CyberGhost Review

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CyberGhost Review

UPDATED: February 17, 2016

Overall Score:

Price

5
out of 5

Features

4
out of 5

Speed

4
out of 5

Customer Service

4.25
out of 5

This is the most detailed CyberGhost review available online. You will find everything you need to know about CyberGhost in this review from pricing and customer support, to speed performance and device compatibility, to the all important encryption levels. Included is also a simple setup guide to help you get CyberGhost setup quickly on your device.

Company Summary

Cyber Ghost prides itself on being powerful and easy to use. It really sets itself apart from the competition by offering a completely free (!) version of their VPN, managing to maintain this free version well via revenue from the premium version. Romanian-based, Cyber Ghost are positioned well to protect and serve their users to the highest level. We've had a great experience using Cyber Ghost, and think you will to.

Homepage Snapshot

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Operating System Compatibility

Pricing Summary

Free version available!

$6.99 for standard monthly account

$5.83p/month for 1 year account
$10.99 for pro monthly account
$9.16p/month for pro 1 year account

VPN Protocols Offered

L2TP

PPTP

OPEN VPN

Pros

  • 30 Day Money back guarantee
  • Free version that matches many pay-to-use versions
  • Large amount of servers for capacity
  • Premium account is still very affordable
  • Zero logs kept

Cons

  • Not completely consistent quality/speed between different servers
  • Manual configuration needed to send emails through SMTP servers

The Verdict

Cyber Ghost is definitely one of the easiest VPN services to setup and get using right away. The fact that their free version is as good as many equivalent paid versions shows how dedicated they really are to the philosophy of providing anonymity and privacy online. That they have more than enough paid users on the premium version is testament to how worthwhile the paid version is. Definitely give this VPN service a try, especially with the 30 day money back guarantee available.


Full CyberGhost Review


Pricing, Plans, & Payment Options

PRICING

CyberGhost offer a pricing that is arguably one of the most competitive on the market right now. They have the reputation of providing a stellar service, so this only adds to the value-packing they put into such an affordable set of prices:

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Add to their competitive prices the fact that I have yet to check out their prices without their being some kind of special offer on! They clearly love to incentivise new users to try them out by perpetually offering great deals.

PLANS

As you can see from the above screenshot, CyberGhost gives customers the choice of 3 plans to use their VPN service. Although 99% of VPN service providers offer customers 3 pricing plans, CyberGhost are unique in that only two paid plans are made available. The first plan is completely free and I have to say, the features in the free plan are on the same level as many paid plans I have seen with other VPNs. 

This really builds confidence in prospective customers, since if CyberGhost can offer such a sophisticated free version of the VPN, while clearly still having enough users on the paid plans to support maintaining the free plan offer, shows that they must be delivering a really fantastic service. 

PAYMENT OPTIONS

CyberGhost allow customers to pay via any of the most common payment methods you would hope. Credit cards and PayPal are all covered comprehensively. Most impressively, they allow payment via BitCoin, which is really a big selling point for the more hardcore VPN users looking for total anonymity:

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Paying via BitCoin leaves no "paper trail", so anonymity is maintained fully. Not many VPN service providers allow payment to be made this way, so many props to CyberGhost for putting in the time and effort to gives customers this method of payment as an option. 

Money back Guarantee 

It has become incredibly rare for a VPN service provider to not offer customers a money back guarantee. CyberGhost thankfully is no exception, proudly offering all new customers a full 30 days money back guarantee. They boldly state this on the pricing section of their site:

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Feautures

CyberGhost offer all the "usual suspects" when it comes to features of their VPN services. They go the extra mile to give users as much anonymity and make their activity as untraceable, private and secure as it can be. In addition to what you would expect from a top-quality VPN, CyberGhost offer the following:

Zero-logging
- CyberGhost keep zero logs of your activity. Not many VPN providers are able to offer this. This means your activity and personal data is not just privacy protected from external sources, but even CyberGhost are kept in the dark. 

Top-level encryption
- All data is transmitted through 256-AES bit encryption. This is a very sophisticated level of encryption that makes it all the more impossible for anyone to hack into your activity. 

Protocols
- L2TP, PPTP and OpenVPN

Unlimited Bandwidth
- When you are connected to a CyberGhost server, you are no longer restricted by your public or home ISP and any throttling they may be unknowingly placing on your network connection. This means your speed and data upload/download limits are truly unrestricted.

The Software

I paid for the Premium version of CyberGhost VPN and the payment process was relatively smooth and intuitive. I will take you through this now.

