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CyberGhost VPN review: A VPN that emphasises user-friendliness over speed

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
per month

It's not ideal for streamers, but we like CyberGhost's innovative interface, strong security features and cheap long-term pricing

Cheap long-term plan
Great security features
Easy to pick the right server
Doesn’t unblock all streaming services
Not unique compared to other VPNs

Save a MASSIVE 84% and get four months free

CyberGhost's two-year VPN plan has received an enormous discount, bringing the price down to just £49.92. On top of that, the brand is also offering four extra months for free, which brings the monthly cost of this VPN subscription down to just £1.78/mth.
Save 84% and get four free months

CyberGhost is a user-friendly VPN that encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a secure server. This ensures that no one can track or spy on your online activity; it also lets you disguise your location, with over 7,000 servers in 91 different countries to choose from.

For short-term use CyberGhost VPN is a little pricey, costing £9.99 on a monthly basis. However, a whole year of service costs a much more reasonable £39 – and if you sign up for three years you’ll pay only £68.25 and get four months free, so you pay the equivalent of just £1.70 per month. That’s one of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen for a VPN.

If you’re dubious about such a long commitment, CyberGhost VPN offers an unusually generous 45-day cooling-off period, during which you can cancel at any time for a full refund.

After signing up you can connect from up to seven devices at once. Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS are all supported, with plugins for Chrome and Firefox to easily control the VPN and even an app for Amazon Fire TV devices. CyberGhost’s Smart DNS service also lets you use the service with devices that don’t natively support VPNs, such as games consoles or set-top boxes.

One thing to note is that CyberGhost is unusually picky about the device limit. Most VPNs don’t care how many devices are on your account, as long as you’re not using too many at once, but with CyberGhost you can only have seven clients registered; if you want to connect from an eighth you'll have to deregister an old one first. Alternatively, you can set up your router to use CyberGhost, providing blanket protection for everything on your home network.

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CyberGhost VPN review: What’s it like to use?

Most VPNs confront you with a long list of server locations to choose from; CyberGhost takes a more helpful approach, dividing its servers into various categories: click “For gaming” and you’ll immediately see a list of servers optimised for online games, with a ping time shown next to each one. Under “For torrenting” you can browse servers that allow peer-to-peer file sharing, while the “For Streaming” list shows servers dedicated to unlocking a wide range of streaming services across 13 countries.

This arrangement takes a lot of the complexity and trial-and-error out of using a VPN; if you prefer a geographical list, you can click "All servers" to select from a full list of countries and cities. There’s also the unusual option to lease an exclusive static IP address located in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the UK or the US for an extra £41.

The Windows app provides a decent set of configuration options. On the Settings page, you’ll find a choice of three VPN protocols – IKEv2, OpenVPN and WireGuard – while the Server page gives the option to use the VPN to filter out malicious or untrusted content, and to enable the kill-switch, which cuts off all internet access when the VPN detects a problem with your connection.

Lastly, the Smart Rules page lets you set up automatic behaviours. You can tell CyberGhost to start a VPN connection whenever you connect to a particular network, or to an unknown one; we really like the innovative option that engages the VPN automatically whenever you launch a nominated application. If you need help then 24/7 support is available via live chat or email – though there’s no phone service.

We also tested the CyberGhost Android app. This presents the same handy list of streaming-optimised servers as on Windows, although the gaming and torrenting categories aren’t offered (which makes sense for mobile devices). Most of the same features are here, including the ability to route individual apps through the VPN. However, the Smart Rules are less smart: you can’t allow specific websites to bypass the VPN, and the client won’t remember your preferences for individual networks. The best you can do is set default behaviours for whenever you connect to secured or unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

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CyberGhost VPN review: How fast is it?

Using a VPN invariably slows down your internet speed. To see how CyberGhost affected performance, we used a Windows 11 laptop connected to a domestic Virgin Media fibre line.

With the VPN disabled, the Google Speed Test tool reported an average download speed of 213Mbits/sec. Connecting through a CyberGhost server in London caused this to drop only slightly, to 196Mbits/sec – a modest 8.1% reduction in browsing speed.

