This scenario captured our interest and led us to dig deeper. It was time to do an independent review of CyberGhost and pair it up with some objective research.
This is very important in the VPN industry, as there’s no proper standard and most VPN comparison sites shamelessly praise bad providers in exchange for lucrative affiliate partnership deals.
There’s no skullduggery or shady deals here – just the truth, which is no less than you deserve.
CyberGhost VPN Review Overview
- 5600+ servers
- Works with streaming services
- P2P friendly
- Can\\\'t turn off kill switch
- 36 month plan - £2.75 per month (£99.00 total cost)
- 12 month plan - £5.99 per month (£71.88 total cost)
- 1 month plan - £12.99 per month (£12.99 total cost)
How does Cyberghost Compare to the Competition
Located in a Safe Jurisdiction with Ownership Concerns
Right off the bat, we can confidently confirm CyberGhost is based in a safe jurisdiction – Romania.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any concerns at all.
CyberGhost was originally developed and owned by Robert Knapp, a tech entrepreneur from Germany. But Knapp sold the VPN to outside investors, namely an Israeli company called Kape Technologies.
Now, Israel isn’t part of the 14-Eyes Agreement either, but the nation has been known to cooperate with intelligence agencies from such jurisdictions.
More worrisome is the fact that, at the time of sale (2017), Kape Technologies was still operating under the name Crossrider.
Granted, Crossrider was an advertising technology company and Kape Technologies is a cybersecurity company. Robert Knapp acknowledged this about-face when announcing CyberGhost was sold.
We still think CyberGhost is one of the Best VPNs. At the same time, we feel readers should be aware of the controversy around the provider’s ownership.
Strict No-Logs Policy
Naturally, being owned by an Israeli company raises some questions regarding CyberGhost’s logging policy.
CyberGhost does have a strict no-logs policy in place, which they explain to be an “unequivocal… observance of data protection and uncompromising protection of the user privacy.” Elsewhere, they also quote Knapp as saying: “The only way to secure your data is not to store it.”
If you read the fine print of their Terms and Conditions, CyberGhost repeats this assurance several times.
But they also say, “In case of statutory violations by the user, Cyberghost may cooperate with public or private authorities at its sole discretion as provided by law.”
How the company intends to cooperate without any user logs isn’t explained. But it is worth mentioning CyberGhost publishes an annual Transparency Report – and so far, they haven’t cooperated with any requests.
It’s also worth mentioning there were some concerns raised by the public. However, CyberGhost was quick to point out the only user logs being kept are for their free proxy version, not the actual VPN.
So far, we can’t find any conclusive suggestion that the provider is lying about their no-logs policy.
Military-Grade Encryption and the Best VPN Protocols
When it comes to VPN encryption, we refuse to settle for anything less than the best – 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).
This is the same encryption protocol used by the military and intelligence agencies. So of course, we’re glad to see this is what CyberGhost uses.
However, VPN security doesn’t end with encryption standards. Another very important feature worth paying attention to is the VPN protocols being used.
Fortunately, CyberGhost uses the best of the best: OpenVPN. OpenVPN is always our top recommendation, though you might have to manually select it.
This is especially true for iOS users, as IKEv2 is the default for such devices – which, admittedly, is also a good choice. A third option is the L2TP/IPSec protocol.
Check out our Beginner’s Guide to VPN Protocols if you want to learn why we strongly recommend using OpenVPN.
VPN Connection Security
VPN connection security doesn’t end with encryption systems and protocols. There are other features you always want to see in a VPN service: a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and split tunneling (among other things).
A kill switch automatically ends your internet connection if there’s a problem, like a partially unsecured connection or if your connection with the VPN server is interrupted. CyberGhost’s kill switch is a little unorthodox in that there’s no way to turn it off.
This can be a little annoying if there are sites you’re visiting where you don’t need the VPN connection, but you also have them open at the same time as other sites.
Typically, this is where split tunneling comes in, as it allows you to create exceptions. CyberGhost doesn’t explicitly have a split tunneling feature, but you can create exceptions in the settings tab.
