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CyberGhost VPN review

CyberGhost VPN is a user-friendly option that doesn't scrimp on features

CyberGhost review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Well-known and hugely popular, CyberGhost delivers excellent performance alongside some powerful desktop software. With useful dedicated streaming features it’s great for TV fans, and the relatively recent upgrade of apps has remedied a few of our previous interface concerns.

For

  • Excellent support
  • Feature-packed Windows client
  • Great for US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Disney+
  • Good speeds

Against

  • Windows app quibbles
  • Mobile apps still aren't elite

Tom's Guide Verdict

Well-known and hugely popular, CyberGhost delivers excellent performance alongside some powerful desktop software. With useful dedicated streaming features it’s great for TV fans, and the relatively recent upgrade of apps has remedied a few of our previous interface concerns.

Pros

  • + Excellent support
  • + Feature-packed Windows client
  • + Great for US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Disney+
  • + Good speeds

Cons

  • - Windows app quibbles
  • - Mobile apps still aren't elite

CyberGhost VPN has made it high onto our list as one of the best VPN services out there. The Romanian provider is not only a secure option for privacy and anonymous browsing but also, in its decade of life, has grown to offer plenty of streaming support too.

We put the latest iteration of the VPN to the test in this review to see just how well it performs. From speed and security to app performance and geo restriction unblocking, CyberGhost is a quality VPN. And, spoiler alert, with the new WireGuard protocol, it's quicker and more reliable than ever.

CyberGhost review - homepage

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

CyberGhost 1-minute review

CyberGhost is one of the best value VPNs if you’re happy to commit to a longer plan, and you’ll get an industry-leading 45-day money-back guarantee. Monthly plans are, however, on the pricey side, and only come with a 14-day guarantee. For your money you’ll get access to over 7,400 VPN servers in 91 countries worldwide – one of the most comprehensive server selections available.

Although not independently audited, CyberGhost makes some strong statements about whether it logs user activity (it doesn’t), and its apps appear to be thoroughly secure. The transparency report is also a nice touch.

Speed testing using the latest WireGuard protocols have made a huge leap from earlier in the year, now hitting a staggering top-end of 860Mbps. That makes this a great option for streaming 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 you’re also in luck, because although not every server is P2P-enabled, there’s a huge number that are to choose from. There are also some really neat features like automatic connection when using a particular app that can help provide ultimate torrenting safety.

On desktop, especially Windows, CyberGhost’s client is seriously powerful and offers tons of extra features not usually found in any VPN, let alone one this affordable. However, while the mobile apps are certainly usable, they do lag behind some of the competition in functionality.

Finally, if anything does happen to go wrong, CyberGhost’s support is up there with the very best, and the live-chat operators have always been helpful and knowledgeable – but be aware that some of the written guides can be tricky to understand. Overall, CyberGhost is a really capable VPN, and only few niggles like the mobile interface keep it from being truly elite.

Latest updates

We’ve seen a couple of notable changes in recent months, the most exciting of which is the introduction of WireGuard on all operating systems.

We’ve noticed server fluctuations, with numbers peaking at over 7,400 across the 91 country locations.

For $4 extra a month, you can now purchase yourself a dedicated IP address. This is great for business users, and also means there’s no chance of you using an IP address that’s been blacklisted thanks to someone else’s naughtiness.

Finally, 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 willing from the provider that demonstrates it’s not just a CyberSec one-trick pony.

CyberGhost specs

Number of servers: 7,400+
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, live chat, email

CyberGhost review - pricing

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

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

Price is an important factor for most, so it’s only sensible to start here.

CyberGhost is one of the best cheap VPN services if you go for longer term plans. Like on most services, the longer you commit, the less it'll work out costing you each month.

Go for a month to month deal and you'll be spending $12.99 per month. Commit to two years and you can pay as little as $2.17 per month with two months thrown in free as well. This price fluctuates quite a bit but this is one of the lowest prices we've seen so is well worth jumping on right now. In between is a six month option charged at $6.39 per month.

There is also an additional option of getting dedicated IPs which is charged at an extra $4 per month.

Go for the CyberGhost Security Suite and you get a Security Update to check missing patch updates too for $5.99 per month, down to $1.39 on a three year plan. 

If you fancy trialling CyberGhost, there is a VPN free trial available, but it’s all rather complicated. On desktop you can sign up and use the app for a measly 24 hours for free, during which you’ll only have 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 – probably your best option 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 really want to test the service to make sure it’s best for you, we’d recommend signing up to a longer plan and then claiming back your money if it doesn’t impress.

CyberGhost review - no logging policy

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

How private is CyberGhost and does it keep logs?

As we’ve come to expect from all the big providers, CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is the gold standard. However, something we very much appreciate is the fact its apps are transparent when it comes to what data they collect about your usage – you can be a good Samaritan and allow CyberGhost to collect some anonymous data to improve its apps, or easily opt out of this. That’s more than some providers can say.

In terms of logging, CyberGhost is insistent about its strict no-logs policy, and this is an important part of its online messaging. It claims that browsing history, the sites you visit, the data you transmit and what you search for are not monitored or recorded by the company. It also promises not to log your IP address, connection timestamps or how long you use the service for.

