CyberGhost is a Romanian and German-based privacy giant which provides comprehensive VPN services for more than 15 million users.
CyberGhost VPN boasts 7,100+ servers in 110+ locations across 91 countries. That’s far more than most of the competition, although a few do better in some areas (ExpressVPN claims 160 locations, and HideMyAss 290+).
Torrents are allowed on many, although not all servers, and the company offers custom clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more.
CyberGhost VPN supports connecting up to seven devices simultaneously. That’s better than many (even the premium ExpressVPN only supports five), but keep in mind that these must be specific devices. Connect from a phone, or a games console, or a smart TV, just once, and that’s one of your slots used up. If you run out of slots later on, you can log out of individual devices, but this can become annoying. (Though not as annoying as KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, where you can only free up one device slot a week.)
Elsewhere, a web knowledgebase is available if needed, while chat and email support is on hand to help you through any particularly tricky situations.
Optional extras include dedicated IPs. Sign up for this for an extra $5 billed monthly ($4.75 on the six-month plan, $4 if you sign up for two years) and you’ll get the same IP address, unique to you, every time you log on to the service.
Dedicated IPs allow you to access IP-restricted networks, handy if you need to access a business system while connected to the VPN. They also reduce the chance that you’ll be blocked by streaming and other platforms, as they haven’t had their reputation trashed by other people’s bad behavior.
The catch? Dedicated IPs allow other sites to recognize you, because you’ll have the same IP address every time you visit. Fortunately, CyberGhost enables switching between dedicated and dynamic IPs as required, so you can easily use dedicated IPs where necessary and dynamic for everything else (more on that later).
New CyberGhost features since our last review include adblocking for the Android and Android TV apps. The ability to disable the app kill switch and opt to use alternative DNS servers gives you more control over the service, and there are interface improvements across the board.
Signing up for CyberGhost VPN’s monthly account costs $12.99 a month, which is at the high-end of the industry-standard $10-$13.
As usual, extending your subscription saves money. Prices drop to an equivalent $6.39 a month on the six-month plan, for instance, and the long-term plan covers you for two years and two months in the first term at a very low $2.25 a month, though it then jumps to $4.88 on renewal.
That’s good value for the initial term at least, although there are a handful of providers with deals in the same range.
Ivacy’s two-year plan is also $2.25 a month, for instance, but that also gets you 2TB of encrypted cloud storage space thrown in. And Private Internet Access gives you three years protection for only $2.19 a month, with a simple antivirus included.
Upgrading to CyberGhost Security Suite adds antivirus and a Security Updater to check for missing software patches. It’s priced from $5.99 a month billed monthly, to $1.39 on the three-year plan. That’s not a lot, but then it’s a relatively basic suite. If your security is a top priority, keep in mind that Avira, Avast, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton and more all now have full-featured security suites with VPNs included.
Whatever deal you choose, you’re able to pay by Bitcoin, as well as PayPal, credit card, Google Pay and Amazon Pay (beware, though, your options might vary depending on location).
There’s even a free trial. It’s short, though, at just 24 hours for the desktop build (7 days on mobile devices) so only start it when you’re very sure you’ll have the free time to run whatever tests you need.
If you sign up and then find the service doesn’t work for you, there’s more good news: the company has a lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee (14 days for monthly-billed plans), one of the most generous deals around.
Logging and privacy
Like many VPNs, CyberGhost’s website proudly boasts of a ‘strict no logs policy’ on its front page.
“More than this, when using the CyberGhost VPN, we are NOT storing connection logs, meaning that we DON’T have any logs tied to your IP address, connection timestamp or session duration.”
For customers who aren’t sure about the technical details, the policy goes on to spell out the implications.
“We do NOT know at any time which user ever accessed a particular website or service.”
“We do NOT know which user was connected to our CyberGhost VPN service at any given time or which CyberGhost VPN server IP they used.”
“We do NOT know the set of original IP addresses of a user’s computer.”
If you need more, a ‘Does CyberGhost log? No!’ support document adds a little extra detail.
The company backs this up to a degree with a Transparency Report where it lists DMCA, police and other requests it receives, and goes on to say: ‘Since we’re Bucharest-based and under no obligation from the Romanian law to store data, we can honor our strict no logs policy. This means we’re unable to comply with requests, even if they are legally binding.’
While this is welcome, these are just words on a website, and there’s no way for an individual user to know how the service actually works. Many providers are addressing this by having independent audits run on their systems, and we hope CyberGhost will soon do the same.
In the meantime, we can at least run some basic privacy checks of our own, using sites such as IPLeak.net and DNS Leak Test to look for DNS and other privacy leaks. We did, and, good news: none of the tests revealed any problems.
