CyberGhost VPN Review
CyberGhost VPN has many great features and is one of the best for beginners.
- Apps for all device types.
- Good encryption levels.
- Claimed no-log policy.
- Use on up to 7 devices.
- Unblocks most streaming services.
- Device limit monitoring awkward.
- Monthly price expensive.
CyberGhost VPN is a provider that has been around as long as we can remember in the VPN industry but in recent years, they've been pushing hard with both expansion and features.
But how has all this expansion affected the service?
We've been taking a look at this popular VPN service to see if they still live up to their reputation.
Using CyberGhost VPN over a number of months for everything from browsing websites, using Skype to downloading and streaming movies caused no issues.
We didn't notice any slowdowns for everyday tasks nor any unexpected disconnects when connected for long periods.
Aside from streaming high-quality video, most general internet tasks shouldn't cause any issues and only the very worst VPN services would see problems with this type of usage.
To put CyberGhost VPN to the test we wanted to push their service to the limit and so ran some speed tests.
We downloaded a test file from a residential connection in the UK and then ran the same test across a random selection of CyberGhost VPN's servers. We were using a Windows PC at the time with OpenVPN 256-bit encryption.
Our speed without being connected to the VPN was: 63.12 Mbps
We achieved the following speeds when connected to CyberGhost VPN's servers:
- UK – 56.44 Mbps
- France – 56.56 Mbps
- Netherlands – 56.44 Mbps
- Switzerland – 56.49 Mbps
- Sweden – 56.46 Mbps
- New York, US – 56.52 Mbps
- Australia – 49.48 Mbps
Overall, CyberGhost VPN's speeds are very respectable and will allow you to use the service for a wide range of uses.
Streaming video at high-quality won't be an issue even when connected to servers at a distance.
CyberGhost VPN claims to be a fully no-log VPN service.
They state that they store no records of what you do while connected to their service nor any metadata.
Metadata is the who and the where.
This means they don't record details of when you connected, what times you connected or what servers you connected to.
This can be as important as actually logging content because the times you connect and other such details could link you to your usage.
It has to be pointed out that CyberGhost VPN hasn't had their claims tested, nor have they undertaken any kind of independent audit which has become popular with other providers.
Equally, there have been no legal cases to suggest that their claims aren't sound either.
CyberGhost VPN allows you to use their service on up to 7-devices at the same time.
This is at the higher end of the scale in comparison to others available, although it certainly isn't the highest.
CyberGhost VPN works slightly different from other services in that the type of device connected is tied to your account.
If you hit the 7-device limit, then you need to de-register one device before being allowed to connect any further devices.
This isn't common and a little bit inconvenient although it's an expected way of stopping users from abusing the service.
CyberGhost is registered in Bucharest, Romania which is part of the EU.
This is great if you're trying to avoid services in either the 5-eyes or 14-eyes surveillance networks.
Romania is part of neither which means they don't actively work with countries like the US and UK to share intelligence data.
Due to Romania's communist history, there are also no requirements for services to retain data on their user's activity.
CyberGhost allows you to contact them via three methods:
- Live Chat
- Direct Email
- Support Ticket
We were pleased to see the live chat option that will enable you to get quick answers to any questions you have.
In our testing, we found their live chat to be knowledgeable although we were referred to fill in a support ticket on odd occasions when the query was more involved.
Email and support ticket response times are quick, with answers taking no more than a few hours even on weekends.
If you're a new user, therefore, you can get assistance at a time suitable to you whether that's in the daytime or at night.
Server locations have exploded on the CyberGhost service from 60 in our review last year to over 90 countries covered this year.
You should note that not all servers are physically located in the country itself, but some are virtual locations.
Coverage is good across North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and the Australian region.
Africa and the Middle East are somewhat under-resourced, which is common in the VPN industry but there are a handful of locations across the region.
In 2018 there were 2,747 servers and in the space of a year, this had increased to 3,396 VPN servers. This year CyberGhost is offering over 6,104 individual VPN servers.
This is a massive increase and shows that the service is continually being invested in. It will also allow you to hide your IP Address and change it to one from many different locations.
One feature we like about CyberGhost VPN is they have specific servers for specific needs. Torrenting has its range of servers but where the service comes into its own is its “Streaming Friendly” selection.
These are servers located across the world set for accessing specific TV services. They've got servers to unblock and access everything from Netflix to BBC iPlayer, Hulu to Sky Go and more.
Does CyberGhost work in China?
In our tests and test carried out by others, we have discovered that the service is not suitable for use in China.
We found making connection impossible and there are no specific modes for connecting in countries where the internet is restricted such as China.
If you're looking for a service that does work in China, then we recommend ExpressVPN.
Security & Safety
Protocols & Encryption
The CyberGhost VPN service offers access to OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and IKEv2.
There are different levels of protocol availability depending on what device you're using but this is standard across the industry. The full range of protocols is mostly offered on their desktop apps.
PPTP hasn't been available via their apps for some time but if you need to use it then it can still be configured manually.
All protocols aside from PPTP offer 256-bit encryption. OpenVPN makes use of AES-256-CBC encryption.