However, unlike rivals 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 gives us a little more reassurance, we’d love to see a full audit to back up any and all claims on-site.

How fast is CyberGhost?

Seeing as CyberGhost is apparently designed for 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 scratch.

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

Taking the fastest protocol first, we tested WireGuard in the UK where it reached a superb speed range of 760-770Mbps. That puts it up there with the fastest options out there along with NordVPN, Mozilla, IPVanish and Hide.me.

In the UK, when using OpenVPN we saw speeds of 170-210Mbps – in other words, pretty 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 staggering 760-860Mbps speeds.

And, of course, remember that if your base internet connection is below these figures, using CyberGhost (or any other fast VPN, for that matter) will have a negligible effect on your speeds.

When connecting to farther-flung servers, we saw some inevitable slow-down, but even the New Zealand server (over 11,000 miles away from the UK) delivered usable speeds of 60Mbps.

So, CyberGhost might not be the very fastest we’ve tested, but it’s by no means a slouch and should provide speeds which are more than useful for the vast majority of users.

CyberGhost review - streaming options

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

How good is CyberGhost for streaming?

One of the most common reasons for signing up to CyberGhost will be to use it as a Netflix VPN – and CyberGhost caters for these users by providing a neat filtering system to find the best servers to unblock exactly what they want to watch.

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.

We tested US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and HBO Max and was happy to see that they all ran just fine. To be clear, this was in multiple tests so these aren't just flukes. Aside from the odd IP issue, where a site would ask us to prove we were human, this worked superbly making it one of the best streaming VPN services.

However, some rivals are able to unblock various Netflix libraries from around the world, so if you want access to UK, Canadian and Australian catalogs too, services like ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN are your best bet.

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, because in truth, not every server is optimized for P2P thanks 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 sure-fire way of making sure that whenever you torrent, you’re adequately protected.

We’d love to see full P2P support on every single server, but as it stands, CyberGhost does a great job despite its limitations. 

Just know there are blocks on servers in USA, Russia, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. But thanks to a list called "For Torrenting" it's easy to find a suitable server near your location, with a decent 54 P2P friendly countries cropping up in our testing. And with CyberGhost's malicious URL filter even more dubious torrent downloads should be kept secure. 

CyberGhost VPN review - desktop client

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

How good are CyberGhost's desktop apps?

CyberGhost’s desktop apps are much the same on Windows and Mac, 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 individual server is really useful – something omitted from lots of rivals – and can give you a quick indication of which server will provide the best speeds. You’ll also get a favorites system, plus a system tray icon that gives you quick access to all the essentials.

Extras include ad and tracker blockers, plus 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 tunnelling by whitelisting certain sites. 

WiFi 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 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.

Importantly, CyberGhost’s kill switch is excellent, and never revealed our true IP address no matter how 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 quite misleading, but in practice it’s pretty unlikely to happen.

With the upgrade of 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 the case thanks to the fact very few people actually used them – in our experience data compressions did very little in practice, and a dedicated add-on like HTTPS Everywhere is free and more effective.

Overall, though, there’s really very little to complain about. CyberGhost’s desktop clients are powerful, and deliver some genuinely useful unique features not often found anywhere else.

How good are CyberGhost's mobile apps?

Both the iOS and Android apps now offer OpenVPN and WireGuard support, which is a very promising development.

On iOS devices, VPN apps are held back by Apple’s security design, and are rarely as fully features as their Android and desktop counterparts. However, 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 plenty more, rivalling the desktop apps in power. You can 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 other streaming services.

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

The content blocker is a welcome addition which blocks ads, trackers and malware from domains. It's turned off by default and doesn't work that well, in testing, but you may find it useful.

A final interesting addition is domain fronting, which bypasses certain VPN blocking tech through a CDN (content delivery system). While we didn’t test this, it’s certainly welcome – and if anything, we do wonder why it’s not available in the desktop app.

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

Both apps comes with a 7-day trial, so you can give it a try if you want before committing.

What customer support does CyberGhost offer?

CyberGhost review - support articles

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

If you want help setting up or you’ve having some issues with CyberGhost, there are a few options. First, you could head to the knowledgebase. There, you’ll find plenty of guides for different operating systems, and lots of common issues people have. These also features a search option which lets you hunt for specific words which could lead you to the help you're seeking.

However, the way many are written is a little difficult (and you’ll notice overall that things are worded slightly strangely on the site).

For example, in a simple article that proclaims the benefits of WireGuard over OpenVPN, it states 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 for the majority of users for them to be worthwhile.

Like all the big hitters, CyberGhost does offer a live chat function, though. The operators are knowledgeable and have also been able to help us, and the slower email support is also available.

So, while the support articles could certainly be improved, if you’re having trouble you should be able to get some help swiftly from the live chat.

CyberGhost: Final verdict

As a desktop VPN, CyberGhost really impresses, and there’s not a huge amount we can complain about. However, if you’re a big mobile user – especially on iOS – you might find CyberGhost a little limiting, and other VPNs do offer better Netflix unblocking. But, at this price, it’s an excellent option that we have no problem recommending.

Mo is eCommerce Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees privacy and security content, and his product guides help his readers find the best software and products for their needs. When he's not testing VPNs, you'll find him working on his classic car or plugged into a guitar amp.