ibVPN Review

ibVPN is a service that seems to think that complicated is better, meaning you're presented with a massive learning curve as well as limited streaming ability. We do not particularly recommend this VPN, as you can read in this full ibVPN review.

By Samuel Chapman
— Last Updated:
2020-07-01T08:52:11+00:00
Starts from $ 308 per month
Save 38 % (All Plans)
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ibVPN, which stands for Invisible Browsing VPN (or just Invisible VPN), is one of the more convoluted virtual private network services we’ve reviewed lately. In 2019, it had serious holes in its security; those have been fixed this year but were replaced by other flaws. In this ibVPN review, we’ll go over its interface, pricing, security, privacy, streaming performance and more.

This VPN can unblock Netflix and several other streaming services (though not Hulu). If we had to describe it in two words, they’d be “needlessly complicated.” Everything from the pricing plans to the feature set to the UI is muddled and unrewarding. Read on to get all the details, or check out our list of the best VPNs instead.

If you want to go straight to the top, read our ExpressVPN review. It’s our favorite VPN, plus it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Good domestic speeds
  • Gets into Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Amazon Prime Video
  • Affordable plans
  • Kill switch with app kill
  • Multi-hop servers
  • Large selection of protocols
  • Based in Romania, with EU data protections
  • Access Tor over VPN

Weaknesses:

  • Limited function on everything but Windows
  • Bad Windows UI
  • Greatly increases ping length
  • Only the Ultimate VPN subscription has all features
  • Uses third-party payment processors

Alternatives for ibVPN

  1. 1
    • PayPal, Credit card, Payment wall, Bank transfer
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  2. 2
    • PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. 3
    • PayPal, Credit card
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  4. 4
    • PayPal, Credit card
    • 10 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  5. 5
    • PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy

Features

75 % – Good

ibVPN has a wide selection of features for more advanced users, but it doesn’t throw many bones to beginners. Although veterans should be happy with its selection of protocols, wizards and proxies, few of them can be explained without at least a lecture’s worth of VPN security information.

Be warned before we start: this is a Windows VPN. ibVPN is available for a slew of other devices, but outside the Windows desktop client, all its advanced features are absent. You’ll also lose a lot by opting for the cheaper Standard VPN plan.

Basic Features

Most of the basics are covered on all systems. ibVPN is available on macOS, Linux and Windows and as a mobile app for iOS and Android. It offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera, and it can be installed on DD-WRT and Sabai routers, PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles and Roku streamers.

You can set it to start masking your IP immediately when you turn on the internet, which is useful for unsecured WiFi connections. You can also have it cut off your internet connection if you’re ever unprotected, a feature commonly known as a kill switch.

ibVPN-app-kill

ibVPN’s kill switch comes in two forms. One shuts off your internet connection immediately if your VPN drops, while the other, called “kill switch apps,” closes all the apps on a blacklist when you lose the VPN (Astrill has a similar feature). 

You can have both kill switches active concurrently or run one at a time. It’s great for torrenting clients, and other non-browser apps that need to stay secure.

ibVPN-rotating-favorites

One of the more unique features is “rotating favorites.” You can select favorites from the list of server locations, then have the VPN cycle through those favorites repeatedly for extra security. It can change servers without dropping the connection, so there’s no risk of exposing your data.

Rotating favorites is a neat way to get an extra layer of security. However, it’s not as safe or convenient as a true IP cycling feature, like IPVanish used to have.

ibVPN-Double-and-Tor-servers

The last features available to all operating systems (though only to premium subscribers) are two sets of extra-secure servers. ibVPN offers P2P servers for torrenting. Double VPN is its word for a multi-hop connection, which it can do on three different servers (the United States, Singapore and the Netherlands) in any combination.

Finally, Tor over VPN (not to be confused with TorGuard, a completely different service) allows you to connect to the Tor network. Tor traffic isn’t secured on its own, so most users connect to Tor sites using a VPN. It’s nice to see a VPN building servers specifically for that purpose.

Windows-Only Features

ibVPN sharply limits your options on any platform other than Windows. The following advanced features are available only for Windows users.

