Last update: 04.24.2019
IbVPN – the finest all-round VPN service, offering unlimited entertainment and unassailable online privacy? Close, but not quite.
ibVPN stands for Invisible Browsing VPN, and according to the official website, it’s praised all over the world for its lightning speeds and great customer support. While we’re not completely on board with the speed claim, ibVPN is an excellent product in almost every other aspect.
Still, there are several drawbacks that keep it out of our Top-10 (or 20). Most of these flaws are related to ibVPN’s limited server network and its needlessly complicated pricing structure. That said, with more time to improve, ibVPN could certainly make a best-of list or two in the future.
Now, let’s take a closer look at where ibVPN succeeds and, unfortunately, disappoints as a service.
Security and privacy
In terms of security, ibVPN offers a surprisingly comprehensive feature package:
- Industry standard 256-AES encryption
- OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, SoftEther protocol options
- Stealth VPN
- Socks5 proxy
- Double VPN
- TOR over VPN
- Kill switch
- DNS, IP, and WebRTC leak protection
For all connections, ibVPN’s tunneling default is OpenVPN, which is universally accepted as the best in the current market. If you prefer other protocols, like SSTP, L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)/IpSec (Internet Protocol Security) or PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), those are available as well.
For more experienced users, ibVPN also offers several advanced features, which put this provider above most industry competitors. Some of these feature include Double VPN for an extra layer of security, a kill switch against connection drops, and Shadowsocks for securely bypassing online censorship.
Overall, these security offerings are as good as you can get, making ibVPN truly safe to use.
Does ibVPN log your data?
Short answer: minimal logs.
Another plus for ibVPN’s privacy is its jurisdiction. The service is based in Romania – the privacy-friendly country whose Parliament ruled the EU Data Retention Directive to be unconstitutional. This means that ibVPN is under no obligation to provide or share your data with government authorities and you’ll have a little less to worry about in terms of law enforcement getting their hands on your info.
Speed and performance
We installed the ibVPN app for our speed tests, and this is where ibVPN faltered. Once the app was installed, connection latency increased ten-fold after we connected to the nearest server. The upload speeds also dropped considerably.
Speed test results
For reference, these were our baseline speeds before we connected to ibVPN from Europe:
We then connected to several ibVPN servers around the globe. This is what we found.
- Download : 4 Mbps (drop-off: 99%)
- Upload: 10 Mbps (drop-off: 95%)
- Download : 42 Mbps (drop-off: 82%)
- Upload: 3 Mbps (drop-off: 99%)
- Download : 3 Mbps (drop-off: 99%)
- Upload: 3 Mbps (drop-off: 99%)
Needless to say, the these results are atrocious. Surprisingly, speeds on US-based servers were considerably higher than those in Europe, from where we connected to perform our tests.
Note that these results aren’t gospel. VPN speed depends upon several factors. The most important factor is your location relative to the server you’re connecting to, followed by server load and possible connection hiccups on both ends. In other words, your mileage may vary.
ibVPN operates 130+ servers in 47 countries, which is a moderately sized server network. These numbers might not be in the ballpark of the most popular VPN providers like NordVPN or TorGuard, but they’re not rookie numbers, either. Barring extremely heavy loads, most of these servers should handle internet traffic adequately, at least in theory.
IbVPN servers are spread across every continent, which means you should have no problems finding a server nearby. The notable exception here is sub-Saharan Africa, with servers only available in South Africa.
Ease of use and multi-platform support
You can install ibVPN on more platforms and devices than you can possibly own:
- Smart TVs
- PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles
- DD-WRT and Sabai routers
- Browser extensions for Chrome, FireFox, and Safari
Again, this is some extensive multi-platform compatibility. What’s more, ibVPN’s native apps are intuitive and easy to use accross every platform.
Not to mention their high customizability and “Connection Wizard” options that automatically tailor optimal security and privacy settings to your needs like streaming, torrenting, or bypassing censorship.
P2P and torrenting
While ibVPN allows torrenting, you’ll need to subscribe to the Torrent VPN or the Ultimate VPN plan to access specialized P2P servers located in Romania, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, China, Hungary, Lithuania, New Zealand, and Canada.
Unfortunately, ibVPN’s rather mediocre download speeds prevent us from wholeheartedly recommending this service for hardcore torrenters. While it’s good to have the P2P option, you can get better speeds and less restrictive pricing plans elsewhere.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
This is where streaming and chill fans should get excited, because ibVPN comes with the Smart DNS technology which can reliably bypass most geo-blocks, Netflix included. While it doesn’t change your IP adress, Smart DNS can trick streaming platforms into perceiving your location as legitimate and giving you access to any geo-blocked content library.
Using ibVPN’s Smart DNS feature, you can stream Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, among others.
Unfortunately, this is where ibVPN’s confusing pricing plans strike again, because the Smart DNS service only comes with the Ultimate VPN and IBDNS pricing plans.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
You should be able use ibVPN in China and other restrictive countries.
ibVPN offers a comprehensive arsenal for bypassing most online censorship techniques. This includes the Double VPN, TOR over VPN, and Shadowsocks features that can easily demolish VPN blocks and give users access to the unadulterated version of the world wide web.
Additionally, ibVPN’s server locations are conveniently dispersed across Asia and the Middle East, ensuring adequate performance in most censored countries.
ibVPN offers the following support options:
- Help center
- Knowledge base
- Email and ticket support
- Live chat support
- Remote assistance
We found that ibVPN has very responsive customer service. We posed several questions to the service representative, and all of those were responded to promptly.
For DIY troubleshooters, the ibVPN website features an informative FAQ section, guides on how to set up a connection, and a plethora of helpful articles about most VPN features. Also, you can interact with this provider on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.
ibVPN has four pricing plans available:
- Standard VPN plan for $3.08/month (billed annually)
- Torrent VPN plan (incl. access to P2P servers) for $3.08/month (billed annually)
- IBDNS plan (incl. Smart DNS) for $3.08/month (billed annually)
- Ultimate VPN plan (incl. Smart DNS, P2P servers, and anti-censorship features) for $4.83/month (billed annually)
If you want to try before you buy, you can use ibVPN’s unlimited 24-hour free trial version or take advantage of the 15-day money-back guarantee.
While these subscription plans are relatively affordable, this is one of the most confusing pricing structures we’ve ever seen. Clearly, picking anything other than the Ultimate VPN plan is tantamount to figuratively shooting yourself in the foot, since every other option limits your connections to 1 device.
On the other hand, ibVPN’s mediocre speeds are a disappointment, while its labyrinthine pricing structure is a real headscratcher.
Given more time, ibVPN certainly has the potential to be one of the best VPNs on the market. At the moment, however, the competition at the top is just too strong.