CyberGhost VPN is fast and reliable. It provides military-grade encryption, unlocks major streaming services (including Netflix USA page), and it is a great VPN to hide your identity while torrenting.
It is easy to use, but some problems will sting you! Still, I was to consider the overall performance, CyberGhost is a good choice for those who are looking for a cheaper alternative to biggies like NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
Despite its weaknesses, it is extremely powerful in the security segment, and it can take on any leading VPN head-on.
My Ratings for CyberGhost VPN | Overall: 7.87
As with any other VPN review that I did earlier, I will break this review into 8 broad segments. I will give individual ratings to each segment and use those ratings to calculate the overall score for CyberGhost.
Sounds okay? Great! Here is the table that shows the ratings for individual segments:
|Parameter for Rating||Our Rating|
|UI and User Experience||10|
Now that you know my ratings, it is time to take you through the review and let you know the reasons behind such ratings. Ready?
Let’s start at…
The Pros and Cons of CyberGhost VPN
There are several advantages of CyberGhost, but it is also plagued by many weaknesses. Here is a quick list of the pros and cons of this popular VPN service:
- CyberGhost has one of the largest server pools in the world. It has a total of 6218 servers located in 110 locations spread over 89 countries.
- It has separate servers for torrenting.
- It also has optimized servers for streaming.
- It is not a part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes alliance.
- It offers 256-bit military-grade AES encryption.
- It has a no-logs policy.
- It offers different VPN protocols, including the latest WireGuard protocol. The regular OpenVPN and IKEv2 are also present.
- It offers DNS and IP leak protection.
- CyberGhost comes with an automatic Kill Switch.
- It offers unlimited bandwidth and traffic.
- It offers 7 simultaneous connections.
- Unlike competitors like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, etc., CyberGhost offers a free trial, but only for one day.
- It offers split tunneling.
- It cannot bypass the Great Firewall of China.
- The free trial is total crap. It will make you wait in a queue to connect to a server. It will show well over 3000 people ahead of you in the queue, and bug you to buy a subscription.
- It doesn’t have obfuscated servers or other specialized servers like Tor servers.
- The speed you get with a free trial will make you feel like an environment of the Stone Age.
- In general, the speed is nowhere close to NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
- The features of macOS and mobile are very limited.
- The adblocker feature is a piece of junk.
- It cannot work with Chromebook.
- The no-logs policy is not transparent.
CyberGhost VPN At a Glance
Wondering where the CyberGhost VPN is located? Do you want to know what platforms are supported by this VPN? Here is what you need to know for now:
|Location of NordVPN||Romania|
|Year of Foundation||2011|
|Storage Type||Hard drive|
|Logging Policy||Strictly no logging|
|5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes Alliance||Not a member of any such alliance|
|Number of Simultaneous Connections||Seven connections against one license|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, VPN console, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and browser extensions.|
|Refund Policy||45-day money-back guarantee|
Okay, now that you have a fair idea, let me walk you through the experience I had with CyberGhost.
CyberGhost Security | Overall Score: 8.5
The first thing that you should look at while selecting any VPN is security. In this segment, CyberGhost stands at par with other leading VPN providers. So, let’s see what CyberGhost has to offer.
256-bit AES Encryption
It uses the industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption. The actual size of the encryption key is 256. This length allows room for 1.1 x 1077 possible combinations. Now, if you deploy the fastest known supercomputer (Tianhe-2), it will take millions of years to crack the key.
Even better, the encryption algorithm combines SHA256 authentication and the 4096-bit RSA key. I will avoid going into the details, but even Tianhe-2 will take 6.4 quadrillion years (6,400,000,000,000,000 years) to calculate the RSA key.
This is the type of encryption algorithm that even NSA (National Security Agency) advocates. Yes, it is the only publicly available encryption that finds usage in military and national security.
So, if CyberGhost’s encryption is so secure, why did I give it a score of ‘8.5’ in the security segment? That is because of the SHA256 authentication. This is the authentication that decrypts the data. Now, SHA256 is really strong, but there is a stronger SHA512 authentication that ExpressVPN uses.
In the case of P2P scenario (that is when you are torrenting), you should have the highest level of authentication. I prefer SHA512 authentication, but that doesn’t mean that SHA256 will not keep me safe. It will. It is extremely powerful.
It is just my preference that made me give a score of 8.5 in the security segment.
There is another reason. The provider doesn’t offer a SOCKS5 proxy, which is the highest possible security proxy. It is particularly helpful in the case of torrenting as it helps to improve both download and upload speeds. NordVPN offers this feature.
That’s not all! There’s something wrong with their No-Logs policy. Keep reading!
Perfect Forward Secrecy
Whenever you are using any encryption algorithm, there is always a secret key that will allow you to encrypt and decrypt the data. Whoever has this key can decrypt the data. What if someone steals key?
This is the reason why CyberGhost ensures that the key changes with every VPN session you use. This feature of changing the security or secret key is called Perfect Forward Secrecy.
No IP/DNS Leak on CyberGhost Servers
You must check this aspect of security. In case you didn’t know, there are situations where your computer can quickly revert back to the default DNS servers. A situation like this can happen when the VPN that you are using doesn’t have a DNS leak protection.
