CyberGhost is one of the most affordable VPNs on the market — you can get a subscription for as low as $2.11/month. I sometimes assume that price indicates quality, but with VPNs, I've been proven wrong before. So I wanted to see whether CyberGhost can really deliver at such a low price.
TLDR: CyberGhost is a safe choice — and it has a lot to offer in other respects, especially in terms of ease of use and unblocking your favorite streaming platforms (it’s ideal if you’re a VPN newbie). Plus, it offers one of the longest money-back guarantee periods of any other VPN — you get 45 days to test it out and can request a full refund within that timeframe if it's not for you (most VPNs only offer 30-day money-back guarantees). However, I found a few areas where CyberGhost still can’t compete with other premium VPNs.
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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Reliably unblocks more than 35 popular streaming platforms. In my tests, I used CyberGhost’s streaming-optimized servers to unblock Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and many more. Check out all the streaming sites CyberGhost can access here.
- Impressive global network with optimized servers. CyberGhost has 9,167 servers in 91 locations with servers dedicated to streaming, torrenting, and gaming — but none of them work in heavily censored countries like China. You can read more about CyberGhost’s servers here.
- Military-level encryption and extra security features. Not only does CyberGhost offer 256-bit encryption and a kill switch, but you can also customize it with extra features designed to keep you safe. Take a look at my complete security run-down below.
- No-logs policy is audited and proven. Your privacy is protected since CyberGhost doesn't log any information that could be used to identify you. Read my full analysis of CyberGhost’s privacy practices here.
- P2P-optimized servers for torrenting. These dedicated servers give you a safe, reliable way to download torrents with great speeds. Check out the results of my tests below.
- Designed for ease of use. CyberGhost doesn’t overcomplicate things and has native apps for every major operating system and even some smart TVs, plus it works on routers and gaming consoles. I tested several of CyberGhost’s apps to see just how simple it is.
- Money-back guarantee. You can try it out risk-free for up to 45-days. I asked for a refund and had my money back in 5 days.
- Slower speeds on long-distance servers, but local servers are really fast. I had speeds fast enough for HD streaming (and even gaming) on nearby servers, but long-distance ones slowed my connection down. You can see my full speed test results here.
CyberGhost VPN Features — 2023 Update
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
24/7 Live Chat Support
Streaming — Unblocks 35+ Platforms, Including Netflix and Disney+9.6
CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs to use if you need to bypass geo-restrictions for streaming. Watching shows on Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer was a seamless process with no issues.
A few services required troubleshooting, like Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max, but it didn’t take long to get them up and running. The only platform I couldn’t unblock was SkyTV.
I tested 50+ server locations that unblocked the following platforms:
||Amazon Prime Video
||HBO Max/HBO Now
||Disney + Hotstar
CyberGhost also has optimized servers specifically set up for streaming. They can be found on the left-hand side of the app in a menu with the other specialized servers. You can also use the search function to find the right streaming server
Clicking the arrow in the center of the app opens the server menu
The “For streaming" option will show you all of the servers designed for a particular platform. The optimized server was the most reliable way to unblock HBO Max, Hulu, and Netflix. I could unblock most other platforms with a standard server. My speeds were usually a little slower, but it wasn’t a notable difference. However, I appreciate that these specialized servers removed a lot of trial and error.
Stream in HD with CyberGhost
Unblocked: US/UK Netflix and Other Libraries
I wanted to see if CyberGhost unblocks US Netflix, so I connected to its optimized New York server. Given the distance between my location in the UK and New York, I expected speeds to lag a little, but I was surprised that it didn’t slow down much at all. I watched Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays on Netflix US with minimal buffering.
CyberGhost has optimized Netflix servers in 17 different countries
Unblocking the Canadian library was just as easy. After connecting to the server optimized for Netflix Canada, I logged in and started streaming This Is Us. The episode loaded instantly in full HD and played with zero buffering. This was slightly more impressive than the app’s performance with US Netflix, but that could just be because there was less traffic.
I also tested non-optimized servers in London, Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Helsinki, Mumbai, Melbourne, Toronto, São Paulo, Frankfurt, and 6 other countries. They could all unblock their respective Netflix libraries easily and had an average speed of 78.9 Mbps — more than enough for streaming in HD without lag. This makes CyberGhost great if you travel a lot and want to keep up with your local shows.
