CyberGhost VPN Review: Is It Safe?
CyberGhost has been around since 2011, and by now it’s one of the most popular VPN providers out there. Often, it’s recommended as the best choice by well-known review sites, industry forum users, and people from Reddit.
We decided to see what’s all the hype about and test their performance ourselves. In this CyberGhost VPN review, we analyzed their speeds, customer support, data leaks, security, Netflix compatibility, and other aspects.
Although we’re not big fans of the childish brand, we do think that they’re one of the affordable VPNs out there.
To be honest, we weren’t expecting it to be that fast. We knew that just a few years ago it was known for being unreliable and slow.
It seems that’s not the case anymore. Our tests revealed 10-30% losses for nearby and Europe - U.S. connections and 30-70% losses for Europe - Asia connections. These results are pretty good compared to other affordable VPNs.
You’ll be able to use their VPN on seven different devices simultaneously. One subscription might be enough for your whole family.
To compare, NordVPN allows six, and ExpressVPN only three.
Overall, we’re impressed with how flawlessly Netflix works with this provider.
With some other services, you’ll have to visit their website or contact their support to get a list of servers that are currently working with Netflix.
CyberGhost approaches this simpler - In their server list, you’ll see an option to connect to a ‘Netflix optimized’ server. When selected, you’ll be connected to the fastest ‘Netflix compatible’ server, based on your location. You’ll find Netflix optimized servers for the United States, France, and Germany.
We watched several TV series, and the streaming quality was pretty good. Although we did see blurry images a few times, they became crystal-clear after a few moments. The streaming quality was comparable to NordVPN but not as good as ExpressVPN.
It allows a 45-day return for yearly subscriptions, and a 14-day refund for those, who pay monthly.
We tested if the return policy works, and with no questions asked, we got the full refund.
If you subscribe for longer periods, CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. If you go for a three-year plan, you’ll have to pay only $2.75 per month.
To compare, its closest rival NordVPN starts at $2.99.
In 2017, CyberGhost was acquired by Kape Technologies, formerly known as Crossrider. This company is known for infecting users with malicious adware that steals users browsing data and sells to third parties and advertisers.
In a few words, it is owned by a data mining company, which is a huge red flag.
That’s why we don’t recommend this provider for those who need complete privacy.
Though, we think that CyberGhost will be just fine for those who mainly use a VPN for Netflix, torrenting, or privacy over Wi-Fi.
We noticed that some countries, like Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam were continually slow.
Also, some of their servers didn’t show that amazing speed results. It looks like they might be overused, so expect to switch between a few servers before you find a good one.
Most of the times, it isn’t working from censored countries, like China and the Middle East.
You can find a server that’s working here and there, but you’d be better off by choosing NordVPN or ExpressVPN for bypassing censorship.
A while back they were offering lifetime subscriptions for $84.99 through StackSocial. You might think that it’s a deal of a lifetime, but you shouldn’t keep your hopes up too high.
In the VPN industry, lifetime subscriptions usually end up with the providers going out of business just a few months after the sale. It might not be the case here, but we’d advise you to be careful.
Speed and reliability
To see how fast it really is, we performed several speed tests and analyzed their servers for reliability and stability.
Speed results without a VPN
For our speed test, we used a 4G connection from Europe. Without a VPN, we got 14 - 20 Mbps download speeds.
After that, we turned on the CyberGhost VPN and tested the speed from various locations.
Speed results with CyberGhost from Europe
From Germany, our download speed was 11.10 Mbps.
From Sweden, our download speed was 17.80 Mbps.
From the United Kingdom, our download speed was 11.96 Mbps.
We expected to see speed losses of 30-40%, which is about the average reading for most affordable VPNs.
We were quite impressed to see that the losses weren’t that high. On average, the speeds decreased only about 10-30%.
Speed results with CyberGhost from the U.S.
From the United States 1, our download speed was 15.8 Mbps.
From the United States 2, our download speed was 10.43 Mbps.
From the United States 3, our download speed was 13.32 Mbps.
For Europe - U.S. connections, we expected CyberGhost to work with 30-50% speed losses, which is the industry average for affordable VPNs. Again, they outperformed others and worked with 10 - 30% speed losses.
Next, we had to see how it would perform from Asian servers.
Speed results with CyberGhost from Asia
From Hong Kong, our download speed was 5.67 Mbps.
From Tokyo, our download speed was 13.44 Mbps.
From Singapore, our download speed was 6.14 Mbps.
For Europe - Asia connections, it worked with 30-70% speed losses, which is much better than the similarly priced NordVPN.
However, we noticed that some Asian countries were really slow. For instance, from Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, we couldn’t get a result better than 4 Mbps.
Some servers were so slow that we couldn’t even connect to them and the connection kept dropping.
How fast is CyberGhost VPN?
When compared to the similarly priced NordVPN, they performed better. However, it wasn’t as fast as the slightly more expensive options, like IPVanish, PrivateVPN, or ExpressVPN. So in a few words, it’s fast, but not the fastest VPN out there.
For a regular user who uses their services for torrents, Netflix, and privacy over Wi-Fi, the server performance should be more than enough.
