Is ExpressVPN better than CyberGhost VPN? Regrettably, the answer isn’t as straightforward as a lot of users may wish.
From the surface, both cover the basics pretty well. Their commitment to privacy protection is backed up by transparent zero log policies. The two providers also use robust encryption standards for guaranteed secure connections.
Additionally, CyberGhost is based in Romania, while ExpressVPN operates from the British Virgin Islands. As such, users are assured of complete anonymity since the two jurisdictions lack data retention laws.
Given their similarities, it demands that we nail down the specifics. It’s within the finer details that the undisputed VPN champion will be known.
How to Choose a VPN
Before we jump straight into comparing the two, it’s a good idea to set a bar for choosing a VPN provider. This way, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed purchasing decision.
A useful rule of thumb is to research a service provider before paying for their VPN subscription. After all, you are trusting the provider with almost all your traffic. So, it makes sense to learn as much as you can about them.
While the above approach has proven to be effective, it is cumbersome and time-consuming. To save you the hassle, we’ll cover ten critical features that users should consider before subscribing to any VPN service.
With regard to these features, we’ll clash Cyberghost and ExpressVPN against each other to find out how they perform. In the end, their score from each category will be totaled, and the overall winner declared.
Connections speeds are one of the most significant considerations among users. Besides, what good is a VPN that is sluggish and interferes with your browsing experience?
Though naturally, a VPN does interfere with your internet speeds due to the encryption process. As a result, you get slower internet speeds. Nonetheless, the VPN shouldn’t slow your speeds by a considerable margin.
When testing for connection speeds, we began by testing our internet speed without connecting to any VPN. With this as our baseline speed, it was easy to know which of the two VPNs reduced our speeds the most. Our baseline download speed (without a VPN) was 160.42 Mbps.
Local Connection Speeds (U.S.)
With the local connection speeds test, we installed each VPN on our device and connected it to the nearest U.S. servers. First on the test was CyberGhost, which gave us a speed of 76.58 Mbps. This is roughly a 52% reduction in speed. ExpressVPN reduced our speed by a mere 11.8%, having given us 141.51 Mbps on its US-based servers.
Local (U.S.) Connection Speeds Winner: ExpressVPN
International Connection Speeds (U.S. to the U.K.)
As for the international speeds, we connected to each VPN’s U.K. servers from our base in the U.S. CyberGhost registered a download speed of up to 56.11 Mbps, while ExpressVPN gave us 140.67 Mbps.
International Connection Speeds Winner: ExpressVPN
An expensive VPN will, for sure, leave your wallet thinner, but the hefty price tag might be worth it. Besides, a cheaper VPN doesn’t always mean better value. This is to say that you should pay for a VPN whose service matches its price.
CyberGhost happens to be one of the few affordable yet high-quality VPNs. The provider charges $12.99 for a monthly subscription.
Similar to most VPNs in the market, the month-to-month plan is obviously expensive. But, if you pay for the annual plan, the price goes down to $5.99/month, billed as $71.38. You save even more with the 2-years plan, which costs $3.69 per month. The most significant discount is on the 3-year plan, which costs $2.75/month billed as $99.00.
ExpressVPN charges $12.95 for the monthly subscription. The price reduces slightly with their bi-annual plan, which goes for $9.99/month, billed as $59.95 every six months. Their most extended plan is the 15-months subscription that goes for a total cost of $99.95($6.67/month).
Keep in mind that the 15-months package is offered once. After that, you’ll get only 12 months of service for the same price – $99.95.
Generally, CyberGhost offers a steeper discount on long-term plans than ExpressVPN. What’s even better is that all plans come with a generous 45-days money-back guarantee, which is by far longer than ExpressVPN’s 30-days money-back guarantee.
Pricing Winner: CyberGhost
The whole idea of using a VPN is to hide your online activities. Any VPN worth it’s salt will thus prioritize users’ privacy protection.
Several factors determine a VPN’s privacy protection standards. First is the location where the provider operates.
Ideally, a provider should be located in a country that has a strong record of protecting personal privacy. Moreover, the provider should also assure users that none of their data is recorded. To further enhance users’ privacy, cryptocurrency, and any other private payments should be accepted.
