CyberGhost VPN has been a leading player in the VPN market since 2011, offering excellent speeds and a zero-logs policy. But if you’re considering subscribing to it, you should first take a moment to figure out more than the number of servers or the maximum speed it offers.
You also need to familiarize yourself with the company’s ownership history and how dedicated it is to maintain your privacy, and that’s precisely what we’re here for. Without further ado, let’s delve into all of that as well as any other questions you may still have.
At a Glance
CyberGhost VPN excels in transparency, security, and helpful customer service, but its ownership history is a little troubling.
CyberGhost VPN In-Depth Review
While a VPN can provide the privacy you’re looking for, the way this is achieved does have a downside – by routing your traffic through one of many servers across the world, you will usually lose a proportion of your internet speed.
Despite being on the more expensive side of the market, Cyberghost’s performance when we tested it for speed was underwhelming. Our download speed dropped by over 70% compared to when we connected to the internet without the VPN, which could cause you major problems if you wish to stream video or play data-intensive games online. With rival products offering a much smaller reduction in speed, Cyberghost’s performance was disappointing in this regard.
While Cyberghost doesn’t offer great speeds, it is much more impressive when it comes to the number of servers on offer. In fact, it has one of the largest server bases in the market, with over 6,300 servers covering 90 countries. This should mean that, despite the limited download speeds, you should be able to find a reliable connection that will keep your data secure.
For an additional fee, Cyberghost also provides ‘no-spy’ servers for users with extra concern about their security; these allow you to route your traffic through multiple servers at once and include additional levels of encryption to ensure your data is even more well-hidden.
Cyberghost offers a number of additional features designed to boost the level of security your connection offers. Most notably, the kill switch function cuts your internet connection completely if you disconnect from the VPN. This essential feature ensures that you cannot accidentally connect to the internet without the VPN, keeping your online activity private.
The service also has a split tunnelling feature, which allows you to ‘white list’ certain applications that you don’t wish to connect to via the VPN – so if security is not a concern with certain data-intensive apps, you will be able to connect without the VPN, keeping your download speed as high as possible.
The so-called ‘Netflix test’ is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a VPN.
Streaming apps like Netflix offer region-specific content that is only available in certain areas, with geo-blocking software preventing you from accessing it from outside the region. This can be frustrating if you wish to stream content from your home country while abroad, or if your favourite shows are only available in another region.
VPNs allow you to get around this issue by connecting to the streaming service via a server based in the country whose content library you wish to view – and while Netflix has stepped up its attempts to stop people doing so, during testing we were able to connect to various Netflix content libraries, as well as numerous other streaming apps, by connecting via servers around the world.
This process can be a little hit and miss, with some servers failing to connect, but it never took more than a couple of tries to find a server that could connect without any issues.
The use of P2P file-sharing software remains a point of contention due to the number of people who use it to illegally share copyrighted material, but currently it is still legal to run torrenting software provided you only use it for legitimate purposes.
Some VPNs no longer allow the use of torrenting software, automatically blocking access to torrenting apps and websites, but Cyberghost is not among them. The VPN offers a number of servers designed for the quick transfer of files, although the speed loss mentioned above could make this a laborious process.
The ability to bypass geo-restrictions also applies to gaming. If you’re a regular gamer, you’ll know that many production companies stagger their release dates, putting out games earlier in certain parts of the world than others. If you just can’t wait to play a new game, you can access it by connecting to the internet via a server based in one of the countries where it has been released.
Once again, however, you should be aware that the decrease in speed caused by the VPN may make online gaming difficult, with lag potentially making some fast-paced games unplayable.
Cyberghost recently replaced its seven-day trial offer with a no-quibble money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product. The guarantee is available for 14 days if you have a monthly subscription, or 45 days if you take out a subscription of six months or longer.
Knowing where a VPN provider is headquartered is essential as the legal jurisdiction under which it operates can indicate how safe your data really is. While it has offices in Germany, CyberGhost is primarily based in Romania.
That means it’s out of reach of the Five (or Nine, or Fourteen) Eyes alliance, an agreement to collect and share intelligence between participating nations. Plus, the provider offers dedicated Romanian servers owned by the provider itself rather than being rented from third parties, which is always a plus for privacy.
That said, the provider’s ownership history is a little bit troubling. In 2017, CyberGhost was acquired by an Israeli ad tech company called Crossrider (now Kape Technologies). The fact that a VPN provider was sold to an ad tech company that makes money off gaining user data is enough to raise a few eyebrows.
