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 for as long as we can remember. It used to be a fun VPN with a novelty logo, but in recent years, they've been pushing hard with both expansion and features.
The question is how has all this expansion affected the service they offer?
We've been taking a fresh look at this popular VPN service to see if CyberGhost VPN is still living up to its reputation as a top quality VPN in 2021.
First up in our CyberGhost Review we looked at speed.
We have been using CyberGhost VPN services over a number of years for everything from browsing websites, using Skype, to downloading and streaming movies. We have had no problems with speed for any of this.
We didn't notice any slowdowns for everyday tasks nor any unexpected service dropouts when connected to CyberGhost VPN for long periods.
To put CyberGhost VPN to the test, we wanted to push their service to the limit and so we 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. During this speed trial, we were using a Windows PC at the time with Wireguard using 256-bit encryption.
Our speed without being connected to the VPN was: 61.08 Mbps
We achieved the following connection speeds during our speed tests while connected to CyberGhost VPN's servers:
- UK – 57.60 Mbps
- France – 57.13 Mbps
- Netherlands – 57.58 Mbps
- Switzerland – 56.84 Mbps
- Sweden – 57.48 Mbps
- New York, US – 57.60 Mbps
- Australia – 56.85 Mbps
As you can see from our speed test CyberGhost VPN's speeds are very respectable when you connect to a server and will allow you to use the service for a wide range of uses.
There is a marked improvement in speed from our 2020 results in which we used OpenVPN and the connection speed to a server as far away as Australia is excellent.
It's worth noting that the further a server is from your location, the slower the speed test results will be. But this is true of almost all VPNs, not just CyberGhost VPN.
Streaming video at high-quality on streaming services like Amazon Prime won't be an issue even when you connect to a server at a distance, such as in the US.
Metadata is the who (you) and the where (your location).
This means CyberGhost VPN don't record details of the date you connect to the internet, 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 can reveal a lot about your usage.
It has to be pointed out that CyberGhost hasn't had their no logging policy claims independently tested, nor have they undertaken any kind of independent audit which has become popular with other providers.
In 2011 CyberGhost were one of the first VPN companies to release a transparency report. In 2019, they upped their game and now release an updated transparency report every 3 months.
The report discloses any requests that have been made from governments, ISPs, etc, and details the actions taken by CyberGhost to ensure your privacy.
Equally, there have been no legal cases to suggest that their no logs policy claims aren't sound either.
We are confident that CyberGhost VPN offers a dependable no logs guarantee.
CyberGhost allows you to use their service on up to 7-devices at the same time.
This is towards the higher end of the scale for simultaneous connections in comparison to others available, although it certainly isn't the highest.
CyberGhost 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 will need to de-register one device before being allowed to connect any further devices.
This isn't common and a little bit inconvenient and unnecessary although it's a way of stopping users from abusing the service by sharing it easily with others.
CyberGhost is registered in Bucharest, Romania which is part of the EU. It is owned by Kape Technologies.
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. It also has decent domestic data retention laws. But as a member of the EU, it is possible that some data sharing takes place.
There are however no legal requirements for CyberGhost VPN to retain data on their user's activity.
CyberGhost allows you to contact their customer support teams via three methods:
- 24/7 Live Chat
- Direct Email
- Support Ticket
We were pleased to see the live chat customer service option that will enable you to get quick answers to any questions you have. This is how most customers like to engage with their VPN provider. We particularly liked that this service was available around the clock.
In our testing of their expert customer service, we found their 24/7 live chat to be knowledgeable and helpful although we were referred to fill in a support ticket on odd occasions when the query was more advanced.
When this happened, the email and customer service ticket response times were quick, with answers taking no more than a few hours to come through even on weekends.
The CyberGhost VPN server network has exploded over the past few years, growing from 60 countries in our 2018 CyberGhost VPN review to 89 countries this year.
In 2018 there were 2,747 server options and in the space of a couple of years, this has increased to more than over 6,700 individual VPN servers.
This is a broad network too with good coverage across North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and the Australian region. Their provision of US servers is particularly impressive.
Africa and the Middle East are somewhat under-resourced, which is common in the VPN industry but there are a handful of locations across these regions too.
It is important note that not all servers are physically located in the country itself, but some are virtual locations.
Even so, this is a massive increase and shows that CyberGhost VPN is continuing to invest in its infrastructure. This is a VPN that will allow you to hide your IP Addresses and change it to one of many IP addresses from different locations.
CyberGhost even offer a dedicated IP address service. The dedicated IP address is available for a small monthly fee of £1.99 which is relatively cheap for such a handy feature.
Another feature we like about CyberGhost is that they have optimised server for specific needs. For example, torrenting has a range of servers optimised for this task.
