CyberGhost VPN review
CyberGhost is one of the biggest VPN service providers on the market. I really like the fact that it supports torrenting and unblocks the majority of popular online streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. CyberGhost also offers the WireGuard protocol, specialized servers, a dedicated IP option, and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
However, not all is perfect – CyberGhost raises a fair share of questions. For starters, the VPN apps themselves are riddled with several functionality bugs, and a lack of third-party security audits might be concerning to some potential users. CyberGhost’s parent company, Kape Technologies (also owning Private Internet Access, ExpressVPN, and ZenMate VPN) is also on the radar, with several online publications pointing out their alleged past connections with malware distribution.
So, should you be worried? Is CyberGhost VPN still a worthy option to buy – even when there are several more functional, independently-audited options like NordVPN available? That’s the biggest question we need to answer.
|🥇 Overall rank:||#12 out of #29|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs|
|💵 Price:||from $2.29/month|
|🖥️ Servers:||7100+ servers in 89 countries|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, BBC iPlayer|
|🔥 Coupons:||CyberGhost VPN coupon 82% OFF + 3 Months FREE|
CyberGhost pros and cons
- Global server coverage
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- WireGuard tunneling protocol
- Specialized servers
- Free browser addon
- 1-day free trial
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Accepts cryptocurrencies
- No third-party audits
- Unintuitive Linux clients
- Some connection drops
- Apps have some bugs
Speed performance: How fast is CyberGhost?
- Baseline: 1 ms/300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
|Location||WireGuard||IKEv2||OpenVPN UDP||OpenVPN TCP|
Their WireGuard tunneling protocol is exceptional when it comes to downloads. Average download speed gives you only a 33% drop-off, which isn't too shabby. On the flip side, average upload rates won't break the sound barrier – 65% reductions compared to the baseline. The main culprit being that some locations broke down when uploading with 0 Mbps.
IKEv2 speed performance was a step below WireGuard. Average download reductions were around 35%, while uploads were affected more severely, up to 79%. A slower upload rate is a trademark of most VPN services. Users tend to download data more frequently rather than upload it. Still, a more balanced approach would go a long way.
OpenVPN UDP mode made that disparity even more apparent. On average, the average download speed drop-off was 63%, while the upload plummeted to 77%. It's decisively slower for downloads than both WireGuard and IKEv2. Though, on the upside, the upload speeds have an overall more stable connection.
I got the slowest speeds on OpenVPN TCP mode, though this is typical for this tunneling protocol. Its average download speeds dropped by 71%, with uploads following the same pattern for 87% baseline hit. Although it may seem counterintuitive, these are actually pretty decent numbers for this tunneling protocol. Most providers are hit with even higher reductions on TCP.
All in all, speed-wise, CyberGhost sits in the middle. They offer speeds that will be good enough for most tasks and usage cases. You should stick to WireGuard, and as many previous examples show its performance is only getting better with time.
Is CyberGhost good for streaming Netflix?
Since CyberGhost has specialized servers for streaming, it's really easy to find one that unblocks any given media platform.
The specialized server for Netflix unblocked the US library on the first try. However, Netflix was very slow, and I had to wait around for a couple of minutes while the search results loaded. However, once the show started, there were no issues, so it may also be the fault of Netflix.
BBC iPlayer also worked without a hitch and was a lot faster than Netflix. There were no errors, but I had to switch to a streaming server optimized for BBC iPlayer. The same can be said about geo-blocked YouTube videos.
There were several issues when unblocking DAZN. Most servers showed the "Not available in your country" page. While other servers stated that DAZN was down. In any case, DAZN remained blocked. Of course, this may change in the future.
To sum up, streaming is one of the key areas where CyberGhost does great.
Does CyberGhost allow torrenting?
If you’re looking for a good VPN for torrenting, then CyberGhost will surely be a good fit, giving you the protection you need. It even offers specialized servers for P2P file sharing that work with all sorts of torrenting clients.
However, when it comes to connection speeds, they are quite average. When I tried downloading a Linux installation image, the speeds never exceeded 5 MB/s (40 Mbps), which is a bit slow in comparison to services like ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost VPN has a selection of different server types that are useful for particular tasks. This isn't something that every provider implements, so it's a welcome addition. Plus, the feature is intuitive enough even for the less tech-savvy VPN users.
There are special servers for downloading, streaming, and gaming.
Downloading servers are optimized for torrenting. They work with P2P clients like uTorrent, and are located in countries where torrenting isn't met with harsh sanctions. The servers provide the best possible download speeds. When you open the server list, you're given the approximate distance from your location to the server and server load. You can easily filter out the servers with higher loads because their speeds won't be as fast.
