CyberGhost VPN Review (Free)

Summary
  • 7/10
    Features - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Speed & Reliability - 6/10
  • 6/10
    Security & Privacy - 6/10
  • 7/10
    Usability & Compatibility - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Support & Documentation - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Value for Money - 9/10
7.0/10

Summary

CyberGhost VPN has some limitation in speed but they offer a free service that provides enough power for light browsing and daily needs. It's not recommended for someone seriously focused on security or that needs a large bandwidth. Keep in mind that the review for CyberGhost VPN falls under the free VPN category.

This is a review of CyberGhost VPN FREE. For the Premium Service, check CyberGhost VPN Review 2015 (Premium)

CyberGhost VPN is a Romanian-based VPN provider that accents anonymity on the Internet over having access to geo-restricted content. They offer both premium/paid VPN accounts and free VPN access, of course, with quite a few limitations for the latter. We tested their free accounts and this is how it stacked up to the competition:

Features

CyberGhost VPN uses OpenVPN on port 9081/UDP as the only available protocol in the free version. The set-up is straight-forward as the user only has to download and install their proprietary software which includes a OpenVPN client and TUN/TAP Virtual Network Adapter Driver. The Software itself is not what you call sleek and it does tend to get a bit bloated with lots of options and graphical elements you don’t need. You can, for example, load up a streaming TV series, from Hulu, Netflix and the such, right from the Dialer’s UI (this is available only for the premium accounts with access to US-based Servers).

The Application is compatible with all major operating systems, both desktop and mobile (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android).

The Sign-up Process is straight-forward and the user is required to enter the desired user name and password. The application detects guessable passwords like “1234” and warns the user about the security risks of using weak passwords, suggesting to use the strong password generator included in the CyberGhost VPN software. The software gets some bonus points for using a Virtual Keyboard (on demand) to protect against key-loggers.

They use certificate authentication for OpenVPN (the certificates are automatically generated when you sign-up), which is more secure than user/pass authentication.

However, major points are lost due to the fact that (at least in the free version) the user is not allowed to select the desired server for the VPN connection. The application does this, on a geo-ip basis which means that this service, while great for providing anonymity and on-line security, is pretty much useless for those who want to access content that is not available in their respective regions.

It is also worth mentioning that the sign-up process does not ask for other details than a login and password (not asking for your name, address etc.): another bonus point.

Speed

Our speed tests were not as comprehensive as with other providers, solely because we could not select the desired server in the free version of the service.

CyberGhost VPN states that all free connections are limited to 1 Mbit/second bandwidth and our test reveals that their description is spot-on. We managed to get anywhere between 2 to 7 Megabits/second troughput in the flash-based speed tests (speedtest.net and alike – which are pretty inaccurate) but while we tried downloading large files from different locations around the globe, we only got 0.8 to 1.2 Mbit/second troughput.

Conclusions

CyberGhost VPN is a solid VPN provider, with a user-friendly application and decent offerings for the free accounts. They seem to be quite popular among VPN providers, claiming to have over 2 million users. Their Discussion Board is also big (counting over 13k users and over 26k messages as of today). The speed limit of 1 Mbps is enough for some light browsing.

While we liked the fact that it uses OpenVPN as the protocol for connection and that they do manage to offer 1 Mbps throughput, as described on their website, we did not appreciate the fact that we were not allowed to select any other server, except the closest to our location. For this, and the somehow bloated U.I. of the proprietary VPN connection software, CyberGhost VPN gets a 7 out of 10 rating.

We will review their paid VPN service at a later date.

10 Comments

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