According to Freedom House, internet freedom in Uganda saw a significant decline in 2021. Most notably, various social media platforms were blocked while some of those who criticised the government online were arrested. This is why it’s so important to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) in Uganda. In doing so, you can bypass content restrictions and do so securely and anonymously.
VPN software sets up an encrypted tunnel that routes all the internet traffic to and from your device via an intermediary server. This compels host websites and apps into thinking you’re accessing the web from a location outside your current city/town. In this scenario, it’s almost impossible for hackers or government agencies to snoop on your online activity.
We get into a lot of details below, but if you only have time for a summary, here’s our list of the best VPNs for Uganda:
- NordVPN The best VPN for Uganda. 5,000+ servers worldwide. Top speeds for streaming and torrenting. Specialty servers as well as 24-hour support.
- Surfshark Best value VPN. High-speed servers and unlimited simultaneous connections. Excellent apps and 24/7 support. Secure with MultiHop servers.
- ExpressVPN Vast network of speedy servers. Apps for all major platforms that are private and secure. Keeps no identifiable information of its users.
- CyberGhost Some of the fastest servers we’ve tested. Apps are private, secure and beginner-friendly.
- IPVanish Good reputation for privacy and getting around internet restrictions. Fast servers.
- Hotspot Shield Servers in 80 countries. Good speeds and plenty of security features including encryption and auto wifi protection. 24/7 support available.
- PrivateVPN Smaller network with fewer servers to chose from, but otherwise fast, secure and keeps no user logs.
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The best VPNs for Uganda
Not all VPNs are born equal — so don’t opt for one that you uncover during a generic web search. In this article, we reveal the best VPNs for Uganda based on the following factors:
- Strong encryption and additional security factors
- A no-logging policy
- A large network of servers across the world
- Fast, reliable speeds
- Multiple simultaneous connections so you can split the bill
- Apps for Android and iOS
- Ability to unblock geo-restricted content
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN encrypts internet traffic using the 256-bit AES protocol and 2,048-bit RSA keys, which is considered “military grade.” These are considered to be top-tier protocols and will protect your web activity from government snoopers. Additional security features include DNS leak protection and a process-specific kill switch.
The company adheres to a zero-logs policy. This means it will not store any user data related to sessions, traffic, or timestamps.
In some cases, NordVPN has received official requests to hand over user data from government surveillance agencies. It’s possible that the Ugandan government might attempt something similar given all the rhetoric it’s spewing out these days. But the policy meant there was no data saved on the servers that could identify and incriminate users. Another reassuring factor is that NordVPN is incorporated in Panama, which means it doesn’t have to automatically comply with any data retention laws.
Its server network is vast with plentiful options across the globe. At the time of this update, the company operates 5060 servers spread across 59 countries. You can also select one for a specific purpose such as anti-DDoS, video streaming, double VPN, Tor over VPN, or dedicated IP.
This provider unlocks most geo-restric,ted content including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. It’s also compatible with torrenting. A single paid subscription allows for six simultaneous connections – one more than the industry standard of five. NordVPN’s speedy and reliable service has been around for over a decade.
Apps for Android and iOS are available as well as desktop software for Windows and MacOS.
- Excellent security and encryption standards
- Strict no-logs policy ideal for privacy-conscious users
- Operates a network of more than 5,000 servers in 60 countries
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux and Android
- 24/7 live chat can help get you started
- Desktop app can be awkward to use, needs updating
BEST VPN FOR UGANDA:NordVPN offers a large server network of fast connections. Works well with many popular streaming services, Netflix included. Specialty P2P and Double VPN servers. 24/7 support. Thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try it risk-free.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark has established itself as one of the biggest VPN providers around. Offering some 3,200 servers in 65 countries, it’s well placed to unblock a wide range of geo-restricted content such as that of Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus. Surfshark is also one of the faster VPNs we’ve tested, making it ideal for streaming. Better still, you can use a single account to connect all of your devices simultaneously.
If you’re worried about your online security while in Uganda and while traveling abroad, Surfshark should put your mind at rest. Aside from 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch, it offers MultiHop servers which encrypt your data twice. It also operates a strict no-logs policy, ensuring your privacy is protected. Surfshark’s apps are beginner-friendly although 24/7 support is at hand if you need it.
