ibVPN Review Overview
- Limited streaming capabilities
- Military-grade encryption
- No logs policy
- App is visually unappealing
- 12 month plan - $4.84 per month ($58.06 total cost)
- 1 month plan - $10.95 per month ($10.95 total cost)
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Even though it’s been around since 2010, ibVPN is a rather small VPN provider.
But does ibVPN deliver on the promise of their name, “invisible browsing?” Or are they yet another provider coasting on the rising awareness of online privacy without really doing anything?
These are the questions we set out to answer in our ibVPN review.
Located in a Safe Jurisdiction
The first thing we looked for was ibVPN’s home. According to the footer on their website pages, the provider is registered in Romania and the parent company is AmplusNET SRL:
AmplusNET SRL is indeed a Romanian company and has been around since 2003 (a fact also mentioned in ibVPN’s About Us page). The company’s website consists of just one page and claims to have been “Connecting People & Companies By Using Secure Technologies Since 2003.”
All signs point to ibVPN legitimately being a Romanian company. This is good news, as Romania is an online privacy-friendly jurisdiction that exists outside of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances.
How ibVPN Compares to the Competition
Strict No-Logs Policy
- Only your name and email address are logged
- The third-party payment processors collect other data
- No VPN usage is logged
- Personally identifiable information is stored on secure European servers (for European customers) or the US equivalent (for non-European customers) and is never shared
- Non-personally identifiable information gathered as per the third bullet point is stored on the same servers, but is also shared with third-parties for diagnostic and analytics purposes
All told, it’s a solid, no-logs policy.
Military-Grade Encryption and the Best VPN Protocols
ibVPN offers a rather wide selection of VPN protocols to choose from – and the encryption level is somewhat dependent on your choice. While we’ll give a brief overview here, if you do decide to purchase an ibVPN subscription, we recommend studying our Beginner’s Guide to VPN Encryption and Beginner’s Guide to VPN Protocols.
The first protocol on offer is PPTP, which is not recommended as it isn’t very secure and only offers 128-bit MPPE (Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption). ibVPN acknowledges this fact and says the only reason they offer PPTP at all is as a “legacy protocol” for devices only capable with PPTP connections.
Users also have the option of selecting L2TP/IPSec and SSTP, both of which are reasonably secure and come with military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. And while not really a protocol, ibVPN also added Shadowsocks VPN to the list, as they’ve combined the proxy with OpenVPN for added security with 256-bit AES.
Speaking of OpenVPN, it’s available as ibVPN’s default protocol. iOS users, however, might find themselves needing to switch to L2TP/IPSec, as Apple smartphones don’t play nicely with OpenVPN.
With that said, if you’re in a country with draconian censorship laws (such as the UAE) and don’t mind sacrificing speed in favor of security, the Stealth VPN protocol would be a better solution. ibVPN combined ObfsProxy with OpenVPN to offer a solid location obfuscation method.
A final option – one we also recommend using if you’re having issues with OpenVPN – is the SoftEther VPN protocol.
We’re rather impressed with this selection. While we do understand the idea of retaining PPTP as a “legacy protocol,” we would still feel better if ibVPN did away with it – especially as it’s the only one not protected by 256-bit AES encryption.
Slightly Confusing Kill Switch and Leak Protection
Protocols and encryption aren’t the only security features we’re interested in, of course.
ibVPN offers a rather impressive kill switch option. Not only is it on by default (for most users, at least), but the Windows app design also allows you to quickly and easily access it without needing to search for the option.
You can also choose between using an Internet Kill Switch (which automatically kills all internet traffic until a VPN connection is re-established) or an Application Kill Switch (which allows you to choose specific apps to have automatically shut down if the VPN connection drops).
However, Mac users have a different kill switch, which isn’t mentioned on the site: On Demand connection.
It took 10 minutes of waiting to confirm On Demand Connection is effectively the same as the Internet Kill Switch.
Adrian was also able to answer our questions regarding a split tunnel feature with lightning speed, though he had become abrupt and not very insightful by that point:
In their list of Advanced Features, ibVPN mentions having a Bypass List Feature for their browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, and Opera). This is a split tunnel feature, so it’s frustrating to find the same functionality isn’t available for app users.
