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CyberGhost review
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Tom's Guide Verdict

Well-known for its large server fleet, a wide variety of security features, and pocket-friendly pricing, CyberGhost is a great choice both for individuals and small businesses that want to bypass geo-blocking restrictions and ensure their anonymity, privacy, and security on the internet. While there are some shortcomings (such as an unhelpful support site), CyberGhost still scores well in all critical areas.

Pros

  • +

    45-day money-back guarantee on 6 months+ plans

  • +

    Great for US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Disney+

  • +

    Sizeable server fleet

  • +

    Excellent value

Cons

  • -

    Mobile apps aren't elite

  • -

    Ad-blocker is poor

Launched in 2011 in Romania, CyberGhost has built a reputation for providing one of the best VPN services that comes with a complete set of features without costing a bomb.

Headquartered in Bucharest, CyberGhost claims that its most pressing concern is the privacy and anonymity of its customers. It promises it won’t share any of its customer’s data with “prying eyes”, ISPs, and government or state agencies. Also, due to its strict no-logs policy, it won’t be keeping any logs of any of its customers’ activities.

CyberGhost has been expanding its number of servers and preparing to put out “cutting-edge” privacy tools while keeping the title of one of the most pocket-friendly VPNs around, and in our complete CyberGhost review we explore whether it can really stand up to the very best on the market.

CyberGhost review - homepage

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CyberGhost 1-minute review

If you’re ready to commit to a longer plan, CyberGhost will provide great value for money, and get you a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. With over 7,600 servers in over 100 locations and 91 countries, you can set your location virtually anywhere. However, if you plan to go with a monthly plan, know that the price is somewhat steep.

While not independently audited, CyberGhost makes strong statements about whether it logs user activity (no, it doesn’t), and its apps seem to be strongly secured. The transparency report is also a nice touch.

Speed testing using the latest WireGuard protocol has made a huge leap from earlier in the year, now hitting a staggering top-end of 860Mbps. That makes it a great streaming VPN, combined with the fact it unblocks most major streaming services including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

If you’re looking to torrent stuff, you’ll be glad to hear that torrents are allowed on most (although not all) servers and that the company offers apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more. Here, you’ll also find some fine features like automatic connection when using a specific app, which helps to deliver ultimate torrenting safety. Plus, with CyberGhost VPN you can connect to up to seven devices simultaneously.

On desktop (Windows in particular), CyberGhost’s client is remarkably powerful and includes a wide variety of additional features not usually found with VPNs, let alone one of the affordable ones. However, while the mobile apps are functional, they’re nothing to write home about.

And if you find yourself in need of a helping hand, CyberGhost’s support staff will gladly lend you one. Going to live chat will get you in touch with some of the kindest and most knowledgeable operators we’ve come in contact with. On the downside, though, some of their written how-to guides seem somewhat confusing, and aren't in perfect English.

All in all, CyberGhost is a very capable VPN with only a few rough edges (like the mobile interface) holding it back.

Latest updates

All noteworthy changes took place earlier this year, after which CyberGhost’s official blog (known as Privacy Hub) was stacked with a series of CyberGhost VPN transparency reports.

66 P2P locations, up from 54.

For about $4.00 a month, you can now gain access to IP-restricted networks without the need to make compromises on your privacy or security thanks to CyberGhost's dedicated IP system. This is particularly good news for business owners since it means your IP address won’t be blacklisted because of someone else’s bad behavior.

Lastly, you now also sign up to the CyberGhost Security Suite for Windows. This includes an Intego-powered antivirus, a Privacy Guard, and a software updater. This service is separate from the VPN so we’ll be reviewing it separately, but it’s an excellent show of willingness from the provider that demonstrates it’s not just a one-trick pony.

