CyberGhost VPN Review 2018
CyberGhost is a VPN provider which has invested heavily in its infrastructure in recent times and as such can now be classed as premium provider, albeit one with a few rough edges.
- Fast connection speeds.
- 7 simultaneous connections.
- Expanding network of servers.
- Easy-to-use apps for all major platforms.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Still uses insecure hash identification.
CyberGhost has been around for quite a long time now, but in recent times it has seen a marked improvement in its service which has unquestionably elevated it into the top level of VPN providers.
It is still not the finished article, but there is much to praise for both regular users and those after a secure VPN.
These days, CyberGhost keeps its subscription packages nice and simple, which is definitely to their credit. But they have also added in some longer-term packages which allow loyal users to enjoy even lower prices.
The subscription packages currently available are as follows:
- 1-Month @ $11.99 p/m (~£9.32)
- 6-Months @ $4.99 p/m (~£3.88)
- 18-Months @ $2.75 p/m (~£2.13)
These prices are comparable with other premium VPN providers and reflect the improvements that have been seen in CyberGhost’s service in more recent times. Singing up for a month is a little expensive, but the longer packages are very competitively priced.
They make the process of signing up as simple as possible too. They accept payment from various credit card types as well as PayPal and Bitcoin for the most privacy-conscious of users.
There is also a 30-day money back guarantee, which is a great clause as it means you can try out CyberGhost for a month and still get all your money back if you are not completely satisfied.
CyberGhost offers a choice of OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP VPN protocols.
All are available to all subscribers regardless of how long you sign up for, with OpenVPN being the default setting.
CyberGhost does a lot of things right when it comes to privacy protection. They are based in Romania, which means they are out of reach of the most intrusive of Governments and able to offer guaranteed no usage logs.
This is great for those keen to keep their online activity private. CyberGhost VPN also claims they store no connection logs on top of no activity logs. This is great news for protecting your online privacy.
We are happy to take them at their word on this, but like all providers it requires an element of trust between you and the provider.
At the time of writing, CyberGhost offers 2,747 servers across 60 different countries around the world. This represents a significant expansion of their network from 12 months ago when they had just 938 servers in 27 countries.
Such an investment not only enables users to be able to unlock content from more locations around the world, but more servers should increase connection speeds for users across the CyberGhost network as demand is spread more thinly.
As is common with most VPN providers, these servers are based primarily in Europe and North America, but CyberGhost does now offer servers in a good selection of Asia-Pacific countries as well as two countries in Africa and two in South America. This means that no matter where you are in the world, you should never be too far from a CyberGhost server.
As a CyberGhost subscriber, you will be to enjoy up to 7 simultaneous connections. This is standard practice amongst most VPN providers these days and has been the case with CyberGhost for some time.
It is a really helpful feature in an age when most of us are using several connected devices. But it also allows you to protect your family too as 5 simultaneous connections mean everyone should be able to get online safely at the same time.
Other notable features
CyberGhost offers most of the standard security features you can find with reputable VPN providers. This includes a kill switch feature, which ensures your device stops communicating with the internet if the VPN connection drops, and a DNS leak protection feature which helps to ensure you’re always private online.
But there are a couple of special extra features too which are worth elaborating on. One is called App Protection and is especially useful for those using their VPN on mobile devices.
App Protection allows users to specify which type of apps are protected by CyberGhost’s VPN service. This means that you can protect the apps that are processing personal information, but not the rest, which can boost connection speeds at times.
CyberGhost also has a Protect Wi-Fi feature. This useful little feature will ask you whether you want to enable the VPN every time you connect to a new network. This can act as a reminder that you need to use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi. It can also allow you to choose not to use your VPN with certain networks if you are confident they are already safe.
CyberGhost offers dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices. Both are lightweight, well-designed and easy-to-use.
The Android app offered first-rate connection speeds and the excellent security provisions. The layout of the app is neat and easy-to-use and includes a single-click connection feature which is so popular with mobile VPN users who want to get online quickly.
