CyberGhost VPN Review: Tons of Features, Loads of Servers
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Some plans may include unexpected extras. During our review, for instance, the one year and longer plans came with a ‘One-time PC clean-up Reimage license. Cyber Ghost accepts a variety of payment methods including Bitcoin Image Credit: There are free trials available, although they’re more complicated to understand than usual. Download and create an account via Windows, for instance, and you’ll get just 24 hours to try the service out.
Some plans may include unexpected extras. During our review, for instance, the one year and longer plans came with a ‘One-time PC clean-up Reimage license.
Cyber Ghost accepts a variety of payment methods including Bitcoin Image Credit: There are free trials available, although they’re more complicated to understand than usual. Download and create an account via Windows, for instance, and you’ll get just 24 hours to try the service out. Start with the iOS app and you’ll get 7 days.
But if you create your account via Windows, then sign into your iOS app using the same account, its trial will also expire after 24 hours. Install the Android app, though, and you don’t have to create or log into a CyberGhost account, which means you’ll get your full 7-day trial, no matter what. The best approach is probably to start with the Android app, if you can, to get a feel for CyberGhost performance and see if you can access Netflix and other blocked sites.
If you like what you see, pick a day when you’ve nothing else to do and spend it intensively testing the desktop client. We would prefer something simpler – would it really be so difficult to have seven days free, whatever your platform? And if you do sign up and then find the service doesn’t work for you, good news – the company now has a lengthy day money-back guarantee, one of the most generous deals around.
While we applaud CyberGhost’s clarity, the reality is these are just words on a website, and there’s no way for an individual user to know how the service actually works. Our nearest UK servers delivered solid and reliable speeds, averaging Mbps on our 75Mbps fiber broadband line. It was a similar story across much of Europe, where the nearest countries also reached a creditable Mbps.
Performance tailed off over distance, though, with speeds barely reaching 20Mbps in Greece and parts of Eastern Europe. We’ve seen higher top speeds, but unless you’re planning to download terabytes of data, you’re unlikely to care very much.
Problems began to materialize as we tried connecting to more long-distance or less common locations. Australia was disappointing, though still usable, at Mbps, but much of Asia managed only Mbps, and a few locations were much worse Chile averaged 2. Apart from the change of location, this also allowed us to benefit from excellent connectivity and 1Gbps of bandwidth, giving us the capacity to measure even the fastest of VPNs.
While this is useful, keep in mind that unless you live somewhere with the same level of connectivity, it’s likely to overestimate the performance you’ll see in real life. Our results didn’t reveal any great surprises. Overseas connections showed broadly similar results to our UK test base, adequate when checking the best-connected locations, relatively poor in several, and a little below average overall.
While testing, we also noticed a further problem in that connection times could sometimes be very lengthy, anything up to 30 seconds. This didn’t happen every time and with every server, but if you’re affected, it can become annoying. Our tests could only give a snapshot of performance at a point in time, and perhaps you’ll have more luck. If you are planning to make heavy use of servers outside of the most common European and North American locations, though, we’d recommend you test them carefully before you buy.
Cyber Ghost was able to unblock Netflix in our tests Image Credit: CyberGhost Image credit: Image Credit: That’s because most providers won’t tell you which servers work, and which don’t, forcing you to work down every server in the target country until you finally get lucky.
CyberGhost’s apps seem to make life much easier by highlighting locations which support the services you need. The client’s recommendations didn’t always make a lot of sense.
It feels like CyberGhost is trying to add as many virtual locations as possible, to try and impress you with the depth of its service, rather than just giving you what’s necessary. Whatever you think of its location lists, the UK servers were effective enough, bypassing the BBC’s VPN detection and allowing us to stream iPlayer content without difficulty.
If you’re looking for an easy way to unblock Netflix, CyberGhost could be a smart choice. Just launch the Windows client, for instance, and you’ll find one of its server lists is titled ‘for Torrenting’. There are some helpful tweaks buried in the Settings, too, including the ability to automatically connect your preferred CyberGhost connection whenever you launch your torrent client more on that later.
Bonus features include a malicious URL filter, enabled by default, which could help you avoid a lot of trouble. If you ignore the ‘for Torrenting’ list and connect to a VPN location manually, there is some scope for problems. CyberGhost explains that “we have to block P2P protocols on certain servers, either due to strategic this is traffic that unnecessary slows down other user’s traffic or due to legal reasons in countries where we are forced by providers to block torrent traffic, among them USA, Russia, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.
Cyber Ghost offers desktop and mobile clients Image Credit: CyberGhost Client setup CyberGhost does its best to make sure the setup process is as easy as possible, and for the most part it’s very successful. Clicking the Trial link on the website quickly downloaded the tiny Windows installer. We accepted the terms and conditions, entered our email address and password, and after clicking the usual ‘please confirm your address’ link in a follow-up email, that was it.
We were ready to go, with no payment or other details required. It’s much the same story with the mobile apps. The CyberGhost site links you to each app store, and you download and install the apps in the usual way. If you need the OpenVPN configuration files to set up a router or other device, though, your life becomes considerably more complicated. While other VPN providers typically give you a bunch of standard. OVPN files to download, CyberGhost asks you to log in to your account; add a device profile; choose the features you need ad blocking, data compression, malware protection, more ; choose OpenVPN TCP or UDP; choose your target country; note down a server name, custom user name and password; and download the.
