CyberGhost is a Romanian-based VPN provider.
They’ve been around for seven years, were acquired just a few years back, and have continued to grow into one of the largest VPN providers.
They pack all of the features you’d come to expect, such as AES 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN (along with other optional tunneling protocols like IPSec).
Their pricing structure is also quite cheap, very similar to NordVPN.
Here are all of the pros and cons we’ve discovered after multiple rounds of testing.
CyberGhost VPN Overview
|OVERALL RANK:||#7 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Easy to use, supports all major protocols|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||30 countries, 3747 servers|
|SUPPORT:||24/7 Live Chat|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||AES-256 , OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec|
Cyberghost Pros +
1. Located in Romania (out of 14 eyes)
Founded in 2011 and operated by a 55-person team located in Bucharest, Romania, CyberGhost (recently acquired by Robert Knapp and Crossrider Limited) currently boasts over 15-million users, which is an admittedly-impressive statistic.
This also means that they are outside 14 Eyes, too, meaning your data (if they had any) wouldn’t be shared with intelligence agencies from other countries around the world.
2. All Essential Features Available
- Hiding IP: Yes
- Kill-switch: Yes
- Max devices: 7
- Total servers: 3,999 (last verified on 24th of July, 2019)
- Total countries: 60 (last verified on 24th of July, 2019)
CyberGhost is VPN software that hides your IP, encrypts and anonymizes your Internet activity, as well as keeps you secure whenever you’re using Wi-Fi.
Their network spans 60 different countries and contains a whopping 3,999 server locations across the United States, European Union, UK, and Asia (although their presence in Asia is admittedly sparse with only a handful of servers in Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore).
Their VPN service is compatible with a lot of devices, including:
If you know what you are doing, CyberGhost also allows their users to set up a custom connection with their Linux devices or routers (yes, you can connect them to your router).
In addition, CyberGhost supports all major protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP, and IPSec. So you’re looking at best-in-class, AES-256 encryption standards to keep all of your devices safe and secure.
3. Strict No-Logging Policy
Many VPN providers advertise “zero logging.” Yet, when you dig into the fine print buried in their Terms of Service, you realize just how far from the truth this claim is.
Many VPN companies do log your data, and while it is typically for the benign purpose of improving their services, one of the biggest reasons to invest in a VPN is to limit intrusions on your privacy.
Which doesn’t exactly work if the intrusive third party happens to be your own VPN provider.
Luckily, CyberGhost doesn’t waiver on their logging policy.
Here’s what they have to say on their website:
4. No Leaks Detected
There’s a lot to love about CyberGhost. If you were to make a checklist of everything you want out of a VPN, CyberGhost has ALL of them.
No info is logged. Their Romanian jurisdiction protects users. Netflix works. As does torrenting. It’s even compatible with TOR and other proxy services.
When we tried this program out, we loved it. There’s a reason it’s listed as number seven on our list of the top VPNs in the world.
The cherry on top of an already-impressive sundae of awesomeness is the fact that this is an airtight leak-free system.
We put CyberGhost through the ringer on several occasions and we found that our original IP was completely protected.
We also ran a test on CyberGhost’s installation software, to make sure it wasn’t sneaking any viruses onto our system.
Thankfully, it too was completely clean.
5. Great User Experience and Easy Installation
CyberGhost’s ease of use is excellent.
It took me a grand total of about 5 minutes to install, launch, and use CyberGhost on my Windows device. And based on feedback from other users, this experience is pretty consistent regardless of the device you are using.
You can sign up for an account without having to pay for anything upfront. Once you do, you’ll be taken to a dashboard like the one pictured below:
Note that in the upper left-hand corner it says “inactive.” That means no CyberGhost subscription has been purchased.
To get started, click on the yellow button on the right marked “Get CyberGhost VPN.”
This is where you select the subscription and term to get started. (We’ll explore these pricing plans in more detail towards the end of this review.)
After selecting a plan, it will take you to the payment options selection menu:
You can use a credit card, PayPal, or, if you want a fully anonymous experience, go for Bitcoin.
Next, you’ll see one more screen confirming all of your information. Click on the green button on the right-hand side that says “Buy Now” to get going.
The software will start downloading immediately. I had no issues whatsoever, and it was successfully installed on my computer in under one minute.
Once I entered my username and password, the system logged me in, but I was not yet connected to the service.
You can choose a server from the drop-down list on the bottom, or allow CyberGhost to automatically connect you with its best server location. This allows you to be surfing anonymously in just a few seconds.
If you want to switch servers, just click on the yellow arrow in the lower left-hand corner. That will open up a server menu like this:
From there, you can select a new server from the full list or zero-in on servers that are specifically designed for torrenting and streaming.
The layout of the app is crisp and clean. Things are so clearly spelled out that even your grandparents could use it.
CyberGhost even has a feature that allows users to automatically launch a secured private browser with only the click of a button.
A great experience overall.
6. Compatible with TOR (and most other proxies)
The Orion Router (or TOR) is an anonymous network that relays your data through various servers so it’s virtually impossible to see who you are or where you’re from.
Depending on the country from which you are surfing, the ability to layer your VPN with the TOR network can, quite literally, be a lifesaver.
Fortunately, CyberGhost VPN is TOR compatible.
This allows users to get as close to total anonymity as possible and is a huge bonus for any VPN users located in countries with strict censorship laws.
7. Safe for Torrenting & Works with Netflix
While many VPNs shy away from actively promoting the ability to torrent/P2P on their servers (hint: TunnelBear), CyberGhost is not among them.
Not only does CyberGhost allow torrenting, but it’s also one of their main selling points.
Once you’ve launched CyberGhost, you can click on the yellow servers menu on the left of the client:
That will open the full server menu. Once there, you’ll note that on the left-hand side there is an option labeled “For Torrenting.” Click on that to see all of CyberGhost’s P2P optimized servers:
Double click on the server you want to use, and torrent to your heart’s delight.
Much to their credit, CyberGhost has done everything in their power to make torrenting easy and seamless.
Netflix Unblocking Feature
Cyberghost has dedicated a unique streaming server that keeps changing its IP address whenever Netflix tries to crack it down.
I used it and it worked. I also confirmed that by having a quick chat with their customer representative:
First, I pulled up CyberGhost’s streaming servers and looked for those that were optimized for Netflix:
To make life easier, if you type “Netflix” into the search bar, it will find those four servers for you and you won’t have to go looking through the entire list:
The first two servers I checked were the United Kingdom and United States. Both worked perfectly. Unfortunately, I was less successful with the other two. Netflix is constantly upping its game in its quest to block VPNs, but I was happy to see that at least half of these servers were still functional.
Cyberghost servers unblocking Netflix:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Cyberghost servers blocked by Netflix:
8. Seven Device Connection Limit
CyberGhost used to only offer a one-device connection limit, even for some premium users, prior to their purchase by Robert Knapp and Crossrider Limited.
Thankfully, that was one of the first positive changes they made. Most of the VPNs we’ve reviewed will allow at least three simultaneous.
Initially, CyberGhost bumped up their connection number to five, which was a huge improvement.
But we’re happy to report that, as of September of 2018, CyberGhost has increased their limit even further to seven devices — regardless of the plan that you are using.
This is a welcomed improvement that opens up many doors for the average user.
9. Live Chat Customer Service
Good customer service is hard to find in the VPN world.
It shouldn’t be. It’s not necessarily that difficult or anything. But the vast majority are (1) slooooooooooow or (2) terrible or (3) both.
So, when one actually crosses that line into excellence, it’s worth heaping hefty loads of praise upon them.
Buckle up, because I’m about to start heaping.
When we first reviewed CyberGhost, it’s fair to say that we weren’t huge fans of their customer support system. It was glitchy and borderline unusable. We gave them some tough, but fair criticism.
Well, it looks like they were listening.
CyberGhost has made some recent advancements in this field and it pays off in droves. For starters, they’ve added live chat.
Not like takes-one-hour-to-respond live chat. But fast, instantaneous messaging.
Anyone needing help needs to just click on the chat box in the lower right-hand corner of their screen.
Clicking there opens up the chat box, where you enter your name, email address, and topic.
The service connects quickly. There is a virtual queue, but I was in the first position instantly. A CyberGhost representative quickly came onto the service and we started talking.
I asked about torrenting services and which servers TOR could be used on:
The response was speedy and informative. No copy-and-paste answer like we’ve received from a few others. I even tried tripping them up, asking about a bunch of different services in sequence, like unblocking Netflix streaming.
Razvan handled each deftly. When we finished, he said goodbye and disconnected. Then, I immediately got an email from CyberGhost upon disconnecting with a full transcript of the chat session.
There’s nothing to criticize here. It was an epic home run.
Bravo, CyberGhost. You’re on a different level here.
CyberGhost Cons –
1. Questionable Parent Company
As with any product on the market, you have to look up the company behind a VPN so you know just what to expect.
CyberGhost was sold to Kape Technologies (formerly known as Crossrider Plc), an Isreali based ad tech company infamous for creating and distributing Malware.
It didn’t take me long to find articles warning the public about the malware still being spread by Kape Technologies. Malwarebytes even posted an article on how to remove a Crossrider malware. Clearly, you can’t trust this company with your data.
This irony was not lost on CyberGhost itself. After the buyout, CyberGhost’s CEO himself admitted that both companies had opposing goals.
CyberGhost seeks to protect user data and privacy as a VPN. Crossrider seeks to gain user data to make money as an ad tech company.
I also found out that the re-branding from Crossrider to Kape Technologies was actually a very sneaky move. Kape CEO Ido Erlichman actually admitted that the decision to re-brand was due to “the strong association to the past activities of the company”.
Long story short, CyberGhost’s parent company can’t be trusted — and they know it.
2. Not the Fastest VPN
Whenever you are in the market for a ‘Budget VPN’ you can and should expect to suffer through some slower download and upload times.
Here’s our benchmark (without VPN connection):
Unfortunately for CyberGhost, unless you are using a free service, you should never have to deal with speeds that are this slow.
US Server (New York)
- Ping: 189ms
- Download: 18.41 Mbps
- Upload: 7.12 Mbps
EU Server (Amsterdam)
- Ping: 41ms
- Download: 51.10 Mbps
- Upload: 21.10 Mbps
Asia Server (Hong Kong)
- Ping: 299ms
- Download: 4.00 Mbps
- Upload: 4.07 Mbps
UK Server (London)
- Ping: 69ms
- Download: 5.63 Mbps
- Upload: 15.65 Mbps
In short, while CyberGhost speeds are nothing to brag about.
They’re surely faster than some other paid VPNs such as PureVPN. But our recommended ExpressVPN is nearly 2x times faster!
When it comes to speed, they are ranked somewhere in the middle of the pack.
3. Third-Party Reviews Are Historically Pretty Rough
I decided to dig through some of the recent reviews on Reddit and Quora to make sure we were just seeing a one-sided experience. According to most sources (who were not motivated by a handsome commissions check), my experience was pretty standard.
There were some reviews that had a more positive outlook on CyberGhost’s services, however, the majority of them were clearly submitted by individuals with an obvious lack of experience with VPN providers.
4. Alleged Security Concerns
The final problem that I found with CyberGhost is an alleged security concern that has popped up since early 2016.
While there has been a significant amount of controversy surrounding CyberGhost’s root certificates and the possibility that their “No Logging” policy is not actually upheld, so far, my findings on this topic have been inconclusive.
Most of the issues that have surfaced were quickly resolved or explained away by the CyberGhost team.
While I don’t have any real reasons to suspect CyberGhost of foul play or believe that there have been any breaches in their privacy agreement, there were simply too many allegations to let this particular point slide.
CyberGhost Pricing & Quick Facts
CyberGhost offers a true month-to-month plan for $12.99.month. The best way to save, though, is to commit to one of their long-term options.
Their 3 years package cost is ultra-low: $2.50/month for three-year commitment. This places them among the cheapest options in the marketplace.
- Monthly: $12.99 per month ($155.88 per year)
- 1 Year: $5.99 per month ($71.88 per year)
- 3 Years: $2.75 per month ($99 every 3 years)
They also offer a wide array of payment methods. You get the standard debit and credit options, PayPal, and BitPay, and cash, too.
While this might be a bit extreme for most users, this feature can come in handy for users who are concerned about the anonymity of their transaction. (For example, individuals purchasing CyberGhost in a country with censorship laws and VPN restrictions.)
CyberGhost’s money-back guarantee is pretty self-explanatory, too.
You have 45 days after signup to terminate and get your money back if you choose plans longer than a year, and 14 days if you choose the monthly option. It’s a “no questions asked” policy for all their products. So we love that they stand behind what they’re selling.
They’ll even stick to this when your “ISP is blocking VPN connections,” for example. So it’s not even their fault that the VPN isn’t working for you. They’ll still provide the refund.
You can get a refund by going through CyberGhost.com (if that’s where your purchase was made).
Otherwise, go back to the individual reseller if you used one of them (like Digital River/Shareit). Understandably, they don’t have any control over reseller transactions, so they should be able to help you directly. You might just want to clarify if they’re matching CyberGhost’s “no questions asked,” or if they have their own refund policy that overrides it.
- No logging: Yes.
- Ease of the VPN software: Singing up and using the app is fairly simple and straightforward.
- Hidden fees & clauses: None.
- Upsells: No upsells.
- Instant access after payment: Yes.
- DNS leaks: None.
- Jurisdiction: Romania.
- Protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP & L2TP.
- Kill-switch: Yes.
Do I Recommend CyberGhost?
To be honest, we weren’t as high on this service just a few months ago. But it seems that in the past few months, CyberGhost has turned things around.
They responded to constructive feedback and have completely turned some aspects around. The live chat and customer service experience we had was like night and day from before.
CyberGhost was always a solid VPN choice. It’s strict no-logging policy and Romanian jurisdiction keep your information safe and secure. If provides all of the essential functions of a VPN with a great user experience.
Plus, it’s a leak-free system that works with Netflix, TOR, and torrenting services.
Upping their connections to seven simultaneous devices was a breath of fresh air, too.
CyberGhost is a larger VPN service that you’ll often see recommended on various “review” websites.
But don’t be fooled by fake reviews that only regurgitate marketing slogans.
In this new and updated CyberGhost review, I will reveal everything I found out about the company, while also publishing the in-depth VPN test results.
Overall, CyberGhost has made some nice improvements since my last review, but it also has some noteworthy shortcomings. Here’s an overview of my findings:
- User-friendly applications
- Good leak protection features (kill switch)
- Competitive prices
- Live chat support
- Troubling history with parent company
- Slow to establish connections
- The website uses aggressive tracking measures
- Broken ad blocker for HTTPS sites
- Connection logs
- Does not work with Netflix (or in China)
As with all of my VPN reviews, I begin by thoroughly researching the parent company and the history of the VPN service.
In the case of CyberGhost VPN, this research revealed some very interesting issues, which is where we will start with right now.
Who owns CyberGhost? Kape Technologies (formerly Crossrider)
Officially, CyberGhost operates under the company CyberGhost S.A. in Bucharest, Romania. That being said, there’s an interesting history with the ownership of the company and outside investors.
