CyberGhost VPN Review – A former ghostly Romanian based VPN provider now owned by Kape Technologies

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CyberGhost

$33/year
8.5

General Impression

9.0/10

History

7.0/10

Features Offered

8.0/10

Encryption Standard

10.0/10

Privacy

8.5/10

User Experience

9.5/10

Speed

7.5/10

User Friendliness

8.5/10

Compatibility

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Advantages

  • Excellent User Interface
  • Appearance Selection
  • Affordable Subscription Plan
  • Good encryption technology
  • Selective VPN protocols
  • Variety of server choices
  • Multi-platform compatibility

Disadvantages

  • Establishing connection time consuming
  • Only supports DD-WRT based routers
  • Average speed-test result

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CyberGhost is a Romanian based VPN service provider. CyberGhost claims to have 15 years of expertise in providing a virtual private network service to their potential customers. Adding further, CyberGhost allows you to access blocked websites by your ISP’s and DNS provider, providing a joyful p2p torrenting, unblock streaming services such as Netflix, stream sporting events outside of your country and getting a better online deals such as flight ticket. CyberGhost uses 256-bit military grade encryption standard by providing maximum security and privacy to their users.

Do you wish to subscribe to CyberGhost? : Check the latest offer from CyberGhost.

Adding further, CyberGhost also provides security features such as a kill-switch, DNS Leak protection and protecting you from being tracked by advertisers based on your browsing behavior. Their number of servers around the world keep increasing showing how much they’re committed to serve users who seeks privacy out there. Without further a due, let’s jump to the review.

History of CyberGhost (Chronology)

I’ve done an extensive research on the background of CyberGhost. Initially, the service was founded by Robert Knapp, a German-based tech entrepreneur. However, Kape Technologies acquired CyberGhost for EUR 2.9 million ($3.19 million est.) from Robert Knapp. Recently, it was confirmed that, Kape Technologies also acquired another VPN provider, Private Internet Access last month.

Is it bad? You may question me. I won’t say it is bad or worse, lets have a look over the past of Kape Technologies. Previously, Kape Technologies was known as Crossrider. Now, here is the quite worrisome part, in a two separate article published by Malwarebytes, Crossrider was caught red-handed of bundling up a.k.a secretly hiding malware and adware in their software which will be further hide themselves in users computer.

Unfortunately, Macs users were not spared as well, as according to this article, a variant of Crossrider adware infects Macs in a unique way by prompting to install a fake variant of the Adobe Flash Player installer. So what happen if the user installs the program? If the user installs the program, it silently writes its own configuration and preventing the user from changing the configuration on Safari browsers.

Crossrider went through a serious change and its name was changed to Kape Technologies back in the year of 2018. Now, I am about to analyze if the company still follows its shady path like previously by testing out CyberGhost. But I believe, someone who admits their mistake deserves a second chance of trust, so do Kape Technologies.




Pricing and Plans

CyberGhost offers a free-trial plan for new users only valid for 24-hours. If you’re satisfied with their services, more plans were offered for their loyal users:

Plan Duration 1 Month 6 Months 1 Year
Price ($ USD) $12.99/mo $4.99/mo 2.75/mo
Ads-on (Optional) Dedicated IP for just $5/mo

Looking at their pricing scheme, the plans seem cheap. Being the only VPN that offers $66 yearly charges for their one year plan, do the money spent to opt for their service, performance, security and features are worth? My personal advice would be, subscribe to their one-month plan first to explore the features, conduct privacy testing and speeds if you can’t test everything within the 24-hours of free-trial.

CyberGhost supports major payment gateways such as PayPal, cashless payment such as Credit Card (Debit Card incl.) and for the users who wish to stay anonymous and hide their details, CyberGhost offers an anonymous payment method such as BitCoin.

I do encounter there are few websites promoting the cracked version of CyberGhost, and I would like to kindly request to the users to always support the official release because developing a software is not an easy task. Support the developer by purchasing official subscription.

Jurisdiction

The good news is, CyberGhost operates outside of fourteen-eyes jurisdiction. Their office located in Romania.

According to CyberGhost team, CyberGhost operates under Romanian law, where they don’t obligate to keep any traffic logs about the users. If a court order was issued to ask for an individual’s account due to suspicious, CyberGhost clarifies that there won’t be nothing to show about the user to the authority.

Logging Policy

CyberGhost strictly claim they do not log user data traffic such as browsing history, search preferences and data transmission between the client device and the server destination. According to them, they do no store any connection logs such as your IP address, timestamp or session duration.

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However, upon registering through their website, your credentials such as name, e-mail address, username, password and payment information (only if you paid through your credit-card/debit-card) by submitting the details, voluntarily.  Additionally, for safety measure, CyberGhost team collects data relating to IP address (stored in anonymized format), location, transaction information, billings and partial credit card information. For more information, please refer to their transparent report here.