There is also a fantastic “Streaming Friendly” selection of servers which are optimised for speed to give you the best possible streaming service experience.
These ‘Streaming Friendly' servers are located across the world including places like the US and have been selected to enable you to access specific TV services. They've got servers in the US and beyond to unblock and access everything from Netflix to BBC iPlayer, Hulu to Sky Go and much more.
Does CyberGhost work in China?
In our tests and test carried out by others, we have concluded that this is one VPN service that is not suitable for use in China.
We found making a connection inside Communist China impossible and there are no specific modes set up for connecting in countries where the internet is restricted such as China.
This is definitely an area where CyberGhost could improve, but if you're looking for a service that does work in China, then we recommend ExpressVPN.
Security and Safety
Protocols & Encryption
The CyberGhost VPN service offers access to the usual OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and IKEv2. In the past year, they have also added the new WireGuard protocol to the roster as well.
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 offered on the CyberGhost desktop app.
The WireGuard protocol is particularly worth taking a look at. It mixes OpenVPN's tight security with the IKEv2's fast speeds. It's an easy-to-configure on CyberGhost and extremely secure, as well as delivering high performance and excellent VPN protection.
PPTP hasn't been available on CyberGhost app for some time but if you need to use it then it can still be configured manually. We would advise against this though since it is much less secure than the protocols that remain.
All CyberGhost's protocols now 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 end of the scale. While one or two other providers do offer this, it's not common and credit to CyberGhost VPN for offering it as standard.
These high level security features are great for many reasons including using public Wi-Fi. On public Wi-Fi, you need a VPN that is secure, fast and lightweight. CyberGhost VPN ticks all these boxes meaning it is ideal for use on public Wi-Fi networks.
DNS Leak Testing
In running a DNS leak test, we discovered none when using CyberGhost VPN's range of clients.
Their applications all come with a dedicated ‘DNS Leak Protection' option but even when this wasn't enabled, our tests discovered no leaks using all the most popular leak testing services.
These included ‘Extended Tests'.
It's worth remembering that DNS leaks can be privacy critical as they allow outside services (including your Internet Service Provider) to monitor the names of websites you're visiting.
It is also a requirement to retain logs of sites visited in some countries including the UK, so this is something you definitely want to avoid.
We were pleased to see that CyberGhost actively protects against this issue with an effective DNS leak test feature.
Have there been any security incidents?
There are no known security incidents related to the CyberGhost service.
To the best of 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 a bit.
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.
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”.
Crossrider has been fingered in the past for installing adware and malware on user's systems which may give some cause for concern to the uber-privacy-conscious among our readers.
But rest assured there are no suggestions that CyberGhost is being used for any such purposes. We are keeping a close eye and if this changes, our readers will be among the first to know.
Is CyberGhost suitable for Torrenting?
Yes, CyberGhost is an excellent choice for use with Torrents and P2P and is completely and totally safe for this type of usage.
In fact, their clients come with a number of dedicated server for this very purpose.
Open up one of their applications and you'll have access to their ‘for torrenting' servers. While these don't include the entire CyberGhost network, it does include a large range of server locations across the world.
At current count, there are around 73 different countries with a server available for torrent use with CyberGhost VPN, keeping you protected wherever you're downloading in the world. Security features like the kill switch also make this an ideal VPN for torrenting too.
CyberGhost offers what they call a range of ‘NoSpy‘ server but you'll need to look hard to find this feature as they don't shout about it.
It's an additional service to provide access to this type of server and 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 (outside of US jurisdiction). These are servers wholly owned and operated by CyberGhost themselves with no outside access.
Countries like the US, UK or Canada can't request data, but even if they could, CyberGhost doesn't keep any logs so there is nothing to show.
CyberGhost claims that because they fully own and operate the servers themselves rather than renting them from third-party companies in other locations this gives you added security and privacy guarantees which is great for some users.
CyberGhost offers easy to use mobile 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 applications are straightforward to use and even if you're not good with technology you could, if you wanted, click to Connect and let the mobile apps do the work for you. The app ease of use has been kept in mind for the end-user.
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 a server 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 CyberGhost mobile apps too so if you're after unblocking and watching a streaming service, 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-tunneling feature allows you to select applications to fall outside the VPN connection which is useful and you can switch between TCP and UDP protocols if needed. The kill switch is also available too.
Overall the apps are well designed and we liked the fact you could choose a dedicated streaming service server for specific purposes. This made unblocking apps like Netflix a breeze.
CyberGhost VPN's desktop applications 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 server, 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.
There's a section dedicated to ‘Smart Rules' and a neat feature is allowing you to have Windows app or Mac app 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 CyberGhost app sports a kill switch feature which has not always been present and is a vital tool for any VPN to offer.