CyberGhost was previously owned by Robert Knapp – a German tech entrepreneur – and based/operated out of Romania. However, that has all changed since Knapp sold CyberGhost VPN to outside investors.
In 2017 Knapp sold CyberGhost to an Israeli company called Crossrider for €9.2 million.
Crossrider changed its name to “Kape Technologies” in 2018 – for reasons that we’ll explain below.
Then in October 2018, Kape purchased Zenmate, a Germany VPN provider, for an undisclosed amount. This lines up with the trend we’ve observed of VPNs getting bought up by outside investors. It is the consolidation of the VPN industry.
Now here’s where things get interesting. When you research the company Crossrider (now Kape) you learn it is a company known for infecting devices with malware.
Troubling ties: Crossrider, CyberGhost, and malware
When you research the company Crossrider, you find numerous articles about Crossrider malware and adware, such as this article from Malwarebytes:
Crossrider offers a highly configurable method for its clients to monetize their software. The common method to infect end-users is software bundlers. The installers usually resort to browser hijacking. Targeted browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and sometimes Opera. Crossrider not only targets Windows machines but Macs as well.
PUP.Optional.Crossrider installs are typically triggered by bundlers that offer software you might be interested in and combine them with adware or other monetizing methods.
According to Malwarebytes and many other reputable online security websites, Crossrider was hiding malware in software bundlers, which would then infect the user’s computer with “adware or other monetizing methods”.
While some may dismiss this as old “history”, recent articles from 2018 illustrate how Crossrider malware is still deceiving users and infecting computers with fake Adobe Flash updates:
A new variant of the Crossrider adware has been spotted that is infecting Macs in a unique way. For the most part, this variant is still quite ordinary, doing some of the same old things that we’ve been seeing for years in Mac adware. However, the use of a configuration profile introduces a unique new method for maintaining persistence.
…This new Crossrider variant doesn’t look like much on the surface. It’s yet another fake Adobe Flash Player installer, looking like the thousands of others we’ve seen over the years….
With such a troubling history, it appears that the parent company attempted to distance itself from its own past. In 2018, Crossrider decided to change its name to Kape Technologies.
As the CEO admitted here, the name change was an attempt to distance Kape from shady “past activities”:
The decision to rename the company, explains Erlichman was due to the strong association to the past activities of the company as well as the need to enhance the consumer facing brand for the business.
CyberGhost even hinted at this ironic conflict of interest in their blog post:
While CyberGhost focused on privacy and security from day one, Crossrider started out as a company that distributed browser extensions and developed ad tech products. Quite the opposite of what we did.
Crossrider describes itself as an “online distribution and digital product company” and appears to be heavily focused on advertising and data collection (the two go hand-in-hand). There isn’t much discussion about Crossrider on the CyberGhost website, other than the Terms and Conditions page.
Reading through the Terms and Conditions, I did find this excerpt:
You understand that CyberGhost undertakes no responsibility for your actions. In case of statutory violations by the user, Crossrider may cooperate with public or private authorities at its sole discretion as provided by law.
This is “lawyer speak” for saying that the parent company can and will cooperate with third parties when it deems necessary.
To summarize these findings:
- Cyberghost started out as a VPN provider based in Romania
- Cyberghost’s owner sold out to an Israeli company called Crossrider in 2017
- Crossrider is known for hiding malware/adware in software bundles to infect users’ computers for data collection monetization purposes (according to various security experts)
- Crossrider changed its name to “Kape Technologies” in 2018
- Crossrider malware is still a threat and infecting computers, according to different security blogs
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen VPNs and malware discussed together. Malware is often hidden in free VPN services to collect your data, which is then sold by the parent company.
Ultimately, choosing a good VPN all comes down to trust, which is a subjective topic that only you can decide.
CyberGhost price and refund policy
The cheapest that you can get CyberGhost for right now is $2.75 per month, but you’ll have to purchase the three-year plan. Monthly plans will be significantly more money at $12.99 per month, as you can see below.
This is on the lower end of the price spectrum, particularly for the longer-duration plans. This makes CyberGhost one of many cheap VPN services.
The key question with pricing is always value, or what you get for your money. I’d say there are other VPNs that offer more value with certain coupons (see the ExpressVPN coupon for example).
NordVPN is comparably priced to CyberGhost, and they also offer a NordVPN coupon for a 70% discount. (Check out the Cyberghost vs NordVPN comparison for more info.)
Refund policy – CyberGhost offers two different refund windows, depending on the subscription plan you choose:
- 45 day refund window for all plans that are 6 months or longer.
- 14 day refund window for monthly plans.
This is a pretty good refund policy, and it is apparently “no questions asked” – so they don’t require troubleshooting before the refund is issued. For this review I purchased a one-month subscription via Bitcoin. I’ll update this section if there are any problems with the refund.
CyberGhost VPN apps
CyberGhost offers dedicated VPN apps for:
- Mac OS
Additionally, CyberGhost offers support for Linux, routers, NAS, and Chromebooks.
We’ll take a closer look at the Windows app and Mac OS app below to see how they performed in real-world testing.
CyberGhost encryption and VPN servers
CyberGhost currently uses an AES 256-bit cipher with a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA256 for authentication. They updated the certificate and the authentication to SHA256. CyberGhost refers to this as “military grade encryption”, which the VPN industry typically associates with the 256-bit cipher.
According to the CyberGhost website, they offer about 4,900 servers in 60 different countries.
In general, server loads seemed a little heavy, which may explain the performance issues noticed below.
In the screenshot below, you can see that many CyberGhost UK servers were overloaded, between 75% to 100% + capacity.
The server loads were not looking good in the UK.
If you need a VPN for the UK, or a UK VPN server, CyberGhost probably isn’t the best choice.
On a positive note, I did find that there were other servers throughout Europe that had more bandwidth. CyberGhost’s servers in the United States and Canada were somewhat of a mixed bag. Fortunately, the CyberGhost VPN client shows you server load, which is helpful if you want to optimize performance.
CyberGhost VPN Windows test results
One of the main reasons for doing an updated CyberGhost review was to test out their new VPN client (version 7). Overall I have to say it’s a good improvement over the previous CyberGhost clients.
Below is the CyberGhost Windows client I tested out for this review.
Clicking the server location will allow you to select different servers – but only after disconnecting from your current server. If you click the arrows on the left side of the VPN client, a new window will open up that reveals more servers, settings, and configuration options.
Overall I think this is a great improvement over the older CyberGhost client version – but I did identify a few problems…
CyberGhost is slow to establish VPN connections
One problem that I had when testing CyberGhost is that it could be extremely slow to establish connections. This wasn’t always the case, but in many instances, it could take longer than two minutes to establish a connection.
The problems with CyberGhost not connecting seemed to occur randomly.
Changing the VPN protocols did not seem to make much difference. I’m not sure exactly what was causing these issues, and support was not able to help much, either.
CyberGhost Mac OS app (strange)
In testing out the new CyberGhost Mac OS client, I was a bit surprised by what I discovered.
After installing the Mac OS client, I saw a box explaining that CyberGhost would be using “system services to create VPN connections” and I would need to give CyberGhost permission to do this on my operating system.
Next, CyberGhost was requesting access to the Mac OS keychain, which I also found to be rather alarming.
At this point I decided to deny CyberGhost these permissions, delete the app from my MacBook, and abandon testing.
Why would I do this?
CyberGhost has a history of getting deep into the operating system’s permissions, which is not only shady but also a potential security risk. Recall the following:
- In 2016, CyberGhost was called out for installing a root certificate on desktop and mobile apps as part of their ad blocker software – a huge security risk.
- When I tested and examined their VPN ad blocker again in 2018, I found them to be utilizing traffic manipulation to apparently block ads, which is also problematic.
Given the past history and shady behavior, I denied all permissions and immediately removed CyberGhost from my Mac OS test computer.
The CyberGhost Mac client basically looked the same as the Windows client, and would drop down from the top taskbar.
If you are looking for the best VPNs for Mac, there are better options out there that do not need all these permissions.
CyberGhost leak protection settings and kill switch
On a positive note, the new CyberGhost client seems to have improved the leak protection settings – and the test results were good.
If you are in the CyberGhost Windows client, you can click the arrows on the left side to access the client settings and features.
By default, CyberGhost has the kill switch feature and DNS leak protection options enabled.
I ran some basic VPN tests to check for leaks and everything seemed to be working fine.
Here were the test results with the Windows client:
No leaks were identified when running the basic tests.
Of course, I did not test any leak protection settings on Mac OS, for the reasons explained above (denied permissions and deleted the app).
CyberGhost ad blocking feature
CyberGhost offers an ad-blocking feature, but it does not work well and I would not recommend using it.
Here’s what the CyberGhost ad blocking features look like in the Windows client:
I took a close look at this feature and even tested it out in comparison to other VPN ad blockers. The results were not good. Here’s what I noted about CyberGhost in my guide on different VPN ad blockers:
CyberGhost is an interesting case, but not in a good way. Instead of filtering ads and malicious content via DNS requests, they actually look inside the traffic and modify requests to certain domains so they display content from Cyberghost instead.
This is problematic for a few reasons. First, manipulating traffic is something a trustworthy VPN provider should not do – even with good intentions. Secondly, this only works over http since https connections are encrypted and Cyberghost cannot (easily) access that content.
With the CyberGhost version tested for this article, there is no root certificate being installed. But because they are still using the same methods to filter traffic, that means their “ad blocker” does not effectively work on HTTPS websites. Basically, CyberGhost’s ad blocker is barely working, especially since it will be ineffective on all HTTPS websites.
If you want a good VPN ad blocker, there are some better options to consider, such as with Perfect Privacy and the TrackStop filter.
CyberGhost VPN speed test results
As an update to this review, I ran new speed tests with CyberGhost on servers in Europe and North America.
On a positive note, the speeds were better than last time. Unfortunately, however, they still weren’t great.
To begin, I ran some speed tests with nearby CyberGhost servers in Europe, which should (theoretically) provide me with the best speeds. Note: my baseline speed was about 160 Mbps and my testing location was in Western Europe.
Speed test with a CyberGhost server in Paris, France:
Definitely not the best result, considering my baseline speed of 160 Mbps.
I then ran some tests with CyberGhost servers in Germany, and the results were a little better.
CyberGhost server in Berlin, Germany: 78 Mbps
As a brief comparison, I was able to get 147 Mbps when I tested an ExpressVPN server location.
COMPARISON: Here is the speed test with ExpressVPN, also in Germany.
Next up I decided to test some CyberGhost servers in the United Kingdom. As you recall from before, UK servers were a bit congested.
CyberGhost UK server: 56 Mbps
Again, not very good considering my baseline (non-VPN) speed.
Now for another comparison.
COMPARISON: Here is a test result from an ExpressVPN server in the UK: 147 Mbps
As you can see, there is a big difference in performance between CyberGhost and ExpressVPN.
Overall speed tests with nearby CyberGhost servers should have been better, given my close proximity. One explanation for the mediocre speeds may have been server congestion and not enough bandwidth.
I also ran some long-distance speed tests with servers in the United States. Again, the results were somewhat below average.
CyberGhost server in New York: 76 Mbps
When you consider the long distance (higher ping), this isn’t too bad. Nonetheless, it still is not on par with other leading VPN services.
COMPARISON: As a final comparison, here is the same speed test that I ran with an ExpressVPN server in New York.
Conclusion on speeds: CyberGhost has improved in speeds since the last review, and for that, I give them credit. Nonetheless, they are still a long ways off from other VPN services, particularly ExpressVPN. (For more info about these two VPNs, see the CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN comparison.)
Invasive tracking measures on the CyberGhost website
Although nearly every VPN service runs Google Analytics to track the effectiveness of their Google ads (which can be very important for acquiring customers), some VPNs go overboard with tracking.
Unfortunately, CyberGhost falls into the second category, and I’ve pointed this out before. Here’s what I found when visiting CyberGhost’s website for this review update: a whole mess of trackers and third-party cookies.
Lots of trackers and cookies on the CyberGhost website.
This, of course, was not very surprising.
The last time I looked at CyberGhost’s website, I found them to be utilizing Hotjar session recording scripts. These session recording scripts literally record every interaction you have with the website in a video, which is stored on third-party servers. I discussed the problem in this article after examining findings published by other researchers.
Here were the session recording scripts that I previously found:
CyberGhost was using Hotjar session recording scripts on its website.
Hopefully this is an area where CyberGhost can improve.
To be fair, nearly all VPNs have some basic tracking and analytics on their websites, which usually includes Google Analytics. Running a website without any analytics is basically impossible, because you have no idea what to improve and fix for your readers. Unfortunately, Cyberghost goes a bit overboard in this regard.
Testing out CyberGhost support
For support, CyberGhost offers chat, email, and various guides on their website.
I tested out the chat support and it seemed alright.
The chat representatives were prompt and helpful, although the random slow connection problem did not really get fixed.
CyberGhost offers 24/7 live chat and I was able to connect with a chat representative in under 30 seconds every time I tested it out. I did not test out the email support, but I did find quite a few different help guides on their website.
For the support category, CyberGhost does pretty well.
CyberGhost for torrenting
Officially, CyberGhost is a torrenting-friendly VPN service. They are based in Romania, which does not fall under any stringent copyright laws (unlike the United States and DMCA, for example). Many VPNs also restrict torrenting, such as TunnelBear.
Regarding their torrenting policy, CyberGhost explains this on their website:
We also have servers optimized for torrenting ensuring a smooth and seamless torrenting experience.
Torrent through a secure encrypted VPN tunnel and leave any surveillance worries behind. Say goodbye to any throttling from your Internet Service Provider and unblock restricted torrent domains!
Within the CyberGhost VPN client, you can select any of these torrenting servers. That being said, not all servers work with torrenting and P2P traffic:
None of the current P2P technologies are illegal per definition, but we have to block P2P protocols on certain servers, either due to strategic (this is traffic that unnecessary slows down other user’s traffic) or due to legal reasons in countries where we are forced by providers to block torrent traffic, among them USA, Russia, Singapore, Australia and Hongkong (China).
In the list of servers you will find a check mark on P2P/Torrent compatible servers.
This is fairly common in the VPN industry, where VPNs can get kicked out of data centers for too many copyright violations (such as in the US).
Overall, CyberGhost isn’t the worst option, but it’s also not one of the best VPNs for torrenting based on the speed tests above.
On the homepage, CyberGhost claims to be a “no logs” VPN provider with a “strict no logs policy”.
Here you can see their claims:
But this is not really accurate.
Additionally, when you log in to your account, you can see that the devices you use with CyberGhost are being logged. Here’s a screenshot from my test account, showing that two of my devices are being logged:
Therefore it is clear that there are some connection logs being maintained. Many VPNs maintain some basic data to enforce the connection policy. There are also some VPNs that have undergone ‘no logs’ audits to verify their claims.
Whether or not this is a big deal all depends on your threat model and how much privacy you desire.
CyberGhost blocked by Netflix
Another drawback with CyberGhost is that I found it to not work with Netflix. I maintain an American Netflix account specifically to test which VPNs work with Netflix.
