CyberGhost enjoys a high level of popularity as a free service, but does this Romanian VPN translate well into a paid VPN service? In this review, I take an in-depth look at CyberGhost and how it stacks up compared to some of the competition. Keep scrolling to read more!
- Free tier available
- No logs kept
- Perfect forward secrecy in place
- Five simultaneous connections
- Transparency report available
- Bitcoin payment accepted
- Premium plan only usable on one device
- Some speed concerns with certain VPN servers
Pricing and Plans
CyberGhost offers three plans for users to choose from: Free, Premium and Premium Plus. CyberGhost’s Free service is understandably the most popular tier, but is also fairly limited for a VPN service. CyberGhost Free users will have to queue to connect, only have certain servers available, and limited advertisements during a session.
CyberGhost Premium removes the waiting times, restrictions, and ads, although subscribers are still limited to one device. Premium Plus is CyberGhost’s elite plan, giving you premium features as well as simultaneous connections on up to five devices.
CyberGhost’s pricing is pretty standard for a VPN, with the usual savings available if you subscribe annually. The Premium plan for just $5.83 (billed annually) offers good value, even if I would like to see more than one simultaneous connection supported.
If you do subscribe to one of CyberGhost’s premium plans, keep in mind there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied.
Acceptable payment types include all major credit cards, PayPal, and bitcoin. CyberGhost’s checkout process emphasizes subscriber anonymity, and you only need an email address to sign up.
CyberGhost Video Review
Check out the recent BestVPN.com CyberGhost video review!
CyberGhost is based in Romania, which is a great news if you value privacy. Romania is exempt from any silly data retention laws of the EU or groups like Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes, with the Romanian Constitutional Court revoking the data retention law in 2014. This same court also nullified the Romanian Law on Cyber Security, which effectively ends the collection of data by intelligence and law enforcement groups.
CyberGhost has an impressive 830 VPN servers across 29 countries. I was happy to see some rare locations like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Israel available. There are also a whopping 136 servers in the US, making CyberGhost a great option if you are looking to unblock US streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.
Looking to share CyberGhost across multiple devices? Free and Premium subscribers can access CyberGhost’s service with one device, while Premium Plus subscribers get up to five simultaneous connections.
Security and Privacy
CyberGhost connects using the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption by default. Additional connection settings include using automatic data compression and HTTPS redirect.
Romania is a great place for a VPN thanks to the absence of data retention laws. This is very different to countries like the US or UK, where your data (even when connected to a VPN) is never completely safe, as VPN providers are required to log data by law!
CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption with a 2048-bit RSA key and MD5 for HMAC authentication. These encryption standards are mostly satisfactory, but I was also pleased to learn that CyberGhost is planning on upgrading to SHA-2 authentication.
I’m also pleased that CyberGhost uses perfect forward secrecy to further increase security. A random secret key is generated for each session, making it much harder to compromise a VPN connection.
CyberGhost also claims to keep zero usage and connection logs. This zero logs policy is especially welcome when considering that most VPNs keep some logs and information on users.
Looking to increase your safety and privacy when torrenting? Downloading torrent files is allowed on CyberGhost, with particular servers specifically set up to handle the massive load of P2P traffic. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any US P2P servers available at the time of writing.
It is worth mentioning that CyberGhost did make some headlines here at BestVPN.com over a dubious root certificate. CyberGhost have since assured us that this problem isn’t relevant anymore and should only affect outdated versions of the CyberGhost client.
Additionally, CyberGhost’s free Android app was included in a negative report on free VPN apps that was recently covered on BestVPN.com.
One of the first things that stood out to me with CyberGhost was the user-friendly and informative website. New users can easily view the features of CyberGhost VPN. All in all, the site is flawlessly put together to provide the smoothest experience possible.
Once you sign up, the CyberGhost account page is easy to manage, with Premium Plus users easily able to control each device. Premium users can also access CyberGhost’s ticket support system to get specialized assistance.
CyberGhost also keeps a blog that it updates regularly with helpful industry news and tips. A well-kept blog is a feature that tends to be forgotten by other VPN providers.
Another nice touch by CyberGhost is the transparency page, which is available to the public. This page shares details on how many DMCA requests and law enforcement notices CyberGhost received in the previous calendar year. There is also a country-by-country breakdown of government requests and malicious activity on CyberGhost servers.
CyberGhost Free users have live chat and a feedback form (available from within the Windows client), while premium users also have a ticket system. There is also a fairly large knowledge base available, which answers some basic questions.
As part of this CyberGhost review, I submitted some basic questions regarding the CyberGhost client via live chat. I was very happy with the quick and efficient response I received from Costa, a CyberGhost support specialist. Costa was even kind enough to send me a follow-up email with even more information a few days later! Hats off to CyberGhost support.
If you need help or want another way to stay in touch with CyberGhost, there are also profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.
Once you sign up for CyberGhost, you simply go to your account management page to download and install the client for your specific platform (Windows client is 15.9 MB).
Once installed, log in with your CyberGhost username and password in the top right corner. Choose a server based on your need and click Connect to start using CyberGhost VPN!
The CyberGhost Windows VPN Client
As part of this review, I was able to test the CyberGhost Windows client to get a better idea of the VPN. I was happy to see specific profiles (such as streaming and torrenting), as well as the ability to browse the complete CyberGhost server list.
The Windows client also includes an automatic internet kill switch, and offers complete DNS and IP leak prevention. While some VPNs claim to prevent these leaks, I tested CyberGhost for any leaks myself and didn’t run into any issues.
All things considered, I was highly satisfied with the CyberGhost Windows client. The feel of the client is very smooth, and the server browser is an excellent and quick way to find the fastest VPN servers.
CyberGhost Speed and Performance
While OpenVPN is the recommended VPN protocol regarding security, there is always going to be a slight dropoff in speed as well. Taking this into consideration, CyberGhost performed very well on my speed tests!
The graphs show the highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.
As you can see, there is some drop-off in speed when connected to CyberGhost VPN, although some of this is due to the OpenVPN protocol. That being said, my overall speed test results were solid, and I didn’t run into any other connection issues when using CyberGhost.
I must stress that my US speed test results were quite impressive, which is great news for those looking to stream US Netflix and other services.
CyberGhost VPN is available on various different devices and platforms, with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android clients. Linux, Raspberry Pi, and Chrome OS support is also in place, but these do require a manual configuration to get started.
You can also set up CyberGhost VPN on a home router (such as Tomato or DD-WRT), which can cover your entire household and all devices connected to the router.
If you are into cord cutting and use OpenELEC (also called Kodi or XBMC), CyberGhost offers tutorials on how to get the VPN working with OpenELEC.
CyberGhost Review: Conclusion
- Free service
- Use of perfect forward secrecy
- Bitcoin accepted
- Zero logging policy
- Solid speeds
I wasn’t so sure about:
- Premium accounts only get one simultaneous connection
- No US P2P servers
While CyberGhost has made a name for itself with a solid free VPN service, the paid plans are also a great option if you are looking to take the next step with a VPN.
Of course, security and privacy are the most important factors when choosing a VPN, and CyberGhost passes with flying colors. Being based in Romania, zero logging, and solid encryption all make CyberGhost a great VPN to secure your online activity.
Want to try CyberGhost for yourself? Check out CyberGhost’s free or premium plans using the link below!