CyberGhost VPN 2021 Review: 100% Safe but There's a Catch

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CyberGhost VPN Overview September 2021

Romanian-based CyberGhost is a popular and secure VPN, so I was curious to learn why it’s often ranked behind competitors like ExpressVPN — especially since it offers premium features at lower prices. In fact, it’s even more affordable now with the current discount.

To determine whether CyberGhost is truly worth your money, I conducted in-depth tests on its security, speed, and privacy claims. I also looked into whether its new owner, Kape Technologies, can be trusted. I even enlisted the help of my colleagues based in countries with strict internet censorship (like China), so I could find out how powerful CyberGhost really is.

In short, I’m impressed by CyberGhost’s excellent security, streaming, and torrenting features — and after extensive review, I’m satisfied that the Kape Technologies acquisition is nothing to worry about. Of course, there are some areas to improve. CyberGhost doesn’t work in China, and I was disappointed by the lack of consistency between its desktop and mobile apps. However, I’m confident that you won’t find a better VPN at such a low price.

You can see my full testing results below, or skip ahead and try CyberGhost for yourself using the 45-day money-back guarantee.

Try CyberGhost risk-free!

In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary

Try CyberGhost today!

CyberGhost Unblocks 35+ Streaming Platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and More)

CyberGhost is a good choice for streaming as it offers optimized servers that have been specially configured to unblock more than 35 streaming services. This includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Kodi, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, and even niche options like Crunchyroll and Yle.

Netflix Disney+ HBO Max Amazon Prime Video Hulu Kodi
BBC iPlayer Sling TV Crunchyroll Yle Fubo TV YouTube
Spotify Canal+ Peacock ESPN+ EuroSport Paramount+
ZDF Foxtel Crave Globo (including Sportv) Servus TV ORF
CBC C More ruutu MTV Comedy Central 7TV
Zarroo DE 6play RTL ARD Rai Play Digi Online
CBS FoX Europe1 Hotstar Stan France TV

Only ExpressVPN can unblock a wider range of streaming platforms (like DAZN). However, CyberGhost makes it much easier to find the best server for streaming within the app.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN's optimized servers that unblock streaming platforms like Netflix, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime
CyberGhost’s optimized servers makes it quick and easy to stream shows, movies, and live events

All you have to do is select a streaming service from the “For streaming” list and double-click to connect. Unlike many other VPNs, you don’t have to use trial and error in order to find a working server. This simplicity makes CyberGhost easy to navigate, even if you’re an absolute beginner when it comes to VPNs.

Watch Netflix and more with CyberGhost!

Netflix: Successfully Unblocked

My team and I easily connected to Netflix US, UK, Germany, France, and Japan with CyberGhost’s optimized servers. My streaming quality was Ultra HD every time. The app even offers servers optimized for streaming Netflix on Android TV and Amazon Fire Stick!

More impressively, you can use CyberGhost’s regular servers to watch Netflix from even more countries. My team and I successfully connected to local Netflix libraries in Canada, Greece, and Belgium with CyberGhost, although we failed to connect in some other locations including Australia, Poland, and the Netherlands.

I’d also heard that CyberGhost’s Netflix US (New York) server was slow, but was positively surprised to hit 28Mbps — 8Mbps faster than the regular New York server. This is enough to stream 4K content from Netflix with no issues. Of course, your own results will vary and depend on your distance to the server.

You can see an overview of the working optimized servers and the regular servers I could get working with Netflix below:

Country Optimized Netflix Server? Buffering/Lag
US Minimal
UK None
Japan Some
France None
Germany None
Italy None
Sweden None
Canada Regular Server Some
Greece Regular Server None
Belgium Regular Server Some
Brazil Regular Server Some
Poland Regular Server Some
I watched The Irishman in Ultra HD with CyberGhost’s optimized Netflix US server

Stream Netflix with CyberGhost!

Amazon Prime Video: Successfully Unblocked

I tested CyberGhost’s optimized server for Amazon Prime Video in the US, and I easily connected within seconds. I watched the TV show This is Us in Ultra HD quality with less than 5 seconds of load time.

