CyberGhost VPN Review – Protect Your Online ID, Access Unavailable Content
key review info
- Application: CyberGhost VPN 188.8.131.52
- Reviewed on:
- Comfortable and intuitive interface
- (8 more, see all...)
Anonymous Internet surfing comes with a lot of benefits, from preventing marketing organization groups from analyzing browsing behavior, to accessing content which is otherwise unavailable to specific geographical locations.
CyberGhost VPN provides such a gateway, giving users the possibility to reach a virtual address in another country to freely surf the web without such restrictions.
The utility uses the secure AES-256 algorithm to establish a virtual private network and offers a list of available countries and IP addresses to link to. It also sports a few handy settings for blocking online content, preventing data analysis of other parties, and making exceptions. CyberGhost works not only for PCs, but for smartphones and tablets too, thus ensuring round-the-clock online anonymity across all devices.
License type, installation, interface
The demo version is free to use for unlimited time, while keeping in mind that some restrictions apply, such as limited servers, countries and session time. The premium edition with all these features unlocked can be purchased for $39.99 / €29.99.
Installing the application is a speedy and simple task, since it contains familiar settings. The only notable aspect about it is that it will offer to install a network adapter, required to connect to the Internet via VPN (unless it is already installed). By default, CyberGhost automatically runs at system startup.
View the real IP address and connect to an anonymous one
It is wrapped in an attractive and highly intuitive interface that contains a few buttons, since the app is capable of connecting to another server with minimal user assistance. An icon is created in the system tray area to allow users to quickly exit the tool or bring up the configuration panel. It also indicates the connection status and IP address, popping up notifications when protection is enabled or disabled.
The most part of the main window shows a map and the computer's real location (country and IP address), while the bottom side of the screen holds two buttons for reaching another country and IP address, in addition to a big button that resembles power mode which enables CyberGhost to immediately create a secure connection.
Automatic settings or custom country and IP address
The simplest way to reach a new IP address is by clicking the power button to let CyberGhost apply automatic settings; it will link the computer to the nearest and fastest address it finds. Otherwise, users may select a different country from a list of available locations and number of total users connected to each one (less is better). A search function is available as well.
Select a preferred country and IP address
When it comes to the new IP address, the software utility may choose one automatically by finding the fastest route, or the users may pick one themselves by examining a list with similar information as for the countries. They should keep in mind that the peer-to-peer protocol (e.g. torrent clients) are blocked on some servers (as indicated in the IP address list) due to legal reasons, while others may be unavailable (depending on the payment plan). The VPN changes are quickly applied to the network connection, and the simulation location may be easily deactivated.
Privacy control and other program settings
To ensure that third-party applications cannot obtain information via cookies, the tool can remove data about the OS and browser version, while online activity can be hidden by changing the browser language to match the new server location. Moreover, it can block requests to tracking websites and remove social networking plugins, which may monitor the surfing behavior to establish a pattern and send advertisements accordingly. Both anti-fingerprinting and content blocking tools can be activated for encrypted HTTPS traffic.
Configure privacy settings and create exceptions
Custom IP addresses can be added to an exception list, in order to continue applying the real server settings for them. Any email settings taken from a desktop client are included in this lift by default. Additionally, users may configure proxy properties to connect to the Internet (SOCKS5 or HTTP), disable force when going through CyberGhost DNS servers, disable IPv6, prefer TCP to UDP connections, use a random port, as well as repair the virtual network card.
The application can be set to start minimized when running at Windows boot or its entry can be removed from the autorun sequence. It can automatically establish a connection at program startup and look into beta versions when checking for software updates. Settings can be saved to file and imported at a later time, as well as reset to default.
The software tool worked smoothly on Windows 8.1 Pro during our tests, without hanging, crashing or popping up error messages. It takes a decent amount of time to establish a secure connection while remaining light on system resources.
The interface is comfortable and intuitive to work with. Some hints are displayed in various parts of the UI, while additional product information can be obtained online.
It supports multiple UI languages, platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, iOS) and protocols (Open VPN, L2TP and PPTP).
Users may either apply automatically setting or choose the preferred country and IP address, as well as set exceptions, block online content and establish anti-fingerprinting mode.
Evidently, the biggest drawback lies in the restrictions applied to the free edition, especially when it comes to the brief, 3-hour sessions.
Users shouldn't expect stellar browsing speed while being connected to a virtual network, but this is normal. Taking all into account, CyberGhost VPN is probably one of the simplest to use tools for online anonymity available today. It provides all types of users with powerful security features and requires minimal intervention to work.
NOTE: In association with CyberGhost SRL, we are giving away 150 free licenses for CyberGhost VPN. Normally, a key costs $39.99 / €29.99. Each license has a 1-year availability and must be activated before September 11. In order to get a chance to win one, leave us a comment in the section below with something relevant to the app and make sure to pair it with a valid email address for contacting purposes. At the end of the promo, we will randomly select 150 winners using random.org, notify the winners via email and post their names on this page, so come back later to see if you've won.
Please keep in mind that we will send the winners' email addresses to the developers afterward, and that comments left on this page only will be taken into account for the contest.
The deadline for this giveaway promo is Monday, August 11 at 15:00 UTC (8:00 a.m. PDT/PST).
Follow us on Twitter @spgiveaways to find out the latest Softpedia giveaway offers.
UPDATE: We have announced the giveaway winners. Please access this link to find out more. All winners will soon receive emails with their license key.