Finding access to Discord is blocked in the UAE? The UAE’s main Internet Service Provider (ISP), Etisalat, has been imposing Discord blocks on and off since 2017, most recently implementing a full ban in September, 2020. If you’re unhappy about the ban, you’re in luck, as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help.
A VPN will encrypt all the traffic flowing to and from your device and send it through a secondary VPN server. This means that snoopers including your ISP can’t see the contents of your traffic or which website you are visiting, enabling you to bypass blocks. A bonus is you can choose the location of your server and make it appear you’re actually in that location, enabling you to access geo-restricted content such as that from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
In this post, we reveal the simple steps required to use a VPN to unblock Discord. We also provide recommendations for VPNs that still work in the UAE (many don’t).
How to unblock Discord in the UAE
The inner workings of a VPN are quite complex, but getting one set up on your device is very straightforward.
Here’s how to use Discord in the UAE with a VPN:
- Select a VPN provider from the list below and sign up. We recommend ExpressVPN.
- Download the relevant apps and install them on any device you wish to use Discord on.
- Log into the VPN app and connect to a server in whichever country you want. Note that if you want the best speeds, you’ll usually be better off going for a geographically close server.
- You should now be able to start using Discord as normal.
Note that the UAE does restrict the use of VPNs. Some of the VPNs on this list will require some settings changes before they will work in the country.
Because of the restrictions imposed in the UAE, choosing a suitable VPN provider is especially tough. Here’s an at-a-glance look at the best VPNs that still work in the country (we’ll go into more detail below.)
Best VPNs for Discord in the UAE:
- ExpressVPN: Our top pick for Discord. ExpressVPN is fast, reliable, and secure, plus it offers a no-fuss 30-day money-back guarantee.
- NordVPN: The best budget provider on the list. NordVPN delivers a large network of high-speed servers and plenty of security features.
- Surfshark: Another low-cost option that works reliably anywhere and lets you connect as many devices as you like.
- PrivateVPN: Offering big performance in a small package, PrivateVPN is highly secure and great for unblocking.
- Hotspot Shield: A private, secure VPN that has an expansive network and works reliably across the globe.
- VyprVPN: This popular VPN uses a special protocol to bypass detection measures and unblock restricted content.
Aside from working in the UAE, you need your VPN to offer solid all-round performance. Here are the main criteria we considered when selecting the best VPNs for Discord in the UAE.
- Speedy connection
- Strong encryption and other security features
- Zero-logs providers
- User-friendly interface
- Money-back guarantee
Best VPNs for Discord in the UAE
Here’s our list of the best VPNs to unblock Discord in the UAE:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is our first choice for accessing Discord in the UAE. With over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, you have plenty of options. ExpressVPN is well known for its ability to bypass the strictest censorship including in the UAE. It has great speeds for gaming, streaming, and downloading and can unblock a ton of popular streaming sites, including multiple Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
Split tunneling options mean you can continue to use your regular connection while tunneling select traffic through the VPN. This is handy, for example, for accessing local content or ensuring you don’t experience lag when playing online games.
This provider packs a punch on the security front too. It boasts military-grade encryption in conjunction with perfect forward secrecy. There’s also leak protection and the desktop apps come with a kill switch (dubbed a “network lock”). ExpressVPN keeps minimal logs and doesn’t store any data that could be used to trace activity back to its users. ExpressVPN accepts bitcoin payments in case you want to pay anonymously.
Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS. You can connect up to five devices at a time.
- Excellent speeds
- Strong encryption
- Split tunneling options
- Doesn’t log your personal information
- 30-day refund policy
- Priced a little higher than some rivals
BEST VPN FOR DISCORD IN UAE:ExpressVPN is our first choice for a Discord VPN. It provides a vast network of fast servers and has your back when it comes to privacy and security. The company extends a 30-day money-guarantee with no questions asked, making this a risk-free deal.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is a low-cost provider operating a vast network of over 5,000 servers spanning 60 countries, including some options in the UAE. Within its server list is a selection of obfuscated servers which are ideal for avoiding detection measures imposed in the UAE. Aside from allowing you access to Discord and other communication apps, NordVPN is great at unblocking streaming platforms. It easily unlocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and others. What’s more, this provider pegs some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen.
Despite its low price tag, NordVPN uses the latest technology to secure your connection. Expect 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch in most apps. NordVPN never keeps any logs and accepts various cryptocurrencies, so you can be sure your data remains private. Security extras include automatic wifi protection and double VPN (which sends your traffic through two VPN servers).
Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android, and desktop apps for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. You can use the VPN on up to six devices at a time.
- Has server options in the UAE
- Very fast speeds
- Obfuscated servers can bypass blocks
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- The desktop apps can be slow at times
BEST BUDGET OPTION:NordVPN is our top pick for a wallet-friendly provider. It operates a huge network of servers and pegs some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is another budget-friendly option that will help you access the free web in the UAE (using its NoBorders mode is the best option). This provider runs a network of more than 1,700 servers covering 63 countries, including the UAE. Surfshark is well-known for its unblocking ability and can readily access a ton of popular streaming sites.
Another area it has an excellent reputation in is security. Surfshark keeps no logs and secures connections with 256-bit encryption and perfect forward secrecy. All apps come with a kill switch and leak protection. You’ll also find automatic wifi protection, split tunneling, and double VPN. Cryptocurrency payments (ripple, bitcoin, and ethereum) are accepted.
Surfshark doesn’t cap the number of devices you can connect at one time making it ideal for families or roommates. Apps are available for iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, and Linux.
