CyberGhost Review: A Solid VPN?
CyberGhost offers everything we’re looking for in a VPN, and then some, at an affordable price.
What We Like
- No data retention laws: CyberGhost operates outside of all surveillance agencies and government watchdogs. That means it can’t be forced to hand over our data to the government, which is a huge plus.
- Affordable: The cheapest subscription for a CyberGhost VPN connection is $89.31 for three years, which also comes with three months of free service. For the whole 39 months, you'd only be paying $2.29 a month on average. That’s a lot cheaper than ExpressVPN’s pricing, which starts at $99.95 for the first 15 months or about $6.67 per month.
- Kill switch: Although we never count on it, if our VPN fails, our web traffic will still be protected with an automatic kill switch.
What We Don't Like
- Logging policy: CyberGhost kept our IP addresses when we used the VPN, and the country we used it in. However, CyberGhost stored our information anonymously, so we could live with it, as long as it kept our browsing information away from the bad guys.
- Seven simultaneous connections: We’re nitpicking here, but with more and more VPNs offering unlimited simultaneous connections, CyberGhost’s limit of seven devices can be restrictive.
Bottom LineBecause they're based in Romania, CyberGhost will never have to hand over customer data to the government, unlike many VPNs we've tested. With thousands of servers around the world, you're sure to find one that will give you fast speeds on public Wi-Fi networks.
CyberGhost’s latest deal gives new subscribers purchasing a three-year plan ($89.31) three months of free service.
With a name like CyberGhost, we expected stealth and secrecy while we browsed. And with more than 8,000 servers in 113 locations across 91 countries, CyberGhost seemed promising. But does the Romanian company actually live up to its cunning name?
In this review, we’ll get into the weeds of CyberGhost’s strengths and weaknesses. We’ll discuss the speed of its connections, security of its servers, its logging policy, and its ability to get around geographic restrictions. We’ll also tell you about our experience using CyberGhost to torrent and unblock Netflix libraries abroad.
When the dust settles, you’ll have the confidence to decide whether or not CyberGhost is a good VPN for you. Now let’s get started.
To see if CyberGhost has gotten better or worse in the past year, we re-tested this top VPN.
IT specialists founded CyberGhost in 2011 in Bucharest, Romania. The company has 98 employees split between its offices in Romania and Germany. Most of its software development efforts are centered at the German location.
Co-founder Robert Knapp made it clear that CyberGhost’s mission is a moral one: “Protecting the privacy and digital citizens must become an ambition as well as a responsibility,” he said on the website. To Robert, cyber privacy and security are basic human rights.
Perhaps his moral zeal comes from the fact that CyberGhost’s roots are in Romania. Romanian citizens can use the internet freely without too much monitoring. The only sites that are restricted are ones related to gambling, pornography, and pedophilia. The government either blocks or filters those sites.
Romania does not belong to any Five-, Nine- or 14 Eyes alliances. This means CyberGhost will not be sharing our data with various intelligence agencies from other countries.
So what does a CyberGhost subscription entail? A lot, based on our experience. Here are some of the most important features of CyberGhost.
|Log data||Zero log policy|
|IP addresses||Anonymous, static, shared|
All those features are available no matter which device you’re using. CyberGhost has apps and software for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and even Linux. You can also install CyberGhost on some routers, but you won’t have easy access to features like split tunneling. Installing CyberGhost on a router, however, lets you connect as many devices as you want to the VPN and even use it with smart TVs and consoles.
Will CyberGhost Log My Data?
The truth is, most VPNs log data. They may claim to have a “no-logs policy,” but at minimum, even the best VPNs will keep things like your email address, name, and payment information.
Keeping those pieces of information is vital to keep their services running, but the term “no-logs policy” often pertains to what you do while connected to the service. VPNs with such a policy will not record what websites you visit, what you download, and what your original IP address is.
CyberGhost has a “no-logs” policy, but we found that it collects more data than you might be comfortable sharing. In particular, CyberGhost collects IP addresses. Granted, it logs them in an anonymized format and in a way that it can’t be tied to your browsing activity. But still, that’s something to keep in mind.
