ibVPN Review

ibVPN is a service that seems to know exactly what people look for in a VPN, but then spectacularly fails at delivering any of it. Though we would like to recommend it we can't in good conscience do so, as you can read in our full ibVPN review.

By Brian MurrayWriter
— Last Updated: 20 Mar'19
2019-03-20T03:23:42-08:00
Table of Contents Rating
Features
85%
Very Good
Pricing
70%
Decent
Ease of Use
60%
Fair
Speed
70%
Decent
Security
60%
Fair
Privacy
85%
Very Good
Streaming Performance
40%
Terrible
Server Locations
80%
Good
Customer Service
85%
Very Good
User Reviews & Comments

Decent
Starts from $ 308 per month
Visit ibVPN
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Invisible Browsing VPN, or ibVPN, is a virtual private network service that has been around for about 15 years. During that time, it seems to have learned how to show people what they want, but not how to execute it.

As you’ll find over the course of this ibVPN review, the service has a pattern of raising your hopes before quickly dashing them. A free trial followed by a needlessly complex list of plans, a long list of features that’s muddled by a confusing interface or even the appearance of impressive security are just a few examples of how it does so.

ibVPN knows what’s necessary to be one of the best VPN providers and what people want. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver on much of it.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Feature-rich
  • Tons of user control
  • Responsive customer service

Weaknesses:

  • DNS leaks
  • Can’t stream geoblocked content
  • Messy user interface

Alternatives for ibVPN

cloudwards rating
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top features

Features

85% - Very Good

There are features that are important, features that are more like creature comforts and features that nobody even knew they wanted. ibVPN covers all three.

The major features are covered. It can be installed on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS devices. It can also be set up to run on routers, so all of your devices can be automatically protected. It has a slew of security features that we’ll talk more about later, including the ability to run on start-up and a killswitch.

Then, there are the “nice to have” features that aren’t critical to being a good VPN. It offers a Smart DNS proxy that can help get around geoblocked content. There’s an integrated ad blocker and almost any VPN protocol you could ask for is available, including come pretty uncommon ones.

If you’re curious about VPN protocols, take a look at our VPN protocol breakdown.

Finally, there are the things you wouldn’t know you wanted until you knew they existed. There’s a setup wizard that lets you choose things such as UK streaming, U.S. streaming or bypassing China’s Great Firewall. It then automatically configures the protocol and server that is best suited for the task.

As you’ll find as we get further into this review, though, some of those features aren’t quite what they’re hyped up to be.

Additionally, ibVPN is missing a coveted feature: split tunneling. Split tunneling seems rare, so if you’re looking for it in particular, we suggest checking out our ExpressVPN review. It’s one of the top dogs on the market and, along with split tunneling, offers a feature-rich experience.

ibVPN Features Overview

Starts from$ 308per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card, Payment wall, Perfect money
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
25
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
24 hours
Refund period
15 days
Worldwide server amount
180
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS
Browser extensions
Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Can be installed on routers

Streaming

Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video

Security

Encryption types
256-AES
VPN protocols available
IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, Sock5
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included

Support

Live Chat
office hours
Email support
24/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

Pricing

70% - Decent

When it comes to pricing, ibVPN probably has the most complex list of options we’ve encountered. The plans not only differ in price, but also in the number of connected devices allowed, which protocols are available and which programs are available.

Standard VPN
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 1 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 3.08 / month
$36.95 billed every year
Save 38 %
Ultimate VPN
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 4.84 / month
$58.06 billed every year
Save 56 %
Torrent VPN
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 1 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 3.08 / month
$36.95 billed every year
Save 38 %
ibDNS
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 1 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 3.08 / month
$36.95 billed every year
Save 38 %
Family VPN
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 7 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 8.33 / month
$99.95 billed every year
Save 40 %

The Standard VPN plan allows you to use unlimited bandwidth, but doesn’t include SOCKS5 protocol or Tor over VPN. It only allows for a single connection, but it’s priced well. Because using only one connection is a common use case with VPNs it’s surprising that more VPN providers don’t offer a plan like this one.

The Ultimate VPN plan allows access to all of ibVPN’s features and connect up to five devices simultaneously.

The Torrent VPN plan only allows for one connection at a time and is restricted to certain servers. There’s an implication here that the Standard VPN plan doesn’t allow torrenting, but how that’s enforced is unclear.