Streaming servers are intended for accessing geo-blocked streaming platforms. When you go into the list, you'll quickly see which service the server is intended for. So, you get a particular server to unblock Netflix or Disney+. Although this means switching VPN server if you decide to stream from a different platform, it does make finding the right server easier.
Gaming servers are the ones with the lowest latency. Roughly speaking, this is the reaction speed of your internet connection. If response times are long, this will result in lag, which can ruin your online match. When connected to these servers, my latency increased by 10ms when compared to ping without a VPN, which is decent. Also, the connection was stable.
This feature is mostly useful for people that need to whitelist specific IPs to allow connection to your website or server. When you purchase a dedicated IP option from CyberGhost, you get assigned a unique IP address just for you. That way, you can be sure that no one else is using it. It's a perfect solution for those needing a consistent IP address for seeding torrent files or other connections.
Generally, dedicated IP isn't considered a privacy feature, and it won't bolster your anonymity. However, CyberGhost uses a unique token system that allows complete anonymity. In other words, your dedicated IP can't lead back to your email or VPN account. In turn, the company has no records of dedicated IP ownership.
It costs an additional $5 a month on top of your CyberGhost subscription and is an optional feature. If you decide to get it, you will receive a special token, which you need to activate in the special Dedicated IP section of your app. It's worth noting that they won't keep track of which accounts were associated with which tokens, so if you lose it, you won't recover it.
CyberGhost claims their ad-block feature will protect you from annoying ads that are following you through the web. So, in theory, this should make your load times faster, and help you avoid malware distributed through ad networks. Plus, it should save data on mobile devices by stopping the ads from loading.
It does block some ads, but some free tools like uBlock Origin work a bit better. With CyberGhost, many ads got through, while the same pages were completely clean with uBlock. On the other hand, CyberGhost is constantly working to improve the feature, so it might function better in the future.
If you're now wondering why we didn't cover NoSPY servers in the specialized servers section, there's a good reason for that. NoSPY servers are in a category of their own. Their premise is somewhat similar to the Secure Core servers of ProtonVPN.
CyberGhost's NoSPY servers are located in a private data center in Romania, where their team fully manages them. They come with extended bandwidth, so you'll be able to take advantage of the fastest possible speeds. Some of the no-spy servers are P2P-compatible, so you'll be able to torrent to your heart's content.
However, if you want access to NoSPY servers, you'll have to pay extra and it's not easy to find how. Basically, you'll have to go into the features page on the CyberGhost website, select NoSPY servers, scroll down to the bottom and locate a button for the yearly plan that adds them.
It's also possible to access NoSpy servers for free if you purchase longer subscription plans (so, 1, 2, or 3-year options). This might be one of the best ways to gain access to this feature.
Smart rules is a feature that helps to automate CyberGhost. Once configured, the app will do some tasks itself, saving you clicking time.
Some rules can be as simple as starting CyberGhost when the system reboots. It's also possible to specify a particular country or server to which CyberGhost should automatically connect.
You can also take it to the next level by automating which programs automatically start when CyberGhost initiates a connection. That way, you don't even need to wait around for a connection confirmation. The app that you're using will automatically start after your VPN app starts.
You can configure the Smart rule further by indicating to trigger your smart rules on unsafe Wi-Fi networks. Plus, there are options to allow particular websites, which effectively works as a split tunneling.
This is an awesome quality-of-life feature many other top VPNs lack. For some, this alone will be enough to warrant a subscription.
Is CyberGhost safe and secure?
CyberGhost is a secure VPN service. They're using strong encryption ciphers and have a variety of tunneling protocols. That said, they could improve their reputation by becoming more transparent as a company. They haven't published any third-party audit reports, which would be the bare minimum to prove their trustworthiness. Especially when they're owned by Kape Technologies, an organization with a dubious reputation.
Encryption and tunneling protocols
Like many VPN providers, CyberGhost uses encryption to make sure that your connection remains private. Their choice is AES-256-CBC, which is by far the most popular cipher among VPN services. Currently, such encryption is uncrackable even to the most powerful computers, so your data will stay safe.
Authentication is processed with the SHA-256 cryptographic function. It's worth mentioning that there are other providers that use even more advanced functions like SHA-512. That is not to say that CyberGhost has picked an outdated version. SHA-256 works just as well and is also very safe.