With CyberGhost, there are dedicated servers that should work with Netflix. Here are the Netflix servers which you can access directly in the VPN client:
These are the CyberGhost Netflix servers.
Next, I fired up my Netflix account and attempted to stream House of Cards. That didn’t work out so well.
The CyberGhost dedicated server for streaming Netflix was blocked by Netflix.
If you are looking for the best VPN to use with Netflix, CyberGhost would not be a good option.
CyberGhost is not a good VPN for Netflix based on my own tests.
CyberGhost does not work in China
Because I am not physically in China, I cannot test VPNs there. Nonetheless, I posed the question to CyberGhost staff.
CyberGhost does not work in China.
The answer is clear: CyberGhost does not work in China.
A few years back, Robert Knapp was interviewed by CNN and he voiced frustration with trying to make CyberGhost work in China. It seems they are not even working on that today.
If you are in China or going to China, not to worry. There are still some great VPNs for China that are still working.
Conclusion on the CyberGhost VPN review
Taking everything into consideration, CyberGhost is somewhat of a mixed bag.
CyberGhost has made some improvement since the last review. Their new VPN client (version 7) is an improvement over the previous version, and speeds are better than the last time I tested their servers.
Nonetheless, there are still some shortfalls that prevent me from recommending CyberGhost:
- Troubling history with parent company (Kape, formerly Crossrider)
- Slow to establish connections
- The website uses aggressive tracking measures
- Broken ad blocker for HTTPS sites
- Connection logs
- Does not work with Netflix (or in China)
One recurring theme I stress here at Restore Privacy is that trust is a major factor when it comes to selecting privacy tools. This is because these tools can also be undermining your privacy and security. With the history behind the parent company (Crossrider / Kape) and the issues with root certificates, there are definitely some things to consider. Of course, only you can decide which products and services to trust – and this is a subjective decision.
At the end of the day, CyberGhost has made some improvements, but there is still more work to do.
CyberGhost has everything you need from a VPN service and then some, all under several low-priced subscription options.
- Supports up to 7 simultaneous connections
- Unblocks Netflix
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Only a 1-day free trial on Windows
- Poor speeds on some servers
CyberGhost was founded in Bucharest, Romania in 2011, and has since provided VPN services to clients to over 30 million users all over the world. It is run by teams in Romania and Germany with specialties in various IT fields.
If by the end of this review you decide to purchase CyberGhost’s services, you can do so by choosing one of the four subscription options. The 1-month option will set you back by $12.99, followed by the 1-year plan that costs $5.99 per month. Next is the 2-year subscription with a price tag of $3.69 per month, while the cheapest is the 3-year option at only $2.75 per month. These prices place CyberGhost among the cheapest VPN providers on the market. For an additional $5.00 a month, you can also get your own dedicated IP.
On top of that, it has a highly favorable and generous money-back guarantee for all of the plans. Namely, if there are any problems with the service, you can request a refund within 45 days after you made the purchase.
The provider has a free trial, although its length depends on the platform used to sign up. It varies from 24 hours for Windows and Mac to seven days for iOS. Signing up is not needed if your platform of choice is Android, which also includes a 7-day free trial.
CyberGhost accepts payments made via PayPal, Bitcoin, and credit cards.
The service is also available for free to journalists, NGO representatives, and other organizations that actively fight for a free and secure Internet. Regular users also get the chance to earn up to 90 days of free premium service by referring their friends and family.
Simple and user-friendly native apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, and Android TV, along with free browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The service can be set up on additional platforms, like Raspberry Pi, Synology NAS, Chrome OS, game consoles, smart TVs, routers, and more.
CyberGhost can be run simultaneously on up to seven devices. This number can be increased by installing the service on one of the supported routers. However, if low speed is a deal-breaker for you, then we don’t suggest doing this.
What you get
With CyberGhost VPN, you’ll have access to 5,900+ servers in more than 90 countries. You’ll also be able to bypass the regional restrictions of many online services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and many more.
A majority of VPN providers support torrenting on their servers and CyberGhost is no different. Most of its servers are optimized for fast and safe P2P file exchange with no restrictions.
The apps are equipped with the kill switch - a valuable mechanism that blocks your device’s access to the Internet as soon as it detects an unexpected VPN connection loss. This way it prevents your sensitive data from ending up in the wrong hands. Unlike its competitors which allow you to turn on/off the kill switch, CyberGhost gives no such option - its kill switch is always on by default.
The Android client comes with a split tunneling option. This gives you the freedom to choose which apps you want to run on your regular Internet connection while the VPN is on. Similarly, the Windows client lets you whitelist the websites you want to leave outside the VPN protection.
The apps also have some additional options, like blocking malicious websites, ads, and online tracking, as well as data compression, automated HTTPS redirect, and extra speed.
CyberGhost’s services are encrypted with the superior 256-bit AES algorithm and traffic is transferred with the use of VPN protocols including OpenVPN (TCP and UDP ports), IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP. This VPN vendor also has protection mechanisms that prevent IPv6, Port Forwarding and DNS leaks.
The company adheres to the principles of its co-founder and chairman Robert Knapp, who believes that ‘the only way to secure your data is not to store it’.
Its uncompromising no-logs policy states there will be no logging of real IP addresses, assigned servers, login/logout times, traffic data, or any information sent via a CyberGhost server. The provider also states it doesn’t observe or record content like messenger chats, telephone calls, video chats, or other communication forms.
The only information that is recorded (for statistical purposes) is the logins of anonymous accounts per day which is then summed up for the entire month. Even then, this daily information is deleted after 24 hours and the monthly sum is deleted at the end of each month.
To prove these aren’t just empty words, CyberGhost has been issuing annual transparency reports with the information about the number of DMCA complaints, malware activity flags and police requests it got, as well as the key statistics about its infrastructure and other interesting details, such as the people working there.
While the transparency reports certainly are welcome, even better proof of honesty would be an independent confirmation, as has become a standard practice in the industry.
CyberGhost’s performance ranges from mostly superb to occasionally so-so as it gets a bit more inconsistent for the servers situated further away from your current location. For instance, while you’ll get outstanding speeds for the local servers and US if you’re in Europe, things can dramatically change if you’re trying to connect to some parts of Asia and South America, with drops to measly 1Mbps for locations like Indonesia.
If you encounter any problems or have any questions, help is available on multiple fronts. The website provides a solid searchable library of FAQs, instruction manuals for use and installation, troubleshooting articles, as well as important announcements.
If you don’t find a satisfactory answer there, live chat and email support is available 24/7 in English, German, French, and Romanian language.
Additional useful information about the provider and trends in the VPN industry can be found on CyberGhost’blog called Privacy Hub.
CyberGhost is a well-rounded VPN service that offers everything a typical user needs. It supports safe and fast torrenting, streaming of content and playing online games that are restricted in some parts of the world, as well as overall strong security features.
Our score: 4/5
Client software platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS; Chrome extension
Supported protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP/ IPSec, PPTP
Approximate number of servers: 6,200 (updated since original review)
Approximate number of countries with servers: 90 (updated since original review)
Country of registration: Romania
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max number of simultaneously connected devices: 7
Customer support: Email, chat
CyberGhost is a fast, reliable VPN with a budget-friendly price and, with its latest discount, it’s even more affordable! But not every VPN is as good as it claims. Could CyberGhost be weaker on safety? I put the service through hundreds of tests to find out.
Whether you’re interested in its speeds, server network, or security measures—or just want to know if it’s reliable for gaming—I have all the answers you need.
After my extensive testing, I’d say CyberGhost is a solid choice. It has a lot to offer, especially in terms of ease of use and hopping onto your favorite streaming platforms, so it’s ideal if you’re a VPN newbie. But I did find a few areas where CyberGhost simply can’t compete with other elite VPNs.
Short on Time? Here’s What Matters Most
CyberGhost is a popular VPN, and it’s easy to see why. Its apps are intuitive and easy to use, its connections are fast and reliable, and it guarantees access to sites with the toughest geoblocks around. In some ways, it even outshines competitors NordVPN and ExpressVPN, especially in terms of server count and allowable simultaneous connections.
But the true test of any VPN goes way beyond look and feel, so I put this VPN through its paces by testing every feature it has to offer. I also ran lots of external tests, checking its speeds and whether there were DNS leaks. I even tested its customer service and how its apps work across a range of different devices so you know exactly what to expect.
My field operatives and I have tested a lot of VPN services—over 300 to be exact—and CyberGhost has me impressed. You’ll find plenty of leading features, like optimized servers and a built-in ad blocker. But one thing that stood out to me during my tests was the simplicity of the apps—and this is a good thing, rather than bad. CyberGhost really comes out on top with ease of use.
Streaming – Does CyberGhost Work With Netflix?
Yes, you can stream Netflix with CyberGhost. We tried the UK and US libraries first as they’re the most popular, and we didn’t encounter any geoblocks. One of our operatives in Spain confirmed unrestricted access to the UK library, while I jumped on a US server from the UK. I was very happy to see that my speeds didn’t slow down while streaming Netflix US, especially considering that my data traveled around the world and back.
I then tried other major Netflix libraries, including Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands, and I didn’t experience any problems with these, either.
I even tested less popular libraries like Spain and Japan, and they worked, too. I didn’t see any noticeable speed loss while connecting to servers around the world, other than in Australia. Connecting there caused a small amount of buffering, but nothing that ruined my stream. If Netflix is your top priority, CyberGhost is a good choice.
There’s even a special feature that makes CyberGhost ideal for watching TV and movies: optimized streaming servers. During our initial tests, we accessed Netflix US and UK by manually finding the right servers, but then we tried the optimized streaming servers. All we had to do was use the For Streaming tab, look for Netflix, and click—the app automatically connected us to the ideal servers.
You’ll also find servers optimized for plenty of other streaming services, including Disney+, BBC iPlayer, YouTube TV, and Sling TV.
Speaking of other streaming services, I tested CyberGhost with several of them, too. Here are my results:
- BBC iPlayer: I could easily access BBC iPlayer, both with and without the optimized server.
- Hulu: No. Unfortunately, CyberGhost can no longer unblock Hulu. I’ll keep testing.
- Sling TV: Yes, it’s easy with an optimized server.
- Comedy Central: Yes, no problems here.
- Amazon Prime Video: Yes, just by manually connecting to a server.
- Disney+: I tried the optimized US server and got access. I also tried servers in all other Disney+ locations and had no problems.
If Netflix is your main source for streaming, you’ll have no trouble accessing it with CyberGhost. You can also check out these top vendors, though, as there are two other leading providers that beat CyberGhost when it comes to performance—especially if you want access to Hulu.
Is CyberGhost Good for Torrenting?
Yes, CyberGhost is a strong choice for torrenting. In fact, it even has specialized torrenting servers designed for P2P sharing at high speed, while always maintaining your anonymity and security.
Click on the For Torrenting tab to find P2P-optimized servers—there are 80 locations from which to choose, so you can easily find one near to you.
You can also see the number of users on each server, the load percentage, and how far away the server is from you. These are helpful details to have since you can quickly connect to a server that’ll offer you the best speeds, rather than using trial and error to find the right one. You can also add P2P servers to your favorites list if you encounter some that work especially well for you.
I tried servers in the US, Germany, and Mexico so I could assess speeds over different distances. I was able to share files with my friends easily and quickly on all servers. The Mexico and US servers were noticeably slower than the Germany server due to my location in the UK, but not so slow that sharing files was a struggle.
CyberGhost uses advanced encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and perfect forward secrecy to make sure you’re secure while P2P sharing. None of your activity is retained, so there’s no information that can be traced back to you.
One thing you should know: Torrenting is only available on desktop. And there’s room for more improvement, too. CyberGhost doesn’t offer a SOCKS5 proxy—this is a maximum security proxy that offers improved upload and download speeds, so it’s particularly good for torrenting. I’ll be on the lookout for this in the future, but in the meantime, you can use NordVPN if you prefer this capability.
CyberGhost is reliable when it comes to speeds, especially with its Best Server Location feature. Simply click the power button, and it finds you the best server based on latency, speed, and distance from your location.
Most VPN speed tests are pointless – they give you seemingly random speeds without any real context. But I’ve taken the time to give you a more comprehensive set of speed tests. How fast a server appears to be on a speed test is meaningless if the performance is lacking – so I tested both speed and performance – including for high-demand activities like gaming and streaming.
Seeing as I’m in the UK, the app always connected me to another UK server when I tried it, and when I put it through speed tests, it definitely delivered on performance. I was able to stream BBC iPlayer in HD and load webpages in seconds, just as if I was on a non-VPN connection. But I did find a few results that surprised me the further I went.
I tested my base speed first so I had something to which to compare my results.
Without a VPN, I was at 60.2 Mbps download, 42.2 Mbps upload, and 28 ms ping.
I then used the Best Server Location feature, which connected me to a UK server. My VPN-connected download speed was 56.7 Mbps, which means it only decreased by 5.8%—still remarkably fast. I was able to stream, game, and browse with absolutely no lagging.
I expected great results since I’d used the Best Server Location feature and the server was optimized for me. So I tried another local server—one I manually located. This time, my download speed was 48 Mbps and my upload speed was 3.53 Mbps.
This means my download speed decreased by 20%. While this sounds high, a download speed of 48 Mbps is still incredibly quick, so I had no problems while browsing and streaming. In fact, it was just as smooth as my regular, non-VPN connection. Netflix UK continued streaming in HD, and I could load webpages in just seconds.
However, my upload speed did take a hit. It decreased by nearly 92%, which caused poor quality on my WhatsApp and Skype video calls.
First, I connected to a random US server in New York, which gave me a speed of 30.5 Mbps. This was a speed decrease of 49%.
I expected speed loss as my data was traveling from the UK to the US. The truth is that a lot of VPNs I’ve tested cause a significant drop in download speed over this level of distance. However, 30.5 Mbps is still speedy, so I’m impressed. I was able to stream in HD quality once videos had buffered for about 60 seconds.
It’s also worth mentioning my upload speed here. It stayed at a steady 27.2 Mbps, so I was actually able to upload large email attachments and images quicker than when I was connected to a local server.
Next, I decided to connect to a US server optimized for Netflix to see if my speed would increase at all. And it did.
I had a download speed of 57.5 Mbps, which is an increase of 88% over the randomly chosen US server. And from my base speed, it was only a slight decrease of 4.5%. The quality of my Netflix stream improved remarkably—there was no buffering as there had been with the previous New York server. I stayed on Netflix for five hours, and I streamed in HD the whole time.
Continuing my speed tests, I headed over to a Canada server. And this is where my speed loss really started to show. My download speed decreased by nearly 94% to just 3.69 Mbps.
I definitely noticed the speed loss while browsing and streaming. It took ages for pages to load, and my streams buffered, with some episodes displaying poor quality. These speeds didn’t prevent me from watching anything at all, but it was extremely frustrating.
My upload speed was cut by almost 88%, too. Interestingly, it didn’t decrease as much as when I connected to a local server, but it still made uploading files and attachments much slower.