Additionally, it’s registered in the UK, which is subject to data retention laws. More worryingly, however, Crossrider is somewhat notorious for its questionable use of shady software and ad-ware in the past. It even later rebranded as Kape in an attempt to distance itself from its past activities.
However, CyberGhost VPN insists that the change in ownership doesn’t affect their modus operandi and that they’ll continue to operate independently of their parent company.
Transparency and Anonymity
In contrast to other VPN services, CyberGhost VPN doesn’t publish a warrant canary on its website to state that it hasn’t yet been confronted with an official search warrant.
But CyberGhost VPN offers something much better: an annual Transparency Report that includes data on the number of requests to reveal users’ sensitive information, divided into DMCA complaints, malware activity flags, and police requests.
In fact, CyberGhost VPN was the first VPN provider to publish an annual Transparency Report back in 2011. Since 2019, it has been doing so every three months. Moreover, CyberGhost states that it won’t respond to requests to disclose its users’ identity, as it isn’t possible due to the no-logs policy.
Yet, the provider has developed strategies to prevent misuse of its service. When a particular IP address is implicated in an attack, CyberGhost VPN responds, for example, by (likely temporarily) blocking that IP address so that users of the VPN can no longer reach it.
The CyberGhost VPN client is mostly self-explanatory and easy to navigate and use. However, if you get stuck using it, you can contact the provider’s customer service. While excellent customer service is practically unheard of in the VPN world, CyberGhost is among the few exceptions.
To contact customer service, you can either submit a support ticket directly via the client portal or use the chat function on the CyberGhost website if you’re in a hurry. Support is available around the clock, and the friendly representatives usually answer customer inquiries quickly. When you initiate a chat, you get to choose between English, German, French, and Romanian.
In addition to the super helpful customer support, CyberGhost’s website also features extensive online documentation to help you set up and use the program.
Moreover, typical technical issues that may arise are discussed, and a FAQs section provides answers to common questions. There’s also a “News” section where you can find updates regarding bugs and server unavailability.
DNS Leak Results
DNS leaks are a massive threat to your online privacy. In case of a DNS leak, your ISP will be able to track your online activity even if you’re using a VPN. Thankfully, CyberGhost VPN provides plenty of protection against them.
Our testing didn’t detect any IP address or DNS data leaks. However, while there wasn’t any user-identifying information, CyberGhost didn’t hide that we were connected to a VPN. This could be troublesome if you’re using a work network that bans the use of VPNs or if you’re in a non-VPN-friendly country like China or Iran.
What Platforms Does CyberGhost Support?
Cyberghost supports a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. For smartphones, it has Android and iOS apps. It also supports Android TV and Amazon Fire TV.
What Payment Methods Does CyberGhost Offer?
CyberGhost currently accepts payment via PayPal, credit cards, and cryptocurrency, among other payment methods.
Is CyberGhost Good for Torrenting?
Absolutely. CyberGhost supports P2P file sharing, and it also offers torrent-optimized servers. The kill switch feature also comes in handy while torrenting in case your VPN connection is suddenly lost.
How good is Cyberghost?
Cyberghost is one of the best VPNs around thanks to high-end security protocols, although it does cause a greater loss of speed than some rival products.
Where is Cyberghost based?
Cyberghost is based in and operated from Romania, although it is currently owned by an Israeli company called Kape Technologies.
How do I install Cyberghost?
Installation of Cyberghost varies slightly from device to device, but the process is very simple. Download the client/app from the Cyberghost website and follow the installation steps. If you are subscribed to the service, you can then input your login details.
How can I tell if Cyberghost is connected?
Cyberghost provides an easy way of checking that the VPN is connected. The website has a Privacy Test function, which checks the security of your IP address, location and DNS requests. Just press the yellow ‘Test your privacy’ icon, and in a matter of seconds you will see a message confirming whether you are protected or exposed.
CyberGhost VPN is a great choice, providing outstanding protection against leaks and a high level of transparency regarding maintaining its users’ anonymity. Its customer support is also reliable and instantaneous. However, its ownership history is a little troubling, even if its base in Romania means no governmental snooping.
With all that said, if security is your primary concern and you don’t require the fastest connections, Cyberghost is probably perfect for you, but if internet speed is an issue then there are better services available for a similar price.
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