CyberGhost VPN offers strong tunneling protocols. The service supports these:
WireGuard – is a new tunneling protocol known for being extremely fast but also very safe. Most service providers are already phasing out older options to add support for this one. It's nice to see that CyberGhost isn't late to the party. Also, WireGuard is available on all the CyberGhost applications.
IKEv2 – one of the older protocols, provides good compatibility with most devices. Especially good on mobile.
OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) – still the most popular VPN protocol. CyberGhost allows you to force TCP instead of UDP mode, which is the default.
Automatic Kill switch
Just like most premium VPN services, CyberGhost has a kill switch. You can turn it on from the Privacy settings screen.
I encountered some server issues during tests. The connections were a bit unstable, so this was an opportunity to test their kill switch in action. I can confirm that it successfully triggered whenever the link to the server was lost.
However, it's a bit annoying that you can't customize the kill switch on a per-app basis. Also, you can't turn it off on mobile devices, so there's definitely room for improvement. On the other hand, having it on keeps you safe at all times.
Privacy and logging
The company behind CyberGhost is based in Romania, which, although a member of the European Union, is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. Data retention laws pushed from the EU were declared unconstitutional in Romania.
All things considered, CyberGhost promises absolute anonymity, and this seems close to the truth.
CyberGhost servers and locations
Overall, CyberGhost VPN has approximately 7100 servers in 89 countries. So, it's one of the providers with the biggest fleets. In that regard, the service sits in the same ballpark as NordVPN or PureVPN.
In terms of continent coverage, CyberGhost isn't that different from most VPN service providers:
|Regions||Number of countries|
|Asia and Oceanic region||22 countries|
The best coverage is in Europe, although the Americas do catch up with the number of servers. The takeaway is that their huge fleet allows them to provide coverage even in areas less-favored by VPNs, like Africa. However, keep in mind that some of their servers are virtual, meaning they aren't physically located in the country. This is the case with China, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, Morocco, and Turkey, for example.
All things considered, CyberGhost's server fleet is definitely their stronger sides. This can be extremely useful if you're located further from Europe, the Americas, or the Far East.
Plans and pricing
CyberGhost prices changed based on the duration of the subscription (they all offer the same features). Shorter plans are more expensive and vice versa. You also get 7 simultaneous connections with every option.
Their 1-month plan will cost $12.99, which is not unheard of for a plan of such duration. This is the only plan with a shorter money-back guarantee policy – 14 days. All other plans have it for 45 days.
In total, there are three pricing tiers that differ in their length and subscription price.
|1-month plan||$12.99 a month|
|1-year plan||$47.40 a year (or $3.95 a month)|
|2-year plan||$75.60 for the first two years (or $3.15 a month)|
|3-year plan||$83.85 for the first three years (or $2.15 a month)|
It would seem that the best value would be their longest plan, as the difference between the two and three-year option is only $8.25. You might as well opt-in for a two-year option, its monthly cost is one dollar less than the three-year plan. The difference between the yearly and two-year option is $14, so it's more of a headscratcher whether it's worth it.
However, there are additional options not included on the pricing page. If you go through the NoSPY servers article, the yearly plan with no-spy servers will cost you $59.99 a year or $4.99 a month. If you need a dedicated IP, you can add $5/month to whichever option you decide to pick.
It's a nice touch that you can choose anonymous payment options to pay for your subscription. Aside from credit cards and PayPal, it's also possible to pay with cryptocurrencies.
Is there a free version of CyberGhost?
CyberGhost VPN doesn't have a free version, but it has a 1-day free trial on desktop devices and a 7-day trial on mobile devices. You don't need to provide any payment information to use it. This is unexpected because most premium VPN service providers only offer trials in the form of a money-back guarantee.
Of course, there's the money-back guarantee as well, which depending on the plan's length, may be for 14 or 45 days. This should be plenty of time to try CyberGhost to make an informed decision whether you want to commit to the service.
Interface and ease of use
The Windows client looks and feels great. It's inobtrusive and doesn't have lots to be confused by, making it just the thing for less tech-savvy users.
With that said, it could use some polish. For example, sometimes fallback feature that automatically connects you to OpenVPN if your selected protocol fails would kick in. Although it's a useful addition, I'd like to see more customization options regarding it. Especially since they have faster tunneling protocols.
At some points, the app was unable to connect to the selected server. The connection status indicator didn't help much. There were no indicators of whether the connection is initiating, failed, or time outed.
CyberGhost's search bar displays only countries and not the cities. However, when you open a server list of a country, only the city names are shown. In turn, the search bar doesn't let you browse through the countries anymore.
