Cyberghost Review (2018)

Cyberghost VPN

$2.75/month
9.3

Features

9.5/10

Speed

8.0/10

Security

9.5/10

Privacy

10.0/10

Price

9.5/10

Pros

  • No Logs. Period.
  • Unblocks Netflix/Hulu
  • Built-in Ad Blocker
  • Anti-Malware/Tracking
  • Torrents/p2p allowed
  • Great refund policy (30 days)

Cons

  • No FireTV app
  • No SOCKS proxy included

Cyberghost completely overhauled their service in 2018, and the results are quite impressive.

Not only have they introduced a ton of new features, but they’ve also dropped their pricing to compete head-to-head with NordVPN’s 3-year subscription plans. And as far as we can tell, they haven’t cut any corners to do it. Here’s what we learned during our Cyberghost Review by testing their software for an entire week:

  • The speeds are excellent (capable of 100+ Mbps on some servers)
  • Cyberghost does work with Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services
  • The software is beautifully thought out. It’s designed for the way you actualy use a VPN.
  • Cyberghost allows all common VPN uses (Streaming, Kodi, Torrents, Skype, etc.)

And best of all, you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

Overall we think Cyberghost is well positioned in the marketplace, and we’ll likely do quite well head-to-head with long-term favorites like Private Internet Access.

Keep reading our Cyberghost review for an in-depth look at the good (the bad) and the just plain awesome of Cyberghost VPN.

Review Sections (Table of Contents)

  1. Software/Apps
    1. Desktop
    2. Mobile
  2. Features
  3. Security, Privacy & Logging Policy
  4. Speed Test / Performance
  5. Prices, Plans, and Special Offers
  6. Cyberghost Alternatives
  7. Conclusion & verdict

Software/Apps: Desktop

Each Cyberghost subscription comes with their pre-built VPN app which is available for all major Desktop and Smartphone platforms. That means you can easily protect all of your devices with a single click instead of messing with 3rd-party VPN apps. And you can even install Cyberghost on a VPN-Capable router to protect your entire network.

How to get the apps: Once you create your Cyberghost account, you’ll be see links to download the software for all available platforms. Installation is quick and easy as well. The iOS and Android apps are available directly from the official app stores as well.

So let’s dive into the apps and get a closer look at the UI and functionality (special features).

We reviewed the Windows version of their desktop client, but the Mac/OSX version is virtually identical in its look and features.

User Interface (UI)

Cyberghost Software (Main screen UI)
Cyberghost’s main software view.

The interface is a little bit..um, colorful? It’s definitely a different feel than most other VPN apps. A bit like a windows tablet maybe? Or a light-up dancefloor at a 80’s disco. I didn’t dislike it, it’s just unique.

But what’s obvious, is that Cyberghost is really focused on how you use the app, rather then just tossing a huge list of servers in front of you. Because in reality, you usually turn on the VPN with a specific purpose in mind.

And this UI makes it really, really, simple to achieve exactly what you’re looking for.

Want to stream U.S. Netflix from Europe? Just click the ‘Unblock Streaming’ button. It’ll even open your preferred streaming site for you…automatically.

Want to download torrents securely? Hit the ‘Torrent Anonymously’ button. You’ll be connected to a torrent-friendly location and it will open your torrent client automatically (optional).

Altogether, you get 5 different ‘use’ modes:

  • Surf Anonymously
  • Unblock Streaming sites
  • Protect your Network
  • Torrents
  • Unblock specific websites

We’ll discuss each of these more in the ‘Features’ section below. Aside from the ‘Torrent’ and ‘Streaming’ mode, most of them are a preconfigured set of options that do one or more of the following:

  • block malware
  • block ads
  • Block cookies/tracking
  • force websites to use https whenever possible
  • Improve speeds

Once you choose a ‘use’ mode, you can toggle exactly which features you want to use:

Optional security features like ad-blocking, tracker blocking and speed boost
Toggle whichever privacy/security features you want

The offered features are pretty well though out with the possible exception of ‘Extra Speed.’ I mean, who would ever turn that off? I guess they needed a sixth option to even out the UI.

