ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: which is better?

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost VPN: specs comparison

Lowest monthly cost:
ExpressVPN: $6.67 (one year) | CyberGhost: $2.03 (two years)

Number of servers:
ExpressVPN: 3,000+ | CyberGhost: 9,000+

Server countries:
ExpressVPN: 105 | CyberGhost: 100

Maximum simultaneous connections:
ExpressVPN: 8 | CyberGhost: 7

Money back guarantee:
ExpressVPN: 30 days | CyberGhost: 45 days

ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are popular VPN providers that have earned top positions in our best VPN round-up. ExpressVPN is second only to NordVPN while CyberGhost comes in at #6 as a more budget-friendly option. Today, I'll find out if ExpressVPN's higher ranking justifies its steep price tag.

You can check out our full reviews of ExpressVPN and CyberGhost for a more in-depth look at each service. However, placing the two providers side-by-side provides a different perspective, allowing for a direct comparison of what each service has to offer. By looking at everything from privacy to pricing, you’ll get a better idea of which VPN best fits your needs.

My comparison is broken into bite-size categories. If there’s one that’s of particular interest, feel free to jump straight there via the nav bar. Otherwise, keep scrolling to get into the nitty-gritty.

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Pricing

First things first, ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs on the market. Its shortest plan is also its priciest and sets you back $12.95 for just one month. You'll pay less with its six-month plan ($9.99 per month) but the best possible deal is exclusive to TechRadar readers. With it, you get an extra three months free and pay just $6.67 per month for a one-year subscription.

At $12.99 for one month, CyberGhost is similarly priced to ExpressVPN, although six months with CyberGhost is significantly cheaper at $6.99 per month. The biggest saving comes with CyberGhost's two-year subscription which includes an extra four months free. This works out at $2.03 a month. If you'd like to add a dedicated IP address, this costs an extra $2.50 a month.

When comparing ExpressVPN's special deal ($99.95 for 15 months) versus CyberGhost's best offer ($56.94 for 28 months), there’s a clear difference. With CyberGhost, you’re essentially paying 43% less for an extra 13 months of coverage. 

CyberGhost also has one of the best free trials. It's available for 24 hours for Windows and Mac (with absolutely no credit card required), 3 days for Android, and 7 days for iOS.

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Security

ExpressVPN goes some way in justifying its price tag with a comprehensive security offering. You have multiple VPN protocols to choose from, including Lightway and OpenVPN, both of which are available in the Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS apps. Lightway is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol based on WireGuard and built for speed, making it a handy alternative to the security-focused OpenVPN. Its core codebase is open source—in fact, its code was independently audited in 2021 and 2022.

With ExpressVPN, you're protected with industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption which is effectively impenetrable. It's estimated that even the most sophisticated supercomputers would take millions of years to crack it. ExpressVPN was one of the first VPNs to introduce post-quantum protection, too, safeguarding users from advancements in quantum computing.

Perfect forward secrecy ensures that each browsing session has new encryption keys so that even if your current session is compromised, past and present sessions remain unaffected.

Thanks to the fact that ExpressVPN runs its own encrypted DNS on each server, you're also protected from DNS and IP leaks. I ran multiple tests to see how the feature holds up and, I'm happy to say, observed no leaks. ExpressVPN's kill switch (called Network Lock), puts a stop to leaks that could occur if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly.

Despite all the positives, ExpressVPN's split tunneling feature was found to be leaking some DNS requests. The fact that this affected Windows app versions for nearly two years before it was identified is particularly concerning. ExpressVPN immediately removed the split tunneling feature upon being made aware of the bug, and it has since been reintroduced and subject to an independent security audit, which verified that the issue had been fixed.

CyberGhost also offers the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption as well as the lightweight WireGuard alternative. WireGuard is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux users, and uses ChaCha20 encryption which is as secure as AES-256. Plus, just like OpenVPN, WireGuard is free and open source.

Like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost protects you from DNS leaks with its built-in DNS leak protection and automatic kill switch feature. Again, I conducted several leak tests and CyberGhost passed each one with flying colors.

ExpressVPN for Netflix

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Privacy and logging

Despite the fact that a VPN is supposed to be a privacy-enhancing tool, many providers keep logs. This is why we don't recommend a ton of free VPNs—after all, who wants to use a service that's selling the identifiable data of the users it's supposed to be protecting?

VPNs that log are particularly dangerous to folks living in countries with strict internet censorship, where the sites you visit and files you download could land you in hot water with your government.

