CyberGhost is an interesting VPN provider, with some intriguing selling points. Its main focus is on streaming.
- Wide range of speedy servers
- Very clear and easy to use application
- Reliably evade geoblocking
- Does keep (limited) data
- No P2P on mobile apps
- Current owner may be unreliable
|Works with:||Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS iPhone-iPad|
|Payment methods:||PayPal, Credit Card, Bitcoin, iDeal|
|Speed:||8.5 / 10|
|Protocols:||OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2|
|Log policy:||No logs|
|Jurisdiction:||Romania - Not a Fourteen Eyes Country AND Not an Enemy of the Internet.|
Cyberghost VPN has an interesting offer for anyone looking for a wide range of fast VPN servers to access for a low price. There are some downsides to this proposition, however. But looking at the overall amount of speedy servers compared to the price point makes a subscription to Cyberghost VPN look like quite a steal. The Romanian based company has been quickly building up their network. Now it can advertise a network of 3676 servers, based in sixty different countries. Normally you’ll see a lot of fluctuations between servers in different nations, but surprisingly, that does not appear to be the case here. If you look up a server with normal loads, even the connection speeds to the US are very decent.
As is the case with most VPN providers, the majority of servers are based in Europe and the US. Cyberghost has some interesting other nations featured, however. For instance, there are several servers available in South America and even in South Africa. The speeds your connection will manage will, of course, be lower here, mostly due to infrastructure in these nations being a lot worse than we’re used to in the Western world. It’s good to see that there are no servers based in nations that are known enemies of free speech. Overall the server offering Cyberghost presents us with is very nice. Especially if you travel a lot and want to use some more exotic locations to surf from.
Cyberghosts desktop application is very nice to use. Installation for both Windows and MacOS users is very easy and most features are readily available for even less experienced users. As soon as you finish up your subscription, the website instantly sends you to a download page, where the app automatically begins to install itself. This may seem a little pushy to more experienced users, but for those who have less technical expertise, this is a godsend. They will not have to look for specific versions of the application to install. Instead, they can get right to using their VPN.
First off, let’s take a look at the desktop app itself. The startup screen is very clear and easy to read and allows you to quickly get a connection to a VPN server. If you would like more options, you can click the sidebar in order to expand it. Here you get a more in-depth overview of available servers, subdivided into nation, function (like P2P or streaming) and how much traffic the server is pulling at this time.
The Cyberghost application gives you a lot of leeways to configure your connection as you like. There is the usual protection against DNS leaks and of course, there is a Kill Switch available. Besides these options, Cyberghosts offers a few interesting extra’s. There are automatic Adblockers available and you can force an HTTPS connection on websites that normally do not allow this. These extra options make Cyberghost an interesting proposition, even for more experienced VPN users. This does not extend to all facets of the service, however. We did notice that the built-in adblocker did not successfully block all commercials.
The mobile application Cyberghost offers is sadly a lot more limited. A lot of the extra features in the desktop version are missing on mobile and the number of settings to tweak is limited. What is an interesting feature is the option to compress your data traffic. This helps in saving on bandwidth, which is very welcome in the age of data caps on mobile. However, this feature also tends to slow your connection quite a bit. The Cyberghost application also lets you use specific settings only on certain servers, which is handy. This allows you to make exceptions for your trusted networks, like at home or school, but not for other open wifi connections.
Cyberghost makes a point of advertising with circumventing geographical blockades on their website. Not only for US Netflix and BBC iPlayer but also services less offered like Hulu and HBO Go. Of course, there are other companies offering the same service, but most turn out to not work as well as advertised once you try them. This does not seem to be the case with Cyberghost. To our surprise, most services worked instantly and without a hitch. There are specialized servers available for different types of streaming services. With a few exceptions, most of these servers perform admirably. Connection speeds are good enough for streaming from the US to Europe in 1080p with no issues.
Of course, we have to place the caveat here that Cyberghost and other VPN providers are locked in a constant struggle with content providers over these geoblockades. At the time of writing these functions are all working, but this can change at any moment. For now, Cyberghost has this part of their service covered and we expect this to remain for a while. As long as a VPN provider advertises being able to circumvent geoblocking, they tend to have these services working fine.
Cyberghosts VPN servers offer some excellent speeds, especially in Europe and the United States. Because the application makes it easy to see which servers are relatively quiet, you can easily make sure you get the best speed results. As is to be expected, the rest of the world’s connections are quite a bit slower. Just to give you an idea, we tried connecting to a server in Kenya, just to see how it performed. With a download speed of 5.59 Mb/sec, this was a very slow connection. However, looking at the available infrastructure in these nations, we cannot fault the service too much for this.
All of the available streaming and Peer 2 peer-servers perform very admirably. Please do note that Cyberghost does not offer P2P-servers in the United States, but most users will not be bothered by this fact. What is interesting, is that these specialized servers do not show up in the mobile application. After a little research, we found out that Cyberghost does not allow Peer 2 Peer connections on mobile. A small downside to those that want to use BitTorrent when on the road.
