CyberGhost VPN is an EU based VPN provider offering a range of plans with various bandwidth quotas. All of their VPN plans are essentially based on the OpenVPN protocol with SSL encryption, and they utilize a proprietary software application that includes a number of helpful features. CyberGhost VPN is quite popular in the EU, and very popular with folks that need free VPN. They have also packaged up a some nice extras with their pay VPN packages such as “Video Portal”, “AntiSpy”, and “Data Safe”. They are one of the few providers that actually separate their packages by download limit (quota) and bandwidth allotment (speed). They are also one of the few providers offering free VPN service, though it does have a strict download quota and low bandwidth.
The CyberGhost VPN packages are actually pretty simple, once you understand how to distinguish them. This is best done by looking at the available download limit (quota) and the allowed bandwidth (speed). These are the two biggest aspects that change with each plan. The least expensive plans limit your bandwidth to 6Mbit/sec. The most expensive plan has unlimited bandwidth (speed). The smallest quota is 20GB which increases to 50GB and maxes out at 80GB on the expensive plan. So basically what you have are packages on the low end with a speed limit (6Mbps) and a quota (20GB). There is a bit of a buzz kill with every plan though: once you hit the quota, your speed will decrease to only 512Kilobit/sec. But, they don’t disconnect you. Buzz kill averted? The quotas, although very real in terms of download limit, don’t actually prevent you from using the VPN. Just remember that 512Kilobit/sec is pretty slow and translates into 64Kilobyte/sec (link goes to a Learn article on unit conversion). You could still browse the web semi-comfortably on that – just don’t go streaming high definition video (link goes to a Learn article on streaming video speeds).
Software from CyberGhost VPN is required for access to their network. However it does add some really helpful features and it makes installation dead simple. Unfortunately the software itself is Windows only (Win7/Vista/XP), however you can get the service working with any OS that supports OpenVPN. Users on Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS will just need the configuration files from CyberGhost VPN. Sorry Mac and Linux users, though you could probably get it to work with a virtual environment. Inside of the software are the basics, including the main server listing, as well as status on the connection speed (good/fair/poor). Most CyberGhost VPN servers are located in Denmark, though they also have servers in the US, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Romania, and Russia. See what we mean about being a solid EU provider? Their headquarters are actually located in Romania! CyberGhost provides their complete server status via their website including the number of servers online and total users connected. As for security, you’re looking at 1024bit during authentication and 128bit on the data tunnel. This is fairly standard across the industry and should provide you with enough peace of mind that your online activities are private. CyberGhost also indicates they do not store the IP address of their clients. Our recommendation would be to stay clear of the US servers if you are worried about that type of logging though.
CyberGhost VPN also includes some extras with their service. Data Safe is an online personal storage feature. The size of the storage allowed scales with the plans you select at purchase. Video Portal is their video streaming extra that attempts to make online video streaming and viewing easier. They basically collect up all the free video available online from sources like Hulu or Fox.com and list it for you. Just click a show and select your episode. AntiSpy is your typical anti-spyware and anti-malware offering. It can help you lock down Windows, clear your history, lock down Internet Explorer, and even control Windows Media Player. Each extra is accessible through the Cyberghost VPN software. Altogether, they have some pretty solid extras with their packages!
The free service is OK, and is normally considered a good route to go if you absolutely need free VPN. However, when you compare the speed and quota limits, as well as the fact that you have to wait in line to login, and you have a limited choice of servers…well, the free version doesn’t come anywhere near their pay version. But don’t knock the free version when it stands on its own. As far as free versions go, CyberGhost VPN is pretty solid with a quick start, easy install, good protection, and decent speed (2Mbps). The free version is also a great way to get a feel for their service and software.
July 2011 Update: We have a quick tour of the CyberGhost VPN software features. Check out our CyberGhost VPN screenshots in our news bulletin.
|Cost per 1 Month||€6.99 to €16.99 (varies)|
|Cost per 3 Months||€16.99 to €39.99 (varies)|
|Cost per 6 Months||€27.99 to €69.99 (varies)|
|Cost per Year||€49.99 to €118.99 (varies)|
|Low Plan Term||1 Month|
|Low Plan Protocol||OpenVPN|
|Low Plan IP||Shared|
|Low Plan Cost||€6.99|
|Medium Plan Term||1 Month|
|Medium Plan Protocol||OpenVPN|
|Medium Plan IP||Shared|
|Medium Plan Cost||€11.99|
|High Plan Term||1 Month|
|High Plan Protocol||OpenVPN|
|High Plan IP||Shared|
|High Plan Cost||€16.99|
|Protocol L2TP IPSec|
|File Share P2P|