To wrap up, we have the ibDNS plan and the Family VPN plan. We don’t recommend paying for a Smart DNS proxy in most cases because changing your DNS can be done easily and for free. If you want to know more about that, check out our how to change your DNS address guide. Family VPN is the same as Ultimate VPN, but includes seven simultaneous connections.

Though the monthly pricing on the Standard VPN plan is competitive, Ultimate VPN and Family VPN are steep for what they offer. If you’re looking for a good monthly deal with more connections, read our Private Internet Access review.

If you’re looking for a provider that lets you sign up for longer periods to get extra savings, we suggest you head to our NordVPN review because NordVPN offers deep discounts for people who sign up for two or three years at a time.

Ease of Use

60% - Fair

Setting up a free trial on the ibVPN website is simple. The website makes it easy to find the account setup and the overall design is pleasing to look at. That said, getting a paid account is harder because of the many plans offered.

Installation is about as straightforward as you would expect it to be for a modern program, and the privacy policy and terms of use are laid out for you during setup, which is nice. The first time we opened the ibVPN client, though, was a shocking experience.

You’re greeted with a cluttered screen that is splattered with buttons, switches and settings. What’s worse is that the settings options and buttons are rarely highlighted in such a way that makes it clear that if they’re clicked they’ll open more menus.

To the left is a column of tabs. In the first one, the dashboard, you can connect the VPN, select a server, change the protocol, see a log, turn the killswitch on or off, turn the Smart DNS proxy on or off, as well as do minor things such as accessing your account or heading to ibVPN’s social media. As you can see, the major problem with this interface is how cluttered it is.

ibVPN tried to make the interface as information-rich as possible created a monstrosity. There’s no need for a dashboard to have so much information.

That said, once the initial disorientation wears off, there are nice features to be found. The servers are easy to browse and ibVPN even offers information about how much load each one is under. If you’re looking for a more user-friendly VPN, head to our CyberGhost review.

Speed

70% - Decent

Our speed testing for ibVPN started well. At the New York City server, which was relatively close to us at about 400 miles away, we saw a mere 1 millisecond increase in ping and retained a good amount of our download and upload speeds.

Location:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected (Virginia)1573.246.03
New York City1658.74.5
Netherlands9557.14.51
London20657.562.57
Tokyo17626.513.46
Seoul2311.470.73

We then tried the server the client calls a “gaming” server, which was hosted in the Netherlands. It had a significantly higher ping time, as one would expect from a server much farther away, but the ping was still low considering the nearly 4,000-mile distance.

Though that server is the only one labeled for gaming in the ibVPN server list, it might not be ideal for the task. Depending on who you’re trying to play with and where you’re located, the Netherlands might not be a great location for it. Check out our best VPN for gaming article for other options.

The other European server we tried, which was in London, had a much higher ping than the “gaming” server, which makes sense, but it kept the high connection speed. Things took a turn for the worse when we headed to the Asian servers, though. Both Tokyo and Seoul were slow.

The ping times were reasonable, but the sustained download and upload speeds were anywhere from bad to abysmal in Seoul. To be fair, those servers were almost 6,800 miles from our testing location, but dropping a 70-megabit-per-second connection to 1 Mbps is unacceptable.

The low ping time made browsing bearable, but websites with lots of images or ads on them took quite a while to load. If you’re looking for VPNs that offer high download speeds for larger downloads, take a look at our fastest VPN guide.

Security

60% - Fair

On the surface ibVPN seems to offer excellent security. There’s an easy-to-use killswitch to ensure no data leaks if your connection is lost. You can also set the VPN to run at start-up, so your computer will never send or receive information without the VPN protecting you.

There are tons of protocols available, including OpenVPN and SSTP, and though the encryption varies by protocol, most use the powerful AES 256-bit. That encryption is known for being practically impossible to break, as we discuss in our description of encryption.

That said, we found at least one breach in ibVPN’s security. It failed our DNS leak test. We tried a variety of settings, some of which explicitly mentioned preventing DNS leaks, but we still got leaks every time.

If you’re curious about what that means, read our what are DNS leaks article for an in-depth look. Essentially, some of your browsing data is leaking into the hands of your internet service provider or government, even with the VPN on. That defeats the purpose of using a DNS and rules out using ibVPN in places with heavy government control over the internet, such as China.

