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CyberGhost VPN review

With millions of users worldwide, is the streaming-centric CyberGhost all it's cracked up to be?

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 – albeit no iPlayer support – it’s great for TV fans, and while the mobile apps lack polish, they’re perfectly serviceable. Overall, it certainly deserves its reputation as one of the best.

For

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

Against

  • Failed to unblock iPlayer in our testing
  • Mobile apps are crude
  • Minor kill switch problem on Windows

The Romanian-based CyberGhost will be familiar to you if you’ve ever searched about the best VPN services online before. Established in 2011, for nearly a decade it’s been providing quality privacy software, and has since amassed over 10 million users.

All that history doesn’t mean a thing if the current product isn’t up to scratch, though, so here we’re going to take an in-depth look at CyberGhost’s current performance in all the areas that matter, so that you can decide if this is the VPN to entrust with your online security.

CyberGhost review - homepage

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

CyberGhost 1-minute review

Starting at a bargain-basement $2.25 a month, CyberGhost is easily one of the cheapest 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.

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.

Tested on out UK and US connections, CyberGhost delivered speeds of 160-180Mbps and 180-240Mbps respectively. That’s not incredible, but is certainly enough to keep the vast majority of users happy. It’s also enough to stream and torrent to your heart’s content. However, our testing uncovered that you won’t get access to BBC iPlayer.

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 and lack of iPlayer support 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 Linux systems.

We’ve noticed server fluctuations, with numbers peaking at over 7,000 in October, but you can usually expect around 6,500.

For $5 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, the long-term prices have been massively cut. We’re not sure if this is thanks to a limited sale (the site says so, but we’re not convinced), but whatever the reason, CyberGhost is cheaper than ever.

CyberGhost on paper

Number of servers: 6,500+
Number of countries:
90
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:
OpenVPN UDP & TCP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP, WireGuard
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?

However, on all pain 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.

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

As usual, signing up to a rolling monthly plan might sound nice in terms of freedom, but you’ll be paying absolutely top dollar for – $12.99 to be exact. However, with its current pricing structure (liable to change at a moment’s notice), even committing for just one year will drop the monthly price to just $3.99.

Sign up for two years, and it’ll be $3.49 a month, but the biggest savings are found with the longest plans. Right now, you’ll get three years for just $2.25 a month – and that includes three additional months on top. That pricing makes CyberGhost one of the best cheap VPN services. 

As you might see in the above image, there's a timer on this deal (and the Hallowe'en imagery could date it slightly...). However, CyberGhost is well known for these slightly disingenuous price countdowns, and we don't always trust them. All we can say is that we've got our eye on the price, and when it changes, we'll adjust this review to match.

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.

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 600Mbps), we took average times from a number of tests to judge the reliability and speed of the service.

In the UK, we saw useful speeds of between 160-180Mbps. That’s competitive with our #1-rated service ExpressVPN and rival IPVanish, but can’t quite match the 300Mbps+ that NordVPN delivers with its new NordLynx protocol.

Results in the US were similar, at 180-240Mbps. While that’s not the absolute fastest, it’s certainly impressive and more than enough for the vast majority of users. 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 10Mbps.

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 Netflix first, and had no problems there – we could watch content from a number of countries without issues.

BBC iPlayer was somewhat problematic, however, and in our testing we simply couldn’t get access. While this sort of thing is liable to change as IP addresses get updated, the support team did say there was no fix readily available.

While things weren’t as smooth as with ExpressVPN, we could eventually get access to Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. There might be a little fiddling around and switching servers, but once you work out how to access them you should be fine.

So, although it can get you access to most services – better than a lot of rivals – even with the dedicated features we can’t pronounce CyberGhost as the very best streaming VPN thanks to its slightly troublesome setup.

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.

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.

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, alongside data compression to reduce traffic and increase performance, and HTTPS everywhere.

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.

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.

Overall, the 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 offer OpenVPN and beta WireGuard support, which is a very promising development for future.

On Apple devices, your other options are a little limited, though. You’ll get a simple app with a full complement of locations, a favorites list, and a useful feature that lets you define what the app does when you connect to certain networks. So, when you go to work, your favorite bar, or the library, CyberGhost will automatically do what you want it to.

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 – found in Netflix and other streaming services.

You’ll also get split tunneling, which is 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, and data compression – arguably more useful when using mobile data than on your desktop on Wi-Fi.

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.

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 the 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.

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 apart from the iPlayer disappointment, 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. But, at this price, it’s an excellent option that we have no problem recommending.

Specs