Here’s a rundown of my test results using CyberGhost with Netflix:
||Fast Speeds for HD Streaming?
There were a few servers I tried that only gave me access to Netflix Originals, like Chile, Malaysia, Croatia, and Argentina. This is likely because these are virtual servers, although the virtual servers in India let me access that library with no issues. There are many VPNs that can only unblock Netflix Originals, so I was impressed so many servers could unblock full libraries.
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I unblocked Disney+ with the Dallas server — but it was a little slow since it’s so far from my location. It let me stream Unprisoned in HD, but I had to sit through 10 seconds of buffering first.
CyberGhost’s optimized servers and several standard US servers worked to unblock Disney+
I actually got faster speeds connecting to CyberGhost’s (non-optimized) New York server, which loaded the show much faster. There’s also an optimized server for Disney+ Italy, which worked too.
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I had zero issues accessing Hulu and streaming without buffering. It has some of the toughest geo blocks around, so this really impressed me.
The movie loaded instantly, and there were no quality issues even when I skipped around
I used Firefox and the optimized server first. But, I was also able to unblock the platform with the regular US server. It even worked on Microsoft Edge too.
Watch Hulu with CyberGhost >>
Unblocked: Amazon Prime Video
I had a tougher time trying to access Amazon Prime Video, but I unblocked it eventually. I used the live chat to ask for help, and the agent gave me some simple troubleshooting advice that fixed my problem.
The agent also recommended that I try a different browser, but this didn’t work for me
After the fix, I was able to quickly load up Mad Men on Amazon Prime Video US. The optimized Los Angeles server buffered to begin with, but there was no lag once the show loaded up.
Watch Amazon Prime Video with CyberGhost >>
Also Unblocked: HBO Max, Apple TV, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more
I had a similar experience with HBO Max. On my first try, it told me the platform wasn’t available in my region. This time, I switched to a different browser, and it worked perfectly.
The Chicago server let me watch The White Lotus seamlessly
I was also impressed with how well CyberGhost worked for me with Kodi — it unblocked all my favorite add-ons without making me wait longer than a minute for them to load. I like to use it to watch Vimeo on my Android TV, so I loaded it up using the native CyberGhost Android app. As my Android TV is pretty old and sluggish, I expected speeds to slow down with the load of the extra app — but I was wrong. The app is so lightweight I barely noticed a difference and could stream in HD without any lag.
CyberGhost also unblocked BBC iPlayer. The optimized server let me access it on the first try, and I was able to watch Luther with zero interruptions.
Blocked By: Sky TV
The only platform that CyberGhost couldn’t unblock was Sky TV. After trying several UK servers, I asked a live chat support agent for the best server to use. Unfortunately, the representative couldn’t help me.
Unfortunately, the representative couldn’t recommend any servers for Sky TV
The agent also directed me to a web page that lists all the platforms CyberGhost currently supports. Sky TV wasn’t included in the list.
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Speeds — Most Servers Are Fast (Only a Few Aren’t)9.0
CyberGhost’s fast speeds make it a great option for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. However, I experienced some inconsistent speeds on long-distance servers. While testing speeds, I looked at these 3 things:
- Download speed is how fast you’ll receive data. It’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps). This lets you know how quickly you can load web pages, stream videos, etc.
- Upload speed is how fast you can send data. It’s also measured in megabits per second (Mbps). This tells you how fast you’ll be able to send emails, upload videos, post to social media, etc.
- Ping is how long your data takes to travel from point A to point B. If the ping is lower, you’ll have a more responsive connection; this is really important when you’re gaming online. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms).
We have a dedicated speed tester who conducts regular tests on CyberGhost servers over several months from the same location in the UK. The chart below displays the average speeds of 10 tests done on each server.
Download speeds dropped an average of 6% on nearby servers and 37% on long-distance locations
These are great results that are far better than most VPNs. The nearby servers are especially impressive because it’s typical to lose 15-20% of your speed even on the closest locations. Plus, while CyberGhost’s speeds fell quite a bit on very distant servers (10,000 km+), that’s not uncommon. The only VPN I’ve tested that still gives you great speeds at that distance is ExpressVPN.
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First, I tested my base speed without a VPN connection as a basis for comparison.
No VPN (London, UK):
I connected to CyberGhost using the WireGuard protocol because it gave me the fastest speeds (the tests in our chart were also done with WireGuard). I then began recording speeds on my Windows 11 laptop.
