The last time I reviewed CyberGhost, issues like DNS leaks and limited compatibility with streaming services made it hard for me to recommend. I was keen to see whether the revamped service addresses these issues…
Furthermore, a change in ownership raised serious questions about CyberGhost’s parent company and its sordid history.
More on this later…
In my 2020 CyberGhost review, I test out the service on both desktop and mobile to find out:
- Can CyberGhost unblock websites (Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC etc)?
- Is CyberGhost fast enough to stream video?
- How good is CyberGhost’s security?
- Should the company’s background concern you?
- Are there better options for the same price. And if so, what?
And many more aspects of this versatile service.
Before we get in to the detail here’s an overview of the key data on Cyberghost’s performance including speeds, streaming capabilities and security.
CyberGhost key data
|OVERALL RANK: #4 of 42 VPNs|
|Average Speed *:||55 Mbps|
|Video Streaming Support:||4K UHD|
|Other Streaming Services:||Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, BBC iPlayer, Crunchyroll|
|Encryption Type:||256-bit AES|
|Log Policy:||No identifying logs|
|Protocols:||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP|
|Value for Money||
|Lowest Monthly Cost:||$2.75|
|Money Back Guarantee:||45 days|
During my most recent experience with CyberGhost, I used it to unblock video streams, secure open wifi connections, and prevent my ISP from monitoring my web surfing and downloads.
CyberGhost is a strong all-round VPN, but I recommend it most highly to people who want to stream video from abroad. Fast speeds and airtight security also make it a good candidate for torrenting, and the apps are easy enough for pretty much anyone to use.
|Average speed *||58 Mbps||115 Mbps||58 Mbps|
|Encryption Type||256-bit AES||256-bit AES||256-bit AES|
|Kill Switch||desktop only|
|Records Identifying Logs|
|Unblocks Netflix US|
|Unblocks Amazon Prime|
|Unblocks BBC iPlayer|
|Lowest monthly cost||$2.25 per month||$3.71 per month||$6.67 per month|
|Money-back guarantee||45 days||30 days||30 days|
While there is a lot to like about CyberGhost it won’t be right for everyone. Let’s dive in and find out where it excels and where it struggles.
CyberGhost Pros and Cons
Here’s a summary of what I liked and what I didn’t from my time reviewing CyberGhost.
I’ll get in to the detail on each of these points and more later in the review.
- Fast connections
- Earned a perfect score in our rigorous privacy and security assessment
- Allows seven simultaneous connections
- Makes it easy to unblock streaming sites from abroad, including US Netflix
- Live chat support
- Zero logs
- Doesn’t work reliably from China or the UAE
- No apps for routers
- Parent company has a poor reputation
- No option to allow LAN connections
Speed: Is CyberGhost fast?
CyberGhost has earned the top spot in previous speed test comparisons, but it’s since been surpassed by rivals like NordVPN. In our speed tests, average download speed was 55 Mbps across all locations and times.
I ran speed tests at various times of day on CyberGhost servers in North America, Europe, and Asia. Here are the results broken down by region:
- North America: 73 Mbps
- Europe: 54 Mbps
- Asia: 39 Mbps
If you’re on a 100 Mbps or higher connection, you might notice a slowdown, but the bandwidth available is more than enough for the average user.
You can choose from the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, or let CyberGhost choose for you. IKEv2 establishes connections the quickest and is best for mobile devices that tend to temporarily lose connection or frequently switch between wifi and mobile data. OpenVPN is required if you plan on using the Exceptions feature.
I was able to stream 4K UHD video when using nearby servers in the US. I was also able to play fast-paced online games like Rocket League and Brawlhalla without much added input lag, so long as I chose a server located near either myself or the game’s server. Connections were reliable and never dropped during the test period.
Servers for each country are displayed alongside their distance from the user and the current server load. This can help give you an idea of how much latency and bandwidth to expect. You can choose a server location or a specific server within that location.
Note that these tests can only serve as a general indication of the performance you might see and cannot be considered definitive. The inherent volatility of the internet adds a significant factor of randomness. Users with faster connections will likely see larger discrepancies in speed.
Apps: What devices work with CyberGhost?
I found CyberGhost works on most major operating systems and is generous in its connection allowance.
