Important! ibVPN was acquired by StrongVPN and it has been shut down. We recommend switching to NordVPN.
I am using ibVPN (along with other Virtual Private Network services) for more than five years. There are many things to love about this VPN service that I consider one of the best. It offers excellent features, helpful apps, and fair pricing. Take a look below at my (ultimate) ibVPN review!
ibVPN review 2020 in a nutshell
|Headquarters & jurisdiction||Romania|
|Log policy||No logging.|
|Servers & locations||180+ servers, 57 countries.|
|Dynamic & static IPs||Both dynamic and static IPs.|
|Dedicated IPs||Yes, upon request.|
|VPN protocols & security||OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, SSTP, SoftEther|
|Advanced VPN protocols||DoubleVPN, TorOverVPN, StealthVPN, ShadowSocks|
|P2P & torrent policy||Yes, on specific servers.|
|VPN applications||Windows, MacOS, Android, Android TV, iOS.|
|Other devices (manual setup)||DD-WRT, Tomato, Sabai routers, Freebox, Raspberry PI, Boxee Box|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Opera.|
|Kill Switch||Yes, for the Windows and macOS apps.|
|DNS leak protection||Yes, for the Windows app.|
|Automatically change IP||Yes, for the Windows app.|
|Proxy & SOCKS5||Yes, both HTTP proxies and SOCKS5.|
|SmartDNS||Yes, more than 300 channels.|
|Simultaneous connections/devices||Up to 5 depending on the package.|
|Free trial||Yes, 24-hour trial.|
|Pricing||From $4.95/month, lower for annual plans.|
|Promos & discounts||Anniversary Promo, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Winter & Summer discounts.|
|Payment methods||Credit cards, Paypal, Bitcoin, Perfect Money, PaymentWall, other cryptocurrencies.|
|Moneyback||Yes, 15 days.|
|Support||24/7 email and live chat.|
|Performance/speed||It depends on the servers and locations.|
|User reviews||Mostly positive.|
|Pros/What I like||A top VPN provider with a lot of features and great support.|
|Cons/What could be improved||More servers in Asia and Eastern Europe.|
Headquarters & jurisdiction
As stated on their website, ibVPN (aka InvisibleBrowsingVPN) operates from Romania, an East European country, a member of the European Union. Romania is not a member of the Fourteen Eyes group of nations that share intelligence to avoid breaking domestic laws. Also, it looks to be outside of the influence of NSA and GCHQ. However, as a member of the European Union, some retention laws may be implemented in the future. But, at this time, Romania seems to be the right place for running VPNs with no logs policy.
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 that we do not have.
ibVPN is committed to respecting your right to personal privacy. The information provided by our users is kept with the utmost care, and would never be used in ways other than the ones permitted by them.
Data usage notice: when you are using this ibVPN application the following data is sent to our servers: your email address and your password in order to authenticate you. The communication with our servers is secured (HTTPS).
We do not collect other information about you or your online activities.
By clicking the Agree & Continue button you confirm that you understand the way this application uses your personal data.
Thank you for using ibVPN!
Servers & locations
ibVPN offers access to over 180 servers in 40+ countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Turkey, India, South Africa, China, Vietnam, Lithuania). They are all available for the UltimateVPN package and lesser to the Standard VPN and Torrent VPN packages.
Dynamic & static IPs
Most of the servers have static IP addresses, only a few have dynamic IPs, namely: USA (Jacksonville), USA (Los Angeles 3), USA (Phoenix), USA (Denver 1), P2P – Netherlands (Utrecht), P2P – Netherlands (Amsterdam 3), P2P – Netherlands (Rotterdam), P2P – Netherlands (Amsterdam 2). You may find the complete list of static and dynamic IPs in the Client Area.
ibVPN does not have dedicated IPs in the standard offer, but you may get a custom offer by opening a support ticket or contacting them on live chat. From my discussion with the customer support team, I understand that you can get the US, UK, or the Netherlands dedicated IP for about $10/month.
