When I read that CyberGhost had been bought out by Kape — a company that used to be infamous for bundling adware into its downloads — alarm bells started ringing. I’ve recommended CyberGhost in the past as a trustworthy and easy-to-use VPN that suits beginners. But with its new ownership, I wondered if CyberGhost is even safe to use anymore.
TLDR: CyberGhost is a solid choice — and it’s safe. Its change in ownership isn’t nearly as alarming as I thought, and it has a lot to offer — especially in terms of ease of use and unblocking your favorite streaming platforms (it’s still ideal if you’re a VPN newbie). Plus, the cheapest subscriptions offered are only $1.99/month. However, I found a few areas where CyberGhost still can’t compete with other premium VPNs.
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.
- Fast speeds on local servers. 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.
- Impressive global network with optimized servers. CyberGhost has 7,004 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.
- A strong commitment to protecting your privacy. I read CyberGhost’s logging policy, and it is committed to keeping your online activity private and anonymous (despite its new parent company’s shady past). 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.
CyberGhost Features — Updated in July 2021
|Money Back Guarantee||45|
|Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|Number of servers||7004|
|Number of devices per license||7|
|Based in country||Romania|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat Support|
CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs to use if you need to bypass geo-restrictions for streaming. Watching shows on Netflix, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer was a seamless process with no issues.
Amazon Prime Video is known for having particularly tough blocks, but CyberGhost’s optimized server got the platform working right away.
There were a few services that required troubleshooting to access, but it didn’t take long to get them up and running. The only sites I couldn’t unblock were SkyTV, ITV, TF1, Channel4, and DAZN. I tested 50+ server locations that unblocked the following platforms:
|Netflix||Disney+||Hulu||Amazon Prime Video||HBO Max/HBO Now|
|BBC iPlayer||Crunchyroll||Paramount+||Peacock||Sling TV|
|CBC||Comedy Central||Globo/Globo SportTV||Yle||Disney + Hotstar|
|France TV||RTL||Europe1||7TV||Zattoo DE|
|Youtube Red||CBS||MTV||Fubo TV||Crave|
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 all the specialized servers.
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 Amazon Prime Video. I could unblock most others with a standard server, but my speeds were almost always slower. These specialized servers removed a lot of trial-and-error from my testing experience. You won’t have to worry about finding the best server for a particular streaming service — it’s already been done for you.
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 California and the east coast server, I expected speeds to lag a little, but I was surprised that it didn’t slow down much at all. I watched New Girl on Netflix US with minimal buffering — it only took a few seconds for each episode to load even when I was streaming in HD.
Unblocking the UK library was just as easy. After connecting to the server optimized for Netflix UK, I logged in and started streaming The One. 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 the result of less traffic.
I also tested non-optimized servers in London, Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Mumbai, Helsinki, Melbourne, Toronto, São Paulo, and Frankfurt. They could all unblock local Netflix libraries easily and had an average speed of 54 Mbps — which is more than enough for streaming HD programming without lag. This makes CyberGhost great if you travel a lot and want to keep up with shows only available on your local Netflix account.
|CyberGhost Unblocked?||Fast Speeds for HD Streaming?||Lag?|
As Disney+ has improved its VPN-detection technology, I had to make sure CyberGhost could still beat its blocks. First, I connected to the optimized Las Vegas server, which worked to access Disney+ — but it was a little slow. It let me stream Soul in HD, but I had to sit through about 20 seconds of buffering at the beginning. I actually got faster speeds connecting to CyberGhost’s (non-optimized) New York server, which loaded Soul a lot faster. There’s also an optimized server for Disney+ Italy, which worked to unblock the platform as well.
Unblocked: Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video has also been working hard to block VPNs, and a lot of other top VPNs I’ve tested don’t work anymore. This is why I was excited when CyberGhost unblocked Prime Video easily with its US optimized server. I was able to watch Them in HD without any buffering.
It also has an optimized server for the UK, but it didn’t work. I tried 6 standard UK servers as well, and they couldn’t overcome the blocks either (which shows how tight APV’s security has become). Since I live in the US, I want to access the US library while traveling anyway (it has the largest selection of shows). So I wasn’t too disappointed that the UK servers didn’t work.
I had a tough time trying to unblock Hulu at first, but was eventually able to access it. I used the live chat function on CyberGhost’s website to ask for help and the agent gave me some simple troubleshooting advice that fixed my problem.
