Who doesn’t love the internet? It’s a great place. But just like anything good, there are risks associated with surfing the net. So, it’s essential to ensure your data is protected while browsing or interacting online.
VPN providers secure your personal data and browsing traffic by disguising it through a VPN tunnel. These encrypted pathways provide plenty of benefits, including:
- Ensuring third parties can’t see what you’re up to;
- Helping you unlock geo-restricted content;
- Bypassing firewalls and censorship;
- And much more.
But with so many VPN providers out there, it can be difficult to know who’s offering the best protection (and the best value).
In this guide, we’re going to compare two of the biggest VPN services: Surfshark and CyberGhost. So we can find out, once and for all, which is the best VPN provider for your needs.
Surfshark vs. CyberGhost: at a glance
OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
Cookie pop-up blocker
Surfshark VPN is still a relatively new player on the field. But it’s quickly become one of the most well-known and well-regarded VPN services out there.
The VPN comes equipped with the very latest and best encryption technologies. It’s based in the Netherlands: an area known for being a strong privacy jurisdiction. This means that Surfshark is free from any international surveillance alliances, such as 14 Eyes.
Surfshark also operates on a strict no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t keep records of its users. And any information it does save (for example, usernames) is saved on RAM-only servers. This means your data is wiped with every reset, and there are no physical copies anywhere.
In terms of functionality, Surfshark offers a multitude of impressive extra features. These include:
- An ad blocker;
- Split tunneling;
- Smart DNS;
- Double VPN functions;
- And even a dedicated private search engine Surfshark Search (paid add-on feature).
What’s more, Surfshark provides a wide range of VPN servers in 100 countries worldwide. This means you can effortlessly log into almost any country and enjoy an uncrowded server with super-fast speeds.
Plus, with unlimited simultaneous connections, you can connect to Surfshark on any and all devices for only $2.49 per month (on a 2-year plan).
CyberGhost was founded back in 2011, making it one of the oldest VPN services out there. But just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s not keeping up with the times… Many still regard it as one of the best VPNs you can buy. Not to mention, CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs, with prices as low as $2.15 (for a 3-year plan).
CyberGhost is located in Romania. Like the Netherlands, Romania is free from 5/9/14 Eyes surveillance or any other restrictive/unnecessary privacy laws. CyberGhost also has a no-logs policy. Though it does keep a record of the devices you connect to the service. This could be a potential security breach.
Like Surfshark, CyberGhost utilizes the best AES 256-bit encryption, making its servers hack-proof. And, speaking of servers, it offers an impressive 7,000+ selection in over 90 locations worldwide. So, there’s almost nowhere you won’t be able to get connected with this VPN provider.
It is, however, important to know that CyberGhost’s parent company is Kape Technologies, formerly known as Crossrider. Yeah, the same Crossrider that had a history of installing malware and adware on users’ devices. So it’s something to be wary of.
That said, Kape Technologies claims to have turned itself around since then and now owns a few VPNs, including ExpressVPN.
Server coverage is a crucial feature to consider when picking a VPN provider. Not only do more locations mean you’ll have more connection options around the world, but it can also help show how reliable a VPN service is.
More servers tend to mean faster connections, as each server is less likely to get too busy. It also makes it more likely that there will be an open server close to you, which is how you get the best speeds using a VPN.
CyberGhost: 7000+ servers in 113 locations across 91 countries
Surfshark: 3200+ servers in 200 locations* across 100 countries
*Some Surfshark locations are virtual-only and don’t have a physical location.
CyberGhost wins in offering the most servers and locations, which would lead us to expect faster speeds on the network. That said, many servers are running at 75% to 125% of their capacity. This suggests a crowded and, therefore, slower connection for the users.
Despite Surfshark offering fewer servers, it’s an industry leader when it comes to global connectivity options. It’s also worth noting that Surfshark features more server locations. This means you’re less likely to experience an overcrowded server and can easily switch to an alternative option if your speeds drop.
What’s more, Surfshark offers a plethora of static IP addresses to choose from. This means that instead of your IP address flicking around different servers, you will read as a stationary device. This appears less suspicious to websites like Google or streaming services. It also means you’re less likely to have to jump through captcha hurdles or similar security protocols. The trade-off could be a slower connection.
CyberGhost also allows static IP access. But you’ll need to purchase a Dedicated IP address to use this feature.
