CyberGhost 2021 Review
Reviews score: The Best
CyberGhost offers the entire package: High speeds, excellent privacy, and a fair price. On top of that, it comes with a range of advanced features that allow you to block ads, malicious sites and trackers. it’s a really great VPN.
- Very fast: CyberGhost is one of the fastest VPN on the market.
- Highly secure: It uses all the top features (OpenVPN, AES-256, kill switch and more) to keep you safe.
- No Logs: CyberGhost does not collect any data on its users, and releases a transparency review every quarter.
- Servers in 92 countries: With more than 9.000 VPN servers across 92 countries, nearly everyone should be able to find a fast option close by.
- Works with Torrents (P2P): CyberGhost has dedicated high-speed servers for torrenting (P2P)
- Works on all devices: CyberGhost has easy-to-use, yet advanced, apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux and more.
- 7 Devices: With a single subscription, you can install CyberGhost on up to 7 devices.
- Not a good option for high censored countries: Don’t use it if you’re living in China, Turkey or the UAE.
- Best deal: $ 2.25 / month
- Refund Policy: 45 days
- Customer Support: 24/7 Live chat
- Devices per account: 7
- Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux
- Works with US Netflix: Yes
- Works with Torrents: Yes
- Works in China: No
- Speed: 93 Mbps
- Servers in: 92 countries
- Server count: 9.000+
- IP Addresses: Unknown
- Jurisdiction: Romania
- Data leaks: None
- Logging policy: No logs
Privacy and Security
The Good: CyberGhost does everything right when it comes to privacy. The use the most reliable protocol (OpenVPN) and the highest encryption standard (AES-256). On top of that, it doesn’t leak any data, features a kill switch, and releases a quarterly transparency report.
The Bad: CyberGhost is incorporated in Romania, and thus within the reach of the EU’s data retention laws. However, as it doesn’t store any logs, you are still safe.
What privacy and security elements do we test for?
- Logging Policy
- Own DNS Servers
- Kill Switch Test
- Leak Test
1. Logging Policy
What does “logging policy” mean and why is it significant?
Ideally, a provider of VPN shouldn’t store any information about your own online activity. Unfortunately, the internet is far from a perfect place. VPN providers definitely store information about your online activity and this is referred to as “logs.”
This is, however, not about surveillance. Your VPN provider constantly needs to optimize its service and this requires data collection. So, in a way, your VPN provider logs information about you and your activity in order to ensure the best server performance. The collected data amount, though, varies from provider to provider.
Your VPN provider may collect and store 4 types of information about you. These are listed in order from the most harmless to the most harmful:
- VPN service data: Your VPN server, your OS, and the version of the app that you are using.
- Connection data: Times and dates of your logins and logouts, the amount of time that the service is used for, and the amount of data you download and upload.
- Original IP address: Your device’s IP address. Your location can be determined more or less accurately using this information.
- Online activity: Your searches, the pages and sites that you visit, the services that you use. This is essentially your browsing history.
As you can see, the VPN service data and the connection data information are fairly harmless. In fact, even when this data is collected, it is done so anonymously, compiling the user information together. This can help your VPN provider tremendously by allowing it to optimize and improve the service. The users remain anonymous and the service grows.
The first two info types are pretty much harmless, especially if collected anonymously, where info from all users is stockpiled in one spot. In this way, the provider of VPN can obtain hugely important data, plus the users get to keep their privacy. Many VPN providers collect this data.
When it comes to the third type of information, it isn’t necessarily a huge offense. Nonetheless, most people don’t like it when a VPN service collects their IP addresses and, therefore, potentially their locations. The goal of a VPN service is to help you remain anonymous on the web. They shouldn’t really want your location.
Now, the fourth and final point is somewhat controversial. Online activity monitoring is not something a VPN service should do. This is generally considered a red flag.
No VPN providers recommended here collect this kind of information. Some free VPN services, however, do. If you’re wondering why, the answer is because they sell the data to collectors of data. This is the main reason why free VPNs aren’t recommended, in general.
