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CyberGhost vs PIA (Private Internet Access) is a tough duel. Both providers are on most “Top 10 VPNs” lists, including ours.
If you’re wondering which VPN is the better one, you’re in luck as we’re going to find out by comparing these two services across various categories. Those will include speed, security and privacy, apps, P2P, streaming, customer support, and pricing.
In general, PIA is slightly better than CyberGhost VPN, especially if you’re concerned about the price, torrenting, and access to the largest server list available. However, the latter service will please those who want more streaming options and better compatibility.
|“Best for” nominee||Best overall||Best overall, Best for streaming, Best for Windows, Best for Mac, Best for Linux, Best for Android, Best for iOS|
|Price starts from||$2.25/month||$2.19/month|
|Review||Read CyberGhost VPN review||Read PIA review|
How each VPN fares in different circumstances? Let’s get into the details and see if we can find the devil.
Security of CyberGhost VPN and PIA
|Protocols||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|Security features||Split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, Tor over VPN, malware blocker||Split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, PIA MACE, Shadowsocks, HNS|
In terms of security, both IPVanish and CyberGhost VPN are doing really well. They use military-grade encryption and have started implementing the next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol. However, IPVanish is a bit ahead, allowing it on all devices while CyberGhost is still testing it on Linux and iOS only.
IPVanish also has more security features than CyberGhost VPN, namely Shadowsocks and Handshake Naming System (HNS) aimed against DNS censorship. On the other hand, most users won’t miss these two options. Also, CyberGhost’s split tunneling works on Windows and Android only.
Kill switch is an essential feature of any solid VPN. Naturally, both contestants have it, but CyberGhost has made it always-on, which can be a nuisance if you have a spotty connection.
Finally, IPVanish and CyberGhost have reliable IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection. I’ve checked both services using multiple online tests and didn’t find myself exposed.
Privacy: PIA vs CyberGhost VPN
|Logging||No-logs policy||No-logs policy|
|Anonymous payment||Bitcoin||Cryptocurrencies, gift cards|
CyberGhost’s jurisdiction seems fine because Romania is a privacy-friendly country and not a member of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. However, it’s owned by Kape Technologies (UK), which has what some may call a “dark past.” According to the Panama Papers, one of the persons behind this company is a convicted felon with links to at least 16 offshore accounts.
Private Internet Access is run by London Trust Media, a US company – also not great for privacy. On the plus side, PIA has a court-proven no-logging policy and offers way more anonymous payment options.
While neither of these VPNs has the best privacy credentials, PIA is the better choice for the most part.
Speed and servers: PIA or CyberGhost VPN?
Having more servers doesn’t mean faster connection. While the distance from you to the VPN server is an important factor and using one a few hundred miles away will at least result in lower latency, connecting to the other side of the globe will take its toll. Therefore, we’d like to evaluate CyberGhost VPN and PIA servers and speeds separately.
|Physical servers||Not all||All|
|Owns all servers||No||No|
|P2P servers||Not all||All|
When it comes to server coverage, both VPN providers have thousands of servers worldwide,, but PIA has way more thousands. Plus, they are all physical and P2P-ready.
But even though the country selection is comparable, the server distribution leaves something to be desired for PIA, which has very few servers in Asia, Africa, and even South America.
It would be naive to think that a VPN company would own many servers, not to mention have them all RAM-only. On the other hand, it seems that the industry is moving towards these goals, and hopefully, we’ll have to update those two rows in the future.
CyberGhost vs Private Internet Access: 14-Day Speed Average
|CyberGhost||Private Internet Access|
|Download Speed||87 Mbps||97 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||143 Mbps||253 Mbps|
|Download Speed||52 Mbps||65 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||233 Mbps||294 Mbps|
|Download Speed||66 Mbps||50 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||140 Mbps||98 Mbps|
Both providers deliver decent speeds across the globe, but CyberGhost does it with more consistency – its speeds seem to be closer to the average, without noticeable ups and downs. On the other hand, Private Internet Access can give you more Mbps when downloading, especially if we compare the results from a full month.
