ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost
Both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are owned by Kape Technologies, but they are very different VPNs. In this ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost comparison, find out which one is better: the speedy and polished ExpressVPN or the slow and customizable CyberGhost.
There is a litany of similarities between ExpressVPN and CyberGhost. They are both among the best VPN services, they’re both beginner friendly and they’re even owned by the same company. However, the two VPN giants differ in a few key areas, as you’ll see in this ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost comparison.
- CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are two top-tier VPN services owned by Kape Technologies.
- According to our testing, ExpressVPN is the better service of the two, offering better speeds, security, privacy and streaming service access, though its cost can be too high for some.
- CyberGhost can be a good ExpressVPN alternative for those who don’t want to swallow ExpressVPN’s high cost.
If you’re in a rush to get the results up front, ExpressVPN is the better VPN provider, and unfortunately for CyberGhost, it’s not even close. ExpressVPN wins several major battles, including crucial ones like speed, security and privacy. However, CyberGhost isn’t without its merit, offering more features than ExpressVPN at a much lower price.
Although we will go over a lot of details in this CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN showdown, there’s always more to learn about each service. You can refer to our ExpressVPN review and our CyberGhost review for a thorough look at the VPN providers.
Updated this review to reflect the latest VPN speed results.
11/07/2022 Facts checked
We rewrote the article to better reflect both VPNs’ capabilities. We removed the “simultaneous connections” and “split tunneling” rounds, added a “customer support” round and split “security” and “privacy” into two separate rounds.
No, ExpressVPN beats CyberGhost in several key categories, like speed, security, privacy and streaming capability. CyberGhost’s only leg up on ExpressVPN is its low-cost two-year subscription.
Yes, we believe that ExpressVPN is the best VPN, due to its polished user interface, wealth of features and excellent speeds. It’s also unbeatable when it comes to unblocking content around the world, thanks to its servers in 94 countries.
NordVPN is the superior VPN company when comparing NordVPN vs CyberGhost. It has a superior feature set, including advanced security features, and far better speeds than CyberGhost.
ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: VPN Services Tested
We compared ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost in 10 different categories, including speed, features, pricing, security, privacy, streaming, torrenting, server coverage, ease of use and customer support.
|Server Locations||✅ Win||Loss|
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms$6.66 / month(save 48%)(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed70 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency38 ms$2.37 / month(save 81%)(All Plans) 45-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
All VPN providers reduce your internet speed, but a good VPN will only impact it slightly. In our speed tests, we differentiate between upload speed, download speed and latency.
Upload speeds impact how fast you transmit data to the internet, including uploading files and sending voice or video messages, among other things. Download speeds determine things like how fast you can download files or how smooth your streaming experience will be.
Latency (or ping) is important mostly for gaming, but it also determines things like how fast a website registers your clicks.
How We Ran Our VPN Connection Speed Tests
Here at Cloudwards, we test VPN speeds daily using a remote computer located in the United States. The device runs on a capped internet connection speed with 100 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. We consider 0 ms to be the baseline for latency. We use these numbers to compare how much a VPN reduces connection speeds.
For each VPN service we test, we connect to six different locations. The U.S. test results represent a scenario where you’re connecting to the closest available server, and servers farther away from the U.S. should post slower speeds that increase proportionally with distance.
The “all” results show an average of all the locations combined.
The bar charts below display an average of the results of the last 30 days of testing for a quick overview, and the line graphs show a granular overview of each day’s results on a timeline.
CyberGhost VPN vs ExpressVPN Speed Test Results: US
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs out there, so it’s no surprise that it managed faster speeds than CyberGhost in our close-range tests. However, more so than slow speeds, CyberGhost has an issue with consistency. While ExpressVPN‘s speeds draw almost a straight line, CyberGhost shows significant peaks and valleys.
This means that even though CyberGhost might perform well sometimes, it will underperform significantly at other times. This scenario played itself out in all three categories of testing, with ExpressVPN handily beating CyberGhost for downloads, uploads and latency. The latency test was especially damaging for CyberGhost, which showed a relatively steep increase in ping.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN Speed Test Results: Worldwide
Things didn’t change much for our long-distance testing. A look at the average performance from all the tested servers reveals ExpressVPN has impressively stable download and upload speeds, as well as decent latency, apart from the most distant servers.
