Best VPNs for Cuba

VPN software sets up an encrypted tunnel which reroutes all the internet traffic going to and from your device via an intermediary server in a location of your choice. This has the effect of making host websites think you’re accessing the web from a different location.

This means you can unblock various geo-restricted streaming sites like US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. Additionally, the encryption aspect makes it almost impossible for internet service providers, hackers, or government agencies to snoop on your online behavior.

We get into detail on each provider below, but if you can’t stick around for the whole post, here’s our list of the best VPNs for Cuba:

  1. ExpressVPN Our #1 Choice. Superfast network of servers operating in over 90 countries can unblock most restricted content. Connections are secure and private. Includes 30-day money back guarantee.
  2. NordVPN Budget veteran provider that ticks all the boxes – fast, private and secure. Huge server network.
  3. CyberGhost Low-cost option. Continually expanding their network of servers. Beginner-friendly apps are easy to install and use.
  4. IPVanish Fast and secure connections. Can connect up to 10 devices at once.
  5. PrivateVPN Great for unblocking popular streaming shows.

The best VPNs for Cuba

There are a plethora of VPN services to choose from, but it’s important for you to make a nuanced decision.

Our list is based on the following parameters:

  • Has a wide network of servers across the world
  • Unblocks geo-restricted streaming services without any problems
  • Offers a fast and reliable product
  • Uses rigid encryption parameters so your location remains hidden at all times
  • Doesn’t maintain web traffic logs
  • Allows for multiple simultaneous connections
  • Provides top-notch customer support

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPNOct 2019Works in CubaTested Oct 2019

ExpressVPN is at the top of our list due to hardy encryption standards, fast speeds, and a wide global network.

This provider offers more than 2,000 servers to choose from around the world. It does not store any identifying user data, including IP addresses or other traffic logs. ExpressVPN easily unblocks many geo-restricted streaming media services, including US Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Its live chat service provides round-the-clock support.

ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption to secure all web traffic. This is considered top-tier and is often referred to as ‘military-grade.’ Additional security features included in all packages include an internet kill switch and DNS leak protection. With these features, your information is always secure within the encrypted tunnel.

This provider offers minimalist apps for Android and iOS which won’t take up too much space on your phone, along with clean desktop versions for Windows and MacOS. A single subscription allows for three simultaneous connections.

Pros:

  • Operates a network of more than 3,000 servers spanning 94 countries
  • High-grade security features and no logs policy protects your privacy
  • User-friendly apps for a variety of operating systems
  • Unblocks all major streaming services
  • Offers 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Slightly more pricey compared to other providers further below, use a discount coupon

BEST FOR CUBA:ExpressVPN is our first choice. Fast, reliable, and great at unblocking popular streaming services. High-grade security and privacy features. 30-day  money-back guarantee included.

Read our review of ExpressVPN.

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2. NordVPN

NordVPNWorks in CubaTested Oct 2019

Panama-headquartered NordVPN has been in the VPN business for over a decade and has carefully engendered a privacy-focused reputation along the way. It runs a network of more than 5,100 servers across the world, and boasts fast speeds and solid encryption.

NordVPN works with sites such as US Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, Sky, Sling TV, and more. What’s more, users can select a server that’s optimized for specific tasks, such as streaming HD video. The company publishes guides on its site to help users easily access their favorite streaming sites.

NordVPN does not store any user data and is an example of a completely logless provider. Like ExpressVPN, this provider uses 256-bit encryption so your data is secure at all times. Other security features include an internet kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS. A basic plan allows for six devices to connect concurrently.

Pros:

  • Operates a network of more than 5,000 servers in 60 countries
  • Strong encryption and no logs make for top security and privacy
  • Allows 6 simultaneous connections on one account
  • Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux and Android
  • Customer service available via 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Desktop app is a bit clunky compared to other providers

has no issues unblocking most streaming sites Operates a huge network of servers that are fast and secure. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our review of NordVPN.

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3. CyberGhost

CyberghostWorks in CubaTested Oct 2019

Romania-headquartered CyberGhost is perfect for newbie users who want a plug-and-play solution that doesn’t break the bank. It operates a growing network of more than 3,000 servers spread across more than 60 countries. CyberGhost does well from a streaming standpoint, and you can use it to unblock sites like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Just select Unblock Streaming mode on the main screen and follow the intuitive steps.

CyberGhost protects your traffic with 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys, and SHA256 authentication. Further protection is available against DNS leaks, IPv6, port forwarding, and WebRTC leaks. It doesn’t log any personally identifiable information. You’ll also find an ad blocker, anti-malware defense, and anti-tracking.

You can access the service on Android, iOS, Windows, or MacOS. A single subscription allows for seven devices to connect concurrently.

Pros:

  • Operates a network of more than 3,500 servers in 60 countries
  • Keeps no user activity logs and provides strong encryption to bypass activity detection
  • Happily unblocks a host of geo-restricted content
  • Apps are easy to install and use – a good option for beginners

Cons:

  • Power-users may get frustrated with the lack of advanced configuration options

TOP VALUE:CyberGhost has thousands of servers worldwide. Some super-fast streaming servers combined with easy to use apps. Connect up to 6 devices. 45-day money back guarantee.

Read our full user review of CyberGhost.

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4. IPVanish

IPVanishWorks in CubaTested Oct 2019

IPVanish is a popular choice for streaming and privacy due to its high speeds and top-tier encryption protocols. This provider currently offers more than 1,300 servers spread across 75 locations worldwide.