You can download Surfshark apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. Browser extensions are offered for Chrome and Firefox. While compatible with select routers, manual configuration is required.
- Large network of servers covering 65 countries (and counting)
- Very fast server speeds combined with unlimited bandwidth
- MultiHop (Double VPN) servers for an extra layer of security
- Connect as many devices as you like at the same time
- Live chat and email support 24 hours a day
- Sometimes slow to switch to another server
BEST VALUE VPN:Surfshark is fast with servers covering 65 countries. Security includes encryption and even MultiHop servers for use in Uganda and when traveling abroad. Unlimited simultaneous connections. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN leverages hardy encryption standards. It uses 256-bit AES-CBC with both HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. Additional security features include an internet kill switch (the company refers to it as a ‘network lock’) that temporarily blocks all web traffic if the connection to the VPN unexpectedly drops.
Uganda’s government has specifically mentioned how state authorities will monitor and curb the use of VPNs. This means they’re also trying to monitor the content of your communications. ExpressVPN has a stated policy of not storing any user data — this should please privacy advocates because the policy makes it extremely difficult for state authorities to monitor your web activity. There’s a sliver of metadata retention but the company insists that it engages in this practice simply to improve service levels, and individual IP addresses are never logged.
When it comes to servers, ExpressVPN offers a wide number of options across the globe. At the time of writing, over 3,000 servers are spread across 148 locations in 94 countries.
If you’re looking to stream geo-restricted content, then ExpressVPN is a worthy choice. It evades the Netflix ban on VPNs with ease and is similarly compatible with BBC iPlayer and Hulu. It also supports torrenting.
Apps for Android and iOS are available as well as desktop clients for Windows and MacOS. A single subscription allows 3 devices to connect concurrently.
- Best-in-class encryption makes for solid security and privacy
- Doesn’t log any data that can identify you
- Operates a network of more than 3,000 servers spanning 94 countries
- Blazing-fast servers for streaming and downloading
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and Linux
- Support staff can assist with connections, available 24/7 via chat
- Fewer advanced configuration options than other VPNs
BEST FOR UGANDA:ExpressVPN is our first choice. Fast and reliable servers that easily circumvent government internet restrictions and social media taxes. Secure and strict on privacy. Includes 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee.
Read our review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. An internet kill switch is included too, which acts as an additional security layer. Other security features include an ad blocker, anti-malware defense, and anti-tracking.
CyberGhost has made a concerted effort to amp up the quality of its service ever since it was acquired by a UK-registered firm last year. Subscribers enjoy a much higher number of servers, firmer encryption, and better speeds. These traits should appeal to users looking for a quality VPN at an attractive price point.
This VPN provider adheres to an internal policy of not storing any user data, so that should ease privacy concerns. The company is originally from Romania, which does not impose any mandatory data retention requirements.
At the time of this update, CyberGhost offers over 3,600 servers spread across 60 countries including plenty of options in Asia, Europe, and North America. It can reliably unblock a host of streaming services, including Netflix. A single subscription can connect up to 5 devices at one time.
CyberGhost offers apps for Android and iOS as well as a desktop client for Windows and MacOS.
- Operates a network of more than 3,691 servers in 60 countries
- Keeps no logs
- Low-cost option with beginner-friendly apps
- Not suitable for those that need control of advanced features
GREAT VALUE:CyberGhost has thousands of servers worldwide. Apps for all platforms are easy to install and use and you can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously – great for families and beginners. 45-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish uses rigid encryption standards. Specifically, it deploys 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048 key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. The latter feature means that even if snoopers gain access to your encryption key, all your past web sessions will remain encrypted, secure, and out of reach. An internet kill switch is also included by default.
This company is registered in the US, which might be disconcerting for some users given the massive assault on privacy undertaken by the likes of the NSA. However, IPVanish is completely logless, which means all web activity in its entirety remains hidden. This includes session history, choice of servers, and bandwidth utilized.
At the time of writing, IPVanish offers more than 1,300 servers spread across over 75 locations worldwide. These are enough to find a reliable connection to unblock social media in Uganda.