I only had to switch from Google Chrome to Firefox to unblock the platform. Once that was done, I was able to quickly load up Young Rock. The picture was low quality at first, but it soon upgraded to HD.
Also Unblocks: HBO Max, Kodi, BBC iPlayer, and more
I had a strange problem accessing HBO Max. After connecting to the optimized server in Chicago, I was able to get on the website. However, when I entered my login details it told me my credentials were incorrect. This was not true because I copied and pasted them into the platform with the VPN disconnected and it worked.
I decided to use the same troubleshooting tips that worked earlier to unblock Hulu. After switching to Firefox, I got HBO Max running and loaded up The Nevers in 3 seconds.
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 effortlessly. I was a little worried about this one because I’ve had issues unblocking it with other VPNs. CyberGhost’s optimized server let me watch Sherlock with zero interruptions.
Blocked By: SkyTV, DAZN, TF1, Channel4, and ITV
CyberGhost can’t unblock Sky TV or DAZN. After trying 5 UK servers, I asked a live chat support agent for the best server to watch Sky TV. The representative let me know that CyberGhost doesn’t work with it. I had similar issues with DAZN — after trying out servers in 4 countries, I contacted support and they said the same thing.
CyberGhost also has a status report in the FAQ section of its website that tells you if there are any streaming platforms that currently won’t work. When I checked, I came across this message:
To confirm this, I connected to the TF1 optimized server in Paris and tried to load the platform. It didn’t work, and neither did Channel4 or ITV. CyberGhost claims it’s working on the problem, so I’ll update this review in the future if anything changes.
CyberGhost’s fast speeds worked well for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. I experienced some inconsistent speeds on long-distance servers. While some were too slow for things like gaming, others gave me really great speeds that didn’t negatively affect my experience. I was still able to browse, play games, and watch movies without interruptions.
My tests were all performed on a Microsoft Surface laptop running Windows 10. I used Ookla’s speed test tool to record my speeds. To keep my results consistent, I did all these tests with CyberGhost set to the IKEv2 protocol.
While testing speeds, I looked at these 3 things:
- Download Speed is how fast you’ll receive data from the server you’re on. 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 to the server. 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 the 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).
I tested 30+ server locations and never had download speeds below 38 Mbps.
For the most part, the speeds dropped as the servers got farther away. However, there were some inconsistencies. For example, San Francisco is much closer to me than Phoenix, so it should have given me better speeds (since my data doesn’t have to travel as far to the server). However, the Phoenix server gave me better speeds. Sao Paulo was 67 Mbps faster than Reykjavik, even though it’s over 4,000 km farther away. If you’re looking for fast speeds, your best bet is to choose a server nearby your actual location.
I started by recording my speeds without the VPN connected. Then I used the Best Server Location feature (it automatically finds you the best server based on latency, speed, and distance). It connected me to a Los Angeles location.
|VPN Disconnected (Fresno||VPN Connected (Los Angeles)||Speed drop with VPN connected|
It’s normal for a VPN to slow your connection speed a little because it takes extra time for your traffic to be encrypted and travel to the VPN server (you can expect a 10-25% speed reduction with even the fastest VPNs). So a 10% drop in speed is an excellent result.
Since my internet speed is over 50% faster than the global average (of around 100 Mbps), I was curious how CyberGhost would perform with a slower connection. Our VPN tester in Belgium had the following results (also using a Windows 10 Surface laptop with IKEv2):
She lost 9% using the Best Server option (which gave her a Brussels server) from her location in Belgium, which is nearly identical to my result. So, it was good to see that the speed drops were comparable even with 2 different connections.
No matter how fast or slow your base connection is, local servers will give you good speeds. After connecting to Los Angeles using the Best Location feature, the next server I chose to test was in San Francisco, 226 km away.
|Download (Mbps)||97.95 (37% decrease)|
|Upload (Mbps)||35.31 (8% decrease)|
My results were much slower than the Los Angeles server. This showed me that the Best Server Location really works. Even though San Francisco is a little closer than LA, “Best Server” selection sent me there for a faster connection. The next location I tried out was Phoenix, which is 823 km from my actual location in Fresno.
|Download (Mbps)||129.32 (17% decrease)|
|Upload (Mbps)||39.47 (3% faster)|
The results improved quite a bit. Although my speed was down 37% in San Francisco, it still didn’t make a difference when streaming, gaming, or browsing. It was just as smooth as my regular, non-VPN connection; the same goes for the Phoenix and Los Angeles locations.