CyberGhost VPN vs PIA pricing comparison
|Free trial||1-day, Windows and macOS||No|
PIA offers some of the lowest prices you will find. That has been their calling card for a long time, while most services are getting significantly more expensive. CyberGhost prices are higher up until the three-year plan, which is a great deal if you’re thinking long-term.
I like that CyberGhost offers a free trial, but it probably won’t be long enough for you to make up your mind. Besides, it works on desktop only, and you will probably want to see how smooth the mobile apps are. Luckily, both providers have a long money-back guarantee.
Based on price alone, I consider PIA slightly better.
PIA and CyberGhost VPN apps: ease of use and compatibility
|Other apps||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV||N/A|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||Chrome, Firefox, Opera|
|Manual setup||Routers, NAS||Routers|
Both VPNs are easy to set up and use, but CyberGhost VPN offers more apps and is compatible with NAS devices.
In the meantime, you can’t even configure PIA to work with Android TV or Fire TV unless you set it up on the router first. It’s Opera add-on doesn’t add much to the overall compatibility as well.
The number of simultaneous connections is an important factor, and here, PIA has a slight edge. However, most users should be just fine with seven, even if they share the account with family or friends.
Unlocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||Netherlands|
When it comes to unblocking streaming platforms, both VPNs aren’t the best options out there. However, CyberGhost VPN leaves PIA way behind, offering not only Netflix US but other libraries as well. There are specialized servers for other platforms, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer – PIA won’t get you any of that.
Whichever provider you choose, the speeds should be enough to stream in HD, unless you have a poor connection. However, there’s another big argument for CyberGhost – it has a Smart DNS feature. Thanks to it, you’ll be able to unblock streaming websites on a number of devices without encryption that impacts the speed.
Torrenting with CyberGhost VPN and PIA
|Allowed on||Selected servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||Yes|
|Split tunneling||Windows, Android||Windows, macOS|
CyberGhost supports P2P traffic on some servers, which is great. However, all PIA’s servers are torrenting-ready, meaning it will be easier to find one that’s not overloaded and closer to you. Most of the time, it will result in faster speeds.
Both VPNs offer a free SOCKS5 proxy, but only PIA gives you port forwarding, which is important for seeding. Additionally, most users will choose split tunneling on Windows and Mac over Windows and Android, which is another argument for going with PIA.
Bypassing censorship in China and elsewhere
|Works in China||Yes||Yes/No|
|Tor over VPN||Yes||No|
You won’t find these two on our “Best VPN for China” list. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try using them there. Neither CyberGhost nor PIA has a Stealth VPN to bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). Still, reports indicate that the former contestant has more luck in climbing over the Great Firewall of China.
Another argument against using PIA in China is the lack of servers in the Asian region. Even though this VPN has the biggest server list, its distribution is far from even. What’s more, CyberGhost VPN has a Tor over VPN feature, which should help you hide from government surveillance.
Customer support of PIA and CyberGhost VPN
Customer support is another area where PIA gives CyberGhost an easy win. PIA lacks 24/7 support, so its live chat might be unavailable just when you need it most. The ticketing system is slow, and the responses are often robotic and unhelpful as the web is littered with comments from dissatisfied customers.
Meanwhile, CyberGhost offers a decent amount of self-help resources and a 24/7 live chat option. The live chat agents are quick to reply and give helpful responses. You can also submit a request form on the site if you need additional assistance.
CyberGhost vs Private Internet Access – which one is better?
|Speed and servers||Loses||Wins|
|Total wins||4 out of 9||5 out of 9|
Having compared both options across these key aspects, here’s my verdict: while the battle was a close one, I have to give this to Private Internet Access that won in 5 out of 9 categories. Moreso, it did that in the important ones, namely, security, privacy, speed, servers, and pricing.
On the other hand, CyberGhost VPN is way better for streaming and has 24/7 live chat support. I also found it easier to use, especially thanks to the Smart DNS feature. What’s more, it’s not like CyberGhost is bad for torrenting, it just doesn’t offer it on all servers.
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Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.