When you select a plan to subscribe to, a window pops up prompting you to have an account created for you (or to login if you already have an existing account with CyberGhost):

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This was unexpected and a little unwelcome. I expected to be taken straight to payment, so this was an unnecessary hurdle for me. Although when selected to have an account created, it was was literally one click and this was done. I was then taken to the payment process:

cyberghost review 6


Here I was once again surprised somewhat negatively. CyberGhost state as one of their main features that no email address is required from users, which is a great incentive for keeping oneself anonymous even from your VPN service provider. However, as you can see in the above screenshot -- an email address is required for payment (and they do email you confirmation emails with important information.) This is completely standard, and a requirement I would be totally fine with otherwise, but since they state "no emails required" then ask for one, it is a little disconcerting. 

Once you have gone through the 3 step payment process, you are taken to a new page that confirms your purchase and gives you next step information:

cyberghost review 7


This step was also not a fluid and intuitive as it could be, in comparison with other VPN providers that are direct competitors with CyberGhost. For example, since the next step is clearly to download a version of the software for the particular device that you want to use it on, it would make sense for this page to actually provide you with either a link to click that takes you to the download selection page, or even have the download links presented to you on this page (or a third option would be to redirect you automatically to the software download selection page.) 

Instead, CyberGhost only tells you that you should now go and download the version of software for your device. No link or offering of helping you get there. A little disappointing. 

So, I manually went back to the main website homepage and clicked the OS X icon. This took me to an automatic download page, which was good:

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The download was fast, as was the install process. 

When you launch the software for the first time, you are presented with the main interface window, which looks like this on a Macbook:

cyberghost review 9


As you can see, you are not automatically logged into the software. This actually caught me off guard, as I immediately clicked the main "on symbol" button to connect right away to the VPN. 

When I did this, as I was not logged in, a window popped up with a timer (that had a LOT of time left to countdown) informing me that unfortunately all the "free" slots for the VPN were full, and that I had to wait for a new slot to free up before I could connect. This was obviously aggravating, since I had just paid for the Premium service and was being treated less than such. 

However, I closed this window and clicked on the "Login" label in the top right of the main window as shown above. Once I did this though, I then had to go back to my emails to retrieve the auto-generated username and password. I of course had to jump to my emails to get these.

cyberghost review 10

This was again another highly unnecessary step that I think does more harm than good for the user experience. I understand that auto-generating these during the payment process makes that whole process quick and painless -- however, the user suffers a little by having to jump back and forth between emails and the software just to login as a result. Not too impressed with that.

Once logged in, you can then select which server location you wish to connect to by clicking the button below "Simulated Country" in the bottom left of the interface. This brings up a list of all the locations which CyberGhost have servers located in:

cyberghost review 11


Simply select the location you want to "appear" from and clock "OK". Alternatively you can connect automatically, which causes CyberGhost to select the fastest-responding server that will give you the fastest speeds from your current location. 

Then that's it. You are connected and privacy-protected:

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MOBILE SOFTWARE

I went through the process of also downloading, installing and setting up the CyberGhost Premium software to my Android smartphone. I will quickly show you this process now...

You can download the Android software version from the homepage as I did the OS X for my Macbook, however, in my experience - any self-respecting top-level VPN service provider has at least a standalone app built for smartphone users. So I took a chance and went directly to the Google Play store on my smartphone to see if there indeed is a CyberGhost android app therein to download and install seamlessly to my device. 

Thankfully, there is:

cyberghost review 15


Downloading and installing was very fast. Once you open the app you are presented with the main home screen, which is near-identical to the interface on the OS X version of the software. This is great, since clearly design and functionality continuity between different device interfaces has been prioritised and maintained by the CyberGhost developers and designers:

cyberghost review 16


As with the OS X software, you need to login to activate the Android app to your account. This meant accessing my emails through my smartphone to get the auto-generate the username and password once more. Of course if I had changed these to my own memorable username and password then I would not need to do this:

cyberghost review 17


Once logged in, the selecting of your preferred server location or allowing CyberGhost to automatically choose and connect you to the best/fastest server for you is the same process as was previous demonstrated on OS X:

cyberghost review 18
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In addition to this main home window that presents you with all the most important data you need to glance over quickly, there are setting you can dive deeper into to change the app preference to suit you:

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There you have it. A brief overview of the CyberGhost Premium VPN software that walked you through the purchasing, downloading, installing and setting up of the software on both an OS X device and Android mobile device. 

