If you’re on the internet, someone is watching you. It could be your Internet Service Provider who wants to sell your browsing habits to advertisers, or it could be a hacker monitoring you in an attempt to steal personal info. But, someone wants to monitor your online travels.
That’s why you should subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. A VPN coats your internet connection with a layer of encryption, forming a protective tunnel that prevents anyone from monitoring your online travels.
The iOS app is simple and the Mac app provides you with pro customization tools if you wish to tweak the settings. ExpressVPN is based out of the British Virgin Islands, which puts it out of any intelligence-sharing agreements. You’ll likely want your VPN to be compatible with not only your Mac, but your iOS smartphone and tablet as well. Before you buy, go over the subscription terms to understand pricing and subscription length of service. How to set up a VPN on a Mac. Setting up a virtual private network on your Mac typically requires just a few steps.
A VPN also protects and enhances your online activities in other ways. A VPN opens access to content from around the globe by making it appear as if you are located somewhere else. This provides access to streaming services, gaming arenas, and other online services.
A VPN also protects you from having your internet connection throttled or blocked, simply because you’re engaging in activities that are frowned upon by your ISP (such as streaming from certain services or sharing files via P2P).
The 5 top reasons to use a VPN are:
- Protect your online identity and anonymity.
- Protect your personal and business information from hackers when using Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Open up access to your favorite U.S.-based streaming video and music services and other types of services, when you’re outside the U.S.
- Open up access to content in other countries.
- Enable access to content that may normally be blocked by your ISP, employers, school, or even your government.
In this, the latest entry in an ongoing series of VPN reviews, I’ll be reviewing CyberGhost, which is one of the best-known VPN providers around today.
CyberGhost offers excellent protection for all of your online activities, through apps that are simple to use, and offer access to streaming-optimized servers that offer reliable access to numerous popular streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and many others.
CyberGhost offers easy-to-use apps that provide reliable access to streaming services around the globe, while offering optimal online protection and privacy for all of your online activities.
CyberGhost provides app options for all popular devices platforms, and provides in-browser protection via both Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. Up to 7 devices can be simultaneously connected to the provider’s servers on the same set of user credentials.
Apps are available for the following device platforms:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android TV
The provider can also be manually setup on numerous models of routers, which will protect all of your connected devices. This includes streaming boxes like the Apple TV and Roku, Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and even your internet-connected smart doorbell, video cameras, and much more.
Setting up your router to work with CyberGhost will allow you to protect all of your connected devices, including the Apple TV, Roku, Smart TVs, game consoles, even Internet of Things devices like your smart refrigerator. Pre-configured routers are available from FlashRouters.com.
To test CyberGhost, I used the latest versions of the provider’s macOS and iOS apps.
As is normal for an app of this type, you can select from a large number of servers from around the globe. Also available in both the iOS and macOS apps are streaming-optimized servers offering access to numerous streaming services around the globe. The macOS app also offers a list of servers that are optimized for download files or sharing files.
First-time VPN users should find CyberGhost’s apps easy-to-use, and neither of them put a strain on your device’s resources. Both apps provided excellent protection, while delivering speedy, reliable connections.
While you should never select a VPN provider based on its connection speeds alone, a fast connection definitely enhances all of your online activities.
I performed these speeds tests on my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and my 2016 MacBook Pro, both of which were connected to the internet via a 5 GHz Wi-Fi router that is connected to a gigabit fiber internet connection.
Keep in mind that my connection speed results will likely vary from yours, and can differ due to your usual connection speeds, your location, the location of the VPN server, and other variables.
All speed tests were performed using the Speedtest app. I first tested the unprotected speeds of both devices. Then, running CyberGhost’s app and connecting to the “Best location,” I once again measure the speeds of the protected connection.
My iPhone testing showed unprotected connection speeds of 226 Mbps down and 57.4 Mbps up. My VPN protected speeds were 176 Mbps down and 20.4 Mbps up.
My MacBook Pro speed tests showed results of 205 Mbps down and 95.5 Mbps up without the VPN, and 176 Mbps down and 36.1 Mbps up for my VPN protected connection speeds.
While those speeds aren’t the fastest I’ve ever experienced, they are will up to handling HD and 4K video streaming, online gaming, downloading and sharing large files, and other activities.