A kill switch cuts your connection to the internet if your VPN connection is interrupted. If you are using a VPN in countries where you online activity could get you in trouble, a kill switch is an essential feature on Windows and Mac devices.
Overall the desktop apps for Windows and Mac devices are easy to use. The only downside is that we're not a massive fan of the layout of the apps. 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 but overall, with security features like the kill switch and good speeds, these apps are very impressive.
Alongside the mobile and desktop apps we have already profiled, CyberGhost also has a Google Chrome and Firefox extension, a Linux app and a TV app for Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and various other smart TV models.
The Amazon Fire TV CyberGhost app works across Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube devices. It's one of the best designs we've come across so far.
Navigating around the CyberGhost VPN app 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 app 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 and on other sites 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 ad-blocking solution.
Can CyberGhost protect you from Malware?
The CyberGhost apps have an option for blocking content which includes “malware”.
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 works with Netflix, especially the most sought after region, the US Netflix catalogue.
They also have specific servers to access Netflix UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan.
These dedicated servers make it easy to connect and start streaming without the need for server hopping to find one that works. This is often the case when accessing Netflix with other VPN 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 CyberGhost service works with a whole range of worldwide services and their dedicated streaming options help you choose.
Services that work include Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, 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 to CyberGhost 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 per month (£10.89)
- 1-Year: $3.99 per month (£3.45)
- 2-Years: $3.49 per month (£2.89)
- 3-Years: $2.25 per month (£1.99)
Noticeably the annual, two and three-year packages are much cheaper than the 1-month package. We would recommend avoiding 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 VPNs can differ over time. While CyberGhost VPN provides an excellent all-round service right now, there's no guarantee that this 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.
These prices are quite a reduction on last year which is excellent for your pocket.
The only other notable feature is that the 1-month package has a 14-day money back guarantee while the longer packages have a 45-day money back guarantee. 14-days is well below average while the 45-day money-back guarantee available with the other packages is one of the best around.
Payment is accepted via Credit Card, Paypal or Bitcoin, the latter of which is best if you want to maintain near-perfect privacy. There are some other country specific payment options available.
Is there a free trial available?
CyberGhost VPN prices are pretty cheap, especially if you plump for their longest 3-year package.
However, if you want to give the service a whirl without paying, there is a free trial available. This isn't advertised too loudly and you won't find much reference to it on their website so the best option is to ask their live chat support about it.
The free trial is limited to 24 hours and only available on a single device. But it is a great way to get an idea of how the service functions and if it's suitable for your needs.
Can I get a refund?
CyberGhost offers 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 CyberGhost 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. But as long as you do this, you should have few problems getting a refund.
In our tests, we had no problem getting a refund and there are no reports to suggest that CyberGhost does not honour their guarantee.
In conclusion to our CyberGhost VPN review we found that CyberGhost VPN is one of the most improved VPNs in recent years. We commended them last year for upgrades, introducing new features and overall improvements.
This year we have found more improvements and few things have deteriorated. We're also surprised about the significant price reduction.
What we're most impressed with in this CyberGhost review is the massive increase in the number of servers and countries covered over recent years, including many more US server options (a popular location to connect to) – although it's worth remembering some of these new servers are ‘virtual locations'.
CyberGhost VPN even offer the option of a dedicated IP address. A dedicated IP Address is a really progressive feature and something that only a handful of VPNs provide.
We especially like their streaming feature that includes an optimised server to unblock all of the most popular streaming services. Everything from Netflix to Hulu, Disney+ to Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer to Sky Go works with the service.
By using CyberGhost VPN, you can connect to a US server and watch the US Netflix, along with being able to access many other US streaming channels that are restricted to those in the United States.
Their strict no-logs policy is always something that we always like to see from a VPN provider. Having a no-logging policy gives you peace of mind knowing your privacy and security is in good hands. Nobody wants their activity being stored.
CyberGhost has also received a boost in encryption by adding the much-vaunted WireGuard protocol to their roster.
With user-friendly apps available you can encrypt your web traffic on all of your devices. This is the case whether you are using a Windows client, MacOS, iOS, Android, or others.
Each app has user-friendly privacy tools such as a built-in kill switch and split tunneling, so whether you are using your phone, or a desktop such as a Windows client, you can ensure you have private internet access on all of your devices and the kill switch and split tunneling options protects you if you have any problems..
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.
The connection speeds on the service were good and while there are faster services out there the speed loss incurred on our regular connection was minimal.
If you use CyberGhost 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 find too much fault in this CyberGhost VPN review.
We were not keen on the layout of the CyberGhost desktop app (such as Windows) when expanded but that's more of a personal niggle than a significant problem and their monthly pricing is a little on the steep side.
But the CyberGhost service is definitely one you want to be considering as it's one of the best VPN providers around, it is easy to use and won't confuse your with too much technical jargon.
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