On the other hand, CyberGhost displayed the same instability as before, though in its defense, most other VPN services show similar instability over long distances, with ExpressVPN being one exception. However, it was still slower than ExpressVPN in all three categories.
However, speed isn’t just about numbers in a speed test; it has a real impact on your internet experience. While we’ve never even noticed ExpressVPN running in the background, CyberGhost noticeably impacts how fast websites open, especially when it comes to streaming sites.
Overall, it’s clear that ExpressVPN wins this round, and thus garners the first point in our matchup.
ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost VPN Speed Comparison: US
ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost Speed Comparison: Worldwide
Point for ExpressVPN
In this round, we’ll address all the things a VPN can do, and how it does them. We’ll look at every option the VPNs offer in their apps (apart from those strictly concerning security), including basic features like kill switches and split tunneling, as well as advanced ones, like malware blockers.
If you’re unfamiliar with some of the terms used, you can refer to our VPN features guide for detailed explanations.
Basic VPN Features: Kill Switch & Split Tunneling
Starting with the kill switch, both VPNs offer one, and it works the same for both. If your VPN connection drops (which it does sometimes, no matter what VPN you’re using), it disconnects you from the internet, so you don’t end up browsing unprotected.
Next, both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost offer split tunneling, but it works in different ways. ExpressVPN uses the classic method of letting you choose which apps go through the VPN tunnel and which apps don’t. This is useful for things like gaming, which you might not want to do over a VPN.
On the other hand, CyberGhost’s split tunneling works with URLs instead. You’ll find the option in the “smart rules” menu under “exceptions.” This isn’t quite as useful as ExpressVPN’s method, but it does have some merits — for example, when accessing online services or websites that might ban you for switching IPs with a VPN.
ExpressVPN Advanced Features: Servers Optimized for Everything
Some VPNs add specialized servers to their network, optimized for different use cases, like torrenting or streaming. ExpressVPN takes a different approach by optimizing its entire network for all kinds of tasks. For instance, its entire network allows for torrenting and is optimized for the task. The same goes for streaming and unblocking content, too.
Plus, all of ExpressVPN’s servers are obfuscated. Obfuscation is technology that hides the fact that you’re using a VPN, making your VPN traffic look like regular traffic. This is useful for circumventing VPN bans by ISPs or oppressive governments, but it also has some tangential benefits by potentially making the VPN very difficult to ban by streaming services.
Latest ExpressVPN Features
If you’re on Mac, Linux or iOS, you can enjoy enhanced privacy with the “threat protection” feature, which blocks your device from sending information to third-party trackers and malicious websites.
While this won’t prevent a malware infection outright, it will at least prevent any infected or otherwise ill-meaning apps from leaking your sensitive data. The feature is expected to roll out to other devices soon, including Windows computers.
Another new and exciting feature is ExpressVPN Keys — a built-in password manager that’s fresh out of beta testing. We took it for a spin in our ExpressVPN Keys review and found it to be capable at registering passwords and filling out forms, though it lacks some crucial features. It’ll hopefully get more fleshed out by the time it’s released.
CyberGhost Advanced Features: Specialty Servers
CyberGhost’s servers come in several different “flavors.” Some are specialized for gaming and display the expected latency (or ping), which is the number one concern for gamers.
There are also streaming servers that are optimized for different streaming services. For example, the Australian one is optimized for Australian Netflix, and the one in Austria unblocks a local service called ServusTV.
There’s also the so-called no-spy servers that are located in CyberGhost’s Romanian headquarters. These are under CyberGhost’s direct control and are thus safe from the overreach of an oppressive government. Finally, you also get torrenting servers, though in our testing, they performed pretty poorly.
Other CyberGhost Features
To stop you from accidentally browsing unprotected, CyberGhost has added “smart rules” to its arsenal. This allows you to set rules for how the VPN behaves. For example, it can connect to a VPN server automatically when you connect to an unknown network, or when you launch a certain app, like your internet browser.
Content blocking is what CyberGhost calls its malware and ad blocker. Toggling it on blocks trackers and requests to malicious DNS domains.
This effectively stops you from opening any websites known to spread malware and makes you less prone to phishing or other forms of social engineering. However, like ExpressVPN’s threat protection, it doesn’t protect you from malware outright.
If you’re in the need of a dedicated IP address, CyberGhost offers one, though at an additional surcharge.
ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost Features Comparison
Declaring a winner in this round wasn’t easy. On one hand, ExpressVPN offers fewer features overall than CyberGhost, but its implementation is far stronger. However, some of its best features are either unavailable on all platforms or still in beta. Thus, we’ll call this one a tie for now.
However, if you’re reading this in the near future when ExpressVPN rolls out its latest features to all VPN users, you can consider this a win for ExpressVPN.
No clear winner, points for both
The pricing round brings CyberGhost’s first outright win in this comparison. Before we go into the details, both VPNs are expensive if you opt to pay on a monthly basis, but you get larger discounts the longer the subscription.
This gives CyberGhost a big advantage in particular, because it offers a two-year plan, while ExpressVPN lets you subscribe for a year at a time at most.
Both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost offer a seven-day free trial on mobile, as well as money-back guarantees. For CyberGhost, the refund period is 45 days, while ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. We have comprehensive guides on how to get ExpressVPN refund and CyberGhost refund.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN Cost Comparison
CyberGhost costs $12.99 per month on the monthly plan, which is pretty much the same as ExpressVPN’s monthly plan, at $12.95 per month. ExpressVPN has a six-month plan, costing $9.99, and CyberGhost recently added a six-month plan, costing $6.99.
The yearly plans are where the differences begin to show. ExpressVPN’s 15 month subscription costs $6.66 per month. CyberGhost doesn’t offer an annual plan, and instead jumps to a two-year plan (plus four free months) costs $2.37 per month — one of the best deals for a VPN service.
There’s really no need to draw this out any further. CyberGhost is just plain cheaper, and so it wins the point in the pricing round.
Point for Cyberghost
The security round hinges on a few important technical features, like VPN protocols and encryption ciphers used, how they’re implemented, and the history of the VPN and any past security breaches it may have had. We also test for IP address and DNS leaks to see if the VPN truly protects your data.
Both VPNs passed our tests, which were run using IPLeak.net.
Encryption and VPN Protocols
|Windows||OpenVPN, Lightway||OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2|
|Mac||OpenVPN, Lightway, IKEv2||WireGuard, IKEv2|
|Android||OpenVPN, Lightway||OpenVPN, WireGuard|
|iOS||Lightway, IKEv2||WireGuard, IKEv2|
CyberGhost offers a choice of OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 on Windows. There’s no OpenVPN on Mac and iPhone, and IKEv2 is unavailable on Android devices.
On the other hand, ExpressVPN lets you choose between OpenVPN and its home-grown open-source Lightway protocol on Windows and Android, and adds IKEv2 to the mix for Mac users. There’s no OpenVPN option for iPhone, though — only Lightway and IKEv2.
OpenVPN utilizes AES-256 encryption and has been the standard VPN protocol for years. WireGuard is a newer protocol that uses ChaCha20 encryption and is built on a much lighter code base for faster performance and easier auditing.
ExpressVPN’s Lightway is built from the ground up, and like WireGuard, it uses ChaCha20 encryption, it’s open source and features a light codebase for added security and speed.
IKEv2 also uses AES-256 for encryption and it handles network changes particularly well, making it a good choice for mobile devices (not so much for desktop). We hold all of these protocols to be secure enough to handle sensitive data. If you’re interested in learning more about VPN protocols, you can peruse our VPN protocols guide.
ExpressVPN’s server network regularly undergoes an independent audit, with the last one in 2021 discovering no major issues. Its Lightway protocol is open source as well, which means that anyone can audit its core code for vulnerabilities.
On the other hand, CyberGhost’s security has only undergone one audit, way back in 2012. It got ISO certifications for security standards ISO27001 and ISO9001 based on this audit, and has managed to renew them each year.
However, the renewals don’t require an external audit — only an internal one — and CyberGhost’s security has not been audited externally for over a decade now.
While we trust CyberGhost’s own reporting and haven’t found any leaks in the tests we perform regularly, having concrete confirmation by VPN industry experts tips the scales in ExpressVPN’s favor for this round.
Point for ExpressVPN
The privacy round can be difficult to judge. VPN privacy policies can be filled with dense legalese, but thankfully our experts are able to look past the doublespeak to deliver the true story. Apart from the privacy policies, we also look at who owns the VPNs and where they’re located, as this can have a massive impact on privacy.
ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN Privacy Policies
Both VPNs collect limited data, including necessary data like payment information, and both VPNs’ websites collect data via Google Analytics. However, CyberGhost’s website collects more detailed information, including the IP addresses that access the website. Thankfully, it does not connect this data to particular users and only uses it for statistics in anonymized form.