Global Server Network
Consider a VPN provider’s global server network as the key that opens access to online resources that might normally be blocked to you in your area of the world. Those resources can include streaming services, gaming resources, and other types of resources and websites.
While I believe most of you likely line in “free” countries such as the U.S., Canad, and the U.K., a VPN can also offer access to content that might be blocked by heavily restrictive governments, like those found in China, Iran, and others.
CyberGhost’s global server network includes over 5.600 servers, stationed in 90 countries around the world. As I previously mentioned, In addition to general purpose servers, CyberGhost also offer streaming-optimized and downloading-optimized servers.
Access to Netflix and Other Streaming Providers
CyberGhost’s streaming-optimized servers deliver access to Netflix in the U.S., Germany, France, the U.K., and other countries. They also offer access to Fox, CBS All Access, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, RTL, and many more.
I tested Netflix in each country the VPN claims to unblock, and each time I was able to access the provider’s content. I randomly tested other streaming services in the CyberGhost server list and each time I gained access to the service.
All video streams played immediately, with no buffering, streaming smoothly.
Torrenting (P2P File Sharing)
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, while a popular online activity, is also frowned upon by many parties, including entertainment and gaming firms.
While using P2P file sharing is legal, and is widely used by both companies and individuals to legally share files, it can also be used to share copyrighted files. This has led record companies, movie studios, and game publishers to push Internet Service Providers to throttle or outright block P2P activity by their users.
However, since a VPN protects your online activities by using encryption, that means your ISP can detect your P2P file sharing, so it can’t throttle it or block it.
As mentioned above, CyberGhost offers downloading-optimized servers, to both protect and enhance your file-sharing.
Encryption, Privacy & Other Protection
CyberGhost protects their users’ internet connection by applying military-grade encryption to their connections. The encryption creates a protective tunnel around your connection, hiding your activities from the prying eyes of your ISP, hackers, and even your government.
The provider’s app offers kill switch protection, DNS and IPv6 leak prevention, and more. Ad, malicious website, and malware blocking are available, as is the ability to force websites to serve up HTTPS versions of their pages.
A no-server-logs-ever policy on all CyberGhost servers means your online activities are never recorded to possibly reveal your online antics. A Bitcoin payment option helps keep your subscription payment info incognito.
Customer Support is available 24/7, thanks to the provider’s around-the-clock live support chat, a trouble ticket tracking system, and a searchable support database.
The provider’s support agents always responded quickly and knowledgeably, and their support database offered up helpful information.
CyberGhost should also prove attractive to users on a budget, thanks to their 1-year subscription pricing. Crucial memory for my macbook.
A month-to-month subscription will run you a somewhat dear amount of $11.95. However, if you opt for 6-months, that drops to $4.99 per month ($29.94 the first 6 months, then $59.88 every 6 months after that.) The 1-year option drops the price to $2.75 per month ($33 for the first year, then $66 for each year after that.) A 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
- 1 Month Plan at $11.95/mo
- 6 Month Plan at $4.99/mo
- 1 Year Plan at $2.75/mo
Pros & Cons
- Easy-to-use apps available for most popular devices
- Around-the-clock support
- Top-notch privacy and security protections
- Fast download speeds
- Unblocks numerous streaming services
- Streaming and download-optimized servers
- Doesn’t allow P2P activity on all servers
- Apps lacks advanced options of other providers’ apps
CyberGhost offers an attractive VPN option for users looking for an easy-to-use, yet reliable way to protect and enhance their online activities.
The provider’s above-average connection speeds are well protected with military-grade encryption, as well as other online protections, including a kill switch, ad and malicious website blocking, and more.
Users can protect up to 7 devices at once, thanks to the provider’s generous simultaneous connections allowance, making it an attractive option for large families or small businesses.
Users looking for a great way to protect their P2P file sharing, enhance their access to streaming services around the world, and open access to other content around the world are advised to take a closer look at CyberGhost.
- 4K-capable download speeds
- Wide-ranging server network
- Streaming and P2P optimized servers
- Easy-to-use apps
- 24/7 customer support
- Price goes up after initial subscription period
- Doesn't allow P2P on all servers
- Apps lack some advanced options