Apps are available for all major operating systems apart from one…
CyberGhost allows subscribers to connect up to seven devices at once on a single plan. Apps are available for
- Amazon Fire TV
A free browser extension is available, but it’s not great for unblocking streaming sites, isn’t as secure, and only connects to four locations.
A paid plan grants access to over 5,900+ servers in 89+ countries.
The CyberGhost apps have gone through some major redesigns for the latest versions. I encountered a few annoyances. Sometimes the app would get stuck when switching servers, and an annoying notification on Android appeared whenever the VPN wasn’t connected, but in the grand scheme, these were minor drawbacks that can easily be remedied in future updates.
CyberGhost doesn’t use the most novice-friendly design, but it won’t take more than a few minutes to familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs.
One drawback is the lack of an option to allow local network traffic through the VPN. That means I can’t access shared files, printers, or smart home devices while connected to the VPN. Other VPNs give the option to enable or disable LAN connections.
Streaming, Netflix, and Kodi
Does CyberGhost work with Netflix?
After a hiatus following Netflix’s global rollout, CyberGhost now reliably unblocks US Netflix. It can also unblock the French and German libraries of Netflix, which have slightly different catalogs of shows including some not available on the American version.
I’ve rounded up a list of other VPNs that work with Netflix here, which includes an analysis of 59 VPNs in 30 countries.
Most VPN apps simply give a list of server locations to connect to, but CyberGhost works a bit differently. It lets me choose a server based on how I want to use the VPN. In addition to a list of locations, I can specify that I want to torrent or stream. The streaming option allows me to search for servers by the streaming channel that they unblock, including:
- Netflix US, France, and Germany
- Amazon Prime Video
- BBC iPlayer
… and many more. Simply choose one of these to connect to an appropriate server. This novel approach is extremely convenient compared to other VPNs that require either contacting customer service or simply guessing at which servers unblock what.
I tested CyberGhost with multiple Kodi addons and it worked flawlessly with all of them. The Firestick and Android TV apps work great with remote controls if you’re not using a mouse or touchscreen.
Thanks to CyberGhost’s excellent speeds, I can stream in 1080p HD and quite possibly 4K UHD.
Does CyberGhost allow torrenting?
CyberGhost allows unlimited torrenting and operates plenty of servers optimized for safe and fast downloads. These are clearly labelled in the “For torrenting” section of the app.
App protection allows me to specify what apps should only be allowed to connect to the internet when the VPN is connected. If I torrent, for example, I can add my torrent client to this list so that it is never used without the VPN. Whenever I launch my torrent manager, CyberGhost will automatically connect.
Kill switches are available on both the desktop and mobile apps, which is rare–most VPNs don’t have them on their iOS and Android versions. A kill switch cuts off the internet to my device if the VPN connection unexpectedly drops, preventing unencrypted data leaks.
Security, privacy, and logging
Many VPNs claim to offer superior security when they in fact suffer from data leaks and outdated encryption standards. I was intrigued as to whether CyberGhost lives up to its claims.
While CyberGhost was originally developed in Germany, the company later moved to Romania, a country in which there are no mandatory data retention laws. This is good news for users seeking privacy, as personal data can only be retained if unequivocal consent is given.
CyberGhost doesn’t log user behavior, web targets, or communication. It keeps some connection logs but none that can be tied to an individual user.
Payment and registration details aren’t tied to the VPN service, and users are given an anonymous ID. Although the CyberGhost website collects a fair amount of information about visitors, none of this is connected to your use of the VPN service.
The apps collect some non-personal data for analytics and send it to MixPanel. This includes things like connection attempts, but not your IP address, connection timestamps, user ID, or VPN server.
Here are the encryption details:
- 256-bit AES encryption
- 2,048-bit RSA keys
- SHA256 authentication
- Perfect forward secrecy ensures that even if my encryption key is compromised, it cannot be used to decrypt past sessions.
CyberGhost uses its own private DNS servers by default, although I can alter these in the settings. The apps prevent all DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. IPv6 is actually disabled when connected to any CyberGhost server, therefore it cannot leak IPv6 traffic.
I can set CyberGhost to automatically protect me on unfamiliar wifi networks, which is handy while traveling. As mentioned in the torrenting section, the kill switch and app protection are useful security features.
