Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

August 23, 2017

Mexico has a patchy internet infrastructure and expensive broadband. These factors have kept broadband access rates low, at just 11% in 2016. That compares to an average broadband user base of 29% in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. However, Mexico is playing catch up. The recent rapid growth in internet access there is down to the proliferation of smartphones. This makes WiFi hotspots very attractive to Mexicans who are struggling to make ends meet.

If you speak Spanish, Mexico is TV heaven. The country’s soaps attract a huge audience all over Latin America. However, if you’re an expat living in Mexico, or are visiting on vacation, you may struggle to keep up with the high-paced dialog and passionate plots of Mexican dramas. Getting into the content of TV websites back in your home country will become a priority.

While internet penetration in Mexico was minimal, the government took a relaxed attitude towards regulating the ‘net. However, the upswing in internet activity in the past few years has attracted the attention of legislators. As such, the government took steps to expand investment in telecoms infrastructure. This led to the Telecommunications Law of 2014. That law deregulated the provision of telecommunications and mapped out an expansion of the county’s cabling backbone.

Unfortunately, while laying the foundations for the internet boom in Mexico, the Telecommunications Law also introduced obligations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile networks to store logs of users’ activities. The days of internet freedom are gradually drawing to a close in Mexico. You can be traced by your activities for up to two years. This is the mandated period for which activity logs have to be kept. The Mexican government hoped to make information available to combat drugs and gun smugglers. However, the retained activity information is also on file for any copyright lawyer with a court order to thumb through.

Thus anyone moving to or visiting Mexico needs a way to get into streaming services back home. They also need privacy protection from activity tracing, particularly if downloading copyrighted material. Furthermore, WiFi connection security when accessing the net through public hotspots is essential. All three of these requirements can be fulfilled by a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

You can read more about how VPNs work and how they can help you with your internet activities later in this report. Firstly, let’s take a look at our list of the five best VPNs for Mexico.

Best VPNs for Mexico: Summary

VPN for Mexico: Considerations

The Telecommunications Law of 2014 only obliges ISPs and mobile networks to store activity logs. VPNs are not subject to this requirement. VPNs carry all of your internet traffic through your ISP with the destination addresses of communications masked. Replies that come in to you computer also have the origin address masked. Thus, even though the ISP that handles your internet traffic in Mexico is logging everything, it doesn’t get the correct information to store. If anyone tries to trace your activities, they’ll follow a path to your chosen VPN server. There, the trail will go cold.

VPN Anonymity

All of the VPNs on our list keep their customers’ activities a secret. VPNs have to keep track of the connections that their customers make while those connections are ongoing. They need to cross-reference which customer has which masking IP address, so they can forward replies to the right computer. However, once the connection is ended, there is no need for a VPN to store records of those activities. Our recommended VPNs make a point of deleting all records of connections as quickly as possible. As such, there would be no information to pass on to lawyers, should they arrive with a court order.

The protection of a VPN makes it safer for you to download entertainment with peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Some streaming services, such as Popcorn Time and a few channels on Kodi, could also get you into trouble, so, when streaming we recommend using a VPN for Kodi. That’s because they deliver copyrighted material without paying for the rights to it.

Regional Restrictions

Most streaming websites reserve access to their content to viewers in their own countries. As such, US and UK sites will lock you out if you try to access them from Mexico. The streaming servers can tell from your IP address that you are in Mexico.

Before you turn your VPN on, you have to select a mediating server. VPNs have servers all over the world. When you turn the VPN on, the client software on your computer connects to the nominated server. All communication between these two points is fully encrypted. The VPN server forwards your internet messages on to their intended destinations. However, the server changes the origin IP address to one of its own. If you select a VPN server in the same country as the streaming service you want to access, you will appear to be in the right location. This will unblock the service.

There is one more complication with getting into streaming servers. The companies that run these services are obliged by copyright contracts to restrict their delivery of content to their own countries. They have to take all steps possible to meet these obligations. Streaming services know about VPNs. They implement screening programs to detect and block VPN traffic.

Not all VPNs can get into every streaming service. The task of masking the identity of a VPN communication is expensive, so many VPNs, particularly free services, give up the fight. The providers on our list of the best VPNs for Mexico take the fight to get around VPN detection systems seriously. These are some of the most successful VPNs in the world at helping customers get into their chosen streaming services.

VPNs for WiFi Protection

Free WiFi hotspots in bars, cafes, and transport hubs are great money savers. It’s great to be able to connect to the internet from your smartphone or laptop and book theater or museum tickets online. You can buy a plane ticket while you wait for a bus, and check on your bank balance while sitting at a bar – all thanks to WiFi hotspots.

However, not all free WiFi hotspots are provided by the proprietors of the establishments that you patronize. Fraudsters can easily set up fake WiFi hotspots. The name of a fraudulent free WiFi service will sound similar to the name of the establishment where you discover the connection option. However, a connection to the fraudulent hotspot will expose all of your personal details to the operator of the link.

If you encrypt all of your connections from your own computer by using a VPN, the fraudster will be unable to read any of the messages that pass through his computer. Thus, you will be protected from identity theft and credit card fraud when using WiFi hotspots.

If you would like to know more about staying protected when using public WiFi hotspots, check out our Best 5 VPNs for WiFi.

VPN for Mexico: Conclusion

The major problems that you might face when going about your internet activities in Mexico can all be solved by installing a VPN. It is not illegal to use a VPN in Mexico. If you choose a reputable service that keeps no logs, you could never be traced through your internet connections.

Keep safe when you access the web and try out one our recommended VPNs for Mexico.

Image Credit: garagestock/Shutterstock.com