I asked a colleague to check the optimized Amazon Prime UK server from Central Europe. They quickly connected and watched Clarkson’s Farm — with just 2 seconds of buffering and great image quality.

I watched This is US on Amazon Prime Video US from my physical location in the UK

Watch Amazon Prime with CyberGhost

Hulu: Successfully Unblocked

I didn’t have any issues connecting to Hulu on its optimized server in the US. My speed was fast enough to stream the movie Mission: Impossible – Fallout in Ultra HD quality. I didn’t notice any buffering or lag while watching the movie.

CyberGhost’s optimized server for Hulu ensured zero connection errors or streaming interruption

Watch Hulu with CyberGhost

Disney+: Successfully Unblocked

I connected to CyberGhost’s optimized Disney+ server in the US and started streaming the show The Mandalorian in Ultra HD quality. I didn’t experience any lag or buffering throughout the entire episode.

However, you can only use CyberGhost to watch the US and Italy libraries (plus via Hotstar India). Personally, I think this is fine as the US library has the most shows and movies, and the Italian server will offer better speeds to those further east. If you want to stream local Disney+ content from more countries, I suggest ExpressVPN since its global servers all work with Disney+.

I easily streamed Disney+ US in Ultra HD on CyberGhost’s optimized server in the US

Watch Disney+ with CyberGhost

Kodi: Successfully Unblocked

While CyberGhost doesn’t have any optimized Kodi servers, every server I tested works with Kodi. When I wanted to unblock location-restricted add-ons, I simply connected to a regular server. For instance, Popcornflix is a Kodi add-on that only works in the US and Canada.

I tested Popcornflix on 10 servers in the US, and I enjoyed the best speeds on the Washington and New York servers. Even from the UK, there seemed to be zero buffering of my content. The Android app was easy to set up on my Android TV and thanks to its lightweight design, I didn’t detect any noticeable slowdown.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN unblocking the movie A Long Way Down on the Kodi add-on Popcornflix
CyberGhost’s US servers let me stream in HD quality with no buffering

Unblock Kodi add-ons with CyberGhost

HBO Max: Successfully Unblocked

CyberGhost offers an optimized server for HBO Now, which unblocked HBO Max perfectly in my tests. It took less than 5 seconds to connect, after which I successfully streamed Game of Thrones with only 1–2 seconds of buffering.

I experienced very minimal buffering and zero lag when I streamed HBO Max with CyberGhost

Watch HBO Max with CyberGhost

BBC iPlayer: Successfully Unblocked

I’ve read reviews that mention CyberGhost doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer. However, I successfully unblocked it on my first attempt while connected to CyberGhost’s UK streaming server optimized for BBC iPlayer. Server speeds were great, taking less than 5 seconds to buffer Killing Eve in HD and the quality didn’t show any signs of deteriorating during the episode.

CyberGhost unblocked BBC iPlayer on the first attempt and streamed Killing Eve in high quality

Watch BBC iPlayer with CyberGhost

DAZN, ITV, Channel 4, and More: Blocked

While I couldn’t test CyberGhost with all streaming platforms, there were a few notable platforms where I couldn’t get it working at all. These include DAZN, ITV, Channel 4, Sky Go, and TF1 — if you need access to these, you can use ExpressVPN as an alternative.

Screenshot of live chat conversation confirming if CyberGhost works with DAZN and Sky TV.
CyberGhost’s live chat support confirmed it doesn’t work with DAZN or Sky TV.

I’ve seen conflicting reports online about CyberGhost’s ability to work with DAZN and Sky TV specifically. While I couldn’t get either to work, I reached out to CyberGhost’s customer support to get confirmation. The agent I spoke with verified that CyberGhost currently doesn’t support DAZN or Sky TV.


Is CyberGhost Fast? (Yes for Local and Optimized Servers)

I ran speed tests from my location in the UK, where my ISP provides me with a standard speed of only 41Mbps. CyberGhost offers good speeds but primarily with nearby servers. Unfortunately, my speeds slowed down as I connected to servers further and further away.