Finally, I connected to a server in Singapore and saw similar results. My download speed slowed down to just 1.71 Mbps.
It was hard for me to do anything at this speed—even a simple internet search. The upload speed of 0.58 Mbps made video calls impossible, too.
CyberGhost Speed: The Results
My tests started off well, with little decrease in my speeds, so I was able to continue with my online activities as I usually would. The optimized streaming servers are noticeably faster, which is good. This drastically improves the quality of your stream, so you don’t need to sit through annoying buffering or lagging.
However, when distance was put to the test, the speed loss started to show. My speed took a real hit when I connected to the Canada and Singapore servers, even though they only had between 40 to 50% load. In fact, the Singapore server only had 552 users connected at the time, so I expected speeds around 20 Mbps—definitely not as low as 1.71 Mbps.
While CyberGhost might be good for local speeds and streaming through optimized servers, it doesn’t deliver fast connections everywhere, especially over longer distances. If you need a faster VPN, check out our top speed picks—we ran tests on all leading vendors, with CyberGhost claiming spot #5, so there are four better options if you need them.
Is CyberGhost Good for Gaming?
Gamers always pay attention to the details—especially when it affects their gameplay. But even if you don’t play, you can still learn a thing or two about CyberGhost by putting it through gameplay testing. Gaming is speed-intensive, and if you’re limited on bandwidth or experiencing a significant speed loss, you’ll know about it—buffering and lagging will make it harder to keep up with your teammates and keep your head in the game.
To see how fast CyberGhost really is, I put it to the test with World of Tanks. I connected to a faraway server to see how distance would affect the quality of my game. I was paying particular attention to my ping rate. Ping is important because a lower result indicates lower latency, which means it takes less time for game data to update—lower latency equals less lagging.
I tested World of Tanks on a US server on my Windows PC, Android Phone, and PS4, and I had great results on all. I had a steady download speed of 25.3 Mbps. While not as fast as some other vendors I’ve tested, it’s definitely quick enough to play the game without noticeable speed loss. My game was free from buffering, so I didn’t miss out on any important battles.
My ping was 131 ms. Although it increased significantly from my base ping speed at 28 ms, there was very little lag. I managed to keep up with the fast-paced game with no problems.
When I tested a different server in Canada, though, I didn’t get the same gaming experience. It was full of buffering and almost cost me my entire game.
CyberGhost is a good choice for gaming if you select a server close to you or stick with a US server, where it offers the best coverage and generally the quickest speeds. If you want a VPN that’s completely reliable for gaming anywhere in the world, though, check out our review of the best VPNs for gaming.
When I test VPNs, I always score those with advanced security features more highly. That means looking at encryption levels, security protocols, and extra security features like kill switches and leak protection. You might think a VPN is secure, but if you don’t know what you should be looking for, it’s hard to tell for sure.
CyberGhost offers the highest level of encryption available, AES 256-bit. The 256 refers to the actual size of the encryption key. Putting that into perspective helps to understand why it’s important: 50 supercomputers that could check a billion billion AES keys per second would require 3×10^51 years to crack a single piece of your data. This means that even if a hacker did intercept your information, the criminal would still not be able to read it.
The encryption combines a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA256 authentication with the AES 256-bit encryption. The RSA key acts as an encrypted handshake. When your data arrives at its destination, the key is used to acknowledge that your information has come from the right place—your device. The SHAA256 authentication is what decrypts your data so it can be understood.
SHA256 is highly secure, but it’s not quite as safe as SHA512, which other services like ExpressVPN offer. If you’re using a VPN for P2P sharing, you need the highest level of authentication you can get so that only the sender and receiver have access to the shared secret key that can decode your data. Still, SHA256 keeps you safe and shields you from man-in-the-middle attacks, so you don’t need to worry about any data leaks.
CyberGhost offers a variety of security protocols, including OpenVPN TCP/UDP, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPSec (on limited servers). The apps automatically select the best protocol for you based on your activities and whether you need more speed or security. However, you can also configure the app to always use a certain protocol if you prefer. Take note: The mobile app only uses OpenVPN. This isn’t a bad thing though because it’s the only protocol you really need, as it’s configured to offer speeds and security in one.
There’s also a WireGuard protocol that I’ve not seen with many other VPNs. It’s fairly new, using OpenVPN’s security with IKEv2’s speeds to provide an even better online experience. Before you get too excited, it’s only available for Linux users.
If you’re using OpenVPN, CyberGhost lets you use the random port connection feature. This means you can still access non-HTTPs sites securely, as it scans a wide range of ports to connect to when you visit a website, rather than just port 443 for HTTP-secure sites. Public WiFi, especially in hotels, usually only lets you visit HTTP-secure sites, so this gives you added flexibility and security. And it’s automatically enabled in the app, which I like to see.
You have more security through perfect forward secrecy. This changes your encryption key each time you log on. If a hacker was able to decrypt your key during your session, they couldn’t use that same key to access data from any other time you’ve used the VPN. It ensures anything from your other sessions stays completely secure, even if one connection is compromised.
If you want to make sure you’re really secure online, especially when you’re browsing geoblocked sites or sharing sensitive data, you need a kill switch. Most leading VPNs offer this feature, which protects you when something goes wrong with your VPN connection. Kill switches block your traffic when your VPN connection is lost so you aren’t accidentally exposed.
As I expected, CyberGhost has a kill switch automatically enabled in the app, so you don’t even need to turn it on—you’re already protected if anything interrupts your connection. However, I did find something you’ll want to know.
CyberGhost doesn’t have a kill switch for mobile, which is one of its biggest downfalls. No kill switch on mobile doesn’t mean you’re not secure with CyberGhost, but it does mean you don’t have maximum protection, as your traffic and data aren’t anonymous if your VPN connection is compromised.
With its industry-leading status, I’m disappointed that CyberGhost hasn’t thought about total anonymity for mobile users yet. But you do have other options: Check out our top picks for Android and iOS mobile devices instead.
Like more control over apps and your internet connection? Then a VPN with split tunneling is ideal. This feature lets you decide which apps go through the VPN. You can add and remove apps as necessary, so anything you leave out will use your local IP address instead. Some common apps to leave outside the VPN include your online banking, social media, and any domestic streaming sites that you couldn’t access without being in your home country.
I’ve tested a lot of VPNs, and I’ve only found a handful that actually offer split tunneling. But CyberGhost is on the list. It has a dedicated split tunneling feature on mobile and an Exceptions feature on desktop that functions just the same—it’s not quite as seamless as I’ve seen with other VPNs, but it works just fine. To use it, simply add website addresses or remove the tick next to your apps on your mobile.
I tested the split tunneling from the UK, and I was able to check my bank balance while streaming Netflix US on a US CyberGhost server. And my tests showed something else great about CyberGhost’s split tunneling feature, too.
On the desktop app, you have an App Protection Feature that basically functions like split tunneling, but better. Add protected apps to your list, and CyberGhost will automatically launch and connect to a specified location as soon as you open one of those apps. I tried it with Netflix, and it worked flawlessly. It connected me to a US server automatically, so I was able to head straight to Netflix US without any other manual configuration. This is amazing for ease of use, and I haven’t seen another vendor offer this feature.
Just remember, when you use split tunneling, anything you leave outside of the VPN is unencrypted. Don’t leave out any apps that require anonymity or need to bypass geoblocks.
Leak Tests and Leak Protection
An external leak test is the best way to see how well a VPN hides your data and browsing traffic. Some VPNs claim to keep you protected, but you can’t always be sure.
CyberGhost is one of the top vendors for leak protection, as it offers DNS and IP leak protection in its apps. These are already switched on, so even if you’re a VPN newbie and aren’t sure what they are, you’re protected without having to worry about it.
I wouldn’t recommend ever turning these settings off. You can disable the IPv6 protection to use local connections, but I’d just use the split tunneling feature instead as you remove all protection if you disable this feature.
I put CyberGhost to the test using ipleak.net to see whether there were any faults and potential leaks in my connection. I tried seven different servers: UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, and Hong Kong. I didn’t experience DNS or IP leaks on any server.
My IPv6 test was unreachable, which means my ISP was unable to assign me an IP address—it couldn’t find my device. In fact, there was no request even sent to my ISP from my device, which means I was completely anonymous using CyberGhost’s servers.
Tor Compatibility, Security Audits, and Security Breaches
CyberGhost is compatible with Tor. To benefit from Tor over VPN, just connect to a server and then launch the Tor browser—I tried it, and it worked just as expected. CyberGhost’s process is not as seamless as NordVPN’s connection (which doesn’t even require the Tor browser to access the Tor network), but it’s rare to find a VPN that works with Tor, so I’m happy to see CyberGhost has us covered.
In 2012, CyberGhost’s safety processes were audited and verified by QSCert, which is renewed each year. However, there’s no evidence of any independent security audits, like other competitors have done. These are especially important, not just for transparency with users, but for backing up the security claims that a service makes.
CyberGhost releases a Transparency Report every three months. It provides information about malware activity flags, key statistics about its infrastructure, and the people behind CyberGhost. This is the kind of honesty I like to see from a leading VPN.
However, I’d like to see CyberGhost take steps to perform external audits, especially of its no-logs policy and server security standards so we can see how secure it really is. Although, having run all the security tests possible on CyberGhost, I’m confident it’s secure and you won’t experience any leaks. Plus, a recent security breach confirms that for us.
In 2019, two CyberGhost users were involved in a data leak through Typeform, but no confidential information was exposed. In total, 120 email addresses and 14 CyberGhost usernames were leaked, but there were no passwords or other sensitive details since CyberGhost operates a no-logs policy and doesn’t store this data in the first place. However, it’d be better to have an independent audit confirm the effectiveness of the no-logs policy, rather than a breach.
CyberGhost offers extra security through WiFi protection on both its desktop and mobile apps. You can have the VPN launch automatically when you connect to certain WiFi networks, which is especially useful if you’re on unsecured public WiFi and need the added protection. You can also set it to ask whether you want to connect to or ignore certain networks.
This added security is a convenient feature to have, and it makes sure you’re safe from prying eyes, especially in restaurants, in bars, and on public transport—hacker hotspots. Even better, it’s already switched on for you in the app.
Something else CyberGhost offers is automated HTTPs redirect. This feature forces your connection to a HTTPs-enabled site, so you only visit the most secure version of a website. It protects you from malicious attacks on unsecured websites, where personal data like credit card details and your mailing address are easily exposed to anyone watching.
CyberGhost’s headquarters are in Romania, a privacy-friendly country. Romania is also not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, so companies operating here have no obligation to share information they hold with any government.
Who Owns CyberGhost?
CyberGhost is owned by Kape Technologies, a cybersecurity and digital protection investment company based in London. Private Internet Access and ZenMate are also in the same group.
Does CyberGhost Have an Adblocker?
Yes. CyberGhost has an ad blocker in all of its apps, which you can turn on in your settings.
CyberGhost offers protection against ads, tracking, and malware. I suggest you turn on all three of these for maximum protection; that way, you’re protected from annoying pop-ups and anything else that might infect your device or expose you.
I put the ad and malware protection to the test, and it functioned great. It even blocked ads on Facebook. These blockers made my browsing experience much faster as I didn’t need to wait for ads to load.
However, I’d be more impressed if there was just one blocker that included protection against all three risks. I’ve tested other VPNs that offer all-in-one protection, and they’re definitely easier to use. Plus, I think all three blockers should be automatically turned on so you’re protected without needing to do anything. CyberGhost is definitely up there with the best ad blockers, but it’s not our first choice.
Does CyberGhost Keep Logs?
CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy. It doesn’t store anything relating to your connection, including IP address, DNS requests, session duration, VPN server use, or even your bandwidth usage. You can even sign up with Bitcoin for total anonymity.
CyberGhost has a standout privacy feature that not every VPN offers: its optional NoSpy server package. These servers are maintained by a dedicated team of CyberGhost staff from its NoSpy data center in Romania.
The NoSpy servers offer premium hardware, dedicated uplinks, and greater bandwidth for better speeds. They keep you safer and are ideal for extra protection while torrenting. Independently operated servers significantly reduce the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks, since there’s no third party involved with your data and traffic handling.
Server Number and Locations
- 6,400+ servers
- 90 countries
- Specialized servers for streaming and torrenting
- Servers in UK, US, Canada, China, Australia, and more
CyberGhost has the best server network of any VPN I’ve tested. It consistently leads with worldwide coverage and its impressive server count. For example, another leading VPN, Surfshark, only offers just over 1,000 servers.
As is the case with most other VPNs I’ve tested, CyberGhost offers the best coverage in the US and UK, with 1,400+ servers combined. It also has servers in hard-to-reach locations like Saudi Arabia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Plus, it operates servers in locations with heavy digital restrictions, including the UAE and China, but I was disappointed to see that Turkey isn’t on the list.
Server Security Standards
CyberGhost makes no claims of its server security standards anywhere on its website, unlike many of its competitors.
Even after extensive digging and speaking with a live agent, I still haven’t found the answer. In fact, a live agent told me they couldn’t disclose this information. This definitely raises some questions about the level of security on CyberGhost’s servers, and the lack of transparency isn’t what I’d expect from a leading service.
It’s important for you to know whether servers use RAM or hard drive storage, as it can affect your anonymity. It’s safer for you if a VPN uses RAM, the most modern technology. RAM storage ensures your data is wiped each time the servers are restarted, as there’s no physical location for your data to be held. Hard drive storage, however, is the opposite. Data is held on physical drives that must be manually deleted in order to wipe your data.
When will we know more? We’ll keep testing, and make sure you’re updated.
Virtual Server Locations
CyberGhost uses virtual server locations, meaning that some of the servers aren’t actually within the specified country. For example, the Algeria servers aren’t actually within Algeria—they’re somewhere else.
Virtual servers help VPNs provide you with better speeds and connection reliability by locating the server elsewhere in the world. It can raise privacy concerns, though. For example, a server could be within a country that’s part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Surveillance pact when you think it isn’t. Thankfully, CyberGhost is transparent about all of its virtual servers, so you know what to expect before connecting. Just head over its website to find out.
Specialized servers are something I look for in every VPN I test. Only a few VPNs offer these servers, but CyberGhost is one of them. It has optimized servers for torrenting and streaming.
This feature adds to its ease of use and guarantees reliability for these two activities. And the streaming servers are optimized for specific platforms so you can hop onto the best servers for Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and more. These servers guarantee you fast access and connections every time—my speed and streaming tests showed that.
I would like to see obfuscated servers added to the list, though. These types of servers hide your VPN usage altogether so you can spoof your location and access geoblocked sites even in heavily restricted regions, like Turkey and China. I’ve seen other services, like NordVPN, offer specialized Tor servers, too. There’s room for improvement, but any specialized servers are a huge advantage.
Does CyberGhost Offer Static/Dedicated IP Addresses?
Yes. CyberGhost has dedicated IP addresses, but only in eight locations: two cities in each the UK, the US, and Germany, as well as one city in each France and Canada.
You can purchase a dedicated IP address on top of your subscription. It can be useful for avoiding blacklists and geoblocks since it’s harder for sites to detect that you’re using a VPN when no one else is sharing the same server.
