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CyberGhost VPN review

A security-first VPN that's great for streaming and torrenting

CyberGhost review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

CyberGhost has a lot going for it, including powerful desktop clients, Netflix unblocking and responsive live chat support. While we found the speeds to be very slightly less than those of competitors in our trials, the security is still top-notch, with an effective kill switch and zero-logging.

For

  • Powerful desktop clients
  • Reliable kill switch
  • Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime unblocking
  • Knowledgeable live chat support

Against

  • Connection speeds could be improved
  • Poor support articles

With more than 10 million users worldwide, CyberGhost is one of the most popular VPN solutions in the world. Based in Romania and Germany, CyberGhost's network has steadily increased over the last several years, and is now composed of more than 6,400 servers across 90 countries, many of which are torrent-accessible. 

Competitively priced, CyberGhost is targeting the security conscious, as well as those who want a VPN to give them access to streaming media and protect them while torrenting.

If you or your business is looking for a new VPN provider, CyberGhost is likely to be a name that's come up in your research – so read through our CyberGhost review below to get a better idea of its principal pros and cons.

CyberGhost review - homepage

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

Plans and Pricing

Signing up for a longer period with CyberGhost can help you save big-time. The most expensive plan, paid monthly, costs $12.99/mo, which is definitely on the pricier side of VPN plans. However, the rates quickly go down. Signing up for one year brings the effective monthly rate down to $5.99/mo, while biennial and triennial plans get down to $3.69/mo and $2.75/mo respectively. That's just $90 for three years of VPN, making it one of the best cheap VPNs available.

While CyberGhost only offers a 24-hour free trial, which we consider rather ungenerous, you are free to try the product and take advantage of a 14-day (monthly plan) or 45-day (annual plan and greater) money-back guarantee. You’ll have to enter your card details and make the payment, but this at least lets you try out all the services and servers over a much longer period. CyberGhost accepts payments by credit card and PayPal, as well as Bitcoin.

Features

The company states on its website and privacy policy that it's a no-logging VPN service, detailing that it neither logs nor knows which users access websites or services, who connects to which server when, or what a user’s original IP address is. However, the company hasn't yet undergone external auditing (which we think all VPNs should be doing).

Our own tests on IPLeak.net and DNS Leak Test showed no problems, and the kill switch worked very well. CyberGhost supports OpenVPN and IKEv2, although it’s dropped support for L2TP.

Additionally, CyberGhost VPN has some interesting security features that help it stand out from the crowd. A Smart Rules panel enables you to launch the client on startup and automatically connect to a preferred server. You also have lots of control over how the VPN operates: CyberGhost can automatically connect to a server if your current network is insecure and disconnect on encrypted networks, while whitelisted websites will bypass the tunnel, which is great for streaming locally without fully disconnecting

CyberGhost review - streaming options

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

Our tests with Netflix and other geo-blocked media players were encouraging. While Disney+ gave us a 503 error, we had no trouble using BBC iPlayer or, thankfully, US Netflix and Hulu – and, thanks to this impressive performance, CyberGhost features on our best streaming VPN buying guide.

CyberGhost also prides itself on being one of the few torrent-enabled VPNs, with dedicated servers to help manage traffic that are clearly displayed in the desktop app. You can even configure CyberGhost to automatically join an appropriate network when launching your torrent client.  

Speed is one of the most important factors in choosing a VPN. While CyberGhost has some great features and works well with Netflix and Torrents, in our testing it didn't deliver the very best speeds we've seen. While we got an excellent connection in the UK – 65-70Mbps on a 75Mbps line – our US connection wasn’t as stellar, coming in at just 30-75Mbps on a 600Mbps connection. 

We should note that we did this testing in March 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak caused a dramatic rise in internet activity. Nonetheless, other VPNs we tested at the same time were able to maintain connections upwards of 200Mbps – but due to the extenuating circumstances we won't hold this against CyberGhost.

Interface and in use

CyberGhost works on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS/iPadOS, Linux, and many other platforms, and setup and installation for the desktop client and mobile apps was quite easy. The only snag you might hit is with setting up your own OpenVPN configuration files, a lengthy process that involves configuring individual .ovpn files for download – although you do get a lot more control this way.

We found the interface lightweight and easy to use, with key elements like connection status, list of locations, and the Connect button front-and-center. An additional panel on the right of the app gives you some useful features: distance and current server load, filtering for streaming or torrenting, and favorite servers.

Easy server access is provided by a system tray icon, with available servers, and submenus for torrenting, streaming, and favorites. 

The mobile apps had most of the same functions, including the favorites list, but lacked a few key features: you can’t choose your own protocol, the iOS app lacks split tunneling and data compression, and both lack a kill switch, which is regrettable.

CyberGhost VPN review - desktop client

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

Support

The user knowledge base has a huge number of articles, but the content could stand to be improved. Many guides are out of date or generally not useful (based on a random sample of five articles, 55% of users found them useful), and much of the content is poorly translated into English. 

We also weren’t thrilled with some of the advice to be found in the articles. For example, users experiencing slow connections are advised to reduce their MTU (maximum transmission unit), which is a rather drastic move and can slow down other connections. 

The live chat is a redeeming element. It can be easily accessed by clicking on Support (bottom-right), entering a keyword, and then hitting Live Chat. We asked a few general and technical questions and found our agent to be quick and knowledgeable, with clear explanations. 

The competition

There are plenty of great VPN services that give CyberGhost some stiff competition. ExpressVPN is an excellent alternative that generally outperforms CyberGhost, although at $6.67/mo for 15 months, it’s more expensive.

Another good alternative is NordVPN ($3.49/mo triennially). Again, it’s more expensive than CyberGhost, but you get what you pay for: we got up to 250Mbps on a 600Mbps US connection, which is incomparably faster. It’s also undergone external auditing, which means you can use it with full confidence in terms of security and privacy.

CyberGhost: Final verdict

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. 

We think the support articles need a major overhaul, but in the meantime, the live chat support is responsive and knowledgeable. All in all, CyberGhost VPN is a super-affordable provider with great security features. 

Specs

Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox
Supported protocols: OpenVPN UDP & TCP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, Wireguard
No. of servers: 6,400+
No. of countries: 89
Country of registration: Romania
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: Seven
Customer support: 24/7 chat, email, and articles
Privacy policy: No logging

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