All in all though, the app looks nice, intuitive and rather feature rich. As a matter of fact, it feels like one of the best apps for new VPN users.
The Mac client of CyberGhost VPN is similar to Windows, but has some improvements. For example, there are options to turn on data compression to reduce download data, which is useful if you have data caps as part of your Internet contract. Also, just like in the Windows version, you can block malicious ads and websites.
Automated HTTPS redirect forces websites to load in a more secure version (provided that such version even exists).
However, the app isn't issue-free. For example, the kill switch on macOS could work better. When you wake the system from a sleep state, the client successfully establishes a VPN connection, but there's still no Internet access.
CyberGhost's experience on Linux isn’t as good as it could be. Everything from the setup to use is done in such a way that is either inconvenient or even counterproductive.
To install the app on Fedora 33, you have to log in to the website and select your distribution's exact version. However, you're still given the Fedora 32 version, no matter which option you pick.
To run it, you have to run an install script, which doesn't work because it finds that your OS version is invalid. You have to manually enter the commands that the script should have performed automatically to install it.
However, if you still have Fedora 32, you won’t have any problems installing CyberGhost.
I was finally able to set it up for PopOS, and, thankfully, experienced (almost) no bugs while using it. Nevertheless, the app’s functionality could be more intuitive in general, as the command lines are a bit too long for my liking.
CyberGhost mobile apps
CyberGhost VPN on iOS and Android are mirror images of each other. They both have a pretty minimal design and offer similar features.
On Android, in terms of tunneling protocols, you're given a choice between OpenVPN and WireGuard. On iOS, it's a choice between WireGuard and IKEv2. This means, that on average iOS users will enjoy better speeds, at least until CyberGhost developers fix WireGuard.
On Android, the app asks for location permission, which is somewhat unusual, but it's used for reading the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot that you're connected to. You shouldn't read into it too much. If you don't want to give any permissions, you can still use the app as much as you want - the only feature that won't work is Automatic Wi-Fi Protection.
Overall, CyberGhost mobile clients work a bit better than their desktop counterparts, and the app design works great on mobile in general.
CyberGhost also has a browser extension, but you'll hardly need an account to use it. You cannot log in to it, so if you're a subscriber, there's not much to gain from it that you wouldn't get from the app.
You're only getting four countries to choose from, but your location is successfully spoofed once you connect. It will bypass some simpler blocks, but don't expect this to work with streaming websites. There are no other features, and your traffic is only encrypted with SSL.
CyberGhost has a lot of customer support options. When I contacted their customer support agent about Linux issues via the live chat, I quickly got to an agent. The responses were quick, professional and related to the issues at hand. If they prove to be too difficult for an agent to solve, they will create a ticket and get back to you with a solution.
On their customer support portal, you can find guides and FAQs to solve your issues. They have a pretty large catalog of various tutorials, which covers even devices like consoles, and Kodi devices. It will be very useful for new users that have only recently started using VPNs.
CyberGhost video review
Is CyberGhost good and worth getting?
CyberGhost is a powerful VPN service with sleek and intuitive mobile and desktop apps that will especially benefit newer users. It’s among the best for those looking to unblock Netflix and other streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Youtube, as it works with the majority of platforms.
The prices are decent, the customer support is great, and you can benefit from a long list of server locations. The one major downside I can think of is an occasional speed drop.
In terms of security, it’s a decent choice that has a no-logs policy and strong AES-256 encryption. However, there are no powerful bonus features if you’re using the service for sensitive activities.
All in all, despite a lack of polish here and there, CyberGhost is a competitive choice to consider. It’s a good VPN service for anything you can think of, from torrenting to simply keeping yourself safe online.
More on VPN providers from CyberNews:
CyberGhost vs. NordVPN: which to choose?
ExpressVPN review: how does it perform in 2022?
TunnelBear VPN review: is it worth paying for?
Does CyberGhost allow torrenting?
Yes. CyberGhost allows torrenting and has special servers for P2P connections.
How do I speed up CyberGhost?
If you're experiencing slowdowns, you should switch the tunneling protocol to IKEv2, which proved to be the fastest in our tests. It's also a good idea to connect to a server that is near you.
How many devices can use CyberGhost?
On one account, you can use CyberGhost for 7 devices at a time. This is on the higher side, as many providers will give you only about 5 simultaneous connections.
Can CyberGhost be trusted?
Yes. CyberGhost is generally a trustworthy VPN service. However, they could improve their reputation by submitting their logging policy and apps for an independent audit (luckily, this is included in their future plans).