Cyberghost VPN Review (2019): Why We Disagree w/ Everyone

Cyberghost was founded in 2011 in Bucharest, Romania. It’s gone through a lot of changes since then, and now has a staggering 3,730 servers, and prides itself on its streaming access, security, and customization. It was also one of the first in the industry to produce a transparency report. We see if it really lives up to the hype.

PROS

  • Above average speeds
  • No logs
  • Outside 14-eyes
  • Torrenting on all servers
  • Outstanding streaming access
  • Secure
  • Very cheap

CONS

  • Buggy with major connection issues
  • Apps in alpha testing
  • Small server selection
  • No kill switch
  • No advanced features
  • Only 3 connections
  • Poor support

Speed & Expectations

VPNs usually slow down your connection, so the question is how much will Cyberghost impact your online speeds? To test this we measured the standard 3 speed metrics:

  1. Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.

  2. Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.

  3. Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.

First we created a baseline using a 100mbps internet connection in Chicago, IL.

Then we tested Cyberghost in all the main continents. We also performed each test 5 times to increase reliability.

Cyberghost VPN speed test results

These are the results of our baseline test:

So the average baseline score was:

  • Download: 82.1mbps
  • Upload: 12.2mbps
  • Ping: 10.4ms

Next we ran our tests on a Cyberghost United States server:

US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:

  • Download: 53.2mbps (35.3% slower)
  • Upload: 11.2mbps (8.1% slower)
  • Ping: 13.2ms (26.9% longer)

(You would expect these speeds to be the fastest since this server is relatively close to us).

Next we tested Europe:

Europe’s averages were:

  • Download: 33.8mbps (58.9% slower)
  • Upload: 10.3mbps (15.7% slower)
  • Ping: 123.2ms (1084.6% longer)

Here’s Asia:

Asia’s averages were:

  • Download: 23.7mbps (71.1% slower)
  • Upload: 1mbps (92.2% slower)
  • Ping: 254.2ms (2344.2% longer)

Next, South America:

South America’s averages were:

  • Download: 36.1mbps (56.1% slower)
  • Upload: 7.7mbps (37% slower)
  • Ping: 151ms (1351.9% longer)

Finally, we tested Africa:

Africa’s averages were:

  • Download: 26.6mbps (67.6% slower)
  • Upload: 6.4mbps (47.9% slower)
  • Ping: 261.6ms (2415.4% longer)

These results might not mean a lot to most people on their own, so let’s compare them to other VPNs we’ve tested.

First up, let’s take a look at download speeds:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Cyberghost-35%-59%-71%-56%-68%
Torguard-37%-58%-81%-60%-67%
ProtonVPN-35%-50%-56%-77%-54%
PureVPN-26%-68%-94%-32%-89%
Trust.Zone-14%-99%-80%-66%-82%
AVG Secure VPN-56%-87%-69%-75%-68%
Hoxx VPN-12%-96%-93%n/a-68%
VPNSecure-68%-93%-98%-61%-77%
IPVanish-36%-54%-72%-76%n/a
NordVPN-40%-99%-69%-58%-75%
ExpressVPN-71%-58%-64%-95%-67%
Avast-45%-63%-72%-66%-77%
Windscribe-44%-57%-80%-98%-73%
Average-39.9%-72.4%-76.9%-68.3%-72.1%

Download speeds were above average in all regions, particularly in Europe and South America. They were only just above average in the US.

Next, how did upload speeds compare?

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Cyberghost-8%-16%-92%-37%-48%
Torguard-9%-20%-35%-22%-41%
ProtonVPN-2%-15%-20%-41%-29%
PureVPN13%2.5%-54%-11%-72%
Trust.Zone-13%-45%-67%-28%-84%
AVG Secure VPN-19%-58%-75%-80%-77%
Hoxx VPN-5%-90%-24%n/a-51%
VPNSecure-9%-19%-92%-26%-56%
IPVanish-5%-19%-84%-22%n/a
NordVPN-13%-46%-26%-16%-70%
ExpressVPN-9%-24%-34%-72%-42%
Avast-13%-42%-78%-70%-77%
Windscribe-6%-17%-52%-97%-53%
Average-7.5%-31.4%-56.4%-43.5%-58.3%

Upload speeds are well above average in Europe, just above average for South America and Africa, just below average in the US, and well below average in Africa.

