Top Level Overview
CyberGhost calls chilly Romania its home, which is great news for the privacy cautious. In addition, the service provides good security and plenty of system options.
CyberGhost has plenty of servers too- almost 900!
They’re located in nearly 30 countries which include Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong, the UK, Canada and Australia.
That said, CyberGhost hasn’t dipped its toes into more international waters, with no locations in the Middle East, Africa or South America as yet.
Let’s talk customer service briefly. CyberGhost has an email ticketing system which they will reply to within 48 hours. Seems like a long time if you’re in the middle of a frustrating issue, so I suggest the extensive online Help forum, where users can comb through information in an attempt to self troubleshoot.
If that doesn’t sound like fun? No worries. In addition to these two options, the Desktop Client includes a Live Chat function, which is great for those who like to speak to a representative and actively work to hash out an issue. I found the responses helpful and courteous.
CyberGhost offers a 3-day trial for interested users, in addition to a free-but basic- service if you want a limited VPN function for free.
They also offer a 30 day, no questions asked, refund policy, which is very generous. As I’ve started to see more and more VPN companies refuse refunds, this is definitely nice to see.
CyberGhost offers three plans, one of which is free but that requires (potentially) long waits to connect, limited server availability and the occasional advertisement.
- The Free Plan is (obviously) free, though has restrictions, which I’ve listed above.
- Premium Plan is $6.99 per month ($69.96 per year- $5.83 per month) and includes a faster connection, 1 device connection, iOS/Android apps included, no ads, over 600 servers and 30 country server locations.
- Premium Plus Plan is $10.99 per month ($109.92 per year- $9.16 per month) and includes all of the premium features plus the ability to connect to 5 devices simultaneously.All plans include all of CyberGhost’s features: unlimited bandwidth, unlimited traffic, Antifingerprinting system and AES 256-bit Encryption.
I liked that CyberGhost offered a free monthly plan, though I didn’t love all of the drawbacks to using it, which include the occasional advertisement, frequent disconnection and potential long waits to connect through the VPN.
Let’s be real: if your VPN needs are not that extensive, a free plan like CyberGhost’s might be perfect, but be warned, it may come with a side of frustration.
On the paid plans you get an automatic kill switch, which will zap the internet if the VPN connection goes overboard and exposes your anonymity. This is a must have feature these days. Honestly, this is where torrent users get caught out. They think they’re secure but then the VPN bottoms out for a minute and leaves them exposed.
The desktop and mobile clients are visually pleasing. There are lots of black and magenta accents, not to mention the ghost imagery, which I wasn’t so crazy about – but I’m a minimal girl!
However, it’s all straightforward and easily organized and definitely felt intuitive. Information on the client was labeled clearly, which I liked. I felt like a newbie could use this program and understand what was going on in a jiffy, which is definitely important, for clarity’s sake.
For those who like to torrent music, tv shows or movies, I’m not condoning this, but CyberGhost has got your back.
Unlike some VPN programs, which will terminate their privacy service if they catch you violating copyright laws, CyberGhost supports users who frequently torrent. They even have specific servers that can handle the increase in traffic.
CG also provides DNS and IP leak protection; two other features that are increasingly becoming industry standard.
In addition, I noticed that CyberGhost also offers PFS (perfect forward secrecy), where a new and completely private encryption key is created for the start of a new session. This is so important for user privacy because if an encryption key is discovered, it gives the hacker access to all of the information that has been previously stored on the system.
For email accounts, this kind of security compromise could mean bad news for users. Therefore, PFS is an extremely important key in truly securing your information. I love when VPNs include this feature because you know everything is on lockdown.
Security & Privacy
Diving into the technical side of things: CyberGhost offers OpenVPN with 256-bit AES encryption, which is definitely what I like to see. This is also the default setting, thank goodness, so you don’t have to immediately go in and switch it from a less secure protocol.
The security suite is complemented by RSA-2048 Handshake and HMAC MD5 for data authentication, which is solid. They told me they plan to implement SHA-2 for data authentication very soon.
Let’s talk location: CyberGhost is based out of Romania, which is one of the best places in Europe for cybersecurity because Romania is far outside any rulings concerning mandatory data retention. This is fantastic news for users.
We do not collect or use personal data, such as e-mail addresses, name, domicile address and payment information.
Instead, CyberGhost will store a “fully anonymous User ID, an encoded password and your pay scale information (activation key, start and end)” should you register for the Premium Service.
In addition, they do not keep logs concerning your IP address, your connection times or your data traffic. Absolutely no internet traffic is logged.
I’ve got to say- I’m impressed!
This is definitely one of the most honest-to-goodness “logless” policies that I’ve ever seen and I commend CyberGhost for being true to its word.
Speed & Performance
Speeds with CyberGhost varied a bit based on server location and function. US servers were quite zippy and I didn’t have many issues with file sharing or media streaming, which is my primary use for the internet.
I was pretty satisfied until I started poking around with other servers. Most servers in European locations suffered a tad in terms of upload and download speeds.
The lags were not hugely significant but enough for occasional frustration.
Remember what I always say about this though. With plenty of servers to choose from, you can always switch. Moreover, you can change country, to one nearer yours. Server lags happen. I’m not going to get silly like some Reddit users do and have one bad experience on one server and go slating the whole service.
Test all the countries and multiple servers in your 3-day trial and see what works well for you. For example, when in the UK I suffer lag with HMA US servers, but with VyprVPN I zip along connected to Miami, New York or Chicago.
While CyberGhost offers an email ticket system, they do acknowledge that a response could take up to 48 hours. Fortunately, their desktop client also offers a Live Chat option, which is a lovely addition as you can jump right on with a rep and get your issue sorted.
Responses on both programs were courteous and quite helpful, the only difference is the lag in response time on the ticket system.
CyberGhost offers a 30-day money back guarantee, which is generous to say the least. They also offer a free 3-day trial.
Signing Up & Getting Started
With CyberGhost, signing up is definitely privacy oriented, which is a good sign of a serious VPN company. They only require that you input your email address, which is refreshing. I’m tired of having to fork over all of my information at checkout!
CyberGhost allows you to pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express (all major credit cards), as well as PayPal and Bitcoin.
After you are signed up, you can download the program from your online account page and create both a username and a password. You’re pretty much good to go from here!
The website is nicely laid out and not too overburdened with information- I was able to easily find answers to my questions, which I appreciated.
Cyberghost Review Conclusion
CyberGhost offers a service with good security protocols and excellent privacy. I liked that they offer a free (basic) plan, but their premium plus rate is on the high side. That said, you do get 5 devices on that plan. To me the 1-device plan is a bit redundant in this day and age. Everyone needs a minimum of 2.
26 countries and around 900 servers is plenty, though I’d like to see some SE Asia coverage too.
I dig the PFS, kill switch and DNS leak protection features, and the desktop and mobile clients are intuitive to use. Lags are occasional but security is never compromised.
- Romanian based
- Free basic plan
- Truly logless company
- Intuitive and sleek client
- Only 26 countries with servers
- Occasional lag
- Only 1 device on the premium plan
- Premium plus plan priced on the higher side of the industry