If you’re a reader living in China and you’re trying to break through the Great Firewall, we recommend taking a look at our best VPN services for China article. If you’re just looking for a service that offers strong security without glaring vulnerabilities such as DNS leaks, read our VyprVPN review.

Privacy

85% - Very Good

Overall, ibVPN has a good privacy policy. It has a no-logging policy, which is the foundation of any good VPN provider’s privacy policy. It doesn’t collect or log traffic data or information regarding the use of the VPN.

It also can’t relate specific activities with specific users. That means if ibVPN is given legal notice, it’s not capable of turning over data to the authorities because it can’t hand over information it doesn’t have.

That said, there are things it could do better. It uses a third party to handle and process payment information. Plus, there are cookies on its website that collect information, though that is standard practice. The information is used internally and externally to help maintain the website.

Finally, it gathers identifying information during account creation. Though many VPN providers only collect an email address, ibVPN also takes a name. That said, you can make up a name because the name on the account has no bearing on how the service is provided.

Streaming Performance

40% - Terrible

Likely because of the DNS leak issue mentioned earlier, ibVPN was unable to access any major geoblocked streaming service. BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video could tell that a VPN was in use and barred us from watching anything.

We tried different settings, as well as the Smart DNS proxy service to no avail. We discussed it with customer service, which we’ll address in more detail in a moment, but were unable to get any websites working.

With BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video out of the question, we decided to try ibVPN’s streaming performance with YouTube and Twitch. As you might expect from the speed testing we looked at earlier, the quality of the streaming experience varied greatly by server we connected to.

When connected to European or North American servers, streaming was pleasant. The video loaded in about a second and defaulted to 1080p. There was no buffering and the video played smoothly from start to finish.

When connected to Tokyo, though, we had a different experience. The video took up to 30 seconds to get started, ran at 720p and, in many cases, stuttered a few times before dropping to 480p or even a nice and grainy 360p.

We can’t recommend ibVPN to anyone trying to stream foreign content. We do have recommendations, though. If BBC iPlayer content is what you’re after, check out our best VPN for BBC iPlayer roundup. Alternatively, you can head to our article on how to beat the Netflix VPN ban if that’s the content you want.

Server Locations

80% - Good

ibVPN sports 180 servers spread across 87 locations in 51 countries. The list of servers includes offerings in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. That’s a good number of locations and servers, and it means ibVPN has the infrastructure necessary to see a significant rise in customer base without suffering a loss in performance.

That said, 180 servers is far from the best we’ve seen. It even looks miniscule compared to NordVPN, which has thousands of servers. Likewise, 87 locations is good, but pales in comparison to HideMyAss, which boasts more than twice the options. If you’re a globe trotter looking for a VPN with as many options as possible, read our HideMyAss review to learn more.

Customer Service

85% - Very Good

IbVPN offers many customer support options. On the self-service front, there’s an extensive knowledgebase on the website that not only covers installation and setup on supported devices, but also addresses a lot of common VPN questions and issues in detail.

Email and live chat services are available 24/7. We spoke with the live chat on two separate occasions and the person on the other end was responsive, well-mannered and tried to be helpful. We discussed the issue of not being able to access geoblocked websites, such as the BBC iPlayer, but were unable to get things working, even with their help.

We also used the email service, and it took about three hours to hear back. That’s not a great response time, but it’s far from the worst. We had a similar experience with a customer service representative who tried to help but was unable to do so.

ibVPN even offers remote assistance in which a representative remotely connects to your computer and helps you resolve issues you’re having. It has to be done by appointment, but it’s a nice option.

The Verdict

ibVPN consistently presented one thing, then delivered something different. Settings that explicitly said they can prevent DNS leaks didn’t. Servers that said they were for UK streaming didn’t get you BBC iPlayer content. It went on and on.

This duality leads ibVPN to be relegated to the realm of mediocre-at-best. It leaves you wondering where to look next. Luckily, we have a massive archive of VPN reviews that are sorted from best to worst for your convenience. We urge you to browse the options there to help you make an educated choice before spending your hard-earned dollars.

Have you tried ibVPN? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

ibVPN Review

A good-looking, but ultimately unimpressive VPN.

ibVPN is a service that seems to know exactly what people look for in a VPN, but then spectacularly fails at delivering any of it. Though we would like to recommend it we can't in good conscience do so, as you can read in our full ibVPN review.
Starts from$ 308per month
Visit ibVPN
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