Server Locations

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Having servers more than 5600 across 111 locations over 90 countries, users are given the opportunity to pick the right server to serve their internet browsing habits. I will further elaborate in the user-experience section.

Platform Support

CyberGhost is multi-platform compatible ranging from commonly used Windows OS to programmers choice of OS, Linux.

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Also, the service supports only DD-WRT based routers and adding the salt to the injury, if you’re using an ASUS router (let it be running on ASUSWRT or Asus-Merlin), unfortunately it doesn’t support. Likewise, the service can be installed on Raspberry Pi, Synology NAS, VU+ Solo 2 and Chromebook that bundled with Chrome OS.

Number of supported devices

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Unlike Surfshark that supports unlimited number of devices, CyberGhost only supports up to 7 devices per account. Since most users don’t really use DD-WRT based compatible routers, it will be a hard time to configure the ovpn file on the router, instead the user has to manually install the client application in the client devices, individually.

Client Installation

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Upon purchasing a plan, you can go to the dashboard to proceed downloading the VPN client that fits your current OS. Since Kape Technologies had a bad past of bundling malwares and adwares, the CG.exe file was uploaded to the VirusTotal site to run a scan to ensure that no hidden malware or adware in it. Surprisingly, no such issue was found.

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For the purpose of this review, I’ve installed the client application on a computer that running Windows 10 Pro edition on the latest build, 1903.

User Experience, features and misc. walkthrough

I personally guess CyberGhost hires a good team since, their user-interface, the best interface so far. Usually, VPN, service tends to ignore user-interface, but focus more on features, but CyberGhost differ from them. Good job CyberGhost. Generally speaking, a good interface with right mapped features will ensure even novice users to master to use the service in a short time. If you’re a new user to a VPN service like CyberGhost, you won’t have much difficulty in accessing the features and utilizing the client app to its fullest potential.

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This is probably the first experience of mine using a VPN service that gives importance towards a theme. Frankly speaking, I am more preferring to use dark mode compared to light as to prevent stressing out my eyeballs. Being a flexible VPN service provider, they also allow you to pick your preferred language. Also included, a kill-switch toggle that protects your privacy if there is a sudden internet connection disconnection.

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Before I access the list of available servers, normally I customized my preferred settings before I attempt to make a connection to a right server to serve my current internet browsing habits. In this panel, you are allowed to pick your preferred VPN protocols; – OpenVPN (my preferred VPN protocol by trading of speed for highest security), IKEv2 and L2TP. Other noticeable features are DNS Leak Protection which is a must.

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The next feature I go through is the list of available servers provided by CyberGhost. Surprisingly, the amount of load time for each country servers is quite decent, so I’m expecting a good speedtest result which will be discussed further below. Adding further, you can pick the fastest server in that particular country, thus easing your task of getting a good speed.

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Next feature is the special servers dedicated for torrenting activity. Well, CyberGhost excels here by providing a decent amount of available servers to achieve optimum speed.

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I don’t have any subscription for streaming services such as Netflix. So I really can’t test this feature neither do produce a fake review by saying this service supports major streaming services when it is not. I rather would say that, I won’t test this feature instead, you can refer to other reviews out there regarding streaming compatibility of CyberGhost for your own satisfaction.

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When I start to use a service, the first thing I always do is to go through the available features and what makes them stand out from their competitors. In this panel, you were given with five unique features, blocking ads and ad tracking, blocking malicious websites and automate HTTPS websites. In addition, you can enable the data compression feature to allow image compression of a website and elements can be done to allow a faster website load and reduce the bandwidth usage (if you’re downloading files while using CyberGhost) for a better speed.

Besides that, CyberGhost also offers a feature called Smart Rules. Allow me to explain these features further. I begin first with the Startup Rules where you can set the activation of the CyberGhost client app each time you logged into your OS. However, I prefer to turn off this feature instead. Looking next available sub-feature called Wi-Fi Protection, under the new encrypted Wi-Fi action and new open Wi-Fi action drop down menu, you will be given an option to never connect, ask me what to do, always connect and disconnect VPN option. If you happen to install CyberGhost VPN in your laptop or tabs, this feature will be useful for you, especially when you’re using a public wireless network. The next feature is called Exceptions. Basically what this feature does is, it allows you to whitelist a specific website, such as accessing your office server that preventing any connection made from VPN’s as a safety measure even if you’re using / accessing the website from public Wi-Fi. I can say, this is a good feature though. Last but not least, the App Protection where you allow the service to connect you to a specified location when opening an app, suitable if you have a remote computer in your network.




Smartphone Application

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CyberGhost application is available on both mobile platforms, iOS and android. I’ve personally tested the application on both platforms.

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Based on my findings, the app is light and don’t consume much mobile processor resources. The apps is well designed and at some point, features such as adblocker, protection against malicious site, data compression and prevent online tracking don’t available on iOS app.

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As for the android, I’ve used Bluestack android emulator to run the CyberGhost app. Here, you can the more flexible features are being offered compared to the iOS apps. Overall, their app is pretty simple to go through and can be further customized from time to time.

