Like so many VoIP services, Snapchat Video calling is unavailable in the United Arab Emirates–unless you use a VPN, that is. Today’s article covers the most secure method to unblock your favorite chat apps in Dubai, or anywhere else you should happen to go. Read on for our recommended VPNs for use in UAE.
Snapchat has quickly gained popularity since its launch just a few years ago. The social media network focuses on expiration-bound video and picture sharing that connects users from around the world. Snapchat your afternoon snack, your trip to the beach, or anything in-between. It’s easy to use and tens of millions of people are hooked on it, including your friends and family.
Snapchat’s video calling feature makes it incredibly easy to chat with people in a virtual face to face environment. Unfortunately, the app’s video chat is blocked in a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The good news is you can unblock Snapchat video calling in the UAE by using a virtual private network, making your communications safe, secure, private, and accessible from anywhere in the world.
Finding a VPN to unblock Snapchat video calling in the UAE
It can be difficult understanding what some of the VPN terminology means if you’re new to the world of online privacy. Encryption protocols and port numbers might as well be a foreign language. We’ve simplified the process by outlining the most important features in a convenient list below, followed by our recommendations for the best VPN.
- Zero-logging policy – Online data privacy is founded on a VPN’s logging policy. Storing traffic and user histories can instantly destroy your online security, so always go with VPNs that have a strict zero-logging policy.
- Device compatibility – Snapchat is primarily used on mobile devices. That means your VPN should support iOS and Android operating systems, otherwise you can’t use it to unblock video calling.
- Fast speeds – VoIP and Snapchat video messages can eat up a lot of bandwidth. If your VPN can’t keep up, you’ll be the unfortunate victim of poor video and audio quality. Make sure your provider prioritizes connection speeds.
- Server distribution – The more servers a VPN operates, the higher your chances of finding a fast connection. They don’t have to have locations in the UAE, but the closer they are, the better.
- Traffic restrictions – Some VPNs block P2P networks and torrent traffic or restrict how much you can download. If this is the case, you may find Snapchat blocked even while on the VPN.
Best VPNs for unblocking Snapchat video calling in the UAE
We tested the biggest, fastest, and most popular VPNs in the world to find out which ones are the best at unblocking Snapchat video calling in the UAE. Our results are listed below, each of which is perfect for keeping you safe and secure online.
ExpressVPN has always been one of the fastest VPNs on the market. The service delivers top speeds to users around the world, all thanks to an amazing network of over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries. All of these nodes are accessible from intuitive software that runs on iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC, and tons of other devices. To secure your connection with a fast, reliable, low-lag server, all you need to do is sign in and click a single button to begin.
Data that passes through the ExpressVPN service is protected with 256-bit AES encryption, making it impossible to read by unauthorized third parties. It’s also backed by a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses for even better privacy. There are both DNS leak protection and automatic kill switch features to create a reliable safety net in case of an accidental disconnect, as well, not to mention unlimited bandwidth and unlimited server switching for everyone.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocking Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime
- Super fast, reliable connection
- Secure encryption & VPN protocols
- Strict no-logs policy
- Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
- Max 3 simultaneous connections
- Slightly more expensive than some other options.
NordVPN operates one of the largest server networks on the market, making it a tremendous choice for all of your VoIP and Snapchat needs. Right now, NordVPN users have access to over 5,500 servers in 59 countries, and the list is constantly growing. You’ll always be able to connect to a fast server with NordVPN, no matter where you live. There are also several unique services only offered by NordVPN, including protection against DDoS attacks, double encryption, and onion over VPN routing for added security.
NordVPN provides a thorough zero-logging policy that covers everything from bandwidth to time stamps, traffic to IP addresses, more areas than most VPNs promise to keep safe. Your activity is never recorded or shared with third parties, which helps keep your privacy intact, even in restrictive, surveillance-heavy countries like the UAE. Backing these features is 256-bit AES encryption on all data, an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a host of customizable encryption features.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Optimized servers for unblocking Netflix
- No bandwidth caps
- DNS leak protection, kill switch
- No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
- Live chat support is available.
- Some servers can be slow and unreliable
- Refund processing can take up to 30 days.