However, we couldn’t speak so well about the reliability.
Is It Reliable?
Right off the bat, we noticed that the connections to the VPN take twice as long as most other VPNs. Most providers connect in seconds, CyberGhost usually took 8-20 seconds, which could be a bit frustrating.
Also, some servers were just plain bad - the connection kept dropping, and the speeds were really slow. It almost looked like those servers were way too overcrowded. In total, we’d say that around 500 out of their 3000+ servers had performance issues.
So if you’re looking for reliability, we suggest going with the slightly more expensive ExpressVPN, which we think is a great choice for most users.
How often is CyberGhost VPN down?
Overall, we couldn’t find any cases of it being down. However, we did find that some servers were especially slow, so we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re sometimes down.
Though, what we did see, is that people had issues using CyberGhost from highly censored countries and from some workplaces which blocked VPN usage. This wouldn’t count as downtime - these are issues with obfuscation and bypassing censorship.
Is CyberGhost secure?
It is pretty safe. Although they’re using the best practices in the industry, they don’t go beyond with added security measures, as opposed to NordVPN.
CyberGhost offers the ability to switch between the most popular protocols: OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, L2TP/IPSec, IPSec, and PPTP. This is especially beneficial for more advanced users, who need to use specific protocols (Most other providers don’t offer so many protocols, so this is definitely a good thing.)
If, however, you don’t know much about tunneling protocols, you’ll be best off by using OpenVPN TCP or OpenVPN UDP, as they’re the most secure protocols.
It uses AES 256-bit encryption, which is used by most providers. It’s so popular because it was developed by the U.S. military, and is considered undecipherable even by supercomputers.
No IPV4, IPV6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks
DNS leaking can occur whenever your Internet Service Provider (ISP) forces you to use their DNS servers instead of VPNs. This way, your ISP may see your browsing history, and that’s bad.
A properly configured VPN will never leak any information (DNS, IPV4, IPV6, or WebRTC leaks.)
We tested for the most common leaks, and we couldn’t find any, as you can see in the screenshots below.
24/7 live chat support
We liked the fact that it offers a 24/7 live chat support because a lot of other providers don’t, which results in untimely email responses and frustration.
To access the live chat, you’ll have to click the message icon in the right corner, type anything in the search bar, and only after it shows the FAQ results, you’ll see an option to start a live chat.
We decided to test how good their live chat is by validating the 14-day refund policy. Here’s how our conversation went.
Maybe we got lucky with Nicko, but the process was extremely fast. We’ve done the same thing with other providers, and most of the times they’ll try to keep you to stay, but that wasn’t the case with CyberGhost. Nicko was polite and not too salesy.
We liked the overall experience, so we give five out of five stars for their support and refund policy.
CyberGhost’s device compatibility and apps
CyberGhost has made apps for the most common devices and operating systems, as well as setup guides for others.
Here are all the apps that they offer:
Also, they provide browser extensions for:
And if you want to use CyberGhost with other devices and operating systems, they’ve got tutorials on how to do that for:
Although we weren’t big fans of the spooky and cartoonish brand, we liked how simple the setup process and their apps were.
The signup process
On some VPNs the signup process is hard to understand and takes way too long. That’s not the case with this provider. The registration/setup process took just a few minutes.
After entering your email, selecting the plan, and entering the payment details, you’re automatically redirected to the next window, and the installer has already been downloaded. So in total, it takes just one step to register.
If you need apps for more devices, you won’t be presented with the choices right after downloading. You’ll have to go to your profile through their website, and select ‘My Devices.’ There you’ll be able to add devices and download the appropriate installers.
App user experience
The apps are also pretty easy to use and not too cluttered. Here’s a screenshot of the Windows app (left), and the Android app (right.)
If you want to connect to the nearest VPN, just hit the on/off button and you’re good to go. This is how simple a VPN app should be, which is often not the case for other providers.
We also liked how much customization CyberGhost offers - here’s a screenshot of how their settings look like.
Locations and Servers
In total, CyberGhost offers 3000+ servers in 60 countries. Although their close rival NordVPN offers 5000+ servers, you won’t feel the difference.
Other than that, they’ve also got a few specialty servers, optimized for specific purposes.
You’ll be glad to see that CyberGhost offers a wide range of servers that are optimized for various streaming services.
Here’s what streaming servers you’ll be able to choose from:
Peer to Peer (P2P) servers
On some servers, CyberGhost will not work with torrents. This happens because sometimes they’re legally obligated to block all torrents in some countries.
So for downloading torrents, you should always select one of their P2P servers, which you’ll be able to find through their app. They’re optimized for private and fast downloads.
Is CyberGhost VPN good for torrenting?
Yes. CyberGhost openly allows torrents.
We tried downloading several large files over cable, 4G, and public Wi-Fi networks, and we’re glad to see that uTorrent worked everywhere.
There even was an instance, where a public Wi-Fi network was reducing torrent speeds drastically, but when we turned on CyberGhost, our speeds returned to normal.
Should you use P2P servers or regular ones?
As stated earlier, CyberGhost also offers individual P2P servers, which are optimized for torrenting. Aside from specific country restrictions, we didn’t see how these P2P servers worked differently from their regular servers - the speeds were basically the same.