To find out which VPN provider offers the best speed and reliability, we ran a few speed tests. But first, we checked our speeds without a VPN engaged to establish our baseline:
- Ping (ms): 2
- Download (Mbps): 500.38
- Upload (Mbps): 510.68
Because both providers support the WireGuard protocol (a set of rules that determine how a VPN connects), we used it to make a fair comparison:
Download (Mbps) - Local server
Upload (Mbps) - Local server
Ping (ms) - Local server
Download (Mbps) - International server
Upload (Mbps) - International server
Ping (ms) - International server
As you can see, both providers offer a swift VPN connection that should be more than capable of keeping up with streaming services. But Surfshark is a clear winner, providing consistently faster speeds in almost every location we tested.
The only place CyberGhost delivered a faster download speed was on a local server. And even then, it was only a fraction faster, and Surfshark still won when it came to upload speeds.
When it comes to streaming performance, the most important thing to consider is server speeds. If the speeds are consistent, streaming should be as well. The next essential to ensure the most comfortable streaming experience is checking whether your TV supports VPN. Luckily, both Surfshark and CyberGhost are very good in these aspects. However, there are often streaming services that refuse to work with VPNs. Let’s look at whether Surfshark and CyberGhost have figured out your favorite streaming platforms:
Amazon Prime Video
Disclaimer: We prohibit using Surfshark services for any unlawful purposes as it is against our Terms of Service. Please be sure to act in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of other service providers.
CyberGhost vs. Surfshark VPN: protocols
It’s difficult to do a CyberGhost vs. Surfshark comparison when it comes to VPN protocols simply because both companies offer the same options:
Android, macOS, Windows, iOS, Linux
Windows, Android, Linux, FireTV app
macOS, Android, iOS
Windows, macOS, iOS
Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS
Windows (CyberGhost8 only), macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Android/FireTV app
That said, it is worth noting that Surfshark VPN is available on more operating systems than Cyberghost. This gives Surfshark the win here.
“But CyberGhost lets you use the FireTV app,” we hear you shout. Yes, that’s true. But thanks to Surfshark’s smart DNS features, you can use Surfshark to bypass firewalls and censorship on other devices such as your PlayStation or SmartTV.
CyberGhost vs. Surfshark: audits
Once upon a time, VPN services could rely on their good name alone to prove they were trustworthy. But today, independent security audits have become an essential part of the VPN industry. These can vary from a service-specific review to a full and detailed analysis of the entire provider.
Two of the most reputable auditing firms are Cure53 and PricewaterhouseCoopers. So, we want to see VPNs using these firms to showcase how seriously they take user privacy and how quickly they repair any potential or existent security breaches.
Surfshark is an excellent example of how a VPN service can use an independent auditor (Cure53) to confirm the effectiveness of its security features.
In 2018, Surfshark had Cure58 audit its browser extensions. This was followed up with a full audit of the entire Surfshark VPN infrastructure. In both audits, no serious issues were found, and the few “low severity” vulnerabilities were swiftly addressed.
Unlike Surfshark, CyberGhost has not undergone an independent security audit. Though, in 2019, the company did tell CNET that it planned to have one at some undetermined time in the future.
CyberGhost does, however, publish a Transparency Report every 3 months. This report shares information such as:
- How many data requests it receives from various authorities;
- Key statistics about the CyberGhost VPN infrastructure;
- And other details.
CyberGhost and Surfshark both provide friendly and accessible customer support options. This includes a 24/7 chat function (English only) and a high-quality, searchable knowledge base.
However, when questioning the team on static IPs, DNS leaks, etc., Surfshark’s live support agent was much more knowledgeable. They answered all questions immediately in a way that was easy to understand. Plus, they were much better at checking whether we understood the answers and if we had any more questions. Meanwhile, the CyberGhost agent ended the chat before we even had a chance to read the response.
When browsing the knowledge bases for both companies, we also noticed that some of CyberGhost’s information isn’t up to date. An easy example of this was the Server Locations page in the Support Center. It stated that CyberGhost has over 6,000 servers in 88 countries. We know they have 7,000+ servers in 91 countries. So, this is a clear indicator that some of the Help pages could do with an update!