As with its security, ExpressVPN regularly has its privacy audited, with the latest verifying that it does indeed keep no connection logs. CyberGhost doesn’t audit its privacy regularly, though it did pass an independent audit in 2022.
However, ExpressVPN has another leg up on CyberGhost in that it doesn’t share the limited information it does collect with anyone, including Kape Technologies, both VPNs’ parent company (more on Kape in a bit).
As Kape’s first VPN acquisition, CyberGhost is a bit closer to Kape than we’d like, and it shares user info with the company and other collaborators.
Who Owns ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN?
As we mentioned, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are owned by Kape Technologies, along with Private Internet Access (PIA) and Zenmate VPN. Kape Technologies is a cybersecurity company with a bit of a sketchy past.
Kape was founded under the name Crossrider, and among its ventures was a platform for creating browser toolbars, also known as Crossrider. Unfortunately, people used the platform to create data-collecting adware, and Crossrider did nothing about it for years, until it shut the platform down in 2016.
Shortly after, the company acquired CyberGhost VPN and rebranded to Kape Technologies, now focused on online privacy, instead. It later acquired VPNs Private Internet Access and Zenmate, and in early 2022, it purchased ExpressVPN in the largest VPN acquisition in history.
All VPNs owned by Kape Technologies claim to operate independently, and we see no reason to believe otherwise. Still, we prefer ExpressVPN’s approach of not sharing any data with Kape, even if the company has turned a new page.
Where Are CyberGhost and ExpressVPN Located?
CyberGhost is incorporated in Bucharest, Romania, which is part of the EU, and thus covered by the GDPR — the gold standard of online privacy laws. ExpressVPN is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which has a data protection law modeled after the EU’S GDPR.
Other Privacy Measures
Both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost take a few extra steps to ensure user privacy. For instance, both VPNs run their servers on RAM, instead of hard disks. This ensures that no data is kept on them after a reboot, since you can’t write data to RAM permanently.
Aside from this, CyberGhost publishes an annual transparency report, which includes data about how many law enforcement and DMCA takedown requests it gets, as well as complaints from websites about malware, DDoS attacks or botnets coming from a CyberGhost IP address (this happens with every VPN).
Meanwhile, ExpressVPN uses perfect forward secrecy, meaning it resets encryption keys frequently enough that if someone gets a hold of one, they won’t be able to use it to decrypt your traffic entirely.
Point for ExpressVPN
One of the main benefits of a VPN is that, by switching your IP address, it makes it seem like you’re in a different country. This lets you unblock streaming services that have different content libraries for different countries.
However, streaming platforms can’t legally allow you to do this, so they block the use of VPNs in various ways. The best VPNs for streaming can unblock all major streaming platforms.
|Amazon Prime Video||Unblocked||Failed|
As shown in the table above, ExpressVPN had no issues unblocking anything we threw at it, and it had almost no impact on streaming quality in our test viewing. Unlike ExpressVPN, the experience was not as smooth with CyberGhost.
Although it managed to get us into Netflix U.S., it struggled to maintain a high-quality stream. The Disney Plus servers were completely nonfunctional, and we couldn’t even open Google while connected to them. Thankfully, its regular servers managed to break into the mouse’s streaming service. We had no such issues with the Hulu and BBC iPlayer servers.
Unfortunately, CyberGhost could not get us into Amazon Prime Video or HBO Max, and we experienced choppy streaming on the services we were able to access. Because of this, ExpressVPN wins this round, for a total of five points, so far.
Point for ExpressVPN
For the purposes of the torrenting round, we downloaded a 2GB test file over a connection with a download speed of 49 Mbps. Without using a VPN, our unprotected connection downloaded the file in 6 minutes, 46 seconds, with speeds peaking at 6.1 MiB/s.
We then downloaded the file connected to the VPNs, twice for each service, and then averaged out the results of both tests.
For CyberGhost, we tested both its regular VPN servers, as well as its torrenting servers. In all cases, we used the VPN server assigned by the app (the fastest one available), or the closest one to our testing location in Skopje, Macedonia, in the case of CyberGhost’s torrenting server.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN Torrenting Performance
|VPN:||Download time||Peak speed|
|CyberGhost (normal servers)||7:38||5.8|
|CyberGhost (torrenting servers)||8:42||5.0|
Shockingly, ExpressVPN managed to reach the exact same peak speed of 6.1 MiB/s as our unprotected connection, and it also took the same time to download the file (6 minutes, 46 seconds). No wonder we declared it the best VPN for torrenting.
