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CyberGhost Review (2022): Cheap Premium VPN, but Is It Safe?
CyberGhost is one of the most affordable VPNs on the market — you can get a subscription for as low as $2.29/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.
Impressive global network with optimized servers. CyberGhost has 9,023 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.
Streaming — Unblocks 35+ Platforms, Including Netflix and Disney+
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 and DAZN. 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 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.
Unblocked: Netflix US/UK 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 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 Phantom Thread on Netflix US with minimal buffering.
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, Frankfurt, and 6 other countries. 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.
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.
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 Wheel of Time 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. 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, TF1, 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.
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.
Speeds — Most Servers Are Fast (Only a Few Aren’t)
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.
97.95 (37% decrease)
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.
129.32 (17% decrease)
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. Long-distance servers also take longer to establish a connection. That Reykjavik server took 16 seconds to connect (nearby servers usually only took a few seconds).
38.27 (75% decrease)
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.
87 (44% decrease)
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.
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.
Fast Enough for Gaming
New York (optimized)
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.
Server Network — A Large Network with Great Coverage
CyberGhost has an impressive global network of 9,023 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 (with servers in 23 cities in the Americas) — but there’s also a lot of coverage in Asia (29 cities), Africa (5 cities), and Europe (55 cities).
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 39 virtual locations, and it’s transparent about which ones are. Its 73 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.
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 ProtonVPN’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.
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 $3.75/month extra depending on the length of your subscription.
Security — Flexible Options to Customize Your Safety Features
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 11 different servers, including locations in the UK, the 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.
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.
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. IKEv2 is also a good choice when you’re on a mobile device and switching networks often — it typically connects a few seconds faster than the other protocols. 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.
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.
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.
CyberGhost’s Extras and Add-Ons
CyberGhost offers a few other unique features at no extra cost:
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.
There are also 2 add-ons you can purchase for an extra monthly fee:
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.
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.
Privacy — Transparent Policies that Protect Your Data
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.
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.
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 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. 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, 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.
Torrenting — Excellent VPN for P2P File Sharing
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. It only took me a few minutes to download a 1.43 GB (copyright-free) file.
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.
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.
Installation & Apps
CyberGhost is simple to use and set up. I installed it on my Windows desktop, Android phone, and Macbook and it only took a couple of minutes on each one. After logging in, all I had to do was hit the power button to connect to the best server for my location.
You can use the drop-down menu to easily find servers optimized for torrenting and streaming platforms. Optimized servers are available for all major operating systems including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. It’s easy to manually select a server in the app as well — scroll through the list of locations or use the search bar to type in the one you’re after. I like that you can add servers to your favorites list to make connecting next time even quicker.
It’s also easy to find the best server for your needs. You can see the number of users on each server, the load percentage, and distance with the Windows app. On my Android, however, only the load percentage is shown.
Changing your settings is just as simple (but you can also leave them as they are — it’s ready to go as soon as you install it). General settings, connection features, and smart rules can all be found under the cog on your mobile or desktop app and are easily changed by turning toggles on and off. The only small issue I have is you can’t access your Local Area Network through the VPN tunnel, but you can use split tunneling to print or share files while you encrypt everything else.
Aside from server lists and settings, the app doesn’t go much further. Its simplicity is a strong point rather than a downfall, though. Overcomplicated apps can be too intense, especially if you just want to connect to a server and head over to Netflix, which CyberGhost lets you do with ease.
Device Compatibility — Works With All Major Platforms
CyberGhost works with the most popular devices and operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Fire TV, Android TV, and routers.
It’s also compatible with the following devices:
Xbox Series X, One, and 360
PlayStation 4 and 5
CyberGhost’s desktop apps are easy to understand and use. They’re also pretty quick to install — I tested it on Windows and Mac and both times the app was ready to go in under 4 minutes.
The Mac and Windows apps are largely the same; the only significant differences are that you can’t use OpenVPN on Mac unless you manually configure it yourself. This means it also doesn’t have the “use random port to connect” feature, which you can turn on in Windows to help make OpenVPN connections more stable. Mac users also miss out on the split tunneling feature.
One other difference is that the Windows app comes with Privacy Guard, which is available with subscriptions of 1 year or longer. This allows you to tweak up to 81 privacy settings in Windows all in one place, so you can protect yourself from some of Microsoft’s invasive practices. For example, you can turn off Inventory Collector, which may be sending data from your computer without you even knowing about it.
I found the server search bar particularly convenient — you can type in either a country or a streaming service, and it will find you the best server to use. You can also click on the options in the left side menu to see all the optimized servers for streaming and P2P.
Its Smart Rules are really useful, too. You can configure them to automatically launch CyberGhost when you start your computer or when you open a specific program, for example. Smart Rules also contains options you can tweak for WiFi protection, exceptions and app protection.
If you’re a Linux user, you won’t have a UI. Instead, you’ll use commands. CyberGhost has extensive guides that show you how to change protocols, find servers, or change settings. You can also enter “cyberghostvpn --help" into the terminal to see the complete list of commands. OpenVPN and Wireguard are available on Linux, but IKEv2 is not.