CyberGhost specs

Number of servers: 7,600+
Number of countries:
91
Platforms supported:
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox
Simultaneous connections: 7
Split tunneling: Yes
Kill switch: Yes
Supported protocols:
WireGuard, OpenVPN UDP & TCP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP
Country of registration:
Romania
Support: Articles, 24/7 live chat, email

CyberGhost review - pricing

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CyberGhost price: how much is it and is there a CyberGhost free trial?

If you go for longer-term plans, CyberGhost is one of the best cheap VPN services around. Like with most services, the longer you commit, the less it'll end up costing you each month.

If you choose a month-to-month deal, you’ll be spending $12.99 each month. At the time of writing, however, committing for three years will get you an excellent price of just $2.29 per month, including three free months.

This price can fluctuate a little, but CyberGhost is almost always available for less than $2.50 a month on the longest plan. The one-year option will cost you $4.29 a  month, and committing for two years will drive the price down to $3.25 a month.

Go for the CyberGhost Security Suite for Windows and you’ll get a Security Update to check missing patch updates too for $5.65 per month, which drops down to just $1.29 on a three-year plan.

Whatever deal you decide on, there are plenty of available payment methods including all major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and Bitcoin. However, these options might vary depending on your location.

If you fancy trialing CyberGhost, a VPN free trial is available, but it’s all unnecessarily complicated. On a desktop, you can sign up and use the app for a measly 24 hours for free, during which you’ll only have access to limited features.

On iOS, you can get a seven-day trial, but you’ll have to sign up, whereas on Android you can get seven days without signing up, which is probably your best bet if you’ve got an Android device.

However, on all paid plans except the one-month option, you’ll get a class-leading 45-day money-back guarantee. So, if you want to test the service to make sure it’s right for you, we’d recommend signing up for a longer plan and then claiming back your money if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

CyberGhost review - no logging policy

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How private is CyberGhost and does it keep logs?

CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is the gold standard we’ve come to expect from all top secure VPN providers. However, another thing we very much appreciate is the fact that CyberGhost’s apps are transparent in terms of what data it collects about your usage. This means you can be a good scout and allow CyberGhost to collect some anonymous data to improve its apps, or simply opt out of it. Not many providers will give you this choice.

CyberGhost is insistent about its strict no-logs policy (opens in new tab), which is an important part of its online messaging. It ensures its potential customers that their browsing history, the sites they visit, the data they transmit, and what they search for will not be monitored or recorded by the company. They also make it clear they won’t log IP addresses, connection timestamps, or how long the service has been used.

Unfortunately, unlike its competitors (such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN), CyberGhost has not undergone a comprehensive independent audit of its servers and other infrastructure.

While we don’t necessarily distrust the provider’s claims on-site, they are essentially just that - claims. And while CyberGhost’s Transparency Report (opens in new tab) gives us a little more reassurance, we’d like to see a full audit to back up any or all claims on-site. 

How fast is CyberGhost?

Since CyberGhost is seemingly geared toward those who want to access tons of streaming media and expand their viewing wherever they are, we’d hope that connection speeds are up to the mark.

Tested on our UK and US connections (both of which top out at about 1Gbps), we took average times from several tests to judge the reliability and speed of the service.

Taking the fastest protocol first, we tested WireGuard in the UK where it peaked at lightning-fast 760Mbps (the average speed being somewhere between 650 and 670Mbps), which puts it up there with the fastest options around together with NordVPN, Mozilla VPN, IPVanish, and Hide.me.

In the UK, when using OpenVPN we saw speeds of 180-210Mbps, which is quite speedy for the old classic protocol.

In the US we saw decent, if not searing speeds with OpenVPN, delivering 110-160Mbps, while with WireGuard we saw mind-blowing 830-850Mbps speeds.

Also, keep in mind that if your base internet connection is below these figures, using CyberGhost (or any other fast VPN, for that matter) will have little to no impact on your speeds.

When connecting to farther-flung servers, we saw some unavoidable slow-down, but even the New Zealand server (which is over 11,000 miles away from the UK) delivered uninspiring yet serviceable speeds of 50Mbps.