Apps, Extensions, and Compatibility
No matter what device you’re using, there’s most likely a CyberGhost app to download. The service works with all major devices. But if you’re on iOS or Android mobile, there are a few clear differences you need to be aware of.
iOS and Android Apps
CyberGhost’s iOS and Android apps are quick to download and easy to set up. I was able to download and connect to a server in less than three minutes. You simply decide whether to allow push notifications, configure VPN network settings, and then press Connect. A closer look at the individual apps, though, revealed something interesting.
The Android app is very similar to the desktop version. It still has the ad, malware, and tracking blockers, WiFi protection, and split tunneling capability (though this is called Exceptions on the desktop app). It even has a data compression feature that compresses images and other elements on a page to reduce your internet usage. But the iOS app? You won’t find any of that.
The iOS app has WiFi protection, and that’s it. If you head over to the settings tab, you won’t find any toggles for ad blockers or split tunneling. So if you’re an iOS user, you’re better off sticking with the desktop app than going mobile.
The lack of consistency between the two apps is disappointing. If you still want to find a feature-rich app for your iPhone or iPad, check out our recommendations of the best iOS VPNs.
As is the case with most VPNs, the desktop app has a few more features than mobile. There’s HTTPs Redirect and DNS/IPv6 leak protection, for example. That’s not to say the mobile apps are not secure, though—they still use advanced encryption to keep you securely anonymous.
CyberGhost has completely free browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. As expected, though, free does mean that they come with some limitations.
You can install the extensions straight to your browsers as lightweight options for encrypting your browser traffic. This means anything you do outside of Chrome or Firefox stays unencrypted with your local IP address.
Free or not, CyberGhost’s browser extensions don’t compromise on security. They come with completely anonymous browsing, no-logs, WebRTC leak protection, online tracking blockers, malicious content blockers, and WiFi security.
And they’re reliable for bypassing geoblocks, too. I tested Netflix US and Amazon Prime Video, and I was able to access both from the UK. You also have unlimited bandwidth to maintain fast, steady speeds.
However, you don’t get extra features like the automatic kill switch, simultaneous connections, and 24/7 live chat support. You also only have access to 8 servers in 4 countries—not the full 6,400+ server network. The servers you can use are located in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and Romania.
For free extensions, CyberGhost offers a lot. Most vendors don’t give away their browser addons for free, so this is a bonus. But the features you get are pretty limited when you compare it to the other browser extensions out there. The addons are supposed to be testers before you sign up for the full VPN, and that’s all I’d recommend them for, too.
If you want a premium browser extension without restrictions, check out our top recommendations for Chrome instead.
CyberGhost is compatible with routers that support OpenVPN. You can manually configure the VPN onto your router using the step-by-step guides on CyberGhost’s website. There are different guides for different devices, so you should find the one you need. I followed the tutorials for OpenVPN on my DD-WRT router, and it was straightforward enough.
You can also purchase a FlashRouter that already has the CyberGhost app installed so you don’t need to configure anything yourself. I’d definitely consider this option if you’re new to VPNs and aren’t sure where to start or just don’t want to run the risk of installing it incorrectly.
Pro Tip: For unlimited simultaneous connections, install CyberGhost to your router. Your router is considered a single connection, so all of the other WiFi connected devices in your household can stay protected at once.
Breaking Geoblocks: Can it Work in China?
No. This is probably one of CyberGhost’s biggest downfalls. Although it has servers in China, it doesn’t actually work there. You can use the Chinese servers to access domestic sites from outside China, but it doesn’t work in reverse.
We know breaking through the Great Firewall of China isn’t easy, but I expected more from CyberGhost. As always, we’ll keep retesting. But if you need a VPN for China right now, check out one of these leading vendors instead.
How Many Devices Can I Connect With CyberGhost?
You have seven simultaneous connections with a CyberGhost subscription, and it works on most popular devices including Windows, Android, Linux, iOS, smart TVs, game consoles, browsers, and routers.
You can get unlimited simultaneous connections by installing the VPN on a router. This lets you share your subscription with your whole household. For this to work, your router has to be OpenVPN compatible.
Comparison: Is It Better Than the Competition?
There are two other vendors out there that consistently compete with CyberGhost for the top spot—ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Each service’s plans are priced differently, yet they offer similar features. So which one really wins?
There are so many virtual private networks out there that most probably fly right under your radar. CyberGhost VPN may be one of those, though it's been around for almost a decade. It's a simple yet effective VPN service that can be downloaded onto computers, phones, routers and even some smart TVs. And right now, CNN Underscored readers can get two-year access plus an extra two months for just $2.75 a month, thanks to our exclusive deal with CyberGhost.
A VPN can provide all sorts of benefits, not the least of which is protecting your internet activity from those who could use it for less than savory purposes. CyberGhost VPN is a user-friendly way to shore up your internet safety and keep your traffic protected.
What is a VPN?
In this brief guide, we'll go into detail about how a VPN works as well as how it keeps your information private.
For a thorough explanation of what a VPN is, you can check out our guide here. But to summarize, a VPN creates a secure connection between your computer and a remote server. When you use the internet, your actions will be routed through this server via an encrypted tunnel. Encryption means your data is scrambled and cannot be read by anyone who might directly intercept it. A VPN will hide your IP address too, which can otherwise be used to identify your network. All of this is done to prevent potentially malicious third parties from getting hold of your information.
A VPN isn't just useful for protecting your information, though. Let's say you want to watch a movie, but it isn't available in your country. You can use a VPN to bypass this by connecting to a server in a country where the movie isn't blocked. CyberGhost VPN has a dedicated server for this very purpose.
Meet CyberGhost VPN
As mentioned, CyberGhost VPN isn't new to the party. It's been around for almost 10 years, building up to the considerable VPN it is today. And it provides a lot of value. Your account allows you to download the VPN onto seven devices. This is one more device than you get from one of our favorite VPNs, NordVPN. Speaking of value, you'll also get a 45-day money-back guarantee with CyberGhost. That's 15 days more than Nord's guarantee. CyberGhost boasts impressive compatibility with macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, fireTV and Android TV. You can even set it up on your router.
Like most VPNs we've tried, CyberGhost is quite easy to use. Once you've downloaded and started it up, you can immediately connect to an optimal server (aka the one with the least lag, given your location). After a few seconds, you're connected and secure. Even on public Wi-Fi, you can feel confident about your data.
And CyberGhost isn't messing around when it comes to servers. It hosts over 6,300 servers in 90 countries. For comparison, NordVPN has, at the time of writing, about 5,450 servers in 59 countries. CyberGhost is really the king when it comes to options.
VPNs can often have a detrimental effect on your internet speed. After all, your activities are being sent to and from a server before you see them on your screen. CyberGhost VPN impressed us on this front, presenting little to no lag throughout our testing. We tried watching some 4K videos on and off the VPN, and while they buffered a little slower on the VPN, never once did the video have to pause to load. We also played some online games, such as Planetside 2, which features massive battles with up to hundreds of online players. It's an internet-taxing game, yet CyberGhost didn't cause any noticeable slowdowns.
CyberGhost also prides itself on transparency, providing all sorts of data to potential users, from average bandwidth to copyright complaints. Like many VPNs, it promises not to keep any activity logs of its users. In a rare move, though, CyberGhost backs up these claims by running independent audits on its own systems, a trend more VPNs would be wise to follow.
Features and settings
CyberGhost VPN offers a number of additional services and settings to tweak your VPN experience. One of the first things you'll notice is a tab full of servers dedicated to streaming. These can be used to watch movies and media that are otherwise inaccessible in your country. In settings under Connection features, you can toggle options like ad blocking, malicious website blocking and more, though some ads seemed to make it past the blocker.
In the General settings, you can toggle useful options like the Automatic Kill-Switch. This feature will disconnect you from the internet if CyberGhost detects any connectivity problems that could compromise your connection to the VPN. Under Smart Rules, you can set CyberGhost to automatically connect you on login, create exceptions that are excluded from the VPN, and more. NordVPN shares some of these features (such as the kill switch), but doesn't offer as many options. Unfortunately, we found fewer options available on CyberGhost's mobile version for iOS.
The main feature missing from CyberGhost VPN is an extra layer of security. Essentially a mode that connects you through more than one server for an additional layer of protection. That being said, this kind of system is likely overkill for a vast majority of users.
Using a VPN is a great way to keep your data secure.
CyberGhost VPN is an expansive, trustworthy VPN service. It's got speedy servers all over the world for both regular connections and streaming. And, importantly, it's very easy to use for users of all levels of computer literacy.
Pop on a CyberGhost server and start protecting your data. Pick it up here with our exclusive deal.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.
CyberGhost’s is one of the longest established virtual private network (VPN) services, effectively catering to both privacy-conscious users and those who just want an easy option for streaming video services from other countries.
- Wide range of endpoint countries
- Clear no-logging policy
- Good streaming performance
- Extended subscriptions are very good value
- Poor US connection speeds
- High monthly subscription fees
- Review Price: £55.08
- Connect up to seven devices
- Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
- Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients
- £11.99 per month, £55.08 per year, £74.10 per two years, £75.60 per three years
CyberGhost’s virtual private network (VPN) service aims to cater to privacy-conscious users and those who want to watch streaming video services in other countries. It has recently updated its client to look sleeker and less heavily influenced by Windows Modern UI.
Related: Best VPN 2019
CyberGhost – Features and usability
The latest version of CyberGhost’s interface defaults to a notification area pop-up window that shows either a quick connection button – and a pulldown to select the server you’ll be connecting to – or the status of your current connection.
It hides itself as soon as you move your window focus by clicking elsewhere, but if you click on the double arrow icon at the left-hand side, a larger display opens up to give you access to further options.
These include a server list covering 60 countries, and specific endpoint lists showing servers for torrenting or streaming video services. You’ll also find a Connection Features tab here, where you can enable CyberGhost’s integrated ad blocker, anti-malware filtering, anti-tracking, force HTTPs and bandwidth-saving data compression features.
A Smart Rules tab allows you to define the behaviour of the client. You can customise whether it starts and connects when you log into Windows, whether it automatically launches selected applications upon connection, how it behaves when it detects that you’ve connected to an unknown Wi-Fi network, and you can choose any exceptions whose traffic you wish to route outside the VPN connection.
You can also configure it to automatically launch when you open specific apps. While most VPN clients have an optional kill switch which stops all internet traffic if your VPN connection fails, CyberGhost’s is automatic and permanently enabled.
A handful of additional settings can be found in a Settings tab at the very bottom. These include the connection protocol its OpenVPN driver uses and options to protect against DNS leaks – on default – and disable incompatible IPv6 connections.
If you buy a three-year subscription, it works out at an inexpensive £2.10 a month. At £55.08, an annual subscription is around what you’d expect for a good-quality VPN service, but the £11.99 monthly subscription is more than a little steep. There’s a one-day free trial – it used to be seven days – if you want to try out the service at no cost.
Related: What is a VPN?
CyberGhost – Performance
Average HTTP download speeds for the entire April 2020 VPN group test, measured from a test system in London with a fast internet connection, were 65.63Mbps from UK endpoints, 71.37Mbps for the Netherlands and 51.15Mbps from the US.
If you’re connecting from the UK, CyberGhost has always been fast for European endpoints and much slower if you connect to a server in the US. However, it’s reached a new low of 5.03Mbps for US HTTP downloads that can’t just be explained by the extra volume of internet traffic at the moment.
That’s going to be an annoying dealbreaker for many users, but I was at least able to stream US subscription services at standard quality after a few disconnection and reconnection attempts. Those looking to keep up with iPlayer while connected to a UK endpoint, that also worked well, but All 4 detected that I was on a VPN. In all cases, I tested streaming from dedicated endpoints.
Should you buy CyberGhost?
CyberGhost is based in Romania, where EU data retention laws have been declared unconstitutional, and it does not log or store identifying data such as your IP address. If you need an extra layer of anonymity, you can pay for your CyberGhost subscription in Bitcoin or via money order. Sadly, physical codes purchase editions no longer appear to be widely available.
Sign up: CyberGhost
CyberGhost is rather expensive if you opt for a monthly subscription online, and its annual pricing is also somewhat expensive. However, its longer-term subscriptions are very good value indeed, working out at £2.10 a month if you subscribe for three years. Its interface is clear and easy to use, and dedicated endpoints cater to streaming media enthusiasts.
The accuracy of CyberGhost’s no-logging policy hasn’t been proven in court or by an independent audit, so those who need evidence-backed security, as well as speed, may want to consider some of its rivals, notably Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN.
If you’re looking for an annual or monthly subscription for video streaming, check out Windscribe, which is cheaper, better at streaming and much faster when it comes to US connections.
A VPN is an enormously powerful tool for securing your online life, and CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs on the market. It makes a smart emphasis on video streaming, but backs that focus with rarely seen privacy features and a large network of servers and server locations. You'll pay extra for these excellent features, however.
What Is a VPN?
When you switch on a VPN, all your web traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to a server operated by the VPN company. This prevents anyone lurking on the same network as you from seeing your activity, and also stops your ISP from selling your data. Because your traffic appears to come from the VPN server, anyone watching will see the IP address of the VPN server and not your actual IP address. This makes it harder to track you across the web and can also be used to spoof your location by connecting to a VPN server that's a long way from where you are.
A VPN is a powerful tool, but it won't protect you from every threat. I highly recommend using standalone antivirus and a password manager, as well as enabling two-factor authentication wherever it is available.
CyberGhost Pricing and Features
A one-month plan with CyberGhost costs $12.99. That's quite a bit higher than the current industry average of $10.10 per month, and significantly higher than the $5.54 per month Mullvad charges. For the same price as a CyberGhost subscription, you can get a subscription to Hotspot Shield VPN that includes several other privacy and security tools at no additional cost. Like most VPN services, CyberGhost offers the same slate of features priced differently for different intervals. You pay more up front for a longer interval, but save more overall for doing so. An annual plan with CyberGhost costs $71.88, a two-year plan comes in at $88.56, and the three-year plan nets the largest savings at $99. While those savings can be tempting, I always recommend starting with a monthly VPN plan so you can see how well the service works for you.
Cost doesn't have to be a hurdle when it comes to security, as there are many serviceable free VPNs available. TunnelBear has a free offering that restricts the amount of data to 500MB per month and AnchorFree Hotspot Shield offers a far more generous 500MB per day. ProtonVPN supplies my favorite free subscription, limiting you to only a few servers, but without a data cap.
You can easily purchase a CyberGhost plan with traditional payment methods such as credit card or PayPal, but you can also pay anonymously with Bitcoin. Other VPN services also offer the option to use prepaid gift cards, such as those from Best Buy or Starbucks, as anonymous options.
A subscription to CyberGhost lets you use seven devices simultaneously, making it a good value for a household with lots of devices. The industry average for VPN companies is five devices, but that seems to be slowly changing in consumers' favor. IPVanish, for instance, allows 10 simultaneous connections, while Avira Phantom VPN, Surfshark, and Windscribe place no limit on the number of simultaneous connections.