CyberGhost deserves some privacy credit for its app design, too. Like many providers, its apps can capture anonymous data to help understand how they’re being used. But unlike some competitors (hello, NordVPN), CyberGhost doesn’t just leave this turned on by default: the Windows app installer clearly explains what it’s doing during setup, and you can opt out of the scheme with a click.
We measured CyberGhost speeds from US and UK locations with 1Gbps connections, using several performance testing services (SpeedTest’s website and command line app, nPerf.com, SpeedOf.me and more). We checked the download speeds at least five times from each site, then checked again using another protocol, before repeating this all over again in an evening session.
UK OpenVPN downloads were relatively ordinary at 170-210Mbps. That’s more than enough for most situations, but we’ve seen other providers do much better. ExpressVPN and HideMyAss exceeded 300Mbps with ease, for instance, and ProtonVPN reached 400-460Mbps.
None of that mattered much once we turned to WireGuard, though, and CyberGhost’s UK servers reached a scorching 760-770Mbps. Only a handful of providers – Hide.me, IPVanish, Mozilla, NordVPN – have competed with that in recent reviews.
We often see big differences between UK and US results, and that’s no surprise at all: different servers, different locations, it’s to be expected.
But the surprise here was just how similar the US figures were, at a below-par 110-160Mbps for OpenVPN, and a supercharged 760-860Mbps for WireGuard.
Netflix and streaming
Some VPNs make you work to unblock streaming sites. If you’re looking to access US Netflix, for instance, you might have to try each of the US locations in turn before you find one that gets you in.
CyberGhost doesn’t waste your time with any of that. Its app location lists have a Streaming tab with specialist servers for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Max and more.
US and UK customers get the best coverage, but there are plenty of other locations. Our app also listed servers in Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Romania and Sweden. Some of these cover the big platforms, but there’s also support for others: RTL, MTV Finland, France TV, AI Play and more.
We began our tests by connecting to the BBC iPlayer location, and found we could stream iPlayer content without difficulty: a great start.
Google didn’t like our new IP, though, displaying endless ‘check this box to prove you’re human’ and ‘click all the boxes with traffic lights’ messages. A check with IPQualityScore found the IP address had a fraud rating of 100/100, and was associated with recent bot activity. This isn’t CyberGhost’s fault in any way – it’s just a hacker abusing the service – but it’s a hassle if you get the same IP, and find you’re blocked from many sites.
We switched to the US Netflix server, and again this allowed us to browse and stream whatever content we liked.
There were no hassles of any kind with Amazon Prime, where CyberGhost got us access right away. And it was the same story with Disney Plus, where we had no streaming issues at all.
We’ve had occasional unblocking issues with CyberGhost before, particularly with BBC iPlayer. But the service did a great job this time, successfully getting us into all four of our test platforms with every location we tried.
CyberGhost doesn’t support P2P on all locations, as a page on the website explains: “We have to block P2P protocols on certain servers, either due to strategic (this is traffic that unnecessary slows down other user’s traffic) or due to legal reasons in countries where we are forced by providers to block torrent traffic, among them USA, Russia, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.”
Fortunately, you don’t have to try to remember which locations supports P2P. CyberGhost’s apps include a ‘For Torrenting’ list with your options. And it looks like there are plenty: our Windows app listed 54 P2P-friendly countries, which is more than most VPN providers support in total.
We checked this by connecting to three P2P-friendly locations and successfully downloading a torrent from each, with no connection or other issues.
Handy bonus features in the Windows app Settings box include the ability to automatically connect your preferred CyberGhost connection whenever you launch your torrent client (more on that later).
Sourcing torrents from more dubious sites can sometimes leave you exposed to attack, but CyberGhost’s malicious URL filter, another welcome addition, could help you avoid a lot of trouble.
CyberGhost does its best to make sure the setup process is as easy as possible, and for the most part it’s very successful.
Clicking the Trial link on the website quickly downloaded the tiny Windows installer. We accepted the terms and conditions, entered our email address and password, and after clicking the usual ‘please confirm your address’ link in a follow-up email, that was it. We were ready to go, with no payment or other details required.
It’s much the same story with the mobile apps. The CyberGhost site links you to each app store, and you download and install the apps in the usual way.
If you need the OpenVPN configuration files to set up a router or other device, though, your life becomes considerably more complicated. While other VPN providers typically give you a bunch of standard OVPN files to download, CyberGhost asks you to go through the following lengthy process: Log in to your account; add a device profile; choose the features you need (ad blocking, data compression, malware protection, more); choose OpenVPN TCP or UDP; choose your target country; note down a server name, custom username and password; and download the OVPN file, certificates and key files in a ZIP file.
