traffic data and content information for 90 days if asked. Our best VPN for U.S. exposes another governments surveillance operations.
Online Threats in Qatar
There are many threats to avoid while online in Qatar, including malware, viruses and more. Free WiFi spots are on the rise, but you need to be careful if you use one because they can expose you to dangers such as cybercriminals. The problem is that you don’t know how secure the connection is.
Using a VPN, as well as one of our best antivirus solutions, will help keep you safe from those risks. Read our best VPN for Thailand for another example of a country that suffers from cyberattacks.
Best VPN for Qatar 2022
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 30
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, PayNearMe, Bank/Wire Transfer
- : 5
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
What Makes a VPN the Best for Qatar
VPNs have many features, with some being more important than others in Qatar. First, you should look for great security to make sure you are protected from surveillance, online policing and cyberattacks. In addition, it should provide a kill switch, which will sever your connection if the VPN fails and keep your data safe.
Your privacy is just as important and good security alone will not ensure it. Pick a provider that has a no-logs policy. That means it won’t keep a record of your online activities, so it won’t be able to provide one should the authorities ask.
Choosing one with many servers in different countries will give you a better chance of bypassing censorship and geoblocks. If you want to access content restricted to Qatar, you should make sure it has servers there, too.
Speed is another important element, as a fast VPN will keep you from having to take a coffee break every time you try to load something. It is especially helpful for streaming. You should make sure the provider offers unlimited bandwidth, too, so you can watch or download as much as you like.
Other things to consider are how easy it is to use and what devices it supports. Good customer service is favorable and, depending on how fat your wallet is, its price may be the deciding factor.
Read our recommendations for Qatar below. Some are better than others for certain activities, so you want to make sure you pick the one that best suits your needs.
1. Best VPN for Qatar: VyprVPN
VyprVPN is our winner for Qatar. It offers great security and has its own Chameleon protocol for extra protection. It has a built-in kill switch and a no-logs policy, too, so there’s no risk to your privacy. You can get the details on this provider in our VyprVPN review.
It has servers available in over 60 countries, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting around blocks. It’s slower than some of its rivals, but its speeds aren’t bad and it doesn’t limit bandwidth. If you want to view content restricted to Qatar, VyprVPN has servers there.
If your online activities will be of a more sensitive nature, though, we recommend you go for our second choice and most secure VPN.
Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN
You can use VyprVPN on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Setup is easy and you can get connected fast, and it has a user-friendly interface.
There is a FAQ section on its website to help you fix most minor issues. You can also contact a member of the support staff through live chat or email. The live chat will get you the fastest response, but you should use email for more thorough help if your issue is technical. All three are limited in knowledge, though.
VyprVPN has an expensive monthly rate, but you can save money by opting for the yearly plan. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, which should give you enough time to see if you like it.
- Highly configurable
- Chameleon protocol
- Gets into Netflix
- Small server network
- Subpar speeds
Our second choice is ExpressVPN. It offers better security than VyprVPN, so you should go with it if you will be doing anything sensitive online. It has a built-in kill switch and a strict no-logging policy, as well, so your online actions will be kept secret. Read our ExpressVPN review to see why its security is so good.
It has many servers spread across 94 countries, but there aren’t any in Qatar. It’s the fastest VPN on the market and doesn’t impose bandwidth limits, so as long as you’re not looking for Qatari content, it’s the best VPN for streaming. Its server switch time could be faster, though.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN can be used on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Plus, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Its clients are easy to use and it is a perfect choice for those who have no experience with VPNs as it works straight out of the box.
Its customer service is good, but slower than that of its competitors. Live chat is available 24/7 or you can email your question. The staff is helpful either way. There’s also a useful knowledgebase available for self-help.
A downside to ExpressVPN is its price. It’s more expensive than its rivals, but you can save money by subscribing for a longer period. It offers a great service and, for extra peace of mind, it has a Best VPN for Qatar 2022: Protection From the Desert to Doha.
- Accesses all streaming platforms
- Easy to use
- No ad or malware blocker
NordVPN is another good provider and comparable to our second choice, as you can read in our ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN piece. It offers great security, including the option of double hop servers, which encrypt your connection twice.
