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 check: 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 going back many years. It has a squeaky clean track record and has never suffered from public security issues or data controversies, such as with IPVanish or PureVPN (logging scandals). Unlike CyberGhost, ExpressVPN has also passed independent audits for both security and also to 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 as a Romanian VPN service developed by a team of German and Romanian engineers. In 2017, however, CyberGhost was acquired Crossrider. Crossrider (now Kape) has a history of producing malware and infecting devices through software bundles. Since then, Crossrider has also purchased Zenmate VPN and later changed its name to Kape Technologies. A few years ago we learned that Private Internet Access was also acquired by Kape.
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 Kape, which is based in Israel, 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.
Background check winner: ExpressVPN
2. ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost speeds
Speeds are a huge consideration for VPN users. After all, what good is a VPN that is too slow and interferes with everything you do online?
All of the speed tests for this comparison guide were conducted on a 500 Mbps internet connection using the official VPN apps. For each VPN service, I used the fastest VPN protocol available.
- ExpressVPN offers the Lightway protocol, which is faster than OpenVPN and others.
- CyberGhost has WireGuard, which usually outperforms all other VPN protocols.
I ran tests with server locations around the United States and the UK where each VPN had a presence.
Test #1: Seattle
ExpressVPN server in Seattle: 136 Mbps
CyberGhost server in Seattle: 12 Mbps
Right out of the gate we see ExpressVPN has a big speed advantage over CyberGhost, which is really struggling with speeds.
Test #2: Los Angeles
ExpressVPN server in Los Angeles: 209 Mbps
CyberGhost VPN server in Los Angeles: 32 Mbps
Another slow speed test result from CyberGhost, while ExpressVPN delivers over 200 Mbps. So far, ExpressVPN is really outperforming CyberGhost in the speed category.
Test #3: New York
ExpressVPN server in New York: 214 Mbps
At over 200 Mbps, this is another good speed test result from ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost server in New York: 46 Mbps
While this is slightly better than our previous CyberGhost speed tests, it is still not very good. Again we see that ExpressVPN is much faster than CyberGhost for this server location.
Test #4: United Kingdom
ExpressVPN server in UK: 235 Mbps
CyberGhost server in UK: 6 Mbps
With single digit speeds, we must conclude that CyberGhost is not the best VPN for the UK if you value performance. Meanwhile, ExpressVPN turned in the fastest speed test result so far with 235 Mbps.
It’s clear that ExpressVPN outperforms CyberGhost and was the winner in every server location with much faster speeds. And while ExpressVPN is faster than CyberGhost, it did not fare quite as well in the Surfshark vs ExpressVPN comparison. (Surfshark’s implementation of WireGuard is even faster than ExpressVPN with Lightway.)
Speed winner: ExpressVPN
Note: ExpressVPN remains on the upper end of the speed spectrum. It also came out on top in our 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 $3.49 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 for a low-cost VPN, particularly with Surfshark and NordVPN, which are both cheaper than ExpressVPN.
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 discounted prices with the coupon above:
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 and you’re good to go.
Price and Refund Winner: CyberGhost wins this category simply because it is cheaper
Note: See also the CyberGhost vs Surfshark comparison, where Surfshark comes out much cheaper.
4. Features: ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost
Both CyberGhost and ExpressVPN offer a diverse lineup of features.
First we will examine CyberGhost. Below you can see the CyberGhost Windows VPN app I tested for this comparison:
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. Because most sites are now HTTPS, the ad blocker is basically useless. (See the best VPN ad blockers here.)
- Leak protection – The CyberGhost VPN apps offer built-in leak protection settings (kill switch).
- User profiles – You can select from different user profiles, such as torrenting, streaming, gaming, etc.
Now let’s compare this to ExpressVPN’s features.
In comparison to CyberGhost, ExpressVPN offers more features for all types of users. Below is the ExpressVPN Windows app we tested. You can see it is user-friendly and easy to use, with a large connection button right in the center and is one of our favorite VPNs for PC operating systems.
Here are some of the features 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 one of our top picks if you need the best VPN for Chrome.)
- Media Streamer – This app is ideal for a wide range of streaming devices, including as Smart TVs. It also works if you need a VPN for Apple TV.
- 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 and 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 did 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:
What about other services? I found that CyberGhost is not a good VPN for Amazon Prime streaming, since it was blocked. Additionally, it is not a good VPN for Hulu, with slow speeds. CyberGhost claims to be a good VPN for streaming, but I did not find that to be the case in my own testing.
Note: CyberGhost was also beat out in the streaming category in our NordVPN vs CyberGhost comparison.
ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs 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 through an ExpressVPN server in Washington DC.
ExpressVPN is currently one of our top recommendations if you need a VPN to unblock Netflix. It unblocks numerous Netflix regions around the world and also works with many other streaming services. You can use this VPN for Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more.
Tip: On the topic of streaming, you can also use VPNs to purchase cheaper subscriptions to streaming services. We discuss this in our Netflix price guide.
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 with OpenVPN:
- 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.
Additionally, both CyberGhost and ExpressVPN support some newer VPN protocols:
- CyberGhost supports the WireGuard VPN protocol, which now uses the ChaCha20 cipher.
- ExpressVPN supports the Lightway protocol, which is similar to WireGuard, and uses the ChaCha20 cipher or AES-256 cipher (depending on the operating system you are using).
Although these encryption levels are very similar, ExpressVPN has the slight edge with the authentication.
ExpressVPN has undergone two separate third-party audits:
- An audit of their browser extensions was conducted by Cure53, a German cybersecurity firm.
- An audit of their privacy protection systems and no-logs policies was done by PricewaterhouseCoopers. (This is discussed more in the no logs VPN guide.)
Based on my research for this comparison, 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 to 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.
CyberGhost does not run any of its servers in RAM-disk mode. It scores lower than ExpressVPN in the area of server security as well.
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 and infecting devices with packaged software bundles.
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
ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are both popular VPN services that are recommended on many sites. Nonetheless, there was a clear winner in this CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN comparison guide.
ExpressVPN came out on top in nearly every category tested:
- Company background and jurisdiction: ExpressVPN
- Speed tests: ExpressVPN
- Price: 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 – an area where CyberGhost is really lacking.
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 try, 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 guide.
Have you used either ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN? If so, leave your experience below in the comments to help others.