First, I used the “Best server location” option, which automatically finds you an optimal server based on latency, speed, and distance. It connected me to a server in London, UK, and I hardly experienced any slowdowns.
||122.9 (4% drop)
||17.8 (5% drop)
Then, I tried a country close to my location, Paris, France. I got almost identical results.
||122.04 (5% drop)
||17.96 (4% drop)
Next, I connected to a couple of other European countries (Germany and Ukraine) and got similar results. My speeds fell by 12% connected to a Ukrainian server, which is excellent since it’s over 2,500 km from my actual location.
CyberGhost’s French servers were almost as fast as those in my own country
I already had fast speeds to begin with, so I didn't experience any noticeable difference while streaming or browsing connected to the Ukraine server. Base speeds as low as 25 Mbps are still fast enough to stream in HD.
In general, my speeds slowed down the farther away the server was from my location. However, I did experience some inconsistencies — some servers were much slower, and some were just unusually fast or slow, no matter how far they were from me. Long-distance servers also take longer to establish a connection. The San Paulo server took 9 seconds to connect (nearby servers usually only took a few seconds).
I started by testing a few servers in the US on both the east and west coasts:
New York, United States:
||98.85 (23% drop)
||17.97 (4% drop)
Los Angeles, United States:
||105.61 (18% drop)
||12.14 (35% drop)
Then, I went the distance and tested CyberGhost’s servers in Australia, India, Brazil, and Japan.
My speeds dropped 45% on the Indian and Australian servers, which I expected due to the distance
While there was a bigger drop at these distances, my connection was still fast enough for high-bandwidth activities. I was able to stream geo blocked content on all these servers without buffering.
I found it strange that CyberGhost’s Brazil and Japan servers dropped my speeds more (by 55%) since they’re both closer than the Australian servers.
CyberGhost’s macOS app shows you the load percentage next to each server, which tells you the approximate number of users currently connected. With less load, the servers generally give you better speeds. Unfortunately, this isn’t available on other devices, so I’d really like to see it integrated into all of CyberGhost’s apps. Otherwise, you may just have to test a few servers if you’re looking for a fast long-distance connection.
Optimized vs. Regular Servers
The streaming-optimized servers give you a slight boost in speed, but not much. I compared servers in 7 cities to see if there was any difference.
As with the regular servers, the long-distance optimized servers were a little inconsistent
The regular connections were only around 3% slower on local servers, so not really a noticeable difference. On long-distance servers, I actually got faster speeds with the standard servers.
CyberGhost’s chat support told me that the optimized servers are regularly maintained by the team to ensure fast speeds and access to the specified platform. And I always got access to the streaming platform on my first try with these, so they’re good for reliable access in case the regular servers don’t work. I got similar speed results with the gaming-optimized servers.
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Gaming — Lag-free Gameplay on Local Servers9.4
CyberGhost isn’t the fastest gaming VPN I’ve tested, but its local servers can support online play. The international servers slowed me down, so I’d like to see more consistency across its network before I feel comfortable recommending it as a top VPN for gamers.
Your inputs are very important when you’re playing online games. The higher the ping rate, the longer it takes for your commands to register. When the ping is high, you’ll be significantly disadvantaged in competitive play. It’s just frustrating when you’re getting into a game but keep losing due to a bad connection.
The optimized gaming servers performed well, but there wasn’t much difference between those and the regular servers. However, this means you don’t need to worry if there isn’t one close to you. There are 4 gaming servers located in the UK, France, Germany, and the US (East coast). Since the European servers are close to my location, I had no problems gaming with these.
When I connected to the gaming-optimized server in Germany, I got a ping of 17 ms, which was great, but only a little lower than the regular server’s ping of 19 ms. So, I didn’t notice a difference in gameplay.
I wanted to see how the gaming servers held up at a farther distance, so I connected to a gaming-optimized server in New York. I recorded a ping of 92 ms. It’s best to have a ping of under 85 ms for gaming. These speeds were still playable, but I noticed a little lag, so it wasn’t ideal for fast-paced play.
I loaded up March of Empires and was impressed with how smooth it was using optimized New York servers. All of the textures loaded up normally, and I could navigate around the map without any slowdowns. However, I experienced a lot of lag during battles. I wasn’t too surprised by this though — it’s very common for VPNs to cause lag while gaming on long-distance servers. The best VPN I’ve used for long-distance gaming is ExpressVPN, and it even gave me some lag on really distant locations.
