Last update: 11.20.2018
These are two of the top VPNs available, so there’s a chance you’re having doubts about which one is worth your money (especially since NordVPN still has no official free trial – more on that later). Well, you’ve come to the right place because we’re about to find out.
We wanted to write “find out once and for all,” but unfortunately, with VPNs, it’s almost impossible. While we base this comparison on our latest CyberGhost review and NordVPN review – the providers constantly tweak their software, pricing plans, and privacy policies. And nobody knows when some shocking news about a leak or a major security bug will surface, turning things around. But let’s see which one is the winner in this battle of CyberGhost vs NordVPN – at least for today.
NordVPN is slightly safer and has had the reputation of a VPN with no leaks whatsoever for longer.
CyberGhost is generally also safe but has had some leaks before. Their plumbers have fixed these, yet the reputational damage is permanent.
There are many types of leaks, but the most important ones are DNS leaks (when your ISP learns about your browsing history through DNS queries) and WebRTC leaks (when your real IP address is known even while connected to the VPN). The sad part is that CyberGhost was discovered by comparitech.com to have both types of these leaks. The even sadder part is that the leaks were “vanilla,” meaning they were occurring not after some fatal error, but while you were plainly using the software. The second sadder part is that you get no error messages or anything that would warn about possible issues.
The saddest part though, is that CyberGhost VPN belongs to an Israeli (“Five Eyes” group partner) company Kape Technologies, known in the past for malware-like software creation. And last but not least, the owner is mentioned in the Panama papers having 16 offshore accounts.
This is important not because you can calculate the time it will take for snail mail to reach the company, but to see if the country would be the last one to open your letter.
The company that created CyberGhost VPN is registered in Romania – a country that respects privacy and doesn’t belong to the 14-eyes group. Yet NordVPN throws in the highest card – Panama. This is a VPN-friendly land with zero data retention laws and not part of any N-eyes country groups – something few other states can beat.
Encryption and other security features
Both NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN sport military-grade AES-256-CBC encryption, which is total overkill. They say if you tell a secret, it’s no longer a secret. But if you tell it to one of these VPNs – it will still be. And don’t worry, they are the last ones to tell each other.
NordVPN also offers additional security features, such as a kill switch, double VPN, Tor over VPN (useful only if your secret would destabilize one of the G7 countries), a strict no-logging policy (which usually means at least minimal logging), and no DNS or IPv6 leaking. Also, there’s one feature named CyberSec that blocks ads and third-party software, acting as a firewall of sorts.
CyberGhost VPN also has a kill switch, but you cannot toggle it, so in case of a connection error you will automatically go offline (which is good if you were talking on Skype to your in-laws and bad if you were writing a long and well-researched comment on why Albert Pujols signing with the Angels was more shocking than Robinson Cano going to the Mariners). CyberGhost VPN doesn’t have a double VPN feature, but it offers Nospy servers that are located in a data center owned by the company.
Unfortunately for CyberGhost, the problem arises when you check their no-logs policy. It turns out there’s a third party named MixedPanel which receives data, luckily anonymous, about your successful and unsuccessful connections. And that’s not the last third-party used by CyberGhost – there’s a bunch more, starting from a Google Analytics tracker and ending with a Facebook pixel on their site. CyberGhost doesn’t have an in-house tool for client support, so Zendesk and Zopim act as a medium between you and your provider.
Speed and Performance
NordVPN has more than 5,000 servers in over 60 countries, while CyberGhost has more than 3,000 servers in 60 countries or so. But their load is pretty heavy compared to the NordVPN’s, so they might have more users per server. And most of their infrastructure is based in Europe and the Americas – this means that these regions will be the first to suffer from overload. NordVPN covers most of the globe, but there’s certainly room for improvement dispersion-wise compared to the top competitors.
One has to know that the net amount of servers is not the top factor when doing a speed test. So you should really run one for yourself to see if your location and connection make any difference. Our results have shown a significant edge in favor of NordVPN over CyberGhost VPN, but this is a general speed and performance test. Please continue reading to learn about the situations where one of them might leave the other to bite the dust.
Ease of Use & Support
Ease of use is not an issue for most of the best VPNs available. Otherwise, they would just not be on this list. But still, there are ones that feel just right, and others you want to uninstall after a few clicks despite what the reviews say. The same goes for support – you will always have those who’ve had a negative experience and others who’ll give five stars after each live chat (if the VPN company offers one).
NordVPN user interface and versions
NordVPN is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. There are Chrome and Firefox browsing extensions, which are basically web-based proxies. This VPN can run on a router or Linux, but there are no custom apps for that, requiring more custom configuration from you.
