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Editor’s note: We recently tested the best VPNs available. During our testing, a few concerns arose with CyberGhost VPN in terms of transparency and how its parent company handles personal information. When discussing these concerns with Scott J. Shackelford, the cybersecurity program chair at Indiana University Bloomington, he advised we avoid recommending this VPN altogether; the security concerns involved simply don’t make the service worth the risk. Therefore, CNN Underscored no longer recommends this service.

There are so many virtual private networks out there that most probably fly right under your radar. CyberGhost VPN may be one of those, though it’s been around for almost a decade. It’s a simple yet effective VPN service that can be downloaded onto computers, phones, routers and even some smart TVs. And right now, CNN Underscored readers can get two-year access plus an extra two months for just $2.75 a month, thanks to our exclusive deal with CyberGhost.

A VPN can provide all sorts of benefits, not the least of which is protecting your internet activity from those who could use it for less than savory purposes. CyberGhost VPN is a user-friendly way to shore up your internet safety and keep your traffic protected.

What is a VPN?

In this brief guide, we
In this brief guide, we’ll go into detail about how a VPN works as well as how it keeps your information private.
PHOTO: iStock

For a thorough explanation of what a VPN is, you can check out our guide here. But to summarize, a VPN creates a secure connection between your computer and a remote server. When you use the internet, your actions will be routed through this server via an encrypted tunnel. Encryption means your data is scrambled and cannot be read by anyone who might directly intercept it. A VPN will hide your IP address too, which can otherwise be used to identify your network. All of this is done to prevent potentially malicious third parties from getting hold of your information.

A VPN isn’t just useful for protecting your information, though. Let’s say you want to watch a movie, but it isn’t available in your country. You can use a VPN to bypass this by connecting to a server in a country where the movie isn’t blocked. CyberGhost VPN has a dedicated server for this very purpose.

Meet CyberGhost VPN

As mentioned, CyberGhost VPN isn’t new to the party. It’s been around for almost 10 years, building up to the considerable VPN it is today. And it provides a lot of value. Your account allows you to download the VPN onto seven devices. This is one more device than you get from one of our favorite VPNs, NordVPN. Speaking of value, you’ll also get a 45-day money-back guarantee with CyberGhost. That’s 15 days more than Nord’s guarantee. CyberGhost boasts impressive compatibility with macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, fireTV and Android TV. You can even set it up on your router.

Like most VPNs we’ve tried, CyberGhost is quite easy to use. Once you’ve downloaded and started it up, you can immediately connect to an optimal server (aka the one with the least lag, given your location). After a few seconds, you’re connected and secure. Even on public Wi-Fi, you can feel confident about your data.

And CyberGhost isn’t messing around when it comes to servers. It hosts over 6,300 servers in 90 countries. For comparison, NordVPN has, at the time of writing, about 5,450 servers in 59 countries. CyberGhost is really the king when it comes to options.

PHOTO: Benjamin Levin/CNN

VPNs can often have a detrimental effect on your internet speed. After all, your activities are being sent to and from a server before you see them on your screen. CyberGhost VPN impressed us on this front, presenting little to no lag throughout our testing. We tried watching some 4K videos on and off the VPN, and while they buffered a little slower on the VPN, never once did the video have to pause to load. We also played some online games, such as Planetside 2, which features massive battles with up to hundreds of online players. It’s an internet-taxing game, yet CyberGhost didn’t cause any noticeable slowdowns.

CyberGhost also prides itself on transparency, providing all sorts of data to potential users, from average bandwidth to copyright complaints. Like many VPNs, it promises not to keep any activity logs of its users. In a rare move, though, CyberGhost backs up these claims by running independent audits on its own systems, a trend more VPNs would be wise to follow.

Features and settings

PHOTO: Benjamin Levin/CNN

CyberGhost VPN offers a number of additional services and settings to tweak your VPN experience. One of the first things you’ll notice is a tab full of servers dedicated to streaming. These can be used to watch movies and media that are otherwise inaccessible in your country. In settings under Connection features, you can toggle options like ad blocking, malicious website blocking and more, though some ads seemed to make it past the blocker.

In the General settings, you can toggle useful options like the Automatic Kill-Switch. This feature will disconnect you from the internet if CyberGhost detects any connectivity problems that could compromise your connection to the VPN. Under Smart Rules, you can set CyberGhost to automatically connect you on login, create exceptions that are excluded from the VPN, and more. NordVPN shares some of these features (such as the kill switch), but doesn’t offer as many options. Unfortunately, we found fewer options available on CyberGhost’s mobile version for iOS.

The main feature missing from CyberGhost VPN is an extra layer of security. Essentially a mode that connects you through more than one server for an additional layer of protection. That being said, this kind of system is likely overkill for a vast majority of users.

Bottom line

Using a VPN is a great way to keep your data secure.
Using a VPN is a great way to keep your data secure.
PHOTO: iStock

CyberGhost VPN is an expansive, trustworthy VPN service. It’s got speedy servers all over the world for both regular connections and streaming. And, importantly, it’s very easy to use for users of all levels of computer literacy.

Pop on a CyberGhost server and start protecting your data. Pick it up here with our exclusive deal.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.

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