CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are both large VPN services with many users – but which one comes out on top in back-to-back testing?
In this CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN comparison guide, we’ll take a close look at each VPN as well as in-depth test results. These tests revealed a clear winner. Here are the areas we’ll examine:
- Company background and jurisdiction
- Speed tests
- Security and Encryption
Now let’s dive in.
1. Company background and jurisdiction: ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost
When you select a VPN, you put a lot of trust in the service to secure your traffic and data. Therefore it is only prudent to ensure you are going with a reputable provider with a clean track record. With this in mind, we’ll examine both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.
ExpressVPN background and jurisdiction
ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service with an excellent reputation in the industry. It has a squeaky clean track record and has never suffered from public security issues or data controversies, such as with IPVanish or PureVPN (logs cases). Unlike CyberGhost, ExpressVPN has also passed independent audits for security and to also verify the no-logs policy.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. This is an ideal jurisdiction for privacy because the BVI has no data retention laws and is not a member of any surveillance alliances. We also see other VPNs incorporating here, such as with Surfshark, due to the favorable privacy laws.
CyberGhost background and jurisdiction
CyberGhost started out as a Romanian VPN service developed by a team of German and Romanian technicians. In 2017, however, the company sold out to Crossrider. Crossrider is the infamous company with a history of producing malware and infecting devices through software bundles. Since then, Crossrider has purchased Zenmate VPN and changed its name to Kape Technologies. Last year we learned that Private Internet Access also sold out to Kape/Crossrider.
With the troubling ties between these VPN services and a parent company that has a history of producing malware, I am no longer recommending PIA or CyberGhost. (CyberGhost also did not do well in testing for the CyberGhost VPN review.)
Despite being owned by an Israeli parent company (Kape), CyberGhost officially lists its jurisdiction as Romania. Romania appears to be a good jurisdiction and is home to other VPN services, such as VPN.ac.
2. ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost speeds
Speeds are a huge consideration for VPN users. After all, what good is a VPN that is simply too slow and interferes with everything you do online?
In my recent review of ExpressVPN, I could consistently get speeds that were close to my full baseline (non-VPN) speed of 160 Mbps. However, with my latest tests of CyberGhost, speeds were not very good. Let’s see who comes out on top in the CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN speed tests.
Note: My baseline download speed for all tests was 160 Mbps. I used the OpenVPN protocol for testing in the ExpressVPN and CyberGhost apps.
CyberGhost: First I tested a CyberGhost server in Germany that gave me 78 Mbps.
Given my baseline speed of 160 Mbps, this is definitely not great.
ExpressVPN: I connected to an ExpressVPN server in Germany and got much better speed test results in comparison to CyberGhost: 144 Mbps.
Next, I decided to test some servers in the United Kingdom. In my CyberGhost review, I found that UK servers were often congested and slow.
CyberGhost UK server: 56 Mbps
Suffice to say, CyberGhost is not the best VPN for the UK. This was another disappointing speed test.
Now for the comparison with ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN: Using an ExpressVPN server in the UK, I was able to get around 147 Mbps.
With all of the servers I tested in Europe, ExpressVPN outperformed CyberGhost by a large margin.
Next, I tested servers in the United States and Canada, which were further from my physical location in Europe, but the results were similar.
CyberGhost server in New York: 76 Mbps
This isn’t too bad when you consider the longer distance – but it’s also not great.
ExpressVPN server in New York: 140 Mbps
As before, ExpressVPN provided significantly faster speeds on all servers in the United States and Canada. It is currently ranked as the best VPN for Canada with the fastest and most consistent speeds.
Speed winner: ExpressVPN
Note: These test results were also not very surprising. ExpressVPN consistently outperforms other leading VPN services, as you can see in the ExpressVPN vs IPVanish speed comparisons.
3. Prices and refunds: CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN
In this section we’ll take a close look at both price and value (what you get for your money).
CyberGhost price – CyberGhost definitely costs less than ExpressVPN, with the cheapest plan coming in at $3.50 per month for the two-year subscription.
Although CyberGhost is affordable with long-term subscriptions, it certainly is not the best cheap VPN with the problems we’ve identified so far. There are better options in this category, particularly with NordVPN.
CyberGhost refund policy – CyberGhost currently has a tiered refund policy. If you go with a one-month CyberGhost VPN subscription, you will have a 14 day refund window. If you go with a CyberGhost subscription that is 6 months or more, you will get a 45 day refund window.
Now we will compare CyberGhost to ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN price – ExpressVPN offers reasonable prices, but they are still more expensive than CyberGhost. Fortunately, you can use this 49% off coupon, which includes three months free and drops the price down to $6.67 per month. Here are the reduced prices with the discount:
ExpressVPN refund policy – ExpressVPN provides a 30 day money-back guarantee on all subscription plans. There are no exceptions, fine print, or special rules for receiving your money back, simply request a refund within 30 days.
Price and Refund Winner: CyberGhost wins this category simply because it is cheaper
4. Features: ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost
Both CyberGhost and ExpressVPN offer a diverse lineup of features.
First we will examine CyberGhost. Although CyberGhost is a basic VPN service without too many frills, it does offer these features:
- Ad blocking – It’s tough to call this a feature, since I found it to only work on HTTP sites. Since most sites are now HTTPS, the ad blocker is basically useless.
- Leak protection – The CyberGhost VPN apps offer built-in leak protection settings.
- User profiles – You can select from different user profiles, such as torrenting, browsing, etc.
Now let’s compare this to ExpressVPN’s features.
In comparison to CyberGhost, ExpressVPN offers more features for all types of users. Here is what you get with ExpressVPN:
- Network Lock kill switch – This is an advanced leak protection setting to ensure all traffic is blocked if anything disrupts the VPN connection (thereby keeping your data secure). It protects you against IPv4 leaks, IPv6 leaks, and DNS leaks.
