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CyberGhost Review - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Marc DahanCyberGhost Review - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

VPNs are harder to assess than ever before. This is because VPNs have gone mainstream. More people than ever before are using them and for more varied purposes than ever.

So the feature lists of VPN providers have grown substantially and it can be hard to cut through all the marketing and get a clear view of what’s on offer.

In this post, we review CyberGhost VPN in-depth to see if we can recommend them in good faith.

Short on time? 
Here's what matters most.

CyberGhost VPN Logo

Our score: 

7.0/10

CyberGhost is not quite a staple in the VPN space, like NordVPN, PIA, or ExpressVPN, but they’re still quite well-known. 

They are also owned by the same parent company, Kape Technologies (formerly known as Crossrider), as PIA and Zenmate. And that company has had its share of issues, as we’ll see.

CyberGhost VPN puts forth a strong no-logging policy, provides native apps for many platforms which all include a VPN Kill Switch. They also support only secure VPN protocols, with industry-standard encryption. 

CyberGhost offers a good mix between privacy features and convenience features.

And while our review is not bad (in fact, it’s better than we thought it would be) we can’t recommend CyberGhost, mainly due to its troubled past. More on that below.

Visit CyberGhost (save 79%)

CyberGhost Overview

[vpn vpn_1="CyberGhost"]

About CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN is a Romanian based VPN provider that has been around since 2011. Since then, they have grown to an apparent customer base of 36 million. They frame themselves as being human rights defenders. But as we'll see, their parent company puts them in a bit of a contradiction...

Positives

  • Industry-Standard Encryption
  • Native Applications
  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • VPN Kill Switch
  • Unblocks Netflix

Negatives

  • The parent company may not be trustworthy
  • No dedicated Tor servers
  • No Ads & Tracker Blocker

What to Consider Before Buying a VPN Subscription?

A trustworthy VPN service will have clear and strong policies regarding:

  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Anonymity

The best way to achieve this hat trick is to commit to a robust no-logging policy

And this is more important than jurisdiction. Jurisdiction won’t help you if your VPN provider logs your traffic. And simply being located outside of the 14 Eyes is no guarantee that your VPN provider will not log your activities. 

Another thing to think about is the payment methods that your provider accepts. A trustworthy VPN provider who’s committed to privacy should always enable anonymous payments and hence should accept cash, bitcoin, or both.


Speed

I performed a quick speed while connected to CyberGhost’s network. 

The test was performed using a 100Mbps download and a 30Mbps upload Internet connection. Testing my ISP’s connection revealed that I’m getting all of the available bandwidth I signed up for.

I performed the test on a New York server, which is nearby my actual physical location.

I performed the speed test three times, for accuracy. And the final value is taken from the average of the three tests.

CyberGhost Speed

Tested on a 100Mbps (Download) and 30Mbps (Upload) network

Server: U.S.A., New York

Average Download Speed: 95.19Mbps

Average Upload Speed: 8.56Mbps

So the download speed is excellent. The slowdown is not even going to be noticeable. This is very good performance.

However, on the upload side, the speed is cut by more than two thirds. Upload speed is typically always slower than download because ISPs provide many more download channels than upload channels.

Still, we would have expected the upload to be faster than this, and may other VPN providers do better on this count.

But most users focusing more on download than on upload, this is excellent performance.

Get CyberGhost VPN (SAVE 79%)

Pricing

CyberGhost isn’t cheap as far as their monthly and bi-yearly rates are concerned. But their 18-month subscription is very affordable.

CyberGhost Pricing

They offer three subscription terms:

  • 12.99 USD for one month of service
  • 47.94 USD for six months of service (works out to 7.99 USD per month)
  • 49.50 USD for 18 months of service (works out to 2.75 USD per month)

These prices are quite high, to be honest. Though I’d rather pay more for a secure and private service than pay less for snake oil. 

By the end of this review, we should know whether or not that’s the case with CyberGhost.

All subscriptions are backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee (not 30, 45).

Streaming 

CyberGhost makes a big splash in their marketing about being streaming-friendly. Streaming over a VPN has many benefits:

  • Using a fully encrypted connection
  • Avoiding ISP bandwidth throttling
  • Circumventing geo-restrictions

And Netflix?

As you very likely already know, Netflix started actively blocking VPNs from accessing its service in 2018. This was to respect the geo-restrictions content creators impose on their content.

Since then, many VPN providers claim to be able of bypassing the Netflix VPN ban. And CyberGhost is one of them. 

They provide dedicated streaming-friendly servers, marked in their apps, that will indeed unblock Netflix.

I tested it and was logged in to Netflix and streaming within seconds, without buffering issues or lag. Good stuff.

CyberGhost Netflix US
Streaming Netflix over CyberGhost.