If you’re looking to set up multiple locations, you must also rename each OVPN file to something appropriate.
This approach has some advantages – it’s secure and gives you a high level of control over how each connection works – but if you’re just hoping to download 89 standard OpenVPN configuration files, get ready for disappointment. There’s a lot of setup work to do.
CyberGhost’s Windows client opens with a clean, lightweight console which includes a connection status, a list of locations and a Connect button. Don’t be fooled, though – there’s a lot of functionality tucked into a right-hand panel which you can open whenever you need it.
A location picker lists all countries and their distance from you. (The app used to display server load information, too, but this has been dropped.) You can filter this to display servers optimized for streaming or torrents, and a Favorites system makes it easy to build your own custom list.
The service generally connects quickly, but we noticed one problem: there are no notifications to tell you when it connects or disconnects. That means you can’t be completely sure of whether you’re protected unless you’re looking at the CyberGhost app.
The app’s Smart Rules panel gives you an unusual level of control over when the client launches. Most VPNs have an option to launch when Windows starts, for instance, but CyberGhost also allows you to choose a preferred server, and then launch a particular app, such as your default browser in incognito mode.
There’s even more flexibility in the Wi-Fi Protection panel, where CyberGhost allows you to decide exactly what happens when you connect to new networks. You can have the client automatically connect to the VPN if the network is insecure, for instance; never connect if it’s encrypted; perform custom actions for specific networks (always protect at home, never protect at work); or simply ask you what to do.
Built-in App Rules allow you to automatically connect to a specific VPN location when you open an app. You could connect to the specialist US Netflix location when you open the Netflix app, for instance, or choose a torrent-friendly location when you launch your P2P app.
There’s another handy touch in the Exceptions feature, where you can build a list of websites which won’t be passed through the tunnel. If a streaming site is only accessible to users in your country, add it to CyberGhost’s Exceptions and it’ll never be blocked, no matter which VPN location you’re using.
If this sounds too complex, and maybe you’re only after the VPN basics, no problem; it can all be safely ignored. You’ll never even see it unless you go looking. But if you’d like to fine-tune the service, optimize it to suit your needs, CyberGhost gives you a mix of options and opportunities you simply won’t see elsewhere.
The Settings box lets you choose your preferred protocol (OpenVPN, IKEv2, and now WireGuard, too), using random ports to connect (which might bypass some VPN blocking), and enabling or disabling a kill switch, IPv6 connections and DNS leak protection.
The kill switch and DNS leak protection switches now work as expected, too. In our last review, you were able to click them, but the app effectively said ‘no, sorry, you can’t turn that off.’ You can now disable them if necessary, and we think that’s good news. It’s sensible to have these settings on by default, but they can cause odd network issues and conflicts, and it’s important you’re able to turn them off.
Our tests showed the kill switch generally worked very well. We tried forcibly closing VPN connections, even killing CyberGhost’s OpenVPN and WireGuard helper processes, and the kill switch blocked our internet access immediately. But there were some issues, too.
As we mentioned earlier, the app doesn’t raise notifications if the connection drops. Unless you’re looking at its console, you’ll have no idea why your internet has just died.
This won’t matter much with OpenVPN or IKEv2 connections, as we found the app updated its connection status and automatically reconnected within a few seconds.
When we closed the WireGuard process, though, the app didn’t appear to notice. Our internet was correctly blocked, but the app told us we were still connected. Hitting the Disconnect button got us our internet access back, but this could still leave users confused for a while. And if the app thinks it’s connected when it’s not, that leaves us wondering whether there are other issues here that we might have missed.
Mobile VPN apps are often underpowered when compared to their desktop cousins, but CyberGhost’s offerings are surprisingly capable.
The app opens with the usual very simple portrait interface, for instance, little more than a Connect button and the name of your selected location. But switch to the tablet-friendly landscape mode and you get the location list and Connect button on the same screen, making it easier to find the server you need and get online.
You can have the app automatically connect when you access insecure Wi-Fi, and protocol support includes OpenVPN and WireGuard (but no IKEv2).
The app includes the desktop client’s ability to use a random port when connecting to the VPN, a simple trick which might help bypass VPN blocking.
A Content Blocker supports blocking domains associated with malware, ads or trackers. We’ve never found it particularly effective – and it’s turned off by default, which also suggests it’s not a huge security plus – but the feature is available if you’d like to try it.
Split tunneling is probably the highlight here, allowing you to decide which apps use the VPN and which don’t, in just a few clicks.
There’s also support for domain fronting, a clever technique which bypasses some VPN blocking by directing key CyberGhost traffic through a content delivery network (CDN). We didn’t test this but we’re happy to know it’s available (and curious why it’s not included in the Windows client).