I experienced minimal lag during fast-paced battles in March of Empires
I also tried gaming on more distant servers on the west coast of the US, but it was impossible to play on these.
||Fast Enough for Gaming
|New York (optimized)
Since none of CyberGhost’s gaming-optimized servers were far away from me, I didn’t have trouble playing online with them. Unfortunately, gaming was impossible on servers that were more than 5,000 km from me. But you can play online games with CyberGhost if you stick to local servers, and the regular servers were just as fast as the optimized ones in most cases. Luckily, it has a huge server network, so you shouldn’t have issues finding a nearby location.
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Server Network — A Large Network with Great Coverage9.6
CyberGhost has an impressive global network of 9,167 servers in 91 countries. That’s a lot more coverage than most other top VPNs I’ve used. It means your chances of finding a fast connection are higher because there’s most likely a server close by.
I was impressed that CyberGhost has 1,100+ server locations in the US alone (with servers in 24 cities in the Americas) — but there’s also a lot of coverage in the Asia/Pacific region (24 cities), Africa and the Middle East (12 cities), and Europe (55 cities).
CyberGhost also uses a small number of virtual servers, meaning its coverage can reach many hard-to-reach locations (like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, Iran, and Sri Lanka).
CyberGhost currently has 31 virtual locations (around 6% of its server network). Its 84 physical locations are exactly what they sound like — servers run on machines in the city listed. But for virtual servers like Saudi Arabia, the machine is in another location that assigns you an IP address in that country.
CyberGhost is transparent about using virtual servers, and it’s easy to see which ones are
Virtual servers can help VPNs provide faster and more reliable connections in remote places. They also let them operate in countries where VPNs are banned (or are vulnerable to government interference). However, these can result in lower ping rates and download speeds if the physical machine is farther away from you than the location you want to connect to.
Specialized Streaming and P2P-Optimized Servers
CyberGhost’s torrenting and streaming-optimized servers make using it for these activities really easy. They automatically give you the best IP address and server location, depending on what you want to do.
I checked with CyberGhost’s live chat team, and they told me these IP addresses for streaming servers are regularly updated. They replace any IPs that streaming sites might have blacklisted so they always work.
When a streaming platform bans an IP, CyberGhost removes it
The streaming servers are even optimized for specific platforms so that you can hop onto the best servers for Netflix US, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more.
Its P2P servers give you the best speeds for downloading torrents based on your location and network. They can also give you a virtual location in a country that can access popular P2P indexes and torrenting sites. While my team and I don’t condone illegal torrenting, the VPN can keep you safe from third-party interference while you download copyright-free files. However, be sure to look up your country’s laws before torrenting because it is illegal in some parts of the world.
Streaming optimized servers are available on all major operating systems including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. P2P servers are available on the desktop apps.
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CyberGhost has servers optimized for gaming, which performed well during my tests. These servers are designed to have a lower ping rate and quicker speeds. I had no issues with these servers, and they all gave me a ping of less than 100 ms.
A ping rate under 100 ms is required for lag-free gaming, but under 85 is ideal
However, it’s important to note that the gaming servers are located in London, Paris, Frankfurt, and New York. Only the New York servers are particularly far away from me (around 5,000 km), and they had a higher ping, around the mid-90s. The others are all close to my location, so a lower ping is to be expected. You might notice higher ping rates if you’re not near any gaming-optimized servers.
Sadly, the gaming-optimized servers are only available on the Windows app.
CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers make the VPN more secure — but you need to be on a 6-month plan or longer to access them. The NoSpy servers are based in CyberGhost’s private data center in Romania and only the CyberGhost team can access them. They significantly reduce the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks since there’s no third party involved — ideal for extra protection while torrenting, for example.
CyberGhost doesn’t have a multi-hop feature, but it’s not a big deal because NoSpy servers are actually better. I prefer CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers to something like Proton VPN’s Secure Core feature. This is a multi-hop feature that increases security by routing your traffic twice, but you lose a lot more speed compared to NoSpy servers, and they’re just as secure.
Even though they’re a little slower, NoSpy servers are worth it for the added security. It’s true you have to commit to a longer-term subscription to access them so you pay more upfront. But, the longer the subscription term, the less you actually pay per month. In the long run, it’s totally worth it because you end up paying less to access more features.