Luckily, both CyberGhost and ExpressVPN measure up to the stated privacy standards. The former is headquartered in Romania, a country that has not bowed down to the pressure of E.U. data retention laws. The latter is based in the British Virgin Islands, where the government has no mandatory data retention laws.
The two providers also refrain from data logging and are overly transparent. They maintain that they don’t record users’ data nor monitor their activities. You can pay for either of the VPN services using Bitcoin for maximum privacy protection.
However, there are a few pitfalls with CyberGhost’s privacy protection. First off, their ad blocker isn’t as effective as one would wish. Also, the provider’s parent company Kape Technologies, has a tainted history.
The tech company, formerly known as Crossrider, is alleged to have distributed malware for data collection. These are serious red-flags for users who prioritize online privacy.
Privacy Winner: ExpressVPN
Features aren’t a make or break point for VPNs, but are necessary for improving their functionality. A VPN with an impressive lineup of features gives users the freedom of customization.
However, we’re more concerned with the quality rather than the quantity of the features. This arises from the fact that feature-rich VPNs tend to inhibit ease-of-use.
CyberGhost is packed with loads of features, promising great functionality. It comes with an ad-blocker, anti-malware, and tracker blocking tools for extra privacy.
According to our tests, the ad-blocker proved to be unhelpful, as it was broken on most HTTPS websites. Despite this downside, the VPN integrates the ‘smarts rules’ feature to help automate its functionality.
For instance, using the ‘smarts rules’ feature, you can configure the VPN to secure specific Wi-Fi networks automatically. The feature also allows CyberGhost to launch a browser automatically, once a connection is established. Other useful features include split-tunneling and a kill-switch.
Similarly, ExpressVPN offers both split-tunneling and kill-switch features. Split-tunneling allows you to choose which data goes through the VPN servers and which one goes unprotected.
While the kill-switch feature works the same on both platforms, there is an exciting twist. CyberGhost’s kill-switch is enabled by default, meaning you can’t turn it on or off.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has controls on its kill-switch interface. It may not seem much of a big deal, but the freedom to control the kill switch is appealing.
Between the two VPNs, CyberGhost carries a lot more features than its counterpart. Consequently, most users may find it hard to maneuver their interface. ExpressVPN wins this category, for covering the essential futures and maintaining user-friendliness.
Features Winner: ExpressVPN
VPN providers protect users’ internet connection by encrypting the data being transmitted. Still, there are negligible chances that the connection can be hacked.
On the bright side, however, most of the information is strongly encrypted. So, hackers can’t decipher much.
The level of encryption mostly depends on the number of bit keys used. Case in point, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN use AES-256 bit key encryption. Compared to the short 148-bit key encryption used by other competitors, the 256 encryption is the safest.
Though this security level is enough for most users, the providers pair it with RSA-4096 encryption. The added encryption is used on the providers’ OpenVPN protocol. Other protocols supported by the two services include; PPTP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and TCP/UDP.
Although both VPNs provide pretty much the same level of security, ExpressVPN has an upper-hand. The service has a unique ability that obscures the fact that you are using a VPN. This encryption technology is known as cipher block chaining that’s helpful in countries where VPN usage is restricted.
Encryption Winner: ExpressVPN
Paying for different VPN accounts for each of your devices can be expensive. This is especially true for users with a large family or those who want to protect their small businesses.
Also, with the growing remote workforce, companies need to secure employees’ connection to the in-house servers. As such, a VPN that can secure numerous devices on a single account can be handy.
CyberGhost is the best option for securing multiple devices to a single account. The service supports up to 7 simultaneous connections.
What’s more, using a VPN router, you can connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. If you are using the VPN in your home, seven simultaneous connections should be enough. So, no need to buy a router.
ExpressVPN allows only five simultaneous connections. The number can be increased by using a router, but still, CyberGhost is the winner.
Simultaneous Connections Winner: CyberGhost
Torrenting depends on the speed and privacy protection of a VPN. You need fast download speed and top-notch privacy protection to share P2P files anonymously.
CyberGhost supports torrenting but with certain restrictions. You can only download torrents using specific servers. Owing to legal issues, CyberGhost restricts torrenting on all its servers located in the U.S., Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong, and Australia.
Moreover, the provider prohibits downloading seemingly copyrighted content. Adding to the restriction on servers, we wouldn’t recommend using CyberGhost for P2P file sharing.