Security and encryption
OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
OpenVPN data encryption
OpenVPN control channel encryption
RSA-4096 (for the paid Password Manager add-on only)
Kill Switch (all platforms)
Kill Switch (desktop and routers)
At first glance, it appears that Surfshark and CyberGhost offer similar levels of encryption. Both support the AES-256-bit encryption protocol across the board. This encryption is virtually unbreakable.
Both VPNs also provide RSA keys. However, this is where Surfshark starts to pull ahead.
The difference? Surfshark fully encrypts all transactions with both symmetric (AES) and asymmetric (RSA) keys. CyberGhost only encrypts using AES, except for the Password Manager, which does use RSA encryption. But it is a paid add-on feature.
What’s more, CyberGhost doesn’t offer any extra protection with obfuscation servers. These servers (provided by Surfshark) hide the fact that you’re using a VPN… Even from your internet service provider!
If obfuscation isn’t enough, Surfshark’s NoBorders feature takes privacy to the next level. This feature is specially designed to bypass oppressive firewalls or censorship measures, allowing you to browse the internet without restrictions.
A Kill Switch is a vital tool in any VPN’s privacy arsenal. It triggers if your VPN connection drops unexpectedly and shuts down your internet connection. While this might sound inconvenient, it means that your privacy and data are always protected.
Both Surfshark and CyberGhost provide the Kill Switch feature. It’s available on all platforms with Surfshark. CyberGhost supports the feature on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Split tunneling makes the lives of VPN users a lot easier. It allows them to decide which apps or websites they want to encrypt. Users can choose to only encrypt one or two apps and exclude the rest, or the other way around – encrypt all but a few apps.
Currently, Surfshark offers this feature (Bypasser) on Windows and Android. CyberGhost only offers split tunneling for Android. Worth noting that Surfshark’s Bypasser works with both apps and websites.
CyberGhost and Surfshark both operate on a strict no-logs policy. This means they don’t keep records of users or user data (except for monitoring traffic to ensure there are enough servers available).
As the two VPNs are based in good locations, away from restrictive privacy laws or surveillance agreements, we can expect them both to maintain these practices.
Once again though, Surfshark takes the win on the logging front.
Not only does Surfshark not keep any records of personal information, but the company even stores the little data it has on RAM-only servers. This means that, with every update, all data is wiped.
In comparison, CyberGhost keep records of the devices you connect to your account, including the make and model. This is sensitive information and not ideal for a VPN provider to be storing.
And if all this isn’t enough to make Surfshark a clear winner in the security features category, there’s also Surfshark’s Warrant Canary.
Additional security features
CyberGhost vs. Surfshark: price
Finally, the price.
CyberGhost and Surfshark are both hugely popular VPN providers, beloved for far more affordable service than other VPNs on the market. Both of their cheapest plans come in at just over $2 per month.
As you can see, CyberGhost does offer a cheaper VPN service. But to access the very cheapest rates, you need to sign up for a 3-year plan.
On the other hand, Surfshark offers its best prices with a 2-year plan. And other than the cheapest option, Surfshark is usually cheaper month by month.
Surfshark vs. CyberGhost: the scores
With over 7,000 servers in 91 countries, CyberGhost is ahead of most VPNs in this category.
It’s likely that overcrowded servers let CyberGhost down in this round. Surfshark came out ahead in every speed test we conducted.
Although Surfshark and CyberGhost offer the same protocols, Surfshark is available on more devices, pinching the win here.
Surfshark has undergone two independent audits: one on its browser extensions and another on its full VPN interface. CyberGhost hasn’t had a single independent audit to date.
The Surfshark customer service team was much more knowledgeable and helpful.
Some of CyberGhost’s knowledge base was out of date.
CyberGhost only provides AES-256 encryption. This is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the encryption and security that Surfshark offers. The part where data is saved in RAM disk mode alone pulls the company further in the lead for security.
Simply put, Surfshark offers more extra features. However, both companies have a decent selection of paid add-on features that might be worth checking out if you want to customize your VPN experience.
Okay, so CyberGhost’s lowest price is cheaper than Surfshark’s, but only by $0.06. And you have to be tied into an extra year. We almost gave this one a tie, but Surfshark took the cake at the last second!
Surfshark vs. CyberGhost: which is the best VPN service?
In conclusion, Surfshark wins in almost every category we’ve looked at. The servers are faster, the encryption is better, and security and privacy are taken more seriously. Plus, features like obfuscation and Double VPN add an extra layer of protection to VPN users.