CyberGhost VPN Review

May 25, 2018

8:00 am

Rating

72%
  • Ease of Use:5 stars
  • Features:3 stars
  • Privacy:5 stars
  • Speed:2 stars
  • Help & Support:4 stars
  • Value for Money:4 stars
Pros
  • Clearly-explained settings
  • Lots of advanced features
  • Strong online help and support
  • Good value

 

Cons
  • Not very speedy
  • Makes some odd server choices

 

User-friendly, but some speed loss

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CyberGhost is all about the user, making it a brilliant VPN for first-timers. It takes a slightly different approach than most VPNs, focusing more on what you want to do with your VPN, rather than where you want to connect.

Like all VPNs it sets up an encrypted virtual network link between your computer, phone or tablet and the company’s VPN server, connecting you to the internet through that. This prevents others from snooping on your data if, say, you’re connecting from an unsecured public WiFi network in a coffee shop, and it also hides your location and identity.

For the websites and services you connect to, you look like an anonymous user based in the same city as the VPN server itself.

CyberGhost has apps for MacOS and Windows PCs plus Android and iOS devices. You can install it on as many as you want, though only five devices can be connected at any one time.

Why use CyberGhost?

CyberGhost understands that not everyone uses a VPN for the same reason, so the app is based around different usage modes.

Pick the right mode, and you’re automatically taken to the best VPN server for your needs. It takes all the hassle out of the process and makes sure it works first time.

There are plenty of reasons why you might choose to use a VPN, and the benefits of a VPN service shouldn’t be locked away to the technically confident only. That’s why it’s great to see CyberGhost focusing on usability first and foremost.

Getting started with CyberGhost

Signing up for CyberGhost is as simple as picking a payment plan, entering your email address and selecting a payment method. After this, you’ll receive an email with your account credentials and a link to download the Windows or MacOS apps (you can download the mobile versions from the relevant app stores).

Installation is easy, but it’s a bit confusing when you first sign in, as the app assumes you’re using a seven day free trial account. If you’ve already signed up you need to click the smaller Login link at the top of the window.

CyberGhost VPN Browsing Modes

Choose Your Own Mode

Beyond that, the app couldn’t be more intuitive: just pick what you want to do then let CyberGhost do the hard work.

Surf Anonymously protects your identity and location while you’re browsing.

Unblock Streaming is used to access streaming services that only work in certain countries, even when you aren’t connecting from those countries.

Protect Network protects your PC or network from snoopers, giving extra privacy and security peace of mind.

Torrent Anonymously is designed to hide file-sharing activities – which can commonly be used for illegal purposes.

Unblock Basic Websites is good countries where many common websites are censored or forbidden.

Choose My Server allows you to configure the VPN yourself – this mode is best for more advanced users.

CyberGhost: The Good

There’s a lot to like about CyberGhost, and in terms of simplicity and layout, it’s one of our favourite VPNs we’ve tested.

User Friendly

The simple, user-friendly approach works brilliantly. By splitting the main choices for how you use the service into “Modes” (see more in Getting Started with CyberGhost), the software makes things effortless even for first-timers.

CyberGhost VPN Extra Features

Extra Touches

CyberGhost goes even further than just connecting the VPN. It’s full of neat extra touches to make things effortless for the user.

For example, it automatically launches your browser in Incognito mode if you’re using Surf Anonymously, or automatically launches the Netflix website if you’ve asked it to unlock US Netflix under Unlock Streaming mode.

The Netflix unblocking features work exactly as promised – something we don’t take for granted with other VPNs.

Security and Privacy Boosts

Ad-blocking, tracker blocking and malicious website-blocking features are built-in, covering your tracks and holding off online ads and malware risks.

What’s more, CyberGhost doesn’t leak any identifying information – not all VPNs are so squeaky clean.

Advanced Features

CyberGhost has some more advanced features if you need them. You can ask it to use CyberGhost’s own DNS servers, for example, to make sure that your normal ISP’s DNS servers don’t give the game away.

You can also set default actions for when you connect to an unknown WiFi network, to make sure you’re protected.

You can also enable data compression, which compresses images and videos so that websites load faster when you’re on a slow connection.

Good Support

The Help and Support options is good, with loads of useful guides and walkthroughs on the website to help you make the most of your VPN. You can also contact support via email or live chat.

CyberGhost: The Not-So-Good

So, is everything perfect with CyberGhost? Not quite. Though this is still one of the best VPNs we’ve tested, there’s room for improvement.

Speed Dip

The main problem is that connection speeds take a bit of a hammering when you use CyberGhost’s VPN. In our tests, we found even connecting to a local VPN server can result in download speed losses of over 60%. That rises to over 70% if you choose an international VPN.

There’s still enough bandwidth for HD video or music streaming, but if you need a really fast VPN, look elsewhere.

Server Oddities

Though this is a minor complaint (and easily rectified by changing server settings), we found that sometimes it makes really odd choices, connecting you to a slow Las Vegas server rather than the fast New York based-server it found last time around.

CyberGhost prices

As with most VPNs, you pay through the nose if you pay monthly, with the service costing $12 a month.

Pay annually or – better still, every two years – and the costs drop considerably. At $71.88 for one year or $84 for two years, you’re looking at a monthly cost of $6 or $3.50. That’s good value for a solid VPN.

The Verdict

It may not be the fastest VPN, but we like CyberGhost. It’s smart, well-designed and secure, and the company has a strict no logging policy that means what you do online stays between you and the proverbial gatepost. Throw in the equally slick mobile apps, plus some brilliantly simple usage modes, and you have one of the best VPNs around.

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Stuart Andrews has been writing about IT and consumer technology for over twenty years, working across many of the UK's biggest specialist titles. While specializing in PCs and related technology, software and cloud-based services, he also writes about IT in education, video games and internet security

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