And finally latency:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Cyberghost27%1085%2344%1352%2415%
Torguard7%1036%2023%1384%2502%
ProtonVPN17%810%1840%1185%2017%
PureVPN-23%708%489%1018%1823%
Trust.Zone104%1206%2438%1396%2750%
AVG Secure VPN1021%1111%2419%3560%3336%
Hoxx VPN566%1098%2470%n/a2794%
VPNSecure281%1051%2519%1530%2917%
IPVanish240%1038%4144%1424%n/a
NordVPN34%1278%2328%1560%2696%
ExpressVPN98%965%2122%1545%2461%
Avast33%1133%2465%1556%2815%
Windscribe310%1018%1904%2042%2782%
Average208.9%1041.3%2269.6%1629.3%2609%

Latency speeds are well above average in the US, above average in South America and Africa, but just below average in Europe and Asia.

Speed (Summary)

Cyberghost has above average speeds overall, particularly download speeds.

Performance & Features

In this section we compare the most common features amongst VPNs.

Number of servers: 3,720

How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.

Cyberguard has one of the highest number of servers in the industry, and it seems to be growing.

Number of countries: numbers: 60

How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.

This is also high, although a few VPNs top it , such as ExpressVPN’s 94. Unless you have some seriously unusual country requirements, though, you won’t need to worry.

Number of connections allowed: 7

How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.

This is above the average of 5 connections, very generous on Cyberghost’s part.

Torrenting allowed: Allowed (26 countries).

Whether you can download and share files on a peer-to-peer or P2P network as opposed to a single server.

Cyberghost doesn’t grant full access torrenting, however there are a hefty 26 countries available. Notably these don’t include countries like the US or Australia, though.

Kill switch available: Yes (desktops).

Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.

Cyberghost has kill switches for desktops, but not mobiles, which is very common.

Performance and Features (Summary)

Cyberghost really wows with its features. It’s got one of the highest server selections available, a kill switch and a very generous 7 connections. The only very slight disappointment is that torrenting isn’t available on all servers, but there are 26 countries to choose from.

Privacy & Security

In this section we test all the privacy and security aspects of Cyberghost.

First let’s look at the technical aspects:

Protocols/Encryption: AES-256 encryption with OpenVPN, IKEv2 and L2TP protocols

These are the technical methods that VPNs use to protect your connection.

Cyberghost uses only the best encryption, AES-256, along with secure OpenVPN, IKEv2 and L2TP protocols.

Some VPNs offer more choice, but Cyberghost sticks only with the most secure options.

Leaks

VPN connections are also subject to the risk of leaks, where IP addresses are accidentally on show despite the best intentions. We tested Cyberghost thoroughly for any security flaws.

DNS leaks: None found.

IP leaks: None found.

WebRTC leaks: None.

Viruses/Malware: None found.

One antivirus appeared to detect a trojan, but since this was only 1 antivirus out of 65 and Cyberghost has a good community score, this is almost certainly a false positive.

Legal issues

Jurisdiction: Bucharest, Romania. Cyberghost is located in Romania, which is not a 14-eyes country. This means intelligence agencies don’t work together to share data. However, it is part of the EU, which likes to introduce data laws. The EU tried to impose mandatory data retention laws in 2006, but luckily Romania rejected this.

Logging policy: No logs.

Cyberghost are pretty emphatic that they don’t record any logs.

Their privacy policy is very detailed, which normally I like, however there should be a summary of what is and isn’t collected at the top. On closer inspection, it seems that maybe they deliberately made it long to hide certain facts.

For example, it states they capture and store IP addresses, albeit in an anonymised format.

Much further down, it also states that if you use third-party apps these ‘will use non-personal data and/or personal data’. This is very easily missed.

Sure enough, one of these apps, Instabug, states in their privacy policy that they may collect IP addresses. Mixpanel also states they may collect your IP address, OS, and access times. This is frankly disastrous.

It was also bought by Kape Technologies in 2017, formerly Crossrider, which is well-known for producing malware. This doesn’t exactly instill great faith in Cyberghost.

They do have a transparency report, but I didn’t find it very convincing, not to mention the vast majority of it reads like a marketing brochure.

I think in Cyberghost’s case, they should definitely go for an independent audit.

