Cyberghost offers an all round decent package of features at an affordable price. Their service is suitable for both beginners and experts alike.
- Well-designed and easy-to-use platform.
- Fast connection speeds.
- Five simultaneous connections .
- Offer a transparency report.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Does retain limited connection logs.
- Some questions over encryption strength.
CyberGhost is a well-known name on the VPN market with a humorous icon and corporate image which is no doubt attractive to users. The big question is whether or not CyberGhost’s VPN service lives up to that image and warrants its place as one of the best-known VPNs around.
We took a look at the CyberGhost Premium Plus package to find out and, whilst there are one or two areas of concern, we were pretty impressed with what we found.
For many VPN users, the price is the biggest factor in their choice of provider, so let’s take a look at that first. CyberGhost offer just a single package, so the only choice that has to be made is whether you want to sign up for one month or one year.
A one-month plan will set you back US$10.49 a month (approximately £8.12), which is pretty pricey. However, there is a six-month plan available for the equivalent of just $5.90 (£4.57) a month. And when you sign on for a 24-month plan, this can drop to a very affordable $2.90 a month if you take advantage of our exclusive 72% discount, which is much more reasonable (approximately £2.24).
CyberGhost offers an impressive 30-day money-back guarantee with both price plans, which means you can be sure to get all your money back at any time during your first month if you are not completely satisfied.
They accept payment from all the usual credit and debit card providers, including American Express, and also through PayPal.
CyberGhost VPN can be used on all Windows and Mac computers. They also offer dedicated apps for mobile devices running either the Android or iOS operating system.
This is the bare minimum that is expected from a premium VPN provider in this day and age, but there is more.
It can also be setup on Linux platforms as well as with VPN-enabled routers too. This is a great feature as it allows you to protect your Wi-Fi connection in its entirety regardless of whether the devices using it have a VPN installed or not.
CyberGhost allows up to 5 devices to be connected to their service with every account. This is something not yet offered by every premium VPN, but in an age where many of us have multiple connected devices in use, it’s a really handy feature.
The process of installing CyberGhost VPN is straightforward. On a Windows or Mac computer, the relevant software can be downloaded from their website. It is not necessary to have an account to download the software as it does give you the option to sign up through the desktop platform, but it is advisable to do so in advance.
Once installed and logged-in, CyberGhost’s platform makes using their service really easy. It gives you six basic options to choose from.
The basic VPN function is called Surf Anonymously and will allow you to simply choose your preferred server location and connect. Alternatively, you can select Choose my Server to do just that. But CyberGhost does offer plenty more besides.
Even when establishing a basic VPN connection, CyberGhost has a few little bonus features for you to choose from. These are mostly additional security options, but they are really useful ones. They include allowing CyberGhost to block malicious websites, online tracking, and adware, as well as a forced HTTPS feature.
Their platform homepage also offers an option to Protect WiFi. This is a little unnecessary as any VPN connection will protect you when using public Wi-Fi.
However, one useful feature it does offer is an alert which asks you if you want to use a VPN everytime you connect to a new Wi-Fi connection. This could be useful if you are not in the habit of using VPNs every time you go online.
There is also an option to Torrent Anonymously which according to CyberGhost will allow you to download torrent files using untraceable servers.
The Settings option which can be found on the menu bar at the top right of the desktop platform contains all the usual options and information, but there is one additional service worth noting.
It is called App Protection and it allows users to specify particular apps to protect with their VPN as well as which connection profile to use.
Unblock Streaming and Unblock Basic Websites
These two features on the platform homepage warrant a special mention as they do things slightly differently to a regular VPN.
Rather than connect to a VPN server in a specific country and then try to access a streaming service or censored website you want to visit, CyberGhost gives you the option of selecting it directly from their platform. They will then automatically connect you to a server in the appropriate country and open the server for you in your chosen web browser.
This is a nice idea and worked in practice with every channel I tried, but I did note that the choice of services and websites available is pretty limited and includes a few glaring omissions, such as Netflix and LinkedIn.
CyberGhost offers a reasonable, if not exhaustive, selection of servers to choose from. They currently have 938 servers available across 27 countries.
These are primarily located in Europe and North America, which is great for those looking to access geo-restricted streaming content as it means the main markets users want to access are well catered for.
There are 182 servers in the USA and 114 servers in the UK, which means accessing services in those two countries shouldn’t be a problem.
There are a few locations which are less common which feature on the CyberGhost list, such as Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong, but in general, for users in the rest of the world, options for nearby servers are rather limited.
As someone who is currently based in the rest of the world, I was concerned about how this spread of servers might affect connections speeds. But the results were pleasantly surprising.
Connecting to my two closest server locations, Hong Kong and Singapore, showed no noticeable deterioration in speed at all.
We did experience a slight drop in speed when connecting to servers in Europe and the USA, but that is to be expected from where I am.
It was not enough to have an impact on overall performance though and I successfully streamed content without loading or buffering issues from both locations. Download speeds were slightly below what I might experience with my regular connection, but again not significantly so
Crucially, across all of the servers tested, speeds were consistent and connections reliable. For users who want to stream or download content, or even just browse the web, this can be really important and CyberGhost definitely delivers on this front.
The Encryption, Policies & Support:
CyberGhost VPN is based in Romania which for privacy reasons is a great place to be headquartered. Romania has no data retention laws. As a result, they are able to retain zero user logs, which they claim to do.
This is great, but unfortunately, they do still record some connection logs. CyberGhost claims this is for purely statistical reasons and to help maintain a good and smooth service for their customers. To be fair to them, the data they retain does appear to be minimal, including things like server utilization. But it is still not ideal and from a privacy perspective, the best VPNs are ones which keep no data logs at all.
As far as encryption is concerned, CyberGhost uses a 256-bit AES cipher with a 2048-bit RSA key, which is great. Strangely, however, they do still persist in using HMAC MD5 for hash authentication.
CyberGhost has defended this vociferously, but independent expert opinion is that MD5 is out of date and not as secure as it might be. OSTIF backed this up in their OpenVPN audit. CyberGhost has now said they plan to update, but at the time of writing, this has still not happened.
On a more positive note, CyberGhost does also use perfect forward secrecy. This generates a random secret key for each VPN session and makes it much harder for your VPN connection to be compromised. Your online security is therefore strengthened, which is the name of the game after all!
The CyberGhost customer support offers everything you would expect from a premium VPN provider. They have both a live chat and email ticket service. We road-tested both with simple and complex questions and found response times to be fast and the information provided clear and easy to follow.
In addition, there is also a wealth of information available on the CyberGhost website, including guides, troubleshooter and FAQ articles. These are also well-written and easy to follow.
Put all this together and even the most technophobic of people should be able to use CyberGhost with the minimum of problems.
CyberGhost’s all-round VPN service is extremely good. We were pretty impressed with almost everything we tried and what faults we did find were minimal.
Connection speeds were a big plus, with connections even over long distances showing little drop in speed. The collection of available servers is good, but some users outside Europe and North America might be disappointed with the options they have available close by.
There are a number of nice additional features available which may not appeal to every user but will be very handy for some. While there are issues with the collection of some user data, this is minimal, as are the problems with the CyberGhost encryption provisions, and this should be addressed in the near future.
A one-month deal with CyberGhost is on the expensive side, but if you are looking for a 12-month subscription, CyberGhost looks like a good deal because, for the price, you will be getting a pretty top quality VPN service.