Shopping for a new VPN? We reviewed CyberGhost, an established contender

Pros

  • 45-day refund period and one-day free trial
  • Competitive long-term pricing
  • Minimal logs kept
  • Strong 256-bit AES encryption
  • Plenty of servers around the world

Cons

  • Performance not consistent
  • Buying per month is expensive

CyberGhost VPN began in Germany in 2011 before moving to Bucharest, Romania from which it now operates. Romania is a part of the European Union, but it has lax data retention laws and isn't a part of any surveillance collective. This allows CyberGhost to keep on hand as little information about its users as possible.

Nine years after its founding, CyberGhost claims to have more than 30 million users. It has more than 5,700 servers spread out over 112 locations in 89 countries.

Pricing and plans

CyberGhost VPN Pricing Plans

CyberGhost VPN Pricing PlansSource: Android Central

Like most VPN services, CyberGhost has a set number of subscription plans to choose from, ranging from one month up to three years. If you'd just like to give CyberGhost a try, there's a 24-hour trial with no credit card or payment required. This is strictly a paid VPN service with no long-term free option available.

To get the most for your money, the three-year subscription is where you'll want to turn. You're billed $99 once every three years, which equals out to about $2.75 per month with two months free.

A long-term plan to CyberGhost will save you the most money, but you can pay monthly if you prefer.

If you'd rather not commit to such a long subscription — don't forget there is a 45-day money back guarantee — there's also a two-year deal billed once at about $89, a one-year deal billed once at about $72, or a one-month deal billed once at about $13. Considering the three-year deal is only $10 more than a two-year deal and $17 more than a one-year deal, you can see CyberGhost is trying hard to sign people up for the long haul.

Nothing out of the ordinary here, and in general you're going to pay less than popular competitors like ExpressVPN and NordVPN for the long-term plans. For the short-term monthly plan, you will pay more here.

Testing and performance

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPNSource: Android Central

VPN security is extremely important, but if your internet speed suffers greatly, you might ask if it's really worth it. Testing a VPN's performance comes down to connecting to multiple VPN servers, running speed tests, and comparing the results to a non-VPN connection.

For the first round of tests I used a Windows 10 PC connected wirelessly to my router. Most of the time a connection to the VPN server was established within seconds, though there were a few times where it took a bit longer — around 20 to 30 seconds — to connect.

First test (AM)

Test Ping Download Upload
No VPN 10ms 142Mbps 16.2Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (Canada) 72ms 122.4Mbps 15.4Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (United States) 60ms 140.8Mbps 15.3Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (Streaming) 50ms 141.1Mbps 15.4Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (P2P) 50ms 141.8Mbps 15.3Mbps

Second test (PM)

Test Ping Download Upload
No VPN 9ms 159Mbps 16.1Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (Canada) 86ms 124.5Mbps 15.3Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (United States) 40ms 126.3Mbps 15.3Mbps
CyberGhost Streaming (Recommended) 74ms 166.4Mbps 15.1Mbps
CyberGhost Torrenting (Recommended) 77ms 157.8Mbps 15.6Mbps

When connected with a Windows 10 PC, there's hardly any slowdown across regular and specialized CyberGhost VPN servers. Note that the torrenting servers are accessible only from the desktop app. The Android app displays just regular and streaming servers.

Unfortunately, the same performance wasn't evident when using the Android app. For the following tests I used a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 connected wirelessly to my router.

First test (AM)

Test Ping Download Upload
No VPN 10ms 122Mbps 15.9Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (Canada) 79ms 29.1Mbps 13.3Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (United States) 43ms 33.2Mbps 14.2Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (Streaming) 77ms 30.4Mbps 13.7Mbps

Second test (PM)

Test Ping Download Upload
No VPN 10ms 151Mbps 15.9 Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (Canada) 79ms 27.1Mbps 12.9Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (United States) 89ms 26.2Mbps 12.6Mbps
CyberGhost Recommended (Streaming) 77ms 28.9Mbps 13.5Mbps

As you can see, speeds are significantly hit when connected with a mobile device. To check these results, I tested with a different VPN service I subscribe to. Like usual, I was able to hit upwards of 100Mbps download speeds when using recommended servers.

It's not guaranteed you'll see the same slowdown based on where you're located and the hardware you're using, but you'll no doubt want to test things out short term if you plan on primarily using CyberGhost with a mobile device.