I was pleased to see that NoSpy servers are available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, so you can enjoy maximum security across all your desktop and mobile devices.
Dedicated IP Servers
A dedicated IP server is a server that only you use that gives you the same IP every time you connect. This is an essential feature for business owners. For example, if you want to run a website, you’ll need a static IP address, so people know where to find you consistently. It’s also handy for banking and online trading since some of these services ban accounts when they discover multiple IP addresses accessing your account.
Dedicated IPs can also help you avoid VPN blocks on streaming sites. Since you’re the only one using the IP, it’ll be harder to detect that it’s been assigned to you by a VPN. Therefore, it’s more difficult to block. Plus, CyberGhost uses a token-based dedicated IP system. This just means that the company doesn’t know what your new dedicated IP is, which increases your security.
However, I wouldn’t recommend them if you need better speeds. CyberGhost’s optimized servers were often faster during my tests, and it only has dedicated IPs in 5 countries (the UK, the US, Germany, France, and Canada). If you’re located far away from these locations, you’ll probably experience slower speeds.
These servers are available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and cost from $2.50/month extra. The price is lower the longer your plan is.
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Security — Flexible Options to Customize Your Safety Features9.8
CyberGhost has all the security features I’d expect from a premium VPN, with a few great bonus options. The only big features it’s missing are a proprietary protocol and double VPN. However, its NoSpy servers are arguably more secure than sending your data through 2 separate tunnels. Plus, it offers some of the best protocols available.
Overall, CyberGhost is one of the safest VPNs available today. It truly excels in this category, and it’s hard to think of what it could truly improve.
CyberGhost is incredibly safe because it offers 256-bit encryption (the highest level available). That means you protect your data with a 256-character-long key (like a password) that encrypts your information. The longer the key, the more secure it is, and 256 bits is currently the strongest.
Putting that into perspective helps to understand why it’s important: 50 supercomputers that could check a billion AES keys per second would require thousands of years to crack a single piece of your data. This means that even if a hacker intercepted your information, they would still not be able to read it.
It also offers Perfect Forward Secrecy, which adds additional security. This regularly changes the key CyberGhost uses to encrypt and decrypt information. Although it’s incredibly unlikely, if anyone ever did discover the key, it would be changed soon after.
Leak Test Results — Passed
CyberGhost is secure since it offers DNS and IP leak protection in its apps and browser extensions. Your ISP can use DNS requests and IPv6 traffic to see what you’re doing online, so you want to keep them private. CyberGhost ensures that your DNS requests are routed through its own DNS servers, and any IPv6 requests are blocked to prevent sites from seeing your real IP address. These functions are already switched on, which is great if you’re new to VPNs. You’ll be protected without having to worry about it.
I also found no viruses or malware when I ran Cyberghost’s app through VirusTotal
I didn’t experience DNS or IP leaks on any server. I tested 10 different servers, including locations in France, the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, and Hong Kong using ipleak.net. It checked to see whether there were any faults or potential leaks in my connection and found none.
Automatic Kill Switch
All of CyberGhost’s apps feature an automatic kill switch to protect you if the network malfunctions. This pauses your internet connection, preventing leaks if your VPN temporarily goes down. It’s a necessary function that ensures your IP address and information are always safe.
I knew it was working because my internet connection was temporarily interrupted whenever I switched servers.
The kill switch can be enabled or disabled by clicking the toggle
You can’t find this option on Mac, iOS, or Android because it’s integrated, meaning it’s always running automatically.
CyberGhost offers 3 security protocols, so you can customize your connection. You can choose between WireGuard, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), and IKEv2. The apps automatically select the best protocol for you based on your needs — but you can choose another protocol if you prefer.
- WireGuard: If you need to strike a balance between security and speed, this protocol is for you. It gave me the fastest speeds during my tests and is the perfect choice for streaming, browsing, or making video calls. Plus, it’s available on every major operating system.
- OpenVPN: This is one of the safest protocols since it’s been around longer than WireGuard and is an open-source project. That means security experts are constantly improving it, but you do sacrifice speed. It came in 30% slower than WireGuard in my tests. So, this is a good choice when you need to prioritize safety over quickness. However, this protocol must be manually installed for macOS and isn’t available on iOS.