CyberGhost is compatible with Macs running Sierra or newer, on Windows running version 7 or newer, and Linux’s CentOS, Fedora, PopOS, Kali, Mint 20, and Ubuntu distros.
iOS and Android
CyberGhost’s mobile apps are almost the same as the desktop ones. They don’t come with quite as many features, though. While the Android version retains the ad blocker and split tunneling, iOS (on iPhone and iPad) does not. Android users also get a data compression option not available on iPhones, which can increase connection speeds. This is called “small packet size,” and it works well (my speeds increased by 190% on average). It’s too bad iPhone users miss out on this feature, but it’s nice to see that both apps have the automatic kill switch and leak protection.
On your iPhone, you can still block ads, but you have to download the Private Browser add-on. This is not a browser extension but a full-fledged browser that’s compatible with Chrome add-ons and extensions. You can also access the Photo Vault feature on your Apple phone. This lets you keep your photos in a secure location protected by a password. It’s a decent feature, but I’d take split tunneling over it.
The information next to the servers is nearly identical to the desktop apps — you won’t be able to see the ping or distance of a server, though. The optimized servers for torrenting and gaming aren’t available for phones either. But I don’t see that as a big negative since most people torrent and game on desktops anyways.
As for security protocols, Android phones have OpenVPN and WireGuard. iPhones automatically connect to IKEv2 but have the option to switch to Wireguard.
CyberGhost has completely free browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. As expected, though, they come with limitations (like no kill switch, and you can only use 8 servers).
You can install them from the Chrome or Firefox extension shops like any other browser extension. They are a lightweight option for staying anonymous within the browser itself — however, nothing outside your browser is encrypted, so you can’t use the VPN with external apps (like torrenting clients, for example). This is because these are proxy servers rather than a VPN. A proxy is an intermediary server that redirects your traffic, hiding your IP. Think of it like a browser-based version of a game. It functions similarly to a VPN but is more limited.
The extensions come with powerful security features like completely anonymous browsing, WebRTC leak protection, online tracking blockers, malicious content blockers, and WiFi security. But they’re missing a kill switch, which is a crucial fail-safe for protecting your anonymity in the event you lose connection to the VPN.
They also severely restrict your server access. You only have access to 8 servers in 4 countries — the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and Romania. To put that into context, CyberGhost’s full VPN apps give you access to 9,023 servers in 91 countries. I found the free browser extension too limited when it comes to bypassing international geo-restrictions. However, they’re a good option if you only need access to content in the 4 available countries or want to keep your browsing anonymous.
You can set up CyberGhost on your router, but only if it already supports OpenVPN. This lets you use the VPN on any device connected to your home network through your router. CyberGhost has really helpful tutorials on its website to walk you through the steps. I followed the guide for connecting to OpenVPN on my DD-WRT router and it only took me 20 minutes.
There’s no native app for routers, but you can install the Flash Routers Privacy app on many Netgear, Linksys, and Asus routers to control CyberGhost more easily. Pre-configured routers are also available with the VPN already installed.
Pro Tip: CyberGhost lets you connect 7 devices under a single subscription, which is more generous than other top VPNs I’ve tested. However, you can connect an unlimited number of devices if you install CyberGhost on your router because it's considered a single connection. That way, every device connected to it will also be protected by the VPN.
Also Works with PlayStation, Xbox, Fire Devices, Apple TV, Android TV, and Smart TVs
You can easily download the app and log in on your Android TV; it’s essentially the same process as setting it up on your Android phone. On a Fire Stick or Fire TV, you just need to find the Amazon store on your device and download the app from there.
With all other smart TVs, Apple TV, PlayStation, and Xbox, the easiest method for connecting CyberGhost is by using the Smart DNS feature. While Smart DNS doesn’t encrypt your online traffic, it does allow you to unblock streaming apps on devices not normally compatible with VPNs.
I set it up on my PlayStation in 5 minutes and was able to access US Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video with my console without a complicated router setup. All I had to do was copy a special DNS code into my device’s network settings.
You can find these codes in the Smart DNS option under My Account on the CyberGhost website. I was surprised to find that CyberGhost has streaming optimized DNS addresses for both US and UK Netflix, and Hulu. Other VPNs I’ve used only give you a single code (usually based in the US) that isn’t optimized for unblocking specific streaming platforms. CyberGhost even has German, Dutch, and Japanese DNS codes to unblock content from these regions as well.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Protect Up to 7 Devices
You can have up to 7 simultaneous connections with your CyberGhost subscription. This is quite generous; most other top VPNs only offer 5 or 6. I decided to test this out by connecting an HP Pavilion, Microsoft Surface Laptop, Samsung Galaxy phone, and Amazon Fire Tablet.
I started streaming Amazon Prime Video on the laptops and Netflix on the other devices. On each of them, I connected to CyberGhost’s Los Angeles server. I didn’t notice any inconsistencies until I started watching Them on the last piece of tech I connected (my Microsoft laptop). It was a bit pixelated at first, but it upgraded to an HD picture in a few seconds. You can run multiple devices on a single CyberGhost account with little to no performance issues.
