Today we’ll be comparing Surfshark and CyberGhost, two well-known VPNs that support the new WireGuard protocol. While CyberGhost has gotten lots of good reviews, our testing shows Surfshark to be one of the top VPN services in the world. We’re going to find out if CyberGhost has what it takes to compete.
There are many ways to compare VPN services. Our goal is to give you the information that will be most important to choosing a strong, secure VPN that protects your privacy to the maximum extent possible. These are the categories we’re using today for this Surfshark and CyberGhost VPN comparison:
- Company and Jurisdiction
- Speed tests
- Security and Encryption
- Privacy and Logs
- Netflix, Streaming, and Torrenting
- Reliability and Support
- Price and Value
Ready? Let’s do it.
1. Company and Jurisdiction
When you use a VPN, you are counting on them to be secure and protect your privacy. That makes it important to know something about the company providing the service, as well as the jurisdiction it is based in. It doesn’t matter how good a VPN is technically if the company backing it is untrustworthy, or the country it is based in can force it to disclose your personal information.
Surfshark company and jurisdiction
Surfshark (full name Surfshark LTD) is a company based in the strong privacy jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The BVI, despite historical connections to the UK, is both politically and legally independent. They have strong privacy laws and are outside the jurisdictions of both the United States and European Union. Finally, they are not part of any international surveillance alliances, such as the Five Eyes.
The company, incorporated in 2018, has no history of privacy violations or security breaches that we have been able to uncover. Surfshark is also a transparent company with public-facing leadership, as you can read about on their website.
CyberGhost company and jurisdiction
CyberGhost is owned by Kape Technologies. Kape was formerly known as Crossrider, a company with a history of installing malware and adware on users’ computers. Why did the company change its name? According to this 2018 interview with Kape’s CEO, the company changed its name because the previous name was so strongly associated with their past activities. While it is certainly possible for a company to change the way it does business, a former malware and adware publisher is not our first choice for a company you need to trust with your privacy and security.
Company and Jurisdiction winner: Surfshark
2. Surfshark vs CyberGhost speed tests
VPN speeds are a major factor when selecting a VPN service. After all, slow internet speeds are a real pain — especially when streaming video, torrenting, gaming, or any other high-bandwidth activity.
Thanks to their adoption of the WireGuard protocol, Surfshark is now one of the fastest VPN services on the planet. CyberGhost VPN also recently adopted WireGuard, so let’s see if the ghost can run with the shark.
Note: All tests were run on a 500 Mbps internet connection from our US lab.
Test #1: Los Angeles
Here were the Surfshark results when we connected to a server in Los Angeles: 346 Mbps.
At over 300 Mbps, these are excellent speeds right out of the gate with Surfshark.
Here are the CyberGhost results for a connection to a server in LA: 32 Mbps.
Surfshark turned in very strong results while CyberGhost’s results were not very good at all.
Test #2: Seattle
Surfshark turned in these results for Seattle: 308 Mbps.
CyberGhost turned in these results for Seattle: 12 Mbps.
For the Los Angeles server location, we again see that CyberGhost is significantly faster than Surfshark by a wide margin.
Test #3: New York
Maybe CyberGhost can make up some ground on the long connection between our lab and New York City.
Surfshark New York results: 397 Mbps.
At nearly 400 Mbps, this is one of the fastest test results we have ever measured.
CyberGhost New York results: 46 Mbps.
With all of the servers we tested in the United States, Surfshark speeds were significantly faster than CyberGhost.
Test #4: United Kingdom
For our last test, we connected to servers in the United Kingdom. By this time it was pretty clear that Surfshark would be the winner. But the results surprised us.
We connected Surfshark to their server in Manchester, UK and got these results: 330 Mbps.
CyberGhost connected to a server in London, UK gave us these results: 6 Mbps. No, that isn’t a typo. Take a look at the screen capture below.
The surprise here was not that Surfshark turned in such good results. Indeed, we rate it as one of the best VPN services for the UK. The surprise was that CyberGhost was so incredibly terrible. Remember, the test was run on a 500 Mbps connection. They got 6 Mbps on a 500 Mbps connection. What would their results be like on a typical home internet connection?
Note: As you’ve seen, Surfshark turns in excellent results while using the WireGuard protocol. However, even with these fast WireGuard test results, it still came out in second place in the NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison — but not by much.
Speed test winner: Surfshark VPN by a mile.
3. CyberGhost vs Surfshark features
While speed is very important, it doesn’t matter how fast a VPN is, if it doesn’t have the features you need. In this section we do a quick run through the features provided by each VPN and pick the one that we think provides the best feature set. That said, you are the final arbiter of which features are most important to you so don’t be afraid to go against our pick if it lacks something you really want or need.