A scenario like this is scary because once that happens, your ISP can see all your online activities. Do you really want that to happen?
That’s the reason why you should have a VPN that guarantees IP/DNS leak protection. CyberGhost is one of those providers who provide that feature.
In fact, the options are turned on by default. You can find then in the settings segment. If you are a newbie to VPN, you don’t even have to worry about it.
Now the question is, ‘how well does this feature work in CyberGhost VPN?’
I decided to put it to the test. I tested 20 different servers in 20 different countries. All of them turned with positive results. IPv6 was not detected in those tests, and neither did any of the tests detect any forwarded IP.
The test results went on to prove the CyberGhost is clean, and if you are using it to hide your IP, you are doing so in style!
CyberGhost says that it doesn’t keep logs. That’s not entirely true. Don’t be alarmed. The provider logs only anonymous connection data. Whatever data they collect, they aggregate and anonymize them to make sure that no one can trace it back to you.
The data that CyberGhost logs include:
- Country of Origin.
- Successful connections.
- Connections attempts.
- Logins made by anonymous accounts per day.
- Account information.
You will be surprised to know that some of the biggest names in the VPN world actually do this.
The collection of aggregated connection logs is a common practice. They, however, delete all the data every 24 hours. There is also a monthly sum that they will delete at the end of each month.
There is one concern here. CyberGhost needs to manually delete the data because they use hard drive storage instead of RAM storage.
The data that CyberGhost never stores include:
- The server that is assigned to you.
- Your browsing history.
- Your IP address.
These are all your personal data, and they ensure that they never log any of those.
The hardware data that CyberGhost collects include:
- Your computer username.
- Base ID.
- CPU ID.
- Video ID.
- BIOS date.
- BIOS ID.
The company does release an annual transparency report where they list all the DMCA complaints or legal requests it receives.
The company also allowed an independent audit back in the year 2012.
The audit aimed at verifying the security practices of the company, and nothing wrong came up in the report. I will, however, love to see a more recent security audit.
Since the last audit, the company has changed ownership. This is a matter of concern, and a new independent audit can go a long way to reinforce the trust that subscribers put in the company.
This problematic No-Logs policy is what made me give it a low score in the security segment.
If you are looking for a genuinely no-logs company, you can check out the NordVPN.
Jurisdiction of CyberGhost
The legal jurisdiction in which a VPN provider operates is an important factor while choosing a VPN provider. The laws of the land will determine whether or not the VPN provider is subject to any data retention and data sharing laws or not.
As far as CyberGhost is considered, it is located in Bucharest, Romania. It is incorporated as CyberGhost S.A.
Romania is not a member of 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes alliances. That’s great!
However, the company is located in the EU because Romania is a part of the EU. EU members, in general, have a very aggressive data-retention and data sharing agreement.
Fortunately, Romania stood up to this and became the only member state to say NO to such arrangements.
CCR or the Constitutional Court of Romania passed a judgment in 2009 against the EU legislation. The EU legislation was there to force the companies to keep digital records of all their customers.
The CCR stated that the legislation was unconstitutional and that it violated the privacy rights of the citizens of Romania.
The CCR went on to quote the 1978 ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) ruling which stated:
“…taking surveillance measures without adequate and sufficient safeguards can lead to destroying democracy on the grounds of defending it.”
Thus, CyberGhost is in a very safe jurisdiction. It is needless to say that Romania is a rare gem in the European Union.
Who Owns CyberGhost?
I did say in between that CyberGhost’s ownership changed after 2012. Who owned it first, and who owns it now?
I am including this segment because I think you deserve to know.
So, here we go…
Robert Knapp – a German tech entrepreneur, created and launched CyberGhost in 2011. The idea was to keep it free. In 2017, the Crossrider Group – an Israeli company purchased it for 9.2 million Euros.
Crossrider itself was founded in the year 2010. The company operated two platforms – one for the development of browser extensions, and the other was a mobile ad platform.
The browser extension development platform allowed developers to create cross-browser add-ons, and then use those add-ons to inject ads. This allowed monetization of the add-ons.
The developers used to bundle their add-ons with Crossrider adware PUP. PUP is the acronym for Potentially Unwanted Programs.
Once the users installed the add-ons, the adware PUP was also installed on their browser and served unwanted ads.
Not only are such ads intrusive, but in the wrong hands, they can be very dangerous. As a matter of fact, some developers actually went ahead and used Crossrider’s platform with malevolent intentions.
Malwarebytes came up with a report on this. Here is a screenshot of the same:
The controversy eventually forced Crossrider to close both its platforms. This happened in 2016. The company then renamed itself as Kape Technologies.
Ido Erlichmann, the CEO of Kape Technologies, stated publicly that they wanted to distance themselves from the past doings of the company, and this triggered the name change.
CyberGhost VPN Speed | Overall Score: 8
When you are buying a VPN service, you need to consider the speed as well. Usually, premium VPN service providers will provide good speed. However, you will invariably see a slower speed.
This happens because of a few simple reasons that are:
- Data encryption and decryption takes some time (even if it is on-the-fly).
- Your data will travel via a VPN server to reach the final destination. This will make the route longer than required. The longer the distance your data travels, the slower is your speed.