For more information on CyberGhost and Netflix, check out our Does CyberGhost Work With Netflix? article.

Get CyberGhost VPN (SAVE 79%)

Torrenting / P2P

CyberGhost is P2P-friendly. Just like for streaming, they provide dedicated P2P servers that are indicated in the app (grouped under ‘For Downloading’).

Presumably, the P2P servers are located in jurisdictions that are more tolerant of such activities.

I tested P2P over CyberGhost, and it worked very well.

CyberGhost Torrent
Torrenting over CyberGhost.

For more in formation on CyberGhost and Torrenting, take a look at our Does CyberGhost Allow Torrenting/P2P? article.


User-Friendliness

Supported Platforms

CyberGhost supports all major operating systems. It also supports Smart TVs, FireTV, Gaming consoles, as well as several different routers.

Native Apps

CyberGhost has native applications for the following platforms:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android
  • FireTV
  • Chrome/Firefox Browser Extensions

This is excellent coverage.

The native macOS app is one of the best I’ve seen, in terms of design. Clearly laid out, easy to navigate and to understand.

CyberGhost Native MacOS app
CyberGhost's Native macOS app.

As far as customer support is concerned, I did not need to contact them while writing my CyberGhost review, because everything just worked. But it's worth mentioning that they have live chat support for any issues you may encounter.

Number of Devices That Can Connect Simultaneously?

CyberGhost allows up to 7 simultaneous connections. This is more or less in line with most providers today, in terms of simultaneous connections.

You can also configure CyberGhost on your router. And this will enable you to bypass the 7 connection limit and connect as many devices as needed to the VPN server the router is connected to. 

Your router will only count as one device in this setup.

The Number of VPN Servers Available?

CyberGhost Servers

CyberGhost has over 6000 servers across 88 countries, on their network. I think that should be enough for pretty much everyone…

Do They Support Multiple Server Hops?

Multi-hop VPN servers bounce your traffic over a second or third VPN server before sending it off to its ultimate destination. 

This makes you much harder to identify, because of the additional hops add another level of obfuscation to your connection.

CyberGhost does not support multiple server hops at this time.

Blocks Ads & Trackers?

Blocking ads and trackers on the Internet is obviously an easy way to enhance your privacy and security online. Many people achieve this without a VPN, by simply using one of the many desktop ad blockers available.

But having DNS adblocking directly from your VPN provider has the benefit of working on mobile devices as well as computers. 

And, if you configure your router to connect to the VPN, any device connected to the router will benefit from adblocking. Very convenient

Unfortunately, CyberGhost VPN does not support adblocking at this time.

Tor Support

TOR Logo

CyberGhost does not provide Tor over VPN servers at this time.

Tor over VPN works much like multi-hop connections, except the second hop (and the third, fourth, fifth hop, etc.) go over the Tor network – which gives you a high level of anonymity, while enhancing your privacy and security as well.

We hope to see CyberGhost provide Tor over VPN services in the future.

Get CyberGhost VPN (SAVE 79%)

Logs and Privacy

Let’s now turn to CyberGhost’s policies

A VPN provider’s policies also inform us on how that provider understand security and privacy – rather important stuff…

Have they ever spied on their users at the request of law enforcement?

We weren’t able to find any evidence that CyberGhost has ever spied on its users.

There’s no reason to doubt this. But we can turn to TorrentFreaks’s Which VPN Providers Really Take Anonymity Seriously in 2020? guide, where we find this:

“[Q:] What steps would be taken in the event a court orders your company to identify an active or former user of your service? How would your company respond to a court order that requires you to log activity for a user going forward? Have these scenarios ever played out in the past”? 

“[A:] Since we store no logs, such requests do not affect us. Under Romanian law, data retention is not mandatory. This allows us to give our ‘Ghosties’ complete digital privacy”.

This is good.

Would they warn users if/when compromised by law enforcement?

The above answer would seem to rule out this scenario playing out.

How do they respond to DMCA notices?

From TorrentFreak’s VPN guide:

"Back in 2011, we were the first in the VPN industry to publish a Transparency Report. It’s something we still do today when we launch our reports quarterly. When we receive a lot of DMCA takedown notices our reply is always the same: we keep no logs and cannot comply with the request". 

Again, this is very good.

Logging Policy

For specifics on their logging policy, we find this is TorrentFreak’s guide:

"We have a strict No-Logs policy, so none of our traffic or DNS servers log or store any user info”. 

Which is good. And this is how they specifically understand no-logging (from their website):

We do not collect or store:

  • Your IP address
  • Your DNS queries
  • Your browsing history
  • The web content you accessed
  • Your connection timestamps
  • Your disconnection timestamps
  • Your session duration
  • Your bandwidth usage
  • The VPN servers you connect to

We have no idea what you do online after you connect to one of our servers, or how much bandwidth you’ve used. It’s none of our business.

