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NordVPN vs Cyberghost: Which VPN Service Is Best For You

The two most popular VPN services on the market, NordVPN and CyberGhost, have been fighting for a long time in the communication field. What about performance, applications, and prices?

Here comes the long awaited duel in the VPN war. On one hand, NordVPN is the most popular brand in the genre due to its communication strength but also its renowned service; on the other hand, Cyberghost is the challenger, which also has its own arguments. Performance, prices, applications, or privacy policy, we made them compete on several criteria and only one will remain, but which one?

NordVPN

When it comes to NordVPN, chances are you’ve used it to watch your favourite YouTubers on the platform that bears their name. The service, which was started in 2012 by four cyber-enthusiasts, has unquestionably improved communication since its inception. Thanks to his efforts, a VPN based in Panama now boasts 14 million users, and that number is likely to rise in the near future. As of now, it is the dominant player in a highly competitive market.

NordVPN has always placed a high value on its ease of use, speed, and strict adherence to user privacy. There was an enormous data leak in 2018 that had no effect on customers, but it damaged the service’s reputation and tarnished its image. After a decade of development, NordVPN has finally released its NordLynx protocol for connecting to its servers in 2020. This protocol has significantly improved performance while excluding Wireguard, which is still very promising in terms of security.

Cyberghost

In 2004, a Romanian company called “Cyberghost SA” launched the first version of Cyberghost VPN. As the market for virtual private networks (VPNs) grew, so did the service’s subscription model. As a result of Crossrider’s acquisition of the VPN group in 2017, the company’s reputation was severely damaged. A healthy business model has been advocated by Cyberghost since its parent company’s defunct activities. Kape Technologies PLC was renamed in 2018 and owns other VPN services, such as ZenMate or Private Internet Access, which were previously owned by the group. Cyberghost now has 38 million users and relies on partnerships with influencers for its marketing strategy.

Specification

NordVPN Cyberghost
Servers5500+ servers in 60 countries8000+ servers in 91 countries
No logs policyNo logsNo logs
VPN protocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx)WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
Streaming servicesNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, BBC iPlayer
PlatformsWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, FirefoxWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox

Apps and Features

The main strength of NordVPN is the simplicity of its interface on PC, with a world map that is displayed from the start. You just have to walk around and click on the icon of a country to connect to it. This is also the case with the mobile application, which uses the same map principle. The sidebar or option panel also allows you to choose the country from which to connect and even from a particular city for countries offering it, which is mainly the case in the United States. Of course, there is no need to choose a country each time. The VPN offers to connect to the most optimized server according to its location. Another good point is that the speed of connection to a server is optimal, although we would have liked the possibility to get more information about the statistics when connecting to a server or the network protocol used. There is no list of servers dedicated to certain types of use, such as streaming or downloading in P2P outside the onion over IP.

For the mobile version, we appreciate the fact that the application is not very intrusive, with discreet notifications and an absence of unwanted ads. The other useful feature is the display of alert notifications against applications that can add a screen overlay and the potential exposure of your email address in case of hacking. For the latter, we would have liked to be able to do it with an address other than the account one. The convergence of applications is even better highlighted, as it is possible to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously with a single account.

CyberGhost also relies on a quality and complete application environment. As for the interface, the service could not be clearer, with the added bonus of a notable consistency between PC and mobile. On a PC, a simple click allows you to be directed to the nearest secure server and benefit from the best bandwidth while being protected. Of course, it is possible to choose the server of one’s choice from the list that indicates the precise distance from the location. There is no world map, as this would have tended to weigh down an already busy interface. The feature that stands out from the rest is the possibility to connect to specific servers for your use, such as SVOD streaming from abroad, gaming or torrent downloading. It is even possible to request a dedicated and static IP address according to those available in the country of your choice. You can also configure a DNS server and thus take advantage of all your bandwidth even if you are located abroad.

The mobile interface is a little simpler, but it has the same aesthetics and most of the options as its counterpart on PC, Mac, or Linux. It should be noted that it is possible to configure up to 7 devices on a single account, so you can share it with your family and friends.

Even if NordVPN has an intuitive and proven application experience, we prefer to give the point to Cyberghost, which offers a very complete software environment, pleasant to use and with more features.

Performance

With a global fleet of more than 5000 servers in 60 countries, NordVPN is one of the best established VPN services in the world, but this is not the central element of its communication. It is on the overall performance that it depends, and it must be recognized that they are there.

 DOWNLOAD (Mb/S)UPLOAD (Mb/S)Ping
WITHOUT VPN9156483
US SERVER71139989
JAPANESE37261237
HONG KONG 506160197
SOUTH AFRICAN29995185

Of all the VPN services we tested, NordVPN stands above the rest. The VPN manages to happily exceed 200 Mb/s with “relatively” low ping via servers located thousands of miles away. This is clearly one of its strengths and is largely due to its proprietary protocol called NordLynx. The latter is based on Wireguard and is described by the VPN as “more powerful and secure”. It’s hard to verify the veracity of this information as it stands, but it must be said that the numbers are there. On the other hand, NordVPN does not use servers located in authoritarian areas such as China or Iran.