Even still, I was surprised by the slowdown when I connected to servers more than 9,000km away. My speed dropped by 70% on servers in Japan! Although the dramatic speed difference isn’t ideal, it’s also quite usual considering the long distance. It’s important to note that CyberGhost has one of the largest VPN server networks on the market while still maintaining consistently good speeds. This means there’s a very high chance that you’ll always have multiple server options near your location — no matter where in the world you are.

I was slightly disappointed to find that initial server connection times are generally slow. Even when connecting to the closest server with the fast WireGuard protocol, I had to wait over 11 seconds for it to connect. For comparison, ExpressVPN took just 6 seconds on average.

Speed Test Results

These tests were carried out on a PC running Windows 11. To test the speed impact with multiple simultaneous devices, I simply added additional devices such as phones, tablets, or smart TV devices such as the Fire Stick. I then connected to Ookla speed test and ran multiple tests for each location to determine an average. During these tests, I connected to multiple servers in the US, UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

To determine the various aspects of a server’s performance, I recorded a few key metrics.

  1. Download speed — The most important speed-related metric for overall usability — the higher the better!
  2. Ping (latency) — Ping measures the time it takes for a local command to reach the server and return an update back to you. You want this to be as low as possible, especially for activities like online gaming.
  3. Dropoff from base speed — All the speeds shown here only apply to me, so I’ve worked out the percentage difference between my base speed and the speed CyberGhost reached.

As is the case with most VPN services, I experienced the fastest speeds on servers close to my physical location.

CyberGhost review speed and distance graph
CyberGhost offers the fastest speeds on servers close to my physical location

Local Servers vs Distant Servers

CyberGhost offers a wide range of global servers to connect to. As you might expect, local servers offer significantly higher speeds and improved ping compared to more distant options. However, distant servers are far from unusable — they simply come with some trade-offs like higher ping and longer buffering while loading content.

The “Best Server” option connected me to the nearby London location, which is what I would normally choose manually. The difference in speed compared to my baseline was negligible and meant there was no noticeable difference with any of my online activities, from browsing to streaming content.

London — United Kingdom (116 km distance)
Download speed 40.25Mbps
% difference from base speed -2.73%

Although Brussels is more than twice as far from me as London, the speed fell by less than 2Mbps compared to the London location. Once again, there was no change in behavior compared to my disconnected speeds, besides the difference in available streaming libraries.

Brussels — Belgium (270 km distance)
Download speed 38.59Mbps
% difference from base speed -6.74%

In terms of more distant locations, I was most curious about New York. The US contains many of the world’s most popular streaming libraries, including for Netflix, HBO, and Disney+, and New York is one of the closest locations for Europeans. There was a 50% dropoff in speeds compared to my base speed, which wasn’t too noticeable while browsing but had an impact on loading times for media content.

New York — US (6671 km distance)
Download speed 20.54Mbps
% difference from base speed -50.36%

The Tokyo server is worth mentioning since I was surprised by just how much speeds dropped when connected to it. With an 82% drop from my base speeds, there was a noticeable impact on browsing and particularly video streaming. I was surprised by this, especially considering that the Australia server is an additional 7,000 km from me but almost twice as fast.

Tokyo — Japan (9551 km distance)
Download speed 7.4Mbps
% difference from base speed -82.11%

Optimized vs. Regular Servers

Luckily, my speed test results were much better on CyberGhost’s optimized servers. I suggest you always connect to an optimized server when streaming and torrenting. In every test, they were faster than regular servers, and I’ve confirmed that they reduce annoying buffering or lag.

Graph showing a speed test comparison between CyberGhost VPN's optimized servers for streaming and torrenting and its regular servers
I ran speed test comparisons between CyberGhost’s regular servers and its optimized servers

Access CyberGhost’s high-speed servers

Is CyberGhost Fast Enough for Gaming? (It Depends)

I don’t usually game with a VPN connected due to increased latency (ping), but it can be useful in certain games to hide your IP address and prevent falling victim to DDoS attacks.

CyberGhost is the only VPN I’ve seen so far that has dedicated gaming servers, optimized for the lowest possible latency in online games. You can choose between Frankfurt, London, New York, and Paris — several major locations, but if you’re not relatively near the one that you connect to you may be out of luck.

