Rating:

7/10

?

  • 1 – Does not work
  • 2 – Barely functional
  • 3 – Severely lacking in most areas
  • 4 – Functions, but has numerous issues
  • 5 – Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great and worth purchasing
  • 8 – Fantastic, approaching best-in-class
  • 9 – Best-in-class
  • 10 – Borderline perfection

Price:
Starting At $56.94 for two years

Cyberghost VPN running on an Apple MacBook Pro computer
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

CyberGhost is a VPN provider that’s been around for a while and has gone through several incarnations. Currently, it seems mainly focused on being a streaming-friendly VPN that offers long-term plans for decent money. I took it for a spin to see how it fares.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about CyberGhost, though it lacks the oomph to be on our selection of the best VPN services. Still, it has enough gumption to make it onto our list of the best VPNs for Netflix, thanks to its ability to get through to that streaming service. Let’s see what else it can do.

Here’s What We Like

  • Great at cracking Netflix
  • Maintains okay speeds
  • First two years are cheap

And What We Don’t

  • Could be a lot faster
  • Slightly misleading pricing
  • Not a lot of customization

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What’s CyberGhost Like to Use?

Overall, I really liked using CyberGhost. Over the years, it has experimented a lot with different types of interfaces. It started years ago with a simple list, then transmogrified into a Windows 8-style app that took up the entire screen and had moving tiles everywhere. It was honestly a nightmare, so I was happy to see that its latest incarnation, CyberGhost 8, has chosen to have a mobile-style app like ExpressVPN has, to name but one.

CyberGhost main interface

I tested CyberGhost mainly on the Windows app, though there is also a desktop app for macOS. Linux users will have to do with a CLI, though looking at screenshots, it looks a bit more spiffy than others like it. On mobile, CyberGhost has native apps for iPhone/iPad and Android (which I also tried). As far as I can tell, the desktop and mobile apps have the same experience.

If you like to use VPN browser extensions, CyberGhost has them for Firefox and Chrome. On top of all that, you can also install it on routers plus a heap of other devices, including a range of smart TVs and game consoles.

Using the App

Like most other mobile-style interfaces, CyberGhost has one big button that switches the VPN off and on and another that lets you pick the VPN server you’d like to connect to. It’s pretty simple, though the first time you choose to select a server, you may be in for a shock as the app extends to more than three times its original size.

CyberGhost city selection

I’m not a huge fan of these sudden expansions (read my Windscribe review for another example), but I do have to say that, in this case, it works. At least you’re not looking around for anything, as it’s all right there.

In the center is your list of servers, which has been arranged alphabetically. There’s no way to filter per region, which is a shame, but I do like how if a country has multiple locations, this pops out in a new screen.

CyberGhost Streaming Servers

To the left is a list of specialized servers, which is CyberGhost’s main strength. While it has specialized servers for gaming (which presumably offer lower ping) and torrenting—which we recommend you use if you decide to venture onto the high seas—the big attraction is the streaming servers which are, in a word, excellent.

CyberGhost offers a great geographic spread of streaming servers: where most other VPNs focus on the U.K. and the U.S. with a few European countries thrown in, CyberGhost has a lot of options, from Belgium and the Netherlands to Japan or Australia. As far as I can tell, all these servers can unblock Netflix, too, which is pretty impressive.

That said, as good as they are at unblocking streaming services, I did run into some minor speed issues. Though CyberGhost is no slouch, it’s not particularly fast either (something I’ll go into more detail on below in the speed section), and streaming servers’ performance took a small hit on top of that. It’s nothing major, but if you’re on a poor connection, it’s worth keeping in mind. A decentralized VPN may be a better option in that case.

Tweaking CyberGhost

One thing I didn’t like as much about CyberGhost is that its settings are rather bare bones. All you can set are a few basic connection features (including which protocol your connections use; more about that in the security section below), and that’s pretty much it.

CyberGhost settings

Though it’s not as restrictive as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, say, if you’re a tinkerer, you may want to look around for a better fit. TorGuard springs to mind as one VPN suited to people who like things to be just so.

Security and Privacy

When it comes to security and privacy, CyberGhost checks all the boxes, though nothing beyond that. One thing I like beyond doubt is that its killswitch is hardcoded: there’s no way to switch it off even if you wanted to (and you don’t want to). It’s a breath of fresh air in a market where far too many providers make the kill switch optional and puts CyberGhost in the same league as Mullvad. Rarefied air, indeed.

CyberGhost also hits some other points, like letting you pick from the best VPN protocols. If you let it assign you something automatically, you’ll get either OpenVPN, Wireguard, or IKEv2. I’m not a huge fan of the last one, so I would set it manually to either OpenVPN or WireGuard, but that’s a personal choice.

When it comes to privacy, I like how thorough the privacy policy is, but note that the U.S. version is different. As is usual, CyberGhost claims to not record what you’ve been up to online, though it does explain with greater transparency than most that it collects your personal information. All the information has been vetted in an audit performed by Deloitte in March 2023.