- The distance of the VPN server from your location is also important. If you are in, say, America, and you are connecting to a server in America, the distance isn’t very high. When you connect fro a VPN server located in say, India, from your desktop or device located in the US, there will be a large distance between you and the server. This leads to a slowdown.
- The base speed of your Internet connection also determines the eventual speed. For instance, if I have a base broadband connection of 100 Mbps, I can get higher speed when I use a VPN. If the base speed that I have is 50 Mbps, I will get a slower speed.
- Your connection speed will also depend on the server load. The greater the load on a particular VPN server, the slower the speed.
- Another important factor is the time of the day when you are connecting to the VPN server. There may be more server load at the time when you are trying to connect. This load may fall or rise later.
- The type of VPN protocol you are using will also determine the speed. For instance, IKEv2 is faster than OpenVPN. OpenVPN is more secure. This is where you have to decide – speed or security?
How Does the CyberGhost VPN Perform in the Speed Segment?
Decent! I won’t say it is amazing, but it is decent. I tested the speed across several servers spread over various countries.
For the purpose of testing, I used the following:
- A fiber broadband connection with a base speed of 85 Mpbs.
- A Windows PC running Core i5 processor clocked at 3.00 GHz.
- I plugged in the Internet cable directly into the RJ45 port of the motherboard.
- I test it at 12 noon.
- I used the OpenVPN protocol.
- I selected the servers manually.
Here are the test results:
|Server Location||Download Speed||Upload Speed||Percentage Drop in Download Speed|
|Speed without VPN||84.0 Mbps||76.8 Mbps||0% (baseline figure)|
|Recommended Server in the US||56.7 Mbps||37.2 Mbps||~32.5%|
|Manually Selected Server in New York||55.4 Mbps||32.8 Mbps||~34%|
|Manually Selected Server in San Francisco||58.2 Mbps||59.0 Mbps||~25.8%|
|Server in the UK||42.6 Mbps||23.3 Mbps||~49.3%|
|Sever in Germany||38.1 Mbps||12.7 Mbps||~54.6%|
|Server in Australia||6.2 Mbps||4.7 Mbps||~92.6%|
|Server in India||5.4 Mbps||2.4 Mbps||~93.6%|
The table gives a clear dictum! CyberGhost isn’t really that fast as I would prefer it to be.
NordVPN rocks in this segment.
The worst part is that farther the distance of the VPN server from my location, the slower the speed!
It is quite unbelievable to see more than a 90% drop!
The worst part is that the free trial gives more than a 90% drop for a server in the same country as my location (US).
Here is a quick screenshot for the server located in San Francisco using the free trial:
Do I need to say anything more?
Streaming content from US libraries or UK libraries of Netflix and BBC iPlayer respectively wasn’t a problem. I did not experience any buffering, and it was smooth. It was a horror scene when I tried doing it on a server in India.
I tried to stream HotStar libraries, and trust me, it will be easier to dig a tunnel through the Himalayas. I just closed HotStar, and I was a happy man!
How Does CyberGhost Stack Up Against Other Top VPNs in the Speed Segment?
Are you ready to learn this? Fine! I compared it to 4 different VPN providers – NordVPN, ExpressVPN, SurfShark, and PrivateVPN. Here is a quick comparative table:
|Average of top 4 VPNs||Average of CyberGhost VPN|
|Ping time||26ms||9999 ms|
|Time to connect to servers||8 seconds||14 seconds|
|Download speed drop||21 Mbps||48 Mbps|
|Upload speed drop||32 Mbps||56 Mbps|
I used the same set of rules for every one of these VPNs except the time of testing. I could have tested at least two of them simultaneously on two desktops, but one of my computers has called in a sick day, and requires a change in its configurations!
So, I tested each one individually one a single computer by installing and uninstalling them one at a time.
I started testing at round 1:00 PM and completed at around 2:00 PM using the following hardware and software configuration:
- 85 Mbps fiber broadband connection plugged directly to RJ45 port.
- One Windows 10 PC running on Core i5 processor (3.00 GHz), and 8GB RAM.
- I tested 10 different servers for each one of them (and restricted myself to servers in America and Europe, because I didn’t want a repeat telecast of the horror scenes of connecting to a very distant server).
- I used the OpenVPN protocol for all tests.
- I collected the download and upload speeds for all 10 servers for each of the four VPNs I wanted to compare, and calculated the average. I then separately tested CyberGhost VPN across 10 different servers and calculated the average.
CyberGhost is nowhere even close to those four VPNs in terms of speed.
What Can You Do If You Experience Slow Speed?
CyberGhost gives slow speed. There is nothing much you can do about it. However, you can still try a few things like:
- If possible, upgrade your Internet connection to a higher speed.
- Use the IKEv2 protocol or WireGuard protocol. See if it helps to increase your speed.
- Try to connect to a different server with a lower load. The server list will show you the number of users on each server, the load percentage, etc.
Streaming Experience With CyberGhost VPN | Overall Score: 8.5
Streaming experience with CyberGhost was more or less good. I won’t say it was terrible. The problem of slow speed popped in only when I tried to stream something from a very distant server.
However, I could happily access Netflix US using CyberGhost without any glitch. There were no buffering issues.