The VPN didn’t do so well when we switched to a server in New York, however: this wiped 39% off our download speeds, cutting them to a mediocre 130Mbits/sec. We've seen worse results, but we’ve also tested several VPNs that provided much better transatlantic speeds, including ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, NordVPN and Surfshark.

It was a similar story on mobile. With no VPN our Android tablet gave us download speeds of 208Mbits/sec, and using the CyberGhost app to connect to a UK-based server only incurred a very small performance penalty, to 203Mbits/sec.

Things went much more slowly when we selected the New York server, with the download speed almost halved to 109Mbits/sec. However, we’ve found this is normal for mobile VPNs: the very fastest rival we’ve tested is Hotspot Shield, which only managed 123Mbits/sec in the same test, so no matter which VPN you choose, this is about as good as you’re going to get.

And since split tunnelling is supported on both mobile and desktop platforms, you can let most of your applications use the open internet at full speed, while only your chosen programs go through the VPN.

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CyberGhost VPN review: Is it good for video streaming?

If you want to stream 4K HDR video, the major streaming sites recommend a download speed of at least 25Mbits/sec. CyberGhost easily delivered that, and on our Windows laptop we were able to enjoy both BBC iPlayer and the US Netflix library at maximum quality without fuss. We were also able to get past the US-only Hulu service’s region restrictions.

Other services, however, didn’t work for us. Even though CyberGhost offers dedicated servers for accessing the US Disney Plus library, the website refused to open in our browser while the VPN was connected. Nor were we able to watch BritBox or Now TV when connected to a UK server – meaning this might not be the ideal VPN for holidaymakers or expatriates.

More disappointment awaited when we tried to use CyberGhost to stream video to our Android tablet. All of the British streaming services threw up errors, while the Netflix mobile app insisted on showing UK content even when we were connected to the New York server – and once again the Disney Plus app simply refused to open until we disabled the VPN.

We’re sure that CyberGhost is working on making these services available, since its dedicated streaming servers are a key selling point. It’s a reminder though that there are no guarantees when it comes to geo-unblocking.

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CyberGhost VPN review: Is it secure?

CyberGhost is based in Romania. That’s not part of the “five eyes” or any other formal data-sharing alliance, but it is inside the EU, so there’s a possibility that information about your membership could be shared internationally.

If you want to minimise that risk, you can pay for the service in Bitcoin, which means the company knows almost nothing about you beyond your IP address. And while CyberGhost keeps records of when you log onto the service, it promises that your actual online activity is not monitored or logged.

While the company hasn’t been independently audited like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, it does publish its own quarterly transparency reports covering requests for data. The latest one, for Q4 of 2020, states that the company received 33,377 data requests from various authorities and didn’t comply with a single one.

As we’ve noted, the software includes various features to help you stay safe too, including the kill-switch and flexible auto-connect options, and optional DNS filtering to block domains that are known to host malware. There’s no double-VPN option, though – something other VPNs offer to provide an extra layer of concealment to your location and identity.

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CyberGhost VPN review: Should you buy it?

CyberGhost isn’t the fastest VPN around, and we had a disappointing experience with its dedicated streaming servers. If you’re looking for a VPN that’ll deliver smooth 4K video from a wide range of international services, our experience suggests that either NordVPN or ExpressVPN will do a better job of unblocking video content.

If your focus is on privacy protection however then CyberGhost VPN is a smart choice. Its goal-oriented interface helps you get the protection you want in a few clicks, and the automatic connection rules help ensure you don’t accidentally expose your private data. Not bad for a service that – if you’re willing to make a three-year commitment – also happens to be one of the cheapest VPNs around.

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CyberGhost VPN review: Quick facts

Based in:Romania
Cheapest price:£1.63 per month
Money-back guarantee:45 days - no questions asked
Devices: Simultaneous7; 7
Servers:7,000+ in 91 countries
24/7 customer support:Yes
Netflix and Disney+:Yes
BBC iPlayer:Yes
Torrenting allowed:Yes
DNS leaks:No
Activity logging:No

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