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ibVPN Review

ibVPN

BestVPN.com Score 8.6 out of 10
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ibVPN is a no logs Romanian VPN provider. As we shall see in this ibVPN review, there is much to admire about this low-cost service. Its software is very fully featured, and top-tier customers get an impressive Smart DNS service thrown in for free. However, disappointing speed performance will likely concern most users.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 57
  • Average Speed 33.01 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Romania

Likes

  • No logs (at all)
  • Modestly priced
  • Good Smart DNS service
  • Servers in 47 countries
  • Fully featured software with per-app kill switch

Dislikes

  • Poor performance
  • Windows client disconnected and crashed repeatedly

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 180
Countries 57
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported ASUS, SABAI, DDWRT
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols Softether, Stealth VPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Romania
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 71.13
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 33.01
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 24 hours
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 15

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

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Features

Port forwarding Available
Total servers 180
Countries 57
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support Available
Routers Supported ASUS, SABAI, DDWRT
Allows torrenting Available
Port selection Not available

The Ultimate VPN plan offers the following features:

  • Servers in 47 countries
  • P2P: yes
  • Three simultaneous connections
  • Proxy servers in all locations
  • Socks5 proxies
  • Support for OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP, SoftEther, and IPsec VPN protocols
  • Full access to the Smart DNS service (more on this later)
  • DoubleVPN
  • Tor over VPN

The cheaper VPN plans are limited to just one connection at a time, and do not have access to all servers (44 countries for the Standard VPN plan, and nine for the Torrent VPN plan). They also have no access to Smart DNS or regular proxy servers, although Torrent VPN users can use socks5 proxies.

P2P is not permitted on the Standard plan, but is allowed on the Torrent VPN plan (of course!).

For more information about staying secure when torrenting, take a look at our best VPN for torrenting guide.

Double VPN

This basically allows you to “chain” VPN servers, so that your data is routed between two or more VPN servers as it travels between you and the internet.

Your PC/device -> VPN server 1 -> VPN server 2 -> Internet

Such chaining can provide some security benefits, but will always result in a major loss of speed. As I argue in this article, I think the privacy/security benefits of “double-hop” VPN are rather limited. But I understand that this is not a view shared by everyone. As we can see a little later in this review, a number of Double VPN sever options are available.

Tor over VPN

Another new feature is Tor over VPN. For a full discussion on the pros and cons of this, please see here. In this configuration, you connect first to an ibVPN server, and then to the Tor network, before accessing the internet:

Your computer -> VPN -> Tor -> Internet

ibVPN achieves this by transparently routing your data from the VPN tunnel to the Tor network. This means that your entire internet connection benefits from Tor over VPN.

This setup does offer some privacy and security advantages, but a similar effect can be achieved simply by using the Tor Browser while connected to the VPN. Crucially, such a setup is much more secure than the method offered by ibVPN.

Tor over VPN (however you do it) will seriously slow down your internet speeds, as you get the combined hit of using both the Tor network (which is very slow) and the VPN. ibVPN currently offers Tor over VPN servers in the Netherlands, Singapore, and the US.

Visit ibVPN »

Speed and performance

All tests were performed using my Virgin UK 50 Mbps/3 Mbps fiber connection. I used the OpenVPN-UPD protocol.

When I connected to some VPN servers listed as 100% free, I got no internet connection at all. I therefore tested servers under load (lowest for each location) in order to ensure that I could connect to the internet.

The graphs show the highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.

The download results are notably poor. It is also worth noting that I suffered an unusually large number of VPN disconnects while testing the service.*

Leak tests

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 71.13
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 33.01
Data limits Not available
Bandwidth limits Not available
IPv4 leak detected? Not available
WebRTC leak detected? Not available

I detected no IPv4, DNS or WebRTC leaks (if DNS protection was enabled in the client). This is good.

Unfortunately, my ISP (Virgin Media) does not support IPv6 connections, so I am unable to test for IPv6 leaks at this time. This is an issue that BestVPN.com is working on finding a solution to.