VPN protocols and security
A strong point of ibVPN is that it provides access to most of the available protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP, StealthVPN, Softether. Thus, you may choose the one that suits you best. You may either set up the VPN connection manually or use the ibVPN applications. Take a look at the table below to see how you can use it (for the manual setup you may find detailed tutorials on the website site):
|OpenVPN (UDP & TCP)||Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android apps or manual configuration on Windows, macOS OneClick, MacOS using Tunnelblick, iOS app, Linux, routers, FreeBox, NAS Synology, Raspberry PI.|
|PPTP||Windows app or manual setup on Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, DD-WRT, NAS Synology, Boxee Box.|
|L2TP||Windows app or manual setup on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.|
|IPSec/IKEv2||Windows, macOS, iOS app or manual setup on Windows 7, 8, 10.|
|SSTP||Windows app or manual setup on Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10.|
|Softether||Manual setup on Windows and macOS.|
OpenVPN connections are secured with an AES-256 cipher, HMAC SHA384 hash authentication, and RSA-2048 handshake encryption. Perfect forward secrecy is provided with Diffie-Hellman Exchange (DHE) keys. Thus, we can conclude that ibVPN now uses a robust encryption suite.
Advanced VPN protocols
By connecting to DoubleVPN the Internet traffic is sent to the entry server, then sent to the second server (exit node). Thus, the traffic is encrypted and passed through two servers.
TorOverVPN uses VPN servers (Netherlands – tornl.ibvpn.com, Singapore – torsg.ibvpn.com, US – torus.ibvpn.com) to connect to the Tor network. They provide an extra anonymity layer, plus they allow you to access the .onion sites.
Both DoubleVPN and TorOverVPN can be accessed from apps for those subscribed to the Ultimate VPN package.
Update September 2018: ibVPN has released a new version of their Windows All-In-One application that exposes ShadowSocks as an alternative protocol. Specifically, the connection uses ShadowSocks and OpenVPN to bypass very restrictive firewalls.
P2P & torrent policy
Downloading torrents is allowed on specific servers located in the Netherlands, Canada, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Russia, Ukraine, and Hong Kong. They are marked with the “P2P” string in front of the name.
ibVPN is an excellent choice for those interested in torrenting and P2P downloading as:
- It offers KillSwitch and DNS leak protection.
- It provides a particular package (TorrentVPN) that is cheaper, and it gives access only to P2P-friendly servers.
- It offers access to SOCKS5 proxies.
- Fastest P2P server selection helps users to connect to the fastest P2P connections available.
InvisibleBrowsingVPN review – VPN applications
ibVPN Windows app
I already presented the ibVPN Windows app in detail in a previous post, but I will also list here its main features. The All-In-OneVPN application is quite complex, with a lot of options. At the same time, it can easily be used by those using the secure tunnel for the first time.
From the Dashboard, you may easily Connect/Disconnect to a server, turn the KillSwitch on/off or turn ibDNS on/off. Also, you see the latest connection log entries (the status of the connection). The speedometer shows the ibVPN download and the upload speed while connected to the secure tunnel. Thus, there is no need to test the connection speed every time you want to check the quality of the server.
By default, the Location is set to Fastest Server and Protocol to Automatic. To Connect the app tries to find the server that can provide you the fastest VPN connection. It usually selects a server close to your location. The Automatic protocol chooses a VPN protocol appropriate for your connection. As far as I was able to observe, the app goes to IPSec, OpenVPN-UDP, or OpenVPN-TCP.
A recently introduced feature of the Windows app is the Connection Wizard. It allows you to select pre-defined settings for specific use-cases. At the time I tested the app, the following options were available:
- Setup the fastest connection
- US streaming
- UK streaming
- Torrenting and P2P File Sharing
- Bypass China Great Firewall
After selecting one of the options, the proposed settings are shown (KillSwitch, Auto-connect, Firewall, FastestServer, Protocol) and you may apply them or continue with your manual settings.
The Windows app has a lot of features for increasing privacy and security:
- IPv6 leak protection
- DNS leak protection
- WebRTC leak protection
- KillSwitch (Internet / Applications)
- Auto-reconnect on disconnect
To sum up the ibVPN review regarding the Windows application: easy to use, great features, nice privacy options, but it could be more stable.
ibVPN macOS apps
ibVPN has two MacOS applications, one that is listed in MacOS App Store and the other one that can be downloaded from the website. The main difference between the two apps is that the store app does not include the KillSwitch feature (it requires admin rights on your computer).
ibVPN OneClick for MacOS (App Store version) is a straightforward application that connects/disconnects to/from a certain server from the list.
