Pricing and discounts
Here, we’ll compare the cost of each VPN as well as the subscribers options that each service offers potential customers.
|Subscription periods||One month||One month|
|One year||Three months|
|Two years||One year|
|Special offer||79% discount on 3-year subscription||70% discount on two-year subscriptions|
|Highest price per month||$12.99||$10.95|
|Lowest price per month||$2.75||$2.88|
|Money-back guarantee||45 days||31 days|
CyberGhost offers users more choice, various subscription options. In contrast, although PureVPN offers two short-term plans, its pricing structure seems designed to push the annual subscription as much as possible, with steep discounts for users willing to commit upfront. PureVPN is considerably less expensive than CyberGhost if you’re looking to subscribe for a year at $48.96, whilst CyberGhost costs $71.88.
Each of PureVPN’s plans comes with a 31-day money-back guarantee, which is particularly generous. CyberGhost, offers a 14-day money back guarantee on the monthly plan and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee on the longer subscriptions. You’ll have more than enough time to properly evaluate these services before deciding if you’d like to continue using them.CYBERGHOST DEAL:Save over 70% with CyberGhost’s three-year plan.PUREVPN DEAL:Save 74% with PureVPN’s two-year plan.
Which platforms do these services work on? And, more importantly, what else do they have to offer?
|Operating system apps||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV/ Firestick||Windows, MacOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV/ Firestick (iOS app currently unavailable)|
|Manual install devices||Linux, set-top boxes, routers||Linux, set-top boxes, routers|
|Free extras||Ad-blocking, malware-scanning, browser extensions for Firefox and Google Chrome||Ad-blocking, malware-scanning, Kodi addon, browser extensions for Firefox and Google Chrome|
If you’re looking to install your VPN on multiple devices, CyberGhost is the better choice. Not only does it allow more simultaneous connections than PureVPN, it also has a working iOS app. Currently, PureVPN’s iOS app is unavailable, and the company isn’t sure when it will return, if it does at all.
However, PureVPN is one of the only major VPNs with an official Kodi addon. This makes it easy to stream safely on Kodi-only operating systems like LibreELEC, and removes the need to use potentially unsafe third-party addons. There’s also split-tunneling, which lets you choose specific applications to pass through the VPN without any encryption.
These VPNs do have some features in common. They both automatically block ads and scan for malware, for example, and both have extensions for Chrome and Firefox. VPN browser extensions don’t work the same way as standalone VPN apps, though, and it pays to know the difference. Browser extensions only encrypt browser traffic, not traffic from any other apps. This means that P2P programs, chat apps, and any other program with access to the internet will be completely unprotected.
Looking to stream geo-locked content abroad? We test which platforms CyberGhost and PureVPN can unblock.
|Netflix||11 countries including US, UK, Germany, France and Spain||US, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa|
|Hulu||US, Japan||US, Japan|
|Amazon Prime Video||Yes||Yes|
PureVPN is capable of unblocking a good range of streaming services. However, it struggles with some, notably BBC iPlayer and ABC. Additionally, it does unblock Netflix, but in most cases, only via web browser. CyberGhost is not only capable of unblocking more platforms, it allows you to do so on whichever device you prefer (although 3 of its 11 Netflix countries can’t be unblocked on iOS). CyberGhost even tells you which servers are for unblocking a given service, so it’s incredibly easy to get started streaming.
Neither of these VPNs works particularly well in China. To be fair, recent government updates to China’s Great Firewall have blocked the vast majority of VPNs, so it’s not just a problem which affects these two services. Both websites are blocked, neither has any official mirror to use, and neither works reliably. As a result, we don’t recommend using CyberGhost or PureVPN in China. If you are looking for a VPN for China please see our Best VPNs for China article.
Setup and interface
How easy are these services to use? Is there any manual setup required? We examine both the desktop and mobile apps for usability.
|Automatic setup wizard||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV/ Firestick||Windows, MacOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV/ Firestick (iOS currently unavailable)|
|Main location selection||List-based||List-based|
|Extra settings pages||Yes||Yes|
In its most recent update, CyberGhost revamped its apps to provide a more consistent appearance on desktop and mobile. The main page now has a quick connect button and country selection menu. You can also click a tab on the left (or swipe left on mobile) to see the full list of servers. You can even choose to view only P2P-enabled servers or those designed for unblocking streaming sites. There aren’t as many options in the menu, but this only makes the service even easier for complete novices.