- IKEv2: This protocol is quick, but not as fast as WireGuard. It’s a good choice to use with your mobile device since it typically connects a few seconds faster than the other protocols. That’s because it can auto-connect, so you stay protected when you switch from mobile to WiFi networks. However, it’s only available on Windows, macOS, and iOS, so people running Linux or using Android phones are out of luck.
You can choose between different protocols by clicking the settings icon in the lower-left corner of the server's window. You’ll find the option under the CyberGhost VPN section.
You can let the app pick the best protocol for you automatically or manually select one
Better Speeds with WireGuard
The security protocol you use makes a big difference in speed. I tested 11 servers with Wireguard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 and averaged their speeds to see how each protocol would affect them.
WireGuard was around 11% faster than IKEv2 during my tests
WireGuard was the overall winner, with an average speed of 100.22 Mbps. So, you’ll want to switch over to it when you’re prioritizing speed.
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App Protection and Split Tunneling
Split tunneling and app protection are 2 extra features that allow you to customize how CyberGhost works on your devices.
Split tunneling lets you decide which traffic goes through the VPN and which traffic uses your regular internet connection. This is useful for online banking and watching domestic streaming sites because you can lose access to them when you connect to a VPN. This feature is only available on Windows and Android.
On Windows, you can add a URL under the smart rules menu in a section called Exceptions.
You’ll need to exit out and reconnect after you add a new URLI tested this by typing in an exception for whatismyipaddress.com. Then I connected to a New York server and went to the website to see which location showed up.
The site saw my real IP address in the UK and exempted it
My actual IP showed up instead of the VPN’s, so I was happy the split tunneling feature worked without issues. However, when I tried it with Amazon Prime Video, I didn’t have the same level of success. I could exempt the website, but I could never get it to work with actual shows.
Android is a different setup because you can only select apps to bypass the VPN connection, not websites. If you go to VPN > Settings, you’ll find App Split Tunnel. I used this to run Netflix through my base connection while CyberGhost was connected to a Tokyo location. UK Netflix popped up when I accessed the app, so this feature works.
Split tunneling is not available for macOS, iOS, or Linux, which is frustrating. The limited nature of this feature is not ideal either. It’s tough to use it for streaming platforms on a desktop, and it’s hard to pinpoint websites on a phone.
App Protection lets you add apps to a list, so CyberGhost automatically launches and connects when you open them. The list is in a section called App Rules, and it’s under the Smart Rules menu. I tried it with Netflix, and it worked flawlessly. It connected me to a US server automatically, so I could head straight to Netflix US without any other manual configuration.
This is amazing for ease of use. It also means that if you’re using a risky app — like a torrenting client — you don’t need to worry about compromising your security if you accidentally forget to connect your VPN.
CyberGhost worked fairly well with Tor during my tests. It made Tor a bit slower for me since my traffic had to go through the VPN server and Tor’s relays, but it wasn’t anything drastic.
You might use Tor (sometimes called The Onion Router) if you live in a country with heavy internet censorship because it’s much more secure than using a traditional browser. Using a VPN in combination with Tor just adds another layer of security. With CyberGhost, it’s safest to use the Onion over VPN method, so just connect to a server and then launch the Tor browser.
Ad, Tracking, and Malware Blocker
CyberGhost comes with an ad blocker that only blocks malicious content. After speaking with a support agent, I found out that it doesn’t remove all ads.
There are still many types of ads (like YouTube videos) that get through
I turned on the Block Content option under CyberGhost’s privacy settings and used the testing feature on ads-blocker.com. CyberGhost succeeded in blocking the banner ads and pop-ups. However, YouTube ads still got through.
This feature is available for Android, Windows, and macOS. However, if you’re concerned about ads, I recommend using a dedicated service in addition to CyberGhost. It’s not a bad idea to turn this feature on since it protects you from malicious sites, but there are better ad blockers available.
On desktop and mobile apps, you can set up CyberGhost to launch automatically when you connect to public WiFi. You can also set it to ask whether you want to connect to or ignore certain networks. WiFi hotspots are an easy target for hackers, so you’ll always want a VPN connected when using public connections. I found this feature really convenient because I didn’t need to worry about remembering to turn the app on; you’re protected no matter what.