Good news is that both US Netflix and BBC iPlayer work when connected to suitable servers.

Price

ibVPN offers three VPN plans, plus a Smart DNS-only plan. The Ultimate VPN plan costs $10.95 per month, or $4.83 per month if an annual subscription is purchased. All other plans cost $4.95 per month, or $3.08 if purchased annually.

A Business VPN plan is also available. This is basically the Ultimate VPN plan but with more simultaneous connections. Prices start at $13.95 per month ($8.32 if paid annually) for five simultaneous connections, going up to $44.95 per month ($33.32 when paid annually) for 20 simultaneous connections.

A six-hour free trial is also available. This provides the full benefits of the Ultimate plan for its duration. In addition to this, ibVPN offers a 15-day money-back guarantee.

The following payment methods are accepted: Avangate (recurring and one-time payments - Alipay, WebMoney, iDeal, and credit card), PayPro (recurring and one-time payments - credit card and PayPal), Payza, WebMoney, AstroPay, Western Union, and Perfect Money.

ibVPN also accepts payment in Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies (Litecoin, Blackcoin, Dogecoin, and Ripple), which can help to improve privacy.

Customer service

Free trial Yes - 24 hours
24-hour support Available
Live chat support Available
Money-back Guarantee Available
Money back guarantee length 15

ibVPN offers “24/7” live chat support, which I found knowledgeable and helpful. Ticketed email support is also available. If you require additional help, it is possible to schedule an appointment to receive remote assistance from the support team. I have not tested this, but it is a great offer.

Ease of use

Windows Available
MacOS Available
iOS Available
Android Available
Linux Not available
Windows Phone Not available

The Website

The website design looks smart, and avoids making some of the more bombastic (and inaccurate) claims found on many providers' pages. Although technical details are a little light on the ground, FAQs, a knowledge base, and a forum provide most of the information that mainstream users should require.

This server list is not only quite good-looking, but rather useful. All IPs are shared, but whether you receive a static or dynamic IP depends on which server you connect to.

It is also good to note that the terms of service and privacy policy are clear and are written in plain English. A blog is available, which mainly highlights features and promotions related to the ibVPN service.

The IBVPN Windows Client

The Windows client looks pretty smart, and is packed with features. I did notice, however, that changing servers often caused the program to crash, so it is better to disconnect before reconnecting to another server.* Notice also the list of Double VPN servers.

By default, protocol selection is “automatic.” From the log files, it is clear that this means that the very insecure PPTP protocol is used by default, followed by L2TP/IPsec should that fail (as it did in my case). I recommend changing to OpenVPN immediately! For the difference between UPD and TCP please see here.

I have no idea why the DNS leak options are disabled by default, but you should also turn them on immediately. It is good, however, that they exist.

A great feature of the ibVPN client is the per-app and per-process kill switch. This requires a little setting up, but is more sophisticated than the moe common whole-system kill switches.

Note, however, that the kill switch works by closing the specified programs in the event of VPN failure. This is not as secure as a firewall-based solution, which prevents any connections outside the VPN tunnel.

Overall, this is a fully featured client. I am a little concerned, however, by the fact that it defaults to weak VPN protocols and no DNS leak protection. These can be changed/turned on, but less techie users are unlikely to do so.

Other Platforms

ibVPN has custom apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. In addition to the standard “all-in-one” app, Mac users can also use a new “quick connect app.” This is less fully featured than the all-in-one app, but is very easy to use.

Manual setup instructions are also available for a wide range of platforms and devices.

The Android App

I don’t see why a VPN app needs permission to access my photos/media/files.

The app uses OpenVPN, which is good. Port selection is a nice feature, although there is no kill switch.

I detected no IP leaks using the Android app.

Smart DNS

ibVPN offers a Smart DNS service, which is also bundled with the Ultimate VPN plan. This does nothing to improve your security or privacy, but enables geo-spoofing by resolving your DNS requests at a specified location. This makes it ideal for streaming geo-blocked content.