I tried to unblock BBC iPlayer. The first try did not work. CyberGhost managed to get across the geo-restriction with the second try.
I repeatedly tried unblocking BBC iPlayer from different servers, and most of the time, CyberGhost managed to bypass the geo-restriction.
Here is a quick list of all the streaming services that I tested:
|Service||Unblocked by NordVPN|
|France2 (Local channel of France)||Yes|
|SBS Australia (Local channel of Australia)||Yes|
Unfortunately, CyberGhost did not do a great job with SBS Australia. It did bypass the geo-restriction, but there was a buffering issue. It was so horrible that I decided to just let it go.
I even tried unblocking the DZAN streaming service. It failed to unblock DZAN. This particular streaming service has a very sensitive geo-restriction feature in place. Even NordVPN failed to bypass it. So far, I found that only ExpressVPN is the one that can access DZAN.
In case you are not aware, DZAN is a streaming service available only Switzerland, Japan, Austria, Germany, and Canada. It is a sports streaming service. If you are not into sports, CyberGhost’s inability to bypass it should not bother you.
What I did like about CyberGhost is that it highlights the servers that are optimized for various streaming services. Yes, there are a set of special servers that are for streaming. So, whenever you feel like streaming some content using the VPN service, use those servers.
Here is a screenshot of what it looks like:
If you see clearly, the app says which servers are designed for streaming what services. This is pretty handy because it will save you a lot of trouble.
Be aware, though! These servers can be plagued with a high server load. It may happen that the time when you want to watch HBO Now is the time when the server optimized for the service has a high server load.
This condition will lead to slow connection speeds, and you may face buffering issues.
Do you see the search bar on the left? You can simply type in the name of the streaming service, and the app will show you the list of servers that are optimized for the service. Unfortunately, you can find DZAN.
These dedicated servers optimized for streaming keep changing their IP addresses so that the streaming services cannot block them.
The Great Firewall of China
The company doesn’t offer obfuscated servers. This means that the moment you are using a CyberGhost server to bypass the Great Firewall of China, the firewall will know that the traffic is coming from a VPN server.
An obfuscated server is known for disguising the code of a VPN server and makes the traffic originating from it as usual traffic.
This feature is often a necessity for many people, especially those in countries with heavy internet censorship. For instance, human rights activists, whistleblowers, etc. often need to keep their true identity hidden.
I was surprised that CyberGhost failed to bypass the Great Firewall of China. This was not expected from a premium provider who is quite popular among users.
Features of CyberGhost VPN | Overall Score: 8
CyberGhost positions itself as one of the leading VPN services in the world. I don’t entirely agree with this claim considering that there are too many issues, including the slow speed. However, I do need to agree that the VPN does come with some excellent features. Let me walk you through those features.
CyberGhost offers separate servers for streaming and torrenting. That’s something you won’t see every day. Depending on your needs, you can quickly go ahead and select the servers you need.
That, however, doesn’t make your life super easy. You will still need to find out the best servers depending on factors like load, the number of users, etc. I will suggest that you select a server that has fewer users and less load.
This will ensure that you get better speeds for either torrenting or for streaming.
You can see something called NoSpy servers on the menu, but that list is EMPTY! There is nothing there. Is that supposed to give a list of obfuscated servers? I don’t know.
Here is what you see:
Why does it exist? Can anyone tell me?
Well, no need! I anyway figured it out. NoSpy server is a separate package. You need to buy it separately. If you buy a package, you will see a list of servers under the NoSpy menu.
If you go for a NoSpy server package, you will get the following features:
Only a dedicated team of staff members from CyberGhost maintain these servers from a separate NoSpy data center that is located in Romania.
These servers have premium hardware, better bandwidth, higher speed, and dedicated uplinks.
They will provide you extra protection, especially during torrenting. Because these NoSpy servers are independently operated by the CyberGhost staff, the risk of “Man in the Middle” attack goes away. There will be no third party in between to deal with your traffic and data.
I didn’t find this particular feature to be a great feat! On the contrary, it actually tells you that the regular servers offered by CyberGhost are slightly insecure and that they don’t have great speed! Well, they don’t have high speed!
So, my question is, why do you want to go for a service that offers subpar servers in the first place?
The list of specialty servers available is too small compared to what Nord offers. They have Double VPN servers, Obfuscated servers, P2P servers, Dedicated IP servers, and Onion over VPN servers.
I tried to use the torrenting servers, but the download speeds were disturbingly low. The maximum download speed that the torrenting servers could achieve was approximately 600kbps. There was one instance where I saw the speed shoot up to 1.1 Mbps. That, however, did not last long.
The Kill Switch
Kill Switch is an integral part of safety features that should be present with any VPN service provider.
What does this Kill Switch do? It will block your outgoing and incoming internet traffic if the connection of your device to the VPN server drops without any notice.
This is particularly beneficial when you are engaged in torrenting because downloading copyrighted files (music, video, books, software, etc.) is illegal. If someone catches you doing that, you can be in trouble.
In most of the cases, even the ISP will not approve such acts. So, even if you do not realize, your ISP actually knows that you are downloading files illegally when you don’t hide your IP address behind a VPN service.
CyberGhost VPN comes with a Kill Switch. It can almost immediately disconnect your device from the Internet.