Other than that, CyberGhost’s logging policy is typical. It keeps account information, including personal information like names, addresses, emails, usernames, and payment information. It also logs statistical data, like browser and device information, which it claims to use to improve its service. Overall, we aren’t too concerned about the company’s logging policy. It may collect more data than necessary, but it’s not a deal-breaker for us.
Does It Have a Kill Switch?
CyberGhost has implemented a kill switch so that anytime we lose connection with the VPN, our IP address will not be exposed. This feature cuts the connection to the internet and shuts down all web pages in order to protect our identities from our internet service provider (ISP) and government agencies.
The only problem here is that we can’t turn the kill switch off if we wanted to. Let’s say we’re torrenting or downloading a large file; the moment we lose connection to the VPN, we lose connection to the internet and, therefore, interrupt our download. This gets annoying, particularly when we aren’t worried about our security.
What Kind of Tunneling Does CyberGhost Offer?
You can access a public and private network at the same time with CyberGhost, also known as split-tunneling, a common VPN feature. Here’s how:
- Log into CyberGhost.
- Click on Smart Rules.
- Click on Exceptions.
- Access networks in and out of your encrypted tunnel at the same time.
Can I Access Netflix with CyberGhost?
Yup! Feel free to watch “New Girl” whenever you want. CyberGhost users can click through all content from Netflix U.S. and certain localized versions.
However, there’s one little snag. CyberGhost users who want to get access to content exclusive to Netflix U.K. might have to pay extra. The media streaming giant recently released new policies regarding streaming its content from different locations. According to the new policies, we can only access Netflix U.K. content through accounts we purchased from U.K. IP addresses.
Other than that, streaming Netflix with CyberGhost is really easy. You’ll also have access to Hulu, YouTube Red, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, Crunchyroll, Disney Plus, Peacock, and other streaming services.
You can even torrent files by clicking on the Torrent Anonymously button.
When we look at a VPN’s tunneling options, we need to check out the VPN’s next layer of security: encryption.
Our encryption type can be likened to the quality of the lock we choose to put on the door of our homes. The only people who should have access to our homes are those we trust enough to hand over the keys. But if our lock is too easy to pick — or in the case of encryption — if the code is too easy to crack, we will be exposed. High-quality encryption ensures our VPN client and server are the only things that can read our data.
Thankfully, CyberGhost uses AES-256 encryption, which is the highest encryption standard. While using AES-256 encryption and its own domain name server (DNS), CyberGhost will connect us to the server of our choice. Although it didn’t give us our own private IP address, CyberGhost connected us to an anonymous, static IP address. This made it extremely difficult for anyone to pick out our identities just based on our IP addresses.
Protocols are important because they determine how our data is routed from our computers to the VPN server. There are various types of protocols that work better in certain situations. Some protocols give us a faster internet speed, while others provide more security.
Let’s check out CyberGhost’s options to see if it has a protocol that’s a fit for your needs:
This is one of the most secure VPN options out there. It’s open-source, which means users can analyze the source code for vulnerabilities or use it for other projects. Because OpenVPN is crowd-sourced by a community that improves the code all the time, it’s less likely to be hijacked by surveillance agencies.
This protocol also allows us to use AES-256 encryption so we can bypass firewalls. OpenVPN works with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, and even Windows phones.
BOTTOM LINE: OpenVPN is not only highly configurable, but it is also great for speed, security, and performance.
By itself, L2TP (or Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol) does not provide encryption or privacy. But when L2TP is combined with IPSec, we’re far more protected. L2TP creates a tunnel, while IPSec handles the AES-256 encryption, channel security, and data integrity checks.
The downside to this protocol is that the speed is slower than OpenVPN, which makes it vulnerable to firewalls.
In terms of VPN protocols, WireGuard is the new kid on the block, but it’s already making a name for itself. Several other VPN companies have added WireGuard to their arsenal of VPN protocols, CyberGhost included.
