VPN services are a lot like the spirits of the dead. When done properly, they’re hard to detect, aren’t restricted by physical boundaries and – as is the case with friendly ghosts – can even protect you from danger. CyberGhost is a German company now residing in Romania, offering a great VPN service for all types of user profiles. It has paid careful attention to safety concerns since it debuted in 2010, hiding torrent practices in untraceable servers and special security settings, while still being suitable for those that simply want to surf anonymously or unblock geo-restricted websites.With options for both short and long-term subscriptions and a restriction-free seven-day trial, anyone would be tempted to discover the service’s simple and very attractive client for computers or apps for mobile that come full with customizable features to ensure everyone has the best experience. All this makes for a package that shouldn’t stay invisible to anyone considering a VPN service.
CyberGhost VPN has a couple of neat little features that makes it all the more suitable for avid web explorers. Whenever you visit a website, CyberGhost VPN will figure out if it can use an HTTPS connection and only use this when available. It also checks if a website you’re trying to access is blacklisted as a malicious website for added protection. These additions accompany the DNS and IPv6 leak protection put in place, alongside a NAT firewall.
But if there’s something really worth mentioning then it’s the remarkable and fully customizable VPN client, which is appealing to both beginner and the most advanced users. To explain, the client’s main dashboard displays six colorful options for each type of use and simply selecting just one of these will be enough to satisfy those that like it plain and simple.
But each option has its own settings as well, which is good for users that want to enable or disable extra features, for instance. These settings allow for everything from simply changing the language to fully configurating proxy connections. It’s here that it is also possible to set address exceptions that should not be included inside VPN connections and even protect other apps.
Unblocking Streaming Services and Basic Websites
When it comes to unblocking streaming services and basic websites there is one particular feature that needs to be discussed. With other VPNs the common procedure is to manually pick a server destination and then visit the newly-unblocked site, which means that some knowledge is required to opt for the best option.
But with CyberGhost everything is much easier. The client displays several of the most common targets of blocks, each being associated with a server that is considered to be the most suitable. For instance, Netflix and YouTube Red are associated with an American server, while the BBC or Comedy Central use British and German ones, respectively. These are not the only options, though, as there are also Netflix France, Denmark, and others. Therefore, all it takes to start enjoying any of these is to simply have the VPN app active and so, since CyberGhost immediately launches the corresponding page, it can be considered a true ‘connect and go’ service.
Surfing Anonymously vs Choosing Your Server
These are two options within the client that might seem pretty similar to each other at first glance. However, by enabling a couple of extra features by default to enable anonymous surfing, the user experience is improved natively, thanks to things like the ability to compress data, blocking malicious sites, ads and online trackers or adding automated HTTPS redirect. By opting for the manual “choose your server” option these features are disabled – though they can be toggled on, too – but in doing so you’ll instead have the choice of picking a server that suits your needs: the fastest servers, the least populated, those reserved for torrents and more.
But there are features benefitting torrent and Wi-Fi protection, too, with more or less the same editable options. Of particular interest is how the VPN behavior can be altered for whenever a new Wi-Fi network is detected, which is useful for those likely to connect to public hotspots. Also, when a connection is established users can easily check the speed of the connection, how much data has been used and how many issues were blocked.
CyberGhost supports two kinds of proxies – HTTP and SOCKS5 – with a server list composed of more than 3,000 servers offered across over 60 countries. We conducted tests from Europe to several of the company’s servers and found the speeds to be acceptable. Naturally, the servers that were distant showed the weakest results, places like Argentina or South Africa for example, but this is influenced as much by each country’s own internet quality. For instance, while the American server produced a high ping it still provided some of the fastest speeds. Likewise, the DNS and IP leak protection lived up to expectations, since there were never any problems of this nature.
On the other hand, it is unfortunate that such a pleasant program like CyberGhost VPN must be restarted almost every time the user wants to change servers. Previous versions suffered from a 25-second delay before each connection and yet, although the latest version doesn’t take as long as that, many times whenever servers were changed we were stuck on an infinite “connecting” screen.
Cyber Ghost offers 256-bit AES encryption for its OpenVPN-type security protocol, something that is also available in the free version. The other protocols are L2TP/IPSec and PPTP but changing between them must be done manually, for which the official website’s knowledgebase provides help. Still, it is better to stick to OpenVPN as it is the safest available. As mentioned earlier, CyberGhost offers trustworthy DNS and IP leak prevention, on top of a nice kill switch.
OS, Device Support
Nowadays it is more important than ever for VPN companies to provide a good range of devices to connect with. CyberGhost gives a strong response to this by supporting up to seven simultaneous connections, an impressive amount that goes beyond what the majority of other VPN providers offer. They can be used across a vast range of devices, including Windows computers running at least XP. Ubuntu Linux and Chrome OS are also options, as is Mac OS X and beyond.
The selection for mobile and other devices is also noteworthy. The appearance of Android and iOS apps is expected, but the inclusion of protection for Windows Phones via a nicely elaborated manual L2TP setup process is something of a surprise. Similarly, Raspberry Pi is a welcome addition, along with DD-WRT and Tomato routers for a further extended range of service. Some rare devices also included are Synology NAS and VU+ Solo2 for Linux-based satellite receivers.
CyberGhost follows the usual three-plan system, delivering the same full service across different lengths of time, but there’s actually a fourth plan that brings the biggest discount. This best value package costs $3.50 monthly as part of an 18-month subscription billed in one go at $63.00. At the same time this allows users to save over 70% and it also holds a six-month free coupon, since the total price is exactly the same as the annual option that costs $5.25 per month. Then there are the monthly subscriptions at $12.99 and the semi-annually-paid fee for $7.99 per month.
Given the service provided, these prices should be considered fair given that there’s no shortage of features or servers in any of the plans.
Payment options include credit cards, PayPal and Bitcoin, and on top of the seven-day free trial– which doesn’t limit any features – CyberGhost also offers an extraordinary 45-day money-back guarantee that can be used to try the program for a longer term risk-free.
Installing and using CyberGhost is very easy, but if any problems arise there are a number of ways to seek for assistance 24/7. The first places to visit would be the FAQ and knowledge base pages, which not only provide responses to the most basic questions but have tutorials, too, that give guidance in supreme detail. Live chat is also available, though we recommend turning to their ticket system in cases of more serious technical problems. In this regard, the built-in troubleshooter is also a capable option.
In addition to their own blog, CyberGhost’s social media presence is one of the strongest in the industry, since they are actively present on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo, Linkedln and Flickr.
Cyber Ghost certainly left us with a good impression on the whole, though there’s surely space to improve as well. In this regard the only major negative we can point to is having the need to restart the program each time the server is changed. While it’s surely something anyone could live with, it’s still something that absolutely shouldn’t happen. On a positive note, however, there’s no lack of features to make use of and the client’s design is smart enough to attract both VPN newbies and enthusiasts alike, giving users more opportunities to customize their experience than what is usually seen. Likewise, the range of supported devices and the VPN network itself also deserve some highlighting.
Even though some servers could use a boost to their speeds, CyberGhost is a trustworthy and reliable VPN provider as much for torrenting as it is for general use. This is thanks to its reliable IP and DNS leak preventions, a kill switch, the fact that the company is headquartered in Romania – where the laws are beneficial for internet users – and the open and transparent culture that the company operates under.
- Suitable for all VPN users
- Appealing client for computers and mobile
- Seven simultaneous connections
- 24/7 customer support
- Transparent no-log policy
- Attractive pricing