Fortunately, the London servers that were closest to me offered an average latency of just 31ms. This is perfectly adequate for even competitive online gaming, which I put to the test by playing a few rounds of Call of Duty: Warzone and Rocket League. There was a minor increase of around 8ms latency from my baseline in both titles, which kept me under 50ms in both cases. This is more than passable even in these faster-paced titles. Just note that your results may vary depending on your own location.

Screenshot of CyberGhost gaming servers with load sorted by descending order
I was impressed to see that CyberGhost has dedicated gaming servers

Enjoy fast gaming with CyberGhost!

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.


Large Server Network (6900 Servers in 90 Countries)

CyberGhost has an enormous server networkPrivate Internet Access (PIA) is one of the few services to offer more with 34400+ servers. This makes CyberGhost an ideal VPN if you need to connect to a specific geographic location. When there are more servers available, you have a higher chance of connecting to a fast server in your chosen country.

It also offers a larger number of servers in more popular countries. For instance, there are 1,300+ servers in the US alone, helping ease load issues when people connect to the hugely popular Netflix US and other US streaming libraries.

In terms of server locations, only ExpressVPN surpasses CyberGhost as it offers servers in 94 countries. However, CyberGhost’s breadth of locations is still incredibly impressive. While the majority of servers are based in the US, UK, and Europe, I was pleased to see a sizable number in Africa and South America.

CyberGhost is transparent about using virtual servers to provide coverage in countries with poor internet privacy laws or infrastructure. You can find an exhaustive list of which locations are physical or virtual on their website — overall there are 53 countries with physical servers and 37 with virtual locations. This includes Algeria, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Virtual servers in these locations provide you with faster speeds and less security risks than a physical server.

Screenshot of an overview of CyberGhost's physical and virtual server locations.
I haven’t seen this level of technical transparency with many other VPN providers

With 6900 servers available, CyberGhost organizes its enormous server network into specialty categories to make it easier to select the best server for your needs. These include:

  • P2P Optimized
  • Streaming Optimized
  • Gaming Optimized
  • Static IP Address
  • Token-based Dedicated IP
  • NoSpy

CyberGhost updates its optimized servers regularly to ensure blacklisted IPs are taken out of the rotation, which is reflected in the VPN’s strong unblocking capabilities.

Try CyberGhost today!

Is CyberGhost Good for Torrenting? (Yes!)

CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs for torrenting on Windows and Mac. You can connect to a range of torrenting servers, which have been optimized for secure peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. Unfortunately, the servers aren’t available on the mobile apps, so you’ll need to conduct all P2P activity on desktop devices.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN's optimized servers for downloading and torrenting
The optimized servers are only available in countries where torrenting is legal

You can choose a server from a list of 90 countries — each location displays the number of users, load percentage, and the physical distance of the server. To find a server with the best torrenting speeds, simply choose a location with the least number of users, lowest load percentage, and closest distance. It’s a quick and easy process, and you don’t have to waste time testing different servers. If you find any servers that work particularly well for you, you can add it to the “Favorites” list in the app.

Currently, these are the country servers that support torrenting (be sure to check CyberGhost’s website for updates):

Bosnia and Herzegovina*
Costa Rica
Czech Republic*
Hong Kong SAR China*
Isle of Man
United Kingdom*
United States*

* = physically located

When I tested the fastest server for me (London, UK), it only took 4 minutes to finish downloading a 5GB file on qBittorent! While I was waiting, I ran a leak test to check that my real IP address was safely hidden — no leaks were detected.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN connected to a UK server and successfully passing an IP leak test
CyberGhost has in-built protection against IP, WebRTC, and DNS leaks

I even tested the kill switch by turning the VPN off — and the app automatically blocked my internet traffic until I reconnected to the server. This set of security features, as well as CyberGhost’s military-grade encryption and no-logs policy, helped further anonymize my web traffic. Better still, CyberGhost is based in Romania, which is a torrenting-friendly country with no data retention laws.