DNS Leak Protection is another important safety feature CyberGhost was sure to include.
It’s enabled by default so all your connections are made through the provider’s private DNS servers. You can also choose to disable all IPv6 connections, which is almost always a good idea.
If you’re super keen on making yourself as anonymous as possible while online, then even the best VPN service in the world isn’t going to be good enough. That is, unless it also allows you to connect to The Onion Router (TOR).
Not all VPNs are TOR-friendly. Fortunately, we’re happy to confirm CyberGhost isn’t one of those.
The provider doesn’t say a lot – just that it isn’t absolutely necessary to connect to TOR via their VPN, but if you want to, you should connect to one of their servers before starting your TOR browser.
CyberGhost VPN Server Connections
To round up our take on CyberGhost’s server connection security, it’s a good idea to take a quick look at the actual server connections.
As we’ve said before, the more servers there are to choose from, the better. This can affect your speed, as VPN servers are shared between users. The more users connected to a single server, the higher the risk of network overload.
In the CyberGhost app, the server list shows how far away you are from a particular server (this can also affect speed) and what its current load is.
This is pretty great, as it helps you make better connection decisions. It also helps if you have a good idea of what country’s servers you want to connect to – especially because CyberGhost has 5611 servers (updated October 2019) spread over 103 physical locations in 81 countries.
CyberGhost also has its own NoSpy servers, which are located in Romania and offer a slightly higher security level than their regular servers. The catch? It’s a premium feature that pushes the subscription price up, though not by much.
If there’s one complaint we have in this area, it’s that CyberGhost doesn’t have a Double VPN feature (also known as a Multi-Hop).
This would allow you to connect to a second VPN server via the first. It’s not a major concern, especially seeing as you can still connect to TOR, but it’s always something we look for in a VPN.
Speed is hands down one of the most important aspects of a VPN.
There are a lot of different factors that can and will affect your internet speed while using a VPN.
A few examples include your distance from the server, that server’s current load, the VPN protocol being used, what your normal internet connection speed is, and whether or not you have ads blocked.
Speaking of ads being blocked – CyberGhost has a native blocking feature that can be toggled for ads, malicious websites, tracking, etc.
And to be perfectly honest, it’s terrible and you’re better off without it.
Why? Because, when it actually works (most of the time it doesn’t), rather than filtering ads via DNS requests, CyberGhost exploits web traffic to display CyberGhost-related content instead.
Bad move, CyberGhost. Really bad move.
In any case, we ran a few speed tests on their servers. Here’s what we found:
Fortunately, CyberGhost proved favorable in this area too.
Device Compatibility and Connections
CyberGhost has a few different VPN apps that can be installed on a variety of devices:
- Chrome (browser)
- Firefox (browser)
- Amazon Firestick
- Android TV
- “Routers and more”
There are a few devices conspicuous in their exclusion from this list, including Apple TV and gaming consoles. However, if you’re using a VPN-compatible router, you can get around that issue.
Originally, CyberGhost was very stingy with their maximum allowed connections: a measly 1 device.
But shortly after Crossrider/Kape Technologies took over, this was raised to 5. And in late 2018, it was increased to 7 simultaneous connections – better than most.
Subscription Plans and Pricing
Some VPN comparison sites point out CyberGhost is a great budget option. Others bemoan its expense.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle – it all depends on which subscription plan you choose:
As you can see, the monthly plan is rather expensive. But you definitely save by opting for a longer subscription, especially if you take the current 3 Years special deal (which works out to 2.45€/month or $2.75/month).
If you’re not entirely happy with CyberGhost as a VPN, you can take advantage of their money-back guarantee.
The money-back guarantee is 14 days for the monthly subscription and 45 days for the longer packages. We’ll talk you through this in a later section.
What we find especially great about CyberGhost’s payment system is you can choose to pay via the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. This helps you stay even more anonymous – and unlike most other platforms, CyberGhost also does cryptocurrency refunds.