- Performs well in speed tests
- NoBorders mode can circumvent censorship
- Split tunneling feature
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Operates fewer servers than some major competitors
CONNECT ALL YOUR DEVICES:Surfshark is fast, reliable, and great at unblocking content. Plus it doesn’t impose a device limit. The company extends a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Hotspot Shield has come a long way in recent years and is now a solid choice for use in the UAE and other countries. It operates around 1,800 servers in more than 80 countries, including servers in the UAE. It’s fast and reliable, and great for unblocking geo-restricted content.
Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol is endorsed by several top cybersecurity firms. This provider boasts military-grade encryption and perfect forward secrecy, as well as automatic wifi protection, a kill switch (Windows-only), and protection against leaks.
Easy-to-use mobile apps are available for iOS and Android, and you can download desktop clients for Windows and MacOS. Up to five simultaneous connections are permitted.
- Broad network of servers, including UAE options
- Solid speeds
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Won’t accept bitcoin payments
FAST AND SECURE:Hotspot Shield records great speeds and employs strong encryption and other security features to keep your data safe. It is particularly generous in its refund policy, giving you 45 days to get your money back.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN has a much smaller network than most top competitors with just 150 servers in 60 countries. Although, you wouldn’t know it by its performance. It works well in the UAE and in other regions where internet censorship is rife, including China. PrivateVPN pegs decent speeds and will help you unblock the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer from abroad.
You don’t have to worry about security and privacy with this VPN. It stores no logs and secures connections with strong encryption, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch (in the Windows app). You can even pay with bitcoin.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, and up to six devices can be connected at a time.
- Works well in and out of the UAE
- Doesn’t log your browsing activity
- Military-grade encryption
- Small network of servers
- Live chat support is sporadically unavailable
SOLID SECURITY:PrivateVPN may not have a huge network but it does offer a secure connection for users in the UAE and other countries around the world. Subscriptions include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
VyprVPN is another strong contender backed by a high number of loyal users. It runs around 700 servers in 70 countries, including some in the UAE. This VPN can help you access Discord and other censored apps from anywhere and works with many geo-restricted streaming sites too.
VyprVPN employs 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and leak protection to provide you with secure connections. All apps except iOS have a kill switch. VyprVPN is another no-logs provider.
It offers apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Up to five connections are allowed at a time.
- Lots of location options, including UAE servers
- Protocol designed to avoid detection
- Strong suite of security features
- Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency
- Can be slow at times
SPECIAL PROTOCOL:VyprVPN is a secure, private VPN. It uses a proprietary protocol that can bypass blocks anywhere. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
Discord UAE VPN FAQs
⭐Can I use a free VPN to unblock Discord in the UAE?
There are a huge number of free VPN options out there, but that doesn’t mean they’re a good choice. These services likely won’t work in the UAE, leaving you disappointed and unable to access Discord. Even if they do work, you’ll have to endure the practical problems associated with free services such as laggy connections and wait times to connect to a server.
Free VPNs don’t tend to perform much better from a privacy and security standpoint either. Their encryption standards rarely measure up to those of their paid rivals and some forgo encryption altogether. You’ll also find that many free VPNs invade your privacy rather than protect it. A typical business model involves monitoring user browsing activity and using the information to serve ads or selling it to third-party advertisers.
Overall, a free VPN just isn’t worth the hassle, whereas a paid VPN provider will give you all-round performance for a relatively small fee.
⭐Is it legal to use a VPN in the UAE?
Using a VPN in the UAE constitutes somewhat of a legal grey area. In general, the use of a VPN is allowed, but it’s illegal if used to commit a crime. Note that it’s a crime to access certain content such as websites related to gambling, pornography, and anti-religious hate speech, so accessing these using a VPN would be illegal too.
It’s worth noting the penalties for these crimes are pretty steep. If “internet protocols are manipulated to commit crime or fraud,” perpetrators can face jail time as well as a fine of up to Dh2 million (around $544,000), as per a 2016 law.
While VPNs aren’t explicitly illegal, there have been reports of monitoring of VPN users in the country. Just downloading a VPN app could prompt this type of surveillance. Even if you’re not up to anything illegal, you’d probably rather not be watched. To avoid this, you might want to download your VPN apps while outside the country.
Disclaimer: Comparitech does not condone the use of VPNs to carry out any illegal activity. In addition, this information should not replace professional legal advice. Rules and laws are subject to change so it’s important to check local restrictions before you connect to a VPN.
⭐What else can I use a UAE VPN for?
A VPN has a variety of uses outside of unblocking censored content. For example, if you’re into streaming, a VPN can help you access a range of content from across the globe. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+ protect their content such that they limit or block their catalogs depending on where you’re located. Using a VPN server in the appropriate country, you can unlock all of these services and more (although you’ll still need an active account).
Traveling outside the UAE and want to access content from back home? Or simply want to continue to access local content while browsing securely in the UAE? A VPN can help there too by changing your IP address. Many of the providers in the list above have physical or virtual servers located in the UAE. This means you can get a UAE IP address and continue to access content that’s only available in the UAE.
A VPN is an important tool for those looking for improved privacy and security. This is particularly crucial if you tend to use public wifi hotspots in cafes, hotels, airports, malls, and other locations. These services may be convenient but they represent a big security threat. Network administrators could be monitoring your activity and cybercriminals might be trying to steal your sensitive data Thankfully, by connecting to a VPN first, you render your internet traffic unreadable to hackers and other snoopers.