CyberGhost VPN Review

How does this service stack up?

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4.2

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN on a phone.

 Pras Boonwong / EyeEm / Getty

What We Like

  • 3,800-plus servers in 60 countries

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use interface

  • Ability to whitelist certain websites or apps from VPN

  • Features OpenVPN and military grade AES 256-bit encryption

  • Comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee

What We Don't Like

  • To get the lowest price of $2.75/month, you must pay for three years

  • Some minor issues when streaming U.S. Netflix and performing a routine cloud backup

  • Lacks double VPN

CyberGhost is a no-logs VPN offering fast performance, a smartly designed, easy-to-use interface, and NoSpy servers based in Romania — well out of the jurisdiction of the 5-, 9-, and 14-Eyes Alliance countries.

4.2

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN on a phone.

 Pras Boonwong / EyeEm / Getty

CyberGhost is a Romania-based VPN provider that aims to make you a "ghost" on the web. Founded in Bucharest in 2011, CyberGhost offers more than 3,800 servers across 60 countries. We gave CyberGhost a test run to determine how easy it is to set up, how the interface works, and how it well it performs under everyday use such as web browsing and streaming. Read on to see our findings.

Setup Process: Straightforward

We found the CyberGhost installation process to be pretty straightforward and easy. To get started, go to the CyberGhost website and download the appropriate software for your device. If you're just trying things out, you can get a free 24-hour trial with no credit card required.

During installation, CyberGhost will request permission to install a VPN profile, a VPN configuration, and administrative permission to enable keychain access. To speed things up, you can set keychain access to Always Allow (otherwise the service will prompt you every-time you log in). Once all permissions are granted, the installer will complete the setup and you're good to use the service.

Design: Clean and intuitive

We're big fans of CyberGhost's clean interface. Unlike many other VPN services that make it difficult to drill down into server lists, the entire list of global servers and locations are available on one screen here. Even better, the left-hand column allows you to view and organize servers in a number of ways that just make sense.

You can view All servers by country, servers for downloading or streaming, and a custom list of your Favorites, which is handy. CyberGhost also labels servers for specific streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, ESPN, YouTube, and more. There's also a Best Location selector, which chooses the best server for you based on your location. Even total novices will find CyberGhost easy and intuitive to use.

Cyberghost VPN
Cyberghost 

Performance: Good, but with drawbacks

CyberGhost acquitted itself well during our tests, with only a handful of issues. We started by testing speed and found that CyberGhost is fairly middle of the road in terms of connection speeds. We were able to achieve a maximum downstream transfer speed of 149.28 Mbps with our 1 Gbps connection, which is plenty fast enough for most use.

We found CyberGhost to work fine for most tasks, including streaming video through sites like YouTube and CNN, browsing the web, and sending email. CyberGhost did interfere with a cloud backup that we tried to run through iDrive, which required us to disconnect from the VPN and reconnect. While other users may have different experiences, that was the one main performance drawback that we noticed.

CyberGhost permits up to seven simultaneous connections across any type of supported device under one service plan. This is more than what you might find with other VPN services and can be handy if you have a lot of different devices to connect.

CyberGhost offers good performance, a well-designed interface, and enhanced NoSpy servers based in Romania.

CyberGhost prides itself on its crowdfunded NoSpy data center in Romania, which has been running since December 2014 and features a dedicated generator with 99.99 percent uptime.

According to CyberGhost, NoSpy servers “integrate super high premium hardware with a dedicated uplink” for faster speeds and performance. The NoSpy servers are engineered to be faster than CyberGhost's regular VPN servers and come with greater bandwidth for data-intensive activities. However, if you wish to use the NoSpy network, you'll have to pay extra for it.

Streaming: Excellent streaming coverage

We were able to stream Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix through US-based servers, and BBC iPlayer through UK servers using CyberGhost's dedicated streaming servers. We were unable to get through to Netflix using UK-based servers though, and also had no luck loading Netflix through Japanese servers.

We tested CyberGhost's streaming coverage twice, with a couple months between, and the first test went a little different. The first test saw Amazon and Hulu working, but Netflix detected the use of a VPN proxy.

What this shows is that CyberGhost is that services like Netflix do detect and block CyberGhost's servers, but CyberGhost is committed to working around that roadblock.

Privacy Policy: Strict, with a drawback

CyberGhost is a stated no-logs VPN that operates in Romania, a country that doesn’t enforce data gathering or surveillance. CyberGhost states “they're unable to comply with requests, even if they are legally binding.” To support this statement, CyberGhost provides a "Yearly Transparency Report" to anyone who wishes to download it. The report contains details about legal requests directed towards the company, including DMCA complaints, police requests, and malware activity flags.

One red flag is the fact that the company's new owner Kape, formerly Crossrider1, appears to have a history of producing adware.

