What’s the best VPN on the market?
With all the marketing speak and polarizing reviews, it can be hard to decide which VPN service is right for you.
So, let’s narrow it down. Here’s our review of CyberGhost VPN.
There are definitely some things to like about CyberGhost. Their app is intuitive and includes some interesting features, customer support is top-notch, and the 3-year subscription price and 45-day money back guarantee are tempting.
However, there are big trouble spots regarding speed and security. Keep reading to find out more.
Pricing and Value
CyberGhost’s monthly membership costs $12.99 per month. That’s a dollar more than NordVPN – and a few cents higher than ExpressVPN.
However, if you’re willing to commit for a few years, you can get the price low as $2.75, which is one of the lower rates in the business.
CyberGhost also offers a 24-hour free trial, when not many VPN providers do. And their 45-day money back guarantee is the best we’ve seen.
In the end, we want a VPN with good features, right? Here are some of CyberGhost’s most notable ones.
Based in Romania
24/7 customer support
3,300+ servers in 60 countries
Dedicated streaming servers
45-day money back guarantee (best in the business)
Apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS
256-bit AES encryption
Supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, LT2p/IPsec, and PPTP protocols
IPv6 and DNS leak protection
Allows 7 simultaneous connections per account
Accepts Bitcoin payments
For a more in-depth look at these features, check below.
Speed is an important factor in choosing a VPN. And unfortunately, it was one of our biggest disappointments with CyberGhost.
Depending on which server we were connected to, speeds ranged from mediocre to abysmal. At best, we were able to get about 50% of our bandwidth. But some servers were giving us a little as a few Mbps.
Many of the servers also had serious latency issues. For example, servers just a few kilometers away gave us 50+ ping in our speed tests. Meanwhile, servers in countries that would usually give us about 80 ping were at 200+.
And note, we tested our speeds with no VPN and with another VPN provider during the same session, and it was only CyberGhost’s connections that gave us trouble. Overall, this is not a fast VPN, in our experience.
Netflix and Streaming
So, CyberGhost does work with Netflix. In fact, they even offer specialize streaming servers for a wide variety of streaming services, from BBC iPlayer to Hulu to Spotify.
But there’s a catch. They only provide Netflix servers in three countries: the United States, Germany, and France. Which means you can’t watch Netflix UK, Canada, etc.
And each country only has one server. That means that if you’re in the US, for instance, you’ll likely suffer from slower Netflix speeds because of your distance from the single server location – and then you’ll have to share the server with the thousands of other CyberGhost users in the US.
That’s not even considering the people who are trying to access Netflix US from outside of the country, whether it’s from Canada, Mexico, or Europe. CyberGhost doesn’t show the number of users on their streaming servers at any given time, that we could see, however, they do for their torrenting servers.
And at around 11AM CET, there were over 7,500+ on their torrenting server in Germany. At the same time, around 5AM EST, the average US server has 61% load. That’s with 595 servers in the US.
It’s likely that both countries Netflix servers have even greater loads, since they have less of them.
In short, since CyberGhost claims to keep the Netflix servers updated to prevent them from being blocked, you’ll always have some access to the service. But you’re very limited in which versions of Netflix you can access, and your speeds will likely be limited because of the very small number of available servers.
As we mentioned above, CyberGhost has approved torrent servers. In fact, they have 25 of ‘em, each one in a different country.
And they also offer tons of guides on using the service for p2p. In other words, they’re very p2p friendly. Their Romanian jurisdiction is also a plus for torrent users.
However, there are a couple things to keep in mind. For starters, they don’t have torrent servers in the US or Australia. At least users in the US have a Canada server to use (though none in Central America), but Australian users are thousands of miles away from the nearest server, which would be Japan.
And as we pointed out earlier, CyberGhost’s download speeds can be an issue.
CyberGhost provides apps for all of your favorite operating systems, from Windows and Mac to Linux.
Let’s talk about our experiences with Windows first. We already covered the less-than-ideal speeds, but how does the CyberGhost software hold up?
We started by downloading and installing the app, which was a very easy and intuitive process. And once you’re logged in, you have a pretty sleek looking interface to look at.
There’s a connect/disconnect button right in the middle of the app window, and just below it you have a dropdown menu where you can select a server. There’s also a handy ‘Best Server Location’ option, which will connect you to the fastest server for your area.
We had kind of a love-hate relationship with this dropdown menu – and the server selection process in general. On one hand, you can set favorite servers (either specific or based on country) from the list of normal, streaming, and download servers, and they’ll be added to the dropdown for easy access later.
That’s really cool.
On the other hand, we found the overall process of connecting to specific servers could use some streamlining. If you go to the main server lists, you can sort by distance, load, and latency, and you can click on the arrow to the right of a country to see its full list of servers.
However, once you’re there, you have to scroll through every server in every city they have. With countries that have dozens if not hundreds of servers, this can be a little tedious. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, the only way to get back to the country list, as far as we could tell, is to click on ‘All Servers’ again. There’s no sort of ‘map view’ for selecting servers either.
We give CyberGhost points for the way they integrated the dropdown menu, but we wish it was a little easier to browse the full server list and pick specific servers.
One cool feature of the app was the ability to choose how CyberGhost handles specific wifi networks, both known and new. You can set it to always ‘connect’ or ‘disconnect’ the VPN, ‘ask me what to do’, or ‘never protect’ for each specific network.
