CyberGhost VPN review
There are many components to consider when it comes to picking the right virtual private network (VPN) service to protect your devices. Download and upload speed. Latency. Reliability. As well as top-level considerations like price, number of countries covered and total number of servers so you don’t have to worry about uptime.
Our current VPN gold standard is NordVPN (read our review here), but ExpressVPN (read our review here) isn’t too far behind. When it comes to speedsters, though, Hotspot Shield (read our review here) has incredibly fast download speeds, which is an area that CyberGhost is clearly keen to compete.
Our top five VPNs
- Hotspot Shield
CyberGhost VPN prices and plans
Out of the gate, you really don’t want to get CyberGhost on a monthly plan because you’ll be paying the most of the 13 VPNs we’ve reviewed on the site. That said, CyberGhost’s pricing structure has such a steep drop on monthly pricing when you opt for an annual plan or above that it seems like you’re not supposed to consider the monthly option. For an annual price or beyond, CyberGhost ranks second of our reviewed VPNs, which is an impressive improvement over the extremely high monthly cost.
The table below lists CyberGhost VPN’s four different payment options.
|Plan||Monthly price||Upfront price||See plan|
|One-month plan||AU$18.49||AU$18.49||View Plan|
|One-year plan||AU$5.55||AU$66.60||View Plan|
|Two-year plan||AU$4.85||AU$116.40||View Plan|
|Three-year plan||AU$3.11||AU$121.29||View Plan|
Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
If you do want to try before you buy, CyberGhost offers two different money-back guarantees. For the monthly plan, you’ve got a 14-day window to get a refund, but the one-year, two-year and three-year plans all offer a 45-day money-back guarantee, which equates to a very generous trial period (equal to Hotspot Shield).
As is the trend, the best value comes from spending the most but, at the time of updating this review, the three-year plan was only around $5 more than the two-year option, plus it had a bonus three months. That value is so great I bought the three-year plan to conduct this review, and it’s great to see a VPN charging in Australian dollars instead of US.
To see how CyberGhost VPN compares to other VPN providers in terms of pricing, the table below pits it against our current pick of the top five VPN services.
|CyberGhost||AU$18.49/mth||Access on up to seven devices||View plan|
|NordVPN||US$11.95/mth||User-friendly, speedy connection||View plan|
|ExpressVPN||US$12.95/mth||Blocks ads of your choice on all devices||View plan|
|Hotspot Shield||US$12.99/mth||Incredibly fast performance||View plan|
|PureVPN||US$10.95/mth||User-friendly, speedy connection||View plan|
Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
CyberGhost VPN connectivity and user experience
Whether you’re using computer software or a mobile app, CyberGhost is incredibly straightforward to install. Simply click or tap on the prompts to get up and going. While CyberGhost’s Windows software takes longer to load than its competitors, connecting to a server only takes around four seconds. The Android app was even easier to use during my tests.
You can keep the software in a compact mode and simply use the large, obvious connection button to connect to a default nearby server, then tap it again to disconnect. Alternatively, expand the program for more options that the average user won’t need but are great for those who want to tinker. Search for servers by typing, add favourites, or browse from a full list of servers that list distance to your location and server load percentages.
By default, there are optimised streaming servers for UK and US services preloaded into your favourites, but you can dig deeper down the list to find servers optimised for gaming, torrenting or additional streaming options.
While I had issues with PureVPN’s Australian servers, CyberGhost was such a great background VPN that I forgot I had it on during a half-hour Zoom call that didn’t skip a beat. Speaking of real-time online activities, CyberGhost connects and disconnects to local servers so fast that music streaming doesn’t skip a beat, and I only experienced a second of downtime (with no disconnection) in a Microsoft Teams when I switched CyberGhost off. There are some pauses when connecting to US servers, though.