Authentication is handled by a 4096-bit RSA key which is at the top of the scale. While one or two other providers do offer this, it's not common.
DNS Leak Testing
In testing for DNS leaks, we discovered none when using CyberGhost VPN's range of apps.
Their apps have a dedicated ‘DNS Leak Protection' option but even when this wasn't enabled, there were no leaks discovered using all the most popular leak testing services.
These included ‘Extended Tests'.
It's worth remembering that DNS leaks can be privacy crucial as they allow outside services (including your ISP) to monitor the names of websites you're visiting. It is also a requirement to retain logs of sites visited in some countries.
We were pleased to see that CyberGhost VPN actively protects against this issue.
Have there been any security incidents?
There are no known security incidents related to the CyberGhost service.
To our knowledge, CyberGhost has not carried out any kind of audit by a third-party to verify their claims or backup the security of their service.
Although this is not a requirement, many of the leading providers have opted to do this leaving CyberGhost lagging behind.
CyberGhost was initially started and owned by German entrepreneur, Robert Knapp.
In 2017 CyberGhost was purchased by a company called Crossrider which rebranded shortly after to Kape.
Crossrider has been fingered in the past for installing adware and malware on user's systems which may give some cause for concern. While there are no suggestions that CyberGhost is being used for any such purposes, the shady history of the owner company may make you pause for thought.
Kape is owned by billionaire businessman Teddy Sagi who along with owning many business interests was jailed some 20-years ago for 9-months in Israel and “convicted of bribery, securities fraud, and aggravated fraud”.
Is CyberGhost suitable for Torrenting?
Yes, CyberGhost is an excellent choice for use with Torrents and P2P and they're safe for this type of usage.
In fact, their apps have dedicated servers for this very purpose.
Open up one of their apps and you'll have access to their ‘for torrenting' servers. While these don't include the entire CyberGhost VPN network, it does include a large range of server locations across the world.
At current count, there are around 73 different countries available for torrent use keeping you protected wherever you're downloading in the world.
CyberGhost offers what they call ‘NoSpy‘ servers but you'll need to look hard to find this feature as they don't shout about it.
It's an additional service not part of the regular subscription price costing more.
If you choose to sign up for ‘NoSpy', then you get access to servers based in Romania. These are servers wholly owned and operated by CyberGhost themselves with no outside access.
CyberGhost claims that because they fully own and operate the servers rather than renting them from third-party companies in other locations, you gain an added security advantage.
CyberGhost VPN offers apps for both Android and Apple iOS devices. So no matter what type of phone or tablet you've got, you can protect your internet connection.
The apps are straightforward to use and even if you're not good with technology you could, if you wanted, click to Connect and let the app do the work for you.
It'll connect you to the best location available allowing you to then forget about it.
If you want to choose a server then there's a dedicated area which opens in a new window displaying servers by country. You can either click to connect to the best available there or drill down even deeper and select an individual server.
The “Streaming friendly” choices are also available on the mobile apps so if you're after unblocking and watching a streaming site, then you're covered too.
Behind the scenes there are a few options you can play around with. As detailed earlier, these are all based around blocking malware, adverts, online tracking and data compression.
A new split-tunnelling feature allows you to select apps to fall outside the VPN connection which is useful and you can switch between TCP and UDP protocols if needed.
Overall the apps are well designed and we liked the fact you could choose dedicated streaming services for specific purposes. This made unblocking apps like Netflix a breeze.
CyberGhost VPN's desktop apps are available for both Windows and Mac OS computers.
They can either be used in a slimline window that looks similar to the mobile app and deals directly with connection or expanded to a larger window that gives you more options to play around with.
Connection and limited server selection can be made from the reduced window but anything more and you'll need to expand.
You can select servers by country including individual servers, servers ‘for torrenting' or servers ‘for streaming'.
Like the mobile counterpart, the ‘for streaming' option comes in use, allowing you to connect to the correct server to unblock whatever streaming site you're trying to access.
Some of the options such as ad, malware and tracking protection seem to have disappeared from last year, as has forcing HTTPS connections. Whether these are now automatically turned on without the ability to turn them off it was impossible to ascertain.
There's a section dedicated to ‘Smart Rules' and a neat feature is allowing you to have certain desktop apps fall outside the VPN connection.
If for example you wanted to protect your online privacy but for some reason needed your email client to use your regular connection, then this feature covers your needs.
Further options include DNS Leak Protection and an option to disable IPv6 connections to prevent leaks occurring there.
The app now sports a kill switch which was missing last year and is a welcomed addition.
Overall the desktop apps again are easy enough. We're not a massive fan of the layout of the apps though.
While the slimline mode takes up little space, when you expand this it is three sections long covering much of your desktop even on widescreen monitors.
We would love to see this layout improved in future to be a little more compact.
Alongside the mobile and desktop apps, CyberGhost VPN also has both a Google Chrome and Firefox extension, a Linux app and an Amazon Fire TV app.
The Amazon Fire TV app works across Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube devices. It's one of the nicest designs we've seen.
Navigation works well on a large TV screen and connection can be made quickly just by clicking the connect button. If you need to select a specific country then that's just one click and a menu away.