One thing to keep in mind is that some servers may not actually work with torrenting and P2P traffic, as CyberGhost occasionally blocks P2P protocols on certain servers due to slow traffic or compliance with countries that block torrent traffic. If this happens to you, simply choose the next best server and try again.

I’ve also seen some user complaints on forums about being served with DMCA notices while using CyberGhost. While I don’t put too much stock in isolated incidents, it’s important to keep in mind that CyberGhost explicitly doesn’t condone the use of torrents for copyrighted material (and neither do I). If you do decide to torrent copyrighted materials, you do so at your own risk.

Torrent anonymously with CyberGhost!

Does CyberGhost Work in China? (No)

I don’t recommend CyberGhost for use in China. During on-the-ground tests, the app wouldn’t even launch so it was impossible to log in.

When I spoke to the customer support team for troubleshooting assistance, it was confirmed that CyberGhost can’t guarantee a working connection in any country with restrictive internet laws. This not only includes China, but also Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, CyberGhost’s VPN traffic is often blocked in countries with moderate internet censorship, such as Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.

Screenshot of live chat conversation about CyberGhost working in China.

I recommend ExpressVPN if you want to overcome government firewalls and censorship (plus you can try it risk-free for 30 days). Unlike CyberGhost, ExpressVPN has obfuscated servers that help it avoid detections. This makes it one of the only VPNs that reliably works in China and easily unblocks restricted sites like Facebook, Wikipedia, Gmail, Google, and more.

Security Features

Military-Grade Encryption — Some of the Strongest on the Market

CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption on all its servers. This level of encryption is impossible to crack, and it’s the same standard used by militaries and other government agencies to safeguard sensitive material. While a lower-level 56-bit key can be brute-forced in under 24 hours with modern hardware, a 256-bit key would take billions of years. For this reason, it’s simply uneconomical for attackers to attempt this.

CyberGhost also uses Perfect Forward Secrecy, which provides a unique encryption key for every new connection. This means that even if an attacker guesses or steals one key, they can’t intercept any other past or future sessions. This is another method to both dissuade attackers from even attempting this type of attack, but also protecting all other users (and sessions) from a potentially successful one-off attack.

Try CyberGhost risk-free

3 Security Protocols — OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard Available

CyberGhost offers the industry-standard OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, as well as the latest WireGuard protocol. I’m a big fan of the inclusion of WireGuard — even though it’s newer (and therefore less proven) than IKEv2, it has no known vulnerabilities and offers solid speeds. Its code-base is also tiny, which means it’s reasonable for small groups or even individuals to audit it for security holes.

Screenshot of graph showing speed test results using CyberGhost.

I found IKEv2 offered me the fastest speeds across both local and long-distance servers, but bear in mind that this protocol sacrifices security for speed. Unless you need the highest speeds possible, I recommend sticking to WireGuard, as it delivers a strong balance of security and speed. OpenVPN is even more secure, but I found the speed dropoff too steep to recommend it over WireGuard.

Unfortunately, some protocols are only available on certain apps. For instance, IKEv2 is only available on iOS, Mac, and Windows. You can only use OpenVPN on Android, Windows, Linux, and smart TVs (you need a third-party OpenVPN app for Mac and iOS, like Tunnelblick).

The latest WireGuard protocol is supported on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Android Fire TV.

Stay safe with CyberGhost!

NoSpy Servers — Privately Owned For Maximum Security

CyberGhost markets its NoSpy servers as an even safer and more reliable alternative to its regular servers. This is because they’re based in the company’s private data center in Romania, which only it has access to. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons.

First, it means they run directly under Romanian law since they’re physically located in the country, which has no laws on data retention (though CyberGhost states they don’t keep any data anyway). Additionally, having control and maintenance over its own servers means CyberGhost can immediately address any server downtime that occurs, since in-house technicians can immediately react. Finally, these servers have improved physical security since they can’t be accessed by third parties.

Screenshot of a conversation with CyberGhost live chat regarding its NoSpy servers.
CyberGhost’s customer support assured me that NoSpy servers are the best choice for heightened security

NoSpy Servers are available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Keep in mind that you need to subscribe for at least an annual plan to get access to NoSpy servers — the one-off monthly plan doesn’t include access.