So, while CyberGhost may not be the fastest VPN we’ve tested, it’s by no means a slouch and offers speedy enough performance for the absolute majority of users.

CyberGhost review - streaming options

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How good is CyberGhost for streaming?

One of the most common reasons people sign up for CyberGhost is to use it as a Netflix VPN. CyberGhost caters to these users by offering a superb filtering system to find the best servers to unblock the content that they wish to enjoy.

When looking at the server filters, you’ll see recommended locations for Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, and even more, including other global streaming services.

After running multiple tests on US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and HBO Max, we were glad to see that everything was working without a hitch.

While customers from the USA and the UK get the best coverage, our app also listed servers in Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Romania, and Sweden. Both leading platforms and regional services were covered such as RTL, MTV Finland, France TV, AI Play, and so forth.

One issue we did find was that a considerable amount of sites would hit us with the 'Are you a Human?' CAPTCHA, but other than that, everything was running like clockwork.

However, some competitors are also capable of unblocking various Netflix libraries across the world. So, if you want access to the UK, Canadian and Australian catalogs too, services like ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN may be smarter choices.

How good is CyberGhost for torrenting?

Much like CyberGhost’s filters for specific streaming services, it can also help you pick a good torrenting VPN server - and that’s good news. Truth be told, not every server is optimized for P2P due to some regional restrictions.

Once connected, speeds are great, and a feature that we really appreciated was the ability to choose a CyberGhost location to automatically connect to when you launch your client.  This is great for the forgetful or lazy (read: almost all of us) and is a fool-proof way of making sure that whenever you torrent, you’re properly protected.

We’d like to see full P2P support on every single server in the near future, but as it stands, CyberGhost does excellent work despite its limitations. Plus, our Windows app listed a total of 66 P2P-friendly countries, which is more than what you would get with most VPN providers anyway, and up from 54 in our last review.

Just bear in mind there are blocks on servers in the USA, Russia, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. However, thanks to a list called "For Torrenting" it's easy to find a suitable server near your location. And, with CyberGhost's malicious URL filter, even more dubious torrent downloads should be kept secure.

CyberGhost VPN review - desktop client

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How good are CyberGhost's desktop apps?

CyberGhost’s desktop apps are pretty much the same on the Windows VPN and Mac VPN, with simple, useful interfaces. You’ll get a list of servers, a nice big Connect button, and your options for server filtering on the far left. A location picker, showing the distance of servers from you is a useful addition.

Seeing the current capacity/load of each server is quite useful - something omitted from lots of rivals - and can give you a quick indication of which server will provide the highest speeds. You’ll also get a favorites system, plus a system tray icon that gives you quick access to all the essentials.

Among extras, you’ll find ad and tracker blockers and protection from dangerous websites. 'Smart Rules', however, is our favorite element. It allows you to configure which server to automatically connect to on start-up, and whether to connect when you open a particular app (likely a torrent client). Plus, you can also set up split tunneling by whitelisting specific sites.

Wi-Fi controls also work well, allowing you to choose how the VPN works on connection, auto-connecting to secure, never if encrypted, as well as more custom actions for specific networks.

CyberGhost’s system tray icon also allows you to access these in submenus, and it’s a very neat way of saving you time and screen space - every little usability feature matters at this level.

That being said, there are no notifications to tell you when the VPN connects or disconnects - not ideal as you have to look at the app each time you need to check.

Above all, CyberGhost’s kill switch is superb. It never revealed our true IP address no matter how hard we tried to trick it. However, we did find one issue with the kill switch - if we failed to connect to a server in the first place, CyberGhost would say that the kill switch had been enabled when in truth it hadn’t. This is pretty misleading, but in practice, it’s unlikely to happen.

