If you read most of our best VPN articles, you’ll notice that CyberGhost and Surfshark often slug it out for one of the top five positions — often behind ExpressVPN and NordVPN. In this CyberGhost vs Surfshark matchup, we pit these two top-tier VPNs against each other to see their similarities and differences.
Key Takeaways: Surfshark vs CyberGhost
- Surfshark and CyberGhost are two of the most popular VPNs, thanks to their VPN features, usability and affordable pricing.
- The main difference between CyberGhost and Surfshark is that Surfshark offers a better user experience with speeds, streaming access and unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Although we consider Surfshark to be the better VPN, CyberGhost has its strengths. Its NoSpy servers make it a good choice for bypassing censorship, and it offers a longer money-back guarantee.
We’ll highlight the strengths of each VPN provider and show you the best use cases for each. If you’re in a hurry, we recommend Surfshark if you want an affordable, fast VPN for streaming and unlimited simultaneous connections. CyberGhost is a great option if you need a user-friendly VPN in internet-restrictive countries like China.
Updated the comparison to include the latest speed tests for each VPN.
04/19/2023 Facts checked
Rewrote this comparison using a new layout and updated information.
Updated the article to reflect ExpressVPN’s recent increase of 5 simultaneous connections to 8.
ExpressVPN is better than Surfshark, thanks in large part to its best-in-class server fleet in 94 countries. It’s also exceptionally fast and offers unrivaled unblocking ability. Aside from the VPN protocol options that ExpressVPN and Surfshark share, ExpressVPN offers the proprietary, fast and secure Lightway protocol.
CyberGhost is trustworthy because of its strict no-logs policy. In other words, it doesn’t keep personally identifiable information or share it with third parties. Plus, CyberGhost releases a quarterly transparency report.
How Did We Rate CyberGhost vs Surfshark?
In this comparison guide, we evaluated CyberGhost and Surfshark in various critical categories, including speed, pricing, usability, server spread and customer support. You can read more about each VPN in the Surfshark review and CyberGhost review.
Surfshark vs CyberGhost: Similarities & Differences
From our testing, we determined how these two VPNs are similar and what sets them apart. The goal is to help you decide which VPN is better for your needs. Below is a comparison of their key features.
|$2.49 / month(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee||$2.37 / month(All Plans) 45-days money-back guarantee|
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay||PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Worldwide server amount||3,200 in 95 countries||9861 servers in 91 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS||Android, iOS|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Edge||Chrome, Firefox|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|Encryption types||256-AES, ChaCha20||256-AES, ChaCha20|
|VPN protocols available||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
Both VPN companies offer additional features through their larger subscription packages, Surfshark One and CyberGhost Security Suite. However, for this article, we’ll focus on the VPNs alone.
Let’s start with the features Surfshark and CyberGhost have in common. Surfshark and CyberGhost are two top-rated VPN services, and it’s no surprise that they have lots of features in common, including unlimited bandwidth on all plans, ad blocker features, dedicated ip addresses and more. We’ll walk through the key similarities in this section.
Split Tunneling Feature
Both CyberGhost and Surfshark offer split tunneling. CyberGhost calls this feature “exceptions” under the “smart rules” tab in the interface. Desktop apps use URL-based split tunneling, while mobile apps use app-based split tunneling. Surfshark names its split tunneling feature “bypasser,” which lets you choose which apps, websites or IP addresses bypass the VPN.
Encryption and Protocols
Both Surfshark and CyberGhost are secure VPN options that use the VPN protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2 (which both use AES-256 encryption) and WireGuard (which uses ChaCha20 encryption).
These are virtually unbreakable encryption protocols — it would take millions of years to crack through brute force. These protocols are commonly used by banks, hospitals, militaries and governments to secure sensitive information.
Encryption is also important because it means your internet service provider (ISP) — or anyone else listening in — can’t see your internet traffic information.
One thing to note is that although CyberGhost offers OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard on desktop, there’s no IKEv2 on CyberGhost mobile apps. This is curious because IKEv2 is a strong option for mobile devices due to its excellent reconnection abilities.
Comparatively, Surfshark VPN allows users to choose between OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard on all desktop and mobile devices.
No-Logs Policy and Audits
It’s also worth noting that Surfshark and CyberGhost have recently passed an extensive audit by Deloitte, one of the big four auditing companies. The auditors checked both provider’s systems and operations to see if they are consistent with their respective no-logs policies.
Apps & Configurations
Surfshark and CyberGhost have apps for all the major desktop and mobile operating systems. They have a desktop app for Windows, macOS and Linux, and there are mobile apps for Android and iOS. They also have clients for Google Chrome and Firefox.