In general, my speeds slowed down the farther away the server was from my location. However, I did experience some inconsistencies — some servers were just unusually fast or slow no matter how far they were from me. The Reykjavik location in Iceland is 6,712 km away from me, and it had the slowest speeds of any server I tried.
|Download (Mbps)||38.27 (75% decrease)|
|Upload (Mbps)||5.52 (97% decrease)|
This drop in speed worries me. It didn’t affect my streaming experience, but if you have an average base connection speed of 30 Mbps, a 75% decrease is pretty huge. This would put you at 7.5 Mbps, and you need 5 Mbps minimum to stream in HD. At 7.5 Mbps, you’d most likely encounter buffering and longer load times when loading videos. Since my connection is so fast, it didn’t affect me. I was still able to stream Netflix with no load times and zero lag.
|Download (Mbps)||87 (44% decrease)|
|Upload (Mbps)||13.14 (66% decrease)|
The Tokyo server gave me pretty good speeds considering it’s 9,500 km away. Servers in Nassau and Sao Paulo were consistently quick too. It’s a good idea to test a few servers if you’re looking for a fast long-distance connection with CyberGhost because I had pretty inconsistent results.
Optimized vs. Regular Servers
The streaming optimized servers give you a good boost in speed. I compared servers in 7 cities to see if there was any difference.
The regular connections were consistently slower. Streaming optimized servers can give you a 15% increase in speed, so it’s a good idea to connect to them for streaming since it requires a speedy connection if you don’t want to worry about bad picture quality or lag. However, the optimized gaming servers didn’t perform as well.
Are CyberGhost’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes
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 would need to see more consistency across its network before I felt 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 at a significant disadvantage in competitive play. It’s just not very fun when you’re skilled at a game but keep losing due to a bad connection.
So, I was disappointed when I connected to a gaming optimized server in New York, and the ping was way too high (142 ms). It’s best to have it under 100 ms for gaming. However, I connected to a regular New York server, and it actually had a much lower ping (28 ms).
I loaded up StarCraft 2 and was impressed with how smooth it was using a non-optimized server. All of the textures loaded up normally, and I could run around the map without any slowdowns. However, as we approached the end of the match and the map started getting overcrowded, I experienced some choppiness, but nothing too bad. If you’re interested in a VPN that’s great for gaming, check out our top recommendations for gaming VPNs here.
On the other hand, playing on the London gaming server was just about impossible. The screen would freeze when I tried scrolling along the map and would take 3-5 seconds to catch up. It took so long to input commands that I had to exit out.
|Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Fast Enough for Gaming|
|New York (optimized)||142||127.38||No|
The ping rates on distant servers are just too high for online play. This goes for the gaming optimized servers as well. But, it’s possible to play online games with CyberGhost if you stick to local non-optimized servers.
CyberGhost has an impressive global network of 7,004 servers in 91 locations. 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 — but there’s also a lot of coverage in Australia, Canada, and Europe.
Since about 8% of its servers are virtually located, it covers a lot of hard-to-reach locations as well (like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, and Sri Lanka). While this can sometimes decrease your speeds, it still allows you to access more global content, which is a plus. CyberGhost also offers several specialty servers for extra security and better performance.
CyberGhost currently has 29 virtual locations, and it’s transparent about which ones are. Its 81 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.
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.
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.
CyberGhost has servers optimized for gaming, but they didn’t work well during my tests. The idea is that these servers have a lower ping rate and quicker speeds, but I found that it was actually the opposite. The ping on all of its gaming servers was too high to play games without input lag. Ideally, your ping rate needs to be below 100ms for gaming, and all of its gaming servers were above 140ms.
If you want to use CyberGhost to stay anonymous while gaming, I recommend just using the “Best Server Location” feature. You’ll be given the fastest server automatically and I had much better performance gaming on its non-optimized servers anyway.
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 1-year 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.
NoSpy servers also offer premium hardware and dedicated uplinks. It claims these can increase your speeds, but in my tests they were actually slower. The regular servers in Bucharest gave me average speeds of 60 Mbps, while the NoSpy servers only gave me 48 Mbps.
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. 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 $3.75/month extra depending on the length of your subscription.
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 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, so even if you’re new to VPNs and aren’t sure what they are, you’re protected without having to worry about it.
I didn’t experience DNS or IP leaks on any server. I tested 7 different servers: UK, US, Canada, France, 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.
Even though I found an option for it in the Windows app, I couldn’t disable it. When I tried to toggle it, I received a message stating it can’t be turned off. However, it’s hard to think of a good reason why you’d want to turn it off, so this isn’t a big issue.