OVPN file, certificates and key files in a zip file. If you’re looking to set up multiple locations, you must also rename each. OVPN file to something appropriate. This approach has some advantages – it’s secure and gives you a high level of control over how each connection works – but if you’re just hoping to download 50 standard OpenVPN configuration files, get ready for disappointment.
There’s a lot of setup work to do. Cyber Ghost’s Windows client resembles its mobile offerings Image Credit: Cyber Ghost Windows client CyberGhost’s Windows client has seen a major interface revamp since our last review, with the previous bulky Windows like tiles replaced by a far more standard look and feel: The old functionality hasn’t gone away, though – it’s just tucked into a right-hand panel which you can open whenever you need it.
A location picker lists all servers, along with their distance and current load. You can filter this to display servers optimized for streaming or torrents, and a Favorites system makes it easy to build your own custom list. Cyber Ghost provides you with a list of all of its available servers with submenus for certain tasks Image Credit: Cyber Ghost Right-clicking CyberGhost’s system tray icon also displays all the available servers, with submenus for torrenting, streaming and your favorites.
You could opt to choose, switch and close connections without ever bothering with the main client interface. Useful options start with a Connection Features panel, where you can enable privacy features including blocking for ads, trackers and malicious websites.
Cyber Ghost A Smart Rules panel gives you a vast amount of control over how the client works. Most VPNs have an option to launch when Windows starts, for instance, but CyberGhost also allows you to connect to your preferred server, and automatically launch a particular app, such as your default browser in incognito mode. There’s even more flexibility in the Wi-Fi Protection panel, where CyberGhost allows you to decide exactly what happens when you connect to new networks. You can have the client automatically connect to the VPN if the network is insecure, for instance; never connect if it’s encrypted; perform custom actions for specific networks always protect at home, never protect at work , or simply ask you what to do.
The surprises continue, everywhere you look. App Protection can connect you to a specific location when you open an app, for instance. No need to remember to enable the VPN before you use your torrent client– CyberGhost can automatically do it for you. There’s another handy touch in the Exceptions feature, where you can build a list of websites which won’t be passed through the tunnel.
If a streaming site is only accessible to users in your country, add it to CyberGhost’s Exceptions and you’ll never be blocked, no matter which VPN location you’re using.
A few features have disappeared since our last full CyberGhost review. The old ‘Unblock Basic Websites’ and ‘Unblock Streaming’ panels displayed tiles for popular websites, for instance Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, YouTube, more , and clicking any of these would connect to the best server and open a browser at the target site. It was an interesting task-based approach to using a VPN, but it’s no longer available.
The Settings dialog used to include support for Socks5 and HTTP proxies, for instance, but these also appear to have been dropped. That might be an issue for experts, though most users are unlikely to notice. Overall, although the new client doesn’t look or feel quite as distinctive as previous builds, its more stripped-back and familiar interface means it’s probably easier to use. And while it’s a pity to lose any functionality, the CyberGhost Windows client still delivers far more than just about anybody else.
Cyber Ghost Mobile apps CyberGhost’s mobile apps are far simpler than their desktop cousins, with much less functionality and a relatively basic interface. By default, it connects to your nearest server, but you can also browse a list of locations.
Tapping a location displays load information, including the number of connected users, and you can save specific locations to a Favorites list. Settings are minimal – you can’t even choose your protocol – but the app does a good job of helping you define how it should be used with particular networks. When we first launched the app, for instance, it displayed our nearest wifi network name on the opening screen. That’s unusual, but a very good idea, as it helps you see what you’re using to connect.
If you tap the name, you can specify whether you want CyberGhost to automatically protect it in future, or prompt you to decide each time. And the app can save the appropriate actions for all the networks you use regularly, so it knows exactly what to do at home, work, the coffee shop or the library.
Cyber Ghost The Android app doesn’t display your current wireless network, unfortunately. It does have some web filtering options not offered by the iOS version, though, including the ability to compress data, and block trackers and malicious websites. You also get the desktop client’s ability to use a random port when connecting to the VPN, a simple trick which might help bypass simple VPN blocking.
Perhaps the best Android news is that it now, finally, has a Favorites list for storing your most commonly-accessed locations. That should have happened long ago, but at least CyberGhost got there eventually.
Overall, CyberGhost’s mobile apps aren’t bad, but they’re still short of some key functions you’ll often see elsewhere kill switch, a choice of protocol and protocol settings , and there’s plenty of room for improvement. Cyber Ghost’s knowledgebase leaves a lot to be desired but you can talk to a real person via email or live chat Image Credit:
Today’s best CyberGhost VPN deals
CyberGhost claims to have over 30 million users, and the first in the industry to publish a transparency report. Today, its team is composed of over 70 IT professionals, who are based both in Romania and in Germany. In addition, there is no offer of a free tier, nor a lifetime plan. There is a money-back guarantee of 14 days on the monthly plan, and a generous 45 days on the 2 and 3 year plans. The pricing for CyberGhost is heavily weighted away from shorter plans, and towards longer term commitments. There is no option to pay with gift cards.
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