To nobody’s surprise, CyberGhost’s sluggish download speeds lead to it also being slower for torrenting. However, it was a bit disappointing that its torrenting servers actually performed worse than its regular ones.
Using the regular VPN servers, we reached a peak speed of 5.8 MiB/s and downloaded the file in 7 minutes, 38 seconds. The torrenting servers only reached 5 MiB/s and took a full minute longer.
It’s an easy call — ExpressVPN wins this round, hands down. If you’ve been using CyberGhost’s torrenting servers until now, you might want to give the regular servers a try instead, or simply switch to a VPN that’s better for the task.
Point for ExpressVPN
8. Server Locations
In this round, we’ll compare the numbers of VPN server locations around the globe for both VPNs, as well as how wide the server distribution is. Many VPNs flaunt their high server counts, but raw numbers of servers rarely matter, as that number says nothing of the quality of the hardware those servers use.
That’s why we won’t discuss those numbers in detail.
Instead, we’ll judge the number of countries covered, the number of locations in total and how well certain geographic regions are covered.
ExpressVPN Server Locations
ExpressVPN has one of the widest VPN server networks. It offers 149 locations across 94 countries, and leaves no region underserved. While many VPNs have only a few servers in South America, ExpressVPN covers almost every single country on the continent.
It’s present in four countries in Africa and two in the Middle East (taken here as only the Asian part of that region and excluding North Africa, for practical purposes).
CyberGhost Server Locations
CyberGhost’s VPN server network covers 91 countries with 107 locations. Like ExpressVPN, most of CyberGhost’s servers are in Europe and Asia, though we have to commend it for its decent spread of African servers. The Middle East also gets some needed attention, with four countries covered.
Although CyberGhost puts up a good fight, ExpressVPN simply covers more countries and offers a greater choice of server locations. We’ll award ExpressVPN the win in this round and its seventh point overall.
Point for ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN and CyberGhost take different approaches to user-friendliness, while offering well-designed apps that put the average user first. This is why they both find themselves on the list of the best VPNs for beginners.
ExpressVPN’s uncomplicated user interface makes it easy to do whatever you want, without feeling swamped by advanced options. Connecting to a server won’t take you more than the push of a button, and its features are intuitively organized in the “options” menu. Its mobile app follows the same design logic, so you won’t need to adjust to using it, either.
CyberGhost’s feature set is a bit more complicated due to the specialty servers, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to use. In fact, every feature is explained in detail inside the app itself, so you’ll know what everything does, even if you’ve never used a VPN before. The only thing we can fault it for is splitting off some features in their own tabs, which make them hard to find.
CyberGhost’s mobile app sports the same design language, though with a simpler menu, which houses all of CyberGhost’s features.
Overall, there’s little that separates ExpressVPN’s and CyberGhost’s ease of use. This round ends in a tie, with both services gaining a point.
No clear winner, points for both
10. Customer Support
ExpressVPN and CyberGhost have some of the better customer support on the market. Their knowledgebases are comprehensive and laid out well. You’ll find guides on pretty much anything you can ask, explained with both text and images.
You can contact a support agent via email, but if you want a faster response, you can use live chat.
For both services, live chat agents are knowledgeable and helpful. Many VPN providers outsource their customer support to third parties, but CyberGhost and ExpressVPN have dedicated agents who are experienced with handling complex technical questions.
Like the previous round, we can’t find an appreciable difference in the VPNs’ performance in this regard, so we’ll declare this final round a tie as well.
No clear winner, points for both
Unfortunately for CyberGhost, ExpressVPN took victory after victory, garnering nine points to CyberGhost’s four. CyberGhost tied ExpressVPN for user-friendliness, customer support and features, and the pricing round was its only solo win.
On the other hand, ExpressVPN’s wins in crucial categories like security, privacy, speed and streaming performance cement it as the best premium option. However, its pricing can be a major concern, and that alone might be enough for you to choose CyberGhost.
However, we’d recommend another budget-friendly option — like NordVPN or Surfshark — if your wallet can’t handle ExpressVPN’s price tag.
That’s it for this VPN comparison. Do you agree with our verdict? Do you think CyberGhost should have won some of the rounds over ExpressVPN? Have you used either VPN provider? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.