CyberGhost’s is one of the longest established virtual private network (VPN) services, effectively catering to both privacy-conscious users and those who just want an easy option for streaming video services from other countries.
- Wide range of endpoint countries
- Clear no-logging policy
- Good streaming performance
- Extended subscriptions are very good value
- Poor US connection speeds
- High monthly subscription fees
- Review Price: £55.08
- Connect up to seven devices
- Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
- Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients
- £11.99 per month, £55.08 per year, £74.10 per two years, £75.60 per three years
CyberGhost’s virtual private network (VPN) service aims to cater to privacy-conscious users and those who want to watch streaming video services in other countries. It has recently updated its client to look sleeker and less heavily influenced by Windows Modern UI.
Related: Best VPN 2019
CyberGhost – Features and usability
The latest version of CyberGhost’s interface defaults to a notification area pop-up window that shows either a quick connection button – and a pulldown to select the server you’ll be connecting to – or the status of your current connection.
It hides itself as soon as you move your window focus by clicking elsewhere, but if you click on the double arrow icon at the left-hand side, a larger display opens up to give you access to further options.
These include a server list covering 60 countries, and specific endpoint lists showing servers for torrenting or streaming video services. You’ll also find a Connection Features tab here, where you can enable CyberGhost’s integrated ad blocker, anti-malware filtering, anti-tracking, force HTTPs and bandwidth-saving data compression features.
A Smart Rules tab allows you to define the behaviour of the client. You can customise whether it starts and connects when you log into Windows, whether it automatically launches selected applications upon connection, how it behaves when it detects that you’ve connected to an unknown Wi-Fi network, and you can choose any exceptions whose traffic you wish to route outside the VPN connection.
You can also configure it to automatically launch when you open specific apps. While most VPN clients have an optional kill switch which stops all internet traffic if your VPN connection fails, CyberGhost’s is automatic and permanently enabled.
A handful of additional settings can be found in a Settings tab at the very bottom. These include the connection protocol its OpenVPN driver uses and options to protect against DNS leaks – on default – and disable incompatible IPv6 connections.
If you buy a three-year subscription, it works out at an inexpensive £2.10 a month. At £55.08, an annual subscription is around what you’d expect for a good-quality VPN service, but the £11.99 monthly subscription is more than a little steep. There’s a one-day free trial – it used to be seven days – if you want to try out the service at no cost.
Related: What is a VPN?
CyberGhost – Performance
Average HTTP download speeds for the entire April 2020 VPN group test, measured from a test system in London with a fast internet connection, were 65.63Mbps from UK endpoints, 71.37Mbps for the Netherlands and 51.15Mbps from the US.
If you’re connecting from the UK, CyberGhost has always been fast for European endpoints and much slower if you connect to a server in the US. However, it’s reached a new low of 5.03Mbps for US HTTP downloads that can’t just be explained by the extra volume of internet traffic at the moment.
That’s going to be an annoying dealbreaker for many users, but I was at least able to stream US subscription services at standard quality after a few disconnection and reconnection attempts. Those looking to keep up with iPlayer while connected to a UK endpoint, that also worked well, but All 4 detected that I was on a VPN. In all cases, I tested streaming from dedicated endpoints.
Should you buy CyberGhost?
CyberGhost is based in Romania, where EU data retention laws have been declared unconstitutional, and it does not log or store identifying data such as your IP address. If you need an extra layer of anonymity, you can pay for your CyberGhost subscription in Bitcoin or via money order. Sadly, physical codes purchase editions no longer appear to be widely available.
Sign up: CyberGhost
CyberGhost is rather expensive if you opt for a monthly subscription online, and its annual pricing is also somewhat expensive. However, its longer-term subscriptions are very good value indeed, working out at £2.10 a month if you subscribe for three years. Its interface is clear and easy to use, and dedicated endpoints cater to streaming media enthusiasts.
The accuracy of CyberGhost’s no-logging policy hasn’t been proven in court or by an independent audit, so those who need evidence-backed security, as well as speed, may want to consider some of its rivals, notably Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN.
If you’re looking for an annual or monthly subscription for video streaming, check out Windscribe, which is cheaper, better at streaming and much faster when it comes to US connections.
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