CyberGhost activates the feature by default, but if for some reason it is not active, you can do so by merely flipping a button. Here is what it looks like:
If you turn off the Kill Switch, here is what can happen:
- Hackers can get your sensitive information like your banking details, your credit card or debit card number, your identity, etc.
- The government can keep an eye on your online activities.
- Your ISP can see what you are up to.
Do you really want all those things to happen?
If you love to have more discrete control over the apps you use and the internet connection, split tunneling is a perfect feature.
Split tunneling is a particular feature that will let you selectively send the data from particular apps through VPN servers. This way, you can encrypt the traffic from a few apps while the traffic from other apps will remain unencrypted.
Those that you leave out from encryption will use your local IP address while the others will keep using the IP address of the VPN servers.
Ideally, you should be leaving out a few domestic streaming services, banking apps, etc. that operate in your home country. However, it is still possible to use your banking apps through a VPN.
When you use a VPN server, these apps will identify different IP addresses, and possibly flag you from accessing their services when they see the repeated use of different IP addresses.
It is thus better to ensure that you prevent them from accessing the VPN.
CyberGhost offers split tunneling under the name ‘Exceptions.’
The company offers a dedicated split tunneling on its mobile applications. The ‘Exceptions’ rule is available on the desktop application.
All you have to do is to add the URL of the service that you want to leave out. For instance, if you want to leave out the website of your bank (say, Citi Bank), you can add the URL in the given field and hit the ‘Add’ button.
This is what it looks like:
You will also get another feature known as ‘App Protections.’ It too works like split tunneling, but it is far better.
It will allow you to add specific apps that you want to protect using VPN, and add a preferred location/server.
The moment you launch those apps, CyberGhost will ensure that they connect through the server of your choice automatically.
This is particularly beneficial if you are from a different country, and you want to access geo-restricted streaming services in some other country.
Here is what it looks like:
Mobile Applications of CyberGhost
CyberGhost offers dedicated apps for both Android and iOS devices. They are both very easy to use. Installing them and setting them up took me less than 180 seconds.
However, the Android app is far more potent than the iOS app. For instance, the Android app has all the features like ad blocking, malware protection, tracking blocker, split tunneling, Wi-Fi protection, etc. These are all present on the desktop app as well.
However, when you use iOS apps, you will not get those features. The iOS app will provide Wi-Fi protection. You will not find any feature to block ads, block trackers, or block malware. You will not even get the data compression feature available on Android.
The data compression feature allows you to compress images and various other elements on a web page so that you can save your mobile data.
Thus, if you are planning on using the application on your iOS, I will suggest you do not do that. You will be better off using the desktop app on your Mac computer.
On the left side are the settings you will find on the Android app. On the right, you can see the interface of the iOS app.
This extreme inconsistency between the two apps is very disturbing. None of the top VPN providers like Nord or ExpressVPN have such terrible inconsistencies.
CyberGhost offers browser extensions for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. However, they are very basic. I really didn’t like that.
I mean, what will you do with access to only 8 servers in 4 countries? Those four countries are Germany, United States, Romania, and the Netherlands.
Yes, the browser extensions will definitely encrypt the data that leaves your web browser, hide your IP address, and let you access geo-restricted content, but there is no Kill Switch.
The limited number of servers will slow down your speed because you will experience a high server load.
I don’t see why you should be using these browser extensions in the first place if you already have the whole desktop app. Browser extensions do not offer full protection. They cannot protect any other app that uses the Internet.
Wondering which app? What about Adobe Creative Cloud? What about email clients like Microsoft Outlook or BlueMail?
I am not a big advocate of browser extensions anyway, but the limited number of servers available with these browser extensions of CyberGhost simply repel me.
Here is how the browser extension of CyberGhost looks like on Google Chrome:
CyberGhost is compatible with a lot of devices. It is available for the following platforms:
- Microsoft Windows.
- Amazon Fire TV.
- Amazon Fire Stick.
- Raspberry Pi.
- Synology NAS (Network Attached Storage).
- VU+ Solo2.
- Routers (TomatoUSB, Merlin-Built, DD-WRT, etc.).
- Apple TV.
One of the benefits of installing the application on VPN-enabled routers is that you can then encrypt and re-route the traffic from your router to various gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.
You will not get any native app for gaming consoles.
Yet another benefit of bypassing the limitation of the number of simultaneous connections. Once you install it on your router, all devices connected to your router will get VPN protection. You will no longer be limited to 7 simultaneous connections.
Yes, CyberGhost comes with an integrated adblocker feature for both its desktop versions and its Android app.
There are other nifty features like the ability to block malicious websites (protection from malware), and the ability to block online tracking.
They sound great until you know the truth about the adblocker feature!
In 2016, CyberGhost came under criticism for installing root certificates on mobile apps and desktops as a part of their ad blocker software. This, if you don’t know, allows for decryption of all HTTPS traffic.
Apart from that, the adblocking feature itself is quite controversial. It doesn’t use DNS requests for filtering malicious content and adverts (which is a general method used by top VPN providers).
What it will do instead is that it will inspect and manipulate your traffic, and then modify your requests to avoid certain domains.