Traditional Server Selection

You can also choose exact server locations (whether a location or a specific server number). This interface is also beautifully designed, and can be quickly filtered by multiple criteria to find exactly what you’re looking for without scrolling through all 4000+ servers.

The most common filters you’ll use:

  • Least crowded server
  • Fastest server (actually speedtests multiple locations for you)
  • p2p/torrent-enabled server
  • Filter by any text (usually a country or city name)
The server location view in the Cyberghost software
Filter the entire server list by multiple criteria (Fastest, least crowded, country, etc)

Software Settings:

The app also has a settings menu with more fined-grained control over how the app behaves. This includes everything from your startup profile, to connecting to the VPN through a proxy (not included). It also lets you control their IP-leak protection settings. There a ton of options here, and almost all of them useful. It’s a noticeable difference from most VPNs.

General Settings:

  • Startup: Choose if you want to start Cyberghost automatically when your computer boots
  • Profile: When Cyberghost opens, which profile (torrents, streaming, etc) should it auto-start

Exceptions:

This is a very cool feature that lets you route specific connections (like an email server) outside the VPN. This is useful if you have important websites or apps that tend to block VPNs. This feature is also known as ‘selective routing’.

Proxy:

If you’re behind a firewall (or just want more privacy) you can connect to Cyberghost through a proxy. That would change your IP twice.

Connection Settings:

  • Choose a VPN Protocol
    • Auto
    • OpenVPN
    • IKEv2
    • L2TP
  • TCP or UDP
  • DNS Leak Protection: Force the software to use Cyberghost’s DNS Servers instead of your ISPS’s (learn more)
  • Disable IPv6 Outside the VPN: Prevent IPv6 leaks

Wifi Settings:

You can optionally choose to auto-connect any time you’re on a non-trusted wifi network. Basically, this is any network except those you choose as ‘known’ networks.

App Protection/ Kill-Switch

Choose specific apps that you’d like to close in case the VPN disconnects by accident. Common choices would be: a web browser, torrent app, Kodi, or whatever you’re trying to keep private while connected to the VPN.

Software: Mobile (iOS/Android)

Cyberghost also has apps available for iPhone (iOS) and Android devices. The first thing you’ll notice is that the feature set is almost identical. Most VPN companies release their mobile app as an afterthought with limited functionality beyond simple VPN usage. Not Cyberghost. Everything you want is here.

  • Streaming/Geo-unblocking? Yep.
  • Anti-malware/Anti-tracking? Yessir.
  • Individual server selection? You betcha.

There’s also a handy compression feature. If you’re browsing on a data plan, you can choose to let the Cyberghost servers ‘compress’ the websites you view (especially images), saving you precious Megabytes of data and making your plan go further. It’s a great feature.

And if you’re concerned about the privacy aspect, all of this is done in real-time (no logs) and isn’t tied to a specific user account. They simply compress the data as it flows through their VPN servers.

The only noticeable feature missing is the ‘Torrent Mode’ which is only in the desktop app. Of course if you do like to download torrents on your Android device, you can simply choose a p2p-friendly server location (like the Netherlands). If Flud is your preferred torrent app, we’ve got a complete setup guide.

Here are some screenshots of the mobile interface:

iOS

Cyberghost iOS app screenshots

Android

Currently, you don’t get a choice of VPN protocol on the mobile apps, they both use the OpenVPN protocol (which we prefer anyway). In our testing, connecting to a server was quite fast, and speeds were excellent (especially over wifi).

Features: A closer look

In this section, I’ll talk more about how to use some of the key features of the Cyberghost app. If the software section had enough detail for you,  can skip ahead to the privacy section of this review if you like. Or better yet, start your 7-day free trial of Cyberghost.