CyberGhost provides instructions on how to configure a router to use the CyberGhost service. That's handy, since placing VPN protection on your router secures all the traffic for all the devices on your network—even smart devices that can't be configured individually. Some services, such as TorGuard, sell routers and streaming devices preconfigured to work with their respective services. That's useful if you're not interested in tackling a digital DIY project.
If you're a fan of BitTorrent, you'll be glad to know that CyberGhost allows BitTorrent and P2P file sharing via VPN and the appropriate servers that allow torrenting are marked in the app. CyberGhost has servers specially designated for video streaming services, which can be handy if you find yourself blocked off from your favorite shows.
The company says it uses "double encryption," where the authentication connection is encrypted as well as the VPN connection, for added security. This is a default feature for all subscribers.
CyberGhost also offers No-Spy servers, which are located on-site with the company and are intended for users who are extremely concerned about who might be able to access the VPN servers. These are basically multihop servers, but more in line with ProtonVPN's Secure Core servers. Access to No-Spy servers is available for $59.88 per year in addition to the standard monthly subscription fee, but free for annual subscribers. ProtonVPN limits access to its Secure Core servers to its $10 per month subscription tier—significantly less than CyberGhost.
There are many ways to secure a VPN connection. My preferred method is the OpenVPN protocol, which is open-source software, meaning that its code has been scrutinized for vulnerabilities.
CyberGhost does support OpenVPN with its Android, Linux, and Windows apps. Notably, the Windows app uses IKEv2—my next favorite protocol—by default. The older L2TP is also supported by the Windows app, but I recommend avoiding this particular protocol unless absolutely necessary. The CyberGhost iOS and macOS apps use IKEv2.
The future of VPNs likely resides in WireGuard, a still untested and experimental protocol. It shows a lot of promise, but has seen limited adoption. CyberGhost currently only supports WireGuard for Linux users.
Servers and Server Locations
The more and more varied server locations a VPN offers, the more choices you have when looking to spoof your location and the better odds of finding a server close to wherever you happen to be.
CyberGhost has servers across approximately 90 countries. It's a good mix, with a better-than-average showing for Africa and South America, two continents often ignored by VPN companies. CyberGhost does offer servers in Hong Kong, Russia, and Vietnam, but it does not have servers in Turkey. These are all regions with repressive internet policies. In its breadth of locations, CyberGhost is only outdone by ExpressVPN, which has servers across 94 countries.
Some readers have written to me with concerns about VPN companies using virtual servers, which are software-defined servers. A single physical server can play host to many virtual ones, and virtual servers can be configured to appear as if they are in a different location than their host. Virtual servers are not bad per se, but it should be clearly communicated to users where their data is really going.
CyberGhost tells me that the company rents servers in every location in which it offers VPN access. It does have some virtualization on 340 of those servers, but the location of the virtual servers is the same as the location of the actual physical servers. That seems reasonable to me.
CyberGhost is also among the heaviest hitters when it comes to number of servers, offering an impressive 5,900. NordVPN is the only other service to break 5,000 servers, while ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield VPN, Private Internet Access VPN, and TorGuard VPN are the only ones to break 3,000. More servers doesn't mean the service is better, but it can be helpful. If you absolutely need a VPN connection to a specific geographic location, having more servers means a better chance of finding an uncrowded one in the region you desire.
Your Privacy With CyberGhost
Using any security or privacy software requires that you believe the product does what it claims, and that you trust using the product will not expose you to other dangers. This is particularly important for VPNs, because when a VPN is in use, the company could have as much insight as your ISP into your online activities. Protecting those activities is one of the key reasons to use a VPN in the first place. In general, CyberGhost appears to do a good job of protecting user privacy. I'll attempt to summarize below.
The company's documentation says that CyberGhost does not store user IP addresses, DNS queries, browsing history, connection/disconnection timestamps, session duration, bandwidth, or the VPN server with which you connect. That's excellent. The company does appear to collect information regarding connection attempts and successes, but only in aggregate form. A company representative told me that the CyberGhost not only does not log user activity, it also does not know the identity of the customers connected to a given server. The company does monitor server CPU load, available memory, the amount of server bandwidth used, and other metadata.
A company representative assured me that CyberGhost only generates revenue from customer subscriptions. That's what I want to hear, as a VPN should protect your information, not monetize it.
Issues involving law enforcement and VPN companies can be tricky, which is why it's important to know what country the VPN company is headquartered in and under what legal jurisdiction it operates. For its part, CyberGhost has offices across Europe, but is headquartered out of Bucharest, Romania, and operates under Romanian law. The company's full name is CyberGhost SA, and is owned by the parent company Kape technologies PLC. Kape, formerly Crossrider, has been criticized for its use of shady software. A company representative told me that because the company has no personal user data, it has no way to comply with legal requests for information. This is backed up by the company's annual transparency report.
A company representative told me that while the company uses third-party data centers, it has taken a containerized approach to its system. "A compromised node can't be used to access other servers or core resources," they said. A host of other precautions are also in place, including server encryption and running the servers on RAM to prevent tampering.
CyberGhost has not undergone a third-party audit aside from an evaluation by AV-Test. A thorough, publicly released audit that examines all aspects of the service is ideal, and should be carried out. TunnelBear, for example, has committed to annual public audits. I hope to see CyberGhost and other VPN companies find new ways to demonstrate their good behavior to the public.
Hands On With CyberGhost
I had no trouble downloading and installing the CyberGhost windows app on my Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7BEH (Bean Canyon) desktop running the latest version of Windows 10. Note that if you lose your login information, you'll be prompted for a special key sent in your activation email. If you've lost that, too, you'll have to restore your account through CleverBridge, the payment processor used by CyberGhost.
The old version of the CyberGhost app took a page from Hide My Ass and included several preset options for different scenarios. It's an interesting idea, but I prefer the current design. The app is now simple, slick, and responsive, with a quick connect button prominently displayed on the grey window. It is starting to show its age, however, as more apps favor flat colors and streamlined experiences. The app doesn't have the distinctiveness of NordVPN or TunnelBear, but it's easy to use, which I appreciate.
You can change VPN location from the pulldown menu beneath the connection button. Tap the graph icon and you can see some real-time analytics about your connection. Clicking the yellow tab on the lower left of the window expands the Settings panel. You can drill down and actually see each specific server in a given location, which I really like, and add the ones you prefer to a list of favorites. Here you also can drill down to see the load on specific servers, and the precise number of users connected. The app provides additional lists for streaming servers and torrenting servers.
In the app, You'll find settings for ad blocking, tracker blocking, and malicious site blocking. There's also an option to enable data compression and to exempt specific websites from being tunneled via VPN. That's useful for streaming from Netflix, or any activity that might block access via VPN. It's not the same as split tunneling, which lets you route the traffic from specific apps outside the VPN tunnel.
A deeper settings menu has a collection of surprisingly advanced security features. You can, for example, have CyberGhost connect via a random port, change the VPN protocol used by the app, and block IPv6 connections, to name a few. Most of these you won't need to touch, but I like that they're there.
VPNs should not leak DNS or IP address information. In my testing, I used the DNS Leak Test tool, and discovered that the VPN server appeared to be leaking my information. I contacted CyberGhost who were already aware of the problem, and reported that they believed it to be an issue with Windows and resolving DNS requests. Subsequent tests showed that the problem was solved. I appreciate CyberGhost's quick action on this issue; it shows that the company is serious about even small threats to user privacy.
Cyberghost offers apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, with support for Linux. The company notably supplies apps for Android TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick, too. There's also a Chrome proxy extension, which disguises your IP address (and therefore, your location) but secures your browser traffic differently than the CyberGhost app. Note that the Chrome extension only secures your browser traffic.
CyberGhost and Netflix
Netflix is perhaps the most aggressive when it comes to blocking VPNs. CyberGhost had some issues with Netflix. I found I was unable to stream from a US-based VPN server, but I had no trouble streaming from one of the servers specially designed for video streaming. That said, blocking VPNs is a bit of a cat-and-mouse game, so a VPN that works with Netflix today might be blocked tomorrow.
While the protection afforded by a VPN is important in its own right, some VPN companies include add-ons and sweeteners to seem even more attractive. TorGuard, for example, has the most comprehensive menu of options, letting you purchase additional simultaneous connections, static IP addresses, and access to a 10GB network for monthly fees.
For its part, CyberGhost offers static IP addresses and provides ad blocking through its VPN connection, as well as blocking malicious content. I did not test these features. It also has the option to enforce the use of HTTPS, which I particularly like. Notably, TunnelBear also provides ad blocking but does it through a stand-alone browser plug-in, which provides more options for users than unseen blocking.
Speed and Performance
Using a VPN will almost certainly have a negative impact on your internet speeds. I try to get a sense of how large that impact is by running a series of comparative tests with Ookla's internet speed test tool. Read our feature on how we test VPNs for more on our methodology and the limits of our testing. (Note that Ookla is owned by Ziff Davis, which also owns PCMag.)
CyberGhost's performance was a mixed bag. It decreased download speed test scores by 73.9 percent, far above the median result in that category. It fared better in other tests, reducing upload speed test results by only 28.2 percent and increasing latency by just 35.7 percent.
You can see how CyberGhost compares in the chart below with the top nine performers among the 40 services we tested.
According to my tests Hotspot Shield VPN is the fastest VPN, in that it has the smallest impact on download speeds and latency. Surfshark, however, managed to capture the best upload score and is close behind in the other categories as well. But I discourage anyone from deciding on a VPN based on speed alone. Cost and the overall value provided by the service's features are far more important.
A Solid Choice
There's a lot to like in CyberGhost. The company has a large and diverse collection of server location and a robust set of security features backed by a strong stance on privacy. Its app is easy to use, and the company offers a generous seven simultaneous connections. The company also smartly emphasizes the importance of video streaming. The big catch is that it does all this at an above-average cost.
If you find CyberGhost fits your needs, you're not in the wrong to use this excellent service. But we continue to recommend our top performers and Editors' Choice winners ProtonVPN and TunnelBear.
Offers seven licenses with a subscription
Rare split tunneling and multihop features
Large, well-distributed server fleet
Limited access to high security No-Spy servers
Disappointing speed test scores
The Bottom Line
CyberGhost offers an excellent VPN product with a strong stance on privacy, a robust network, and a generous number of simultaneous connections. It's expensive, however.
CyberGhost is so-named because it's designed to help you become a "ghost" while surfing the internet. That, of course, is what most VPN (virtual private network) services aim to do: keep you anonymous online, and make sure there's not a record of your actions. CyberGhost also comes with a complete suite of security services to boot.
CyberGhost says that it only makes money from subscriber fees, and that it doesn't log user data. It also offers a full transparency report that details everything from DMCA complaints (tens of thousands per year) to police requests (just a few dozen). As to the latter, CyberGhost told us that it "compl[ies] with none." The service also said that it plans to have its data privacy practices audited by an outside organization "in the future," but it provided no timeline.
While I found a lot to like in CyberGhost, its privacy protections are not absolute: While it does protect anonymity (according to our tests), it does not hide the fact that you're using a VPN. Still, CyberGhost gets points for its very well thought out app and its deep, but easy-to-use, capabilities.
The bottom line of my basic performance tests is that -- at least for the countries I tested -- you can undoubtedly get your job done while using CyberGhost's VPN. If you have a specific country you want to connect to, it's a good idea to take advantage of the company's solid 45-day refund policy and just try it out.
Editors' note: This is the first of several in-depth reviews on VPN services. We'll be updating our list of Best VPN services to fold in this round of updated performance tests once they're completed. Note that CNET earns a commission if you choose to sign up from the links on this page.
CyberGhost at a glance
|Yearly prepaid price||$71.88/year ($5.99/month)|
|Best prepaid deal||$99 for 3 years ($2.75/month)|
|Trial offer||45-day refund period|
|Supported platforms||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and more|
Secure connection testing
CyberGhost not only allows you to pick the country for your server, but gives you the option to either ask for best connection or even specific servers in specific metropolitan regions.
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
The application also allows you to favorite servers at either the country or the specific server level, as well as servers that, for example, will allow you to watch movies from your Netflix account when traveling abroad.
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
Beyond the US, I tested connections to Sweden, Taiwan, Australia and India. I wanted to test a connection to Russia, but unlike some other providers, CyberGhost does not have connections to Russia.
While I was connected, I also ran DNS and WebRTC leak tests (to make sure that DNS and IP are secure) using DNSLeak.com, ipleak.net and dnsleaktest.com. These tests are basic security tests and not much more. If you're planning on using CyberGhost (or any VPN service) to hide your identity for life and death reasons, be sure to do far more extensive testing.
At first glance, it appeared CyberGhost failed the dnsleak.com DNS leak test:
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
However, looking up the IP 220.127.116.11 using the ARIN Whois service resulted in a listing for an internet service provider, Nobis Technology Group:
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
It's important not to read too much into individual ISPs like Nobis. For a small VPN provider to provide worldwide service, they're going to have to contract with ISPs all across the world to provide transmission services.
On the other hand, dnsleaktest.com immediately determined not only that I was using a VPN, but that the VPN was provided by CyberGhost:
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
While none of the leak tests presented my home IP address, they did clearly indicate that I was using a VPN.
When connected to Australia, it looks like dnsleak.com was able to identify both that I was using a VPN and that I was originating from the United States. The report included both red blocks below:
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
Interestingly, the connection to Taipei seemed completely secure. According to all the testing I was able to perform, my connection was originating from somewhere in Taichung City.
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
So what should you take away from this discussion of leaks? It's simple, really. Our basic testing shows that CyberGhost takes good steps in preserving your anonymity. But if you're trying to hide the fact that you're connecting through a VPN or hide your originating country, it's possible that information will get through.
For most people, this won't matter. But for those of you who need that added layer of protection, you might want to do your own careful testing before making a life and death decision.
When I followed up with CyberGhost on the issue, this was the company's response:
We do not obscure the fact that our users are using CyberGhost VPN. We don't want to get our IPs blacklisted or marked as spam. In some cases, being transparent about which IPs are part of our service helped us maintain their reputation. A number of users are actually reassured when they see an IP listed as belonging to CyberGhost, since they trust our service and believe in our product.
To bypass any problems that might stem from proxy errors, we invest a lot of time and effort in having specialized, obscured servers. For example, we have over 20 servers able to unblock various streaming services.
We were glad to see that CyberGhost does offer a strong collection of VPN protocol connection options, as well as a number of other options to protect your tracks.
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
I tried testing with DNS Leak Protection both on and off, and regardless of the setting, some leak tests reported I was using CyberGhost servers.
All-in-one security kit
Many VPN vendors provide basic traffic rerouting services and anonymity protection. Oh, sure, they'll wrap their VPN connection process in a pretty app and user interface, but they're selling VPN services and not much more.
CyberGhost takes a different approach. They realized they're distributing software as well as the VPN service. As such, they've expanded their client software to offer more than just connection features. They have, essentially, built an all-in-one security kit with the following key features in addition to basic VPN services.
