CyberGhost VPN Review

CyberGhost has been providing VPN services for almost a decade, and the service has undergone many changes since its’ humble beginnings.  With so many services hitting the market in the last few years, companies need to push the envelope on security, service and utility in order to stay ahead of the crowd, and better meet the needs of VPN users. As of 2019, CyberGhost has a pretty extensive solution to meet as many of those needs  with strong security and tailored servers for downloading and streaming. The company is also focused on delivering their VPN app on as many platforms as possible. Let’s have a look at the latest iteration and drill down into the pros and cons of this option.

Security and Privacy

CyberGhost VPN has a no log policy which is simply huge in a time when even all of the most popular providers openly admit to various forms of logging ranging from “general session info” like session length to “Seriously, why am I even paying you?” like IP logging.  Nothing has changed here, the company has continued to uphold their no log service policy.  As it is based in Romania, there is concern that the European Data Retention Directive may eventually force CyberGhost to begin logging or face legal action.  However, up until now, every attempt by the EU to force Romania to retain data has been thrown out by their highest constitutional court. This helps provide credibility to CyberGhost’s no log policy, as Romania remains the only EU country to have no retained data retention law.

The service provides 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN and IKEv2, as well as lesser L2TP and PPTP protocols for devices with limited options. The client also has an automatic built-in kill switch in case your VPN connection drops, but I would have liked to see it mentioned on the client itself, as I spent a little time looking for it before seeing it on the website.. This does make it safer than depending on new users remembering or knowing to turn the killswitch option on, but having the option available, and turned on by default is arguably just as good. Either way, better to have a kill switch on at all times, than none at all. Setting up advanced features is simple, but there’s a couple of menus to be aware of.

On the right hand side of the extended window, ‘Connection Features’ and ‘Smart Rules’ tabs can be used to add additional security to your connection and web browsing activity.  Under Connection features, an ad-blocker as well as a malware blocker is available to be turned on, but keep in mind that it only works through the VPN connection, unlike a web browser extension or desktop application like malware bytes. Taking it a step further, the client also provides online browser tracking protection and force HTTPS redirects in case you reach an insecure version of the website. Finally, you can even test out the data compression tool which attempts to compress all images and pictures from websites to reduce how much data your connection has to download. This can be useful for very slow ADSL connections, or on mobile devices with expensive or limited data. The Smart Rules tab allows you to start CyberGhost with your system, connect automatically, and even launch an application of your choice once connected. Wi-Fi rules allow you to receive an alert when connecting to a new Wi-Fi connection. Alternatively, you can have the VPN connect automatically before jumping onto a wireless network, or vice-versa.

Another important security detail is to open the Settings gear wheel menu on the bottom left, and select a secure protocol of your choice under the Connections tab. By default CyberGhost has an Automatic Selection option which attempts to choose the best protocol for your device. The Windows application provides OpenVPN, IKEv2 and L2TP protocols. They also provide a curated list of servers that support torrenting, allowing you to download and upload torrents with proper privacy.

IP and DNS Leak Test

DNS Leak protection is turned on by default, and the OpenVPN protocol also provides the option to utilize random connection ports. This feature is especially useful when using public connections that might be blocking default VPN ports, such as Hotels.  CyberGhost passed all IP, WebRTC and DNS leak tests performed across various servers around the world.

Features

To get started, installing and using CyberGhost is very easy and completes in a couple of minutes after downloading and starting the install file. The client is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, and even Amazon FireTV stick and Chromium devices. Linux users can also use it with native OpenVPN or compatible manual configurations. If you wish to test the service before purchasing, a free trial is offered, but it requires you to create an account using an email address. If you prefer to not use any email, creating a paid account can be done just using a username. Once installed and launched, click on the yellow boxed arrows found on the lower left side of the window pane to extend to full window menu. From here, you can add servers to your favorites, access torrenting and streaming server lists, as well as all the settings and feature menus. I was very satisfied with the VPN app layout, and found it extremely easy to use. For some people, it may be their first times using VPN servers for different types of uses, and with CyberGhost, everything is laid out for you, eliminating a lot of confusion.

Once you select a country under all servers, you can drill down into all the available servers by city, distance, ping response, and load percentage. Access to over 3400 servers across 60 countries is also plenty to have a complete global index of connection choices. Overall speeds ranged from impressive to average, but in most cases, even without using streaming servers, I was able to attain good speeds on remotely close locations. I found the IKEv2 protocol to provide better speeds than OpenVPN.