One of the strongest features of WireGuard is that it’s lightweight compared to OpenVPN, which means it executes processes faster, resulting in faster performance. It’s also supposed to save your devices’ computing power and battery life. However, since it’s new, WireGuard is still evolving. It has had reported stability issues in the past, for instance. The good news is that it’s open-source, just like OpenVPN, so it should stabilize and improve much quicker than proprietary VPN protocols.
Security-wise, WireGuard uses a cryptographic key routing process. Think of it like sending a locked package through a secure mailing service, and then sending the keys to the package through a different secure mailing service. WireGuard encrypts your internet traffic before sending it to CyberGhost servers, and then sends a hashed key separately so the servers can decode the traffic.
Alright, now time to see how CyberGhost actually performs. We performed a speed test, a DNS leak test, and a WebRTC test to assess how CyberGhost affected our internet connection and whether or not this VPN could leak our information.
We used a Macbook Air and a VivoBook (Windows), and we connected through a Verizon phone. Depending on what type of device you use, your connection speeds will differ. But it’s helpful to know how a VPN service will perform using our devices to figure out how its performance might translate to your devices.
Download Speed Tests
|Without VPN||37.05 mbps|
|With VPN||35.97 mbps|
|Without VPN||69.86 mbps|
|With VPN||55.4 mbps|
Upload Speed Tests
|Without VPN||25.9 mbps|
|With VPN||23.93 mbps|
|Without VPN||41.21 mbps|
|With VPN||21.57 mbps|
Ping Speed Tests
|Without VPN||14 ms|
|With VPN||16 ms|
|Without VPN||9 ms|
|With VPN||16 ms|
We expect all VPNs to slow down our connection a little, so when we tested these services, we looked to see how much slower our connection became. We’re OK with our internet being a tad slower if it means we’ll be protected. But if there’s a serious lag, we’re out of here.
On our MacBook Air, CyberGhost worked amazingly. Ping time increased by just 14 percent. Think of the “ping” like your connection’s reaction time to every request you send to it, or like when your doctor hits your knee with that rubber hammer. If your reaction time is slow, something is wrong.
Across the industry, the average increase in ping time is 32 percent, so CyberGhost’s ping time increase is pretty impressive. Also, our download and upload times saw drop rates lower than 10 percent.
Unfortunately, CyberGhost performed much slower on our VivoBook. There was about a 78 percent ping time lag, and the upload and download speeds weren’t promising either.
Looks like CyberGhost works best for Mac lovers. That being said, there are many different factors that could affect your internet speed. Within the VPN alone, the server you’re connected to, the time at which you connected, and your encryption and VPN protocol can affect your internet speed. Outside the VPN, your internet speed may also fluctuate depending on the data traffic of your ISP and the website you’re connecting to. So even if CyberGhost didn’t perform as well on our Windows laptop, you might experience different results.
DNS Leak Test
We also wanted to test if there were any DNS leaks when we used CyberGhost. DNS — which stands for Domain Name Server — is the address we type in when we want to go to a website, like Facebook.com. In the VPN world, the DNS is there to protect us.
We’re pleased to report that CyberGhost had no leaks on either Windows or Mac. That means all our data remained encrypted in the VPN tunnel as we traversed the web.
WebRTC Leak Test
WebRTC allows different browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge) to communicate directly with each other without going through an intermediary server. WebRTC allows for smoother file sharing, live streaming, and video calls. The risk here is that it requires each device to know each other’s IP addresses. So when it came to VPNs, we wanted to make sure none of our information was leaking through that transfer.
Fortunately, CyberGhost showed zero WebRTC leaks when used with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, which were the browsers we tested.
Of all the VPN subscription services we’ve reviewed, CyberGhost is one of the most affordable options, especially if you plan on using it for a few years.
It offers one-month, one-year, two-year, and three-year subscriptions. You’ll get the best bang for your buck with the three-year subscriptions, as it only costs $89.31 (about $2.48 a month). On top of that, CyberGhost is currently tacking on three free months of VPN service to the three-year plan, bringing down the average monthly cost to $2.29 per month. It almost seems too cheap, considering VPN subscription packages can reach $13 a month.
