That is The Question; that is, if you’re in Qatar, or planning to be there soon. There is supposed to be loads of great stuff in Qatar, and there is, surely, but since at the time of the FIFA World Cup games one expects to have a really good time, it would be a bummer to find out that the internet is restricted, that a simple video-call is going to prove impossible to make, let alone gaming and streaming services.
We shall answer the question asked above in what comes next and then we’ll see what you can do about it. But first, let’s take a quick tour of today’s Qatar.
A Brief Guide to Qatar in 2022
Back in 2010 when it was announced that twelve years later the FIFA World Cup games were going to be hosted by Qatar, some (if not many) eyebrows were raised. To a great number of people though, those who had been paying attention and following the news coming out of this rather small emirate among the gulf nations, this bit of news came as no surprise. Qatar has had one of the fastest-growing economies not only in the region but also in the whole world.
In the forty years prior to the FIFA announcement, Qatar has been transformed from a mere emirate with low prospects into one of the major oil and gas producers in the world, modernizing the country in a massive scale so much so that in richness and splendor its capital, Doha, is second only to Dubai.
Now the long expected time is closing in and tens of thousands of people from all over the world have already made plans to attend the games there. This makes it a proper occasion to ask a few questions about how things are in Qatar, the living conditions and laws, especially those regarding the internet and similar services that can be accessed freely and without restriction in other parts of the world. Qatar, though regarded technologically an advanced and progressive country, is still governed by conservative laws, though they could be described as a bit more lenient than the strict Sharia law, common among the gulf nations.
This makes it difficult for an average football fan or just a traveler (especially if European) to cope with. Why? First of all because this means that many obvious freedoms that she used to enjoy are prohibited in Qatar.
For example, to buy any kind of alcoholic beverage she needs to obtain a special permit and it is served only in a number of places, or, there are rules regarding the dress code, at the beach for example. It doesn’t end there, with matters one might consider as ‘cultural differences’. In what comes next we’ll delve into the matter deeper and after answering the title question suggest what we believe to be the best and the easiest solution.
The Internet Situation in Qatar
This probably won’t surprise you, but in certain countries the government has imposed restrictions in order to keep their citizens’ access and connection to the internet under control. Especially among the gulf emirates and the whole MENA region this is common practice, and Qatar is no exception. That’s basically the main reason behind the difficulties a foreigner might experience while he stays in Qatar. At the time of the World Cup games especially this will ruin all the fun he’s expecting to have, thus making it all a big disappointment. This all sounds very disheartening and even ominous but don’t lose hope! To every problem there is a solution, and the solution we put forth for this particular one is as easy as can be. But before we get to the solution, let’s answer the question asked in the title of this article.
Major Websites and Online Platforms Blocked in Qatar
Let’s start with the most surprising ones. There are few social media platforms that work properly in Qatar. None of the popular apps in the Facebook family do, this of course includes WhatsApp and Instagram. So naturally, every little perk and feature that comes with these apps is not going to count. No voice or video calls can be made, you can’t post and share the photos you’ve taken from the football matches you’ve attended, and of course chat features on these apps are mostly useless.
What else? You might want to watch a favorite show that you’ve been following, trying to keep up with the latest episodes, and find out to your amazement that Netflix is filtered and almost none of the major shows can be viewed. This is also true of Hulu, HBO max and other streaming services. Gaming platforms such as ROBLOX are blocked too. According to Wikipedia Qatar also filters pornography, political criticism of Gulf countries, gay and lesbian content, sexual health resources, dating and escort services, and privacy and circumvention tools. Apparently material such as psychology magazines and the blogging site Tumblr have also had content considered as sensitive which have made these sites to be blocked.
This all sounds ominous, but there’s an easy and affordable way to get around all of these restrictions.
What’s the Solution for unblocking?
It’s three letters: VPN.
The acronym VPN stands for virtual private network. It creates a virtual and encrypted tunnel linking your device to the server. In many ways it is by far the most affordable and easy-to-use method to get around the restrictions and have full access to all of the content on the internet.
A VPN is more than just a barrier-breaker for the internet. It is also very popular among those who wish to surf the web more privately, and feel their data is safe. So there’s a whole other facet to the use of VPN, which is not our focus here to stress upon, but is worth mentioning. All that being said, there’s no shortage of useless apps that carry the title of VPN on the market (both free and not).
So far we’ve established that a VPN is essential if you’re in Qatar and you want to use the internet to its full potential. But anyone who has just simply typed out the words ‘’vpn app’’ in Google search gets lost and perhaps even a bit overwhelmed by the tons of stuff that present themselves as VPN providers. One can even type out a more specific bunch of key words like ‘VPN in Qatar’ and still get nowhere.
Most of us first try a couple of these out, look for the top-rated ones, and then install them. Some of them are even free, but they lack a lot of the qualities we expect from an affordable, trustworthy and well-functioning VPN. It is safe to say that the free VPNs for Qatar are practically useless, let alone unsafe.
There are those that charge you (and quite handsomely, too) but most of them still don’t work properly. For a more detailed account of why (some) VPNs don’t work see here. They are not designed for a VPN user from Qatar and the MENA region. We recommend a VPN that’s designed for the needs of a user from this region.
It’s called MenaVPN, and it’s arguably the best on the market. Our team has specifically concentrated their efforts toward finding the best, fastest and overall the most economically optimal ways to bypass the restrictions, having your whole time’s worth of fun while staying in Qatar and attending the World Cup games. It’s the fastest, the safest, and the most affordable choice on the market. See for yourself.
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Below you can read some more articles about using a VPN in Qatar: