CyberGhost is a popular VPN provider that is refocusing In this review, I take an in-depth look at CyberGhost Pro and how it stacks up compared to some of the competition. Keep scrolling to read more!
- No usage logs kept
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Five simultaneous connections
- Transparency report available
- Some connection logs
- HMAC MD5 authentication is weak
Pricing and Plans
CyberGhost Pro costs $10.49 per month, but this drops dramatically if you pay if you pay for the service in bi-annual or 24 month blocks.
CyberGhost offers a very generous 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied with the service.
Acceptable payment types include all major credit/debit cards, PayPal, and bitcoin.
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 of silly data retention laws enforced by many other EU countries, and from the kind mass-surveillance operations carried out by Five Eyes and Fourteen Eyes countries.
Indeed, the Romanian Constitutional Court revoked local implementation of the (now defunct) EU Data Detention Directive as far back as 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 27 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.
Looking to share CyberGhost across multiple devices? Premium Plus subscribers get up to five simultaneous connections.
Security and Privacy
CyberGhost describes itself as using “military-grade encryption”, which refers to the fact that it uses an AES-256 cipher. Additional connection settings include using automatic data compression and HTTPS redirect.
Romania is a great place for a VPN to be based, thanks to the absence of data retention laws. This is very different to countries like the US and UK, where your data (even when connected to a VPN) is never completely safe.
CyberGhost uses a 256-bit AES cipher with a 2048-bit RSA key and HMAC MD5 for hash authentication. These encryption standards are mostly satisfactory, although use of HMAC MD5 for hash authentication is surprising. CyberGhost argues that is is not weakness here, but the recent OSTIF OpenVPN audit recommendes using HMAC SHA-2 instead of HMAC SHA-1… and HMAC SHA-1 is stronger than HMAC MD5…
It is therefore good to hear that CyberGhost is planning on upgrading to SHA-2 authentication.
I’m pleased to note 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 logs, although some connection logs are kept. These do, however, appear to be fairly minimal:
“CyberGhost VPN records exclusively for statistical purposes non-personal data (such as for example, data regarding the utilization degree of the servers), which do not represent in any moment a danger for your anonymity.”
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 Pro can access customer support via either Live Chat or ticketd email 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.
Simply enter your email and payment details to get started with CyberGhost Pro. If you are looking for an anonymous experience, I would recommend using an anonymous or encrypted email service such as Protonmail or Tutanota. Paying using Bitcoin allows you hide your name and address, etc., from CyberGhost. As always with VPNs, however, lease be aware that CyberGhost will still know your real IP address.
Once you sign up for CyberGhost Pro, you simply go to your account management page to download and install the client for your specific platform.
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. For some reason, CyberGhost is very proud of the fact that its software is German-made. 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.
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.
Using any VPN will protect your data when connected to a public WiFi hotspot. This feature however, will ask whether you wish to enable the VPN whenever your device connects to a new network, which I can see as being handy.
Unblock Streaming and basic websites
Rather than connecting to a specific country, you can instead select which streaming you would like to unblock. CyberGhost will then automatically connect you to a server in the correct country, and open the service in your browser.
Unfortunately, services that block VPN users may still be blocked. France’s Canal+, for example, did not work for me, although BBC iPlayer did. It is worth mentioning that US Netflix is not listed here, and does not work when connected to a US server.
The CyberGhost client offers a similar feature for commonly-blocked “basic” websites such as Google, Facebook, and Wikileaks.
CyberGhost offers an interesting feature called app section. A VPN usually protects your entire internet connection, but App Protection allows you to specify that only certain apps are protected by the VPN. It also allows you to choose which “Connection Profile” is used.
CyberGhost Speed and Performance
All tests were performed on my Virgin Media UK 80 Mbps/5 Mbps fiber connection, using the OpenVPN UDP protocol.
The graphs show the highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.
The local results are very impressive, and the transatlantic ones are decent.
Given that I was connected to a UK server at the time, the UK DNS address is a little strange. It does not belong to my ISP, however, and so is not an IP leak.
CyberGhost Pro 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
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Bitcoin accepted
- No usage logs
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Excellent speeds (especially local ones)
- Kill switch
- DNS leak protection
- Based in Romania
- “App protection” feature
- “Protect WiFi” feature
- P2P allowed (on selected servers)
I wasn’t so sure about:
- Some connection logs
- HMAC MD5 Authentication is weak (whatever CyberGhost says)
- “Unblock Streaming” feature does not always work
- Not much
For most VPN needs, CyberGhost Pro offers a very persuasive package. The software is very polished, is easy to use, and incorporates unusual features that could genuinely be useful. “Basics” such as DNS leak protection and a kill switch are also fully accounted for. The truly paranoid might legitimately worry about the HMAC MD5 hash authentication and the fairly minimal connection logs, but this is to a large extent offset by the fact that CyberGhost is based in NSA/GCHQ-free Romania.
For the the vast majority of VPN users, CyberGhost provides a fast service that is more than private enough. Per-month pricing is a little on the high side, but if you buy time in bulk, it becomes very reasonable. Given that CyberGhost now offers a 30-day money back guarantee, there is little reason not try the service out.