CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN service founded back in 2011 and acquired by Kape Technologies (previously Crossrider) in 2017, the company that also purchased Zenmate. At the 2019 ProPrivacy.com Awards, it received the prestigious award for Best Value VPN, losing the battle for Best Overall VPN to NordVPN.
Our detailed CyberGhost review will go over the most important aspects of the service, including speed, stability, server network, overall security levels, logging policy, customer support quality, and value for money, so keep reading to learn what attracted more than 15 million people to this VPN provider.
Speed & Performance
Our team tested 50 CyberGhost servers across the Americas, Europe, and Asia & Oceania from Belgrade, Serbia, a small country on the Balkan Peninsula.
The servers in London, Kiev, and Stockholm performed best for us, Mumbai, Tokyo, and Hong Kong were surprisingly fast, and Sidney and Auckland yielded below-average results. Our benchmark testing speed without the VPN was ping: 17 ms, download: 42.2 Mbps, upload: 7.56 Mbps. Take a look at our results in the table below:
|Location||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
When it comes to performance and stability, we did not detect any DNS/WebRTC leaks during our tests, but we experienced some disconnects while using the dedicated streaming servers optimized for certain platforms (mostly Netflix US).
CyberGhost has native clients for Windows (7 and up), Mac OS X, iOS (9 and up), and Android, as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Additionally, it can be manually configured to work with Linux since it usually comes with a built-in PPTP protocol. However, using OpenVPN or L2TP/IPsec might require third-party software. You can also add CyberGhost to your Chromebook since it comes with integrated L2TP support (no OpenVPN or PPTP just yet).
CyberGhost also supports routers but requires access to the router interface in order to change your configuration (switch to a different country, for example). Finally, manual configuration is also an option for Raspberry Pi, OpenELEC (Kodi), eBook readers, game consoles, Synology NAS, VU+ Solo 2, Amazon Fire TV, and other platforms. An alternative to using native protocols is connecting the device you want to protect to your computer/router with CyberGhost running.
As you can see, if you are not using operating systems with native app support, you need to know how to set up CyberGhost correctly. Having said that, the official website is brimming with excellent step-by-step setup guides, so you should be able to protect your gadgets even if you are new to VPNs.
CyberGhost currently operates more than 4,600 (bare metal + virtual) servers in 60+ countries, which puts its server network in front of ExpressVPN and just barely behind NordVPN. The official website features a comprehensive server list so you can always check the availability of your desired locations.
The site also provides you with an automatic server-picking tool that chooses the optimal location for your needs. You can search for servers optimized for Netflix DE/US/FR, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube, and Crunchyroll. In the results, you can see the ping, the current user load, and your physical distance from the server in kilometers.
Apart from its regular servers, CyberGhost also has NoSpy servers located on premises in Romania owned and monitored by CyberGhost. These top-of-the-line servers are intended for users who are looking for maximized protection. They integrate premium hardware with a dedicated uplink and even offer extended bandwidth and better speeds for all data-intense activities. There is also a significant number of P2P-ready servers.
Finally, CyberGhost allows up to 7 simultaneous connection, which is more than enough to cover all the users and devices in your household.
Safety & Security
First of all, CyberGhost features QSCERT’s ISO-9001 (working procedures) and ISO-27001 (technical procedures and security standards) certificates, which both guarantee high service quality.
CyberGhost supports OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec while iOS devices are protected via their native IKEv2. As always, we recommend going with OpenVPN since it is the most secure protocol by far. It also uses military-grade AES-256 encryption, which is literally unbreakable by the computers we have today. IKEv2 is faster but still not tested as thoroughly.
The current OpenVPN setup goes as follows:
- Data channel – AES-256-CBC with SHA-256 authentication.
- Control channel – AES-256 with SHA-384 authentication and RSA-4096 key encryption.
CyberGhost also comes with perfect forward secrecy provided by the ECDH-4096 key exchange. This means that the software generates a new security key for every individual session, so even if someone managed to intercept your online traffic and interfere with your connection, the current key would be utterly useless in the next session. A new key is generated every 60 minutes, which adds extra protection if you prefer longer online sessions. There is also an automatic killswitch.
Apart from these essential security features, CyberGhost features protection from online tracking, a malware blocker, and even an ad blocker.