Browse securely with CyberGhost’s servers

In-Built Leak Protection — Passed All Tests

Even when a VPN connection is established, data leaks can still occur and your real IP address can become visible. That’s why I tested CyberGhost for in-built leak protection using the independent site

I ran tests on 10 random servers in different countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Greece. I’m happy to say that CyberGhost passed every test with zero DNS, IPv6, or WebRTC leaks.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN connected to a US server and successfully passing an IP leak test
I didn’t have to worry about data leaks while connected to CyberGhost’s servers

I wanted to confirm that the initial installation process was also safe from potential dangers like malware. To be sure, I scanned the CyberGhost installer file — it passed with no issues.

Screenshot of a virus scan of CyberGhost's installation file.
CyberGhost’s installation file came up clean during a virus scan

Automatic Kill Switch — Successfully Secures Traffic At All Times

A kill switch is a must-have feature for any premium VPN, and CyberGhost has it available on every app. The kill switch blocks all internet traffic if the VPN connection ever becomes unsteady or you’re switching between servers.

While some VPNs require you to manually turn the kill switch on, CyberGhost’s kill switch is automatically active as soon as you connect to a server. It’s worth mentioning that you’ll only find the option to toggle the kill switch on or off in the Windows app. Although there’s generally no need to turn it off, it’s always good to give people the option, so it would be good to see this expanded to other platforms.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's kill switch toggle in its Windows app
Strangely, you’ll only find an option to disable the Kill Switch in CyberGhost’s Windows app

Browse anonymously with CyberGhost

Split Tunneling — Only for Windows and Android

The split tunneling feature lets you choose certain sites and apps to bypass CyberGhost’s connection. I find it particularly useful when I want to browse local sites and unblock overseas content at the same time.

To test this feature, I added to the “Exceptions” list on the Windows app and then connected to a US server. I’m happy to report that I successfully shopped on Amazon UK while streaming the film The Irishman on Netflix US. I performed the same test on my Android device (I added the Amazon app to the “App Split Tunnel” list under the “Smart Rules” section), and I was successful once again.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN connected to a US server and successfully passing an IP leak test
Split tunneling lets you choose as many sites as you want to bypass the VPN

Unfortunately, split tunneling is only available on the Windows and Android apps. It’s disappointing that this feature isn’t supported on iOS or Mac devices — I’d like to see split tunneling become available for Apple users in the future.

You can also use App Protection to protect entire programs. Once you add a program to the list and boot it up, CyberGhost will immediately launch and connect to a server. This is useful for apps such as torrenting software, which you may start using without remembering to first connect to a VPN server. I set it up with qBittorrent and was impressed with the simplicity, I could simply set and forget.

Compatible With Tor — But Expect Slower Speeds

CyberGhost works well with Tor (The Onion Router). In my tests, I connected to a UK server and then launched the Tor browser. This ensured that not even Tor could see my real IP address.

You’ll have to be patient as your speeds will decrease when you use a VPN with Tor. I recommend using the “Best location” quick connect button to connect to the fastest available server. Keep in mind that there are pros and cons to using Tor with or without a VPN, which you can find out more about in my in-depth guide to using Tor with a VPN.

I contacted a CyberGhost support agent to check that there’s no issue with using Tor on any server, which they promptly confirmed.

Screenshot of a conversation with CyberGhost live chat regarding TOR support.
I was glad to hear that there were no server limitations on my TOR usage with CyberGhost

Combine CyberGhost and TOR

Blockers for Malware, Trackers, and (Some) Ads

CyberGhost offers 3 separate blockers against ads, malicious websites, and web trackers on its Windows, Android, and Mac apps.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN connected to a US server and successfully passing an IP leak test
CyberGhost’s ad blocker will only remove ads if it contains viruses or other type of malware

The malware and tracking blocker worked well during my tests, but I was less satisfied with the ad blocker. CyberGhost’s ad blocker only removes ads if they contain malware, which means I could still see ads when I streamed YouTube videos and visited news sites like the Daily Mail. It also failed to block banner and video ads on Buzzfeed and Kotaku, giving me an overall bad impression of its abilities.

