Cuba is famous for two things all over the world. Your guess is absolutely correct; cigars and internet censorship. If you have been to Cuba at some stage of your life, you must have smoked a Cuban cigar or you must have experienced first-hand the difficulties associated with freely accessing the Internet.
Being one of the most highly repressive regimes for freedom of speech known for intimidating journalists and activists, the importance of tools like VPN Cuba has only risen with the passage of time.
In this blog, I’m going to explain why exactly a VPN is needed in the country and the prevailing stance of the government against online freedom and individual privacy.
Internet in Cuba
Cuba takes a heavy-handed approach towards freedom of speech. In fact, the constitution of Cuba itself outlaws freedom of speech if the government deems it going contrary to the socialist spirit which it adheres to.
The Cuban government completely disregards the right of individuals to privacy and speak freely on the web. There have been several instances of journalists being detained for short term as well as their legal harassment by the powers that be.
Although censorship is not very systematic in Cuba, because the primary means of limiting content simply by making introducing hurdles to internet technology and raising costs of Internet excessively. In fact, with a penetration rate of only 38.8%, so the need for censorship is probably not felt as strongly by the government.
Thus, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, for instance, are not blocked in Cuba per se, and can be accessed from cyber cafes and public Wi-Fi.
Nonetheless, some websites remain blocked in Cuba.
Restricted Websites in Cuba
The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) published a report on blocked websites in Cuba. The majority of the blocked sites were independent news media outlets and sites having critical content of a political nature. Overall, 41 websites of different types are blocked in Cuba.
However, it bears mention that only the less secure HTTP versions of the sites were blocked and users could still gain access through the HTTPS versions. The popular VoIP service Skype is also banned, but WhatsApp and other alternatives are still working fine.
Visiting Blocked Sites and Services from Cuba
As I said earlier, you can access most blocked websites in Cuba by using the HTTPS versions of the sites, which you use anyway, because HTTPS is MUCH more secure than HTTP. However, you still run the risk of the ISP and government authorities detecting your activities.
However, when it comes to apps and software clients like Skype which are not dependent on HTTP, your only hope is using a Skype Cuba VPN. As long as you have a Cuban IP address, you won’t be able to get Skype to work.
Since most premium quality VPNs have servers located around in various parts of the world with minimal limits on Internet, you can easily change your IP address via a VPN in order to access blocked services like Skype.
How a VPN Cuba Benefits Citizens
Following are some of the key ways in which a VPN provides great value to users in Cuba:
- Masking IP Address: To start with, a VPN masks your IP address, rendering you untraceable on the web. This can hide your identity from the Cuban government, allowing you the freedom to openly post material on the web.
- Enhance privacy: A VPN enhances your privacy by making sure none of your activity or session log are kept. With no logs, there is no way the authorities can track you down if they have some beef with you.
- Protection from cybercrime: VPNs use sophisticated encryption technology that makes your data unintelligible to any party other than the intended recipient of your communication. This means that confidential information such as credit card details, IDs, and passwords are enclosed in a tunnel of secrecy, guarding you from the exploits of hackers online.
- 4. Unblocking sites and apps: A VPN can unblock apps like Skype and Netflix using its server network distributed in different parts of the world. So, if you’ve been having trouble accessing blocked services from Cuba, a VPN can solve the issue in a matter of minutes.
How is a VPN able to achieve these feats?
The magic behind a VPN is the use of a private and encrypted tunnel that reroutes all user generated as well as incoming traffic to the end destination (the website you want to access). This alternative route basically provides you an invisibility cloak, since your digital footprint would no longer originate from the actual country you are located in.
That is the basics of VPN power. To find out more, you can consult my guide on What is a VPN?
5 Best VPNs for Cuba
Now that you know the capabilities of a good VPN, you might be wondering “which VPN should I get?”
Fret not, fellas, because I am just coming to exactly this:
|VPN Providers||Price ($)||Special Deals||More Info|
Best Affordable VPN
$2.88 Per Month
Exclusive Discount 2 years Plan
Best for Private Browsing
$2.75 Per Month
3 Years Deal
Best Budget Service
$1.99 Per Month
2 Years Deal
Best for Geo-Unblocking
$2.99 Per Month
3 Years Plan
Best for Streaming
$6.67 Per Month
No Exclusive Offer
PureVPN is an ideal choice for Cuba because it covers all key bases that you can expect from a top-rated VPN service: security, speed, and unblocking prowess. The 2,000+ servers located in 140 countries are more than capable of bypassing almost any app. For Cuban users, this feature of the VPN can be used to run Skype and other blocked apps with ease.
