Virtual private networks (VPNs) have exploded in popularity as internet users become more concerned about security and privacy. By encrypting traffic and hiding your IP address, VPNs allow accessing the web anonymously and circumventing censorship, geoblocking, and surveillance.
With so many VPN services available, zeroing in on the right one can be challenging. Two of the top options are ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN. Both are well-known names in the VPN space, with ample features and capabilities.
But there are also key differences between ExpressVPN and CyberGhost across areas like speed, privacy, usability, and pricing. To help identify which VPN service may be a better fit for specific needs, this comprehensive comparison will examine the pros, cons, and distinguishing factors between ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN.
Speed and Performance Comparison
For any VPN service, speed is going to be a primary consideration. Even the most robust security and privacy doesn’t matter if browsing and streaming become a laggy, frustrating experience.
In recent benchmark tests, ExpressVPN consistently clocked faster speeds compared to CyberGhost VPN. On a 100 Mbps connection, ExpressVPN averaged around 85 Mbps download speeds and 52 Mbps upload speeds. CyberGhost hovered around 45 Mbps download and 35 Mbps upload under the same conditions.
While these tests only provide a snapshot, the results align with broader speed trends for each VPN service. ExpressVPN regularly outperforms competitors in speed tests thanks to their large server network and performance optimization.
Some key factors that influence the speed differences:
Server Infrastructure – ExpressVPN operates 3,000+ high-performance servers using premium bandwidth across 94 countries. CyberGhost has over 7,400 servers, but ExpressVPN’s infrastructure delivers faster throughput.
Speed Test Feature – ExpressVPN built a speed test tool into its app that connects you to the fastest server based on current conditions. This finds your speediest option.
Encryption Overhead – CyberGhost uses heavier encryption by default which adds more computational overhead resulting in slower speeds. ExpressVPN balances security and speed.
Network Congestion – With more users and data, speeds can suffer during peaks times on more crowded networks. ExpressVPN’s larger server capacity handles congestion better.
For the fastest VPN experience, ExpressVPN takes the lead with speed-optimized servers and network infrastructure. But CyberGhost may still provide acceptable speeds for general browsing and streaming.
Security and Privacy Comparison
Along with speed, rock-solid security and privacy are must-have features for any reputable VPN. In these crucial areas, both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN deliver secure encryption and protocols. But they differ meaningfully in some regards.
- 256-bit AES encryption
- OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec protocols
- No activity or connection logs
- DNS and IP leak protection
- Operates own logless DNS on every server
- Uses RAM-only servers that wipe data at reboot
- Proven no-logging policy, audited for verification
- Logs bandwidth usage by users
- Located in privacy-unfriendly Romania
ExpressVPN goes further than CyberGhost to enhance privacy. Running dedicated secure DNS across its servers prevents DNS leaks and hides querying activity. RAM-only servers leave no trace of user data at reboot.
Most importantly, independent audits have verified ExpressVPN’s strict no-logging policies. CyberGhost admits to more extensive bandwidth logging, which decreases anonymity. And its home country of Romania has loose privacy laws.
For users like journalists, activists, and whistleblowers who require absolute anonymity, ExpressVPN is the safer choice. But CyberGhost still offers adequate privacy for everyday use.
Server Coverage and Locations
The number and location of available VPN servers also make a difference for accessing content and finding fast speeds. This is another area where ExpressVPN shines.
ExpressVPN operates over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries. Each server location also includes multiple individual servers. CyberGhost has around 7,400 servers across 91 countries.
While the raw server count is lower, ExpressVPN’s network provides more robust coverage where it counts:
Wider Server Distribution – ExpressVPN has servers in more cities and regions within each country. This provides more options to find the fastest speeds.
Unblocked Streaming – Abundant servers worldwide allow bypassing geo-blocks to access streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Censorship Circumvention – Servers across Asia, the Middle East, and Russia help evade state censorship and surveillance.
Both VPNs offer useful features like obfuscated servers to get around firewalls and connect from restrictive networks. But ExpressVPN’s larger and higher-capacity server network ultimately provides an advantage in server coverage and locations.
Ease of Use and Customer Support
VPNs should be simple to set up and use – nobody wants to struggle with confusing apps or settings.
In this regard, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are both beginner-friendly services with intuitive apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. However, ExpressVPN delivers a noticeably smoother user experience.
Some key usability differences:
Streamlined Apps – ExpressVPN provides one-click server switching and built-in speed testing. CyberGhost requires cumbersome menu choices to change locations and protocols.
Intuitive Interface – ExpressVPN offers a clean, visually appealing interface. CyberGhost uses busier designs with multiple menus and options visible.
Server Browser – ExpressVPN lets you easily filter and select servers by country or city. CyberGhost lacks an integrated browser.
Live Chat Support – ExpressVPN provides 24/7 live chat assistance from knowledgeable representatives. CyberGhost relies primarily on slower email tickets.
Between the two, ExpressVPN offers the more intuitive, user-friendly experience across apps and website. But CyberGhost is still easy enough for VPN newcomers.
Additional Features Comparison
Beyond the basics, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost include some differing extra capabilities:
Split Tunneling – ExpressVPN allows routing only select apps or sites through the VPN tunnel while others go outside to your regular IP address. Useful for accessing region-locked content without slowing everything.
Simultaneous Connections – ExpressVPN permits connecting 5 devices simultaneously. CyberGhost limits this to 1, 3 or 7 devices depending on plan.
Ad and Tracker Blocking – CyberGhost VPN automatically blocks ads and trackers when connected for additional privacy. ExpressVPN lacks built-in ad blocking.
Dedicated IP Addresses – ExpressVPN provides access to dedicated IP addresses to bypass IP-based blocks. Useful for certain sites. CyberGhost does not offer dedicated IPs.
Router Support – Custom router firmware is available from ExpressVPN to secure smart home and IoT devices. CyberGhost has no router app.
Both services provide core VPN capabilities, but ExpressVPN has the edge for power users with split tunneling, dedicated IPs, and router support. However, CyberGhost offers some unique perks like ad blocking.
In terms of pricing, CyberGhost VPN is a little lighter on the wallet compared to ExpressVPN. Here’s how the plans break down:
- 1 month – $12.95
- 6 months – $9.99/month
- 12 months – $6.67/month
- 1 month – $12.99
- 1 year – $3.99/month
- 2 years – $2.75/month
- 3 years – $2.25/month
At the long-term subscription lengths, CyberGhost comes out cheaper. Although on short plans, they are similarly priced.
However, ExpressVPN adds much more value through its significantly faster speeds, expansive server network, and usability advantages. For many users, paying slightly more for ExpressVPN is worthwhile.
Both services back their offerings with a money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN allows 30 days for a full refund. CyberGhost only provides a 1-day refund window, which is relatively unforgiving.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Based on this comprehensive comparison, ExpressVPN emerges as the clear winner over CyberGhost VPN in most categories. With advantages in speed, privacy, usability, servers, and support, ExpressVPN is the superior option for the majority of users.
However, CyberGhost remains a decent budget VPN choice if you need basic security and don’t mind slower speeds or minimal servers. The lower pricing may appeal if you aren’t concerned about advanced features and capabilities.
For those seeking the best all-around VPN experience, ExpressVPN stands out with lightning-fast speeds, extensive server coverage, intuitive apps, strong privacy and security, and excellent customer service. While more expensive than some competitors, ExpressVPN adds value that justifies the higher price for the quality you receive.