This practice is very similar to the “Man in the Middle” attack. This is not expected from a trustworthy VPN. A good VPN should never modify the traffic of its users.
On top of that, this approach simply means that it can work only on the HTTP websites because, with this approach, the adblocker simply cannot access the content of HTTPS connections, which are encrypted.
So for me, CyberGhost’s adblocker feature is junk that you should not use in the first place. You are better off using good anti-virus software that offers an adblocking feature.
The Wi-Fi protection feature of CyberGhost is an extra security feature that will keep you protected when you connect to any unprotected public Wi-Fi network.
In this feature, the moment you connect with some unprotected network, CyberGhost VPN will launch automatically.
This feature will allow you to customize the setting by allowing you to ask whether you want to connect to the VPN or not. Additionally, you can set rules for specific Wi-Fi networks where you can tell CyberGhost to completely ignore a few connections.
This feature is turned on by default. You can turn it off if you want to. I will suggest you keep it on if you are using this VPN in the first place.
The VPN comes with a feature that will force your connections to HTTPS-only sites. This happens automatically, and it will prevent you from visiting HTTP sites where your data remains totally exposed to anyone watching.
This again is something that I will be wary of. Basically, it will be inspecting and manipulating your connections. How good is that? Not good at all!
Tor or Onion Router
NordVPN has specialized Tor Over VPN servers, making the experience with Tor network very smooth. CyberGhost, on the other hand, doesn’t have such specialized servers. However, you can still connect to the Tor network after you connect to any of the VPN servers of CyberGhost.
In case you are wondering what Tor or Onion Router means, here is a quick explanation:
It is a network that came into existence with the motive of protecting the privacy of the users when they are online. You don’t need to do anything special. All you have to do is to install and launch the Tor browser and then browse the Internet using it the way you usually do with Google Chrome or any other browser.
Tor browser will help you bypass many geo-restrictions, and make your connection jump over several servers before you connect to the final destination.
Sounds good, right? If Tor can do all that, and if its totally free, why do you need a VPN in the first place?
The reason is simple! When you connect using a Tor browser, the entry node becomes visible to your ISP or anyone who is watching you at that point in time. So, anyone can use the entry node to get your real IP.
It is also possible to backtrace the connection to you no matter how many servers your connection jumps through.
Yet another problem is that Tor is a volunteer-run service. How can you be sure that one of the volunteers will not change his or her mind and snoop around? How can you be sure that the network will not come under a brute force attack?
This is what a VPN prevents from happening.
If you want to use Tor over VPN, that is also a possibility with CyberGhost. The ideal chain of action should be to first connect to a VPN server and then use the Tor browser.
You can do this will any server on the CyberGhost network. You will not need any specialized server for that to happen.
The only problem is that CyberGhost servers are quite slow. Using Tor over VPN will slow you down even further. I tried. It worked. I could use the Tor network over CyberGhost VPN, but the speed was so awful that I just decided to get out of this stint!
Random Port Over OpenVPN Protocol
If you use the OpenVPN protocol, you will get the feature of ‘random port connection.’ This feature will allow you to access non-HTTPS sites securely. It does so by randomly scanning for a wide range of ports instead of simply using the 443 port that is normally used for HTTPS sites.
This will be beneficial if you are in a place like a hotel where you are allowed to access only HTTPS sites using the free/paid Wi-Fi that the hotel provides.
This is a fairly new VPN protocol, and it is still under development. Not every VPN provider will give you the option of using this VPN protocol. CyberGhost does!
WireGuard is better than OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols in the sense that it is more secure than OpenVPN, and it is faster than IKEv2. So, it takes the best of both worlds.
Before you start jumping with excitement, you need to know that WireGuard is available only and only for Linux users. So, if you are using a Windows PC or a Mac computer, or if you are using Android or iOS, you will not get WireGuard.
Dedicated IP Address
CyberGhost provides a dedicated IP address. You can buy one separately. However, dedicated IP is available only for 8 locations. Those eight locations include two cities each in the US, the UK, and Germany. The remaining two are one city each in Canada and France.
If you are from any of those locations, you can buy a dedicated IP, and I will suggest you do that. Dedicated IPs help to bypass geoblocks and blacklists because sites cannot easily figure out that the traffic is originating from a VPN server whose IP is shared by many users at once.
7 Simultaneous Connections
CyberGhost will allow you to use the VPN service on 7 devices at once against one license. That is slightly above the industry average of 5 simultaneous connections.
If you need to connect to an 8th device, you can remove one device by going to the CyberGhost website and logging into your account.
You can, however, bypass this problem by installing the VPN on a VPN-enabled router. Once you install it on a router, all the devices connected to the router will get VPN security.
“No Questions Asked” Money-Back Guarantee
CyberGhost offers a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee that I wanted to test, and even get out of the subscription, because of the various shortcomings of the service.
So, I approached their customer service executive through the live chat system. The process was relatively easy. All I had to do was to tell them that I want to call the Money-Back Guarantee.
The maximum they said was, ‘we are sorry to hear that.’ That all! The rep asked me to wait, and she processed the refund.
That was a pleasant experience.
User Interface and User Experience With CyberGhost | Overall Score: 10
Honestly, I had nothing to complain about the overall user interface of the VPN provider. It is clean and smooth. It installs quickly, and navigation is straightforward.