ExpressVPN operates a no-logs policy and doesn't keep any identifying user logs. This means that information (such as your IP address and browsing history) stays private. Better still, the provider is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, a country with no data retention laws that require it to store user data.

Keen to prove its privacy credentials, ExpressVPN underwent 12 third-party audits between 2022 and 2023. This includes audits of the Lightway protocol, privacy policy, and apps. If anything, this provides a particularly high level of transparency and reassures users that the service just isn't interested in keeping an eye on their online adventures.

ExpressVPN even introduced a biannual transparency report, the first of which was published in February, 2024. The report details data requests received from authorities, none of which resulted in the disclosure of user data (because ExpressVPN doesn't log data in the first place). ExpressVPN's no-logs policy has also been independently audited by PwC, KPMG, and Cure53.

ExpressVPN uses TrustedServer technology with all data stored in RAM as opposed to hard drives and, as such, the data is erased with each server reboot. However, it does keep some usage data (such as which app you're using, the app versions you’ve activated, and the dates you connect to the VPN and to which server location). I'd prefer that it didn’t even have those logs but they're nothing to be too concerned about, because they can't be tied to your online activities.

CyberGhost was possibly the first VPN to publish a transparency report back in 2011. In recent years, these reports have been released on a quarterly basis, providing even greater transparency. Not only do reports include information regarding the number of legal requests received, they also provide statistics regarding server infrastructure. CyberGhost stands out for having introduced a bug bounty program to help identify vulnerabilities (and help programmers hone their skills).

Deloitte performed two independent audits of CyberGhost's no-logs policy in 2022 and 2024, both of which corroborate its no-logs claims. This is a VPN that doesn't keep any logs by which its users can be identified, be it IP addresses or browsing history. CyberGhost doesn't even keep connection logs such as timestamps. What it does keep, though, is a record of connection attempts and frequency of use of its services, neither of which are linked to your identity.

CyberGhost operates out of Romania, a country outside of the notorious 14 Eyes data intelligence alliance and without mandatory data retention laws.

There's a lot to like about the privacy that ExpressVPN and CyberGhost provide but there's still one concern. Both VPNs are owned by Kape Technologies, formerly Crossrider, a company with a concerning past as a malware distributor. ExpressVPN and CyberGhost argue that they continue to operate independently though that may not fully allay some users' doubts. 

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Performance

Although there are faster VPNs to be found (like the ever-speedy Surfshark), ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are still more than fast enough for most people's needs. So, whether you're checking out social media feeds, streaming, or playing online games, you shouldn't have to contend with performance issues, especially if you connect to a server near your physical location. 

Of the two VPNs, it's CyberGhost that comes out on top in terms of speed. We recorded the speeds of 760 Mbps using its WireGuard protocol while ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol measured a respectable 410 Mbps.

Both VPNs offer OpenVPN, too, and CyberGhost led the way at 360 Mbps versus the 210 Mbps recorded with ExpressVPN. Indeed, CyberGhost ranks among the fastest VPNs we've tested for OpenVPN and only just missed out on a top 10 finish for WireGuard.

The difference in performance isn't set in stone—VPN speeds can fluctuate, and ExpressVPN might outperform CyberGhost during our next round of testing. So, while performance is a handy comparative statistic, you should weigh up other contributing factors.

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Streaming

More and more folks are using VPNs to get around pesky geo-restrictions—like the ones that give viewers in the US and UK totally different Netflix libraries. You're likely to run into geographic restrictions if you travel abroad, too, which is especially annoying if you've paid for a streaming service you can no longer access (because your IP address is giving away your location).

Not all VPNs are made equal when it comes to unblocking, however. Some are unable to keep up with the constant IP address blacklisting carried out by streaming platforms. With this in mind, we test each VPN against a range of popular streaming services including multiple Netflix libraries (the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan). That way, you'll get a better understanding of how reliable a VPN will be when you need to check out a show or movie that's not available in your country.

ExpressVPN is one of the best streaming VPNs in the business. It had no trouble with any streaming service I threw at it, easily accessing multiple Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Prime Video, and more. 

CyberGhost is also a very capable unblocker and had no trouble with any of these major streaming platforms. Although it failed to unblock the Australian streaming service 10Play, it did work with 9Now. What's more, I like the fact that it has dedicated streaming servers for specific streaming platforms.

CyberGhost interface on Smart TV

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Apps

Like a lot of things in life, opinions on VPN apps can be subjective. For example, I prefer apps that keep things simple, cut the clutter, and have a sleek UK, but others might want more advanced options to play around with and interactive elements.