As I already covered, CyberGhost has a complete suit of security and privacy features, from blocking ads, malware and tracking when browsing, or launching an app of your choice every time you connect to a VPN server. But the latest versions of their client also cater to broader audiences and needs. For starters, the client is really well designed and easy to use. Also previously mentioned is their catered list of torrent VPN servers, but CyberGhost also excels at providing the right server for just about any streaming service. Under the streaming list, servers in multiple locations are individually chosen and optimized for various streaming platforms. I was able to access different platforms, in different countries, further broadening the amount of available content for each. Have a look at the screenshot below for a complete list of streaming servers available. For users who mainly use their VPN to stream content, it doesn’t get better than this. Eliminates the need to test speed and access across various servers. But keep in mind, the servers do not limit you to a single platform, you can still use any of the servers to access all the different streaming platforms available in that country, and still expect better speed results than on standard or torrent servers.

 

Netflix and Streaming Test

Almost needless to say, CyberGhost did pass all Netflix tests, and did much more to improve my streaming experience. I not only successfully accessed various streaming platforms with fast servers that had a smaller impact on my bandwidth speed, but I was also able to discover streaming services I did not even know existed by simply browsing the streaming server list. I find this better than having to browser to the service provider’s website hosted TV guide, because it saves time but also provides you with an optimized connection. It’s also particularly useful for changing regions when using the same platform, for example, using both US and UK Netflix access points to gain access to an even wider catalog of content. All leak tests passed on streaming services, allowing me to change servers multiple times without ever being detected. But keep in mind that logging out of cookie tracked emails such as gmail, and sometimes clearing cache is also a required step to avoid VPN detection.

Pricing

Special Offer for VPNPick visitors: Cyberghost is currently running a winter sale offer on the yearly plan. Get an extra 6 months free and save a total of 79%. The yearly plan costs $49.50 but is extended to 18 months, bringing the cost down to just $2.75 per month. For 7 simultaneous connections, this is a pretty generous price and only available when you click the Visit Website links on this page, such as the one below.

There are currently four different plans to choose from when purchasing CyberGhost. They have a monthly option that includes a 14-day refund policy, or the choice between 1, 2, or 3 year plans which all include a 45-day refund policy. Every plan allows you to connect up to 7 devices at the same time, which is more than most competitors which limit it around 3 to 5 simultaneous devices per account. The monthly plan costs $12.99 which is not very cheap in the long run, so unless you need a VPN for a limited period of time, using the 24 hour free trial is a better way to test the service out. The yearly plan comes out to $5.25 a month, which is pretty competitive, but if you want to save even more money, pre-paid 2 year costs $3.69 per month, while the extended 3 year plan can be split at a cost of $2.50 USD per month. For regular users, these extended plans can really provide considerable savings, and I have to say, very competitive prices in today’s market. The refund policy is no questions asked guaranteed, but only applies to purchases made directly on their website. So, if the service does not meet your needs, you have ample time to contact them by email or live chat to request a refund.

Customer Support

The website is very well designed and includes a complete FAQ and Help section that covers various topics by platform. You can find tutorials for Kodi, gaming consoles, network routers, and all other platforms from Linux to Mac. Or you can opt to chat with a representative using the website’s Live Chat box  A support ticket system is also available, allowing you to quickly create a request from your account and interact directly with a technician. Finally, you can also just send an email to the department of sales if your request has to do with billing or request a refund. All support channels are available 24 hours 7 days a week. I had quick response times on ticket inquiries, and all my questions were answered with detail.

Conclusion

CyberGhost is one of the most complete VPN solutions I have used so far. It caters well to privacy focused users with 256-bit encryption, no logs, and web tools, including Wi-Fi network hopping protection and torrent servers. But it shines even brighter for users who mainly use their VPN for streaming services with a simple, but extensive list of individually  optimized streaming servers for just about every globally available TV and movie streaming service. CyberGhost also offers some of the most competitive multi-year plans on the market, and allow up to 7 simultaneous users per account.  The clients are easy to navigate, fast to locate servers, and the speeds were better than average on most servers when using OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols. Although it lacks tailored Deep Packet Inspection protection servers and protocols for countries like China, the service really did not lack much in every other aspect. One of the best VPNs available in 2019 for private web browsing and online streaming. That is not to say CyberGhost has been free of issues in the past. Due to their free plans being exploited by malicious users, past experiences have been a hit or miss with server issues and slow speeds. Throughout all of the latest updates, just about all the kinks have been worked out, and it has been a good experience to revisit CyberGhost.

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