When it comes to subscription models, Cyberghost keeps things simple. You will find no special subscriptions here with all kinds of different functions. Every available sub has all the features available, only the pricing and length of the subscription are different. The basic Cyberghost subsets you back 12.99 dollars per month. This seems a little pricey, so we were glad to see that this price drops quickly for longer subscriptions. If you want access for a year to the Cyberghost service, the price drops to 5.99 dollars per month. For two years you pay 3.69 dollars a month and the cheapest option of the three-year subscription costs 2.75 dollars per month. There is also the option for users to get their own private IP-address, which sets you back another 5 dollars per month. This is a pretty average price for this type of service.
We did notice that there are some places that offer a ‘lifetime subscription’ to Cyberghost VPN. These are not offered on their own website, but only through third parties. A quick Google search will get you a few of these offers, but please note we do not recommend these at all. Not just because they are relatively pricy, but more because ‘lifetime’ here only means as long as the company exists. We have seen instances of companies just pocketing the income from these subscriptions and closing up shop. Or people who had lifetime subscriptions to services suddenly notice their subscription had been modified to a normal yearly sub. Please be careful if you are considering making a purchase like this.
If you do compare the regularly offered prices by Cyberghost to other VPN providers, the pricing structure seems very reasonable. Especially in the longer subscriptions, Cyberghost can measure up to most ‘premium’ VPN providers out there. If we were to compare them to the absolute top of our testing, they’ll come out slightly below the very best. But if you’re looking for a VPN that specialized in circumventing geographical blockades, Cyberghost is an interesting proposition.
Privacy and Security
Sadly, this is the part of the review where Cyberghost really loses out to some of the other VPN providers we have reviewed. At first sight, everything seems to be in order. Cyberghost utilizes the most secure protocols and encryption. If you look a bit further however, some things really stand out. First off there is the no logs policy you can read on their website. It clearly states how Cyberghost’s policy works and they state to not collect any data. If you look a little further down however, you’ll find that there is data being kept, especially on the frontend (website). In fact, some of this data is actually being shared with other companies. Besides using tracking scripts like Hotjar, Cyberghost looks to be sharing data with companies like Mixpanel.
There is a transparency report on the website, but most of the data we find in there is very hard to verify independently. The report makes it seem like the company receives a lot of requests for data or the blocking of certain IP addresses. How Cyberghost responds to these requests is not entirely clear. The report does, however, mention at this point that it is illegal to use their service in order to circumvent the law, which seems slightly ominous at best.
On top of this is the current ownership of Cyberghost. The company started out in Romania but was sold in 2017 to the Israeli company Crossrider. This company has since changed its name to Kape Technologies. The reason for this seems very clear: Crossrider has a very bad reputation when it comes to privacy and security. In fact: they have been directly connected to several outbreaks of malware. As late as 2018 reports surfaced of Crossrider being involved in spreading harmful Adobe Flash updates.
Netflix and Torrents
Circumventing geographical blockades is where Cyberghost VPN really shines. They advertise with this feature for a reason. The streaming servers are all top quality and perform well, even under some load. Just about every server we tested instantly hooked us up with US Netflix and other services worked just as well. There are even some Japanese streaming services which work, which is interesting for fans of Japanese cinema and anime.
Cyberghost also gives you the option of renting your own IP address. Because you will be the only one using this address, instead of the thousands logging in with the normal servers, chances of you being blocked are slim. It also gives you the option to securely approach your home computer without having to turn off your VPN. It’s a nice addition, to say the least.
BitTorrent on Cyberghost works like a charm. That is if you’re using a computer. On mobile, Peer 2 Peer connections are not allowed. Using P2P on Cyberghosts does present some food for thought, as the company that owns the business may not be the most trustworthy. As they mention specifically that they might work with private parties, it’s not unthinkable that they may share data with instances like copyright protection outfits. Be aware of this before you choose Cyberghost for BitTorrent.
Cyberghost tends to make sure that their services are easy to understand. But if you do end up with a support question, they have a web ticketing system, chat and support section available for customers. The database they have on their website looks to be incredibly in depth. However, a lot of the information here was sadly subpar. Articles contain little helpful information or are hard to parse. Some topics clearly deserve their own section but are for some reason divided between other sections of the knowledge base.
Finding the chat support feature can take a little time. If you do manage to get a hold of one of the support staff, they are very knowledgeable and are able to assist you in getting your VPN running.
We are a little puzzled why Cyberghost is getting such high marks on other websites when there are plenty of niggles that drag this service down. For people that are really serious about their privacy, we find this company hard to recommend. The company that owns Cyberghost is untrustworthy, to say the least, and the no-logs policy is contradicted on their own website. However, if you’re less interested in privacy and just looking for a VPN to circumvent geoblokades or do some torrenting? Cyberghost can offer you speedy and stable connections for these purposes. The number of servers, locations and speeds can compare with most ‘premium’ VPN providers on our list. The starting price may be a little high, but for longer subscriptions, the pricing is reasonable. If you want, you can try the service for 45 days and if you’re not happy, you can get your money back.
Overall, Cyberghost is an interesting VPN provider, with some intriguing selling points. Sadly these also come with some severe downsides, which makes Cyberghost hard to recommend for VPN experts. If you are less experienced, and just want to watch streaming services and use BitTorrent, you can give the service a try. In return, you’ll get a VPN with a unique feature set, that is remarkably easy to use.