Privacy and Security Summary

Cyberghost has top technical security with only the most secure encryption and protocols, and was also free of leaks and viruses (except one false positive). It’s based in Romania, which is outside 14-eyes but part of the EU. It has a ‘no-logs’ policy, but disastrously, third-party apps may actually collect personal information such as IP addresses.

Usability

This section looks at the following aspects:

  • Streaming/Geo-spoofing
  • Compatibility
  • Overall UI/UX

Streaming/Geo-spoofing

VPNs are commonly used for streaming, since sites like Netflix have local licensing laws that prohibit them from showing certain shows in certain countries.

However, streaming sites have majorly upped their game against VPNs, and most VPNs have no or very restricted streaming access nowadays.

We tested Cyberghost against all major streaming services in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

  • Netflix: Partially detected. Cyberghost has special Netflix servers in the US, France and Germany, which all worked. UK and Romania streaming servers designated for other streaming sites also worked for Netflix. An extremely excellent result compared to most.
  • Hulu: Undetected. Cyberghost has a special Hulu server, which worked great.
  • YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked fine on all servers.
  • Kodi: Undetected. Kodi worked fine with Cyberghost.

Cyberghost has numerous other streaming servers, for example for Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and other country-specific channels.

Compatibility

Here we look at the support Cyberghost offers for the most common devices and platforms.

We tested everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers:

  • Tor browser: Supported. You can easily use Tor on top of Cyberghost for maximum anonymity.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Cyberghost has an iOS app.
  • Android: Supported. Cyberghost also has a fully-functional Android app.
  • Smart TV’s: Partially Supported. Cyberghost has an app for Android TVs, which is the best case scenario for Smart TVs at the moment. Other Smart TVs aren’t directly supported by any VPN.
  • Amazon Firestick: Supported. The rarest of the bunch, Cyberghost also amazingly has an app for Firesticks.

  • Windows: Supported.
  • Mac: Supported.
  • Routers: Partially Supported. Cyberghost only supports routers with OpenVPN, which is less than a lot of VPNs, but supports Merlin, TomatoUSB or flashed DD-WRT firmware.

Overall UX/UI

Cyberghost’s initial interface is small and minimalistic, and hangs out in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.

You can quickly connect to best server location, or use the dropdown to quickly access your favorites.

Clicking more servers opens up a much larger interface which practically takes up your whole screen.

At first, this felt intrusive. However, it’s extremely easy to use.

Countries are listed alphabetically, showing distance and load. You can drill down to actual servers by clicking the arrow.

You can sort by any of the columns on the right simply by clicking them.

There’s also a search button on the left, but it only seems to be able to search for countries, not cities, e.g. New York. This is a shame because it’s not easy to find cities quickly.

You can easily Favorite servers, and there’s a Favorites tab to organise these.

I like that Favorites appear on the small screen, which means you won’t have to enlarge the screen most of the time.

Cyberghost also has special torrenting and streaming servers. Very transparently, the torrenting servers show the number of current users.

The streaming servers are one of the most comprehensive we’ve seen: 45 in all, all optimised for different streaming services.

These are all the ones available just in the US.

Double-clicking the server automatically connects you.

Cyberghost connected to close servers quickly, but long distances sometimes took around 45 seconds.

Once connected, it shows you the server, IP address and time connected.

Clicking the graph icon shows further stats.

I like this approach as it doesn’t overwhelm you with stats if you don’t want them.

You can browse and change servers on the bigger screen. You don’t have to disconnect first, as some VPNs insist.

Overall I liked the unusual approach Cyberghost have adopted, as it made for a very smooth user experience.

Settings are accessed in the bottom left corner. General settings include the kill switch, as well as several European language options and appearance settings.

Connection settings are where you can choose your protocol (OpenVPN, IKEv2 or LT2P for Windows), and choose TCP or UDP for OpenVPN. You can also enable DNS leak protection, disable IPv6 connections, and use a random port to connect.

There’s also further unique settings available via the left hand tabs.

There’s Connection features, where you can use Cyberghost’s adblocker and malware blockers. But they also have https redirects, data compression and blocking tracking options, which are nice touches.

There’s also Smart rules, which are basically a load of auto-connect and exclusion options, far more varied than you usually see.

You can also choose what happens when you connect to a new wifi network.

There’s also a split tunneling option where you can choose websites to exclude from the VPN tunnel.

And auto-connect options when you connect to specific apps.

That’s it for the Windows client, but what about the mobile app?