From the CyberGhost website: “When using the CyberGhost VPN, the user's traffic data such as browsing history, traffic destination, data content, and search preferences are not monitored, recorded, logged or stored by the Company. More than this, when using the CyberGhost VPN, we are not storing connection logs, meaning that we don't have any logs tied to your IP address, connection timestamp or session duration.”

CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost

Security Features: Standard

CyberGhost offers the highly touted OpenVPN protocol over UDP/TCP, as well as L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP. OpenVPN is considered one of the best VPN protocol available today, known for its ability to slip around firewalls, routers, and HTTP proxy servers.

CyberGhost’s list of security features include:

  • OpenVPN with 256-bit AES encryption: A military-grade encryption standard used by governments around the world. It's virtually impossible to crack.
  • Force HTTPS: A CyberGhost function that helps enforce the use of "https" instead of the less secure "http" protocol when visiting websites.
  • DNS leak protection: Protects against IPv6 leaks, Port Forwarding leaks, and DNS leaks, which can compromise privacy by exposing your IP address.
  • KillSwitch: This feature will block all internet traffic if your VPN connection suddenly goes out.
  • IP-Sharing: A additional security layer in which each CyberGhost IP address is shared with all other users on the same respective server at the same time.
  • Smart Rules: Smart Rules is a CyberGhost feature that helps you automatically start your privacy protection across a range of devices. Options include auto-connecting the VPN on startup and setting custom hotspot actions depending on the network.

An Extra Security Feature: Split tunneling

CyberGhost offers a split-tunneling feature for Android users. The feature allows you to select which apps use the VPN tunnel, and which apps use the service provided by your local ISP (which can be faster and more convenient but offers no encryption). For example, you might want to use split-tunneling to protect some connections with the VPN, but leave other connections off the VPN, such as local business websites or food delivery services.

Torrenting: Yes, with limitations

CyberGhost supports torrenting, but they impose some country-specific restrictions. If you wish to torrent using CyberGhost, you can choose a P2P-compatible server in the server list. Because of legal issues, torrenting is not permitted in servers located in the US, Russia, Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong (China). Furthermore, it's a violation of CyberGhost's policies to download copyrighted content — just something to bear in mind.

CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost 

Ad Blocking: Via traffic manipulation

CyberGhost does include a built-in ad blocker, but it doesn't work at the DNS level. Instead of filtering DNS requests, this ad blocker looks at your traffic and modifies requests to specific domains. This is less transparent and less effective than blocking at the DNS level, and it only works on HTTP content.

Customer Service: Web chat

CyberGhost provides a live chat feature that allows you to receive help from a customer support agent through a web-based chat system. This provides real-time support that is absent from a lot of VPNs, although it is worth noting that this is the only option they provide. If you prefer to just send an email, that doesn't appear to be an option.

Price: Affordable

CyberGhost is on par with other major VPN providers, offering prices as low as $2.75/month for a three-year plan. Currently, CyberGhost offers three payment plans: $9.99/month for one month, $5.99/month for one year, and $2.75/month for three years. The three-year plan works out to 9 cents per day, but you must pay for it upfront.

Competition: CyberGhost vs NordVPN

How does CyberGhost compare to the popular NordVPN service? Both services offer OpenVPN, the most secure VPN protocol available today. Both have well-designed and easy-to-use interfaces. But in some respects, the similarities stop there.

For starters, we had problems performing basic tasks with CyberGhost, including streaming US Netflix and performing a routine cloud backup. Conversely, we had no problems with NordVPN — it worked seamlessly across the board.

NordVPN also has enhanced security features, such as Double VPN or Tor (The Onion Router), which are not available with CyberGhost. As for pricing, the services are similar: NordVPN is $2.99/month for three years and CyberGhost is $2.75/month for three years. When it comes to functionality and performance, however, NordVPN is the clear winner and well worth the slightly higher cost.

Final Verdict

Our final verdict is that CyberGhost may work fine for you, depending on your needs. However, there are other VPN services which offer similar or better performance, extra security features, and greater functionality in the same price range. If you're looking for a VPN to handle your privacy, web browsing, and streaming needs, you may want to shop around.

Specs

  • Product Brand CyberGhost VPN
  • Price $2.75
  • Speed (Fastest Observed) 149.38 Mbps (Tested on a 1Gbps connection)
  • Operating systems Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
  • Devices Seven devices at a time
  • Server Locations 90 Countries
  • Number of Servers 5,600
  • Streaming Dedicated servers, tested Netflix (US), Hulu (US), BBC iPlayer (UK)
  • Torrenting Yes, including kill switch
  • Encryption AES 256-bit OpenVPN, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP
  • Log Files No
  • Jurisdiction Romania
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