CyberGhost: Questionable Design on Desktop, but an Impressive Mobile App

CyberGhost

$2.75
8.2

Price

8.0/10

Security

8.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Speed

7.0/10

Support

8.5/10

Pros

  • Beautiful & Smart Mobile App
  • 7 Simultaneous Connections
  • Impressive Support

Cons

  • Features Some Inexcusably Slow Servers
  • Expensive for Short Subscription Plans
  • Questionable Desktop App Design

Right off the bat, I wasn’t very happy with CyberGhost’s interface. It didn’t feel as intuitive as some of the other VPNs I’ve tested. The main interface on Mac has a number of handy toggles, but something about the layout still felt bit off: the awkward placement of the location and server buttons, the pretentious check mark facing the “Extra Speed” feature (seen below), even the color scheme is jarring. Overall, if I were to describe CyberGhost’s desktop interface in one word, I would call it ‘convoluted’.

CyberGhost interface mac

The experience on mobile felt unfamiliar at first – it is rather unique – but grew on me mere minutes later. It is composed of a series of 4 screens with animated gifs. Each screen offers custom settings and options: one is for WiFi, one is for Streaming, one for Surfing, and the last one – typically the main interface on most VPN apps – allows you to specify the country or server you want to connect through.

CyberGhost interface mobile

The WiFi profile allows you to block tracking and malicious websites; the streaming profile reveals a list of streaming sites, surfing is quite similar to WiFi, with the added options to pick a country and compress website content to save on mobile data; the server screen allows you to pick country and server. Here they are, respectively:

CyberGhost interface mobile 2

Features

Servers

CyberGhost has over 1300 servers in 60 countries.

  • Europe: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Belarus, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
  • Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, and the United States
  • Oceania: Australia and New Zealand
  • Asia: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam
  • Africa: Kenya and South Africa

CyberGhost servers map

Platforms & Simultaneous Connections

Apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android are available. The service can also be set up on routers and a great number of niche platforms, including Raspberry Pi, Synology NAS, VU+ Solo 2, and Chrome OS. The full list, along with setup guides, can be accessed here.

One CyberGhost account will allow you to run the service on up to 7 platforms simultaneously. That’s an above average offering and should be more than adequate for the vast majority of users.

Ad Blocker

CyberGhost removes the chunk of code that tries to pull ads from a dedicated server. The processing happens on their servers so there is no processing on the client-side, which translates into less data transmitted to the user and a reduction in data consumption.

Security

Protocols

CyberGhost supports the following protocols:

  • OpenVPN: an open source software that is generally the most recommended and most used protocol due to its strong encryption algorithms
  • L2TP/IPsec: Not as robust as OpenVPN, but is usually recommended for devices that can’t or are too old to run the latter. The protocol is also effective in penetrating firewalls.
  • PPTP: Old and flawed. Used only when security is not an issue.

For a more detailed review of each protocol be sure to check our Guide to VPN Protocols.

Location

CyberGhost was founded in 2011 in Bucharest, Romania, and is based both in Romania and Germany; most of the software development takes place in latter. Romania does not have strict censorship or surveillance laws; CyberGhost is also required by law to abide by the GDPR. Germany, however, is part of 14 Eyes, a shady global surveillance alliance, which, to be brutally honest, puts the effectiveness of any laws and regulation into question.

The good news is that CyberGhost does not keep any logs, meaning there is no stored data (in principle at least) to share or snoop on.

Kill Switch

CyberGhost includes a Kill Switch, a feature that shuts off your internet automatically once the connection to the server drops. Without a Kill Switch, in the event of a connection failure to the server, your connection would automatically default back to your original IP, leaving you exposed for the duration of the server error. A Kill Switch solves for that.

Malicious Content & Online Tracking

Online threats are too many to list in this review – just think viruses, phishing scams, hacking, etc. CyberGhost features a malware blocker that inspects every URL you want to visit and makes sure that it is risk-free. The URL is checked against a public database of suspicious websites.

CyberGhost also removes elements that contain tracking codes from the websites you visit – websites typically employ tracking mechanisms in an effort to understand your behavior and boost their sales.

Support

I tried testing CyberGhost’s support both through live chat and by email. When it came to live support, I had to wait a few minutes to get a representative to answer my question. It’s not the fastest service out there, but definitely not a deal breaker.

The email support was much slower, but understandably so. I had emailed them a list of ten questions concerning GDPR, not an easy task by any stretch. And though the answer arrived more than a week later, the answers were very comprehensive. The effort that they put for such a serious matter perfectly justifies the delay.

Speed

As usual, I ran speed tests for servers in the Netherlands, the US, and the UK. I let the app decide which server to use in each country. CyberGhost was very quick to connect to all the servers I tried; I only had to wait a few seconds to connect. But when it came to download and upload speeds, the results were mixed.

The US server was particularly disappointing. Download and upload were 71.1% and 30.7% slower respectively. The servers in the Netherlands fared better, the speed was reduced by 42% and 26.4% respectively. The UK servers performed very well, suffering only a 12% and 10.5% drops respectively.

Price & Verdict

CyberGhost pricingTo keep the story short, CyberGhost is expensive if you are looking to subscribe for a short period of time. A $11.99 monthly fee simply does not make sense. The one year, $4.99 dollar a month plan is also questionable, especially when we know that speed is an issue. The two-year plan isn’t that much more attractive at $3.79. Perhaps CyberGhost only makes sense at $2.75 a month, but that would mean that you would have to commit for 3 years. That’s a long time for me, how about you?

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