Streaming/Geo-Unblocking

In my opinion, this feature is the #1 selling point of Cyberghost (if I have to choose). It works flawlessly, and is compatible with dozens of the most popular streaming services.

What it does: If you’re living in (or travelling to) a region that has a limited content library for certain streaming services, you can use this feature to unblock better content libraries. It even works on in-flight wifi, where GoGo likes to block access to Netflix and Youtube.

You’ll still need a subscription to access paid services, but you won’t get the dreaded ‘proxy detected’ error, and you’ll be able to watch all your favorite shows from anywhere in the world.

Supported services: Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Comedy Central, CBS, Crunchyroll, ESPN, EuroSport, Fox, Fox Sports, Globo TV,  Hulu, ITV, MTV, Pandora, Sky, Sky Sports, Spotify

And there’s even an option to add your own streaming service simply by the URL of the website. For example, we tried adding HBOGo and it worked perfectly.

Kill-Switch

A Kill switch is a security feature that prevents your real IP address from leaking to websites or apps in case the VPN disconnects. Cyberghost uses an app-level kill switch instead of a Network kill switch. What this means is that you can choose specific apps to close if the VPN disconnects.

You can add an unlimited number of apps to close, and they will shut down even if you manually disconnect from the VPN (not just accidentally).

In our testing, the Kill-Switch worked flawlessly (and quickly). Programs were instantly killed (though you may receive an error notice in an app like Chrome, because it has no idea WTF is happening).

Ad Blocking / Anti-Tracking

The Ad-blocker works beautifully in most circumstances. My favorite feature is that it doesn’t seem to trigger the ‘You seem to be using an adblocker’ warning that websites like to use. Perhaps this is because Cyberghost blocks ads at the server level instead of the browser level.

Just look at the before/after screen shot of speedtest.com when I turned on ad-blocking:

Website before using Cyberghost Adblock
Before Adblock
Website after using Cyberghost Adblock
After Adblock

I would definitely use Cyberghost’s ad-blocking technology in my day-to-day browsing.

The Anti-tracking technology is also a nice idea. Basically it disabled cookie and javascript-based tracking technologies in your browser. The user experience with this isn’t quite as flawless as the ad-blocking however. For example, when visiting a site that had a ‘do you accept cookies’ gateway page, we couldn’t browse the website at all until we disabled the anti-tracking option in order to accept the cookies. In practice, you’re probably better off using a browser extension like privacy badger.

Other Features:

  • Anti-Malware: This forces the software to use Cyberghost’s zero-log DNS servers. Without logging your web history, they can scan DNS requests in realtime and match it against a list of known malware domains. There is also malicious script detection at the server level. In practice, this about as useful as a quality antivirus’s browser extension (pretty good).
  • HTTPS Redirect: Forces your browser to always redirect to the https version of a website (when it exists). There are browser extensions (like privacy badger) that do the same thing, but it’s a nice feature.
  • Data Compression: The server prefetches and compresses images on websites you’re browsing. This saves you bandwidth and delivers images that are (almost) identical in terms of how they appear on your screen.
  • Extra Speed: Uses ‘paid subscriber only’ servers and won’t connect to servers used by free-trial subscribers. Basically these servers are less crowded and should be faster. Always keep it enabled.

Security, Privacy & Logging Policy

Security FeatureCyberghost has:
VPN ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec
Encryption Strength256-bit AES
Kill-SwitchYes. App-level
Logging PolicyNo logs whatsoever
IP Leak protectionYes: Kill Switch, IPv6, DNS Leak protection
Private DNS ServersYes
Other Security FeaturesAnti-Malware, Anti-Tracking, Force Https

Cyberghost hits all the high notes when it comes to the features you want to see in a VPN provider. They use strong (256-bit) encryption, industry-standard encryption algorithms, and have IP-leak protection to protect against OS and browser flaws.

Security

  • VPN Protocols: You can choose OpenVPN, IKEv2 or L2TP as your preferred VPN protocol (desktop client and manual connections). Of the three, OpenVPN and IKEv2 are the most secure.
  • Encryption: Cyberghost uses 256-bit AES encryption. This is the industry standard.
  • Handshake Authentication: Cyberghost uses 2048-bit keys to encrypt the initial handshake (start of the VPN connection). This is where your actual encryption key is exchanged between your device and the server.
  • Authentication: SHA-256 (industry standard). This is to verify that no 3rd-party has injected a packet into your traffic that didn’t come from the VPN. Injected packets will be dropped.

Leak Protection

Unfortunately, there are structural flaws in the way that Operating Systems and Web Browsers handle network traffic. This can cause your real IP address to leak in certain circumstances. So many VPN providers (including Cyberghost) have start building special technology into their service to prevent these leaks.

DNS Leak Protection: Cyberghost uses their own DNS servers, so your DNS requests (domain name lookups) won’t get routed to your internet provider (ISP).

IPv6 Leak Protection: Cyberghost blocks all IPv6 connections outside the VPN tunnel.

Learn more about the 3 types of VPN leaks and how to prevent them in our IP Leak Guide.

Logging Policy

Cyberghost is a true ‘Zero-Log’ VPN. They don’t record any web browsing or VPN usage history. They also don’t keep the most common type of VPN logs, which are connection logs. 

Connection logs typically record metadata about your account history like:

  • incoming IP address
  • outgoing IP
  • Timestamp of connection start/end
  • Amount of data transferred (in KB)

Cyberghost does not keep connection logs. This has been confirmed to me in writing by their support team.

This is also stated clearly in their privacy policy:

Cyberghost privacy policy regarding VPN logs and IP addresses

Key Points:

  • Cyberghost does not log your browsing history, search preferences or data content
  • They do not log your IP address or DNS queries
  • They do not record the websites you visit or files you download

It’s important to understand the distinction between logging (writing data) and filtering. For example, because all good VPNs (including Cyberghost) use their own DNS servers, they will be performing DNS requests for you in realtime. They will fetch websites in realtime and perform all connections on your behalf. So in theory they could know what you’re doing, they just don’t log, store, or record that data.

Takeaway: Cyberghost appears to be a true ‘non-logging’ VPN service. We have no reason to believe otherwise, and they have an excellent reputation for privacy.

Speed Test

VPN speed is an incredibly factor when choosing a VPN. In fact, the slow speeds are the #1 complaint we hear about lower quality VPN providers.

In general, lower priced VPN providers tend to have slower speeds. NordVPN and ibVPN are classic examples. Cyberghost proved to be the exception to the rule, however, and we were quite impressed with their speeds.

Learn more about VPN Speeds: Our complete guide to VPN speed factors and fixes.

Methodology

All speed tests were performed on a hard wired (not wifi) connection with a theoretical maximum speed of 500 Mbps. The objective is to test the VPN under optimal circumstances, to see what they high end of performance will be. Real world results could be somewhat lower based on your location, connection type, and maximum connection speed. 

Important note: Further away servers are almost always going to be slower. We tested from a location in New York, NY so nearby (US) servers had the fastest results. If you live on another continent, you will get the fastest speeds on servers closer to you.

Results:

LocationPing (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
U.S. East Coast4195.17158.74
U.S. West Coast7145.81154.80
Canada1951.6669.34
United Kingdom9651.0663.63
P2P/Torrents (Netherlands)8039.09134.04
Austrailia22124.4713.62

4k Streaming Test

To get a better sense of real-world performance, we like to to a video streaming test. In each server location, we try to streak a 4k Youtube video at maximum resolution, and test whether it can play without buffering.

Result: Cyberghost scored perfectly on our test in every server location (including Australia!).

Often times, even fast VPN providers will stream 4k cleanly on US and European servers in our test and then stumble in Australia (and sometimes Asia). But Cyberghost crushed it, with a max resolution of 6k and over 36Mbps sustainable bandwidth on the Australian server:

Cyberghost passed our 4k streaming test on all servers
4k Streaming test (Australia)

Use-Cases (Is Cyberghost a good fit)?