Comprehensive. Good stuff.

For more information on CyberGhost’s logging practices, take a look at our Does CyberGhost Keep Logs? article.

Privacy Policy

As if often the case, I was a little bit disappointed with CyberGhost’s privacy policy. It’s not terrible. It just seems to be very generic and template-style, if that makes sense.

And many VPN providers put forth an easy to understand privacy policy, outlining their practices point by point.

We would like to see CyberGhost move in that direction.


Security & Encryption

Supported VPN Protocols

CyberGhost supports:

  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • OpenVPN
  • WireGuard
  • L2TP/IPSec

The first three of these protocols are deemed very secure. L2TP/IPSec, however, is not. 

We prefer it when VPN providers do not support weak or compromised VPN protocols, like L2TP/IPSec, as it puts less experienced users at risk.

Weak and obsolete protocols should be phased out – VPN providers should not support them. CyberGhost should not support L2TP/IPSec.

Encryption Level & Supported Ciphers

CyberGhost uses the tried & tested industry-standard AES-256 bit cipher. It is known to be secure and has no known vulnerabilities.

AES-256 is used for IKEv2 and OpenVPN. WireGuard uses more modern, though still very secure – if not more secure than AES-256, ciphers. These are:

  • ChaCha20
  • Curve25519
  • BLAKE2s
  • SipHash24
  • HKDF

Using CyberGhost, you'll get high levels of encryption. This is all good stuff.

DNS Leak Protection

Running no-logging DNS servers that are only accessible from inside the VPN tunnel is how DNS leaks are prevented. This should always be the default for trustworthy VPN providers.

CyberGhost runs its own in-tunnel, logless DNS servers. As you’d expect.

VPN Kill Switch

A VPN Kill Switch will block all IP traffic from exiting your device if your VPN connection should ever disconnect. 

In situations where you may need to leave your device unattended, this is critical. If your traffic is allowed through without the VPN connection being active, it will go out unencrypted.

CyberGhost includes a VPN Kill Switch in all of their apps.

In Which Jurisdiction is the VPN Provider Based?

Romania Flag

CyberGhost is based in Romania – a country outside of the 14 Eyes Alliance. That’s great. But as I’ve argued before, a VPN provider’s no-logging policy supersedes jurisdiction, in my view.

This is because it is the no-logging policy that underpins every other privacy measure put in place by the provider.

They have robust encryption in place? Great. But how useful is it if they log your traffic?

They support only secure VPN protocols? Great. But how useful are they if they log your traffic?

And so on and so forth…

Still, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution, and if jurisdiction is important to you, CyberGhost’s location should reassure you. 

However, just remember that while Romania may be out of the 14 Eyes Alliance, it’s not a haven of democracy…

For more information on the 14 Eyes Alliance, check out our 5, 9 & 14 Eyes: What Does It All Mean For VPN Users? article.

Do They Have a Warrant Canary?

A warrant canary is a frequently published statement from a service provider, stating that they have not been compromised with a secret warrant or a gag order from law enforcement. 

If that were to happen, the provider can take down the warrant canary and silently inform its users that things are not well…

CyberGhost does not publish a warrant canary at this time. However, they do provide a transparency report.

Do They Own or Rent Their Infrastructure?

Owning your infrastructure is more secure, as it greatly reduces the risk of third-party access.

Renting your infrastructure scales much more easily and enables providers to grow their networks quickly – at the expense of security.

We believe CyberGhost rents its entire infrastructure.

When asked by TorrentFreak if they own or rent their infrastructure, CyberGhost avoided directly answering the question. They had this to say:

"We have over 6,500 VPN servers in 90 countries. Most of them are physically located within the borders of the specified country". 

The servers can be physically located wherever that does not mean that they own them…

Have They Ever Been Hacked?

As far as we know, CyberGhost has never been hacked.

What Information Is Collected at Signup?

CyberGhost Sign-up page

CyberGhost’s signup process is easy and they require minimal information from you. Beyond a payment method, all that’s required is a valid email address. Nice.

Accepted Payment Methods

CyberGhost Payment Methods

Accepted payment methods have a big impact on a user’s anonymity. And a serious VPN provider must accept cash or cryptocurrencies to make anonymous payments possible.

And CyberGhost does accept bitcoin, along with credit card and PayPal. Good stuff.

Get CyberGhost VPN (SAVE 79%)

Standout Features

Nothing

We have nothing substantial against CyberGhost VPN, specifically. In fact, this review is going to be more positive than I had initially anticipated.

However, standout features? I can’t find any.