The reason for its poor performance became clear with an explanation from CyberGhost support. The agent reasoned that running websites costs money and that blocking all ads would lead to zero revenue. I can understand their logic, but this should be made much clearer from the get-go when marketing their ad blocker.

This thinking is also mirrored in the technical implementation of their ad blocking. In short, the blocker works at the network level and attempts to modify real-time requests. However, most of the web is now run off HTTPS connections (which are encrypted), and are extremely hard for CyberGhost to modify. As a result, it struggles to block the vast majority of ads.

Screenshot of live chat conversation with CyberGhost support
CyberGhost support admitted the limitations of their ad blocker

If you want to avoid all ads entirely, you’ll need to invest in a trustworthy third-party ad blocker. I also recommend this option if you have an iPhone or iPad — unfortunately, CyberGhost’s ad, malware, and tracking blocker isn’t available on the iOS app.

Extra Features for Maximum Online Security

WiFi Protection — Best for Public WiFi Hotspots

I rarely see WiFi Protection offered by VPNs, but I always find it extremely useful. This feature allows CyberGhost to launch automatically on certain WiFi networks. For example, I set my iPhone XS to “Always Connect” to CyberGhost whenever I’m using unsecured public WiFi. Many WiFi hotspots are vulnerable to attacks, so it’s a big privacy risk — unless I’m already using a VPN.

Even better, WiFI Protection is available on all CyberGhost apps, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire Stick, and Android TV.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN's WiFi Protection feature
The app allows you to configure CyberGhost to activate on certain WiFi connections

Browse anonymously with CyberGhost

Automated HTTPS Redirect — Ensures Safe Internet Browsing

This feature forces every website you visit to use HTTPS (the secure version of HTTP), which protects you from potentially malicious sites. This ensures that all the data that’s sent between you and the server is encrypted — if an attacker were to intercept your data and the site doesn’t offer HTTPS, they could easily read your data.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN's Automated HTTPS Redirect feature
HTTPS is much more secure than HTTP, so I highly recommend turning on this feature

Unfortunately, HTTPS Redirect is only available on the Windows app. As a regular Mac user, I’d appreciate having this added layer of protection on CyberGhost’s macOS app.

Data Compression — Android Only

You can reduce the amount of bandwidth used by compressing images and app data. This feature is perfect if you’ve got a limited internet data package — although it’s only available on Android devices for now.

Secret Photo Vault — iOS Only

If you’ve got an iPhone or Pad, CyberGhost lets you lock private photos and videos behind a PIN code or biometric login. This add-on is 100% free and included in every subscription. I enjoy using this feature to store photos that I don’t want people accidentally seeing in my regular photos folder.

You can even set up a decoy password to open a vault besides your main one — if someone attempts to access your vault, CyberGhost will save a timestamped selfie of the intruder. Interestingly, there’s even a setting to use AI to identify NFSW (adult-themed) content in your main photo library, which is then automatically moved to your secure vault. This means CyberGhost can back you up if you ever slip up and save potentially embarrassing pictures where you didn’t mean to.

Dedicated IP Address — Paid Add-On

CyberGhost offers dedicated personal IP addresses from the UK, US, France, Germany, or Canada. This will remain the same every time you connect, and helps you avoid CAPTCHAs and authenticating your details on certain apps or websites. For instance, when you connect to some financial services, they may take issue with you connecting from an IP address associated with a VPN (and shared by many). In these cases, it’s beneficial for you to have your own dedicated IP.

These benefits also extend to media consumption such as video streaming. When a VPN’s IP address in a certain country is shared by dozens if not hundreds of people, a streaming service is increasingly likely to notice that it’s a VPN running it. If you’re the only one using a dedicated IP address in a specific country, it’s unlikely for a streaming provider to notice this.

Even though it’s a paid feature, a dedicated IP address is well worth the extra few dollars per month for the perks it grants you.