NordVPN desktop has a nice and clean interface that is also easy to use. Most settings are intuitive or explained in short sentences, so even a layperson can decide if this feature should be ON or OFF. Finding servers is a no-brainer, and you can create a list of your personal favs. We found the Specialty servers option quite appealing – here you can filter servers for specific needs, eg. P2P servers.
NordVPN Android is a powerful client with a comfortable user interface. You should have no problems with it, even if all your fingertips have been stung by a berserk bee. While some software developers like to tone-down the mobile version, NordVPN offers not only the same appearance but much of the same functionality as well.
Sadly, compared to the Android version, the iOS app is worse, with fewer options for customization and basic security features, which, fortunately, include the kill switch.
CyberGhost user interface and versions
CyberGhost VPN has Android, Windows, Mac, and iOS versions. Contrary to NordVPN, it has custom apps for Linux, routers, NAS, and Chromebooks. The Mac and Windows versions look identical. To be honest, the former seems to be even more secure!
Both CyberGhost VPN’s mobile and desktop versions look good, probably because the developers now state a “unified experience across all devices” approach. CyberGhost have upped their game since the previous versions, turning their client into a truly user-friendly little app with the CyberGhost 7.0 version, adding specialized streaming and torrenting servers, as well as cleaning up and rearranging the settings and preferences menus for a more intuitive and easy-to-use experience.
Speaking of Connection Features, one is similar to NordVPNs CyberSec, while another makes your browser load HTTPS whenever possible. Most importantly, as of version 18.104.22.168 (downloaded on November 19, 2018), CyberGhost VPN still has an option for “Data compression” most commonly used for mobile data usage costs. NordVPN had this option removed after an issue has been found that compressed data can be leaked on a non-Chromium browser when an HTTP website is opened using OpenVPN protocol, which is a default protocol for Windows users. It’s been more than two weeks after the news about the possibility of so-called VORACLE attacks, but CyberGhost VPN is yet to address the issue.
Where CyberGhost really shines over NordVPN is the Exceptions tab. Here you create a list of domains or IPs that will not use the VPN. This means that you’ll be able to add Google Maps here and start searching for the nearest bus stop from your location and not downtown Budapest (important when intoxicated at 5 AM). You’ll also be able to have a faster connection as encryption takes its toll.
Overall, we feel that in the fight of CyberGhost vs NordVPN, the latter wins the Ease of use sub-battle, but only slightly. Both providers are on the list of best Android VPNs, but if you have an iPhone and like the features CyberGhost has, there’s no need to run away from it as you will not be exposed to the VORACLE dangers.
NordVPN has a 24/7 support with live chat, which is also very responsive and helpful. It’s not uncommon for other VPNs to also have support over chat feature, but NordVPN is probably one of the most efficient ones. CyberGhost has a 24/7 live chat function, which functions very well – all agents we contacted were polite, helpful, and swift to reply.
Also, the Help pages of both websites start with a Search bar. We liked CyberGhost better as the results were more informative and also showed to which category they belong.
Moving further, CyberGhost divides its Help sections according to help type – Guides, Troubleshooter, FAQ, Announcements. We find this a bit overlapping as the same question might have an answer in an FAQ or an Announcement while you can find a step-by-step explanation either in Guides or in a Troubleshooter. Therefore we liked NordVPN’s approach more where Help sections are topic-based: Getting started, Billing, Connectivity, and General info.
The last section could be better on both sites. NordVPN shows Top 5 questions, which is sort of a mini-FAQ, but without knowing how much percentage of total questions these 5 take, it’s hard to know if it has any use for a typical user and if it has any impact on reducing the load of live chat. CyberGhost, in contrast, provides an extensive list of Guides ordered by OS, which is essentially the same as clicking on Guides image above. The sections below are not worth discussing as they are too deep and too uninformative to be noticed.
In our eyes, the Sub-battle of Support ends in favor of NordVPN because of the slightly better live chat since most of us will probably want to contact human support first when possible, googling the case during the waiting time.
The final result of Ease of use & Support sub-battles
To conclude this chapter, both NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN fared well in terms of ease of use and support. NordVPN was more comfortable, but CyberGhost had some unique features and offered a good iOS version. When it came to Help, both live chats proved worthy, with NordVPN having a slight advantage. Therefore, we give this round of the fight CyberGhost vs NordVPN to the latter, probably because we don’t have an iPhone.
Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and other entertainment platforms
In short, you can watch Netflix with NordVPN. It has more than 1,000 servers in the US alone, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to access the content. NordVPN is also good for BBC iPlayer and Kodi. Overall, NordVPN is one of the most reliable anti-geo-blocking VPN services on the market today.