You don’t get a kill switch, but that’s not a critical issue – you’ll just have to set up the Android system-level kill switch instead.
The iOS app shares the same look and feel as the Windows and Android versions, and getting started is as easy as logging in, then tapping Connect to access your nearest location.
VPN apps for iOS never match Android VPN apps for features, just because Apple’s security model doesn’t allow them the same control, but there is a sprinkling of useful features here. For example, you can set up the app to automatically connect when you access insecure or specific networks. Or you can set your protocol to IKEv2 or WireGuard (no OpenVPN), or run a connection checker to analyze your internet connectivity, see if CyberGhost’s VPN servers are accessible, and generally troubleshoot any problems.
Overall, these aren’t the best mobile apps we’ve ever seen, but for the most part they’re a likeable and well-judged mix of power and ease of use. They come with a 7-day trial, too, so it’s easy to check them out if you’re intrigued.
Dedicated IP system
CyberGhost now offers dedicated IPs for an extra $5 a month, dropping to $4 a month on the annual plan (with 14 months extra for free during the first term). Hand over the cash and you’ll get a unique IP address for your use only, reducing the chance that you’ll be blocked by sites for other people’s bad behavior, and allowing you to access IP-restricted business networks while using the VPN.
Sign up for the scheme and you’re able to choose your preferred location from a small list: Montreal, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Manchester, Chicago and New York.
We chose New York and the website presented us with a token, a lengthy text string (‘DIP26mZCWKAQP3oKioFu8YLRburW6LxR’) which represented our IP. We pasted this into the Windows app, and our dedicated IP became available from the location picker.
Although this may sound like a hassle, there’s a good reason for the scheme. CyberGhost doesn’t associate the IP with our account, which ensures it remains as anonymous as a regular VPN IP address; the company has no way to connect any web action to a particular account.
This does leave some scope for problems. In particular, if you lose your IP token, there’s no way to get it back because CyberGhost doesn’t know what it was. But that’s no surprise, and the company does its best to help, for example automatically generating and downloading a plain text file containing your token as soon as it’s allocated.
Once your new address is activated, it immediately appears in the Dedicated IP section of CyberGhost’s location picker. You can select it whenever necessary, or browse the usual location lists when you need a dynamic IP.
This all worked smoothly and as advertised for us. Our shiny new IP was allocated quickly, and it appeared to be in New York, as we requested, and Cyren, BrightCloud, Talos and other IP reputation checkers all found it was clean and blacklist-free.
It’s a simple and straightforward system, and fair value on the plan, but other VPNs also have decent dedicated IP schemes. Check out Private Internet Access ($5 billed monthly), Ivacy ($4 a month on the annual plan) and PureVPN ($2.99 a month billed annually) for more options.
CyberGhost support begins with its web guides, where you’ll find advice on setting up the service on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Android, Linux and more.
These do a fair job of explaining key tasks, such as installing the Windows app, with screenshots and helpful extra tips (how to choose a secure password, for instance).
There isn’t the depth or the detail to match the likes of ExpressVPN, though, and we noticed some of the documents were out of date. When we couldn’t find data compression in the latest apps, for instance, we checked the support site and found a page explaining how to set it up. This referred to the previous app, but it wasn’t clear from the text, which could easily leave users confused.
The knowledgebase search engine is basic, too. It relies on you carefully choosing the best possible keyword (you’ll get very different results for searching on ‘speed’ and ‘performance’, for instance), and even if you get that right, the results don’t appear to be sorted by usefulness.
We were briefly impressed by a ‘Streaming status’ panel telling us which streaming platforms were currently unavailable. Knowing that information is present on the website could save hours of manual trial and error. However, clicking the alert displayed a generic ‘we are aware of the situation’ and are ‘actively working to resolve it’ message. It wasn’t even dated, so there’s no way to tell if it’s a brand-new issue and you should wait, or it’s been dragging on for months and you should probably give up.
Still, there is just about enough useful content here to help you with the basics. And if that fails, you can also talk to a real, live, human being, fortunately, via email and live chat support.
We opened a live chat session, and only a couple of minutes later, a support agent was responding to our question. Despite us choosing a slightly technical topic on the generation of OpenVPN configuration files, the agent immediately understood what we needed, and clearly explained everything we needed to know.
CyberGhost’s support site may be a little dubious, then, but that’s not the end of the story. If you’re running into problems, there’s a good chance that the live chat support will quickly point you in the right direction.
CyberGhost review: Final verdict
CyberGhost has a number of issues – we’d like faster OpenVPN speeds and a security audit, please – but overall it delivers on the top VPN priorities for most people, with speedy WireGuard connections, excellent unblocking, loads of features and helpful live chat support. Give it a try.