CyberGhost VPN: Is this the VPN service you should pay for?

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Are you choosing CyberGhost VPN to unblock Netflix?

Can it protect you from data snooping?

Don’t you want to know the full set of features before paying?

Are you making a mistake by opting CyberGhost VPN or a wise decision to put your online insecurities to rest?

Hold on, don’t press that pay button just yet. First, read through to know if this VPN service actually fits your bill.

What’s a VPN?

A VPN, Virtual Private Network, is a tool that encrypts your IP address and data traffic on the internet.

As a result, your location and your online activity stays private from any onlookers.

Additionally, it helps you to consume land-locked digital content, like Netflix for a particular country.

Still scratching your head? Go through this guide to explore in-depth about everything VPN to get you started.

CyberGhost VPN

Founded in 2011, headquartered in Bucharest, Romania, CyberGhost is home to over 36 million users in search of online anonymity.

Romanian law doesn’t force CyberGhost to keep tabs on its users, which is ideal for any VPN provider and its users.

In 2006 and 2011, the Romanian Constitutional Court refused to invade customer privacy by implementing data retention policies for its citizens. This helps CyberGhost to practice a strict no-logs policy.

Additionally, Romania is not a member of the 5, 9, or 14 eyes surveillance alliance. So, intelligence agencies cannot direct CyberGhost to reveal its customer data–which they don’t store anyways.

At first glance, CyberGhost VPN appears to be a great choice for anyone hunting for a genuine VPN provider.

But let’s scratch the surface and see what’s beneath the cover.

Features

Number of Servers and their location.

CyberGhost boasts of having 6900+ servers worldwide, second only to Private Internet Access (35443+ servers!). The more the better–it doesn’t always go hand-in-hand for VPN servers.

What matters as well is the quality of the servers, security infrastructure, type of servers (physical or virtual), among other things.

Normally, dedicated physical servers are reliable in terms of privacy. But setting up physical servers in few countries (like Russia) can be tough for any VPN company because of the jurisdiction challenges.

Some countries do not have data protection laws in place.

And few attack the personal data of citizens with much indifference (read China). Having physical servers in those countries is hopeless for customer’s privacy for which they opt any VPN in the first place.

Virtual servers can cut the physical distance for data travel and can boost speeds.

A single physical server can act as a virtual server for many, but it can adversely affect the performance if the resources are overloaded.

A huge number of servers located worldwide matter only in case you use particular location-specific services that are otherwise blocked.

So, make a list of services to use, then search if CyberGhost VPN fits your criteria.

No-Spy Servers

Apart from the regular servers, you can opt for NoSpy servers if you’re willing to shell out some extra premium.

These servers, as mentioned by CyberGhost, are maintained by their own team to the fullest. Hence, no third party has access to them and are more secure.

They claim to offer greater speeds and bandwidth. Additionally, they don’t come under the jurisdiction of 5 or 14 eyes.

NoSpy servers also have some dedicated servers catering to torrenting needs ensuring speed and anonymity. And a kill switch that automatically terminates the connection if the encryption channel faces any disruptions.

VPN Protocols

These are the set of rules followed by a VPN to connect its users to the internet: different sets of rules for different needs.

CyberGhost has 4 protocols with them to offer:

1. OpenVPN

2. IKEv2

3. WireGuard

4. L2TP/IPSec

OpenVPN provides best-in-class security but is known to be difficult in setting up.

It supports all major desktop platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, and for mobile: Android and iOS. It can also be used on routers.

It’s open-source. Thus its code is available to public scrutiny.

It further gives options with OpenVPN TCP and OpenVPN UDP.

Simply put, OpenVPN TCP gives you higher security but slower transfer speeds, while the other one provides comparatively low security but higher speeds.

IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Version 2) is mainly useful for mobiles. Re-connection is fast and reliable if you are switching from WiFi to mobile data. As a result, connection drops are rare.

Its transfer speeds are among the best in all VPN protocols barring the PPTP, which has even faster connection speeds, but at the cost of encryption strength.

It works best for Windows, Mac, and iOS.

WireGuard is the new kid on the block. It’s open-source and great for Linux users. Fastest and easiest to set up but yet to be tested against deficiencies and security loopholes.

WireGuard is perceived to be the future best option for Linux users if it can stand the test of time and security audits coming its way.

L2TP/IPSec is difficult to configure, and slow connection speeds make this combination a bit dated.