This is something that you will find with every leading VPN. In general, anyone, even with no prior experience with VPNs, can use the application with ease.
The same is true, even for its Android and iOS apps.
In fact, I could download and install CyberVPN on my computer and my phone in less than 180 seconds. That’s great!
What I liked about the interface was that it was uncluttered. In NordVPN, for instance, there is this annoying map that you can use to select a server. It is a terrifying headache to zoom in and out to see a server!
Thankfully, that annoyance is absent in the case of CyberGhost.
Once I installed the app, it gave me the option to connect quickly to the best server available near me. It is something akin to the ‘Quick Connect’ feature you find in NordVPN.
Overall, I was very happy with the user interface and the experience with that interface.
Experience with Linux
I used CyberGhost on my Linux laptop. It is all command-line. If you are a newbie to Linux, it may sound a bit intimidating, but I can assure you, it is simple.
I use Ubuntu, and all I did was to replicate the commands I found CyberGhost website. This is what I found:
If you are a Linux user, you need to remember that you can use the VPN on the following distros only:
- Ubuntu 19.04
- Ubuntu 18.04
- Ubuntu 16.04
- Mint 19
- CentOS 17
If you are using distros like OpenSuse, Fedora Core, etc., you are out of luck. You can, however, give it a try on Ubuntu spinoffs, because they are essentially Ubuntu distro with slight customization. They should work just fine.
Gaming Experience With CyberGhost: Overall Score: 0
The speed tests were disappointing. The results I found left me thinking about whether I could use CyberGhost for gaming or not.
Somewhere deep in my soul, I knew it wouldn’t work. So, I decided to check the ping times for servers in various locations.
Here are a few screenshots:
Do I even need to say anything? Look at those ping times. The lowest I could find was 344 ms and that too, in Hong Kong!
Ask any gamer, and you will know why ping time is important! The higher the ping time, the greater the lag.
There is something called low ping and high ping. Low ping is when the ping time is below 55 ms. If the ping time is above 100 ms, it is called high ping.
In online gaming, you should have a low ping.
I don’t even need to go into any other details like packet loss or jitter issues. The terrible ping time is just enough to tell you that you will lose your game.
In the case of high-octane games like Valorant, you need to have a very high-speed connection with as low ping time as possible. Some Valorant servers will even disconnect you if the ping time is too high.
With 9999 ms as an average ping time, I knew I would lose my game anyway. I still gave it a chance. Turns out, my soul was telling me the truth.
The extreme lag in gaming made it impossible to play. You may try other low-intensity games. I didn’t feel like giving it a try.
My opinion here is simple! Don’t even try to play online games using CyberGhost VPN.
Customer Support of CyberGhost | Overall Score: 10
The customer support is a vital thing for any business. If it is terrible, I steer clear of that service. However, the customer support system of CyberGhost is surprisingly excellent.
There aren’t many options for troubleshooting. The only option you get is a live chat. You can access the chat in multiple languages. That’s great and something you don’t see.
Apart from the live chat support, you can also ask for email support by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In general, you will not require contacting the support, because they have an extensive collection of knowledgebase articles and guides, that are more than enough to solve your problems.
In the case of chat, you will get an immediate response. Of course, you will have around 30 seconds of waiting time before you can connect to the live chat.
In the case of email support, the response time is within 3 hours. That is quite standard, and there is nothing to complain about it. In fact, they responded to my email in 1 hour and 14 minutes. That was great!
Pricing of CyberGhost VPN | Overall Score: 10
CyberGhost is quite cheap. It is not the cheapest, but it is cheap enough. If you want the cheapest option, you can go to SurfShark.
Coming back to CyberGhost, you will get three different plans to choose from. The table below lays down the different plans and their pricing details:
|Length of subscription||Price Offered|
|18 months (1 year + 6 months extra)||$2.75 a month. You pay $49.50 once every 18 months.|
|Six months||$7.99 a month [half-yearly billing]. You pay $47.94 once every six months.|
|One month||$12.99 per month.|
If you notice carefully, the price of the CyberGhost is higher than the industry average. However, if you go for the long term plan, you can save 79%.
The problem with the monthly plan is that you will get only a 14-day money-back guarantee. For the other two plans, you will get the 45-day money-back guarantee.
Coming to various payment options, you can pay using the following options:
- Credit card or debit card (only VISA, MasterCard, American Express).
- Cash (Austria, Switzerland, and Germany where resellers like Saturn, MediaMrkt, and Amazon can process your payment).
If you are looking for payment options like UnionPay, AliPay, Paysafe cards, etc., you are out of luck.
Overall, CyberGhost is quite cheap if you are going for a long term plan. Considering the fierce competition among VPN providers, CyberGhost is a good option from the pricing aspect.
Things I Didn’t Like About CyberGhost
There are several great aspects of CyberGhost, but again, there are many drawbacks that will bother you. At least, they bother me.
Here is a quick list of things that I did not like about CyberGhost VPN:
No RAM Storage
RAM storage is temporary storage. In the case of RAM storage, all the data that is stored in the servers is wiped the moment the server restarts. This is way safer than the traditional hard drive or SSD or fusion drive storage.