What is CyberGhost’s logging policy like?
CyberGhost collects some statistical data which is deletes again after specific time intervals, as stated its logging policy:
“CyberGhost VPN records the log-in of an anonymous account for statistical purposes. We do this once a day (all other log-ins will be ignored) and sum up each daily log-in for one month. The daily log-in data will be deleted after 24 hours, the monthly sum at the end of each month.”
CyberGhost does not log your IP address, your online behavior, the servers you use, the times you log-in or out, or any other personally identifiable behavior.
On of that, CyberGhost releases a quarterly transparency report in which they are open about any incoming legal requests.
What does jurisdiction mean and why is it significant?
A VPN jurisdiction is essentially the home country of a VPN service – country or state where it’s incorporated. Every registered company needs to abide by the regulations dictated by its local and state governments, so this is an important factor here.
Australia, the USA, and most EU member countries boast strict and sturdy data retention laws. The point of these laws and regulations is to obligate the internet service providers or ISPs to store and gather their users’ data. This data includes things such as websites visited, emails sent, etc.
A VPN service encrypts the data you send using an ISP network. This means that a VPN provider can’t collect and gain access to any information about you. This makes for an essential reason people resort to VPNs – the ability to avoid mass surveillance.
People think VPN providers have to collect and store user data under laws that pertain to data retention. This is a myth, as a VPN service isn’t a public network provider (ISP is, for instance), but is considered a private network provider. This means that ISP and VPN services don’t have to abide by identical rules. So, no, a VPN provider isn’t obligated to collect your data.
That being said, governments around the world aren’t some amateur institutions; they are profoundly sophisticated and they’ll almost always find ways to gather the information they want. In the US, for instance, government agencies can resort to issuing secret subpoenas like the National Security Letter which allows them to get access to or seize entire VPN servers and data logs.
If you’re thinking about conspiracy theories, make no mistake, these things happen. In 2013, for example, Lavabit (an encrypted mail service) had to completely close or give Edward Snowden to the National Security Agency (NSA). Similarly, back in 2016, the provider called Private Internet Access had to close all its Russian-based servers or accept and obey particular rules regarding data logging. These are the prime examples of governments trying to forcefully obtain data from VPN and encryption providers.
Users sensitive to their privacies can do a couple of things to avoid these problems:
- Find a VPN service from a country/state that doesn’t have data retention laws. It is also crucial that the country in question isn’t a part of the international intelligence treaty or a signee of the UKUSA In a nutshell, this means going off-shore. ExpressVPN is, for example, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, while NordVPN is based in Panama. Both of these providers are extremely popular.
- Find a VPN service that doesn’t store and keep track of your online activity and offers a zero-log policy. Online activity pertains to the visited websites, searches made, and services used. If your VPN provider doesn’t store this information, it can’t really offer it to anyone.
What is CyberGhost’s jurisdiction?
CyberGhost is incorporated in Romania, which although part of the EU, is a focal opponent of data retention on its internet users. On top of that, Romania is not part of any surveillance alliance such as the 5 eyes. And finally, as CyberGhost does not collect any data from its users, you can safely use their service.
What does protocol mean and why is it significant?
A set of rules that defines the way data is transmitted and formatted via a network (internet or local area network – LAN) is called a protocol. Several protocols exist and they vary in security and speed. OpenVPN is widely considered as the safest VPN protocol, more secure than L2TP, SSTP, PPTP, and IKEv2.
What protocols does CyberGhost use?
CyberGhost uses the most secure protocols available: IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), WireGuard, and PPTP.
What does encryption mean and why is it significant?
In literal terms, encryption is essentially translating readable data into coded “gibberish” of sorts. To encrypt a piece of data, an encryption key is used. This means that only those who key access can actually decipher the information.