ExpressVPN provider has no problem with users using the service to download torrents. They even offer tips on how to use the VPN to improve your P2P downloading experience. The provider also doesn’t throttle nor limit your bandwidth when using any of their servers for torrenting.
What we liked the most about ExpressVPN is that they own a DNS network. So, when downloading files, DNS requests are made through the provider’s private servers instead of the ones from your ISP. This feature goes a long way in ensuring complete anonymity.
Torrent Support Winner: ExpressVPN
Global Server Coverage
More often than not, users are likely to experience fluctuating bandwidth when using a VPN with lower than average server count.
The bandwidth inconsistency is mainly due to traffic overload on the servers. If you are using such a VPN to stream content, you’ll have to put up with frequent buffering and low-quality images.
For streaming HD quality content, you’re better off using CyberGhost. They have an impressive roster of more than 5,500 servers stationed in 90 countries. With such a cluster of servers, the provider has managed to cover remote regions, including Africa and Eastern Europe.
Even in high traffic areas like the U.S. and Canada, the server count is more than sufficient. What really stands out here is the diversity in server coverage. If you can’t find a server in your desired country, you’ll find one pretty close.
ExpressVPN server count isn’t severely off either. It has an impressive array of over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries in 160 cities. Generally, only a few regions are left uncovered. But. The provider can’t match up to CyberGhost’s coverage in the Middle East and Europe.
On the same note, both providers make use of virtual servers to improve their coverage. However, unlike most VPNs, all the virtual servers are labeled with their actual locations. Such transparency makes it easy to avoid using these servers if you’d instead stick to the physical ones. Besides, since the servers are labeled, you need not worry about data jurisdiction.
Server Coverage Winner: CyberGhost
Where do you plan to use your VPN? Maybe you want it only on your computer, smartphone, media streaming player, or router. It’s, therefore, imperative to know which and how many platforms a VPN supports.
ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are well aware that users have several devices running on different operating systems. As such, they both are compatible with a wide range of devices.
ExpressVPN, however, supports a wider range of devices than its counterpart. It has native apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Amazon Fire T.V.
There are add-ons for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers. For flexibility when it comes to simultaneous connections, ExpressVPN also works perfectly with most routers.
CyberGhost is compatible with popular operating systems, including; Android, Windows, macOS, Linux as well as routers. But there is one caveat when using the service with on your mac laptop. CyberGhost requires at least macOS 10.12 (Sierra) to work flawlessly. In some cases, the VPN may also fail to work on the iOS version lower than 9.3.
Multi-platform Support: ExpressVPN
Similar to any other service, customer support is an integral part of any VPN. Chances are, you may need help troubleshooting or using the VPN service. For this reason, a reliable customer support desk is an indispensable feature.
In most cases, 24/7 live chat is the industry-standard customer support offered by top-notch VPNs. CyberGhost and ExpressVPN don’t cut corners as far as customer support is concerned.
The two VPNs offer round-the-clock live chat support alongside a ticket-based email system. ExpressVPN raises the bar by providing video tutorials in its knowledge base.
CyberGhost also offers tutorials, but they use screenshots instead of videos. The only walk-through videos they have are on their YouTube channel. However, most of these videos were uploaded a couple of years ago, thus may no longer be helpful as much.
We tested the response time of each provider by asking simple questions through their live chat and email channels. ExpressVPN responded faster than CyberGhost’s support team.
The considerable difference in their response time was evident when we asked a vaguer question that provoked a detailed response. CyberGhost took almost half a day to respond while ExpressVPN responded in about an hour.
Customer Support Winner: ExpressVPN
Right off the bat, ExpressVPN beats CyberGhost by far. Despite having a lesser server count than CyberGhost, the effect isn’t felt on connection speeds as anticipated. Users can download torrents faster and securely as well as stream content without buffering.
CyberGhost deserves a thumbs up for putting up a fierce fight in the privacy category. It has numerous features for enhancing privacy, including anti-malware, which ExpressVPN lacks. On the downside, the features seem to have taken a toll on the VPN’s user-friendliness.
ExpressVPN, on the other side, keeps it simple with the features by integrating only the essential ones. Also, it scores exceedingly well in security standards, which probably explains its premium pricing.