This provider is known for its streaming capabilities. IPVanish can reliably unblock services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. It also permits torrenting on all servers. Many users find IPVanish to be an excellent option for Kodi because it allows them to download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is also remote control-friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse. An IPVanish plan allows up to five simultaneous connections.
IPVanish makes apps for both iOS and Android as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS. It offers a gargantuan 10 simultaneous connections, which is the most generous among the providers on this list. That’s a compelling reason to opt for the service.
- Connections, communications and traffic remain encrypted and private at all times
- Completely logless service won’t compromise your privacy
- Operates a network of more than 1,300 servers from 75 city locations around the globe
- Impressive 4K streaming speeds achieved during testing
- Look elsewhere if you need to use apps in China
- Doesn’t offer any browser extensions
CONNECT UP TO 10 DEVICES:IPVanish is preferred by Kodi users for its easy to use interface that works with remote devices. Good for getting around internet restrictions but won’t unblock as many streaming sites as rivals. 7-day money back guarantee.
Read our review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
Hotspot Shield has servers in 80 countries worldwide. This includes several countries in Africa such as Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa. As such, you should always be able to find a fast server close to your physical location. Our tests show that this VPN works well with Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Hotspot Shield has good speeds and won’t throttle your bandwidth so you can stream lag-free.
This VPN includes 24/7 support which you can access via live chat and email. There’s also a whole host of security features that allow you to stay safe online, regardless of your location. These include 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. You’ll also find automatic wifi protection as well as access to a password manager and even a spam call blocker.
Secure up to five of your devices at once via the Hotspot Shield apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. A Chrome browser extension is also available. Hotspot Shield provides manual setup instructions for use with routers.
- Servers in 80 countries including multiple locations in Africa
- Good, unthrottled speeds for streaming without lag
- Lots of security features including automatic wifi protection
- 24/7 live chat and email support
- Lacking a Firefox browser extension
- No option to pay in Bitcoin
SERVERS IN 80 COUNTRIES:Hotspot Shield has a widespread network of servers and offers good, consistent connections. Stream Amazon Prime Video and Hulu from anywhere. Strong security and 24/7 support. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a relatively new service, but that doesn’t make its product inferior by any stretch of the imagination. You can opt for 128 or 256-bit encryption, depending on your chosen protocol. All packages incorporate perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and an internet kill switch.
In our user review, we praised PrivateVPN for being fast, unblocking several geo-locked streaming services, and shoring up your connection with the strongest available encryption.
At the time of writing, PrivateVPN offers a little over 80 servers spread across 56 locations. The US and Europe occupy the bulk of servers, so you shouldn’t face any issues unblocking social media sites in Uganda.
A single subscription will grant access to up to five devices at all times. Apps are available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
- Strong security and privacy features and decent speeds
- Swedish based provider with a strict no-logs policy
- Gaining popularity for its growing list of sites they unblock
- Small number of servers to choose from
- Support staff are good, but only operate during European business hours
UP-AND-COMING NETWORK:PrivateVPN has fast servers and is the newest provider on this list. Gaining a reputation for unblocking streaming sites, social media and chat apps. Servers are private and secure. Not as many server choices as others on this list 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of PrivateVPN.
Methodology: How we found the best VPNs for Uganda
Trying to choose between so many different VPN providers can be something of a headache. After all, so many claim to be the best! To help narrow the options down, we looked for each VPN to offer the following:
- Servers worldwide: Few VPNs offer servers in Uganda but some do have servers in countries including Egypt and South Africa. We’ve looked for each VPN to offer a global network of servers across dozens of countries. That way, you have plenty of choice as to which server location you connect to.
- Speed: Lots of VPNs claim to be fast but fall far short when it comes to streaming and torrenting. For this reason, we’ve carried out speed tests to find the fastest VPNs. The best VPNs for Uganda all include unlimited bandwidth to browse, stream, and torrent without restriction.
- Unblocking: Whether you’re in Uganda or traveling abroad, you may well come across geo-blocked or even government-censored online content. Quality VPNs are able to bypass restrictions. Having tested these VPNs against many websites and services, we’re confident they’ll hold up.
- Security: At a minimum, we look for VPNs that offer 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. In some cases, you’ll find that the VPNs in this post offer extras, be it Double VPN servers or auto wifi protection. As such, you can be confident that your data is always secure.