Plus, a kill switch is provided and it doesn’t keep logs.
It has thousands of servers covering 60 countries, but none are in Qatar, so you won’t be able to view content restricted to that country. Its speeds are good, but can get slow when connecting to a server that’s farther away. Its server switch time is fast, though. Have a look at our NordVPN review for more information.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
The desktop client is available for Windows and macOS and the mobile app is on Android and iOS. Installation is simple and the layouts are good.
Customer service comes in the form of a handy knowledgebase, which will help you solve most problems on your own. You can also contact support via live chat and email. Live chat is the quickest option, but either route will be helpful.
The monthly price is affordable but you can save some money by choosing a longer plan. If you are worried about making such a commitment then you should know it offers a Best VPN for Qatar 2022: Protection From the Desert to Doha, in case you don’t like it.
- Large server network
- Works with Netflix
- Inexpensive multi-years plans
- Inconsistent speeds across network
- No split tunneling
- Broken server recommendation
Next up is HideMyAss, which isn’t as good as our other picks, but isn’t a bad choice, either. It offers good security with AES 256-bit encryption as standard. Plus, there’s a kill switch for added safety.
Its server coverage is huge in that it covers 190 countries, way more than any of our other providers. Its total number of servers is lower than some, but, with more than 900, we’re sure you’ll have no problem connecting to a suitable one. Like VyprVPN, HideMyAss has servers in Qatar, which is great if you want content restricted to that location and the main reason it made our list.
Its speeds are adequate for most activities and there are no bandwidth limitations.
Other Reasons We Like HideMyAss
HideMyAss supports Windows, macOS, Android and iOS and the clients are easy to use. If you need help, there’s a knowledgebase on its website, so you can try to fix the problem yourself before contacting customer support.
As you can read in our HideMyAss review, it can take a while for a member of staff to get back to you by email. Your best bet is using the live chat feature as it’s much faster.
The monthly price is quite expensive compared to competitors. There is a seven-day trial to take advantage of, but make sure you cancel during the trial period or you’ll be billed for a 12-month subscription. If you cancel before the end of the trial, you’ll still be able to use the full seven days and there’s a Best VPN for Qatar 2022: Protection From the Desert to Doha in case you do forget.
- Excellent support
- Easy to use
- Gets into Netflix
- Not the cheapest
- Mediocre speeds internationally
Last, we have CyberGhost. Though it’s not at the top of our list for Qatar, it’s still a good provider. Its security is great, although not as customizable as some of its rivals’, and there’s a permanently enabled kill switch included with the service. You won’t have to worry about your privacy, either, as it has a solid no-logs policy.
It has servers in 58 countries, but there aren’t any in Qatar. There are no bandwidth caps and speeds are good, though they can get slow when connecting over long distances. Read our CyberGhost review for more details.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
CyberGhost is available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The interface was recently updated and it is easy to use, but it may take a while to get used to. CyberGhost made our list for the best VPN for multiple devices, too, as it allows you to connect up to seven devices at the same time.
There’s an extensive knowledgebase available to help you fix most common problems. Failing that, you can contact a support member through live chat or email. Live chat is the quickest of the two, but email is better for more technical queries.
Pricing per month is comparable to others, but you can save money by choosing a lengthier plan. If you’re using an Android or iOS device, you can try it using the seven-day trial. If not, there’s a money-back guarantee, which should give you enough time to decide if you like it.
- Automatic kill switch
- Updated interface
- No kill switch controls
Now that you know why you should use a VPN in Qatar and what features you need, we hope we have helped you pick a decent one from our best VPN reviews. Security is a crucial factor in keeping you safe online. It’s also important that the provider offers a kill switch and maintain a no-logs policy.
is our top pick. Its security is enough to keep you safe and, along with its many other servers, it has a presence in Qatar. Remember, though, if your online shenanigans are more delicate, you should opt for our second choice, , as it has much better security.
If you have experience using a VPN in Qatar, let us know about it in the comments below. Thank you for reading.