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is considered the gold standard here. In the VPN world, there are two AES key length types: AES-128 and AES-256. The former is supposed to be pretty much unbreakable, while the latter is completely secure and safe.
What encryption standard does CyberGhost use?
CyberGhost uses the highest encryption standard on the market: AES-256.
5. Own DNS Servers
What do DNS servers mean and why are they significant?
The purpose of domain names like Facebook.com is just so that they are easier for us to remember. Every single website domain is actually a string of numbers (IP address).
A DNS-server is, essentially, the internet’s telephone operator. Its job is storing vast amounts of domain name numbers with respective IP addresses. This means that you, the user, can enter the name of the site that you want to visit. And a DNS server will translate it to the corresponding numbers, and send you to the proper IP address.
If a VPN uses its own DNS servers, the redirection process takes place in the same VPN-tunnel as your other online activities. No third-party or government / organisation can log or censor here.
Does CyberGhost use its own DNS servers?
Yes. CyberGhost runs its own DNS servers.
6. Kill Switch Test
What does a kill switch mean and why is it significant?
The kill switch is a feature that automatically stops your connection, in case your secure VPN goes down. This makes sure that your online activity stays hidden, should your VPN connection fail.
Does CyberGhost use a kill switch?
Yes, CyberGhost features a kill switch.
7. Leak Test
What does a leak mean and why is it significant?
A leak happens when your VPN provider fails to hide your data when your VPN connection is live and active.
Does CyberGhost leak your data?
No, CyberGhost does not leak any of your data.
The Good: CyberGhost is a very fast VPN with a wide range of excellent servers.
The Bad: –
What does a speed test mean and why is it significant?
The encryption provided by a VPN connection does come at a price. VPN certainly slows down your internet speed.
This influences the general browsing and downloading speeds, the stream quality of your streaming services, etc.
Of course, you can do something about it:
- Always choose a fast VPN. Speed rates vary from provider to provider. Tunnelbear, for instance, is very slow, while Hotspot Shield barely impacts your speed.
- Choose a nearby VPN location. Almost every VPN server offers you a number of server locations to choose from. Naturally, the closer this location is to your real location, the smaller the latency is going to be.
- Do a server test. In fact, do a few of them. Although your VPN provider will probably automatically choose a server for you, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the best choice. Give a few servers a run. Do a couple of speed tests, and then select the perfect server.
How did CyberGhost score in the speed test?
We were testing from Europe on a base of connection of 90 – 100 Mbps.
When selecting a server close by, CyberGhost has excellent speed and is among the fastest VPN.
In our tests, the download speed with CyberGhost inactive was 92mbps and it dropped to 84 when we logged in. Our original upload speed was 100mbps and then 92 after switching the app on. The ping without VPN was 4ms and 7ms with the app on.
The recorded speed drops and latency increase are more than OK for browsing and streaming, and maybe even online gaming. You shouldn’t have any problems with online speed when using CyberGhost.
To get the full picture, we also put CyberGhost through its paces on servers around the world.
We didn’t experience significant performance drops when logged into servers in the United States. The download speed went to 78mbps and the upload speed 72mbps.
Servers in Singapore and Australia performed far worse however, at 27 Mbps and 16 Mbps in download speed respectively. But this was to be expected, considering their distance to our location. In real use, few people will ever select a server on the other side of the world.
The Good: CyberGhost has servers in 92 countries, works on all major platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux and more), and has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. On top of that, it has dedicated servers for Netflix and BBC iPlayer, works with torrenting (except on its Australian servers), and allows you to install the app on up to 7 devices per subscription.
The Bad: CyberGhost should not be used in China, the UAE, Turkey or other high censorship countries.
What features do we test for?
- Server Locations
- Platform and Devices
- Number of Connections
- Streaming and Torrenting
- Bypassing Censorship
1. Server Locations
What does a server location mean and why is it significant?
A server location essentially means the physical location of your VPN’s server. The majority of VPN providers boast servers in many countries world-wide, around 30 being the average. Where some VPN providers allow you to choose a server on the level of a country, others do that on the level of a city (like Los Angeles or New York).