You’ll find the automatic WiFi protection under the Smart Rules section
This feature forces your connection to an HTTPS-enabled site, so you only visit the most secure version of a website. This helps protect you from malicious attacks on unsecured web pages, where personal data like credit card details and your mailing address can be exposed. The “S" stands for secure because, unlike HTTP sites, HTTPS sites are encrypted using the Secure Sockets Layer. In simple terms, this means even if hackers capture your information, it will be in encrypted code. This is a nice feature since you can never have too much protection for your sensitive information.
If the site doesn’t have an HTTPS version, you’re still protected by CyberGhost’s encryption and other security measures, though.
CyberGhost’s Extras and Add-Ons
CyberGhost offers a few other unique features and add-ons, all of which are free except for dedicated IPs:
- Secret Photo Vault — CyberGhost’s Secret Photo Vault is an iOS-only app that hides pictures and videos behind password protection on your iPhone or iPad. You can choose to secure your files with a PIN or biometric protection. It has additional security features, including break-in reports and a decoy password to prevent anyone from accessing your vault. This app will also take a selfie of anyone attempting to hack your account, and it has an AI function that automatically sends NSFW photos to a separate folder. The app is free, and I found it easy to use — it’s just disappointing that it’s only available for iOS.
- Private Browser — This is a full-fledged browser that’s compatible with Chrome add-ons and extensions. Since it’s powered by DuckDuckGo, you don’t have to worry about Google having access to your data. Plus, it automatically deletes all of your browsing history each time you click out.
- NoSpy Servers — As long as you sign up for (at least) a 1-year subscription, you can use CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers. The NoSpy servers increase your security by keeping everything in CyberGhost’s private data center located in Romania, cutting out the middleman. You’ll have some extra peace of mind with this extra physical security around your servers.
- Privacy Guard — This is a feature for Windows users that lets you analyze your OS and turn off many of the privacy invasions Microsoft has automatically activated. You can choose an advanced or basic privacy level, or customize what it disables. It will also help you turn off personalized ads from Windows since you can prevent it from sharing your information.
- Dedicated IPs — CyberGhost has dedicated IP addresses, but only in 5 countries: the UK, the US, Germany, France, and Canada. It costs from $2.50/month extra. A dedicated IP can help avoid blacklists and geoblocks since it’s harder for sites to detect that you’re using a VPN when no one else is sharing the same server. These are also important if you’re using a VPN for the website of your business. If your IP changes all the time, it can confuse clients, especially if you use online software.
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Privacy — Transparent Policies that Protect Your Data9.6
Independently Audited No-Logs Policy
The only data they store is anonymized and used to improve the VPN’s functionality
Plus, in 2022, one of the Big Four auditing firms, Deloitte, did an independent audit of CyberGhost's service, paying attention to its no-logs policy. It found that CyberGhost's server configurations are in line with its privacy policies and that it truly doesn't keep logs, so users or their activities can't be tracked. This means that CyberGhost doesn’t keep track of what you do online.
However, it’s not as strict as the no-logs policies of other VPNs I’ve tested because it does store some anonymized data (including connection attempts and successes, the country where the connection attempt was made (but not your IP address), and which version of CyberGhost you use). This isn’t anything to worry about because none of this info can be tied to your personal details and is only used to analyze and improve the VPN.
However, I noticed that CyberGhost stores some of your hardware information to keep track of your simultaneous connections. This includes things like your screen size and the device you’re using. Other VPNs have found ways around this that don’t require storing this info, but it isn’t a risk to your security or privacy. It also states in its policy that it reserves the right to share the data you give them with law enforcement if it believes a crime has been committed. Thankfully, its transparency reports show that it has never done this even after years of requests.
Location — Privacy-Friendly Romania
CyberGhost SA is located in Romania. This is great for privacy because Romania is not part of the 14 Eyes Alliance (an agreement between Canada, The United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and 9 other countries to share data about their citizens).
Since Romania isn’t a part of the alliance, CyberGhost has no obligation to store or share information with any government, so your data is safe.
Kape Technologies owns CyberGhost. It’s a cybersecurity and digital protection investment company based in London. Kape Technologies previously worked in mobile ad and browser extension development under the name Crossrider. The company faced some backlash in 2018 when it was thought to be bundling adware into its downloads as part of a black hat technique known as ad injection. However, research reports have shown that it was other third-parties injecting adware into the downloads, not the company itself.