PureVPN’s desktop app allows you to search for a particular country or city right on the home screen. It also allows you to quickly connect to streaming-friendly servers, although some of these don’t actually work anymore (ABC, BBC iPlayer). In the settings menu, you can change mode (for instance, from “stream” to “file-sharing” or “security/privacy”), or adjust a fantastic number of options. Most people won’t have to spend much time in this menu, but the added flexibility is sure to appeal to more advanced users.
PureVPN’s mobile app is simpler, and looks similar to other services’ offerings. There’s a large connect button in the middle of the screen and tabs along the top allowing you to choose your desired location. The number of changeable settings has been reduced slightly but there’s still a lot of flexibility here.
Servers and performance
A VPN’s network is critically important; here, we’ll examine how many servers these two have, and how many countries they cover.
At first glance, PureVPN appears to be the better choice here. After all, it has servers in more than twice the number of locations CyberGhost does. However, notice that it has fewer servers overall; CyberGhost actually offers a greater number of servers in several high-traffic countries like the US (530 vs. 490), Canada (138 vs 60), the UK (334 vs. 168), and France (257 vs. 42).
Even PureVPN’s greater reach is somewhat tainted by its extensive use of virtual IP addresses. Servers which use these are marked by an almost invisible “V” icon on the locations page, and are currently used in 82 countries, meaning both of these services has physical servers in a similar number of locations. Virtual servers are often used in countries where the cost or difficulty of maintaining physical servers outweighs the reward. PureVPN, however, has them in places like Argentina, Croatia, and Pakistan: countries where numerous other VPNs have actual servers.
Each of these services allows you to select a particular city to connect to. Not every location has this option, but major high-traffic countries like the US, UK, and Australia all have several to choose from. This makes it easy to access not only country-specific geo-locked platforms abroad, but also regionally-blocked content like local news broadcasts or blacked-out sporting events.
Below, we’ve created a list of every country where CyberGhost and PureVPN have servers:
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||✔||✔|
|Isle of Man||✔|
|Papua New Guinea||✔|
|Trinidad and Tobago||✔|
|Turks and Caicos Island||✔|
|United Arab Emirates||✔|
In this section, we highlight each VPN’s security options, available protocols, and ultimately, their ability to keep your traffic secure.
|VPN protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2|
|OpenVPN data encryption||AES-256||AES-256|
|OpenVPN control channel encryption||RSA-4096||RSA-2048|
|App security||Automatic wifi protection, always-on kill switch||Kill switch|
|DNS status||Private DNS||Private DNS|
Each of these services allows you to connect via OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP protocols. However, PureVPN also includes the option to use SSTP or PPTP. The value of these inclusions is questionable, though. PPTP is very old and has several security vulnerabilities, while SSTP works on fewer platforms and doesn’t provide any real benefit over OpenVPN. Both VPNs use 256-bit encryption; this is effectively uncrackable at the time of writing.
Both CyberGhost and PureVPN come with a kill switch that automatically stops all data transferal if you lose connection to the VPN unexpectedly. CyberGhost’s is slightly different in that it can’t be turned off, ensuring you’ll never accidentally browse the internet unprotected. Additionally, CyberGhost is capable of automatically starting whenever you connect to a specific familiar network. Both use private DNS servers, so no third party will ever have access to your traffic.
VPNs are designed to keep you as anonymous as possible online. We’ve examined the privacy implications of both services below.
|HQ base||Romania||Hong Kong|
|User details for sign up||Email address||Email address|
|Anonymous payment options||Bitcoin||Various cryptocurrencies and gift cards|
CyberGhost is based in Romania, which is part of the European Union. In 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that bulk data retention was illegal (except in cases where there’s a risk to the public’s safety) so there’s no need to worry about your activities being monitored.
PureVPN, on the other hand, is based in Hong Kong. While this location has its own legislation, it’s still technically part of China, which has some of the strictest online censorship in the world. Both of these VPNs allow you to sign up anonymously, though, so this isn’t as big of a problem as it seems.
CyberGhost doesn’t record the sites you visit, timestamps, or IP addresses but it does keep some data for statistical purposes. Specifically, it records whether or not you logged in on each day. Your total number of daily logins aren’t recorded and this information is deleted at the end of the month.
PureVPN’s logging policy is a little less clear. Despite claiming its users were anonymous, the company was able to provide a user’s timestamps and source IP address in a 2017 FBI investigation. After first saying that it hadn’t breached its users’ trust, PureVPN later updated its policy and claims that this information is no longer recorded. PureVPN is trying to rebuild trust in its service, but this is something potential customers have every right to know.