You can’t find this option on Mac, iOS, or Android because it’s integrated, meaning it’s always running automatically. I knew it was working because whenever I switched servers, my internet connection was temporarily interrupted.
CyberGhost offers 3 security protocols so you can customize your secure connection the way you want. You can choose between IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), and WireGuard. The apps automatically select the best protocol for you based on your needs — but you can choose another protocol if you prefer.
- IKEv2: This protocol proved to be the fastest during my tests. It’s also a good choice to use with your mobile device. That’s because it can auto-connect, so you stay protected when you switch from mobile to Wi-Fi. However, it’s only available on Windows, macOS, and iOS, so people running Linux or using Android phones are out of luck.
- OpenVPN: This is one of the safest protocols since it’s an open-source project. That means security experts are constantly improving it, but you do sacrifice speed. It came in 69% slower than IKEv2 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.
- WireGuard: If you need to strike a balance between security and speed, this protocol is for you. It’s not quite as fast as IKEv2, but it gave me significantly better speeds than OpenVPN. It’s a good choice if you plan on streaming, browsing, or making video calls. Plus, it’s available on every major operating system.
You can choose between different protocols by clicking the settings icon in the lower-left corner of the servers window. You’ll find the option under the CyberGhost VPN section.
Better Speeds with IKEv2
The security protocol you use makes a big difference in speed. I tested 10 servers with OpenVPN, Wireguard, and IKEv2 and averaged their speeds to see how each protocol would affect them.
IKEv2 was the clear winner, reaching an average speed of 157.4 Mbps. You’ll want to switch over to it when you’re prioritizing speed. OpenVPN is the safest protocol, so it’s best to use when you need to be extra secure, while WireGuard strikes a nice balance between safety and speed.
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.
I tested this by typing in an exception for whatismyipaddress.com. Then I connected to a London server and went to the website to see which location showed up.
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. US 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, and I haven’t seen another VPN offer this feature. 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.
I turned on the Block Content option under privacy settings and used the testing feature on ads-blocker.com. Unfortunately, CyberGhost failed the test. It succeeded in blocking a single pop-up, but all other on-page ads still showed up. I also tried it out on YouTube, and every video I watched still started with in-stream ads.
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 it on since it protects you from malicious sites, but many ads will still make it through.
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.
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. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on Windows.
CyberGhost’s Optional Extras
CyberGhost offers a free Secret Photo Vault app that’s separate from the VPN app, as well as a couple of paid add-ons in the VPN app itself.
- 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. The app is free, and I found it easy to use — it’s just disappointing that it’s only available for iOS.
- Dedicated IPs — CyberGhost has dedicated IP addresses, but only in 5 countries: the UK, the US, Germany, France, and Canada. It costs from $3.75/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.
- 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.
- Password Manager — When you subscribe to CyberGhost, you can choose PassCamp password manager as an optional add-on. I don’t recommend it — it’s $3.49 extra with a monthly plan, and $2 dollars more per month with every other subscription. That’s not a ton of money, but I’ve used similar password managers for free.
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.
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 can be trusted now, but it has a bit of a shady past. 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 caught bundling adware into its downloads as part of a black hat technique known as ad injection.
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 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.
CyberGhost hasn’t been independently audited since 2012, but it has had independent testing carried out on its safety processes since then. The 2012 audit was done by QSCERT, a company that investigates various large companies like WhirlPool and Hyundai. Cyberghost passed the security audit successfully.
This is the kind of honesty I like to see from a leading VPN. I’d like to see CyberGhost take steps to perform audits more often, though, especially of its no-logs policy and server security standards so we have a clearer picture of how it operates.
CyberGhost releases a Transparency Report every 3 months. This provides information about malware activity flags and key statistics about its infrastructure.
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.
CyberGhost is a strong choice for torrenting. It has specialized torrenting servers in 61 countries. These 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.
I tried servers in the US, Australia, Germany, and Mexico using qBitTorrent, uTorrent, and Transmission. I was able to download files easily and quickly on all servers, reaching up to an 11 Mbps download speed. This let me download a 1.43 GB (copyright-free) file in just a few minutes.
For the purposes of writing this article, I checked to see if CyberGhost works with P2P streaming apps like Popcorn Time. While I don’t condone using a VPN to access copyrighted material, if you had a legitimate reason (like research), CyberGhost will allow you to access Popcorn Time safely.
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.
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.
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.