Logging & Privacy
As we already mentioned in this CyberGhost review, the company is incorporated in Romania, so you do not have to worry about the Eyes alliance getting ahold of your data. Romania is in the EU, but its courts declared the EU mandatory data retention directives unconstitutional way before the European Court of Justice declared it illegal. With that in mind, Romania is widely considered a privacy-friendly country.
CyberGhost collects the following data from its users:
Personal data – During registration, you are prompted to provide your name, address, username, email, and payment information. Apart from this, the service collects your IP address (recorded in an anonymized format), country, items purchased, transaction information, partial credit card information, billing method, price paid, canceled orders, and chargeback requests. The company states that this info is never associated with any activity done inside the VPN tunnel, which is NOT recorded. Ideally, VPNs should not require your real name and address or record your IP and approximate location even if they store that data in an anonymized manner.
Anonymous information – When it comes to “non-personal” data, CyberGhost records the type of your browser, desktop/mobile device, OS version, general properties and metadata, dates and times of your visits, preferred language, referring websites, and user preferences on the official site. Again, this data cannot be used to positively identify you as an individual or associate you with any traffic inside the VPN tunnel.
- CyberGhost’s subsidiaries and holding company and its subsidiaries.
- Trusted vendors in order to carry out any transactions you requested. This mostly comes down to using third-party payment processors.
- Zendesk, during your online chat sessions with the customer support team.
- Government agencies if required to do so by law or to protect company rights and/or comply with a court order, judicial proceeding or any legal process.
CyberGhost is an excellent choice if streaming content on geo-restricted platforms is your primary reason for purchasing a VPN. Unlike proxies, it allows you to access blocked websites and also encrypts your traffic for optimal online security and privacy. During our tests, we were able to access Netflix US/DE/UK/FR, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and BBC iPlayer without any problems. CyberGhost offers dedicated streaming servers optimized for certain platforms, including HBO Now, ZDF, Yle, TF1, YouTube, YouTube Red, ORF, Europe1, Telegram, Spotify, Zattoo, MTV, Globo, RTL, Digi Online, Amazon Prime, ARD, Eurosport, Comedy Central, Fox, Fox Sport, Mediaset, Globo SportTV, ESPN, and others.
Although CyberGhost allows P2P filesharing, it is not available on all servers. Furthermore, P2P-ready servers are not available in countries where ISPs force VPN services to block torrent traffic (the US, Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong, and Australia), so make sure the server you are connecting to is P2P/torrent compatible. Also, CyberGhost warns its users against downloading copyrighted materials and states that it constitutes an abuse of the service.
Plans & Pricing
With a price tag of $12.99, CyberGhost’s monthly plan is rather costly. However, its longer subscriptions come with greater value for money. The 1-year plan costs $5.99 per month (billed $71.88 every year), the 2-year subscription is priced at $3.69 per month (billed $88.56 every 2 years), and the 3-year subscription costs just $2.75 per month (billed $99 every 3 years).
CyberGhost offers a 24-hour free trial and a 14-day money-back guarantee for monthly subscriptions and a 45-day money-back guarantee for all other plans. The accepted payment methods include credit cards (MasterCard, VISA, and American Express), PayPal, and BitPay.
CyberGhost provides its users with 24/7 customer support and its knowledgeable and highly professional team can be reached through live chat on the official website, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, using the website contact form, and even by post using the postal address 70-72 Dionisie Lupu Str., Building Section A, ground floor, 1st District, Bucharest.
CyberGhost also features an extensive database on its website, but some of the available articles are over 3 years old and outdated so the entire section definitely needs some freshening up.
CyberGhost Pros & Cons
At the end of this CyberGhost review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.
- Based in Romania
- Solid security setup with AES-256 encryption
- Excellent speeds & reliable performance
- Unlimited bandwidth/speed/server switching
- No information leaks
- Native apps for all major platforms
- 4,600+ servers in 60+ countries
- Up to 7 simultaneous connections
- NoSpy servers
- Perfect forward secrecy
- Automatic killswitch
- Unlocks geo-restricted platforms
- P2P allowed
- Excellent 24/7 customer support
- 24-hour free trial
- Generous money-back guarantee
- Bitcoin accepted
- Expensive 1-month subscription