Features

CyberGhost VPN Windows app

CyberGhost VPN Windows appSource: Android Central

CyberGhost is rather generous with its offered VPN servers. At the time of writing this review, there are 5,733 servers in 112 locations, spread out over 89 countries. Some are hosted physically within those countries, while others are hosted virtually. Many servers are dedicated to peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing and torrenting, while others are dedicated to streaming on popular services, like YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and more. CyberGhost does not limit bandwidth, nor does it put a cap on data. You're free to switch between servers as much as you want, and you won't be held to a maximum amount of traffic.

Thanks to compatibility with plenty of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Apple TV, CyberGhost should fit the needs of most homes. It can be used on up to seven devices at once, plus you can configure a router with CyberGhost VPN for a blanketed approach that essentially removes the per-device limit. Dedicated IP addresses are available for those who need them, for example anyone who can't have a new IP address each time they connect to a VPN server.

CyberGhost VPN Connection features

CyberGhost VPN Connection featuresSource: Android Central

I primarily tested CyberGhost with the Windows 10 and Android apps. While you're going to be able to set up a connection on either, the desktop app understandably allows for a lot more tweaking. Both platforms offer an ad blocker, data compression tool, Wi-Fi protection, and tracker blocker, but if you want to go deeper with exceptions, kill switch, and VPN protocols, you'll want to stick with the desktop app. In any case, the apps are laid out well and even complete beginners to a VPN should be able to easily navigate the setup.

Connecting from Canada, I can confirm that CyberGhost unblocks Netflix and similar streaming services in other countries. It also removes geo-restrictions from sites like YouTube, allowing you to watch content that would normally be blocked in your country. Not all VPNs offer these features, so score some points for CyberGhost.

I submitted a rather basic support ticket to test the 24/7 customer service, but I didn't receive an email back. I then turned to the live chat option, and it only took about a minute to begin the support process. If you're in even more immediate need of assistance, there are a bunch of pre-written articles available.

Privacy and security

CyberGhost VPN Log policy

CyberGhost VPN Log policySource: Android Central

CyberGhost offers OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, WireGuard, and PPTP protocols to connect, which helps open it up to so many different devices. You get 256-bit AES encryption with a 4,096-bit key for exchanges. That's basically the norm these days, though some VPN providers up things to an 8,192-bit key. In any case, you should feel secure with the level of encryption from CyberGhost. To help keep your browsing private, CyberGhost includes an automatic kill switch that cuts your internet connection if the VPN goes down, as well as DNS leak protection.

A VPN's log-keeping policy should be a top concern when shopping around, and CyberGhost scores well. Operating out of Bucharest, Romania, CyberGhost has no legal obligation to log user activity. It also resides outside of 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes intelligence alliances. CyberGhost makes it clear that some information is kept, but only in order to keep your service running. The email address you use to sign up, payment information, and cookie preferences are logged. Keep in mind that you can pay anonymously with Bitcoin and use a burner email address to protect your privacy.

To help keep users at ease, CyberGhost releases a transparency report every three months that details DMCA complaints, police and agency information requests, and statistics about how CyberGhost operates.

Should you sign up?

CyberGhost VPN brings a lot to the table, especially when you consider the competitive long-term pricing. There are functional apps and wide compatibility with many platforms, and the service can be used for streaming and P2P sharing thanks to dedicated servers. There are thousands of servers spread out over 89 countries.

Performance was stellar on a Windows 10 PC, and establishing a connection was — if not for a rare hiccup — a speedy process. Unfortunately, using the CyberGhost VPN Android app did not result in the same performance. If you're shopping for a VPN service to use primarily with a mobile device, you might want to look elsewhere at some of our other best VPN options.

Still, CyberGhost brings solid security in the form of 256-bit AES encryption, and it offers plenty of extra features to keep your browsing habits private. Minimal logs are kept, and CyberGhost releases a transparency report every three months. There's quick customer support through the live chat option, and there are plenty of prewritten articles available to help VPN beginners get things up and running.

Long-term pricing will net you the best deal, but check out our best VPN deals roundup to ensure you're getting the absolute best price when you feel it's time to sign up.



CyberGhost VPN

Strong security, plenty of servers, and no log keeping make CyberGhost VPN a strong contender for your next VPN.

We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

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