What is a quality VPN

Cyberghost VPN put to the test

Frank Ziemann

Cyberghost offers a VPN service that is supposed to provide privacy protection from surveillance and a certain anonymity. We tested Cyberghost VPN to give you a comprehensive impression.

A VPN service should protect its users from government surveillance, protect privacy and enable access to blocked websites. Cyberghost VPN is a VPN provider based in Romania. Like ZenGuard (ZenMate), the company belongs to the Israeli security company Kape Technologies, which is registered on the Isle of Man. The Cyberghost VPN software is largely developed in Germany. Cyberghost offers various tariffs that range from monthly billing to an annual subscription to a three-year package.

>> Current offer: Cyberghost VPN for 2, - Euro per month

The VPN software is in German and its use is not a mystery. It is available for Windows (from Vista SP2), macOS, iOS and Android. There is a text-based console application for Linux. Apps for Amazon Fire Stick and Android TV as well as extensions for Firefox and Chrome are also available. Help pages explain the setup and use with other devices, such as Linux computers or routers with OpenWRT.

Like most VPN providers, Cyberghost states that it does not store any logs of the use of its services (no-logs policy). However, Exodus Privacy finds seven trackers in the Android app. These include four Google trackers as well as AppsFlyer, MixPanel and Instabug. Instabug collects crash data for app developers in the event of app crashes.

Settings
For the connection to the VPN node, Cyberghost supports the OpenVPN, IKEv2 and L2TP protocols. For OpenVPN you can switch from UDP to TCP, which improves the stability of the connection but can reduce the speed. Normally, however, you don't have to worry about it. Cyberghost prevents so-called DNS leaks by using its own DNS server during the VPN connection. Like almost all VPN services, Cyberghost claims not to keep logs of user activity. There is also no throttling of the bandwidth or the data volume.

>> Current offer: Cyberghost VPN for 2 euros per month

In the program window you select the desired location from around 7000 servers distributed in more than 90 countries around the world and click the button to connect. After the connection has been established, all of your Internet activities, encrypted with the AES method (256 bit), are routed through this server. If necessary, you can set which programs should not use the VPN connection. You can switch to another server in another country at any time.

Cyberghost VPN also offers special servers for certain services, such as servers optimized for video streaming. This includes, for example, servers for BBC iPlayer, Eurosport or Sky Go in Great Britain as well as Netflix, ESPN, Hulu and others in the USA. The use of such partly chargeable services requires that you have an access account for them. When traveling abroad, you can connect to a German server that enables access to the media libraries of German TV stations. Cyberghost also offers servers optimized for torrents in currently over 50 countries.

Video streaming providers such as Netflix try sometimes quite rigorously to prevent access via VPN servers. They also work with IP blocks, i.e. block the servers of the VPN services in a targeted manner. As a result, VPN providers like Cyberghost make an effort to add new IP addresses all the time. If you cannot use the desired streaming service via the selected VPN server, switch to another server. If that doesn't work either, you can get help from the support of the VPN provider.

The Cyberghost software for Windows also offers various protection functions that you can switch on if necessary. You can activate an ad blocker, block potentially harmful websites or tracking measures, activate automatic redirection to the HTTPS version of a website or use data compression. An automatic "KillSwitch", which can be switched off, disconnects the VPN connection as soon as problems are detected. This prevents you from suddenly surfing the net unprotected.

Android
The same VPN servers are available for Android devices, divided into countries, streaming servers and your own favorites - only the torrent server category is missing. You can simultaneously select different locations for different devices independently of each other. There are fewer setting options in the Cyberghost VPN app for Android than in Windows. The KillSwitch is automatically on and, like other security settings, cannot be switched off. You can define the behavior of the VPN app for WLAN use. For example, it can automatically establish a VPN connection with open WLANs or a previously unknown WiFi hotspot, but it can refrain from doing this with home WLAN.

The so-called “App Split Tunnel” enables you to allow selected apps to bypass the VPN tunnel and communicate directly with the Internet. This can be helpful, for example, if the mail app (supposedly) accesses GMail from abroad and Google therefore generates warnings. As in the Windows client, you can activate protection functions against tracking, online advertising and dangerous websites. With a cell phone tariff with little data volume, data compression can help save a little.

Test drive
After selecting a location, the Cyberghost VPN client establishes the connection, which takes a little longer than with one or the other of its competitors. If you choose a streaming server in Austria, you can watch broadcasts on ORF TVthek that are actually only available from Austria. That worked without any problems in the test. The BBC iPlayer with a suitable British server did not run quite as smoothly - the data rate was not always sufficient for HD quality. The loading times for accessed web pages are also relatively long. During the test period, the BBC servers finally refused access to iPlayer content. Remedy: Change browser or delete cache and cookies, then it worked again.

>> Current offer: Cyberghost VPN for 2, - Euro per month

However, there were no problems with Netflix US and the VPN server provided for it. Content that is not available on Netflix DE can be played smoothly in HD. The file host ZippyShare, which blocks users from Germany and some other EU countries, can be reached via a VPN location in another European country, such as Switzerland.

The speed losses caused by VPN compared to an unprotected connection are bearable. They are usually in the single-digit percentage range or a little higher. Establishing a connection can sometimes take a while, especially on weekends and in the evening. Then most of the users are on the network and cause a high load. When selecting a server, Cyberghost VPN shows how busy a server is. Choose one of the less loaded servers for more throughput. The Android app establishes connections to a VPN server faster than the Windows client.

➤The best VPN services in 2021

Prices
If you want to use Cyberghost VPN, you can choose from several tariffs. The monthly subscription costs 11.99 euros, the annual subscription 45 euros. You currently get the best deal if you choose the 3-year subscription: Here you only pay 2 euros per month - or 78 euros for 3 years. You can protect up to seven devices with one subscription.

A 45-day money-back guarantee applies to all longer-term tariffs. The payment options range from PayPal to credit card and SEPA direct debit to Bitcoin. You can try Cyberghost VPN for free for 24 hours. All you need to do is register with your email address. However, some premium features such as dedicated streaming servers are not available in the free trial.

offer : The VPN service Cyberghost currently offers a cheap package: Protect your privacy and your devices for only 2 euros per month (Offer applies to a 3-year package).

To the offer: Cyberghost VPN for 2, - Euro per month