CyberGhost VPN Review
Our take: CyberGhost is a powerful and secure VPN app with plenty to offer at a highly affordable price point. Its impressive suite of security features and encryption layers and its extensive server network are particularly attractive for potential users. It is strange and offputting that the company won't discuss its server security standards, though. And the fact that it does not function in China will obviously rule it out for users who would need to work there.
CyberGhost VPN has been a consistent contender in the upper echelons of the VPN market for years, known for its extensive server network, fast connections and competitive pricing. In this review, we’ll have a look at where CyberGhost’s evolution over the years has brought it and whether it still measures up as an elite VPN product.
Pros & Cons of CyberGhost
|What We Like and What We Don’t Like|
Key Features of CyberGhost
There are four key features to focus on when evaluating a VPN service: security and privacy, which of course are the core missions of a VPN; server coverage, which is important to keeping your VPN connection reliable; performance, which ensures that VPN protection doesn’t come at the price of severely reduced upload and download speeds; and price. Below, we break down how CyberGhost currently delivers in each area.
Security & Privacy
The highest level of commercially available encryption on the market is AES 256-bit encryption. The number references the size of an encryption key that effectively cannot be brute-force hacked by any realistically feasible supercomputer. That’s the security standard CyberGhost uses, along with added encryption for authenticating connections or “handshaking,” and it additionally offers up a selection of security protocols on desktops and tablets. The app auto-selects the best option based on whether your activity profile indicates a greater need for speed or security, although you can custom-select your own preferred security protocol if needed. The mobile app employs OpenVPN, which capably combines speed and security as equal priorities, and Linux users have access to the WireGuard protocol, which combines the security of OpenVPN with the speeds of IKev2. To put all of the above more succinctly: CyberGhost is highly secure. It buttresses that security with a very reliable kill switch feature that blocks traffic in the event of a VPN failure and offers advanced features like split tunneling, letting you customize which apps go through the VPN. As for privacy, the company is based in privacy-friendly Romania, which is not a “Five Eyes” intelligence country, meaning that the company isn’t obligated to share information with any government agencies. It also has a no-logs policy that ensures the company doesn’t record or track any user data. CyberGhost provides a regular transparency report, but it hasn’t conducted an independent third-party security audit since 2012. An updated security audit would be useful for shoring up public confidence in the company and the tried-and-tested character of its security measures even further. Still, CyberGhost appears overall to be earning its reputation as a very secure and private VPN.
CyberGhost’s server network is one of the most extensive in terms of geographic coverage and the sheer number of servers represented. It boasts representation in over 90 countries and over 6400 servers worldwide, with particularly strong local networks in the United States and the United Kingdom. It also has servers in more “remote” locations like Saudi Arabia or Lithuania. It does use some virtual server locations — which could raise security concerns for users who think they’re connecting with a server that isn’t in a Five Eyes country when in fact it is — but fortunately, the company is transparent about its virtual servers, so you’ll know if you’re connecting with one. In addition, CyberGhost also offers optional access to its own self-maintained network of No-Spy Servers, run from the NoSpy Romanian data center, which provides premium hardware, improved bandwidth and better speeds. Despite this impressive combined global coverage, CyberGhost has one major drawback: it doesn’t work in China (even though it has some servers there). Users who might need to travel to China will need to explore a different VPN solution for those trips. Additionally, for some reason, the company declines to provide public information about the security standards employed on its (otherwise extensive and impressive) server network; indeed, it apparently forbids employees to discuss the question as a matter of policy. It’s uncertain why this should be so.
Using a VPN generally involves trade-offs in terms of bandwidth, and some sacrifices to the speed of uploading and downloading content. It’s a good thing that CyberGhost has a server network as large as it is because performance-wise, a lot depends on whether you have access to a local or optimized server. If you do, CyberGhost delivers excellent speeds for streaming, torrenting and gaming and reliable video calls. If you’re ever compelled to route through a more remote server, however, performance can take an extremely serious hit. Routing through Canadian or Singaporean servers from the UK, for instance, can lead to speed reductions of 85% or higher, reducing streams to a series of buffering messages and slowing even access to routine website content to a crawl. That said, provided you select a server close by, CyberGhost delivers comparable performance for all your media streaming and other internet needs with NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost is affordable, with plans ranging from $2.75 to $12.99 per month depending on the length of subscription, considerably less expensive than competitors like ExpressVPN while still offering a powerful feature set. It’s possible to connect up to seven devices at a time to the service, although note that these need to be seven specific devices, and devices must be separately authorized to take up a “slot” in this schema. It also offers a 24-hour free trial and a 45-day money-back guarantee, although the latter doesn’t apply to its 1-month subscription. All in all, it offers excellent value for money; provided, of course, you never need to use it in China.
|6-Month Subscription||$7.99 per month|
|12-Month Subscription||$2.75 per month|
|Free Trial||24 hours|
|Customer Support||24/7 Live Chat|
|Platform/Browser Compatibility||Chrome, Firefox|
|Server Coverage||6400 servers in 90 countries|
|Number of Devices||7|
|Streaming Services||Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, YouTube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime|
|Security Encryption||256-bit AES|
|Website||Learn more at CyberGhost|
What Customers Are Saying
CyberGhost’s performance and ease of use gets high marks from customers: “It is fast, no loss of download speed. Great and I love it. Lots of servers to choose from . . . It easy to use it [to] select the best server location for you. Very good support [and the] price is reasonable. I just love it.” Another client says: “After trying several other VPN’s including Nord, Express and Private… Ghost by far gives me the fastest speeds for anonymous downloading and spoofing IP address for poker games. Software is easy to use.”