NordVPN is also very comfortable with one of the main uses of this kind of service: streaming video from foreign catalogs of VOD platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, or Disney+. During our tests, there were no problems with program detection or even loss of quality. This is another good point to put to its credit.

On the Cyberghost side, too, performance is in the spotlight. The service puts much more emphasis than its competitors on its gigantic park of international servers: more than 9000 servers in over 90 countries. This is clearly the best in terms of numbers. However, this does not necessarily mean that the performance is better, even though the Wireguard protocol gives quite satisfactory results.

DOWNLOADUPLOADPing
WITHOUT VPN9226772
US SERVER190211279
JAPANESE1466460
HONG KONG1837377
SOUTH AFRICAN2318307

Even if the numbers don’t rival what its Challenger can offer, Cyberghost offers pretty good speeds. We did notice random numbers on the same server at different times of the day, resulting in some instability. The ping is also controlled on servers located in the same country, but it quickly rises well above 100 ms when you want to be located thousands of miles away. The experience is therefore correct to enjoy VOD services such as Netflix, Prime Video, or others in good conditions and in HD, but you should not count on game streaming via cloud gaming, the ping being much too high for this type of use.

At this point, it’s hard not to put NordVPN in the lead. CyberGhost is certainly not the slowest VPN on the market, but it struggles to keep up. We can’t wait for Wireguard’s optimization.

Privacy Policy and Pricing

Like most services, NordVPN assures that it does not keep any data about its users apart from basic information such as the email address or the user’s name. A “no logs policy” was hammered out as a plea to protect privacy on the Internet. But what does this mean in practice? First of all, it means that NordVPN does not know when you connect to the Internet, nor does it know the sites you visit or the content you download. In this sense, and also to measure the overall security of its system, it relies on four independent auditing companies that have conducted tests to determine the VPN’s security level.

This shows how important privacy protection is in addition to proving it transparently. We can therefore easily believe in NordVPN’s good faith on this subject, even if we have to point out that these security audits are a bit dated and would deserve an update. Note also that NordVPN is a company based in Panama, a state known not only for being a tax haven (not necessarily relevant in this case), but especially a state that does not apply the law of data retention at the international level and therefore outside the international alliances of digital intelligence.

All this undoubtedly has an impact on the prices, because even if it is not the most expensive VPN on the market, you still have to pay the sum of $83.76, or $3.49 per month on a two-year subscription (the most advantageous offer).

Cyberghost also claims a strict privacy policy and says it does not keep any logs or sensitive information. It even goes so far as to make it a marketing argument, taking an important place in its communication. Cyberghost’s head office is based in Romania, a country that is suitable for this type of service as it has not ratified the European directives concerning the law on data retention. Recently, Cyberghost even offers access to so-called “NoSpy” servers based in Romania, which are supposed to guarantee a higher level of security than servers based in other countries around the world. And this is where we have the right to ask the question: why is this not the case with all servers? Are they more vulnerable to data leakage? Are they less secure? less efficient? The vagueness is maintained and we have no way of verifying this, especially when we know that the security audits were carried out by Cyberghost itself and not by independent organizations. Even more disturbing is the fact that Cyberghost is now a subsidiary of Kape Technologies PLC, a group that has a background in adware, even if it is now moving away from it by investing heavily in cyber security. This simple doubt about Cyberghost’s user data privacy practices is enough to make us wary.

Despite this, and perhaps there is a link, the prices are rather low compared to the market standards: Cyberghost puts forward a 3-year offer with 3 months free for $77.61, or $1.99 per month. Prices are quite honest and below average.

Despite much higher rates, we chose to hand the point of this round to NordVPN, which does not negotiate its privacy policy, which for a VPN service is paramount. Cyberghost pays for its unclear policy regarding the retention of its users’ data even though its rates are among the most competitive on the market.

NordVPNCyberghost
Starting price$3.29/month$2.29/month
Money Back Guarantee30 days45 days
Number of devices67

Which VPN to choose?

There is a large amount of similarities between CyberGhost and NordVPN, whether it’s in terms of pricing or performance or features. In spite of the fact that both VPNs are quick and dependable, the fine print might make a big difference. All-around VPN CyberGhost is an excellent choice for those who want the best performance but don’t have the time or expertise to set it up yourself. Apple fanatics and torrent uploaders will also find it useful. Despite this, NordVPN has more servers and is a superior VPN service (although by a slim margin).

NordVPN is the winner of this duel at the top. The service has better performance and a strict privacy policy, which is respected to the letter despite prices that can be off-putting. Cyberghost offers a much more complete application experience, but suffers from poor performance and a confusing privacy policy. However, it wins the price war by a wide margin, which can be a significant argument for some.

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