With the upgrade to CyberGhost 8, we’ve seen the interface clear up a little, but it’s worth noting that a couple of small features have been lost - namely HTTP to HTTPS redirection and data compressions for slow connections. This is probably due to the fact that only a handful of people actually use them. In our experience, data compressions did next to nothing in practice, and a dedicated add-on like HTTPS Everywhere is not only free but also more effective.

All in all, though, there’s not much to complain about. CyberGhost’s desktop clients are powerful and deliver some genuinely useful unique features seldom seen anywhere else.

How good are CyberGhost's mobile apps?

The iOS VPN and Android VPN apps now offer OpenVPN and WireGuard support, which is a pretty promising development.

On iOS devices, VPN apps are held back by Apple’s security design and are rarely as fully featured as their Android and desktop counterparts. Nevertheless, you’ll get a favorites list, smart server selection, and auto-connect on specific or unsecured networks, plus the choice between WireGuard and IKEv2, and a connection checker.

However, the Android app does all this and a lot more, matching the desktop apps in power. You are free to specify if you want it to use a random port when connecting, which is useful for getting around VPN-blocking tech - used by Netflix and similar streaming services.

Also, you’ll get split tunneling, which is surprising yet super useful if you just want to make sure one app is secured while all your others use your regular connection, plus ad and tracker blockers.

Another useful addition is the content blocker since it blocks ads, trackers, and malware from domains. However, it’s turned off by default and doesn't work all that well, but it might come in handy if you don't have a dedicated app or add-on installed.

The last noteworthy addition is domain fronting, which bypasses certain VPN blocking tech through a CDN (content delivery system). Although we didn’t test this, it’s surely welcome - and if anything, we can’t help but wonder why it’s not available in the desktop app.

So, while the iOS app is rather bare-bones, CyberGhost’s mobile VPN apps are pretty useful, and WireGuard support plus the powerful Android option will be a major selling point.

Thankfully, both apps come with a 7-day trial which means you can try them out before making any commitments.

What customer support does CyberGhost offer?

CyberGhost review - support articles

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Whether you got stuck while setting up your VPN or simply want to ask a couple of questions about the service, there are a few ways you can reach CyberGhost’s support staff.

Much like all the big hitters, CyberGhost offers live chat support round-the-clock, and it’s your best bet. The operators we got in touch with were both kind and knowledgeable, and our issue was resolved in no time.

However, if you don’t mind waiting for a couple of hours (or days if you're unlucky) to get a reply, you can also send them an email, although we wouldn’t advise that.

If you prefer sticking to self-services, you should head to the knowledgebase. There, you’ll find plenty of guides for different operating systems and lots of common issues people have. Since the knowledgebase features a search box, you can hunt for specific words which could lead you to the solution you're seeking while shortening the search itself.

While going through the written guides, we noticed that the way many are written is somewhat difficult to understand and follow, which is bad news for less experienced users. Also, things are worded slightly strangely on CyberGhost’s official site in any case - likely due to a largely Romanian workforce that speaks English as a second language.

For instance, in a simple article that proclaims the benefits of WireGuard over OpenVPN, it is stated that OpenVPN ‘works at the user level using TLS', while 'WireGuard-based VPN servers under Linux run inside the kernel networking stack’. Do you find that useful? We thought not.

We don’t want to be patronized, but also these articles need to be accessible to the majority of users for them to be worthwhile.

CyberGhost: Final verdict

CyberGhost offers superb VPN services through a plethora of servers that span 91 countries all over the globe. With affordable pricing, a fine set of security features (gold-standard encryption included), superb customer support, and a user-friendly interface, CyberGhost gets the job done with flying colors.

However, while CyberGhost does well as a desktop VPN, if you’re a mobile user (on iOS in particular), you’ll likely find CyberGhost a little limiting. And, while we're fairly certain that CyberGhost is operating independently, some users may not be happy about Kape Technologies' involvement with the VPN.

All in all, while CyberGhost isn’t flawless, at this price it’s a decent choice for individuals and small businesses alike (opens in new tab).