All in all I clearly see room for improving the setup process to make it more efficient and seamless for the user. I have used direct competitors of the similar quality/price level to CyberGhost that make this process much more intuitive and painless to go through. 

Nonetheless, the actual aesthetics and functionality of the software, once up and running, is very clean and arguably one of the most well designed home screens of a VPN I have interacted with. 

Compatibility

CyberGhost is supported on all major operating systems. Windows, OS X, Linux, Android and iOS are fully supported, as well as additional compatibility with ChromeOS and routers. Users are thus able to have their games consoles, eReader, smartTVs etc connected with CyberGhost.
 

Speed & Performance

I conducted a speed test on my Macbook first without the VPN then with it connected. The IP address changed correctly and although the download speeds were quick significantly effected when I turned on the VPN, I must say that the upload speeds were surprisingly much faster. 

Here are the results:

Without VPN:

cyberghost review 22


With VPN:

cyberghost review 23


I should mention that when I let CyberGhost choose the "best" server for my location by clicking the automatically connect option - I ran the speed test again and the overall speed was near-exactly as it was without the VPN, so that was impressive. Clearly the CyberGhost team put a lot of effort into their speeds, and for the price of this VPN I am really impressed.


Support

CyberGhost do not offer 24/7 support for their users, which is a little disappointing. However, they are certainly very honest with their support offerings, so you don't feel like they are over-promising and under-delivering in this important area of their business. 

They do have a live chat support option on the website, although for European users like myself the available times for live chat support are not ideal, as you can see here:

cyberghost review 24


A great amount of effort has been put into the Help & FAQ support section by CyberGhost, which is filled with highly understandable and comprehensive walkthroughs and answers to all of the most common issues that may arise - as well as going into the more uncommon issues, too. 

The Website

The CyberGhost website is definitely one of the highest-quality websites I have encountered across all the VPN service provider websites I've interacted with. 

All the most important information a user coming to the website would want to access immediately is readily made available to them whether by being clearly displayed on the homepage or easily clickable through the main navigation links both in the header and footer throughout the entire website.

Here's a snapshot of what you can expect to see when arriving on the site for the first time:

cyberghost review 25


As you can gather even from this static screenshot, the design and layout of this site have clearly had a lot of thought put in from both the site designers and developers. Both aesthetics and functionality are accounted for to a high level.


Security & Privacy

Security-wise, CyberGhost offer 256 AES bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default - even to users on the free account plan. This is a highly secure and well-encrypted network connection that even some paid VPN service provider do not match as standard. 

Additional protocols are available, as mentioned, with L2TP and PPTP able to be setup. However, setting either of these up is not automatic (some VPNs allow you to simply click a dropdown menu and select any of these, which is super simple), with users instead having to follow an online guide and do this setup manually. With that being said, CyberGhost and myself both advise sticking with the 256 AES bit OpenVPN protocol, since this is historically the most secure of the three available to users.

Being Romanian-based, CyberGhost can thus allow a very high level of security to user's data with regards to keeping it private. CyberGhost keep zero logs of any user activity, which means that there is no way for anyone to identify a user's personal location or identity. All user activity is kept completely private and secure. VPN companies that are not located in such countries that are under such leniently setup jurisdictional laws regarding privacy and surveillance cannot boast such a level of anonymity protection to their users. 

Finally, as mentioned earlier in the Pricing, Plans and Payment Options section at the top of this page, users have the option to pay by BitCoin, which is the highest level of maintained anonymity a user can strive for with regards to making an online transaction. Users who cannot pay with BitCoin and instead must use the more traditional methods of credit card or PayPal are processed through a third party payment processor called Cleverbridge - the downside of this being that CyberGhost can thus not 100% vouch for the security and privacy of user's transaction data, since they are not conducting the transactions in-house. 

Conclusion 

Ultimately, CyberGhost offer a great VPN service. I find it very generous of them to offer such a massive portion of their VPN service for free to users. Couple this with the fact that they clearly have enough regularly paying users to support the free version really is testament to the level of quality they give. 

The downsides were definitely focused on the actual setup process, since this was arguably the most arduous of any VPN software I have reviewed up to this point. This, coupled with Premium account users only being allowed 1 device connection at a time was quite disappointing.

However, the level of secure privacy and anonymity that CyberGhost offer once you are up and running with the service is truly epic and hard to beat. Especially for the price they offer it at. For that reason, I am very comfortable claiming CyberGhost to be one of the best VPN service providers currently available - and with both a free version fully available and a 30 day money back guarantee on the paid versions, I highly recommend you give them a try. 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
CyberGhost VPN
Author Rating
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