The Secure Sockets proxy, or SOCKS5, is a quick-and-dirty privacy protocol that conceals your IP address without encrypting your traffic. It makes torrenting faster, though far less secure. Shadowsocks proxies are available, too, which help disguise VPN traffic from government blocks — this is helpful for users in China.

The most important OS-limited feature is ibDNS/SmartDNS. SmartDNS makes your DNS requests appear to be coming from a different location, so you can access geoblocked content, such as BBC iPlayer shows. It’s not a VPN, but it can be used in conjunction with one.

ibVPN Features Overview

  • General

    • PayPal, Credit card, Payment wall, Bank transfer
    • Accepts cryptocurrency
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Supports split tunneling
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • 24 hours Free trial available
    • 14 days Refund period
    • 181 servers in 52 countries Worldwide server amount
    • Windows, MacOS, Linux
    • Android, iOS
    • Chrome, Firefox, Opera
    • DD-WRT & Sabai Can be installed on routers
  • Streaming

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

    • 256-AES
    • IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, Stealth VPN, Shadowsocks
    • Enabled at device startup
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
    • Passed DNS leak test
    • Killswitch available
    • Malware/ad blocker included
  • Support

    • 24/7 Live Chat
    • 24/7 Email support
    • Phone support
    • User forum
    • Knowledgebase

Pricing

85 % – Very Good

ibVPN’s pricing structure is overly complicated. It offers four different plans, each of which sells at a discount if you buy a whole year at a time. However, three of the plans cost exactly the same (monthly or yearly), so be careful not to get the wrong one.

Compared to other VPN services (except Private Internet Access), ibVPN is incredibly cheap, but the lack of any plans longer than a year dampens our enthusiasm a bit. If you want to save money on a longer plan, our NordVPN review covers a service that does it well.

Standard VPN
  • No torrenting, No SmartDNS Details
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 1 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 3.08/ month
$36.95 billed every year
Save 38 %
Ultimate VPN
  • Torrenting allowed, SmartDNS Details
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 4.67/ month
$56.08 billed every year
Save 57 %
Torrent VPN
  • P2P servers only, No SmartDNS, No proxy servers Details
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 1 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 3.08/ month
$36.95 billed every year
Save 38 %
IBDNS/SMART DNS
  • No VPN, No torrenting, SmartDNS Details
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 1 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 3.08/ month
$36.95 billed every year
Save 38 %

The pricing page lists the plans in terms of their cost per day, but there’s no way to sign up for one day at a time. The listed “per day” is just the annual cost divided by 365.

ibVPN-pricing

The Standard VPN plan lets you connect to all ibVPN’s standard servers with no limits on bandwidth. However, you can’t connect to any torrenting servers or use SmartDNS, and you can only connect with one device at a time.

The Ultimate VPN plan is the most complete. It gives you access to all ibVPN’s features and is the only one that permits multiple connections. The Torrent VPN plan allows you to use only the P2P servers, with just one connection at a time. Finally, the ibDNS/SmartDNS plan doesn’t give you access to the VPN, just the SmartDNS feature.

You can get a free trial of the Ultimate VPN plan for 24 hours, and you can request your money back for up to 14 days. When it comes time to pay, ibVPN offers too many methods to list here. All major credit and debit cards are included, plus most e-wallets, bank transfers and bitcoin. The only thing missing is a cash option.

Ease of Use

50 % – Poor

While using ibVPN, we kept repeating one phrase: “this wasn’t made for humans.” The interface is riddled with jarringly counter-intuitive choices. For example, on the server list, you can’t see all the servers within a country by clicking on that country. You instead have to scroll up, click to the “all servers” tab, and scroll all the way back down.

ibVPN’s user interface differs wildly depending on the platform. The Windows app offers far more control, but at the cost of being cluttered and visually unappealing. The other apps are sleeker and better-looking, but still have issues. If the screenshots below turn you off, our CyberGhost review or Surfshark review might be more to your taste.