It’s a pretty unique feature that we’d like to see other VPN providers implement.
Our time with the CyberGhost Mac app was pretty much identical to the Windows version.
You’ve got the same nice, clean looking interface, with a button for connecting, the quick-select server dropdown menu, as well as a button to the left to expand the window and give access to the full list of servers and settings.
The dropdown again lets you choose from your favorite servers – or to be automatically connected to the fastest server near you. Your favorites are set by default, but you can easily add or remove them from the main servers lists.
We added 5 normal, 3 downloading, and 2 streaming favorites to test it out, for a total of 10, but we’re not sure if there’s any hard limit on the number of servers that can be displayed.
Unfortunately, the Mac app is also plagued by the same somewhat annoying problems, with the full server lists. It’s just not as intuitive as some other VPN apps and makes browsing and selecting specific servers a chore.
But the ability to set CyberGhost’s behavior on a per network basis is here as well, a feature we’re definitely a fan of.
All in all, the Mac app looks good and works well – though we’d like to see a few minor tweaks.
CyberGhost’s network included a whopping 3,300+ servers spread across 60 different countries. This also includes their specialized streaming and download servers.
Users in South America and Southeast Asia are in luck, since CyberGhost has one of the most solid networks of any provider in these regions. There are multiple servers in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia, for instance.
North American and European users should have no problem finding a server either, just keep in mind that the United States and Australia don’t have torrenting servers, as we pointed out above. Users based in the US will be stuck with Canadian or European servers, while Australia will have to rely on the Japan server for their torrenting.
A VPN isn’t just a way to change your location and access different streaming services. It needs to provide good security as well. Here are some things to thing about regarding CyberGhost’s security chops.
Based in Romania
CyberGhost is based in Bucharest, Romania, which is not a “Fourteen Eyes” country. And that’s a positive thing for your privacy.
In 2017, CyberGhost was acquired by a company called Crossrider. The next year, in 2018, Crossrider changes its name to Kape Technologies.
Well, according to the CEO of Crossrider, it was to disassociate the company from its “past activities”.
What are the past activities that he’s referring to? It could be Crossrider’s history of using software bundles containing malware to infect users’ computers with viruses.
Unfortunately, these shady practices don’t actually seem to be a thing of the “past”. Also in 2018, the popular anti-virus software Malwarebytes reported that a “new variant of the Crossrider adware has been spotted that is infecting Macs in a unique way”.
In short, CyberGhost, a company that people depend on for security, is owned by a company that profits from exploiting people’s security. That’s definitely a cause for concern.
“In case of statutory violations by the user, Cyberghost may cooperate with public or private authorities at its sole discretion as provided by law.”
Now, most VPN services that don’t keep logs, like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, will tell you that they can’t turn anything over to authorities – since they don’t have anything to turn over.
So, what information is CyberGhost turning over to “public and private authorities” if they really don’t keep logs? Note also the phrase “at their sole discretion”, which is basically “when we feel like it”.
In summary, it’s clear that CyberGhost is working with third-parties, but it’s impossible to know what exactly they’re sharing – and what they are and aren’t logging.
The above criticisms aren’t the only security controversies that have come out about CyberGhost.
In the past, it has also been caught installing root certificates and storing hardward ids. Later, it was discovered that they were logging analytics data from the CyberGhost app, as well as recording scripts on their website.
According to CyberGhost, they have now stopped doing all of these things – and we even contacted support to ask about a few.
However, their track record of placing security loopholes and collecting data is another cause for concern, especially when combined with the activities of their parent company.
You always want a VPN with a killswitch, which keeps you protected if your VPN disconnects for whatever reason. And CyberGhost comes through in that regard.
If you accidentally lose your connection to the VPN, it’ll cut off all traffic instantly and automatically to prevent leaks.
DNS and IP Leak Protection
Speaking of leaks, the CyberGhost app also provides built-in protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, which is another important feature for maintaining your privacy.
Encryption and Protocols
The Cyberghost app provides quite a few protocols to choose from, including OpenVPN, L2Tp/IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP.
Encryption is one of the most important security features of any VPN, since it keeps your traffic from being intercepted – and you’re getting top-notch encryption through that selection of protocols.
Even better, all of the protocols are supported natively in the apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The only exception is OpenVPN on Android, which you’ll need to install the third-party OpenVPN app to use.
CyberGhost does accept Bitcoin payments, which is always a plus for privacy, since it places another layer between your identity and your VPN activity.
The service advertises 24/7 support courtesy of their live chat feature. And in our experience, we got super fast responses, and the reps did a solid job of answering our questions. We also found their collection of guides, FAQs, and other reference materials very helpful.
CyberGhost support gets a big thumps up from us.
Okay, so we’ve taken the magnifying glass to all of CyberGhost’s features, from their speeds to their security – and even their ownership.
The app is good, servers are abundant, support is on-point, and the price is competitive.
But in the end, the bad seems to outweigh the good. Speeds were poor, Netflix and torrenting servers are limited, and there are questions about CyberGhost (and Kape Technologies’) commitment to security.
With that in mind, we can’t recommend CyberGhost at this time. For around the same price, you can get a VPN with better features, better speeds, and a higher level of transparency.