You can install Surfshark and CyberGhost on various routers, including Asus and Linksys. For Netgear routers, you’ll need to run either DD-WRT or Tomato firmware first. Once you set up any of the VPNs on your router, you can protect any device connecting the router’s internet, such as various smart TVs, including Android TV, Fire TV, Apple TV and Samsung TV.
You can also connect gaming consoles such as your PS5, Xbox One X or Nintendo Switch to your router and enjoy VPN protection.
Ease of Use
If you read our best VPN for beginners piece, you’ll notice that Surfshark and CyberGhost are neck and neck when it comes to user-friendliness. CyberGhost’s apps are free of clutter and well organized. The homepage has a large one-click connect button and an option to connect to the best server near your location.
Under the hamburger button, you’ll find a tab dedicated to servers. The servers are grouped, so you can easily find the server category you need, whether you’re looking for gaming, torrenting or dedicated IP servers. We like that CyberGhost VPN has short descriptions explaining what each setting does.
Likewise, Surfshark’s apps are built to make navigation a breeze. There is a large “connect” button on the homepage, followed by Surfshark’s collection of servers. If you don’t want to sift through the server list, you can quickly connect to the fastest or nearby servers. You can also filter the list to find static IP servers or multi-hop servers.
Surfshark’s settings menu is designed similarly to CyberGhost’s. The options are easy to spot, and there’s a brief explanation of what each feature does. This is important if you’re new to VPNs and not sure what the likes of the “bypasser” (split tunneling), CleanWeb (ad blocker) or rotating IP features are.
There’s not much difference between CyberGhost’s and Surfshark’s customer support. Each VPN provider has a comprehensive knowledgebase that contains informative articles, setup guides, troubleshooting guides and FAQs. Surfshark takes its customer support a notch higher by including video tutorials, but CyberGhost’s visual guides are also up to the task.
If you need a human touch, Surfshark and CyberGhost offer email support. For real-time support, you can contact both providers through live chat. We tested both and received prompt and helpful responses. However, it’s worth noting that Surfshark and CyberGhost don’t offer phone support or a user forum.
Now let’s turn our attention to the differences between Surfshark and CyberGhost. Some of them are glaring, and others are subtle, but we’ve managed to unpack them.
The speed of a VPN service is critical, especially when you’re going to perform data-intensive activities like streaming, gaming and torrenting. We always test VPNs on three fronts: upload speed, download speed and latency.
Between Surfshark and CyberGhost, Surfshark is faster across the board. As you can see in the graphs below, Surfshark maintains at least 70% of download speeds at all times, and keeps up to 90% in certain instances. Conversely, CyberGhost loses 40% to 70% from its unprotected download speeds.
In terms of upload speeds, Surfshark is faster, although CyberGhost is not too far behind. This makes Surfshark a better choice for uploading and transferring large files.
Further, Surfshark has a lower latency across the board compared to CyberGhost VPN, making Surfshark a better fit for gaming.
CyberGhost and Surfshark both offer monthly plans and two-year plans, and they are nearly identical in price — though at the time of writing, CyberGhost added three free months to the two-year plan while Surfshark added just one free month. Note that those free months won’t be included when you resubscribe to the VPNs.
The two VPNs differ with the middle timeframe offering: Surfshark has a one-year plan and CyberGhost has a six-month plan. Few VPNs offer a six-month subscription, and one-year offerings seem to be more popular. Additionally, you can get a year of Surfshark for just a few dollars more than the six months of CyberGhost — making the Surfshark pricing the better deal.
|Plans||Surfshark Price||CyberGhost Price|
Note that these VPN prices are for the initial subscription. For Surfshark’s one- and two-year plans, after the initial subscription period, the renewal price is $59.76 annually. This means the two-year plan is essentially half-off normal pricing.
CyberGhost does something similar: for the two-year plan, after the initial subscription period the renewal price is $59.76 annually.
Both VPNs have money-back guarantees, but they differ in length. Surfshark offers an industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans, including the monthly plan. This means you can effectively use the money-back guarantee as a month-long free trial to test the VPN out. Otherwise, you can simply cancel your subscription.
Meanwhile, CyberGhost’s monthly plan has a 14-day money-back guarantee, while the other plans have a 45-day money-back guarantee. This means if you’re looking for a cheap way to “trial” CyberGhost, you have only two weeks, but you have more time to test the service if you pay up for the six-month or two-year plans.
Internet Kill Switch
Surfshark and CyberGhost offer a system-wide kill switch, although there is a difference. With Surfshark, you can toggle the kill switch button on and off. CyberGhost’s kill switch is baked into its apps, so there’s no way to turn it on or off — which is too bad, considering that CyberGhost is designed to be very customizable.