This is important as the data first needs to go from your device, all the way to the particular VPN server (in the selected location), and then to the internet. So, if you’re connected to an Australian server while browsing from France, this will doubtlessly slow things down. The more server locations there are, the better the VPN provider.
Where are CyberGhost’s servers located?
CyberGhost has servers in 92 countries and 112 cities. They feature a total of 9.000 VPN servers. The majority of their servers are in the US, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Canada.
2. Platforms and Devices
What do platforms and devices mean and why are they significant?
VPNs offer apps for operating software, devices, and browsers. These are called platforms. Most VPN providers have platform support for Mac OS, iOS, Windows, and Android, while some include Linux. However, some VPN providers feature direct installation onto your actual router, offering browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.
You should always check if the extensions work as a simple proxy server, an encrypted proxy server, or a complete VPN:
- A proxy server: Simply put, if the VPN browser extension functions as a proxy, your IP address will be masked. Therefore, the websites that you visit and the services that you use will see you as coming from your VPN server’s country. This can be used for gaining access to, for instance, Netflix. That being said, your data will not be encrypted and will, thus, be open to ISP collection and hackers.
- An encrypted proxy server: If the mentioned extension has encryption, it means that all data that you send through the browser will be fully encrypted. Yes, this means that the ISPs and hackers won’t be able to read it. Streaming apps like Spotify, however, will stay without encryption.
- In case your VPN extension has complete control over the VPN app, all of your online activity will be encrypted. Your address will be masked, meaning that you can seamlessly change your VPN settings without having to leave the browser that you use.
What platforms and devices does CyberGhost support?
CyberGhost supports all practically all platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick, Android TV, and routers.
On top of that, it has free browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Do keep in mind that these are proxies, meaning that they only protect the traffic going through your browser, not any other apps you have running.
3. Number of Connections
What do connections mean and why are they significant?
You can choose to protect multiple devices on your VPN encryption. This is called the number of connections and, for most people, three is more than enough. With three connections you can protect your phone, tablet, and computer, for instance. That being said, if you plan on sharing your VPN of choice with more people, you should choose a subscription that features more connections.
How many simultaneous connections does CyberGhost support?
You can install CyberGhost on up to 7 devices with a single subscription. Which is very generous.
4. Streaming and Torrenting
What do streaming and torrenting mean and why are they significant?
Certain services and apps are country-limited. For instance, American Netflix differs from versions available in other countries. With a VPN, you can gain access to American Netflix by simply using a VPN server located in the US. This is also useful for American people who happen to be abroad.
If you want to download torrents safely, using a VPN can go a long way in helping you. Given the fact that your VPN encrypts your connection, your ISP is unable to see what you’re doing. This is useful for avoiding punishment for utilizing P2P.
Does CyberGhost support streaming and torrenting?
CyberGhost has dedicated Netflix streaming servers which allow you to access US, UK, French and German Netflix content. It also has a range of servers dedicated to BBC iPlayer, which is less common.
Of course, Apple+, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Sky and many more all work on CyberGhost. In total, CyberGhost unlocks 35 streaming services.
Torrenting is allowed on all servers, except the Australian ones.
5. Bypassing Censorship
What does censorship mean and why is it significant?
With a VPN, you can avoid censorship. Bear in mind, however, that some VPN providers won’t work in certain countries. China features regulations that are very strict, so it is generally used as a test sample to see if a VPN provider can circumvent censorship.
Are you curious about online censorship? If you want to learn more about it, check out these resources:
- Open Media
- Access Now
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Internet Defence League
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- Freedom House
- Fight For The Future
Does CyberGhost bypass censorship successfully?
CyberGhost is not the best option for high censorship countries. It is unable to bypass the censors in China, Turkey, and the UAE. If you live there, ExpressVPN is (among others) a better choice.
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