Summary – Qatar is under heavy censorship when it comes to freedom of media, with the internet being no exception.
If you plan a visit to Qatar or live in Qatar you should be well aware of what is permitted and what is not.
It is not only that the internet in Qatar is censored, it is a lot of online services we all use on a daily basis that are simply blocked.
For example, if you want to use Skype or WhatsApp in Qatar that’s just not possible.
In fact, you cannot even use Facetime to talk to your family, colleagues or friends.
The easiest way to access blocked sites and services in Qatar is with a VPN.
The best VPN for Qatar and most recommended is ExpressVPN.
The Duality of Internet Censorship in Qatar
Qatar has started in recent years to allure many businesses, entrepreneurs and, travelers.
In fact, Qatar’s foreigner community is larger than the local population.
Nevertheless, the internet in Qatar is highly monitored and heavily censored.
This makes it very difficult for outsiders to get used to, especially since VoIP services such as Skype and WhatsApp are blocked.
Moreover, In 2016, Qatar’s ISPs (internet service providers), have officially blocked Doha News website.
This just goes to show the extent to which the Country’s ISPs go to in order to keep the information flow limited.
In complete contrast, and in the same year, Netflix has announced that it will be available in Qatar.
One must assume that when there is financial interest, things can look different in Qatar.
This duality is also evident in the fact that most dating sites in Qatar are blocked, however, Tinder is not only open but is thriving and is being used extensively by locals and foreigners alike.
Is it legal to use a VPN in Qatar?
In Qatar, it is important to note, it is not the Government that poses restrictions and censorship over the internet but rather the ISP’s themselves.
The ISP monopoly in Qatar, controlled by Qatar Telecom, aka Ooderoo, is somewhat of an independent mechanism with its own understanding of what should and should not be censored.
They clearly act and behave under the intentions of Sharia law, but there is no actual legislation for the criminalization of VPN usage in Qatar.
In other words, using a VPN in Qatar is not illegal.
Currently, Qatari ISPs are turning the other cheek when it comes to VPNs, perhaps since Qatar’s expat community is larger than its local community, and the expat community uses VPNs on a regular basis to access otherwise blocked content and services.
VPN for Qatar – How does it work?
A VPN is short for Virtual Private Network.
When you connect through a VPN, your connection goes through a private ‘tunnel’.
When you go through the VPN ‘tunnel’ two things occur.
First, your connection is being rerouted through servers in different Countries, usually per your choice, which changes your IP address.
Second, your connection becomes encrypted through VPN security protocols and other more advanced security layers.
The two processes combined makes your online presence virtually untrackable and unrecognizable.
This gives you the ability to fool the Qatari ISPs into thinking you are not in Qatar and therefore their content restrictions do not apply to you.
When using a VPN for Qatar, you can get access to any website or service that are otherwise blocked.
How to unblock sites in Qatar – Tutorials
The web-filtering in Qatar blocks the following:
- Porn sites
- LGBTQ sites
- Sexual education sites
- Political sites (not associated with the regime)
- Dating sites
By using a VPN you can unblock any site or service in Qatar.
Continue reading to learn what to look for in a VPN for Qatar, depending on what you need it for.
How to watch porn in Qatar?
Since the local ISPs in Qatar act as the internet’s modesty regime, all Porn sites are blocked.
It is quite easy however to watch porn in Qatar and unblock any porn site by following these steps:
- Buy and install a VPN – See the list of VPNs we recommend as the best VPNs for Qatar. For Porn specifically, you should find a fast VPN with strong privacy and security protocols.
- Activate your VPN Client – Where applicable you should enable additional security features such as Double VPN or connect through SSTP protocol.
- Connect to a US server – Connecting to a US server is recommended simply because you can access all porn sites from the US and the US servers usually are strong and robust to hold high connection speed while streaming.
- You can now access any porn site safely
How to unblock WhatsApp and Facetime in Qatar?
Both WhatsApp and Facetime are mobile applications, but you can also do the process from your PC or Mac.
- Buy and install a VPN – Two important features you should look for in this case. First, the VPN you choose needs to be compatible with iOS / Android depending on your device and second, it should be fast enough to enable a continuous VoIP communication.