- 2,000+ servers in 140 countries
- Offers variety of protocols including OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP
- Compatible on most devices
- Occasional problems connecting to certain servers
NordVPN, the Panama-headquartered VPN service, is arguably the most robust VPN as far as security and encryption is concerned. The Double VPN and Cybersec features can keep you safe from hackers lurking around in Cuban cyberspace and public Wi-Fi. Moreover, the 5,000+ server size can get through even the most stubborn firewalls denying access to users via any of its thousands of non-Cuba IP addresses.
- 5,100+ servers in 62 countries
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Enabling double VPN can reduce connection speed
Surfshark is a well-rounded VPN in terms of security features. It offers DNS leak protection, AES-256 bit encryption, multihop, kill switch, an ad/malware blocker. If you fear you might be a target of cybercriminals or Cuban authorities spying on you, Surfshark is a complete package for best privacy on the web.
You can also use it as a VPN Cuba for iPhone and take advantage of the 7-day free trial they are offering the iOS version.
- Strong security features
- Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
- Superior unblocking capability
- Small server network
CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN provider that boasts a respectable server size and overall features. It has optimized servers for torrents and streaming, which securely unblock apps like Skype and Netflix in suppressive countries like Cuba. You can connect up to 7 devices at the same time with CyberGhost, so you can cover your entire house with just one subscription.
- 3,000+ servers in 60 countries
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Works with Netflix and torrents
- Average speeds
ExpressVPN is a VPN that needs no introduction if you are familiar with the VPN industry. Its military-grade security and ultra-fast speeds means it is cut out for countries like Cuba, where online freedom remains a fantasy. The only factor that stops me from putting this VPN to the top of the list is its high price. If you can overlook that, you should definitely go for ExpressVPN in Cuba.
- Fast server speeds
- True zero-logging policy
- Military-grade AES-256-bit encryption
- Expensive pricing plans
Is it Safe to use Free VPN in Cuba?
There is little doubt that Cuba is one of the worst countries as far as online freedom is concerned. The government is obstructed by no legal barriers to conduct surveillance of innocent citizens and invade their privacy.
Moreover, with only a single ISP wiring the entire country to the Internet, there are high chances that all user data is open to access by the government.
Free VPNs, as a rule, aren’t equipped with the encryption and security mechanisms that can thwart the attempts of governments like Cuba to poke their noses in your data. In addition, some lesser known providers offer free VPNs that are actually sham products for collecting user data and selling to authorities or advertisers.
Therefore, you should give wide berth to free VPNs in Cuba if you value your privacy and security. However, if premium VPNs are too heavy on the wallet, there are some providers operating on the freemium model which are trustworthy enough.
However, all of these VPNs are limited to only a few servers and/or bandwidth limitations. So, for serious Internet use, you have no choice but to purchase a premium and trusted VPN for Cuba.
Popular TV Channels in Cuba
If you are traveling away from Cuba for a while, keep in mind that local TV channels probably won’t be available through TV broadcast or live stream in your destination country.
That is (you guessed it!) unless you use a VPN with servers in Cuba. Unfortunately, not many VPNs offer Cuban servers. PureVPN is one of the few among the list of top providers that have a server in Cuba. So, I would recommend PureVPN if gaining access to geo-restricted channels from Cuba is what you want.
Some of the most popular channels in Cuba are:
- Canal Educativo
- Canal Educativo 2
- Canal Caribe
- Tele Rebelde
How to Get Snapchat in Cuba
For some reason, a lot of people are searching for a way to access Snapchat in Cuba. However, to my knowledge, Snapchat isn’t one of the blocked apps in the country. If, for some reason, you are having trouble accessing Snapchat and suspect it is geo-restricted, then here’s what you need to do:
- Subscribe to a VPN from the list above
- Download and install it on your device
- Launch the VPN and enter your login details
- Connect to a non-Cuban server like the UK or Argentina
- Now start the Snapchat app and use it with no restrictions!
The exact same process can be used to access Skype in Cuba, which is actually blocked in the country at the time of this writing.
VPNs for Neighboring Countries of Cuba
A VPN Cuba can be a beacon of hope for journalists stifled by the lack of online freedom and privacy in the country. High security and encryption is only part of the deal because a powerful VPN can also unlock geo-restricted apps like Netflix and Skype in the country.