Download and Install

Downloading ibVPN is straightforward on Windows. Once you’ve chosen the free trial or paid plan, just follow the clearly marked links to download your app.

ibVPN-app-store

Mac users beware, though: it’s way more difficult on macOS. First, in order to download your desktop client, you have to switch over to the App Store. This is unusual for a VPN, and it’s also unnecessary because you can download the app directly from another part of the site.

ibVPN-one-click-login

Worse, if you’re a macOS user, you’ll almost certainly download the wrong app on your first try. ibVPN prompts you to download “ibVPN One-Click,” a heavily simplified client that’s missing the kill switch and ability to change protocols. To access those features, you’ll have to download a separate app, “ibVPN All-In-One.”

Control Panel

The UI is the one place where non-Windows users get an advantage with ibVPN. On Windows, the main control panel is a visually cluttered nightmare.

ibVPN-Windows-UI

Nothing makes sense here. The large red button isn’t what you click to connect. The tabs on the left toggle the right-hand window. Multiple sets of two panels give you the exact same information. Everything is written in the same drab font, regardless of its importance.

We know full well that being pretty is not a VPN’s first job — read our AirVPN review for an unappealing service that actually works — but it shouldn’t be hard to do better than this.

ibVPN-mac-UI

By contrast, the above screenshot is all you get on macOS. From the main window, you can connect to the VPN, choose another server or check your IP address. By clicking the menu at the top right, you can access the options menu, where all the other features are stored.

ibVPN-mac-options-menu

It’s far simpler without the glut of information paralyzing you at every turn. Yet the macOS, iOS, Android and other apps have their own problems. For example, on macOS, you can click “contact us” in two places. Both of them open up a mail client instead of an in-app ticket submission window.

Likewise, you’d expect clicking “check IP” to display your IP address within the app. Instead, it opens a browser window and takes you to a site that isn’t affiliated with ibVPN (but is festooned with ads). None of these touches are deal breakers by themselves, but as a whole, they make even the non-Windows UI feel slapped together.

Speed

75 % – Good

Each of these tests was conducted using the OpenVPN protocol. For the last three countries, we requested the fastest server, which ibVPN doesn’t name until after you’ve connected.

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected1715.722.30
California, United States
73
12.67
2.03
Quebec, Canada
184
6.75
2.02
United Kingdom
341
6.79
2.00
United Arab Emirates
534
3.84
1.94
India
550
2.89
1.99
Average
336
6.59
2

We also tested the Netherlands-to-U.S. double server and got a ping of 330ms, a download speed of 5.06 Mbps and an upload speed of 1.83 Mbps. We tried the opposite U.S.-to-Netherlands server but found it so bogged down that the latency test failed.

This also happened on our recommended fastest server in Seattle. Some servers were even farther gone, entirely failing to connect.

ibVPN-connection-error

When we did manage to connect, ibVPN’s domestic speeds were reasonably good. The U.S. servers downloaded fast and streamed video reasonably well. Only the ping length was below average, suggesting that you shouldn’t use this service for gaming (try our best VPN for gaming list instead).

Things slowed down more internationally. However, download speed stayed decent from Canada and the UK and only started falling in Asia. At a distance, StrongVPN and Mullvad both blow it out of the water.

In North America and Europe, ibVPN can surf, stream and video chat. Just be wary of it for gaming or for tunneling more than 5,000 miles, and note that some servers refuse to behave. It doesn’t quite make our fastest VPN list.

Security

80 % – Good

In last year’s ibVPN review, the service failed our DNS leak tests on several different protocols. That’s bad enough to torpedo a VPN even if it’s perfect in every other way, so it was the first thing we tested this time.

ibVPN-DNS-leak-test

Our real IP isn’t on the above list, which means ibVPN has fixed whatever hole was leaking DNS requests last year. In light of that, we’ve given its security a much better review, though it still lags behind other services (see our VyprVPN review for an example).

ibVPN-protocols

On Windows, ibVPN supports nine VPN protocols. If you want to pick one instead of having the VPN choose for you, we recommend OpenVPN over TCP if you want more security and OpenVPN over UDP if you want better speed. Both are quite secure, though, and using functionally unbreakable AES-256 encryption helps.

