Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost
February 18, 2021
Shopping for a VPN service can be deceptively difficult at times. It’s not the same as, say, shopping for printer paper. With the printer paper, you can feel reasonably certain that the product you choose will get the job done. Almost all printer paper looks the same, and you can assume it’ll work for your printing tasks. With VPNs, some appear to have the same features, but it’s not until you actually use them that you discover how they truly differ.
If testing VPNs sounds a little daunting, then today is your lucky day. Below, we’ve compared ExpressVPN vs. CyberGhost to see which of these services is better than the other. We’ve put the two side by side in several different categories, describing where each succeeds and where each falters. By the end, you should have a pretty good sense of which VPN is the better fit for what you need.
For a lot of VPN users, a provider’s server count is important. The more servers a company has, the more likely you are to find one in a country or region you need, and the less likely it is a server will be congested. Between ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, we felt tempted at first to call the contest a split decision. Both have advantages in their own server-related areas. When you factor streaming in, though, things become more complicated.
ExpressVPN is a little on the light side when it comes to server count, touting 3,000 servers in 94 countries worldwide. The company doesn’t come close to the number of servers CyberGhost has, but what you can do with ExpressVPN on the streaming side makes up for it. ExpressVPN does a pretty phenomenal job with streaming video platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. In our ExpressVPN review, we had no problem watching movies and TV shows while the VPN was turned on. You may not get as many servers in total with ExpressVPN, but those servers do what you’d expect them to.
CyberGhost completely blows ExpressVPN away on server count, though. When you tally them all up, CyberGhost boasts 6,000 servers in 88 countries — twice the amount ExpressVPN has. We have to note, however, that ExpressVPN does have CyberGhost beat when it comes to the number of countries that have servers. And CyberGhost is definitely more hit-or-miss when it comes to streaming. In our CyberGhost review, streaming apps worked for the most part, but there were instances where things didn’t go as planned and errors popped up.
A VPN service has to do security right. That is the basic function of a VPN: to protect the user online. Every reputable VPN we’ve reviewed and recommended is secure enough to trust with your data, and both of these VPNs meet our standards. Still, there are some little differences that security- and privacy-minded shoppers will want to pay extra attention to.
ExpressVPN has a few security protocols you can use when connecting to a server, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and SSTP. On top of that, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands — an area that doesn’t cooperate with any government data collection or data-sharing agreements. Finally, ExpressVPN has a no-logs policy. When you put it all together, ExpressVPN offers a lot of ways to stay secure.
CyberGhost is pretty strong on security and privacy as well, but it offers fewer security protocols on most devices. More often than not, you’ll only have IKEv2 and WireGuard to choose from — which isn’t the end of the world, but does leave us wishing for the option to use OpenVPN. CyberGhost is headquartered in Romania — another safe country in terms of data collection and data sharing — and also doesn’t keep logs.
We’ll give ExpressVPN the edge in this department, but we mean that as a compliment to ExpressVPN, not a slight to CyberGhost.
One sometimes-overlooked topic when it comes to VPNs is speed. You have an internet speed you pay for, but — let’s say that is 50 Mbps — and, within reason, you expect to get somewhere in that range of speeds when you browse the web. However, using a VPN introduces a new hurdle for your internet speeds. Using a VPN essentially introduces a middleman into the equation: Instead of your data going from your home network to the website you’re visiting (and back again), the data is instead being “tunneled” to a secure VPN server and then traveling from there to the website you’re viewing. That’s much more secure, but it’s also a longer trip for each data packet! As a result, all VPNs slow you down — the only question is how much.
Fortunately, speed loss is not a big issue with either ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. There is, however, a clear winner: While CyberGhost is fast, ExpressVPN is even faster.
In our ExpressVPN review, we conducted speed tests and comparisons using several different servers. The results were fantastic: Websites loaded as expected. Netflix movies streamed just fine. We didn’t really find a server that dropped speeds down dramatically, though we did find that connecting to more distant servers hurt our ping. That isn’t great for online gaming, but as far as downloading and streaming are concerned, ExpressVPN held up.
CyberGhost also performed pretty admirably in this area, with our reviewer noting that the “fastest server” option brought no noticeable difference in speed. At its best, CyberGhost feels as fast as ExpressVPN. But it’s a bit less consistent: On some of CyberGhost’s servers, we found weaker download speeds than we were hoping for. That’s not a huge deal as long as you’re choosing CyberGhost’s “fastest server” option, but it could come into play if you were to look for servers in specific locations.
This is another category in which both services impressed us — and it’s another category in which ExpressVPN impressed us just a little bit more than CyberGhost did.
ExpressVPN seems to be going for that “simple is better” approach. Using the app is pretty darn simple regardless of which platform you’re on, and that means you can connect to a server quickly and do what you need to do. Unfortunately, that approach means ExpressVPN lacks some of the additional features you might be hoping for.
CyberGhost, by comparison, has plenty of bells and whistles. It includes an ad blocker, a scanner for malicious websites, and a tool to block web trackers (like the kinds ad networks use). Despite all these goodies, CyberGhost keeps its app experience lean and clean, and its user-friendliness rivals even ExpressVPN’s. CyberGhost is particularly impressive on mobile platforms, where its well-organized apps are perfect fits for iPhone and Android screens.
We also wish ExpressVPN was just a little bit cheaper. While it’s one of the very best VPNs on the market, it’s also often a few bucks more than the cheapest long-term subscription options with low-cost favorites — like CyberGhost, which offers discounts that can get its monthly rate down to a few bucks a month.
Deciding between ExpressVPN and CyberGhost could be a tricky proposition for you. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to your very specific use case and which service you feel fits into that best.
If you want to pay a bit more to ensure your video streaming access is more reliable, and you don’t care for the extras a VPN might have on offer, then you can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN aced our review process and is a fixture in our best VPN rankings year after year.
CyberGhost is no slouch, either, and its extra features and excellent mobile apps may lure you over if you don’t mind its weaker performance with streaming services.
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