CyberGhost also offers a 1-Day Free Trial. And again, unlike most, it gives you the full premium experience rather than a limited version of the service.
EDIT: During our testing process, we ran out of the 1-day free trial and attempted to purchase a 1-month subscription. First, we used PayPal, which was declined. We then switched to a Mastercard CC, which had to undergo “manual processing”.
This was an extremely annoying extra step, especially as we had to wait over an hour for our order to be accepted manually.
CyberGhost falls a little short of other VPNs here.
As far as streaming is concerned, there’s no real issue. In their app, you have the option of viewing a list of servers optimized for streaming.
CyberGhost will even tell you which streaming service the server is specifically ideal for – Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, etc. Because of this, Cyberghost easily make out top VPNs for Netflix, VPNs for iPlayer and overall lists.
Where it does fall a little short is in bypassing VPN bans in places like China and United Arab Emirates (UAE). The provider has voiced frustration over this issue in the past, but they seem to have given up trying.
Sometimes the suggestions aren’t 100% reliable. Streaming services are constantly updating their own lists of blacklisted IP addresses, so you might need to try a few options before finding one that works. This isn’t unique to CyberGhost as a provider.
You’ll be happy to hear CyberGhost is definitely one of the Best Torrenting VPNs.
Similar to streaming, there’s a list of servers optimized for P2P connections. You can also activate the “Torrent Anonymously” profile, which will automatically connect to one of those servers for you.
It is worth mentioning there are whole countries where CyberGhost’s servers are no longer available for torrenting, including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia, and the US.
Usability and Support
Once we started the installation process for Windows, we were able to start choosing a server within 5 minutes.
The app was also beautifully laid out, with a new, intuitive design updated somewhat regularly.
CyberGhost’s 24-hour live support was also of a high quality.
We never waited more than 2 minutes to be put in touch with one of their agents, no matter what time of day we tested them. We also never got the feeling their answers were copy-paste shortcuts.
How to Cancel CyberGhost VPN and Get Your Money Back
While the dodgy ownership is enough to put most people off, we can’t find any concrete reason not to recommend CyberGhost as a VPN provider.
Our experience with their service was good, even if not quite the best. But of course, you might find you have a very different experience and want to get out.
So, as promised, here’s how to cancel your CyberGhost subscription and get your money back:
- Log into your CyberGhost VPN account
- Select “My Subscriptions”
- Select “Turn auto-renewal off”
- Ask for a refund via live chat
- The customer support agent will verify you’re still eligible for a refund and confirm
Some people complained online of a lengthy process and not getting their money back, but it took us all of 3 minutes and we had our money back within 5 business days, as promised.
How much does CyberGhost VPN cost per month?
CyberGhost has a monthly subscription plan charged at $12.99. Longer subscriptions offer discounted rates.
Does CyberGhost VPN work for Netflix?
Yes, but you need to use one of their recommended servers. You might have to try more than one to find a working connection.
Is CyberGhost VPN legitimate?
Despite concerns regarding the company that owns CyberGhost, it is a legitimate VPN provider.
Is CyberGhost VPN a good VPN?
Yes, CyberGhost is generally considered one of the best VPN providers available.
Does CyberGhost VPN hide my IP address?
Yes, using CyberGhost VPN will hide your IP address from websites and your ISP. We ran a few tests and found no leaks.
Does CyberGhost VPN charge monthly?
If you sign-up for a monthly subscription, then yes. Longer subscriptions (1 Year, 2 Years, 3 Years) are charged accordingly rather than on a monthly basis.
Is CyberGhost VPN a zero-logs VPN?
Yes. Though, like all service providers, they keep anonymous diagnostics data on short-term record.
Can you cancel CyberGhost VPN anytime?
Yes, you can choose to cancel your CyberGhost VPN subscription at any time by switching off the auto-renewal in your account settings, under “My Subscriptions.”
Is CyberGhost VPN safe in China?
No. Like many other VPNs, CyberGhost does not work in China and it is not recommended you attempt to get around the Great Firewall of China using this provider.