CyberGhost review

CyberGhost is a solid choice for those prioritising privacy and security at an affordable price.

However, for users who prioritise streaming performance and speed, there are better options available in the market.

Price

Defining a VPN’s value is much harder than simply looking at the price. There’s a lot more to consider. Factors such as how many devices are covered, how long the subscription lasts, how many servers the VPN has and whether or not it comes with additional add-ons or bonus features all need to be considered.

CyberGhost has three payment options. There’s a one-month option costing $12.99/month, a six-month option costing $6.99/month and a two-year option costing $2.19/month. Our special offer gives you an extra two months for free when signing up for the two-year subscription.

Our findings show that, on average, the best VPNs cost $4.33/month for a 24-month subscription. This means a 24-month CyberGhost subscription is a very good deal. If you’re not looking for a long-term subscription, though, at $12.99 for a single month, CyberGhost is slightly more expensive than the average of $12/month.

CyberGhost review

Pros

  • Features NoSpy servers, a Killswitch, and split tunnelling.
  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions.
  • Over 9,000 servers in 91 countries.
  • Independent audit confirms no-logs policy.

Cons

  • Not optimal for streaming due to speed issues.
  • Majority of servers are virtual.
  • Lacks a proprietary protocol.

Devices/Availability

A CyberGhost subscription allows you to cover up to seven devices. Our research shows that this is right on the average. It’s important to know that some VPNs now offer unlimited device coverage. The best for this is Private Internet Access. However, Surfshark, Windscribe and IPVanish all offer unlimited coverage as well.

CyberGhost has an easy-to-use app and is available on almost any device you can think of:

Computers

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Chromebook

Mobile devices

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Amazon Fire
  • Kindle

Streaming devices

  • Amazon Fire Stick/TV
  • Chromecast
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Android TV

You can also install CyberGhost on a router to cover all devices without being limited to seven. To do this, you will need a specific router compatible with OpenVPN. It works well. However, I didn’t find it nearly as easy as installing ExpressVPN on a router. I also found the ExpressVPN router much more user-friendly and reliable.

Streaming Performance

Streaming sites are always trying to stop VPNs from accessing their content. Major ones like Netflix, Hulu, MAX, and BBC iPlayer are using more complex ways to block VPNs, including Cyberghost.

For some VPNs, it’s tough to bypass these blocks. And if a VPN isn’t able to effectively get around them, it probabvly isn’t a good option for streaming performance.

We tested Cyberghost for a month in New Zealand, trying to connect to four streaming services: US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MAX. It allowed us to access all four streaming services, however the connection was very slow, and we came across buffering, loss of resolution and slowdown issues regularly.

Is CyberGhost secure?

To evaluate how secure CyberGhost is, we ran a series of tests. These tests measure for any DNS leaks when using the VPN.

What is a DNS leak test?

A DNS, or Domain Name System, is like a phonebook for the internet where each website’s name is linked to its IP address. For example, when you type in a website like ReviewsFire.com, the DNS finds the IP address for that site.

Your device asks a DNS server for the website’s IP address every time you visit a site. Once it gets this IP address from the DNS, you can view the website.

Using a VPN like CyberGhost, your internet activity, including your requests to visit websites, is sent through the VPN’s network.

If the VPN is good and secure, it will encrypt your requests and send them through its own DNS servers. If it’s not secure, these requests go through your local internet provider’s server.

A DNS leak test helps check if your VPN is secure. If you see your local internet provider’s name during this test, it means your VPN isn’t fully protecting your online activity.

CyberGhost DNS leak test results:

CyberGhost has its own proprietary DNS leak test software. When using this, we found all of our data, including our DNS requests, were going directly through the VPN servers, meaning there were no leaks.

Additionally, we used third-party software, DNSleaktest.com, to test how secure CyberGhost is and found no DNS leaks during testing.

Privacy Policy

CyberGhost claims it has a “no-logs policy.” This means that the VPN doesn’t keep records of your online activity while using the VPN. This can include your IP address, browsing history, session duration, DNS queries, accessed content, bandwidth usage and more.

To verify its sincerity, CyberGhost was independently audited by Deloitte. Interestingly, to get the report, you have to request it from Deloitte Romania; however, there hasn’t been any news or announcements to suggest that Deloitte found that CyberGhost wasn’t staying true to its no-logs policy. This means when you use CyberGhost, you are fully secure and anonymous.

CyberGhost review

Server Network

CyberGhost claims it has over 9,000 servers around the world. But this isn’t a great way to measure a VPN’s effectiveness, as thousands of servers may be in the same location. For example, CyberGhost has just under 2,000 servers in the US alone.

A better way to measure a VPN’s effectiveness is by looking at how many countries the VPN has servers in. CyberGhost has servers in 91 countries. This is a very good amount. Our research shows that the top 20 VPNs only have servers in 71 countries worldwide.

But, 54% of these servers are virtual servers. In comparison, less than 3% of ExpressVPN networks are virtual servers. This means it has a much larger network of dedicated physical servers and is generally quicker and more reliable.

There are two types of VPN servers: physical and virtual. We consider physical servers the gold standard as they’re dedicated hardware setups in the country where you want your IP address to be based. This means the registered IP your VPN gives you and the server providing it are physically located in the same country. 

Dedicated servers are usually faster than virtual servers. They’re generally more reliable and are also customisable as the hardware is dedicated to that server. This means if a server is having problems, a VPN can quickly fix it.

Virtual servers act like physical servers, but they don’t have hardware solely dedicated to them. They’re installed on already existing hardware and are then rented by VPNs. This means it’s not a physical server built and maintained by the VPN.