Such storage options require the manual deletion of the data. ExpressVPN offers RAM-only storage. NordVPN is switching to RAM-only storage. I didn’t hear anything like that from CyberGhost.
Of course, RAM storage is my preferred storage type when I shop for a VPN. For you, it may be different.
Did you know that in March 2019, there was a security breach on CyberGhost servers? Though it was a very minimal breach with only 14 usernames and 20 email IDs exposed, it was a serious concern, and it still continues to be of great concern.
Because the company has not allowed or invited independent security audits since its last independent audit in 2012. That audit was performed by QSCert.
Ever since then, there have been no further auditing like that. At least, CyberGhost never mentioned anything like that.
As far as the 2019 security breach is concerned, CyberGhost was honest enough to publicly release the information. Here is a screenshot:
In my opinion, it is high time that CyberGhost allows another independent audit to gain the trust of its users.
Honestly, there is nothing wrong with virtual servers. They perform just fine! Out of the 89 countries where they provide servers, 58 of them have real physical servers. Remaining 31 are virtual servers.
Now, what are virtual servers? It simply means that the IP address of your chosen server matches the IP address of the country where you choose to connect even though there is no physical server there. The physical server of that IP address is located in some other country!
There are advantages and disadvantages of the virtual servers.
The advantages include:
- Virtual servers provide fast, reliable, and secure connections.
- Virtual servers allow you to connect to a country where it is difficult to find a physical server.
The disadvantage is that if the physical server is far away (compared to what you expected) from your real location, you can see a sharp decline in the speed.
It is more like a hit or miss situation. I do not prefer such uncertainties. NordVPN, for instance, has all physical servers. They don’t have a single virtual server in their server pool.
Inconsistencies Between Mobile Apps
Even big names like ExpressVPN and NordVPN have certain inconsistencies in their mobile apps. However, CyberGhost’s mobile apps are too inconsistent and not to mention, under-powered.
For instance, you will not get features like data compression, ad blocker, malware protection, etc. on the iOS app. That’s a terrible amount of inconsistency. I have never seen that with other top VPN providers.
The relatively new SurfShark is way more polished in this case.
About the severe limitations, the only thing I can say is that I am totally amazed by the inability to select the VPN protocol of choice.
In Android, the only protocol you can get is OpenVPN. iOS will allow only IKEv2/IPSec. I do understand that in the case of iOS, IKEv2 is the preferred choice, people who want to use OpenVPN can do so by downloading and installing an OpenVPN client.
There are times when I may want to use IKEv2 on Android simply to get more. I don’t get it! Why wouldn’t CyberGhost allow that?
Do I need to tell that to you all over again? Simple! Don’t use it! They will tinker around with your traffic and data. Which trustworthy VPN service does that?
Free Trial Is a Gimmick
The one-day free trial will give you full access for sure. However, my experience with the trial said that they deliberately throttled the speed. They forcefully made me wait in queue for connecting to a server.
On top of that, they gave annoying popups every now and then! That was just disgusting! They say that they protect you against unsolicited ads! What do they do? Those constant popups showing excellent discounts – aren’t they promotional material?
Worse of all, those popups will stay on top of every other program window open on your computer.
I mean, come on! I took a free trial knowing that it is for 24 hours. I don’t need a constant reminder for that.
Most importantly, if you want a convert a free-trial user into a regular customer, you don’t throttle the speed or make that person wait in a queue to connect to a server. You need to treat that person as a regular paid customer so that he or she can understand the full potential of your product!
But no! You had to behave like dumbos!
The Great Firewall of China
Can you believe this – “CyberGhost itself warns of not using its services in countries where VPNs are illegal!”
So much for honesty! Thank you, CyberGhost, for reminding that it using VPN in countries where VPNs are illegal is not a wise thing to do!
Two questions for you:
- Why do you allow torrenting?
- Did you, for once, think that countries with heavy internet censorship are known for stifling the voices of people? People need a way out to speak to the world, and often VPN is their ticket to the outside world without compromising their security.
Coming to torrenting, how many people download copyleft material from torrent sites? Those are copyleft files, and no one is going to prosecute anyone for downloading them. They are anyway freely available everywhere.
People mostly use torrents for downloading movies, music, and other copyrighted material. Are you not allowing illegal things?
It is needless to say that CyberGhost stands nowhere close to the speed of NordVPN or ExpressVPN. Even SurfShark is faster and very consistent. The very idea of having something like NoSpy servers that clearly speak of better speeds is very disturbing!
Apparently, they are declaring that they will not give great speeds on other servers. That is evident, anyway!
I don’t know about you! Maybe you are okay with all the security features of CyberGhost, especially the encryption technology they use. You may be okay with the speed you get. In the end, it is your choice.
However, if you want to know my preference, I will choose NordVPN, or ExpressVPN, or SurfShark over CyberGhost anytime! Even the huge 79% discount and the no-questions-asked refund policy is not going to keep me.
CyberGhost needs to fix all the issues before it can come up with claims like “Strict No-Logs Policy,” “fastest VPN,” etc. They literally say that!
If you don’t trust me, this screenshot from their website will tell you that:
I believe, I have justified my ratings for CyberGhost VPN.
I rest my case now.
If you have something to tell, the comments section is open.