Ad blocking: CyberGhost provides ad blocking. Now, I'll be honest. I'm of mixed-mind when it comes to ad blocking software. Operating any large service requires a lot of expense and something has to pay for it. If all ads are blocked, then there's no revenue, nothing to pay for the servers, services and salaries. On the other hand, some ads are intrusive and others can be malicious. By blocking ads at the network level, CyberGhost prevents those malicious ads from ever touching a browser.
Malicious website blocking: CyberGhost also blocks access to malicious websites. As with ad blocking, the barrier happens at the network interface, not somewhere in the browser. As a result, the browser is effectively protected from malicious sites before ever encountering them.
Online footprint blocking: CyberGhost helps you be a ghost online. Your IP address is not the only way to track you. Websites often leave cookies and other hints to help them track where you've been. CyberGhost blocks those online footprints, so no website will ever know what other websites you've visited.
Force https redirect: Very much like the hugely popular Https Everywhere plugin for Chrome, CyberGhost forces connections to sites over the secure https protocol. While desktop users can add the Https Everywhere plugin, device and mobile users don't have the ability to add plugins. The ability of the network connection to force a secure link is quite valuable for those users.
Data compression: CyberGhost compresses "images and other elements" to reduce bandwidth usage and keep costs under control.
Based in Romania
VPN aficionados often get into deep debates about the merits of jurisdiction and country of origin. This is because some countries have data sharing, retention and discovery laws -- and others don't. For those people who have a strong reason to protect their tracks (or just the inherent paranoia to think they're important enough to be watched), countries who do not participate in data sharing treaties are quite appealing.
CyberGhost is headquartered on Strada Baratiei in the historical center of Bucharest, Romania, a country that doesn't participate in either the Quadripartite Pact (better known as Five Eyes or UKUSA) or SIGINT Seniors Europe (or SSEUR, better known as Fourteen Eyes).
These are signals intelligence sharing agreements between certain nations that allow for data sharing. For VPN users concerned about government access to communication, the fact that a VPN provider isn't subject to either of these agreements is a plus.
I installed the CyberGhost application on a fresh, fully-updated Windows 10 ($120 at Amazon) install. To do this kind of testing, I always use a fresh install so some other company's VPN leftovers aren't clogging up the system and possibly influencing results. I have a 1 gig fiber feed, so my baseline network speed is rockin' fast.
To provide a fair US performance comparison, rather than comparing to my local fiber broadband provider, I used Speedtest.net and picked a Comcast server in Chicago to test download speed.
For each test, I connected to each server three times. The number shown below is the average result of all three connections.
In looking at these numbers, it's possible to get carried away by the difference in the baseline speed compared to the VPN speed. That's not the best measurement, mostly because I have broadband over fiber so my connection speed is extremely high.
And, with that, here are my results:
CyberGhost speed & leak tests
|Speed Test Server||Baseline download speed without VPN (higher is better)||Download speed with VPN (higher is better)||Leaks|
|Chicago -- Comcast||94.29 Mbps||65.53 Mbps||VPN in use and brand|
|Stockholm, Sweden -- Datacom||64.99 Mbps||26.81 Mbps||VPN in use and brand|
|Taipei, Taiwan -- NCIC Telecom||63.14 Mbps||37.69 Mbps||None|
|Perth, Australia -- Telstra||64.26 Mbps||61.56 Mbps||VPN in use and originating country|
|Hyderabad, India -- Excitel||57.75 Mbps||21.03 Mbps||VPN in use and brand|
When you use a VPN service, it's natural for performance to drop. After all, you're running all your packets through an entirely artificial infrastructure designed to hide your path. The real numbers you should look at are the download speed and the ping speed. Are they high enough to do the work you need to do?
CyberGhost ping speed and connect time tests
|Speed Test Server||Ping speed without VPN (lower is better)||Ping speed with VPN (lower is better)||Time to connect to VPN|
|Chicago -- Comcast||64 ms||63 ms||9.4 sec|
|Stockholm, Sweden -- Datacom||210 ms||252 ms||13.48 sec|
|Taipei, Taiwan -- NCIC Telecom||177 ms||136 ms||19.75 sec|
|Perth, Australia -- Telstra||219 ms||199 ms||16 sec|
|Hyderabad, India -- Excitel||265 ms||312 ms||14 sec|
For all connections, CyberGhost download performance was really quite good. CyberGhost provides connection speeds similar to what many home broadband plans offer to consumers. The only difference, of course, is ping speed. While watching a video would be fine at these speeds, I'd be a bit concerned that lag could cause me to lose a match in a first-person shooter style game.
Ping speed is an indication of how quickly a response gets back after a network request is sent from your computer. The lag limitations here are due to actual physics. If you're sending a packet across the planet, it will take longer to hear back than if you're sending a packet across town.
There's one particularly slick feature we saved for last: smart rules. While most VPN applications offer some basic startup rules, CyberGhost allows you to specify automatic connection rules for Wi-Fi networks, including what to do when connecting to known Wi-Fi networks -- on a network-by-network basis.
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/CNET
CyberGhost also allows you to selectively exempt certain websites from the VPN tunnel. This can be powerful if you have corporate connection rules or, for example, if you know that a service blocks VPN connections and you're OK with them seeing your connection information. This can be set up on a website-by-website basis, providing a very helpful level of smart automation, particularly for folks regularly moving between a number of known locations.
The last time I reviewed CyberGhost, issues like DNS leaks and limited compatibility with streaming services made it hard for me to recommend. I was keen to see whether the revamped service addresses these issues…
Furthermore, a change in ownership raised serious questions about CyberGhost’s parent company and its sordid history.
More on this later…
In my 2020 CyberGhost review, I test out the service on both desktop and mobile to find out:
- Can CyberGhost unblock websites (Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC etc)?
- Is CyberGhost fast enough to stream video?
- How good is CyberGhost’s security?
- Should the company’s background concern you?
- Are there better options for the same price. And if so, what?
And many more aspects of this versatile service.
Before we get in to the detail here’s an overview of the key data on Cyberghost’s performance including speeds, streaming capabilities and security.
CyberGhost key data
|OVERALL RANK: #3 of 42|
|Average Speed *:||55 Mbps|
|Video Streaming Support:||4K UHD|
|Other Streaming Services:||Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, BBC iPlayer, Crunchyroll|
|Encryption Type:||256-bit AES|
|Log Policy:||No identifying logs|
|Protocols:||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP|
|Value for Money||
|Lowest Monthly Cost:||$2.75|
|Money Back Guarantee:||45 days|
During my most recent experience with CyberGhost, I used it to unblock video streams, secure open wifi connections, and prevent my ISP from monitoring my web surfing and downloads.
CyberGhost is a strong all-round VPN, but I recommend it most highly to people who want to stream video from abroad. Fast speeds and airtight security also make it a good candidate for torrenting, and the apps are easy enough for pretty much anyone to use.
Before we get in to the detail here’s how CyberGhost compares to NordVPN and ExpressVPN, two of the best and most popular VPNs on the market.
|Average speed *||58 Mbps||17.9 Mbps||106 Mbps|
|Encryption Type||256-bit AES||256-bit AES||256-bit AES|
|Kill Switch||excluding Android||desktop only|
|Records Identifying Logs|
|Unblocks Netflix US|
|Unblocks Amazon Prime|
|Unblocks BBC iPlayer|
|Lowest monthly cost||$2.75 per month||$3.49 per month||$6.67 per month|
|Money-back guarantee||45 days||30 days||30 days|
While there is a lot to like about CyberGhost it won’t be right for everyone. Let’s dive in and find out where it excels and where it struggles.
CyberGhost Pros and Cons
Here’s a summary of what I liked and what I didn’t from my time reviewing CyberGhost.
I’ll get in to the detail on each of these points and more later in the review.
- Fast connections
- Earned a perfect score in our rigorous privacy and security assessment
- Allows seven simultaneous connections
- Makes it easy to unblock streaming sites from abroad, including US Netflix
- Live chat support
- Zero logs
- Doesn’t work reliably from China or the UAE
- No apps for routers
- Parent company has a poor reputation
- No option to allow LAN connections
Speed: Is CyberGhost fast?
CyberGhost has earned the top spot in previous speed test comparisons, but it’s since been surpassed by rivals like NordVPN. In our speed tests, average download speed was 55 Mbps across all locations and times.
I ran speed tests at various times of day on CyberGhost servers in North America, Europe, and Asia. Here are the results broken down by region:
- North America: 73 Mbps
- Europe: 54 Mbps
- Asia: 39 Mbps
If you’re on a 100 Mbps or higher connection, you might notice a slowdown, but the bandwidth available is more than enough for the average user.
You can choose from the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, or let CyberGhost choose for you. IKEv2 establishes connections the quickest and is best for mobile devices that tend to temporarily lose connection or frequently switch between wifi and mobile data. OpenVPN is required if you plan on using the Exceptions feature.
I was able to stream 4K UHD video when using nearby servers in the US. I was also able to play fast-paced online games like Rocket League and Brawlhalla without much added input lag, so long as I chose a server located near either myself or the game’s server. Connections were reliable and never dropped during the test period.
Servers for each country are displayed alongside their distance from the user and the current server load. This can help give you an idea of how much latency and bandwidth to expect. You can choose a server location or a specific server within that location.
Note that these tests can only serve as a general indication of the performance you might see and cannot be considered definitive. The inherent volatility of the internet adds a significant factor of randomness. Users with faster connections will likely see larger discrepancies in speed.
Apps: What devices work with CyberGhost?
I found CyberGhost works on most major operating systems and is generous in its connection allowance.
Apps are available for all major operating systems apart from one…
CyberGhost allows subscribers to connect up to seven devices at once on a single plan. Apps are available for
- Amazon Fire TV
A free browser extension is available, but it’s not great for unblocking streaming sites, isn’t as secure, and only connects to four locations.
A paid plan grants access to over 5,900+ servers in 89+ countries.
The CyberGhost apps have gone through some major redesigns for the latest versions. I encountered a few annoyances. Sometimes the app would get stuck when switching servers, and an annoying notification on Android appeared whenever the VPN wasn’t connected, but in the grand scheme, these were minor drawbacks that can easily be remedied in future updates.
CyberGhost doesn’t use the most novice-friendly design, but it won’t take more than a few minutes to familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs.
One drawback is the lack of an option to allow local network traffic through the VPN. That means I can’t access shared files, printers, or smart home devices while connected to the VPN. Other VPNs give the option to enable or disable LAN connections.
Streaming, Netflix, and Kodi
Does CyberGhost work with Netflix?
After a hiatus following Netflix’s global rollout, CyberGhost now reliably unblocks US Netflix. It can also unblock the French and German libraries of Netflix, which have slightly different catalogs of shows including some not available on the American version.
I’ve rounded up a list of other VPNs that work with Netflix here, which includes an analysis of 59 VPNs in 30 countries.
Most VPN apps simply give a list of server locations to connect to, but CyberGhost works a bit differently. It lets me choose a server based on how I want to use the VPN. In addition to a list of locations, I can specify that I want to torrent or stream. The streaming option allows me to search for servers by the streaming channel that they unblock, including:
- Netflix US, France, and Germany
- Amazon Prime Video
- BBC iPlayer
… and many more. Simply choose one of these to connect to an appropriate server. This novel approach is extremely convenient compared to other VPNs that require either contacting customer service or simply guessing at which servers unblock what.
I tested CyberGhost with multiple Kodi addons and it worked flawlessly with all of them. The Firestick and Android TV apps work great with remote controls if you’re not using a mouse or touchscreen.
Thanks to CyberGhost’s excellent speeds, I can stream in 1080p HD and quite possibly 4K UHD.
Does CyberGhost allow torrenting?
CyberGhost allows unlimited torrenting and operates plenty of servers optimized for safe and fast downloads. These are clearly labelled in the “For torrenting” section of the app.
App protection allows me to specify what apps should only be allowed to connect to the internet when the VPN is connected. If I torrent, for example, I can add my torrent client to this list so that it is never used without the VPN. Whenever I launch my torrent manager, CyberGhost will automatically connect.
Kill switches are available on both the desktop and mobile apps, which is rare–most VPNs don’t have them on their iOS and Android versions. A kill switch cuts off the internet to my device if the VPN connection unexpectedly drops, preventing unencrypted data leaks.
Security, privacy, and logging
Many VPNs claim to offer superior security when they in fact suffer from data leaks and outdated encryption standards. I was intrigued as to whether CyberGhost lives up to its claims.
Test results from browserleaks.com
While CyberGhost was originally developed in Germany, the company later moved to Romania, a country in which there are no mandatory data retention laws. This is good news for users seeking privacy, as personal data can only be retained if unequivocal consent is given.
CyberGhost doesn’t log user behavior, web targets, or communication. It keeps some connection logs but none that can be tied to an individual user.
Payment and registration details aren’t tied to the VPN service, and users are given an anonymous ID. Although the CyberGhost website collects a fair amount of information about visitors, none of this is connected to your use of the VPN service.
The apps collect some non-personal data for analytics and send it to MixPanel. This includes things like connection attempts, but not your IP address, connection timestamps, user ID, or VPN server.
Here are the encryption details:
- 256-bit AES encryption
- 2,048-bit RSA keys
- SHA256 authentication
- Perfect forward secrecy ensures that even if my encryption key is compromised, it cannot be used to decrypt past sessions.
CyberGhost uses its own private DNS servers by default, although I can alter these in the settings. The apps prevent all DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. IPv6 is actually disabled when connected to any CyberGhost server, therefore it cannot leak IPv6 traffic.
I can set CyberGhost to automatically protect me on unfamiliar wifi networks, which is handy while traveling. As mentioned in the torrenting section, the kill switch and app protection are useful security features.
The “Exceptions” feature works akin to split tunneling found in a few other VPNs. Here you can specify which websites will not use the VPN, even while it is connected. If there are specific websites I don’t want to visit through the VPN, or my email server is blocked by CyberGhost’s spam prevention, I can add them to this list.
As with most commercial VPNs, CyberGhost uses shared IP addresses. This means that when I connect to a server, I share that server’s IP address with other concurrent VPN users. This adds a layer of anonymity to your connection, making it more difficult to trace online activity back to a single person or device.
The apps come packed with a load of extra Connection features that you can toggle on or off at will. You can block malicious websites, ads, and online tracking. However, some of these features don’t work when connected to websites that use HTTPS. These days, that’s most websites, so you’re better off just using an ad blocking and anti-tracking extension in your browser.
Data compression is useful if you’re on a mobile connection with limited data. Automated HTTPS redirect always sends you to secure versions of websites when available.
Is CyberGhost’s background a concern?
A couple of years back, CyberGhost was acquired by Israeli company Crossrider (now Kape), which is registered in the UK, a country that is subject to data retention laws.
Crossrider was a company often associated with distributing adware through infected software bundles and fake Adobe Flash updates.
Far from ideal for a privacy focused company.
Crossrider changed its name to Kape in an attempt to shake off its bad reputation. CyberGhost insists that it will continue to run as a standalone company based in Romania, and will therefore only be subject to Romanian law. However, some users might be put off by the change in ownership.
Does CyberGhost work in China?
Taking a trip to China?