The same can be said for some of the leak protection features. While a general IP and DNS leak protection seems to be in place, ibVPN suggests WebRTC leaks might still occur. And if your browser suffers a WebRTC leak, then the IP and DNS leak protection is effectively nullified.
You could install one of the ibVPN browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, which all have the WebRTC Leak Protection feature enabled by default. But we’re not a fan of using VPN extensions, which often cause more hassle than they’re worth.
Our preferred method is to disable WebRTC in your browser’s settings and use a trusted add-on like Disable WebRTC as a backup. Let us know in the comments if you’d like a tutorial!
Double VPN and TOR-Over-VPN Features
Of the two, we much prefer using a Double VPN feature. This allows you to connect to a second VPN server via the first, which doubles your encryption and makes it even harder to determine your original IP address. It also acts as an extra layer of protection against DNS leaks.
With that said, there’s still a case to be made for using the TOR-over-VPN method. However, there’s also some inherent risk, as your encryption level between The Onion Router’s third/exit node and final destination is weaker.
Frequent use of the TOR browser can also attract increased government surveillance, and it isn’t the safest option for downloads either. Add to that the fact TOR can often drastically slow your connection and you can see why we recommend opting for a Double VPN when one is available.
However, you are going to need to pay for the most expensive subscription plan (Ultimate VPN) if you want to benefit from either of these features with ibVPN. This is a little disappointing, as competitors like NordVPN offer both to all subscribers.
Small Server Park
It’s a little baffling to see a VPN provider who’s been in business for about a decade still offering a tiny server park.
To be specific, we counted them all and found only (approximately) 150 servers, spread over (approximately) 47 countries and with a total of (approximately) 1,400 IP addresses between them.
A small server park paves the way for network congestion. This happens when a lot of users are sharing a small server park, pushing the servers close to maximum capacity. As a result, your internet speed drops.
And according to ibVPN, the provider has more than 1 million users sharing those 150 servers:
That sounds like a perfect recipe for network congestion!
We’ll give ibVPN credit for showing how busy a server is before connecting, though. They also have a Connection Wizard feature that automatically connects to the fastest available server.
But we’d still prefer to see them catch-up with their contemporary VPN veterans, like ExpressVPN, who have 3,000+ servers. We’re also not crazy about the fact you need to purchase the most expensive subscription plan if you want access to all 150 servers:
This is from the FAQ section.
Satisfied that ibVPN has relatively high security standards (albeit some confusing set-ups and forced reliance on their browser extensions for some features), we decided it was time to put their small server park to the test.
If you’d like to know our process for testing server speeds, take a look at our post on What Is The Fastest VPN? We followed it exactly, though we also tested the quick-connect option – however this also meant giving up control over server location.
All told, here’s how ibVPN held up:
Unfortunately, their speeds weren’t up to par with their competition.
Device Compatibility and Connections
ibVPN only offers native apps for 5 device types, plus browser extensions:
- Chrome Browser Extension
- Firefox Browser Add-On
- Opera Browser Extension
However, there’s a list of setup guides for manually configuring other devices to work with their product:
- DD-WRT and Tomato-based Routers
- Raspberry PI
- NAS Synology
- Boxee Box
If you want to protect your other devices – such as your smart TV and gaming consoles – you’ll need to use ibVPN on your router.
This creates another situation where you need to fork out for the Ultimate VPN plan, though. Considering you’ll want to have your devices protected while away from home too, you’ll need multiple simultaneous connections.
And other than the Ultimate VPN subscription, which offers 5 simultaneous connections, all ibVPN subscriptions come with a measly 1 connection.
We can understand this from a business point of view – wanting to funnel users into upgrading to the most expensive subscription. But in the VPN industry, it’s fairly standard to have a single, all-in-inclusive plan with different pricing tiers based on duration.
We’d like to see ibVPN catch up with the rest of the industry in this regard.