You probably have a specific reason that you want a VPN. That’s why we analyze each VPN for the most common uses, to see how it matches up for that specific purpose. Check out the summary of our findings below, or dive deeper into each usage in the tabs below.

We break features in each category into

  1. Essential (the most important features)
  2. Nice to have (not deal-breakers, but useful)

Essential

  • 256-bit Encryption
  • App for Desktop & Mobile
  • DNS Leak Protection
  • Kill Switch

Nice to have

  • IPv6 Leak Protection
  • Ad Blocking
  • Malware Blocking
  • Block Trackers
  • No Logs

Analysis: Cyberghost literally has everything you could want for general security and private browsing. They have strong encryption (yet fast) encryption and high quality ip-leak protection (Kill Switch, private DNS servers and IPv6 protection). When you add in the ad-blocking and tracker-blocking capability, it really elevates Cyberghost to the next level. They stand out from the crowd for this use-case.

Verdict: Is Cyberghost good for general internet security? 

Yes. Cyberghost is an excellent choice for this use-case.

Essential

  • Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo, Amazon, BBC
  • Unblocks on Desktop & Mobile
  • Youtube, Spotify, Pandora, Twitch
  • Fast speeds/HD Video

Nice to have

  • ESPN, EuroSport, Fox Sports
  • Fire Stick/FireTV app
  • MLBtv/Sunday Ticket

Analysis: Cyberghost is able to unblock nearly all of the most popular geo-restricted streaming services. Furthermore, they can reliably unblock even the toughest anti-vpn services like Netflix and Hulu. On top of that, you can add your own additional streaming services to the unblock list, and it works flawlessly more often than not. Cyberghost’s unblocking technology is way more user-friendly than smartDNS and is just as good (or better) than NordVPN’s SmartPlayTM.

Verdict: Does Cyberghost work with Netflix & Hulu?

Yes. Cyberghost unblocks access to U.S. Netflix and Hulu catalogs.

Essential

  • Allows Torrents/p2p
  • No Logs.
  • p2p-friendly server locations
  • Kill Switch

Nice to have

  • p2p-optimized servers
  • Fast Speeds
  • Socks proxy included

Essential

  • Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo, Amazon, BBC
  • Unblocks on Desktop & Mobile
  • Youtube, Spotify, Pandora, Twitch

Nice to have

  • ESPN, EuroSport, Fox Sports
  • Fire Stick/FireTV app
  • MLBtv/Sunday Ticket

Price / Plans / Refund Policy

Cyberghost completely overhauled their pricing and now offers unlimited plans in 4 subscription lengths: 1 month, 1 year,2 years, and 3 years.

The pricing and available subscription lengths are extremely similar to NordVPN, and you can tell Cyberghost is trying to compete with them directly. The pricing is as follows:

  • 1 month: $11.99/mo
  • 1 years: $4.99/mo
  • 2 years: $3.79/mo
  • 3 year: $2.75/mo (Best Deal)

Cyberghost pricing

There are a couple things that stand out from this pricing:

  1. It’s an insanely good deal (if you go for one of the annual plans)
  2. They really want long-term customers.

In general, we recommend you avoid the month-to-month plan ($11.99) just because there is such a steep savings if you choose to subscribe for a year or longer. If you’re concerned about committing long-term when you haven’t tried the service yet, don’t fear; Cyberghost has one of the most generous refund policies in the industry.

30-day 100% refund policy

Cyberghost has an unconditional 30-day refund policy. That means you can get your money back for any reason, for any subscription length, as long as it’s your first purchase (from that account).

Only a few other VPN companies have a refund period that long: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Hidemyass (and 2 of those place additional restrictions).