Although you might be able to bypass China’s Great Firewall using the “Unblock Basic Websites” option, I wouldn’t recommend CyberGhost to people visiting or living in China. Unfortunately, CyberGhost struggles to evade censorship in countries like China and the United Arab Emirates.
Is CyberGhost’s customer service any good?
Get help when you need it.
Customer support is available in English, German, and French. Live chat representatives are available on CyberGhost’s website. While it’s not manned 24/7 at time of writing, the English support staff seem to be available during both North American and European business hours, and the French and German support are available during European business hours.
I got a hold of a representative within a couple of minutes of asking a question on the live chat. And I received a reply to a help ticket after about a 10-hour wait. If privacy is a concern, send a ticket through the app’s built-in support ticket system and avoid the website, which contains a lot of trackers.
The website has a fairly extensive FAQ and blog that covers common issues and how to use various features.
On a budget? No problem.
CyberGhost is an affordable provider, especially if you sign up for a year or more of service. Plus, the fact that you can connect up to seven devices at once makes it a good budget option for a family or housemates. While it’s not the absolute cheapest VPN, the below average price, money-back guarantee, and great quality service make it a bargain.
You can find the latest and best CyberGhost Coupon here.
SAVE 79% on 3-year plans + 2 extra months free
Discount applied automatically
Should I buy CyberGhost?
After a few weeks of using CyberGhost for myself, would I recommend others buy it?
If you can see past its chequered history you won’t find better speed, security, and streaming options for a lower price. In fact, most pricier VPN providers can’t compete with CyberGhost, either. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to unblock region-locked content from abroad or torrent anonymously. Whether you’re new to VPNs or have been using them for years, CyberGhost is a reliable and well-rounded service.
The only real exception is if you’re living or traveling in countries that actively censor VPN usage, such as the United Arab Emirates or China.
I really like CyberGhost, but it’s not the only VPN worth considering.
ExpressVPN is another VPN with a bigger price tag that will serve you better in countries like China and the UAE, where authorities actively block people from connecting to known VPN servers. It offers comparable speed, security, and unblocking capabilities. It works on a wider range of devices and includes 24/7 live support.
NordVPN is competitively priced and is second only to CyberGhost when it comes to speed. If CyberGhost’s minimal logging makes you uncomfortable, NordVPN adheres to a strict zero logs policy, and that claim is backed by a recent third-party audit. It also works in China and can unblock a wide range of streaming services.
CyberGhost VPN is a Romanian-based VPN provider founded in 2011. They are one of the most rapidly growing VPNs in the industry with a strong focus on server selection, value pricing, and usability.
CyberGhost offers a network of 5800+ servers across 89+ countries via a range of devices including Android, iPhone, Mac & Desktop. They allow up to 7 device connections with a limited anonymous logging policy (for server usage & balancing).
After years of foolishly running my online business via public WiFi (though more secure now than then), I decided to start using a VPN to mask some of my communications and access a bit of out of market sporting events while traveling.
But I found out that – similar to web hosting – there is no such thing as a “best VPN provider”. In fact, it’s like a whole world of confusing information because even trustworthy information is near-useless since it’s so complex.
This CyberGhost VPN review is my notes from trying them out for my own purposes as a privacy-aware, traveling, US-based businessperson who needs good usability and good pricing. I am not a political activist or someone who regularly travels to firewalled countries.
Here’s a good explainer as to whether you actually need a VPN at all…
Whether you are looking for a VPN for privacy on public networks, for website access, for avoiding geotargeting, for masking communications or all the above, hopefully, this CyberGhost review will be useful.
What is CyberGhost VPN?
CyberGhost is a commercial Virtual Private Network (VPN) currently owned by Kape Technologies, a publicly traded technology company on the London Stock Exchange. They own a range of VPN & tech brands including Private Internet Access and ZenMate. CyberGhost allows you to route all your Internet traffic through their network so that you can mask your destinations, locations, and other characteristics that show up with your Internet connection.
CyberGhost offers all the standard features of a VPN with a focus on high performance, low pricing, and a large server network. They have a large marketshare in the VPN market.
Is CyberGhost VPN Safe?
Yes, CyberGhost VPN is safe*. They are owned by a large, publicly-owned company with a straightforward and open business model (aka, the customer pays money for a service) and audited services & financial records.
*The asterisk here is that CyberGhost’s parent company started life as a pretty sketchy Israeli surveillance firm associated with malware. Once they were acquired by Reimage and then by Kape, they’ve been assiduously focused on reassuring customers and building a paid business model (rather than free ad-supported model). By most audits & VPN standards, they are safe. However, note that all commercial VPNs suffer from the same group of risks outlined by the US National Institutes of Technology’s Empirical Analysis in 2018.
Is CyberGhost Good?
Yes, CyberGhost VPN is a solid VPN for their price point. They have tradeoffs for sure, and they aren’t right for everyone. But they offer everything most customers want in a VPN with a focus on usability and speed that some VPNs can’t match.
So here’s the rest of my CyberGhost VPN review – structured with pros & cons based on my experience as a customer so you can figure out if CyberGhost VPN is a good fit for you, or if you want an alternative paid VPN.
CyberGhost Pros / Advantages
CyberGhost VPN provides all the features you need and expect from a VPN service. The basic features are simple and straightforward, so those new to VPN can use them without a hassle. Advanced features are available for those with more experience around VPNs. Here are some of the advantages that I found using CyberGhost.
In some ways, VPN pricing should be simple and straightforward. You pay money for access to a network of servers who route your Internet requests to NetFlix, local newspapers, or whomever. You should be able to compare “apples to apples” – and get what you pay for. Sometimes that is true, but sometimes it’s not.
That is because not everyone uses every VPN feature (i.e., not everyone needs a network in The Gambia or access on a Roku) AND not every company runs their support or servers in quite the same way.
Among all the VPNs that I’ve tried so far, CyberGhost is one of the few that not only offers excellent pricing, but also offer excellent value for price.
In other words, they are affordable AND they give you lots of features. Additionally, you can lock in a lot of savings when you commit for a while. This is huge if you are running a business and use a VPN everyday (compared to a one-off user catching a big boxing match). Here’s their discounted rate –
CyberGhost’s plans also come with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Every plan comes with unmetered bandwidth, unmetered traffic, and usage on up to 7 devices. All plans utilize OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-BIT Encryption for the utmost in security.
CyberGhost also allows a range of payment options – including BitPay and PayPal.
Overall, CyberGhost’s pricing is by far their strongest advantage. You get a lot of features with high limits for your money. And you can lock-in rates for a longtime.
Account Set Up
“Onboarding” is the jargon for moving a new customer to an active customer. It’s the most vulnerable time for any software business. VPNs, which are by definition quite technical, all try to clear this hurdle in different ways.
CyberGhost passes their onboarding test with flying colors.
You simply purchase – and on the next screen, your download starts automatically and your account information shows up in multiple places. Once downloaded & installed, you can log in and use the service right off the bat. It’s really smart and well-done.
A username, password, and special key are created automatically when you create an account.
*Caveat – creating an account is the only confusing part of the whole process. If you let CyberGhost create an account for you and then change the username/password – then you will technically have 2 accounts. If you upgrade an account, then be sure that you are logging into the account with the upgrade. Otherwise, it will look like you don’t have a premium account.
Store the special key in a safe place as there’s no way to reset your account/password if you lose track of it.
Server Range & Locations
CyberGhost is based in Romania but has a truly global outlook on resources. Based on my Dashboard, they have very active users in both Northern Europe and North America, but have a robust network around the world.
They also have a way to select the exact server if you so want with additional information on each like whether it supports streaming or P2P.
They have been rapidly adding both servers and locations since I last tried them.
Security and Encryption
CyberGhost features AES 256-BIT Encryption with a 2048-BIT RSA Key and MD5 for HMAC authentication.
CyberGhost utilizes perfect forward secrecy as an additional security measure. The tool randomly generates a new private key each time you log in to further protect your online history if your connection is somehow compromised.
OpenVPN is the default protocol but can be switched manually to L2TP or PPTP.
CyberGhost claims not to keep logs of user information or activity. They state clearly on their website that they don’t observe, track, or record anything.
There have been some issues with this claim in the past. A past issue regarding a root certificate installed when using certain privacy features calls the company’s claim that they don’t monitor user activity into question.
However, CyberGhost has directly addressed these issues. They fixed them in subsequent versions of their software.
CyberGhost’s transparency and willingness to engage with the public about security and privacy issues is uncommon among VPN providers (and is much appreciated by VPN users).
To me – the transparency is the most important part of security. There are real benefits to logging some to balance traffic and such – but there’s also the trust issue with logging. The main point is to be open with whatever you are doing and stick with that.
Since Romania is part of the European Union, CyberGhost as a company has plenty of strict requirements to live up to.
Caveat – Note that no VPN is 100% secure. Your traffic is still routing through a company. Any company can go out of business or go rogue. If you are trying to avoid your American ISP – then you are simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter with the trust of your VPN. If you are a political activist where trust is a life or death situation, you need to be using something like Tor. This highlights this section of CyberGhosts’s unique features, but the point remains using a VPN does not instantly create security/privacy. That is something you do via aligning company incentives (ie, paying for companies who maintain security) & being proactive.
User Interface & Features
In addition to account setup, CyberGhost VPN does well with intuitive user interfaces and features.
It’s beautifully laid out and easy to navigate. Everything from installing the client to connecting to an IP address is easy. CyberGhost requires you to select why you’re using the VPN after logging in. Your options include:
- Surf anonymously
- Unblock streaming websites
- Protect my Internet/Wi-Fi connection
- Torrent anonymously
- Unblock basic websites
Knowing why you’re using a VPN helps CyberGhost connect to the IP address in the region best suited for your specific needs.
It’s also possible to manually select the region and IP address you want to connect to.
Additionally, CyberGhost bundles a range of complementary privacy-related tools such as a do not track tool, ad blocker, and force HTTPS tool. All these tools are generally free to use via browser extension (ie, uBlock Origin) anyway.
Performance / Settings
Without fast, reliable performance, a VPN service is all but useless.
Of course, all VPNs that use OpenVPN create a slight lag in Internet speed. This is just par for the course, and not solely an issue with CyberGhost.
And it’s important to note that the speed drop can range from horrible to not noticeable.
My typical VPN testing wasn’t possible with CyberGhost due to the fact their US servers block P2P connections, which (I’m educated guessing here) look like testing tools. But I was able to use a different testing tool to judge latency and how much the extra trip takes off my bandwidth.
Here’s my baseline speeds & latency with CyberGhost OFF.
Here’s my speeds & latency with CyberGhost turned on with all server selections set to “Automatic” during business hours.
You can see that speeds were 91% of non-VPN speeds with just an extra 2ms added to the connection. That’s really good based on my experience where “really good” usually means 80% of non-VPN speeds. The 2ms in additional latency are reasonable as well. I couldn’t tell while watching videos or doing work.
My subsequent international connections were also fast and reliable enough to use streaming services such as BBC without a problem.
CyberGhost VPN comes with a built-in Internet kill switch to cut off all your online traffic in case you’re unexpectedly compromised.
CyberGhost also provides some (but not many) settings to mess around with to try to increase and/or unblock your connection.
It’s not much but more than other name-brand VPNs like Avast but also not so much as to add a whole layer of complexity.
Website / Transparency
Though it’s not a “feature” necessarily, the actual CyberGhost website is worth a mention.
Like the user interface of the service itself, CyberGhostVPN.com is well-designed and user-friendly. It’s easy to find the information you need.
The CyberGhost Server Overview gives you a real-time look at the number of servers they have online, which country each is located in, their total bandwidth, and the number of users currently online.
Potential new users can see exactly what each of the VPN service’s features do. You can also easily compare the Free, Premium, and Premium Plus versions side by side.
VPNs have a scary, daunting, technical sounding name, which can turn many people (who should be using the service) off from actually using it.
A perfect VPN that you never use is worse than a good VPN that you actually do. And on this area – CyberGhost does well.
Additionally, CyberGhost VPN that stands out to me is their transparency. It’s rare for a VPN provider to be so upfront.
The public transparency report page outlines malicious activity on CyberGhost servers. It also lists DMCA requests, law enforcement notices, and government requests.
CyberGhost Cons / Disadvantages
There is no such thing as a perfect or “best” VPN. Only the best for your need and experience. There are certainly plenty of CyberGhost complaints online – some valid, some anecdotal. That said, here are some of the big picture disadvantages that I found using CyberGhost VPN.
24/7 customer support via multiple channels is always appreciated, especially by new VPN customers.
Unfortunately, live support is only available from CyberGhost is via email ticket or Live Chat.
The support I did receive from CyberGhost VPN was good. But the fact remains that I had to create a ticket and wait. As a tech-savvy digital native with no hard deadline, that was fine. And for anyone focused on price & features, that’s fine as well.
But when my expat friends (both in their mid-50s) wanted to watch American Football in Central America, they could not have done without phone support. They use ExpressVPN for that reason.
If you are into DIY help, CyberGhost also provides an extensive “Help” section on their website. It includes a FAQ area and a help center.
Additional Encryption Features
While CyberGhost bundles several useful privacy features, they don’t have additional, bundled high-grade privacy options like direct connection via Tor (or the highest SHA-2 encryption). If security issues are a primary concern for you – I’d certainly explore other providers.
But the main issue comes from trust. Like I’ve mentioned before – using a VPN does not instantly create security & privacy. What it does do is transfer trust to a company that you are explicitly paying to keep you safe. The company you use still has to do their actual job and not breach that trust.
Given this trust, the privacy issues CyberGhost has had in the past are a reason to worry for some customers.
I’ve mentioned it numerous times already, but there was an issue with an update in the past that installed a root certificate (thereby allowing CyberGhost to monitor your activity, in theory). The fact that CyberGhost cleared these issues up, and was so transparent about them, helps ease the worry – but it’s still something to keep in mind.
Another potential negative is a dubious root certificate. Updates to the privacy features of a now-outdated version of the service involved packet inspection. CyberGhost fixed the problem in the latest versions of the service, but the lapse in judgment is still a cause for some concern.
Lastly, it’s been reported (though I can’t say) that CyberGhost does not work super-well in high-risk censorship countries like China, Iran, Turkey, UAE, etc. If you are a citizen or regular business traveler there, I’d look elsewhere.
Like I said in the pros, the company has been upfront and transparent about the issues, which counts more in my book than the actual issues. But – for many, it still counts as a big disadvantage.
CyberGhost VPN Review Conclusion
CyberGhost VPN is a great option if you’re thinking about using a VPN for the first time. The company has made its way into the mainstream in recent years thanks to its excellent pricing, good onboarding, and solid selection of global servers.
If you are looking for a premium VPN provider with a higher price, but more of a focus on customer support, I’d also recommend looking at ExpressVPN.
If you have an edge case for VPN usage and/or love getting into all the details – check out this reference chart here or take my VPN Quiz here.
CyberGhost is a Romanian-based provider of VPN services with more than 20 million users. Affordable pricing options, good usability, good security and excellent server selection. Limited support options.
Price Currency: USD
Operating System: All
Application Category: Virtual Private Network (VPN)