When you are connected to a server, whether selected manually or by default, CyberGhost VPN gives you convenient at-a-glance information. This includes the country and location, your VPN IP address, as well as the amount of data you’ve uploaded and downloaded, which sits above total connection time and your current connection protocol. The descriptive font beneath each of these values does bleed colour-wise into the background, but that isn’t the case with the menus, which also let you send feedback from within the app, check account details (including the number of connected devices) and see what’s new on the CyberGhost website. The only real hiccup I had was a 10-minute period where the server list refused to load.
Servers are located in 91 countries and with 7,000+ server options to choose from, you’re never short of choices. That server count puts CyberGhost VPN around 500 servers ahead of the nearest top-five competitor (PureVPN), more than 1,500 servers ahead of popular-pick NordVPN and has more than the combined server count of ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield.
It means if you happen to own a couple of laptops and smartphones, but your family also wants to connect using your account, it’s perfectly fine. And, you can trust that if you buy a new device you will have “open spots” for that gadget to connect as well.
CyberGhost VPN number of devices
Unless you’re looking to buy the cheapest version of Norton Secure, a single VPN account tends to allow you to have multiple simultaneous connections spread across a certain number of devices. Of our current top five VPN providers, PureVPN has the most with 10 simultaneous connections, with CyberGhost VPN in second place with seven, which is a step above the popular average of five connections.
Below is a list of the devices and platforms that CyberGhost VPN officially supports with either native apps or manual configurations:
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- DD-WRT routers
- TomatoUSB routers
- TomatoUSB Merlin Build routers
- Apple TV 3
- Apple TV 4
- Roku TV
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Xbox 360
- Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Wii U
- Nintendo Wii
- Synology NAS (via OpenVPN)
- Raspberry Pi
- VU+ Solo2
- Kodi (LibreELEC and OpenELEC)
- Google Chrome (extension)
- Mozilla Firefox (extension)
CyberGhost VPN also supports LG smart TVs with webOS and Samsung smart TVs with Tizen OS via its Smart DNS service.
CyberGhost VPN speeds
Whenever you hit the connect button on a VPN, no matter how close the VPN server is to your home, you’re going to take a hit on your internet speed. Depending on the VPN service, connecting to a nearby Australian service from Australia shouldn’t massively impact overall speeds, but the farther the location you connect to, the more speeds are impacted.
The table below uses my Superloop NBN 100/40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) connection as a basis for comparing CyberGhost’s speeds for local and US servers (tests were performed during the middle of the day).
|VPN server||Download speed||Upload speed||Latency|
|US VPN (auto)||81.07Mbps|
|US VPN (manual, closest)||75.32Mbps|
Single-digit changes to download and upload speeds for Australian VPN servers is great, with CyberGhost’s 4% variance to base upload speeds particularly impressive. For the US tests, CyberGhost was automatically connected me to a San Francisco server, which provided the equal lowest speed variance on default US connections (tied with NordVPN) for downloads and the best for uploads.
Normally, when I manually connect to a Los Angeles server with a VPN, speeds are even better, but this bizarrely wasn’t the case with multiple LA servers with CyberGhost, all of which proved slower than the default San Francisco option. Not only were the download and upload speeds measurably worse, the latency went higher.
CyberGhost VPN streaming
Though users run the risk of violating terms and conditions, VPNs can be used to get around geoblocked content from other countries by connecting to the right servers based in those locations. Similarly, Aussies abroad can connect to Australian servers with the right VPN service to access their Australian streaming services while travelling.
The table below details which popular US and Australian streaming services play nice with CyberGhost VPN and how responsive they are for streaming video, according to my tests.
|Service||ExpressVPN compatible?||Buffering speed|
|Netflix US||Yes||Extremely slow|
|HBO Max||Yes||Extremely slow|
|Stan (including Stan Sport)||Yes||Fast|
This is where the convenience of CyberGhost starts to fall apart. Both the default US server (based in San Francisco) and the recommended streaming server (based in Washington) either failed to load US streaming services or came up with VPN errors. Manually switching between a selection of servers reaped better results, but shows were frustratingly slow to buffer on Netflix US, HBO Max and Hulu. When I finally found an LA server that worked with Peacock, it had the best results, but it still took more than a handful of seconds to buffer.