We’ve already touched on Surfshark’s support for the WireGuard protocol, which is responsible for their excellent speed test results. In addition to lightning speeds, WireGuard allows Surfshark to connect faster, and gives it better mobile performance when switching network interfaces.
So what else does Surfshark have to offer? Their network consists of over 3,200 servers in 65 countries. This network includes more than standard VPN servers. You also get access to:
- MultiHop (Double VPN) servers that encrypt traffic over two hops for extra security
- Camouflage mode (obfuscated) servers to conceal your VPN traffic from government censors and other blocks
- Surfshark Alert – This g you real-time alerts if your private information has been compromised (paid add-on feature)
- Kill switch – All Surfshark VPN apps have a kill switch to block traffic and leaks if the VPN connection ever drops.
- Surfshark Search – is a private search engine (paid add-on features)
- CleanWeb – blocks ads, trackers, and malware domains and is activated directly in the VPN app (see below)
The CleanWeb feature is a great VPN ad blocker because it will improve your privacy and security easily through the VPN. Additionally, this can improve speeds by blocking resources that ads and trackers take up.
You can connect to this high-end network from most anything you want thanks to the wide range of VPN apps they make available. Surfshark apps present a clean user interface that results in ease of use. Their apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android are clean and user-friendly. We noted in our Surfshark vs ExpressVPN comparison that these two VPNs have many similarities with the layout of the VPN apps.
Finally we have what might be the most popular feature of Surfshark: support for unlimited simultaneous connections. While most VPN providers limit you to having 5 or 6 devices connected to their network simultaneously, Surfshark places no limits. As we all end up with more and more tech in our homes (and on our persons), this unlimited connectivity will become more and more valuable.
One strong feature of CyberGhost is their number of servers and the distribution of their server network. According to the website, they currently have over 6,600 servers located in 88 countries. This is on par with NordVPN and IPVanish.
Note: Such a large number of servers would lead you to believe that the service would be faster than it is. During our complete CyberGhost review, we discovered that many of their servers are running at 75%, 100%, even 125% of rated capacity. This heavy loading probably explains their poor performance in speed tests.
Like Surfshark, CyberGhost provides apps for a large number of devices and operating systems. The apps include good DNS leak protection options and a kill switch. We didn’t find any leaks during our testing. They also include an ad blocking feature, but we strongly recommend against using it.
Instead of simply blocking ads and malicious content, the CyberGhost “ad blocker” does not even work on HTTPS websites, which is most of the internet today. Here is the CyberGhost desktop app we tested out:
CyberGhost also offers specific servers for different types of use cases, including streaming, torrenting, and gaming. Unfortunately, we found all of these different types of servers to offer mediocre performance at best.
Feature set winner: Surfshark
3. Security and Encryption
The security that a VPN provides must be as close to inviolable as possible. And the encryption used by VPN companies is a key determinant in how strong that security is. Here is a quick look at the security and encryption provided by each service.
Surfshark security and encryption
Surfshark provides excellent security for your VPN traffic with an AES-256 cipher (OpenVPN and IKEv2 VPN protocols). This is important if you need a VPN for Mac OS since these are the supported protocols.
If you use Surfshark’s WireGuard VPN protocol you’ll get enhanced security thanks to WireGuard’s use of the latest encryption technology. You can select WireGuard right in the settings area of the Surfshark VPN app.
Further boosting your security, Surfshark has converted all their servers to run in RAM-disk mode. This protects against physical seizure of servers and is a trend that’s also followed by NordVPN and ExpressVPN (but not CyberGhost).
To confirm their security, Surfshark commissioned an independent security audit that examined their browser extensions. The audit was conducted by Cure53, a German cybersecurity firm. You can get more details in our Surfshark review.
CyberGhost security and encryption
As we mentioned earlier, CyberGhost has added support for the WireGuard protocol. That is in addition to their earlier support of the OpenVPN, L2TP-IPSec, and PPTP protocols. We’re not big fans of those last two, but OpenVPN has been the VPN industry standard protocol for several years now. That means they support AES-256 ciphers like Surfshark does, as well as WireGuard’s state-of-the-art encryption. So far, so good.
When it comes to enhanced security features, CyberGhost is like the vast majority of VPN services. They are using standard servers instead of moving to RAM-disk (diskless) servers. Also like most VPN services, they have not yet published any third-party audits of their security. CyberGhost got the basics right, but Surfshark’s additional security features put them over the top.