IPVanish does not log any personally identifiable information and chooses to operate its entire network of servers independently.

This provider is a favorite with torrenters and Kodi users for a few reasons. A significant perk is that it enables them to download the Android APK directly to their device. Secondly, the interface is remote control-friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse. It works with several streaming media sites including the notoriously difficult BBC iPlayer.

Military-grade encryption protocols ship as standard. Specifically, apps secure all connections with 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and an internet kill switch.

A single account allows for 10 devices to connect at the same time. Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS, and there’s 24/7 live chat for customer support.

Pros:

  • Operates a network of more than 1,300 servers from 75 worldwide locations
  • Hotly competes for the ‘fastest VPN for torrenting’ moniker
  • DNS leak protection and kill switch enabled by default
  • Unblocks most blocked sites and services in Cuba

Cons:

  • No live customer support, email and ticket support only
  • Doesn’t reliably unblock Netflix, Hulu

SOLID PRIVACY:IPVanish is preferred by Kodi users for its remote-friendly interface. Strong security and fast streaming speeds. 7-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of IPVanish.

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5. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPNWorks in CubaTested Oct 2019

Sweden-headquartered PrivateVPN focuses on quality over quantity. That’s evident in its decision to operate a network of only roughly 80 servers across the world, but the end product is one that you’ll be very satisfied with. It delivers fast, robust speeds and a worthy ability to unblock geo-restricted content.

It’s so confident about its core product that it’s currently offering a 30-day money-back guarantee on all packages. What’s more, the VPN doesn’t store any user data, has support for torrenting, and offers unlimited bandwidth for HD streaming.

Users can choose between 128- and 256-bit encryption, and the service provides perfect forward secrecy, an internet kill switch, and DNS leak protection. A basic plan allows for six devices to connect simultaneously.

This provider offers apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

Pros:

  • Swedish based provider with a strict no-logs policy
  • Gaining popularity for its growing list of sites they unblock
  • Our tests revealed impressive speeds

Cons:

  • Fewer servers to choose from than other providers higher on this list
  • Doesn’t have 24/7 live chat

GOOD UNBLOCKER:PrivateVPN has fast servers. Newer network with fewer servers to choose from, but gaining a good reputation for unblocking popular streaming sites at decent speeds. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our review of PrivateVPN.

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Should I use a free VPN while in Cuba?

Cuba’s internet is notorious for state-sponsored surveillance and intrusion. Wifi and public internet networks are provided by a single ISP and citizens are bereft of choice. Several network security experts have warned about the possibility of data theft and pilferage whilst connected to Cuban internet networks.

Free VPNs are a poor choice to skirt such detection techniques. That’s because they deploy weak encryption standards and there’s no consistent customer support to help you out if you can’t seem to access your favorite shows. Such providers may engage in tactics such as tracking and mining your data in order to sell it to third-party advertisers. At the very least you can expect a ton of invasive advertisements or frequent interruptions in service so that they can try to bump you up to a paid plan. The end cost of using these services is damaging to both your wallet and peace of mind.

Why should I use a VPN in Cuba?

According to internet advocacy body Freedom House, Cuba remains one of the “world’s least connected and most repressive environments for information and communication technologies.”

Home wifi networks only started to roll out in late 2016 with public wifi hotspots and cyber cafes filling the void. Freedom House adds that Cuba continues to witness some of the Western hemisphere’s most draconian media laws and restrictions on online freedom.

This manifests itself in Cuban authorities continuing to control the digital landscape by blocking independent news sites and arresting online bloggers. Until fairly recently, the Cuban internet could best be viewed as an ‘intranet’, consisting of a national email system, a Cuban encyclopedia, some educational materials, Cuban websites, and foreign websites supportive of the government.

We recommend you use a VPN to browse the web in Cuba in order to safeguard yourself from state privacy and enjoy an unencumbered internet experience.

What websites are blocked in Cuba?

According to the Open Observatory of Network Interference, there were roughly 41 mainstream websites and apps that remained blocked in Cuba. The most popular among them was Skype. Other chat apps like Messenger and WhatsApp remain accessible but bandwidth throttling is a prevalent issue. Most of the websites blocked by the regime are news and media sites, websites promoting human rights, and others that enable faster communication.

Tips for using a VPN in Cuba

In this article, we’ve highlighted how opting for a stable VPN connection is overwhelmingly in your best interests as you traverse the web in Cuba. Follow these steps to obtain a non-Cuban IP address in order to gain an unfiltered internet experience:

  1. Read through the mini-reviews and decide on a provider that appeals to you.
  2. Sign up with your chosen provider and submit your payment. Once the payment is processed, you should receive a confirmation email with your login information.
  3. Proceed to download the relevant apps for your devices directly from the provider’s website.
  4. Restart all devices once installation is complete.
  5. Open the app, login, and select a server outside Cuba.
  6. Once a connection has been successfully established, your internet connection will now be private and encrypted.

Accessing Public Wifi in Cuba

Cuba’s internet is heavily monitored and guarded, which is why you should practice extreme precautions when accessing public wifi networks there, especially the ones found in malls, hotels, and other public areas. There are various sophisticated techniques hackers can use to snoop on your behavior, including DNS spoofing, man-in-the-middle attackspacket sniffing, and phishing. To avoid this scenario, a general rule of thumb is to connect to a VPN before you try to access any unknown wifi networks in Cuba.

For a more detailed read on this topic, peruse through our guide to accessing public wifi safely and securely.

Cuba Grunge Flag” by Nicolas Raymond licensed under CC BY 2.0