- Download the VPN App – After you’ve purchased a VPN, you can use your login details on its mobile App. In fact, on the VPNs I recommend, you can connect anywhere between 3 to 7 devices at the same time.
- Activate VPN Client – Connect to a server of your choice, a US server is normally a solid choice, though in many cases connecting to servers in the Country you are communicating with can provide better and smoother connection.
- Enjoy chatting freely
Free VPNs in Qatar – What you need to know
As long as you know exactly what you will get and what you will not, free VPNs can be a great choice.
Specifically for Qatar however, I don’t believe a free VPN will answer your needs, and here’s why:
- Limited bandwidth – bad for streaming
- A small number of Countries – usually, only about 3-5 countries are available for free
- No security protocols – Your browsing could be easily monitored when you lack the extra protection.
Above all, you can find a very good VPN for anywhere between $3-$8 a month.
At this price, equivalent to about 2.5 cups of Starbucks coffee, you are getting your internet freedom back, which in my opinion is priceless.
A more comprehensive comparison between free and paid VPNs should portray the differences even more clearly:
|Feature||Free VPN||Premium VPN|
|Customer Support||Email Only||Email, Chat, Phone|
|Servers||A small selection of servers to choose from.||Hundreds to thousands of servers to choose from.|
|Countries||Small Selection||Large Selection|
|Privacy||Browsing data is logged and may be sold.||Little to no browsing logs.|
|Security||Limited security Protocols.||AES-256 bit encryption with additional security protocols as standard.|
|Simultaneous Connections.||No more than 1 connection at a time.||Up to 7 simultaneous connections. Various different devices supported.|
|Unblock Websites||Unblocks basic websites and apps||Unblocks all websites plus protected services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.|
|Price||Free||Up to $10 / Month + Customary 30 days money back guarantee|
What to look for in a VPN for Qatar
While it is legal to use a VPN in Qatar, you still want the VPN you use to be able to protect your privacy and allow you to go to any website you want without no one being able to know about it or monitor your activity.
In addition, you should look for a VPN that supports high speed connection, especially since most of the blocked services in Qatar are streaming and VoIP services which require high download rate and large bandwidth.
The features you need to keep an eye for are:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Advanced security protocols
- Download speed of at least 70 Mbps.
- iOS and Android compatibility
The VPNs listed below are all great choices if your are in Qatar and will answer all your needs whether it is to unblock sites, stream videos or use WhatsApp.
Best VPNs for Qatar
#1 ExpressVPN – Editor’s Choice
ExpressVPN is currently one of the leading VPNs in the market.
With strong security protocols, high speeds and unlimited bandwidth it will surely answer all of your needs.
It is also one of the few VPNs that can unblock every websites and service out there including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Xfinity.
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Average download speed of 85 Mbps.
- AES-256 bit encryption with OpenVPN over SSTP protocol – highest security level
- Compatible with all mobile devices, with 3 simultaneous connections.
#2 CyberGhost – Cheap but strong
Cyberghost has improved significantly in lately and has become one of the most sought after VPNs in the world.
Aside from being a very strong VPN with great security and privacy protocols, it is one of fastest VPNs in the industry.
On top of it, Cyberghost currently offer one of the cheapest prices in the industry.
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Average download speed of 88 Mbps.
- AES-256 bit encryption
- Up to 7 simultaneous connections for all devices and operating systems
#3 NordVPN – Advanced Security
NordVPN is one of the most reliable VPNs out there.
They have one of the largest networks of servers spread across the entire globe, which enables a wider variety of websites to gain access to.
In addition, NordVPN have a DoubleVPN feature which reroutes your connection twice for extra security.
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 46.5 Mbps. download speed on average
- AES-256 bit encryption with DoubleVPN feature
- Compatible with all devices and operating systems with up to 3 connections at the same time
If you live in Qatar or just coming in for a short visit, a VPN will be your best friend and your way to stay connected with the outside world.
With a VPN you would be able to use WhatsApp, Facetime, Skype and even unblock porn sites in Qatar.
All the internet restrictions in Qatar would not apply to you when you are using a VPN.
Just make sure you choose a VPN the will answer your needs while keeping you anonymous and protected.
Although VPNs are entirely legal in Qatar, you still don’t need the local ISPs snooping at your online activity.