However, we would still recommend using P2P servers over regular ones - Just because CyberGhost says that sometimes regular servers might not work with torrents.
Is CyberGhost VPN good for Netflix?
Nowadays, we consider Netflix compatibility to be the most critical feature of any VPN. Netflix is actively fighting VPN providers, and only some of them are still working.
To test if CyberGhost works with Netflix, we tried watching U.S. TV series that aren’t available from Europe.
When we selected a random U.S. server, we were greeted with this message…
After that, we researched how to connect to Netflix, and found that you have to select a server that’s optimized for Netflix U.S.
We did just that, and voila - Netflix was working.
We like how streamlined this process is. On most other VPNs you’ll have to contact customer support or go to their website to find which servers are working with Netflix.
So if you’re looking for a cheap alternative for Netflix, CyberGhost is one of the best choices.
Does CyberGhost VPN work in China and other censored countries?
Unfortunately, we read that most of the times CyberGhost is either very glitchy in censored countries or doesn’t work at all. This is especially true in China.
In 2018, China successfully banned almost all VPNs. However, some recovered after a few days. In 2019, CyberGhost still has difficulties working there.
CyberGhost is excellent for streaming, privacy, and torrents, but not for bypassing censorship. For censored countries, you should use others instead, like NordVPN, or ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost S.A is located in Romania, Bucharest. Although Romania is in the European Union, It’s not a member of the ‘Fourteen eyes’ agreement, where 14 countries openly share their intelligence data. Although not the best location for a VPN, it’s not the worst either.
The best providers are usually registered in private jurisdictions, like Panama, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, e.t.c. because they’re out of reach for European and U.S. intelligence agencies.
Shady parent company
In 2017 CyberGhost got acquired by Kape Technologies (Before known as Crossrider.)
The Israeli based company Crossrider has a very shady background. They’re known for distributing malicious adware that collects user data, which is later sold to advertisers and various third parties.
A company that actively steals user data and sells to third parties owns a VPN? Yeah, we’re also concerned.
A few years ago Crossrider changed their name to Kape Technologies, to show that they’re moving away from the ‘malware-infected’ past. However, we’re not fully aligned with this statement, because even in 2018, Crossrider was still found in a new adobe flash installer, which shows that they’re still working in full-steam.
What’s the takeaway? Be careful with CyberGhost. Don’t use them is your privacy is vital, like if you’re downloading something illegal, involved in politics, journalism, e.t.c.
If you’re mostly using them for streaming or privacy over public Wi-Fi networks, you should be fine.
CyberGhost’s ‘No logs’ policy
CyberGhost is pretty clear that they’re not collecting any logs...
If a government would raid their servers, they couldn’t see what websites you’ve accessed, and basically, anything else about how you’ve used CyberGhost.
So you’re pretty safe while connected through their VPN.
Is that necessarily bad? Not in our opinion, because authorities would only know that you’ve used CyberGhost, not HOW you’ve used them.
CyberGhost’s kill switch will block your network connection if you’re disconnected from the VPN. This is really important because otherwise your true IP could be revealed.
Smart connection features
CyberGhost has some nice features included in its Windows and Mac apps. Some of them will block malicious websites, annoying ads, force Https, and even compress large images to save data usage.
App and website protection
This feature allows you to set up a connection only for specific apps and websites.
For instance, you could set it up to always connect to uTorrent only through P2P VPN servers, but all of your other connections would work normally. Or you could set it up to always pass www.netflix.com through one of their Netflix optimized streaming servers.
That’s a pretty neat feature if you’re using CyberGhost only while watching Netflix or while torrenting. This way, you won’t have to switch on CyberGhost every time, you can basically forget about it.
Pricing and discounts
When compared to others, CyberGhost is definitely on the affordable end. It’s even slightly cheaper than its closest rival NordVPN.
If you pay for it monthly, it’ll cost $12.99, which is pretty high. However, the lower prices start once you purchase for longer periods. By subscribing for three years, it will cost you just $2.75.
If you have a buddy who’s on the lookout for a new VPN, you can invite him, and both earn 30-days free if he signs up. In total, you can invite three people, which can earn you up to 90-days of free usage.
CyberGhost offers only the most basic payment methods:
If you’re using bitcoin, you probably want to stay completely anonymous. If that’s the case, make sure to complete the registration through a secure VPN because, upon registration, CyberGhost also collects your IP.
Our final verdict: Is CyberGhost worth it?
In the end, it boils down only to one question - Should you go with CyberGhost or another provider?
It really depends on what you’d like to achieve.
CyberGhost stands out as an affordable VPN that’s fast, works with Netflix and torrents, has 24/7 customer support, and comes with useful features and settings.
However, our CyberGhost VPN review revealed that it seriously lacks in privacy, and doesn’t work well in censored countries.
So our answer is as follows:
It is an excellent choice for those, who use a VPN for Netflix, torrents, or for staying private on public networks. However, we wouldn’t recommend them for those who need to access webpages from China or the Middle East, or for those who need to keep their identity private at all costs.