No encryption/decryption is involved, and the DNS translation is pretty much instantaneous. This means that Smart DNS services suffer fewer buffering issues than when using a VPN for streaming (although distance can still cause problems).

Another advantage of Smart DNS is that it can be configured on any internet-capable device, not just ones that can run VPN software. This means that you can use Smart DNS on your smart TV, games console, and Roku (among others).

ibVPN’s Smart DNS unlocked both US Netflix and BBC iPlayer when I tried it.

Browser Extensions

ibVPN users can also install browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, which proxy the browser connection.

I detected no DNS leaks while using the extension, but did see a WebRTC leak. US Netflix was not available, but I am pleased to report that BBC iPlayer was.

Privacy and security

Kill Switch Available
Obfuscation (stealth) Available
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection Available
IPv6 leak protection Available
WebRTC leak protection Available

ibVPN does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service. We cannot relate any specific activity with any specific user. If any legal notices are forwarded to our legal department we will comply with that notice. However, we cannot be compelled to hand over information which we do not have.”

This is great. ibVPN is based in Romania, which had rejected the EU Data Retention Directive even before it was struck down by the European Court of Justice. Romania is also comfortably outside the direct area of influence of both the NSA and GCHQ.

So on the privacy front, ibVPN does very well.

Encryption Protocols

PPTP Available
L2TP/IPsec Available
SSTP Available
IKEv2 Available
OpenVPN Available
Other protocols Softether, Stealth VPN

OpenVPN connections are secured with an AES-256 cipher and HMAC SHA384 hash authentication. Since first publishing this review, ibVPN have updated handshake encryption to RSA-2048 and data channel encryption to AES-256.

This addresses my earlier criticisms. Perfect forward secrecy is provided courtesy of Diffie-Hellman Exchange (DHE) keys. I am pleased to say that ibVPN now uses a  very strong encryption suite.

Please see VPN Encryption Terms Explained for more details on the terms used here.

Final thoughts

I liked:

  • No logs (at all)
  • Modestly priced
  • Good Smart DNS service
  • Servers in 47 countries
  • 24/7 support
  • Fully featured software with per-app kill switch
  • P2P: yes
  • Three simultaneous connections
  • Socks5 proxies
  • US Netflix and BBC iPlayer available
  • Good mobile apps
  • Double VPN

I wasn’t so sure about:

  • Defaults to weak VPN protocols and no DNS leak protection
  • Tor over VPN (using the Tor Browser over VPN is safer)

I hated:

  • Poor performance
  • Windows client disconnected and crashed a lot*

There is much to like about ibVPN. For a reasonable price, you get a very fully featured service (with Smart DNS thrown in for free with the Ultimate VPN plan). I detected no IP leaks while using the service, and although it’s not firewall-based, I like the per-app and per-process kill switch.

I do wish the Windows client was a little more stable*, but am very pleased to note that I was able to unblock Netflix with both the VPN and Smart DNS service successfully, this is also a great VPN for BBC iPlayer.

The only real problem is ibVPN’s speed performance results. Few users are likely to be happy about their internet connections being slowed down to such an extent.

*This article has been updated to include information on improved encryption and new features available to users of the service. ibVPN also assures me that its updated All-in-One Windows client fixes the stability issues I encountered, but I have not tested this yet.

Visit ibVPN »

57 Comments

  1. Michael
    on December 3, 2017
    Reply

    I voted ibVPN works great were ever I am in the world . Never lets me down not even in china.

  2. Kiki
    on October 29, 2017
    Reply

    Undoubtedly one of the best VPN provider out there

  3. It service
    on October 27, 2017
    Reply

    In my opinion is in top 5 vpn providers. I purchase multiple vpn accounts for my clients and they do not have major issues.

  4. Shade
    on October 27, 2017
    Reply

    Good VPN service. Personally, I use it for downloading torrents. The speed is good but they are a little bit expensive for me...

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