PrivateVPN is a strong, easy to use, and perfectly balanced service that lets you stay secure anywhere in the world, no matter if you’re streaming, surfing, shopping, or video chatting. PrivateVPN creates a secure environment without sacrificing speed or ease of use, allowing iOS and Android owners to enjoy all the speed and protection of a VPN without having to suffer through complicated setup procedures or detailed configurations. PrivateVPN lets you download, install, and stay safe, it really is that straightforward.
PrivateVPN runs a network stocked with over 150 servers in 60+ countries, delivering all the speed and location variety you need to stay safe online. The service locks down data with 256-bit AES encryption, keeps your connection safe with an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection, and features a zero logging policy on all traffic, as well. Need to protect your identity while using Snapchat video calling? PrivateVPN is a great way to do it.
How to unblock Snapchat video calling in the UAE
Got your VPN chosen but still aren’t sure how to unblock Snapchat video calling? Follow the steps below and you’ll be online and secure in no time.
Installing and using a VPN
VPNs are by far the best way to unblock Snapchat video calling, both in the UAE and in other countries around the world. Once you’ve chosen a reliable service from the list above, follow the steps below to lock down your information and chat with friends in complete privacy.
- First, open a web browser on a PC or laptop and sign into your VPN account. You’ll need to download the app for your mobile device (iOS or Android). Some VPNs offer files you can install yourself, but others will redirect you to the iTunes App Store or Google Play to complete the download. Either way, make sure you download the right version.
- Install the VPN app on your device, launch the software, and sign in using your account details. Most apps will automatically connect to the fastest server as soon as you launch. It may take a few seconds to complete, but once it’s ready, your data will be encrypted and secure.
- Before you start using Snapchat, it’s a good idea to run a quick IP address leak test to make sure the VPN is actually keeping you safe. Open a web browser and visit ipleak.net on the same device as your VPN is running. The page will automatically run an IP address lookup. When it completes, you will see a box near the top that says Your IP addresses. Just below it should show a country that isn’t the one you’re currently in, meaning the VPN is secure.
Now it’s time to run Snapchat and start video chatting. Grab the app from your device’s app store, sign in or create an account, then let the conversations begin. Even if you’re in a restrictive country like the UAE, the VPN will ensure your traffic gets sent through as normal.
Other ways to unblock Snapchat
If installing and running a VPN doesn’t do the trick, there are a few tweaks you can make to gain access to Snapchat video calling in the UAE. Most of the suggestions below don’t require a lot of technical knowledge, either, so feel free to give them a try.
- Try port switching – Countries like the UAE block Snapchat, WhatsApp, Skype, and other VoIP services by forbidding access from certain ports. By switching which port your traffic travels through, you can often slip through the filter without any problems. If your VPN offers this, try TCP port 80 or 443.
- SSH tunnels – Using an SSH tunnel requires a little more technical knowledge than most methods, but it’s an extremely effective way to obfuscate your traffic. Download SSH Tunnel for iOS (limited use free version) and SSH Tunnel for Android (root required for advanced features) to get started, then connect, encrypt, and launch Snapchat video calling.
- SSL tunnels – Similar to the SSH tunnel method, SSL tunnels offer a higher degree of privacy than a standard VPN. The best way to use an SSL tunnel is to download stunnel on your mobile device and set it up to run in the background while you use Snapchat.
- Use different encryption protocols – Most VPNs use the OpenVPN protocol to encrypt traffic. It offers the best balance of speed and privacy, but it can be easy to detect and block. You can often switch protocols to help break through service restriction barriers. Try either L2TP/IPSec or PPTP modes in your VPN’s software, if they’re offered.
VPNs, Snapchat, and the UAE
Why do countries block video calling? Is it easy (and legal) to break through these restrictions using a VPN? Below we answer the most common questions about unblocking Snapchat video calling in the UAE.
VoIP in the UAE with a VPN
Programs like Skype, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and any other app that lets you video or voice chat with people around the world are under unique restrictions throughout the UAE and many other countries. This is due to telecom operators such as Etisalat and du explicitly blocking the ability to share video through these apps. If you’re in the UAE and try using Snapchat’s video call feature, you’ll find it completely unusable.