Well, it has the same small interface as the client, although sadly it doesn’t include the favorites in the dropdown.

Clicking the dropdown takes you to a server list with 3 tabs: Countries, Streaming servers, and Favorites.

The server list is similar but with no stats such as load time available.

To view individual servers, you have to click the right-hand side and then ‘Show servers’.

The individual servers still show user numbers, which is handy.

There’s no sorting options, but there’s still a search bar. Sadly this still doesn’t work for searching cities.

Once you click the server or country, it connects automatically. Connection times seemed quicker than the desktop version.

Unlike the desktop version, no further connection stats are available except IP address and time connected.

You also have to disconnect to view or choose another server, which is annoying.

There’s a tab for streaming servers, but not one for torrenting. Bizarrely the torrenting servers are still available, they just don’t have their own category. Which means you’re limited to searching for them in the entire server list by cross-referencing them from the desktop version.

There’s way less settings too. There’s no kill switch, you can’t choose your protocol, and there’s not even a split tunneling option.

You still get the Connection features (ad blocker etc), wifi protection, and you can choose a random port.

Overall the app is still fairly easy to use, but not as smooth, and it lacks power and options.

Usability (Summary)

Cyberghost has outstanding streaming access. It works with Netflix in 5 countries, including the US and UK, as well as Hulu. It also has a numerous other streaming servers. Cyberghost also has amazing compatibility, including Android Smart TVs and Firesticks. The interface is easy to use, but the mobile app lacks a lot of options that the desktop has.

Pricing & Refunds

Cyberghost offers 1 month to 3 year pricing options.

The one month price is very expensive, one of the highest we’ve seen. The other prices, though, are just above average.

Unusually, their money-back guarantee depends on your subscription. It’s just 14 days for monthly users, but a generous 45 days for 6 month or more subscriptions.

This makes the 1 month price a particularly raw deal.

Be aware that this guarantee is only available if you buy it through their website.

In terms of trials, there’s an extremely short 1 day trial which you get immediate access to upon download. It is full access though.

In terms of payment, there’s only 3 options available: card, Paypal, or Bitcoin.

Other VPN giants offer a plethora of options, including Alipay, gift cards, and other cryptocurrencies, so this is quite surprising.

There’s also the option to buy a dedicated IP at checkout, at $5 a month, which is relatively cheap.

The payment process wasn’t as smooth as others I’ve encountered. Once I’d paid, it said it would take an hour, or sometimes longer, to process my payment.

This differs to a lot of VPNs that take you straight to the download link.

I actually tried to pay 3 times via different methods. Two methods were declined after 5 minutes, and the 3rd was finally processed after a 3 hour delay. Not ideal.

Pricing (Summary)

Cyberghost has 1 month to 3 year plans. They are slightly above average in price, except for the monthly price which is very expensive. You can also purchase dedicated IPs for $5 a month.

There’s a 1-day free trial, and 14-45 day money-back guarantee depending on the length of your subscription. Payment options are limited to card, Paypal, or Bitcoin, and payment processing can take a long time.

Support

Cyberghost offers the holy grail of VPN support, 24/7 live chat, as well as email.

The only slightly annoying thing with the live chat is they try and redirect you to help articles first, resulting in 3 screens before you get put through to somebody.

However, generally the responses were excellent. I didn’t get one copy and paste answer, which is rare, and all answers were relevant and helpful, even for technical issues.

Sometimes responses weren’t instant though, as if they had to go look them up before replying. I would rather that than an instant copy-and-paste answer though.

They did make one error when they told me kill switches were available on all devices, including Android.

They also weren’t very helpful regarding payment issues. They couldn’t give me any information about the delay in my payment being processed, and said the only options were to email their payment processing company, and contact my bank.

Their knowledgebase is comprehensive, with many setup and troubleshooting guides, even for different versions of Cyberghost.

There’s also an FAQ and Announcements section, where they announce if they’re having service issues.

Luckily there’s a search function to navigate all this, which works well.

We did find some out-of-date information, such as listing the wrong protocols on the FAQ, but this was pretty rare.

Some screenshots for non-version specific articles were also out-of-date, using an old UI.

Some technical troubleshooting guides weren’t very useful for beginners either, such as ‘Change your MTU settings from 1.500 to 1.300’ if you think your connection is slow.

The English also isn’t great, but it’s not usually hard to understand what they’re saying.

They also have a blog, ‘The Privacy Hub’, which they loftily brand ‘an educational initiative’. This has some good VPN-related news as well as product updates, which you can view by category.

Support (Summary)

Cyberghost has 24/7 live chat and email support, which is generally of excellent quality, with no copy-and-paste replies. The knowledgebase is very comprehensive, with a range of setup guides and lots of troubleshooting guides.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Like us all reviewers lauded Cyberghost’s encryption, protocols, kill switches, large network and compatibility.

Most also liked the high number of connections on offer, although one pointed out most people probably wouldn’t actually need them all.

Speeds results varied, ranging from very impressive, to middle of the pack, to just below average.

In line with our testing, all reported high levels of Netflix access on the streaming servers, as well as other streaming services such as iPlayer, Prime, HBO, etc.

They also praised Cyberghost’s P2P servers, reporting a smooth and buffer-free P2P experience.

They all said the interface was easy to use, calling it crisp, sleek and responsive, and easy to understand. However, one said the mobile version had a lot less functionality.

Almost all liked the live chat facility, calling it speedy and informative. However one didn’t have a good experience, with irrelevant replies and an unprofessional attitude.

Some called the knowledge base comprehensive, but one said whilst there were lots of articles, the content was poor and disorganised, with questionable advice and out-of-date information.

They all proclaimed it leak and virus-free. No one else found any false positives.

They liked the unusual security settings on offer, as well as the nospy server package option for improved protection. Most approved of the malware blocker and adblocker, though one said the adblocker didn’t work on https sites.

In terms of security, they all liked it’s Romanian location, with no one having concerns that Romania was based in the EU.

Unlike us the vast majority had no problems with its logging policy, calling it a very transparent and strict no logs policy. However, one review raised similar concerns to ours about third-party apps.

A few were also alarmed about the parent company, Kape. One said it can’t be trusted and Cyberghost admits it. However, another said its transparency report shows it cares about its users privacy.

A couple also mentioned a past scandal where Cyberghost installed root certificates. However, one said that it had addressed the issue and there were no current privacy worries.

One was also concerned that Cyberghost is selling lifetime subscriptions, which are usually associated with the worst VPN companies.

In terms of price, most said it was above average, especially the monthly price, although one called the 3 year price ultra low.

Unlike us they thought Cyberghost had a wide variety of payment options, and said the installation process was quick.

They also loved the no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.

Overall most rated it as excellent, calling it secure and easy to use, with great streaming and torrenting access. One, however, gave it the lowest rating as they deemed it untrustworthy.

What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)

Most reviewers rated Cyberghost as excellent, saying it was expensive but had a great server selection, torrenting, streaming access, and live chat.

They also said it was extremely secure, with a transparent no-logs policy and great location, as well as a lot of security features. However, one said it was completely untrustworthy.

Our Verdict: How Good is Cyberghost VPN?

Cyberghost has an extremely large server selection, with great compatibility and a generous 7 connections. It’s also a fairly fast VPN.

It’s a streamers dream, with so many streaming server tailored to different services across the globe, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Comedy Central, HBO, and many other national channels. The fast download speeds mean a smooth buffer-free experience.

It’s a more Eurocentric VPN, which should appeal to European users. However, there’s no downsides for US users.

It’s also seems pretty great for torrentors, with special servers in 26 countries, however these aren’t easily accessible on mobile.

The desktop interface is easy to use and powerful with a lot of unusual options, however the mobile app has a lot less options, including no kill switch and no split tunneling.

It’s slightly above average in price, but you are getting a lot of features for this, as well as generally excellent 24/7 live chat support and a great knowledgebase.

In some aspects it’s very secure. It’s got great protocols and encryption, a kill switch, and no leaks or viruses. It’s location in Romania is outside 14-eyes, although I would keep a watch out for any future EU regulations.

However, there’s one big hole in its security: its logging policy. Despite claiming it has a strict no-logs policy, it states in the fine print of its policy that third party apps may collect personal data including IP addresses. The app’s own policies confirm this.

Therefore, it’s not a safe VPN to use in terms of protecting your data and keeping you anonymous online.

This is a massive shame, as otherwise, Cyberghost would be in our top VPNs.
Therefore we give Cyberghost an overall rating of 2.5 out of 5 and we wouldn’t recommend it for security reasons.


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