Security Breaches and Independent Audits
There have been no significant security breaches. In 2019, Typeform (a company CyberGhost uses to create user experience surveys) leaked 120 email addresses and 14 CyberGhost accounts’ usernames. No passwords were revealed, so there was no risk of hacking, and there have been no breaches since. This is proof of CyberGhost’s privacy practices; no critical information was leaked because none was stored.
In addition to being audited by Deloitte in 2022, it has also had independent auditing of its safety processes performed in the past. The 2012 audit was done by QSCERT, a company that investigates various large companies like WhirlPool and Hyundai. CyberGhost passed the security audit of its Information Safety Management System (ISMS) successfully, which is rechecked every year. This is the kind of honesty I like to see from a leading VPN.
CyberGhost releases a Transparency Report every 3 months. This provides information about malware activity flags, key statistics about its infrastructure, and how many requests for user data it receives. I don’t know of any other VPN that releases reports so frequently. A close runner up would be Private Internet Access, which releases 2 per year, and CyberGhost doubles that. This shows me that CyberGhost is serious about being transparent with its customers.
You can find the reports for each quarter on their Privacy Hub blog. I read the latest one, and along with general tech information, the report shows how many requests for data CyberGhost has received. CyberGhost divides these into 3 categories: requests from police, copyright infringement, and malicious activity. In its latest report, the requests had decreased by 34%. However, CyberGhost states this changes nothing because it keeps none of your information anyway.
It’s scary to realize how many powerful groups are requesting information about what you do online. But it’s definitely a plus that CyberGhost holds a strong commitment to keeping your personal information safe and is open about these requests.
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Torrenting — Excellent VPN for P2P File Sharing9.4
CyberGhost is a strong choice for torrenting. It has specialized torrenting servers that are designed for high-speed P2P file sharing while always maintaining your anonymity and security. You can find these servers under the “For Torrenting" tab in the app, so it couldn’t be easier to find a torrenting server. I used the Distance filter to find a nearby server to get the best speeds.
I tried servers in the Netherlands, Germany, the US, Australia, and Mexico using qBitTorrent, uTorrent, and Transmission. I was able to download files easily and quickly on all servers. It only took me 3 minutes to download a 1.39 GB (copyright-free) file, which is basically the same speeds I get with no VPN connected.
You can also see its P2P-supported locations on the server list on its website
In the context of crafting this article, I verified whether CyberGhost is compatible with P2P streaming applications such as Popcorn Time. Although I do not endorse utilizing a VPN to access copyrighted content, if you have a valid reason (such as research), CyberGhost will enable secure access to Popcorn Time.
CyberGhost uses advanced encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and perfect forward secrecy to ensure you’re safe while P2P sharing. It doesn’t retain any information on your activities, so nothing can be traced back to you. But, if you want extra anonymity, it’s a good idea to connect to a NoSpy server. These are all personally overseen by CyberGhost staff in Bucharest, Romania, so there’s no third party involved.
I also recommend using the App Protection feature connected to your preferred BitTorrent client. It’s easy to forget about your VPN when you’re excited to download something, so it’s best to automate the process once and never worry about it again. Once you add it to the list of Designated Apps, CyberGhost will always launch in conjunction with whichever software you use to handle torrents.
The one negative is that CyberGhost doesn’t support port forwarding, which can help you get around blocks on your router to seed or download faster. It’s an option many people use while torrenting, but CyberGhost doesn’t allow it because it believes port forwarding can compromise security. Even without port forwarding, I found CyberGhost’s torrenting capabilities to be quite impressive.
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Does CyberGhost Work in China? No
CyberGhost doesn’t work in China. It has servers that can access Chinese sites, but you can’t use them if you are already in China. I contacted live support, and they confirmed that this is because the Chinese government has blocked the app.
The agent also told me it wouldn’t work in the UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Iran either
China bans VPNs that the government doesn’t control, and its Great Firewall blocks VPN traffic. As you can see in the chat, CyberGhost has also been banned by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Very few VPNs have managed to get around the Chinese government’s ban. To beat these bans, a VPN needs to do 3 things:
- Host a .onion site that allows you to sign up for the service and install the app via the Onion network.
- Operate obfuscated servers that change your metadata to make your traffic look like regular, non-VPN traffic.
- Offer robust security features, particularly 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch.
CyberGhost has top-notch security features, but it doesn’t have obfuscated servers. Additionally, you can’t download the app from within China because it has been removed from Chinese app stores, and its homepage has been blocked.