The good news is that both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost have apps that are very easy to use. ExpressVPN apps all feature the on/off switch, allowing you to connect to a VPN server with a single click and enjoy rock-solid protection. Below the button, you'll find shortcuts for your most recently used server locations as well as the “Smart Location” tool, which automatically pairs you up with the best server currently available (typically the nearest and fastest). 

You can save time when connecting to ExpressVPN servers by favoriting specific server locations for faster future reference. The settings page is easily accessible and all of the various options are laid out in a way that makes sense. The fact that there are also brief explanations of the various features makes ExpressVPN a particularly beginner-friendly option. From the settings page, you can switch up your VPN protocol, turn on Advanced Protection (for blocking ads and trackers), and more, but you don't have to go diving into the details to get the most out of the service.

CyberGhost also has a great on/off switch. The app opens up as a small window pinned to the menu bar on desktop devices though it can also be expanded to full view. Doing so lets you see the list of server locations and a side menu with quick access to specialty servers (including Dedicated IPs and servers optimized for streaming and downloading).

There's a lot to like about CyberGhost's apps, particularly the fact that you can see the server load (Mac) and save your favorite server locations. One of the best features is the extensive selection of servers optimized for specific streaming services, be it Netflix US, Now TV, or Stan.

Overall, CyberGhost doesn't provide users with many settings to play around with (though there are more on Windows than Mac). Most people probably won't mind this but power users may be underwhelmed. The options you do have can be switched up via toggle buttons or checkboxes.

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Extra features

The VPN market is an increasingly crowded space and providers are always looking for new ways to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. This means offering free features and optional paid add-ons. If you're undecided between two VPNs such as ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, these handy extras might help tip the scales.

Despite ExpressVPN's steeper pricing, it doesn't come with quite as many extras as some rivals. It should be said that all of its features are available to all users, however, and not limited to a single, more expensive subscription tier. This includes ExpressVPN Keys, a built-in password manager. As you'd expect from a security-conscious VPN, ExpressVPN Keys offers strong security with zero-knowledge encryption.

Another key feature offered by ExpressVPN is Advanced Protection. Consisting of Threat Manager (a tracker and malicious site blocker), an ad blocker, and parental controls, it means ExpressVPN provides a more well-rounded and comprehensive security offering. Advanced Protection is available across ExpressVPN's desktop and mobile apps.

Finally, there's Aircove, a router preconfigured with ExpressVPN. Priced at $189.90, it's a useful way to secure all of the devices in your home. Any gadget that connects to the router's network is protected, automatically, and none of them count against ExpressVPN's simultaneous connection limit.

CyberGhost has a few extra features of its own, and you have the option of getting a dedicated IP address for an extra $2.50 a month. It also offers a Windows Security Suite including an antivirus tool and security updater. Unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost also has servers specifically optimized for streaming, gaming, and torrenting.

It's important to note that CyberGhost has one of the longest money-back guarantees of any VPN at 45 days. ExpressVPN's 30-day money-back guarantee is more in line with what you can expect from most VPNs but, either way, this is good news because it means you can try both VPNs in your own time without risking your money.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN allows up to eight simultaneous connections per account, one more than CyberGhost. Some VPNs (Surfshark and Private Internet Access) do offer unlimited simultaneous connections, however, so I'd like to see both providers bump up these figures.

ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost: Which is better

Overall, it's ExpressVPN that comes out on top. It sets itself apart from CyberGhost with excellent desktop and mobile apps, multiple independent audits, and impressive extras including Advanced Protection and a password manager.

CyberGhost outperformed ExpressVPN in our most recent speed tests, however, which (in addition to its dedicated servers) could make it a more attractive option for gamers and torrenters. There’s something to be said for the product CyberGhost is putting out for the price.

If you don't mind splashing out for a premium product, I recommend ExpressVPN. Otherwise, you can make a significant saving and still get a quality VPN in the process with CyberGhost

We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Mark Gill
Tech Security Writer

Mark is a Tech Security Writer for TechRadar and has been published on Comparitech and IGN. He graduated with a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Lincoln and spent several years teaching English as a foreign language in Spain. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal sparked Mark’s interest in online privacy, leading him to write hundreds of articles on VPNs, antivirus software, password managers, and other cybersecurity topics. He recently completed the Google Cybersecurity Certificate, and when he's not studying for the CompTIA Security+ exam, Mark can be found agonizing over his fantasy football team selections, watching the Detroit Lions, and battling bugs and bots in Helldivers 2.