Security and encryption: Surfshark
4. Privacy and Logs
Surfshark privacy and logs
In addition, Surfshark maintains a warrant canary to alert their users to anything that might infringe upon user privacy. As of January 4, 2021, the warrant canary showed no issues. This all sounds good. However, they have not yet completed an independent audit to confirm their no-logs policy. This puts Surfshark a step behind services like NordVPN and ExpressVPN which have conducted such audits.
CyberGhost privacy and logs
Combine this logging of connection data with Kape’s past history of installing adware and malware on users’ machines, and we’re not real confident that your privacy will be well-protected with this service.
Privacy and logs winner: Surfshark
5. Netflix, Streaming, and Torrenting
Some of the most popular uses of VPNs are streaming (especially Netflix) and torrenting (P2P downloading). Unless you are one of those few people who do not want to participate in these activities, you’re surely curious as to which service will win this category in our CyberGhost vs Surfshark battle.
Netflix and streaming
To be a good VPN for Netflix and streaming in general, the VPN needs the following characteristics:
- The ability to unblock the service or services you want to view.
- Sufficient speed to display HD video content without any interruptions or degraded video quality
Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for Netflix. It gives you access to at least 17 Netflix regional libraries, including the US, UK, Canada, and more. The following image shows Surfshark working with Netflix UK.
The same characteristics that make Surfshark work so well with Netflix make it one of the best VPNs for streaming period. Some of the other streaming services you can use are: BBC iPlayer, DAZN, Disney Plus, Hulu and many more.
CyberGhost isn’t as strong. They have some dedicated streaming servers that can sometimes get through to the Netflix US library — but that’s about it. In our tests, CyberGhost was blocked by US Netflix:
They’re not the worst service for streaming, but clearly not in the same league as Surfshark.
For torrenting, the most important characteristics are speed and security. Security is very important because some countries have laws against torrenting certain kinds of content. There have been many torrenters sued or fined because a copyright holder or government agency learned their identity when their IP address was leaked to the internet by their VPN.
We rate Surfshark as one of the best VPNs for torrenting. It is very fast, very secure, and allows torrenting (P2P downloads) on every server.
CyberGhost – Some VPNs offer dedicated P2P servers, such as we see with CyberGhost and NordVPN. In contrast, Surfshark and many other services support torrenting on all their servers. Overall, CyberGhost is not an ideal VPN for torrenting, namely because of the slow speeds.
Netflix, streaming, and torrenting winner: Surfshark
6. Reliability and Support
Surfshark was very reliable during our testing, and has a reputation for reliability. That said, it is good to know that if you do have a problem, Surfshark has a responsive 24/7 live chat support system. During our full Surfshark testing process, we found their customer support team to be fast and helpful.
As noted in the relevant sections of this article, CyberGhost was less reliable than Surfshark in that we ran into more problems with things like inability to unlock Netflix or other streaming services. That being the case, we’re happy to report that CyberGhost also gives you decent 24/7 live chat support. Their customer support team was quick to respond, replying to messages within 30 seconds every time we contacted them. While CyberGhost isn’t as solid a product as Surfshark, their customer support team can hold their own against the boys from the BVI.
Reliability and support winner: Surfshark
7. Price and Value
The price of a VPN service is easy enough to rate. CyberGhost offers low prices with different subscription tiers, as you can see below. The cheapest rate is $2.75 for the
Refunds – They offer a 14 day money-back guarantee on their 1-month plan and 45 day money-back guarantee on their longer plans. This is one of the most generous refund plans we’ve seen in the industry.
Surfshark also offers affordable price plans. In fact, they are one of the cheapest VPNs that is still a high-quality service. Here are the current prices:
Refunds – They give you a 30 day money-back guarantee. You’ll want to use the following discount coupon if you decide to try out Surfshark.
The value a service offers you depends somewhat on what you plan to do with it. Some VPNs are better at certain things than others. Then there are situations like this one. Putting it bluntly, Surfshark is better at everything than CyberGhost. And it supports unlimited devices connected simultaneously while costing less at every price point.
Note: If you want to save some money on a VPN subscription, check out our active VPN coupons guide.
Price and value winner: Surfshark
There isn’t much to say here: Surfshark is the superior product in every category we examined.
It is also one of the best VPN services in the world. At the time of this review, NordVPN was the only VPN service we might consider to be superior to Surfshark.
If you want to test drive this VPN, be sure to grab the discount below for the best prices. And remember you have 30 days to change your mind and get a 100% refund, no questions asked.
Have you used either Surfshark or CyberGhost? If so, leave your honest (good or bad) review below to help others.
Related comparison: ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost