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ibVPN review: A no-frills VPN with everything you need


ibVPN in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes
  • Business location: Târgu Mureș,Romania
  • Number of servers: 180+
  • Number of country locations: 50
  • Cost: $37 (Standard) / $58 (Ultimate)
  • VPN protocol: IPSec (default)
  • Data encryption: AES-256 
  • Data authentication: HMAC-SHA2-256
  • Handshake encryption:  DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384

Romania-based ibVPN (Invisible Browsing VPN) does not have a beautiful app. It looks a little dated, in fact. Despite that, however, I found it surprisingly easy to use and very helpful.

I’d never heard of ibVPN until its publicity people contacted me requesting a review and asking how much it would cost. Sadly, it’s becoming quite common for press representatives to expect to pay for coverage. No money changed hands for this review, however. As with every other VPN reviewed on this site, I received a test account to try the service and then wrote this review.

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

ibvpndashboard IDG

When you first jump into ibVPN for Windows, you get a single-panel interface with the default dashboard as your starting point. From here you can see whether you’re connected to a VPN, the protocol you’re using, whether a few of the extra services are on or off, a bandwidth graph, and the current status of your account.

There are two ways to navigate the app. You can either click on the various categories in the left rail; or for certain items, just select the links within the dashboard itself.

Clicking on the link for the Location heading at the top of the dashboard, for example, opens the app’s second panel to reveal all the server choices. You could accomplish the same thing by clicking Servers on the left rail.

That’s what I mean when I say the app is helpful. It offers two methods of accomplishing the same thing, which can sometimes make an app cumbersome. In this case, however, it’s catering to two different ways of understanding how the app should work, and that’s a good thing.

Features and services

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ibVPN’s server selection.

The bulk of ibVPN’s features for most users is under the Servers panel. Here you can select your country location, and each server has a small percentage indicator to its left showing the available space on that particular server.

At the top there are also generic category server selection options such as Fastest Server, or Fastest P2P Server. At the top of the expanded servers panel there are two additional tabs: Protocols and Wizard.

Protocols is a great tab for power users who want more control over VPN protocol choice. You’ve got options for L2TP, PPTP, SSTP, IPSec (IKEv2), OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), and Stealth VPN. The latter is designed to make your VPN traffic look more like normal HTTPS traffic in order to draw less attention from snoops that might be trying to block a VPN connection.

ibvpnwizard IDG

ibVPN’s Wizard tab lets you choose the right type of server for the job.

The Wizard tab is for adjusting your connection for specific use cases such as the fastest connection, American streaming sites like U.S. Netflix and Hulu, UK streaming sites, torrents, and bypassing China’s “Great Firewall.”

The Wizard section should be just about enough for anyone, but if you want more, the Settings feature has various basic user preferences you can tweak. These don’t include much that’s overly technical—it’s mostly settings for auto-connect, auto-login, starting the application at launch, and so on.

One last notable feature is ibDNS. This is Smart DNS technology for accessing restricted media sites like U.S. Netflix without turning on an encrypted VPN connection. This can have some advantages such as not losing your base internet speed connection. It’s also available as a standalone service for those who are more interested in getting around regional restrictions than keeping their internet traffic private.

Performance

ibvpndns IDG

ibVPN’s SmartDNS feature.

Overall, speeds were okay, coming out at 26 percent of the base speed based on an average of five different locations. As usual, however, that doesn’t tell the whole story. The U.S. speed was particularly standout at nearly 50Mbps—the base speed was 90Mbps on the day of testing. Every other location was above 10Mbps, with a 20+ score in Australia and the UK.

Privacy, anonymity, and trust

IbVPN is owned by Amplusnet SRL, with a business address of Blv. 1 Decembrie 1918, No. 52/1, Târgu Mureș, Romania. This address is not listed on the ibVPN site, but you can find it after a little poking around. Amplusnet’s managing partner is Adi Roman, and Dan Gurghian is the IT Director as well as one of the co-founders.



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