We like that the ‘Streaming Friendly' options are available in the Fire TV app because after all, it's unblocking streaming sites that you're mostly going to be interested in on your TV.
Does CyberGhost offer an ad blocker?
Yes, CyberGhost's range of apps blocks adverts as standard which you can enable or disable based on your preferences.
This feature isn't limited to the desktop apps only and extends across to their Android app too.
In our tests, the ad blocking worked well for banner adverts that adorn many websites.
As you can see below in our example, it stripped a rather large header advert from a popular news website.
Unfortunately, the ad blocker wasn't useful for stopping video adverts. Those annoying video adverts that pop up before YouTube videos were still visible, something a dedicated ad blocker like Adblock Plus protects against.
All in all, it's a useful addition if you want to remove the majority of intrusive ads, it won't however replace a more dedicated solution.
Can CyberGhost protect you from Malware?
The CyberGhost apps have an option for ‘Protection against malicious websites'.
This is not a catch-all solution to malware and won't replace any dedicated anti-malware or antivirus products.
However, it does protect you against some malicious websites which in turn will block some malware from getting onto your device.
If you want light protection, then this is a handy feature but you should also use a fully-fledged antivirus/malware product outside of this.
Does CyberGhost work with Netflix?
CyberGhost VPN works with Netflix, especially the most sought after region, the US Netflix catalogue.
They also have specific servers to access Netflix UK, Germany and France.
These dedicated servers make it easy to connect and start streaming without the need for server hopping to find one that works, which is often the case with other providers.
Does CyberGhost work with BBC iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer works fine on the CyberGhost service and just like Netflix, there's a dedicated server option for accessing it.
The service works with a whole range of worldwide services and their dedicated streaming options help you choose.
Services that work include Disney+, NBC, Youtube TV, Channel 4, CBC, ZDF, ORF, Globo and a whole host more.
CyberGhost VPN follows the industry-standard VPN package choice in that there's one standard package that differs only by price.
What you'll immediately be bowled over by is the offer prices available. If you subscribe for what are admittedly long periods, then you'll make some huge savings.
The current prices at the time of writing are:
- 1-Month: $12.99 /mo (~£9.94)
- 1-Year: $5.99 /mo (~£4.58)
- 2-Years: $3.69 /mo (~£2.82)
- 3-Years: $2.75 /mo (~£2.10)
Noticeably the two and three-year packages are much cheaper than the 1-month package.
However, prices on the 1-year and 3-year packages have increased ever so slightly since last year, but they're still fantastic value.
I wouldn't recommend choosing the one month package because in comparison to other providers, it's pretty expensive.
While the 3-year package offers fantastic value, it's worth remembering that the quality of VPN services can differ over time. While CyberGhost VPN provides an excellent all-round service right now, there's no guarantee that it will be the case in three years.
That's not to say anything will change but it's a consideration you'll need to factor and although more expensive the 2-year deal may work out less risky in the long run.
The only other notable feature is the 1-month package has a 14-day money back guarantee while the longer packages have 45-day money back guarantees.
Payment is accepted via Credit Card, Paypal or Bitcoin.
Is there a free trial available?
CyberGhost VPN prices are pretty cheap, especially if you plump for their longest 3-year package.
However, you may want to give the service a whirl without paying.
Thankfully CyberGhost does have a free trial available, but it's restricted to just 24-hours.
You can use the service fully for one day without paying to get an idea of how the service functions and if it's suitable for your needs.
Can I get a refund?
Offering one of the most extended money-back guarantees in the industry, CyberGhost allows you to get a full refund within 45-days.
This is no small number as most providers only offer 30-days, with some offering as low as 7-days.
A few things to note.
The one month package is limited to just a 14-day money back period. All other subscription lengths have the 45-day advantage.
It's also worth being aware that simply cancelling your account doesn't automatically get you a refund. You need to go to the extra step of emailing them or using their live help to achieve this.
In our tests, we had no problem getting a refund and there are no reports to suggest that CyberGhost does not honour their guarantee.
CyberGhost VPN is one of the most improved VPN services in recent years. We commended them last year for upgrades, introducing new features and overall improvements.
This year it's much the same. What we're most impressed with is the massive increase in server numbers and countries covered – although it's worth remembering some are ‘virtual locations'.
We especially like their streaming feature that includes dedicated servers to unblock all of the most popular streaming services. Everything from Netflix to Hulu and BBC iPlayer to Sky Go works with the service.
The service has received a boost in encryption both by pushing IKEv2 more across their app range and dropping the insecure PPTP protocol even though it's still available for manual set-up.
Security features such as their handshaking key have been strong for the longest time and other providers should be aiming for the same heights too.
Speeds on the service were good and while there are faster services out there the speed loss incurred on our regular connection was minimal.
You'll have no trouble carrying out speed intensive tasks such as streaming high-quality video or downloading large files quickly.
Overall it's hard to fault CyberGhost.
I'm not the biggest fan of the layout of the desktop app when expanded but that's more of a personal niggle than a significant flaw and their monthly pricing is a little on the steep side.
However, the service is definitely one you want to be considering as one of your top three choices.
Ready to try risk free?
45-day money back guarantee