Privacy and Security Analysis

I don’t use the term anonymity here because, no VPN services in the world can guarantee of 100% anonymity as their sole purpose is to hide your identity by masking your IP and traffic from spies such as ISP’s, advertisers and cyber-criminals. For this particular test, I’ve used two browsers of my choice, Firefox (as my main browser, thanks to its customization features that provides maximum privacy without VPN) and Google Chrome as my secondary browser of choice.

DNS Leak Test

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The test begins by testing the DNS query leak test, or in a simpler term, DNS leak test. The output analysis based on the conducted test shows, the system is not leaking any DNS. This output applicable for both browsers.

IP Leak Tests

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The second test serves the purpose to test if there is any IP leaking from using this service. Based on the test for both browsers, no leaks detected.

Web Real-Time Communication Test (WebRTC – Test)

Firefox

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Google Chrome

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The final test is to ensure the browser I using everyday leaking any information that can be used to track me. Based on the test, using CyberGhost with customized Firefox settings shows a better result compared to Google Chrome making Firefox being my most preferred browsers all the time.

Bandwidth Speed Analysis

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My current internet subscription plan is from Telekom Malaysia‘s unifi (not to be confused with Ubiquity‘s UniFi) is 800Mbps download and 200Mbps upload. Yes, you are right, asymmetrical internet speed. So by using a VPN, I would expect to get a decent speed that hovers around 100Mbps to 200Mbps.

My initial prediction would be, getting the expected speed for the nearest server in the nearest country. Does my prediction come true? Okay, frankly speaking, encryption reduces bandwidth. Now let’s analyze the speedtest result. I’ve tested thrice for each server and presenting you with a solid speedtest result. During this test, no downloading activity was carried out.

Based on the speedtest above, I tested the speed only with OpenVPN (UDP) configuration. Based on my findings, I feel this is a decent speed since OpenVPN trades of speed for maximum security. The result may differ when it comes to download torrents.

Torrenting

CyberGhost don’t support port-forwarding. But, I won’t give up on providing a detailed p2p analysis via using this survey for the purpose of this review. Thanks to CyberGhost’s professionalism on easing my task of finding a right server, I’ve used their recommended torrenting servers and picked a suitable ISO image from the Ubuntu site to test out the maximum throughput I conducted three separate tests via the server countries chosen by me, Singapore, US and Panama.

Singapore

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The first torrenting tests were done by picking the best server located in Singapore. The plotted graph above shows the maximum speed achievable is around 27 MiB/s or roughly 200 ~ 220Mbps solid.

United States

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The next server selected located in the United States. To my surprise, I did get a good speed while using US servers compared to Singapore servers. Most probably due to the server of Ubuntu located in the United States, that may be a trigger in accelerating a faster data transmission. I able to achieve around 35 MiB/s or 280 Mbps roughly.

Panama

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The final location I pick is Panama. Differing from the analysis plotted from the two graphs on the above, I able to get a similar speed with Singapore server. Do bear in mind that, the distance between my country and Panama is the longest according to the distance shown in the Torrenting panel of CyberGhost desktop app.

After Sales Support

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When it comes to service, after sales support is important because your employees represents your company to the user. Upon reaching to CyberGhost website, you can use their support feature to ask any questions. There are two ways of inquiring them. Once is by keying in a general query where the system will automatically pop out a few suggestions that may relate to the strings entered in the field. This is one of the good algorithm coded to allow the users to conduct a basic troubleshooting from their side before opting out to reach a real-time tech support.

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When it comes to after sales support, CyberGhost do have a good team working behind. I’ve actually tested out their live-support chat feature. I truly appreciate the team answering to my queries. I actually inquire them about no logging policy since CyberGhost haven’t undergo a third-party audit like how ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark went through. Although Kape Technologies had a shady past, I personally feel that, they are respecting users concern on their privacy. However, this accusations can be further proven if they went through a proper audit in the future.

Conclusions

Summarizing the review up, CyberGhost probably one of the largest VPN service providers out there rivaling against other major VPN providers, noticeably ExpressVPN and NordVPN. The thing I like about CyberGhost is its professionally designed user-interface, probably the best out there and features bundled with it. Next, selection of VPN protocols that can fit in some use cases.

Next, looking at its downside, the company currently owned by Kape Technologies, further adding worrisome in their upcoming potential customer’s (investors) mind. Since most VPN providers’s primary goal is to increase privacy and secure internet browsing, as far my testing goes with this service, I feel this service is quite good thanks to its unique features. I am as a technology enthusiast who keeps on researching particularly in the cyber-security field, I don’t really have right to say this service is better than other services out there as the power is with the potential customers like you, because each VPN provider has their own uniqueness compared to others. To finish up this rant over a single sentence, I only can provide my research for a better understanding, in the end, you’re the one who should undergo your personal experience with this service provider before committing yourself to one of their longer plans available.

For other VPN reviews, kindy refer here.



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