How exactly do these two VPNs function? Can you obtain a static IP address with either of them? Here, we dive deeper into the inner workings of CyberGhost and PureVPN.
|Static IP address possible||Yes (additional fee)||Yes (additional fee)|
|DDoS protection||No||Yes (additional fee)|
Each of these services works in the same way. For instance, both CyberGhost and PureVPN use shared address allocation. This means that everyone connected to the same server shares the same IP address. Most VPNs use this method since it’s far more difficult to tell which particular user accessed a given website.
You can obtain a dedicated IP address with either service. As you’ll be logging into services from the same IP every time, these are far less likely to trigger automated fraud prevention systems. Dedicated IPs do make it slightly easier to trace your activities, though, but as neither of these services logs any personally identifiable information, you have nothing to worry about. CyberGhost charges $4 per month for a static IP, while PureVPN charges $1.99.
Every VPN provides some degree of DDoS protection. Usually, your router is flooded with requests until it’s unable to handle any more and locks up. However, when using a VPN, it’s actually the far wider network that is impacted. Most major VPNs can spread the load without much trouble, but if you’re expecting a larger-scale attack, PureVPN offers access to premium anti-DDoS servers for an additional monthly fee. Without this protection, PureVPN will mitigate up to 3TB of requests, which should be enough for most users.
You might never need help, but it’s always good to have support there just in case. Take a look at the support options these two services offer below.
|Live chat||Yes (outsourced to Zendesk)||Yes (in-house)|
|Average email response time||1 day, 13 hours, 30 minutes||45 minutes|
|Searchable knowledge base||Yes||Yes|
Both of these VPNs have 24/7 live chat support. PureVPN’s is run by an in-house team whereas CyberGhost’s is outsourced. Despite this, it’s actually easier to get help from the CyberGhost team as PureVPN’s support staff often provide vague, copy-and-pasted answers unless pressed for specifics.
Each service also offers email and ticket-based support, as well as a large, searchable knowledge base. They both also offer a wide selection of screenshot-supported tutorials covering common problems like configuring the app or installing it on a router. Short video guides can be found on the companies’ respective YouTube channels. That said, these channels are mostly used for promotional purposes and the videos may no longer be relevant.
We also sent each of these services three questions over email. In most cases, you’ll receive a reply faster via live chat but this allowed us to measure each VPN’s responsiveness to more technical issues that live chat staff can’t help with. In the tables below, you’ll find the questions we asked and our results:
|Question||Initial response time||Number of emails||Question answered|
|Can I install CyberGhost on my DD-WRT router?||2 days, 5 hours, 37 minutes||1||Yes|
|Does CyberGhost use virtual servers?||1 day, 22 hours, 18 minutes||1||Yes|
|Does CyberGhost log my source IP address?||1 day, 8 hours, 36 minutes||1||Yes|
|Question||Initial response time||Number of emails||Question answered|
|Can I install PureVPN on my DD-WRT router?||2 minutes||1||Yes|
|Does PureVPN use virtual servers?||1 hour, 59 minutes||1||Yes|
|Does PureVPN log my source IP address?||15 minutes||1||Yes|
PureVPN replied to email queries extremely quickly, while CyberGhost consistently took more than a day. We’ve tested CyberGhost in this way several times in the past but these were by far their longest response times. It’s worth noting that these tests were conducted in the run up to Christmas, however, so increased query volume and staff shortages may have been a contributing factor.
CyberGhost was more likely to provide longer, detailed answers, however. While PureVPN had a faster response time, its answers were often prepared ahead of time and just a few lines long, usually including a link to relevant material from its support section rather than providing any information directly.
The winner: CyberGhost
Although these are both high-quality services, after comparing them side-by-side, we believe CyberGhost is the better of the two for most people.
To begin with, it’s incredibly versatile. CyberGhost allows users to unblock major streaming platforms with a single click, and even lists its P2P-supporting servers separately. It may not cover as much of the world as PureVPN, but usually has more servers in each location. This makes it easier for you to get a high-speed connection. Further, with this service, you know each server is exactly where it claims to be.
CyberGhost is excellent for people new to VPNs, or who aren’t particularly interested in technology. It’s simple to set up, particularly easy to use, and as a bonus, comprehensive protection (including 256-bit encryption, an ad-blocker, and malware-scanner) is enabled by default. To sweeten the deal even further, CyberGhost doesn’t log any information that could identify you. This means you can browse freely without worrying about your activities being traced.