Subscription Plans and Pricing
We mentioned the different subscription plans enough that it makes sense to address them in full here:
- Standard VPN Monthly – $4.95
- Torrent VPN Monthly – $4.95
- Ultimate VPN Monthly – $10.95
- Standard VPN Yearly – $36.95
- Torrent VPN Yearly – $36.95
- Ultimate VPN Yearly – $58.06
It’s worth noting there’s another option, ibDNS Smart DNS. However, this is not a VPN subscription and ibVPN doesn’t recommend using the two together (though it is possible).
As you can see from the above list, the price difference between Standard/Torrent and Ultimate isn’t so big as to make it unaffordable for most users. So other than saving $6 a month (or $21.11 a year), there’s really no reason not to go for the Ultimate VPN plan anyway.
ibVPN accepts all major credit/debit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin payments. There’s also a 24-hour free trial.
While ibVPN does offer some optimized streaming servers, they’re not always able to circumvent the anti-VPN proxy detection software used by streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. And other times, their speeds are so slow it doesn’t matter.
This can be disappointing, as streaming is one of the biggest reasons many people choose to use a VPN in the first place.
So if streaming is on your list of things to do with your VPN, check out the following guides:
With so many streaming services to choose from (Disney+ recently joining the ranks) and all of them demanding subscription fees while blocking VPNs, it’s no wonder more people are using torrents again.
To be clear, we don’t condone using P2P (Peer-to-Peer) file-sharing for downloading copyright material. But there are legal uses for the technology, which we’re happy to support.
ibVPN does allow users to torrent, but only via servers based in Canada, Hong Kong, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine, as per the following FAQ:
Note that the entry is outdated, as Premium Torrent VPN is now simply Torrent VPN. These servers are still the only ones optimized for P2P file-sharing, however, and are not available with the Standard VPN.
Usability and Support
Overall, we found ibVPN to be a mostly user-friendly VPN. So long as you’re using a Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device, the installation is simple, with very little manual configuration involved.
However, for other operating systems like Linux, it can be a long process. And even with the available native apps, there are still a few things missing that could boost usability. Additionally, the apps aren’t exactly visually appealing.
ibVPN’s website is also jam-packed with information, not only in the main body but in the Help Center as well. However, the Knowledge Base is not easy to navigate and the FAQ section – like some other areas of the site – is rather outdated.
Thankfully, ibVPN does offer 24-hour live chat support. Of course, the agents can often be reticent with information and even a little brusque at times (as evinced by the screenshots we shared earlier). But overall, the support is fairly friendly and fast.
On the plus side, ibVPN also gives users the option of scheduling a remote assistance appointment. This can be very useful for technical support.
How to Cancel ibVPN and Get Your Money Back
All-in-all, we consider ibVPN’s Ultimate VPN plan a great budget option, though we wouldn’t bother with the Standard or Torrent VPN plans.
If you want to cancel your ibVPN subscription, here’s what to do:
- Log into your ibVPN Client Area
- Click “My Services”
- Click “View Details”
- Click “Request Cancellation”
ibVPN only offers a 15-day Refund Policy, unfortunately, and there’s a strong chance your request will be denied if you request one after this period.
How much does ibVPN cost per month?
ibVPN’s recommended subscription plan, Ultimate VPN, costs $10.95 per month.
Does ibVPN work for Netflix?
Yes, but on a limited basis and the servers can be too slow to use.
Is ibVPN legitimate?
Yes, ibVPN is a 100% legitimate provider.
Is ibVPN a good VPN?
ibVPN is a great budget VPN, though it’s worth spending a little more on a premium service.
Does ibVPN hide my IP address?
Yes; however, you should use the ibVPN browser extension or manually disable your browser WebRTC to ensure you don’t experience any IP leaks.
Does ibVPN charge monthly?
Yes, though you can get a good discount by opting for a yearly subscription.
Is ibVPN a zero-logs VPN?
Yes, ibVPN has a strict no-logs policy.
Can you cancel ibVPN anytime?
Yes, though the cancellation will typically only take effect at the end of your subscription period.
Is ibVPN safe in China?
Yes, ibVPN appears to be safe in China while using the Stealth VPN protocol.