Importantly the app doesn’t provide too much of a drain on the device battery or clog up too much of its memory.
The same is true of the iOS app which can be used on all iPhone or iPads and is broadly the same as its Android equivalent. Connection speeds are impressive with both and they are perfect for VPN novices who just want to do the simple things quickly.
The CyberGhost Desktop apps also feature the same easy-to-use options, but on the face of it can appear a little more complicated. The app homepage features a Surf Anonymously feature which allows users to connect to a server and get online quickly. It also features direct access to various extra features.
These include the Protect Wi-Fi feature discussed above, a really handy Unblock Streaming feature which automatically opens a connection to servers which will allow all the major online streaming services to work. The Torrent Anonymously feature allows you to connect directly to their P2P-friendly servers, while Unblock Basic Websites is the place to go if you need to get around online censorship.
All the features are simple to use and available on both Windows and Mac apps. The apps themselves are also well-designed and easy-to-use and again have a minimal drain on devices. This is a relief as CyberGhost has just withdrawn its Google Chrome extension for reasons yet unknown.
One area where CyberGhost has made dramatic improvements is in their connections speeds. Last year we found the speeds to be satisfactory, but this year we were really impressed.
In tests run in the UK, we found that servers located in the European region were particularly impressive, with very little drop detectable on almost all of the servers we tested.
Inevitably, when you connect to a server a little further away, there is more of an impact, but even these compared favourably with many of CyberGhost’s competitors. We could hook up to a server in East Asia and still stream and download HD video content perfectly.
The reason for these improvements can only really be down to CyberGhost’s continued investment in their server network. More servers mean there is less demand on popular ones and new servers can handle more traffic faster and users should see a noticeable improvement.
Encryption & Policies:
CyberGhost claims to use ‘military-grade encryption’ which is a reference to their 256-bit AES cipher with a 2048-bit RSA key and HMAC MD5 for hash authentication. We were critical of this latter encryption feature last year as it is viewed as outdated. Sadly, it appears they continue to use it despite claiming to be planning to update it last year. It is to be hoped that they make this improvement soon.
But in general, the level of encryption available on CyberGhost is very good and most users will have little to complain about. They also continue to use Perfect Forward Secrecy, which further increases security.
Perfect Forward Secrecy creates a random secret key for every new session you start with CyberGhost. This makes it much harder for hackers and Government surveillance agents to compromise your VPN connection.
As we noted above, CyberGhost is based in Romania, an Eastern European country with excellent privacy laws. This means that as a CyberGhost customer, you can have confidence in their no user logs promise and their privacy provisions.
But unfortunately, CyberGhost do still retain some connection details. This means they have some records about when and where you connect to their service, but not what you are doing online. CyberGhost insist this data is anonymised and only kept for internal purposes.
But the purpose of a VPN is to offer user privacy and there are plenty of users who will worry about even this data being kept. If privacy is the most important thing you want from a VPN, there are other providers which do better than CyberGhost.
In general, CyberGhost is an extremely good VPN provider and it has shown a marked improvement over the past twelve months. Their connection speeds are now really good, they have expanded and upgraded their server network significantly, and they continue to offer really nicely designed and easy-to-use apps for all the major devices and platforms.
CyberGhost does the basics very well, and at a competitive price. It also has a few nice little extra security features that are available for free and which will appeal to some users, especially VPN beginners.
But there are a couple of downsides. While the encryption provided is generally good, CyberGhost continues to use HMAC MD5 for hash authentication, despite promises last year to upgrade. And they also continue to retain some connection logs which is likely to be a red line for some potential users.
But in conclusion, CyberGhost remains a top-quality VPN provider which offers a great all-round service.
If you are looking for the perfect combination of security and privacy provisions then it might come up short, but for everyone else, CyberGhost remains a great option. And if you are willing to sign up for the long-term, they are very competitively priced too.