There’s less than one month left if you want to use CyberGhost, one of our Top 10 VPNs, for free. November 22, 2018, will mark a new era as the company will no longer offer free servers to connect to – a move that follows the ominous removal of the free version from their website. Nowadays, the free version is only used by a bunch of older clients.
This change should be seen in context: recently, CyberGhost changed its pricing plans, ditching the 2 and 3-year subscription offers, and instead offering 1, 6, and 12-month options, which are much pricier in comparison. This price restructuring is similar to the one NordVPN implemented back in August and both changes are a blow to the less well off.
What kind of free version is CyberGhost talking about?
Some readers might be thinking this means no more free trial for CyberGhost, which would be really bad news and a bad idea in general. So this is a good time to talk about the ways you can still use CyberGhost VPN for free, at least temporarily.
The first option is a 1-day free trial that you get by downloading the client software and creating an account. In this way, you trade a legit email address for 24-hours with a fully-functional VPN service.
The second option is a 7-day free trial where you leave your credit card details and agree to be charged for a 12-month subscription at the end of the week.
Then comes a 14-day money back guarantee, which you get after purchasing a monthly plan.
Finally, 6-month and 12-month pricing plans offer a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, which is 50% longer than the industry standard of 30-days offered by top competitors.
So what CyberGhost is canceling is a free version that’s no longer on offer. If you’re using it – tough luck. Whereas if you’re not, don’t fret – it will be gone by the end of next month.
Why is CyberGhost canceling the free version?
This is one of those situations where marketing tries to spin a blatantly unfavorable decision into some sort of moral victory. Their convoluted justification claims that:
- Free VPNs have tarnished the reputation of all VPN services.
- They have never done anything shady with their free version.
- They want to be different from the free VPNs that have turned their clients into products.
Given these three statements, what should the solution be? We’re thinking, they should continue doing what they’re doing. Instead, they have decided to get rid of their free version altogether. A class in logic could do these people a world of good.
They breached their users’ trust by collecting and selling their data to advertisers. They promised privacy even though they lacked the robust security features required to ensure it. They proved to be unreliable through their lack of transparency.
We choose to operate differently.
Well, we’d beg to differ – CyberGhost has problems of its own. While there’s no reason to believe that they have been selling free version data to advertisers, their reputation is not without issue.
To start with, this VPN was purchased in 2017 by an Israeli company called Crossrider, now known as Kape Technologies. While CyberGhost is registered in Romania, Kape Technologies is based in the UK, a member of the 5-eyes country group. As mentioned earlier in our blog, the new owner has been linked to ad injectors. Furthermore, the person behind Kape Technologies is one Teddy Sagi, who, according to the Panama Papers, had 16 offshore accounts. If that’s not enough, you should know that Teddy has been sentenced for manipulating bond prices in the past.
CyberGhost sends connection data to a third party company MixPanel. Yes, that data is anonymous, but we’d still rather not have it in the hands of another business.
When speaking about their “fierce dedication to a NO-LOGS policy”, CyberGhost VPN should also be more cautious. First of all, CyberGhost sends connection data to a third party company MixPanel. Yes, that data is anonymous, but we’d still rather not have it in the hands of another business. Then we have the CyberGhost website, which has trackers from the same MixPanel, along with Google Analytics, Sift Science, etc. Client support goes through Zendesk and Zopim. Finally, Facebook’s pixel is also there. True – none of that is particularly out of the ordinary, but neither does it demonstrate their fierce dedication to not logging.
We’re not saying CyberGhost should not critique their competitors. But when you justify raising prices and getting rid of your free version by paying lip service to the ideals of privacy and anonymity, it comes off as hypocritical.
What’s next for CyberGhost VPN?
CyberGhost state on their blog that they will leave free Chrome and Firefox extensions for “countries where VPNs are not as accessible, price-wise”. They will also continue providing NGOs, journalists and privacy activists with the Premium version of the VPN.
As a result of the not-so-welcome pricing/subscription changes, CyberGhost promises to upgrade infrastructure (more servers in more locations) and the client software itself (introducing version 7, although there is no info yet on the possible improvements that users should be anticipating).