How to claim your refund:

To request a full refund, all you have to do is contact support within 30 days of signup. You can contact them either via:

  1. Email support ([email protected])
  2. Live chat support on the website

Full details of the refund policy are published clearly in Cyberghost’s knowledgebase:

cyberghost refund policy
Cyberghost’s official refund policy (30 days)

In practical terms, this means you can Try Cyberghost for 30 days essentially risk-free. So…what are you waiting for?

Cyberghost compared to other Top VPNs

Purchasing a VPN is a choice. You’re choosing one provider over all the other options because you believe that this provider is the best-suited for your needs (for the price).

So we took a look at the top Cyberghost alternatives, and how Cyberghost measures up. Quite well don’t you think?

 CyberghostNordVPNIPVanishExpressVPN
1-month Price$11.99$11.95$10.00$12.95
Log PolicyNo logsNo logsNo logsSome Logs
Torrents allowedYesYesYesSort of
Unblock Netflix/HuluYesYesNoYes
SmartDNS Built in (unblock streaming sites)YesYesNoNo
Fire stick AppNoNoYesYes
Blocks: Tracking, Malware, Ads?YesNoNoNo
SpeedsFastAverageFastestFastest
Refund Policy30 days30 days7 days30 days
Best Offer$2.75/month$3.99/month$6.49/month$8.32/month
Visit ProviderTry itTry itTry itTry it

Analysis: Cyberghost is an excellent choice for most use-cases and when you factor in price, appears to be the best value of the bunch. This is especially true if your main uses will either be:

  1. General security & privacy
  2. Streaming/Unblocking/Netflix
  3. Torrents/P2P

In fact, the only real features Cyberghost lacks that some competitors have  is an Included SOCKS5 proxy (IPvanish & NordVPN). This feature is pretty much only used by BitTorrent users, and definitely is not necessary. Cyberghost VPN is an excellent torrent privacy solution.

Currently, Cyberghost doesn’t have a dedicated app for the FireTV platform either, so if you’re looking for a VPN for your Kodi setup (on a Fire device) you may want to consider IPvanish instead. However there are plenty of workarounds such as sideloading the App or installing Cyberghost on your router instead.

Cyberghost does also lag slightly in overall speeds compared to the absolute fastest VPNs (IPVanish, Torguard, and ExpressVPN). That said, those competitors cost a minimum of twice as much (when comparing the best available deal).

Verdict: Cyberghost offers an incredible number of features at a very competitive price (especially if you choose a long term contract).

Conclusion

Cyberghost has completely overhauled their service and they really impressed us. The apps are polished, the speeds are good, and the security is air tight. But it’s the little extras and privacy features (like ad-blocking and anti-tracking) that really put Cyberghost over the top, earning them an editor’s choice award (and top 3 ranking).

And then there’s the built-in SmartDNS technology that lets Cyberghost unblock Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video (in spite of those services’ VPN-blocking efforts).

It’s an impressive package at an impressive price. We think Cyberghost is an excellent choice for most VPN uses and users.

Cyberghost is a great choice for:

  • Streaming (Unblock Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and 30 other streaming services).
  • Bittorrent Users (no logging policy, torrent friendly)
  • Value Seekers (tons of features, low price)
  • General VPN use (Fast speeds, good security, ad-blocking, anti-tracking)
Things I Love about Cyberghost
  • Logging Policy: Cyberghost is a ‘Zero-Log’ VPN
  • Unblock Streaming: Most VPNs are blocked by major streaming services like Netflix. Cyberghost works perfectly.
  • Speed: 100Mbps on U.S. servers up to 50-70mbps on international servers is excellent.
  • Price: The one month price is a fair value, but the 3-years for $2.75/month is a screaming deal.
  • Torrent Friendly: Torrents are allowed, and you won’t be throttled or banned for torrenting
  • Security: Effective kill switch, zero DNS leaks, and Anti-tracking technology are a winning combo.
Possible Concerns
  • UI make take some getting use to
  • Speeds are good but vary between servers
  • Torrenting only allowed in specific locations
  • No SOCKS proxy included

Note: These are all quite minor complaints.

Our Verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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