Password Manager — Paid Add-On

CyberGhost has partnered with PassCamp Password Protection, which safely stores all your passwords in an encrypted cloud. You can create an account at a discounted rate when you sign up for a VPN subscription.

However, I don’t recommend choosing this option, since it costs an additional $2/month on an annual plan and longer, and $3.49 with a monthly plan. It’s not a bad password manager, but you can use Avira’s password manager and get essentially the same service for free.

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Privacy Features

Located in Romania and Outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance

The company’s full name is CyberGhost SA and it’s based in Romania. This is an ideal location for a VPN since there are zero data retention laws and it’s outside the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This alliance is an intelligence-sharing network between the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and 7 more countries.

CyberGhost is owned by cybersecurity firm Kape Technologies, which is headquartered in the Isle of Man. Contrary to popular belief, the Isle of Man isn’t under the jurisdiction of the UK, EU, or any of the 5/9/14 Eyes countries. In fact, it’s a top location for a cybersecurity company. The Isle of Man is a self-governing region with its own legal system and strong data protection laws.

Kape Technologies also owns Private Internet Access and ZenMate. I thoroughly checked their privacy policies and I’m satisfied that each VPN operates as a separate, trustworthy entity.

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Strict No-Logs Policy

Many VPNs claim to have a no-logs policy, but it’s disappointing how often I discover that it’s just a marketing slogan. I’m pleased to say that CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy that truly protects the privacy of its users.

None of your search history or other online activities are logged when you’re connected to a server. CyberGhost doesn’t even keep connection logs, which I can’t say for competitors like HMA and Hotspot Shield. However, CyberGhost does store some basic hardware information to keep track of how many simultaneous devices a user has running.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN's privacy statement on its website
I read CyberGhost’s privacy policy to verify it’s truly a no-logs VPN

Additionally, your name, address, email address, and payment information is required upon signup. None of your personal details are ever linked to your VPN activity, although it is used to communicate with users, improve the service, and to uphold the Terms of Service.

I find this last point is the most controversial aspect of the privacy policy. It explicitly states that CyberGhost will share any information it has with legal authorities if you’re caught breaking the law (it’s in breach of the Terms of Service).

Screenshot of CyberGhost's privacy policy on its website stating that the VPN does collect some personal data
CyberGhost’s Terms of Service doesn’t condone any illegal activities from its users

This sounds alarming on the surface, so I conducted further investigations — and I’m reassured that there’s no reason to be concerned about CyberGhost’s privacy policy. CyberGhost’s no-logs policy ensures that zero online activity can be traced back to specific users. In 2019, this was confirmed in a data leak through Typeform (a third-party vendor used for conducting online surveys). In total, 120 email addresses and 14 usernames were exposed. However, no passwords or other private data leaked as CyberGhost doesn’t store this information to begin with.

If you’d prefer to avoid sharing any personal data, you can always sign up more anonymously. Just register with a throwaway name and email address, and pay with Bitcoin.

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Transparency Reports Prove Commitment to Privacy

I was impressed to learn that CyberGhost was the first VPN company to launch a Transparency Report. Even though many companies have since followed suit (like Windscribe and TunnelBear), only CyberGhost has committed to publishing its Transparency Report every 3 months.

I carefully read the latest Transparency Report, which includes every request for information from law enforcement agencies. It includes mostly copyright infringement claims, malicious activity flags, and police requests. The report shows that despite such frequent requests for data, CyberGhost has zero logs to provide due to the strict no-logs policy.

After reading through the report, I’m satisfied that CyberGhost goes to great lengths to protect the privacy of its users. You can find and read them by visiting CyberGhost’s Privacy Hub blog and scrolling partway down the page.

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Minor Con: No Full Independent Security Audit

CyberGhost passed an audit on its Information Safety Management System (ISMS), following ISO27001 and ISO9001 standards by QSCert in 2012. This has continued every year since then.

However, there has been no independent audit on CyberGhost’s privacy policy, no-log claims, and overall network security. Many leading VPNs have commissioned external audits of their servers, security features, and privacy practices, including ExpressVPN. I’d like to see this type of third-party validation from CyberGhost in the future.

Server Locations

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