That doesn’t mean that they’re a bad provider. No, they’re actually quite good. But nothing really stands out. They don’t offer anything that you can’t find with other popular VPN providers. 

And you can find more interesting features with these other providers. 

Things like:

  • Ads & Tracker Blocker
  • Split Tunnelling
  • Multiple Server Hops
  • Tor over VPN

You won’t get any of these with CyberGhost – though you’ll still get a very good service, with enough features to keep you in the game. But no standouts in terms of features.

Parent Company Known for AdTech

CyberGhost comes under fire from time to time because they are owned by Kape Technologies. Kape Technologies (formerly known as Crossrider) are known for providing AdTech and have been caught spreading malware in the past.

This is antithetical to what VPN providers are supposed to be doing, so it is understandably concerning. 

And while their service is good and even though their CEO has acknowledged the contradiction, being owned by a shady entity is the kind of thing that can prevent someone (like me) from signing up for their service. 

And you can see from the other reviews quoted below the verdict of the reviewers seems to depend on whether or not they consider the ownership issue or not…

To me, there are just too many VPN providers out there that don’t have these reputation issues and which provide more features than CyberGhost. 

So their score won’t be awful, but we won’t be recommending them.


What Others Are Saying

pcmag.com

PCMag Logo

“There's a lot to like in CyberGhost. The company has a large and diverse collection of server location and a robust set of security features backed by a strong stance on privacy. Its app is easy to use, and the company offers a generous seven simultaneous connections. The company also smartly emphasizes the importance of video streaming. The big catch is that it does all this at an above-average cost". 

restoreprivacy.com

Restore Privacy Logo

“One recurring theme I stress here at Restore Privacy is that trust is a major factor when it comes to selecting privacy tools. This is because these tools can also be undermining your privacy and security. With the history behind the parent company (Crossrider / Kape) and the issues with root certificates, there are definitely some things to consider. Of course, only you can decide which products and services to trust – and this is a subjective decision. At the end of the day, CyberGhost has made some improvements, but there is still more work to do". 

tomsguide.com

Tom's Guide logo

“CyberGhost makes up for its slight lack of polish by offering a secure VPN package at a great price. It provides some excellent features, including a powerful desktop app, torrent-enabled servers, plus Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime unblocking”. 

CyberGhost Alternatives

NordVPN

NordVPN Logo

Our score: 8.5 

Visit Site

NordVPN is an excellent VPN service, based in Panama. They offer a great mix of security, privacy, and convenience. 

DNS leak protection, CyberSec, strong encryption, VPN kill switch have you covered on the security front. 

A strict no-logging policy, a thoughtfully written Privacy Policy, Bitcoin payments, and a Panama-based jurisdiction have your back for privacy

And dedicated P2P servers, native apps for every major (and not so major) platform, and up to six simultaneous connections (or more with a VPN router) make the service very user-friendly.

  • Industry-Standard Encryption
  • Native Applications
  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • Ads & Tracker Blocker
  • VPN Kill Switch
  • Tor Over VPN

Private Internet Access

PIA logo

Our score: 8.5 

Visit Site

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a U.S. based VPN service. They put a strong focus on privacy and security while offering a large number of features. 

They also have a strict and proven no-logging policy

They have over 3386 servers in 42 countries. They support many VPN protocols, including the obsolete and insecure PPTP protocol (unfortunately). 

PIA is also one of the cheapest high-quality and secure VPN services out there.

  • Based in the United States
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Blocks ads & trackers
  • SOCKS5 Proxy support included
  • Over 3386 servers in 42 countries
  • One of the least expensive high-quality VPN Providers

Surfshark

Surfshark logo

Our score: 8.0 

Visit Site

Surfshark is a VPN provider based in the British Virgin Islands, which was founded in 2018. 

They take a strong stance of user privacy and security, while still offering some very convenient features, such as background P2P routing.

Their sign-up process is minimalistic, in that it only requires a valid email address from you.

They only support IKEv2 and OpenVPN. And while this may seem restrictive, we commend Surfshark for not weakening their user's security by supporting insecure or obsolete VPN protocols

Surfshark offers a very good service with a strong focus on privacy. And at 1.99 USD per month, it’s the least expensive, serious VPN service we’ve seen.

  • Industry-Standard Encryption
  • Native Applications
  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • Ads & Tracker Blocker
  • VPN Kill Switch
  • Passed Security Audit in 2018

Conclusion

CyberGhost VPN offers good service levels, with a good feature set and at a fairly reasonable price.

They don’t really have any standout features. But they do stand out for being owned by a controversial company with an anti-privacy past (AdTech).

So while they’ll get a slightly better rating than other VPN providers we’ve reviewed, we still won’t be able to recommend them.

Get CyberGhost VPN (SAVE 79%)

Further Reading

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