UAE telecom laws enacted this ban in early 2016, forcing citizens to use (and pay for) locally owned VoIP services instead. The reason behind the ban was that the internet service providers wanted to protect their network investments. They can’t make money off of Snapchat, so instead of trying to compete, they simply block it.
Some VoIP services do work on occasion. On the whole, though, the biggest and best programs are completely blocked in the UAE. You have to use a VPN to bypass this restriction.
Is it legal to use a VPN in the UAE?
The laws in the UAE regarding the legality of using a VPN are grossly misunderstood. The core of the issue stems from a 2016 amendment to a federal law that forbids the use of a “false IP address or third party address … for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery”. VPNs seem to do just that, so wouldn’t that make them technically illegal?
The short answer is no, it doesn’t. The UAE ruling doesn’t make it illegal to use a VPN to surf, stream, chat, or connect to private networks. You can use them for anything you want, just as long as you aren’t trying to do something that would normally be against the law.
To be safe, though, you should always do your research to make sure these laws haven’t been changed. Addictive Tips never condones the breaking of local law, so it is ultimately your responsibility to understand the regulations dictating legalities in your country.
Other important VPN use cases
There are countless legitimate uses for virtual private networks. They offer increased privacy and digital anonymity for all of your internet connected devices, including smartphones and tablets. Accessing blocked or restricted content is suddenly an easy task when you have a VPN. If you want to unlock the internet and surf more securely, you can’t beat a good VPN. Below are just a few of the ways you can use them for everyday tasks.
- Access censored websites – Censorship is a growing problem in the world, especially in places like China, Iran, and the UAE. The practice can often be circumvented with a good VPN, so if you can’t access Google, Facebook, or another website, try logging into a VPN first, then reloading.
- Encrypt data for privacy – Encryption is the backbone of internet privacy, as it makes standard raw data impossible to read. To put it into perspective, a powerful supercomputer would have to spend millions of years working day and night just to crack a single piece of encrypted information. Nobody’s got that much time on their hands, which means a VPN is extremely effective at keeping your data safe.
- Hide your IP address – When you log into the internet, your ISP assigns the device an IP address. This is used to deliver data to your computer, but it can also be used to track your location. VPNs hide your local IP address and exchange it with one from their anonymous servers. Data is delivered just like before, only now it’s much more difficult to trace back to you.
- Stop surveillance and tracking – It’s not uncommon for ISPs or governments to keep track of users. This is especially true of countries like the UAE that censor and block their local internet connection. If you want to remain anonymous and secure, the only way is to use a VPN.
- Watch videos from other regions – Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and other video streaming services usually restrict content based on location. If you’re in the UAE, you can only watch movies and TV channels from the UAE. With a VPN, however, you can change your virtual location and watch content from other countries, all with a few clicks.
Can you use a free VPN to unblock Snapchat video calling?
It’s extremely tempting to use one of the many free VPN services to unblock Snapchat in the UAE. There are a number of problems with this, though, the biggest of which is that free VPNs are known to be unsafe, insecure, and oftentimes, downright dangerous.
Companies that run virtual private network services have to have some form of income. If customers do not provide this, they have to make it up some other way. With paid VPNs this revenue is easy to secure. With free services, not so much. Many no-charge VPN companies simply inject ads into user browsers to make up the cost difference. Others collect and sell user information to third party advertisers, handing your private data over to the highest bidder.
Apart from the lack of privacy, no-cost VPNs also frequently limit the speed and bandwidth available to each user. There’s nothing worse than trying to watch a movie only to find your encrypted connection suddenly cuts out. Other free VPNs block certain types of traffic, including torrents and VoIP services, including Snapchat.
Free VPNs may seem convenient, but the privacy issues they introduce just aren’t worth the hassle or the risk.
Ready to grab your VPN and unblock Snapchat video calling in the UAE? Whether you live in the country or are just traveling through, the sooner you get things set up and ready to go the better. With a little preparation you can use Snapchat’s video features without limitation no matter where you go. And best of all, it doesn’t take a computer genius to get it done.
Who are you planning to contact once you unblock Snapchat’s video calling feature? What other Snapchat services are you looking forward to unblocking? Let us know in the comments below.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.