On macOS, you’re limited to three protocols: OpenVPN, IPsec and IKEv2. However, if you choose the all-in-one version of the macOS app (which is the only way to get the kill switch), you lose access to OpenVPN. It’s yet another example of this VPN’s oddly antagonistic approach to macOS.

If you go with a browser extension, such as ibVPN Chrome, remember that it only protects traffic from that browser, not your entire network.

Privacy

90 % – Excellent

The first time you log in, ibVPN shares the following message, promising not to access information about you except for your email address and password. It claims to log no other info whatsoever.

ibVPN-data-privacy

The privacy policy on ibVPN’s website goes into more detail. Although there are some rights reserved, ibVPN is not able to relate user activity to individuals, and so it couldn’t expose any activity under subpoena (except that a user had subscribed to the service).

ibVPN-privacy-summary

ibVPN is based in Romania, which lacks the strict data laws of the United States and other Five Eyes nations. As far as we can see, the only vulnerability is the third-party platforms ibVPN uses to process its payments. It might make sure ibVPN can’t save your financial information, but it exposes users to an extra layer of external risk.

Streaming Performance

90 % – Excellent

Streaming is one of ibVPN’s biggest strengths. With one exception, it unlocks geoblocked TV shows at watchable speeds without breaking a sweat. It’s a strong contender for our best VPN for BBC iPlayer list and our rundown of VPNs that beat the Netflix ban.

It got us into Netflix on every server we tried. The videos played cleanly without any lag. This is great, but not very surprising, as a lot of new VPNs are designed around Netflix’s security in particular.

Hulu detected the VPN and blocked us, but Amazon Prime Video worked perfectly. We used a streaming server in the UK to test BBC iPlayer and got through. Download speeds were just fast enough to watch without lag.

Server Locations

70 % – Decent

ibVPN doesn’t organize its servers in any recognizable way, so it’s hard to get an accurate picture of its network size. Counting by hand, we found 181 servers across 52 countries. That’s a good number of nations, and although 181 is on the low side for total servers, it’s also a good indication that all ibVPN’s servers are real.

ibVPN-server-list

Furthermore, we were delighted to see servers in places that are often overlooked. ibVPN has several servers in Russia, plenty in Central and South America, and at least one in Africa. Its network hits all six inhabited continents.

It could be a lot more extensive, but what’s there works. If you’re interested, the champion in this space is still HideMyAss (read our HideMyAss review to learn why).

Customer Service

85 % – Very Good

Customer support from ibVPN starts with its online help center, which is organized in a step-by-step fashion. 

ibVPN-help-center

The knowledgebase articles are clearly written and include plenty of pictures where appropriate. Click on any device name to see all the articles written about that device. It’s also easy to look up error codes.

The FAQ is a bit sloppier but just as helpful. You can also schedule an appointment for remote-access assistance, a rare feature among VPN services.

ibVPN-live-chat

To talk to a professional, use the constantly available live chat window or send a ticket to ibVPN’s email address. Experts read emails 24/7 and take an average of two hours to respond. We tried it out and found all ibVPN’s support techs to be polite and eager to help, though they couldn’t do much more than reiterate information from the knowledgebase.

The Verdict

With so many VPN services now available, a single severe flaw can tank our recommendation for any individual option. Such is the case with our ibVPN review. It’s got plenty of good features, including its speed, Tor over VPN feature and ability to unblock Netflix.

However, everything valuable is buried under layers of confusing features and off-putting decisions. ibVPN isn’t interested in going out of its way to make its service appealing or even legible to newbies. The way the experience varies so much between systems, without adequate documentation, makes it Russian roulette to download.

ibVPN did fix its biggest flaw from 2019, though, so there’s hope it’ll grow by next year’s review. A bit of design unity and clear communication could put this VPN back on the right track.

ibVPN FAQ

  • What Is ibVPN?

    ibVPN is a virtual private network that hides your IP address while browsing online. If anybody tries to spy on your browsing activity, they won’t have direct access to your online identity.

  • Is ibVPN Safe?

    ibVPN will not harm your computer. In our tests, ibVPN did not leak any IP addresses, DNS requests or WebRTC requests. It’s a reputable company and, as far as we’ve seen, will not sell your information to third parties.

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