The CyberGhost VPN team has been working for years to help protect the privacy of Internet users around the world. More than 10 million people have used the VPN service. CybeGhost is based in Romania and has hundreds of servers located spread across 29 countries. CyberGhost 6 promises to be 30% faster and use 80% less resources. Today we’re going to put their new client software to the test and see just how well it performs.
Free vs. Premium VPN Service
The fist thing you’ll notice when checking out CyberGhost is that the company offers both free and premium VPN services. As you might guess, there are differences between the free and paid versions. For starters you will gain faster access to larger number of server locations if you sign up for premium VPN access. Let’s take a look at more of the differences between the free and paid CyberGhost account:
- Ad-supported (ads from CyberGhost)
- Access to 197 servers in 14 countries
- Connect with only 1 device
- Speeds are limited
- No advertising (ad blocker included)
- Access to 653 servers in 28 countries
- Connect with up to 5 devices
- Up to 5 times faster than the free service
- Malicious website protection
The paid VPN service is priced right in line with other leading VPN providers. You can save quite a bit with the CyberGhost special promotions. Here’s a look at their current special:
As you can see the discounts increase along with the term. Regardless of which term you select, the service is available using a number of payment options. You can pay for CyberGhost using credit card, PayPal, PayNearMe, wire transfer, or check / money order.
VPN Server Locations
Your access to the CyberGhost network depends on whether you are using the service free or pay for a premium account. For starters paid members have access to more countries and exclusive servers that are up to 5 times faster. Let’s take a look at the full list of server location for both free and paid users.
Countries available to free and paid members:
- Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Noway, Poland, Romania, United States.
Countries that are exclusive to paid members:
- Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Iceland, Japan, Lithuania, Sweden, Singapore, Ukraine.
Once again the level of customer support is based on your account status. The CyberGhost team offer general support for free users. The general support consists of access to their website which includes a FAQ sections and troubleshooter to help you find answers to common questions. For more help you would need to upgrade to a paid plan. That gives you access to their premium support. As a paid member you can submit support tickets to get answers directly from their tech support team.
CyberGhost VPN Speed Test
Since we know a lot of people will start with the free VPN service we went ahead and used it for our speed tests. We should mention that you should expect to wait when connecting to the service. Free users are queued in so it can take some time to connect. We tested servers in Miami and London. Here are the results:
- CyberGhost US speed test – after connecting to a VPN server in Miami we tested our Internet speed and found it to be 39.66 Mbps download and 8.45 Mbps upstream.
- CyberGhost UK speed test – we also tested a connection to a VPN server in London and our Internet speed was 20.55 Mbps download and 5.13 Mbps upstream.
- Conclusion – CyberGhost performed well in both our US and UK speed tests. Note: you can expect any VPN to slow your connection some as the traffic is being encrypted.
CyberGhost 6 : Hands-On Testing
Now that we’ve talked about all the differences between the free and paid service it’s time to take a look at the latest CyberGhost 6 software release. This will help you decide whether or not the VPN service will meet your needs.
When you initially launch CyberGhost 6 the user interface will welcome you to the software. This is where you can choose your purpose. As you can see there are a number of options only available to premium users. If you login with a free account it will show a “Premium” badge over unblock streaming, torrent anonymously, and choose my VPN server. You will need to upgrade to make use of these options.
The first thing we wanted to do was connect to the service so we chose “surf anonymously” and let the client select a server location. After queueing up for awhile it connected us to a server in Miami, Florida.
The above image is an example of the ads you will see when using the free version of CyberGhost. We didn’t find it near as obtrusive as Hotspot Shield. In contrast it is displayed while you wait to connect. They also display ads for the service at other times when you have the client open but it’s only for their premium VPN. There are no ads for other products or services.
Once connected you will be presented with a screen showing the new IP address assigned to you. At this point we were browsing the web from an IP address in Miami. As far as websites could tell we were located in Florida.
The “surf anonymously” option is the easiest way to connect to the VPN network. Premium users can take things a step further and unblock streaming sites in other countries.
The key to the “unblock streaming” section of CyberGhost 6.0 is the ability to select a country. For example, you can choose between the United States, Germany, and United Kingdom for Amazon Prime. This gives you the ability to switch regions which opens unique content. At the time of our testing the client did not include an option for Netflix. We assume the service is blocked since Netflix has been working very hard to block VPNs.
Here a look at the websites available in the unblock streaming section:
- BBC, YouTube, YouTube Red, Amazon Prime Video, 7TV, Canal+, CBS, Comedy Central. ESPN, Eurosport, Fox, Hulu, MTV, NBC, Pandora, Sky Go, Spotify, Zattoo, and ZDE Mediathek.
The next area of the CyberGhost 6.0 client we’ll look at is titled “Protect my WiFi connection” and gives you options to customize.
You can tell the software whether or not to block malicious websites, block ads, block online tracking, use data compression, automated HTTPS redirect, and extra speed. Enabling any of these extra features will require you to upgrade to a premium account.
The “Torrent Anonymously” option also requires a paid account. Premium VPN users can connect to servers that allow anonymous P2P access. The client will let you launch an additional program when the VPN connects. This will safe you time by firing up your torrent client once the VPN is connected.
The next option, Unblock Basic Websites, is available to free users. This is a good option to use to access popular social media sites.
Choosing “Unblock Basic Websites” will help you unblock access to websites including Google, Facebook, Wikileaks, CNN, Instagram, Euronews. Twitter, WordPress, and Wikipedia.
The final option in CyberGhost 6.0 let’s you choose your own VPN server. As the name suggests this option let’s you select any server location. It is only available to premium users.
This section of the client resembles others we use on a daily basis. It gives you easy access to any country. You can see which server location support torrent. Premium users will also see a ping time for each server. The final column will let you set favorite servers for future use. Along with viewing all servers you can also narrow down your search to servers with the fewest users, most users, fastest servers, nospy server located in the CyberGhost headquarters in Romania, and servers that support P2P / torrent use.
CyberGhost 6 offers basic VPN access to free users along with a number of extra features for premium members. We really like their Windows client. It’s probably the best user interface we’ve seen so far. With plans starting at $6.99 a month their prices are right in line with other leading VPN services. The CyberGhost team runs regular promotions that bring the price down even more. We’ve tested faster services but CyberGhost is right up there with most the providers we’ve reviewed. The free service is usable but we recommend the premium plan for anyone who plans to use the VPN on a regular basis.