- Privacy: If you’re concerned about your ISP or even the government in Uganda seeing what you’re doing online, use a VPN. This ensures your internet traffic is encrypted. You also need a VPN with a no-logs policy. We’ve looked at 140 VPN logging policies to find those that protect your privacy.
- Ease of use: We test each VPN app to find out just how easy it is to use. Connecting to a server shouldn’t take more than few seconds. All of the VPNs listed in this post provide 24/7 support as well as a variety of setup and troubleshooting guides, making it easy to get started.
- Value for money: The best VPNs for Uganda all offer a variety of subscription plans (long-term and short-term) to suit all budgets. Better still, all of them come with a money-back guarantee of at least 30 days. We also provide VPN discount coupons so you get an even better deal.
Would you like to know more about how we test VPNs? Our VPN testing methodology post goes into even greater detail.
Follow these steps to acquire an IP address outside of Uganda and unlock social media sites:
- Read through our list of recommended VPNs and settle on a service. We recommend NordVPN
- Sign up with your credit card information and wait for your login details to be emailed to you
- Download the relevant apps for your device. We recommend you do this directly from the VPN’s website or app store
- Clear your cookies and restart your device
- Login to the native app and connect to a server located outside Uganda. We recommend servers in Europe and North America due to strong privacy laws
- A VPN icon on the top of your smartphone screen or on the taskbar of your PC/Mac indicates a successful connection
- Now you’re protected and safe on the internet and can access social media sites in Uganda without paying any taxes
Should I use a free VPN in Uganda?
The interwebs are abundant with free VPN offerings. Such providers attract the untrained eye because they don’t ask users for an upfront payment via a credit card, PayPal, or Bitcoin. Unfortunately, that’s where the charm usually ends.
One of the fundamental reasons you’re trying to access the web in Uganda with a VPN is for the reassurance that your digital footprint is hidden and secure. Free VPNs don’t inherently value your privacy or anonymity; they offer an extremely limited selection of servers, incorporate weak encryption standards, and may resort to bandwidth throttling to reduce network congestion. In some instances, free VPNs have tracked and mined user data to sell to advertisers for a profit. Many inject tracking cookies into your browser or insert ads onto web pages.
Since the web is under threat in Uganda, we believe it’s in your best interests to spend a little bit of cash to ensure your privacy and anonymity aren’t under threat.
Is the internet free in Uganda?
According to the advocacy body Freedom House, Uganda’s internet landscape has a partly free status in 2017. That’s just a notch higher than “not free”. This ranking is likely to deteriorate further after imposing the new social media laws.
Freedom House notes that bloggers in the African country have been incarcerated for criticizing the president, saying, “under the seventh term of re-elected President Yoweri Museveni, the government took measures that demonstrated its increasing intolerance for critical online content,” with “authorities targeting citizens directly for their critical online commentary.”
Academics and bloggers have been charged with cyber harassment crimes simply for opting to speak out against the state. The new social media laws could be another attempt by the government to promote its totalitarian instincts. This makes it even more important to opt to use a VPN in the country — your personal safety and security are at stake. As such, if you’re a journalist, whistleblower, blogger, or human rights activist in Uganda, you may want to hide your identity on the web. Our guide to blogging anonymously is a useful read if you’re looking to tread down this path.
What else can I do with a VPN in Uganda?
Using a VPN will help you evade the social media tax, but it has other use cases too. One is to use the software to safely and securely download torrents. It’s unclear whether torrenting is allowed in Uganda, but we think you should remain safe by hiding your digital footprint. Logging on with a VPN first will block your ISP from figuring out what you’re up to on the web.
Should I disable my smartphone location while using a VPN in Uganda?
Disabling your smartphone’s location services is always a good idea when using a VPN in Uganda. This will help protect your data as your device’s GPS coordinates are not transmitted to the internet and are not accessible by third parties. Additionally, disabling location services can reduce battery usage on your device. To turn off your smartphone location services, go to Settings > Location and switch to “Off.”
You should also ensure your VPN connection is always active and secure. Finally, it is best practice to ensure that all data stored on your device is safe and regularly backed up, as this will help protect your data even if it falls into the wrong hands. With these precautions in place, you can be confident that you are taking the necessary steps to safeguard your online security while using a VPN in Uganda.
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