They’re often a bit slower than physical servers as they share resources with other servers, and because most of the time, they’re rented, it can be difficult to fix issues and errors with them. CyberGhost must rely on the server owner to fix any issues with its virtual servers. 

With that said, most of the time, they work fine, and you won’t be able to tell the difference. Virtual servers are very good at allowing a VPN to provide IP addresses in countries where installing or building a physical server is impossible.

For example, CyberGhost can give you an IP address based in China. However, the server won’t be in China. It will be in a location where VPN servers are easier to build or rent. For example, CyberGhost’s Chinese server is actually based in Singapore.

Speed

To measure the speed of CyberGhost, we connected to multiple servers worldwide and initiated download and upload speed tests. This can be affected by numerous factors, such as the speed of your internet connection and how far away you are from the server, but to accommodate this, we measured the speeds with CyberGhost turned on against our speeds with it turned off.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off930516
CyberGhost US server192.292.63182.443.65
CyberGhost UK server139.191.90277.141.91
CyberGhost Vietnam server232.244.32314.184.31

These speed tests were conducted in New Zealand, and the results weren’t great. First, we see massive drops in both download and upload speeds in all three locations. This was the case for both the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols.

We found that ExpressVPN and its Lightway protocol achieved far better speeds.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Protocols

CyberGhost supports three protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard. A VPN protocol is a set of rules that define how data is transmitted and encrypted when using a VPN service.

Different VPN protocols have their own ways of encrypting data. Some are faster than others, while some are more secure than others, but they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

CyberGhost’s options are standard for the industry. 

OpenVPN is a highly secure protocol. It’s often regarded as the benchmark for ensuring a secure VPN connection. OpenVPN is an open-source software which allows it to be scrutinised and tested by independent users. It’s compatible with several different encryption cyphers and can be configured to use both TCP and UDP connections. The only weakness is it does tend to be a bit slower than other protocols. However, it’s incredibly secure. You can read more about OpenVPN here.

WireGuard is a newer protocol that prioritises speed. It’s also open source, so it is available for third-party scrutiny and has a very light code base at only 4,000 lines of code. Releasing in 2019, WireGuard is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its increased speed, performing 3x faster than OpenVPN. It also doesn’t use much bandwidth. But it’s not as secure as OpenVPN. You can find out more about WireGuard here.

IKEv2 is known for its speed and reliability. It’s incredibly popular for mobile devices. You can read more about IKEv2 here.

CyberGhost doesn’t have its own proprietary protocol, though. ExpressVPN has a very good Lightway protocol, and NordVPN has NordLynx. Proprietary protocols are completely controlled by the VPN provider, meaning they can constantly fix and update it. CyberGhost lacks this reliability, but the protocols it does support are solid options.

CyberGhost review

Ease of use

CyberGhost is straightforward and easy to use. Boasting a similar design to many other VPNs, the list of servers are on the left and you can connet to them easily.

There isn’t a lot of customisation options in the settings but everything you need is here.

Customer Support

CyberGhost offers round-the-clock chat support, allowing you to reach out anytime with questions or concerns.

It’s reassuring to know that if you encounter any problems with the VPN, they are available to assist you with solutions and troubleshooting.

When I contacted them to inquire about their virtual server count, they responded almost immediately.

Core Features/ Add-Ons

CyberGhost has kill switch support. This security feature will turn your internet connection off if the VPN connection disconnects. It adds good security, ensuring you remain anonymous when online.

It also supports split tunnelling, which allows you to divide your internet traffic between a VPN connection and a direct internet connection. That means you can select apps and programs you want to run through the VPN while simultaneously having other apps and programs using your normal internet connection. This is great if you’re using an app that doesn’t respond well to the VPN like Outlook not working with VPN.

CyberGhost allows you to purchase a dedicated IP address. This means you won’t share the IP address it provides you with anyone else. This helps prevent you from coming across issues like CyberGhost not working with Netflix. It also has in-built ad-blocking software. And for an extra $2.13/month, you can purchase CyberGhost’s own antivirus and security suite.

One of the best features CyberGhost provides is NoSpy servers. These servers are specially designed to provide an extra layer of security and privacy for users.

  1. Enhanced Privacy: NoSpy servers are located in a separate, high-security data centre in Romania, where CyberGhost is headquartered. This reduces the risk of government surveillance or interference when using the VPN.
  2. Strict No-Logs Policy: Like all CyberGhost servers, NoSpy servers maintain a strict no-logs policy.
  3. Strong Encryption: NoSpy servers, like other CyberGhost servers, used strong encryption protocols to protect user data during transmission.
CyberGhost review

Verdict

CyberGhost boasts an extensive server network across 91 countries, robust security features like NoSpy servers, a Killswitch, and split tunnelling, making it a compelling choice for those seeking online privacy. And with affordable long-term subscription plans, it offers good value for money.

However, while CyberGhost ticks many boxes for security and privacy, it falls short in streaming performance. Although it allows access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, users may face slow speeds, leading to buffering and resolution issues. This can be a significant downside for those primarily interested in VPNs for streaming.

CyberGhost’s heavy reliance on virtual servers and the lack of a proprietary protocol slightly diminish its appeal, especially when compared to competitors like ExpressVPN, which offers faster speeds and a more user-friendly experience, particularly on routers.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Security
Speed
Streaming
Servers
Addons
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Yes, Patch is my (real) name and reviewing tech is my game. Get in touch at patch.bowen@thebit.nz
cyberghost-review-2024 CyberGhost is a solid choice for those prioritising privacy and security at an affordable price. However, for users who prioritise streaming performance and speed, there are better options available in the market. Price Defining a VPN's value is much harder than simply looking at the price....