And the fact that it gets easily blocked by firewalls doesn’t do it any more favors.

There are also rumors that this protocol is compromised by NSA (National Security Agency, USA).

Overall, CyberGhost has decent choices for various situations, and the protocol list doesn’t miss much on the options front.

Privacy

CyberGhost uses industry-standard military-grade Advanced Encryption System (AES) 256-bit encryption technology.

It offers one of the safest encryption at present.

To put things into an easier perspective: it would take millions of years for the fastest supercomputers on Earth to crack AES 256-bit encryption.

One should rest assured that their data is encrypted with one of the highest standards available in the current VPN market.

CyberGhost also publishes a transparency report.

These reports mention the number of times CyberGhost got DMCA complaints or police requests to disclose data related to a particular VPN IP.

But since CyberGhost practices a strict no-logs policy, those attempts usually end in beating the air.

Apart from this, the transparency report sheds light on the technical prowess of CyberGhost VPN.

It reveals the number of servers, average no. of connections, average bandwidth, etc., for the tech-savvy users.

They also put effort into avoiding misuse of their VPN service, as mentioned in their transparency report.

And RE: malicious activities, since most of the complaints specify the source of the attack, as well as the victim’s IP, we resorted to blocking access to the attacked IP, making further exploits impossible.

Cyberghost transparency report 2011-2020

Pricing

The monthly plan is the heaviest on the purse billing 12.99$ with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

The most affordable plan is for 39 months, setting you back by 87.75$, equating to just 2.25$ per month.

Besides the monthly plan, all other plans come with a 45-day money-back guarantee. But users buying subscriptions from the App Store or iTunes must follow respective refund policies.

Additionally, they have plans for 1 and 2 years costing 47.88$ and 83.76$, respectively.

CyberGhost VPN plans are flexible and present great options for their users. Pricing is also economic against other top-notch VPN providers like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, SurfShark, etc.

Brief Hands-On Testing

CyberGhost offers a 24-hour trial, packing all its paid features.

You can get it without a credit card. I subscribed to it and installed the app on my Windows 10 desktop.

The app was intuitive and easy to use.

One can choose their servers as per choice and hit connect to get rolling. There were dedicated servers for streaming, gaming, and torrenting.

One thing that concerns me every time I connect to a VPN is speed throttling, as VPNs are notoriously infamous for it.

But strong encryption and decryption do take an inevitable toll on data transfer speeds that no VPN provider could escape from completely.

I was hoping for minimum speed cutting, but I guess, CyberGhost disappointed me on this front. Here are some results found during my speed testing:

I tested pre-selected favorite servers: Germany, France, and the USA.

Servers located in France were the slowest, slicing more than 90% of the download and upload speeds. USA servers showed a similar trend.

Surprisingly, German servers were quite fast, chipping off only 25% of the download speed. However, they were not kind enough to the upload speeds, sweeping off 68% from it.

Streaming dedicated servers were capable of unblocking geo-restricted content such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, etc., with ease.

You can also set CyberGhost VPN to launch itself and connect automatically to any specific server upon starting any particular app.

It’s particularly useful for streaming and torrenting. As you don’t need to open CyberGhost every time, it will open and connect itself as preset by you.

With respect to torrenting, I received an average downloading speed of around 3 Mbps when downloading a file of size 3.7 GB.

CyberGhost also has a split-tunneling feature, which is useful if you want specific apps or websites to avoid VPN protocols and connect normally.

CyberGhost VPN

Verdict

That first impression did hold on to me till the end.

I would recommend CyberGhost VPN to anyone in search of a decent and user-friendly VPN to work with.

It can be used by all levels of users, from a technical novice to the tech-savvy type.

Dedicated servers for streaming and torrenting worked just fine, though I didn’t check the gaming performance.

CyberGhost VPN doesn’t leave much to desire except for speed throttling. But the speed factor depends on several things such as server load, distance from the server.

One server can be both good and bad for two different users situated at opposite corners of the globe.

Notably, I wasn’t able to find NoSpy servers in the UI. Maybe they are reserved only for the paid subscriptions and not for the trial users. 

Conclusively, I’ll give CyberGhost a thumbs-up for a simplistic user interface, useful features, and affordable pricing.

That being said, a bit more polished UI would be pleasing to the eye, and the speed choking is definitely a concern with an otherwise good VPN service.