CyberGhost has great prices when you buy a long-term subscription. The 3-year subscription is the best value at $2.29/month, and you get 3 months free. 2-year plans are $3.25/month and 1 year is $4.29/month. The 1-month deal is a little expensive and you can’t access the NoSpy servers with it, so you definitely get the best value with a longer-term plan.
In addition, monthly plans miss out on several features. Privacy Guard, Boxcryptor (encrypted cloud storage), and NoSpy servers are only available with subscription terms of 1 year or longer. However, CyberGhost ID Guard comes with every subscription (it monitors your email addresses and alerts you of any security threats). There is also a security suite that comes with antivirus and security updater, which lets you know when apps need updates. The price varies depending on your plan. For a yearly subscription, it’s an extra $5.65/month. You can only purchase it for Windows.
It accepts PayPal, credit cards, and cryptocurrency payments. I was disappointed that CyberGhost no longer accepts cash payments because it would allow you to make your purchase completely anonymously. However, since you can pay using cryptocurrency, it’s still possible to buy a subscription without providing any payment information.
There’s also a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund within this timeframe if it’s not for you. Other VPNs I’ve tested usually only offer 30 days, so I was impressed with the generous 45-day period. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t apply to the 1-month subscription — you only get 14 days to change your mind with the 1-month plan.
The refund process is very quick and straightforward. All you have to do is contact the CyberGhost support team via the 24/7 live chat and request your money back. The representative I spoke to agreed to process my refund immediately — no questions asked. They told me the refund would take 5-10 working days, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that my money was back in my account 3 days later.
CyberGhost’s 24/7 live chat support is prompt and helpful. It’s also available in 4 languages: English, French, Romanian and German. However, only English is available 24/7, with the other languages using set business hours. After requesting my refund, I made several other inquiries using the live chat and I received an answer within minutes every time.
When the support team needs more time to investigate your issue, you’ll receive an email with further instructions. This happened to me when I needed help connecting to Hulu. It was unfortunate we couldn’t troubleshoot it through the chat, but I received the email that fixed my issue in only 2 hours.
At first, the optimized server wouldn’t even let me access the Hulu website, but eventually I was just getting the dreaded VPN error message.
The agent asked me to try switching to the Wireguard protocol, but that didn’t work either. We couldn’t solve the issue, so I had to wait for the email response I mentioned before, which suggested that I use a different browser. Once I switched from Chrome to Firefox (and refreshed the optimized server twice to get new IPs), I successfully unblocked Hulu.
I was impressed with the level of commitment shown by every support agent I dealt with. Whether it was technical support I needed, or general information about the service, I always received prompt, helpful, informed advice. I asked over 20 questions to 6 different agents, and everyone was professional and friendly.
If you’d rather read a guide, the Help Center is full of articles with useful information. You can find detailed instructions about how to set up CyberGhost on your specific device. This is especially useful when you’re setting up your router or devices that don’t support VPNs like Apple TV, PlayStation, or Xbox. There’s also an extensive FAQ section that answers any question you might have about CyberGhost and its features and policies. Overall, CyberGhost offers a great level of support, and if you aren’t sure about something, all you need to do is reach out.
Final Verdict: A Safe and Extremely User-Friendly VPN Ideal for Streaming
CyberGhost offers incredibly user-friendly apps that make accessing streaming sites from around the world really easy. Just search for the platform you want to access and CyberGhost will give you a server made to unblock it. Plus, if you ever have trouble accessing your favorite service, its support staff is super helpful and can be reached 24/7.
It does have a few downsides. Even with its gaming servers, it’s not a great VPN for online competitive play, and it doesn’t work in restrictive countries like China.
I would recommend CyberGhost if you’re looking for a VPN that’s a breeze to use with excellent security and great streaming capabilities.
Intuitive, user-friendly interface
Streaming optimized servers that unblock Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more
Huge server network with 9,023 servers in 91 locations
Yes! CyberGhost offers a 24 hour free trial period. However, I don’t find that 24 hours is enough time to fully get to know a VPN service because performance varies from day to day. Another option is to test CyberGhost out for a longer period using its 45-day money-back guarantee. You have to put the money down, but it’s hassle-free to get a full refund within the guarantee window.
Keep in mind, you have to choose the 6-month plan (or longer) to qualify. You only get 14 days with the 1-month plan.
You can also use its free (but very limited) browser extensions for Chrome or Firefox, too. It lets you use servers in Germany, the US, the Netherlands, and Romania. But it only keeps your data safe within the browser, so your whole device won’t be protected.
CyberGhost even works with other local Netflix regions like the Netherlands and Spain. If you’re interested in other popular streaming platforms, I could also watch Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more than 30 others using its streaming optimized servers.
These features include the highest level of encryption, the most advanced security protocols, an automatic kill switch, IP and DNS leak protection, WiFi protection, and HTTPS Protection. There are also built-in blockers for malicious websites, trackers, and ads. On top of that, I found no leaks when I performed leak tests on 15 different servers.