A kill switch prevents leaks by disconnecting you from the internet altogether if your VPN connection drops. The system-wide kill switch is the standard form. There’s also an app-level kill switch that only disconnects specified apps instead of your entire system, though Surfshark and CyberGhost don’t offer this. Read our NordVPN review for a VPN that does.
Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning you can share one subscription with as many devices as you want. Not many VPNs offer unlimited simultaneous connections (like Surfshark and Windscribe), which makes it a good choice if you want to share your VPN protection with friends, families and work colleagues.
CyberGhost allows you to connect up to seven devices at once. ExpressVPN recently increased their limit to eight simultaneous connections, while NordVPN still supports six (find out more in our ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost guide and our NordVPN vs CyberGhost piece). Regardless of the number of allowed connections, all three providers still pale in comparison to Surfshark’s unlimited offer.
Surfshark and CyberGhost offer massive server networks, although there are differences between the two.
In terms of sheer server count, CyberGhost has more, with over 7,000 VPN servers in 91 countries. Surfshark has just over 3,000 servers, but it has a slightly larger spread, with servers across 100 countries.
A larger server count can sometimes feel like a marketing gimmick, but it also means that server congestion is less likely. A broader server spread is more important because it means more areas have a server nearby even in remote locations, which helps with speeds.
Both VPNs come with specialized servers, including options for static IP addresses. However, what specialty servers they offer differs.
CyberGhost offers specialty P2P servers as well as virtual servers. It also has streaming-optimized servers, but they don’t always help streaming access.
It also offers dedicated NoSpy servers, which are based in Romania and offer enhanced security and privacy features that are best for high-risk VPN usage, like within countries that restrict internet freedom.
All of Surfshark’s servers are RAM-based, which means they don’t store your data, and all have Camouflage mode built in, which means it hides the fact that you’re using a VPN.
Surfshark offers multi-hop servers, also known as double VPN, while CyberGhost doesn’t. Multi-hop servers route your traffic through two servers instead of one, which adds an extra layer of protection to your traffic.
Surfshark has a dedicated multi-hop tab on its apps. You can choose from 14 preset server combinations from popular countries — or if you’re tech-savvy and want to determine your entry and exit servers, you can manually build your own pathways.
A VPN with excellent streaming ability must check two boxes. First, it must be able to unblock all the major streaming services. Second, it should be fast enough to let you stream without breaks.
We tested both VPNs across five major streaming services. As you can see from the table, CyberGhost performs creditably. It was able to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer, and the streams were seamless. We chalk this up to its dedicated streaming servers. However, it couldn’t unblock Amazon Prime Video, regardless of the server we tried.
Surfshark gave us access to every platform we tried, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer. We were able to stream without any buffering wheels showing up.
|Amazon Prime Video|
Which Is Better: CyberGhost vs Surfshark?
Overall, Surfshark is better than CyberGhost for a majority of use cases. It offers reliable unblocking capabilities, so it’s our preferred pick for streaming. It’s also faster than CyberGhost VPN, making it the best choice for downloading and uploading files as well as gaming.
CyberGhost is not too far behind in most departments. Its greatest strength is its NoSpy servers, which are ideal for countries that restrict internet freedom. Plus, CyberGhost has a large server count, meaning you have more than enough server options to choose from.
Surfshark and CyberGhost are both affordable, but you can share one Surfshark account with an unlimited number of devices.
We Recommend Surfshark If You Want…
- To stream high-definition movies: Surfshark unblocks all the major streaming services and offers a reliable streaming experience.
- A fast VPN: Surfshark’s speeds make it an excellent choice for uploading, downloading and gaming.
- A VPN with excellent security features: Surfshark offers top-notch encryption and protocols on all devices. It can also encrypt your traffic twice, instead of once.
We Recommend CyberGhost If You Want…
- To bypass internet censorship: CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers are optimized to hide your VPN traffic from prying eyes.
- To take a VPN for a test run: CyberGhost offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on longer plans.
If You Want to Consider Other Services, Check Out…
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency2 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 30
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Amazon, Paygarden, Apple Pay, Google Pay
- : Unlimited
The Verdict: Why We Think Surfshark Wins Overall
Although CyberGhost is not too far behind in most categories, Surfshark is the better VPN for fast speeds and streaming performance. It has VPN security features like multi-hop servers that CyberGhost doesn’t have.
Although CyberGhost has a larger server count, Surfshark VPN has servers across more countries. This makes it a better choice if you’re a globetrotter and need a VPN for the road. Of course, you can try both VPNs out with the refund period: Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee or CyberGhost’s 14-day or 45-day money-back guarantee.
Have you used Surfshark or CyberGhost before? What was your experience? After reading this comparison, which VPN are you likely to try out? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. As always, thanks for reading.