As for Aussie streaming services, Kayo refused to load on the default Sydney and Melbourne CyberGhost servers, and I couldn’t manually connect to an Australian server that would load Kayo. Stan, on the other hand, was fast to load and fast to play with the default Australian server.
The table below uses the best-case 14% download-speed variance when connecting to a CyberGhost US server and applies it to the average typical evening download speeds (TEDS) for providers across NBN fixed-line speed tiers. For practical context, the three columns on the right highlight the number of streams that can run simultaneously on a single account for popular US streaming services in 4K. While HBO Max allows for three simultaneous connections and Netflix stretches up to four, Hulu has an upgrade option for unlimited screens.
|NBN speed tier||Average NBN TEDS||CyberGhost TEDS||Netflix 4K|
|HBO Max 4K|
|NBN 12||11.42Mbps||9.82Mbps||Too slow||Too slow||Too slow|
|NBN 25||21.45Mbps||18.44Mbps||Too slow||1 stream||Too slow|
|NBN 50||45.17Mbps||38.85Mbps||1 stream||2 streams||1 stream|
|NBN 100||86.67Mbps||74.53Mbps||2 streams||4 streams||2 streams|
|NBN 250||212.10Mbps||182.40Mbps||4+ streams||11 streams||3+ streams|
|NBN 1000||337.50Mbps||290.25Mbps||4+ streams||18 streams||3+ streams|
CyberGhost VPN extras
CyberGhost users have the option of connecting to “NoSpy” servers. These servers are based in Romania on servers owned and controlled entirely by CyberGhost, which offers impressive protection against spying or recording your online activities. This is particularly impressive because CyberGhost already has a great zero-log policy.
The addition of torrenting-optimised servers for those who use peer-to-peer file-transfer services is a nice touch, as is 24/7 customer support if you have any questions. CyberGhost also offers a Smart DNS service that can be configured inside your ‘My CyberGhost’ login, plus three are premium upgrade options for a security suite, dedicated IP and even a password manager. This account area is where you’ll also find a cookie cleaner extension for Chrome or Firefox, too.
CyberGhost VPN vs NordVPN
Compared to NordVPN, CyberGhost VPN is pricier if you only want to pay month-to-month, but things are slightly cheaper for annual, then significantly cheaper if you opt for a three-year plan. NordVPN may be the household name, but it has fewer countries (59 vs 91), significantly fewer servers around the globe (5,440 vs 7,000+) and a lower simultaneous-devices count (six vs seven) compared to CyberGhost VPN.
The two VPNs are close on a number of metrics including zero-logging policies, 24/7 support as well as the inclusion of a Smart DNS service and split tunnelling for advanced VPN users. For those who want to try before they buy, neither service has a true zero-dollar trial, but CyberGhost has a 45-day money-back guarantee for its longer-term plans whereas NordVPN taps out at 30 days.
In terms of my tests, the two VPN services had comparable latency for Australian servers, while NordVPN had faster downloads and CyberGhost had better upload speeds. Latency and download speeds were effectively negligible for best-case US connections between the two, but CyberGhost was the clear winner when it came to faster upload speeds.
While there are strong reasons to consider CyberGhost over NordVPN, I’d still recommend going with NordVPN as the better all-round VPN service, particularly when it comes to streaming.
Should I buy CyberGhost VPN?
CyberGhost VPN is a faithful VPN companion when it comes to everyday internet activities like web browsing, video calls and playing games. That automated convenience starts to suffer when it comes to streaming, with a requirement to shuffle through a list of servers to find one that will work. Still, if you want a VPN that has thousands of servers, a great range of countries to choose from and don’t mind paying for an annual subscription (or longer), there’s plenty of value to be found in CyberGhost.