But for quality encryption, the ability to connect up to seven devices, and the opportunity to stream and torrent pretty much anything we want, CyberGhost is a great service. And if it’s not for you, it offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for its longer subscription commitments and a 14-day money-back guarantee for its monthly subscriptions.
Here are all of its price plans:
|Subscription||1 month||1 year||2 years||3 years + 3 months|
|Total amount billed||$12.99||$51.48||$78.00||$89.31|
Which Manual Configurations does CyberGhost Support?
CyberGhost supports manual configurations for Linux, Chromebook, and these wireless routers: TomatoUSB, TomatoUSB Merlin Build, and DD-WRT. You can try other firmware, but CyberGhost can’t promise that you’ll get a connection.
Gaming consoles and media streaming devices can connect to the VPN also, but they must connect via a computer, mobile device, wireless router, or other supported devices. So feel free to go wild with your Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Wii.
What About Adding CyberGhost As A Browser Extension?
Right now, we can use Cyberghost with Chrome as a browser extension. That means Chrome users get easy access to their CyberGhost VPN service.
The one thing we liked about CyberGhost was its customer service. When it comes to VPNs, we always check for great customer service, because we want to know if we can get any help when we run into problems.
We’ve submitted many questions to other VPN services. Some have been slow to email me back. Some don’t respond at all.
CyberGhost, on the other hand, boasts a 24/7 live chat feature with highly responsive customer service agents. CyberGhost also has a very thorough blog and FAQ section if we ever wanted to learn more about the company. We emailed the company with feedback, too. With all that being said, we gave CyberGhost’s customer service an A!
The CyberGhost App
Let’s take a look at the CyberGhost VPN app. The app (for any VPN) is incredibly important, especially since we use a mobile device. It’s no fun if the app is subpar and we can’t use the service effectively. That defeats the purpose, no?
When we first downloaded the app on our phone, the first thing we thought was that it was easy to navigate and fun to look at.
On the Apple Store, the app has a 4.2 rating. In the Google Play Store, it received a 4.1 rating.
It seemed that most people were satisfied with the app, but a few customers didn’t like its interface. Many claim it’s not intuitive. However, we didn’t experience any issues connecting to our server through the app.
Recap of CyberGhost
Alright, let’s regroup.
I think CyberGhost would be a great choice for you if you’re looking for…
- High-quality encryption
- Access to Netflix
- An affordable service
- Excellent customer service
- A VPN outside of Five-, Nine-, and 14-Eyes alliances jurisdictions
CyberGhost is probably not for you if you want…
- Kill switch controls
- A VPN with a low ping time for your Windows computer
- To use more than seven devices with the VPN at a time
Overall, CyberGhost is a great service, especially for those who are new to VPNs. But picking the best service is all about your needs. Does CyberGhost check your boxes?
Since CyberGhost is one of the most popular VPNs, many people are curious about it. Well, we’ve compiled your questions and we’ve got answers.
Is using CyberGhost safe?
Using CyberGhost is safe unless you want to keep your device IP addresses private, as it logs these addresses (in an anonymized format) along with when and where you used the VPN. However, if you don’t care about the company logging this information, then CyberGhost is safe. CyberGhost is based in a non-member country (Romania), and encrypts your web activity using AES-256, the current industry standard.
Is CyberGhost better than NordVPN?
CyberGhost is not better than NordVPN. Although CyberGhost has more servers than NordVPN (8,000 compared to 5,000+), NordVPN has a better logging policy that doesn’t log users’ IP addresses. NordVPN also has multi-hop encryption and better iOS and Android apps. However, CyberGhost is far more affordable if you go with a two-year plan.
Is CyberGhost free?
CyberGhost is free for 24 hours. The company also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee if you get a long-term subscription of six, 24, or 36 months. If you go with a month-to-month subscription, you’ll still get a 14-day money-back guarantee. Beyond that, CyberGhost costs anywhere between $2.29 and $12.99 a month, depending on the length of your contract.
What is CyberGhost used for?
CyberGhost is used for general security and privacy, protection from hacking on public Wi-Fi networks, bypassing school or government firewalls, watching another country’s streaming service including Netflix, torrenting, and other uses.