The “Exceptions” feature works akin to split tunneling found in a few other VPNs. Here you can specify which websites will not use the VPN, even while it is connected. If there are specific websites I don’t want to visit through the VPN, or my email server is blocked by CyberGhost’s spam prevention, I can add them to this list.
As with most commercial VPNs, CyberGhost uses shared IP addresses. This means that when I connect to a server, I share that server’s IP address with other concurrent VPN users. This adds a layer of anonymity to your connection, making it more difficult to trace online activity back to a single person or device.
The apps come packed with a load of extra Connection features that you can toggle on or off at will. You can block malicious websites, ads, and online tracking. However, some of these features don’t work when connected to websites that use HTTPS. These days, that’s most websites, so you’re better off just using an ad blocking and anti-tracking extension in your browser.
Data compression is useful if you’re on a mobile connection with limited data. Automated HTTPS redirect always sends you to secure versions of websites when available.
Is CyberGhost’s background a concern?
A couple of years back, CyberGhost was acquired by Israeli company Crossrider (now Kape), which is registered in the UK, a country that is subject to data retention laws.
Far from ideal for a privacy focused company.
Crossrider changed its name to Kape in an attempt to shake off its bad reputation. CyberGhost insists that it will continue to run as a standalone company based in Romania, and will therefore only be subject to Romanian law. However, some users might be put off by the change in ownership.
Does CyberGhost work in China?
Taking a trip to China?
Although you might be able to bypass China’s Great Firewall using the “Unblock Basic Websites” option, I wouldn’t recommend CyberGhost to people visiting or living in China. Unfortunately, CyberGhost struggles to evade censorship in countries like China and the United Arab Emirates.
Is CyberGhost’s customer service any good?
Get help when you need it.
Customer support is available in English, German, and French. Live chat representatives are available on CyberGhost’s website. While it’s not manned 24/7 at time of writing, the English support staff seem to be available during both North American and European business hours, and the French and German support are available during European business hours.
I got a hold of a representative within a couple of minutes of asking a question on the live chat. And I received a reply to a help ticket after about a 10-hour wait. If privacy is a concern, send a ticket through the app’s built-in support ticket system and avoid the website, which contains a lot of trackers.
The website has a fairly extensive FAQ and blog that covers common issues and how to use various features.
On a budget? No problem.
CyberGhost is an affordable provider, especially if you sign up for a year or more of service. Plus, the fact that you can connect up to seven devices at once makes it a good budget option for a family or housemates. While it’s not the absolute cheapest VPN, the below average price, money-back guarantee, and great quality service make it a bargain.
You can find the latest and best CyberGhost Coupon here.
Should I buy CyberGhost?
After a few weeks of using CyberGhost for myself, would I recommend others buy it?
If you can see past its chequered history you won’t find better speed, security, and streaming options for a lower price. In fact, most pricier VPN providers can’t compete with CyberGhost, either. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to unblock region-locked content from abroad or torrent anonymously. Whether you’re new to VPNs or have been using them for years, CyberGhost is a reliable and well-rounded service.
The only real exception is if you’re living or traveling in countries that actively censor VPN usage, such as the United Arab Emirates or China.
I really like CyberGhost, but it’s not the only VPN worth considering.
ExpressVPN is another VPN with a bigger price tag that will serve you better in countries like China and the UAE, where authorities actively block people from connecting to known VPN servers. It offers comparable speed, security, and unblocking capabilities. It works on a wider range of devices and includes 24/7 live support.
NordVPN is competitively priced and is second only to CyberGhost when it comes to speed. If CyberGhost’s minimal logging makes you uncomfortable, NordVPN adheres to a strict zero logs policy, and that claim is backed by a recent third-party audit. It also works in China and can unblock a wide range of streaming services.
- CyberGhost key data
- CyberGhost Summary
- CyberGhost Pros and Cons
- Speed: Is CyberGhost fast?
- Apps: What devices work with CyberGhost?
- Streaming, Netflix, and Kodi
- Does CyberGhost allow torrenting?
- Security, privacy, and logging
- Is CyberGhost’s background a concern?
- Does CyberGhost work in China?
- Is CyberGhost’s customer service any good?
- CyberGhost Pricing
- CyberGhost Coupons
- Should I buy CyberGhost?
- CyberGhost Alternatives