- Split tunneling – This feature allows you to route specified apps or websites to go outside the VPN tunnel. This feature is available for Windows, Mac OS, and routers.
- Browser extensions that incorporate HTTPS Everywhere. (ExpressVPN is our top pick if you need a VPN for Chrome.)
- Media Streamer – This app is ideal for a wide range of streaming devices, including as Smart TVs.
- Router app – ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that offer a dedicated router app. This allows you to switch locations and it also supports split tunneling on your network.
- 24/7 live chat support – This is always helpful if you need assistance with anything at all.
- Obfuscation – ExpressVPN offers obfuscation features to effectively hide your VPN traffic. This allows you to use the VPN in places where VPNs are blocked. This makes it one of the best VPNs for China.
Another big consideration with features is streaming, which we’ll cover next.
Features winner: ExpressVPN
5. Streaming and Netflix: CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN
Streaming media is a big reason that many people are using VPNs. Whether it’s watching episodes of Netflix or streaming shows from BBC iPlayer with a VPN, it is now easy to get full access to media, wherever you are located in the world.
CyberGhost – With my latest round of tests for the review, I found CyberGhost to not work well with streaming. Aside from some connectivity issues, I noticed that CyberGhost was getting blocked by Netflix, even when connected to the dedicated Netflix VPN server in the US:
Additionally, I also found that CyberGhost is not a good VPN for Amazon Prime streaming, since it was blocked. CyberGhost claims to be a good VPN for streaming, but I did not find that to be the case.
ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is arguably the best VPN for streaming with 24/7 access to Netflix and many other streaming channels around the world.
Below I’m using ExpressVPN to stream US Netflix from my location in Europe.
ExpressVPN is currently the best VPN to unblock Netflix. It unblocks numerous Netflix regions around the world and also works with many other streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and more. (It’s also one of the best VPNs for streaming media in general.)
Streaming winner: ExpressVPN
6. ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Security and Encryption:
In terms of security, both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost passed the basic leak tests (an explanation on testing procedures can be found in the VPN test guide).
I did not find any leaks with either VPN service when testing the Windows and Mac OS apps.
With encryption, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are pretty comparable:
- CyberGhost: AES-256 cipher, SHA-256 hash authentication, and a 4096-bit RSA key.
- ExpressVPN: AES-256 cipher, SHA-512 HMAC authentication, and a 4096-bit RSA key.
Although these encryption levels are very similar, ExpressVPN has the slight edge.
ExpressVPN has undergone two separate third-party audits:
- An audit of their browser extensions, which was conducted by Cure53 in Berlin.
- An audit of their privacy protection systems and no-logs policies, which was done by PricewaterhouseCoopers. (This is discussed more in the no logs VPN guide.)
To the best of my knowledge, CyberGhost has not completed any third-party audits.
VPN server security
ExpressVPN really excels in the area of server security. In 2019, they converted their entire network over to only run in volatile RAM memory. This means that their server network does not run on hard drives, which can be a security and privacy risk. With RAM memory, nothing can be stored on the server, which means server data cannot be seized by third parties. ExpressVPN refers to this feature as TrustedServer.
To my knowledge, CyberGhost does not run any of its servers in RAM-disk mode.
Security winner: ExpressVPN
7. Privacy: CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN
In terms of privacy, is CyberGhost VPN or ExpressVPN the best choice?
CyberGhost – CyberGhost has a few issues that I noticed in the privacy category:
- I found that CyberGhost’s website uses invasive tracking measures. I observed session recording scripts for Hotjar on their site, which record everything a visitor does.
- CyberGhost’s ad blocker does not stop tracking on HTTPS websites, as we covered before.
- CyberGhost’s parent company (Kape Technologies, formerly Crossrider) has a history of distributing malware for data collection.
If you are looking for a good VPN for privacy, CyberGhost may not be the best choice.
ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is a solid choice for privacy. It is one of the few no logs VPN services that have been tested, audited by an independent third party, and also verified. Outside verification of logs is also a trend we’ve seen with NordVPN and PIA.
Although ExpressVPN does use Google Analytics on their site (as does CyberGhost), they do not use any invasive session recording scripts like CyberGhost does with Hotjar.
ExpressVPN’s privacy features ensure your identity and online activities stay secure and out of the hands of third parties.
Privacy winner: ExpressVPN
Conclusion: ExpressVPN wins
While ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are both popular VPN services that are recommended on many sites, there was a clear winner in this comparison guide.
ExpressVPN came out on top in nearly every category tested:
- Company background and jurisdiction: ExpressVPN
- Speed tests: ExpressVPN
- Prices: CyberGhost
- Features: ExpressVPN
- Streaming and Netflix: ExpressVPN
- Security and Encryption: ExpressVPN
- Privacy: ExpressVPN
While CyberGhost is the winner in the price category, because it is cheaper, the key consideration is value. In terms of value, the question to ask is: Which VPN offers a better value for your money?
ExpressVPN outperformed CyberGhost by a wide margin, while also unblocking Netflix and offering more security features. Additionally, ExpressVPN has also passed independent audits, which gives it a big boost in the trust category.
When you consider overall performance, security, and features, I would say ExpressVPN offers the best value, even though it is a bit more expensive.
If you want to give ExpressVPN a shot, there are currently offering the following discount coupon:
If you are looking for a VPN that is around the same price as CyberGhost, then NordVPN would probably be a good fit. Check out the NordVPN coupon page for the latest discounts and deals.
For additional recommendations, you can see the best VPN services for 2020.
Have you used either ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN? If so, leave your experience below in the comments to help others.