As I explain in my article on whether you should trust a VPN, I don’t place too much stock in these audits as many of these large accounting firms have a long history of corruption. Instead, I prefer it when a VPN makes it so we, the users, can audit it. Mullvad is taking great strides in this regard, as is IVPN.

Another strike against CyberGhost is how it demands a lot of information from you at signup. There’s no way to sign on anonymously. While the company pledges to keep your personal data and your browsing data separate, it’s unclear how the company has put up that wall. You’re thus taking CyberGhost at its word that none of your online activity will get back to you.

Is CyberGhost Fast?

Like with all other VPN reviews, I tested CyberGhost’s speed by first measuring my base speed (90Mbps) in Cyprus and then connecting to several locations around the world at ever-increasing distances. The results are in the table below.

Location Ping (ms) Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps)
Cyprus (Unprotected) 10 91 40
Cyprus (Protected) 126 89 28
Israel 190 83 23
United Kingdom 127 75 32
New York City 253 80 35
Japan 617 48 34

Overall these results are quite decent, though I wasn’t blown away, either. They’re a far cry from the terrible speeds of the grossly misnamed FastVPN, but they’re also no IVPN or Mozilla VPN either, two providers that lose almost no speed even over long distances. CyberGhost is firmly in the middle of the road here, offering good performance over short to medium distances but offering bad results when connecting to the other side of the world.

That said, I do feel the ping or latency of CyberGhost’s servers does deserve special mention for being fairly awful. Even connecting literally just up the road (the Cyprus server was a mere three kilometers from me), ping took a massive hit. I doubt CyberGhost will make it onto our list of the best VPNs for gaming any time soon.

How Much Does CyberGhost Cost?

Finally, let’s discuss CyberGhost’s price. Like some other VPN providers—NordVPN and Surfshark come to mind first—it pulls a bait and switch on its customers, offering the low price of $57 for two years when signing up. However, when you renew, that same $57 is only good for a year.

I really can’t overstate how much I dislike these tactics. The only reason I don’t ding the service more for doing it is the fact that CyberGhost makes things clear right there on its pricing page, though in wording that may confuse non-native English speakers. It’s especially striking since it doesn’t use murky phrases like “yearly thereafter” anywhere else on the site.

CyberGhost pricing

What makes it worse is that $57 is actually a pretty decent price to pay per year for a VPN. My personal favorite VPN, Mullvad, will set you back a little over $60 per year, and while it has better speeds, it won’t get through to Netflix. If CyberGhost made it a little clearer that the two-year plan is less a plan and more of a promo offer, I wouldn’t say a word.

That said, if you like CyberGhost, I do have to admit it’s a good deal. For the first two years of use, you get an above-average VPN for less than $30 per year, which makes CyberGhost one of the cheapest VPNs around. Only Private Internet Access offers better pricing, and you can’t always access Netflix, though you do keep that pricing even after renewal.

If you are interested in CyberGhost, I would stick with the two-year plan: going month-to-month is just throwing away money, and the six-month plan is only a little cheaper than signing on for the full two years. With all the options you have to try CyberGhost out, there’s not a lot of risk in signing on for a long-term plan.

CyberGhost Trial and Refund Policy

If you’re interested in trying out CyberGhost, you’ll be happy to know you have a bunch of options to do so; it’s probably the most generous VPN on the market in that respect. For one, it has a free trial, all you need to do to make use of it is download the app onto your device of choice, make an account, and that’s it.

On Windows and Mac, you get 24 hours to play around with CyberGhost, while Android users get three days, and iPhone/iPad users get a whopping week. I used the trials to review CyberGhost, and as far as I can tell, the apps are fully functional, and there are no restrictions like with many VPNs’ free plans. The worst thing I can say about the trial is that you get a lot of reminders to upgrade, but that’s fair enough, I figure.

CyberGhost server list

When you do decide to start paying for CyberGhost, you’ll be happy to know that it has a very long refund window, offering a 45-day money-back guarantee, which I think might be the longest in the business, though do be aware that it’s only on the long-term plans. If you go month-to-month, you can only claim your money back for 14 days. Still, I like how CyberGhost gives you so many options to try it out.

Should You Subscribe to CyberGhost?

If you want a VPN primarily for Netflix and you don’t want to pay too much, CyberGhost is an interesting option. Though its speeds are a little worrying, especially on the streaming servers, if you have a fast enough connection, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

However, if anonymity is your main goal, I think you can probably do better, and with a VPN that doesn’t pull a pricing switcheroo. I recommend Mullvad or IVPN in that case, as you’ll get better speeds, too.

Rating:
7/10

?

  • 1 – Does not work
  • 2 – Barely functional
  • 3 – Severely lacking in most areas
  • 4 – Functions, but has numerous issues
  • 5 – Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great and worth purchasing
  • 8 – Fantastic, approaching best-in-class
  • 9 – Best-in-class
  • 10 – Borderline perfection

Price:
Starting At $56.94 for two years

Here’s What We Like

  • Great at cracking Netflix
  • Maintains okay speeds
  • First two years are cheap

And What We Don’t

  • Could be a lot faster
  • Slightly misleading pricing
  • Not a lot of customization



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