CyberGhost’s Netflix US server did not work on the first day of testing but returned to normal on the next day. The speed test results turned out to be mediocre – using the US servers, the highest speeds were still 50% of what we were able to reach using NordVPN. So please, try out the free trial of CyberGhost to see how it works for you before going for the paid version.
In our opinion, NordVPN steals the entertainment show.
Torrenting and P2P
In the fight CyberGhost vs NordVPN, the torrenting round has shown that both contestants really pack a punch. They offer enough security for P2P users, have special servers for torrenting, and do not block or throttle P2P traffic. But torrenting with NordVPN can be better – it has more P2P servers in countries where the laws are not too strict about such activity. Perhaps the only real issue with torrenting using CyberGhost VPN is speed – again, our tests have shown it’s better to choose its opponent most of the time. This should have the biggest impact if you’re connecting from Asia as server dispersion is not optimal for this region.
So the main reason NordVPN gets a nod from us here is speed.
China and other restricted countries
A VPN’s ability to function in China is difficult to measure. NordVPN offers an option to select Obfuscated servers on Windows, Mac, or Android, which are meant for countries with heavy restrictions. The connection is made with a modified version of OpenVPN that helps to avoid Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). From our experience, NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that offer more or less stable connections in China and other restricted countries like Russia, Turkey, Iran, and India.
CyberGhost also seems to be far from the worst solution. The service has tools against the Great Firewall of China, such as TCP and CyberGhost DNS servers. You also have an option to force the VPN to connect using a random port, making it harder to block or even restrict your connection. These factors lower the risks involved in buying a long-term subscription. The only real drawback is that CyberGhost VPN is yet to find an answer for DPI.
So our advice is to choose NordVPN for more privacy and security, with possibly better speeds. Use CyberGhost VPN in China and other restricted countries only if you’re not doing anything politically sensitive.
Recently, NordVPN has increased their prices, which, to be honest, were below industry standards for quite some time. Your current options are:
- $11.95/month (1-month plan)
- $6.99/month (1-year plan)
- $4.99/month (2-year plan)
There’s also a special deal – a 3yr plan at $3.49/month, but we don’t include it in the bullet point list as it’s available only via affiliates. As you can see, there’s a substantial bonus for loyal clients, and we do recommend becoming one if you like the service after the first month.
Anonymous payment is a very important bonus, which not every VPN offers. Luckily, NordVPN has it in addition to many other options:
- Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and Discover
- Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple
- Other: Alipay, UnionPay, Giropay, WebMoney, Yandex, SOFORT, and iDEAL
There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee. And if you’re still not convinced enough to try it – you can find a 7-day trial which is not advertised on the Home page.
CyberGhost VPN prices become absurdly low if you commit to the 18-month deal:
- $12.99/month (1-month plan)
- $5.99/month (1-year plan)
- $3.69/month (2-year plan)
All options offer the same features, including a 45-day money-back guarantee (14-days for a 1-month subscription). This is certainly quite cheap for a top-tier product offering that much. CyberGhost also offers a 7-day free trial, therefore holding a significant edge over NordVPN.
When it comes to payment methods, CyberGhost covers all you might be using ar have been planning to use:
- Credit card
- Other location-specific options.
Both pricing plans are good, offering a money-back guarantee, but in this round of CyberGhost vs NordVPN, the former one wins due to it’s 7-day free trial and simply great prices.
NordVPN vs CyberGhost – Bottom line
NordVPN offers top-notch security and reputation with no noticeable speed sacrifice compared to the competitor. With 4000+ servers in 60+ countries, you can expect good connections all over the globe. It is good for Netflix, torrenting, and works in China. Their 24/7 live chat support is among the best in the industry. Even after the price increase, it still gives a lot of bang for the buck. Where NordVPN suffers is the iOS app, which would need a serious upgrade for the ever-increasing army of iPhone users.
CyberGhost VPN has many useful features and strong security. It can be used for Netflix and other streaming services. You should be able to use it in China too, but the overall speed is slower than the opponent. Should something go wrong, their 24/7 live chat is ready to help you. Having in mind how cheap CyberGhost is, you might not think twice before choosing it over NordVPN. Yet, there are some glaring issues.
CyberGhost has had some serious leaks and is owned by a shady Israeli company, with a reputation for creating malware-like software in the past. Compared to this, the confusing interface is probably not worth mentioning.
So it all comes down to your preferences – if you care about security, privacy, and speed first – choose NordVPN. If you just want the cheapest way to watch Netflix and browse some content not available in your country – CyberGhost will do the trick and ask less than NordVPN would. But if we have to pick a winner of this CyberGhost vs NordVPN bout, we choose the latter unanimously.