There are several options in the server list that make the selection easier: you may choose from FastestServer, FastestUSServer, FastestUKServer, FastestEUServer, FastestAsianServer, FastestSouthAmericaServer, or FastestP2PServer. Also, you may search for a specific location or a channel you would like to unblock.
A handy feature: you may select several servers as favorites and then use the Fastest Favourite option. The app will connect to the fastest one from your preferences.
The available protocols for the macOS apps are IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.
Another option available is the VPN OnDemand. When this option is activated, the secure tunnel is turned ON as soon as your device connects to the Internet.
When you firstly download ibVPN OneClick app from the Mac Store, you may create a 24-h trial account. Further, you may subscribe from within the app to UltimateVPN, the full-featured package, for $10.99/month or $59.99/year.
ibVPN All-In-One for macOS (it can be downloaded from the Client Area) looks very similar to the OneClick app. The only extra feature is the Application Kill Switch. It automatically closes selected apps in the case of disconnects.
ibVPN iOS app
The ibVPN iOS app exposes the same easy to use interface as the macOS apps: select the desired location and connect/disconnect.
The FastestServer, FastestUSServer, FastestUKServer, FastestEUServer, FastestAsianServer, FastestSouthAmericaServer are available. Also, you may select several servers as favorites and then use the Fastest Favourite option. The app will connect to the fastest one from your preferences.
The available protocols for the iOS app are IKEv2, IPSec, and OpenVPN.
An interesting and useful option is the Auto-secure Connection. It automatically turns on the secure tunnel when the device connects to untrusted Wifi networks. The list of Trusted Networks needs to be defined. You may enter your home and your office networks, for example.
When you firstly download the ibVPN iOS app, you may create a 24-h trial account. Further, you may subscribe to premium packages directly from the app. A special package (iOS VPN) is available for $1.99/month or $14.99/year. Also, you may subscribe to the full-featured package for $10.99/month or $59.99/year.
ibVPN Android app
The ibVPN Android app (it requires Android 4.0.3 or up) uses the OpenVPN protocol, and you may switch between OpenVPN-TCP (default) and OpenVPN-UDP. The default port is 1197, but you may choose another one from the 55,000-65,000 range.
When selecting a location, you may choose a specific server or go for the Fastest options: FastestServer, Fastest US Server, FastestUKServer, FastestEUServer, FastestAsianServer, FastestSouthAmericaServer or Fastest Favourite (you need to first choose several servers as favorites).
The Android can also be downloaded as an apk file from the Client Area.
ibVPN Android TV app
The Android app also works on Android TV devices. The simple user interface is a perfect match for the TVs running Android. You may download it directly on your TV from the Android Play Store.
Other devices (manual setup)
The service offers access to a lot of tutorials that allow manual VPN setup (PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, SoftetherVPN) on different devices like DD-WRT routers, Sabai routers, Tomato USB routers, Raspberry PI, NAS Synology, Boxee Box, FreeBox Revolution.
Browser extensions and add-ons
If you use ibVPN only for changing your IP address for your browser (unblock sites, access forums, bypass Chatroulette ban) then you may use the browser extensions. It is essential to understand that a browser extension does not set up a Virtual Private Network connection, it sets up a proxy.
Again, the user interface is straightforward: select the desired location and turn the extension “ON.” The browser sets the proxy and connects it to the server. Also, you may switch to the Country tab and select a country for your location. It will connect to a proxy located in the desired country.
The latest versions of ibVPN extensions (v2.2.0+) provide WebRTC leak protection (you may enable/disable WebRTC functions) and the Bypass list. Requests made to websites found on the Bypass list use a direct connection that is not protected by the Virtual Private Network.
An exciting feature of the extensions (that I discovered recently) is the Guest Mode. You may use the extensions without login and access servers located in the Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom, and Singapore. It is free to use, but it disconnects every 10 minutes, probably to prevents abuses.
Recently, I have discovered that the ibVPN extensions cab be turned on and off using keyboard shortcuts. It is convenient when you need to change the IP address for specific sites.
Kill Switch is a fail-safe mechanism that is a must for all VPNs. It cuts off the access of the computer to the Internet when the connection drops accidentally.
Generally speaking, there are two Kill Switch implementations possible: application KillSwitch (selected applications, like BitTorrent clients, are closed in case of disconnect) and Internet KillSwitch (the Internet access is completely cut off in case of disconnect until it is manually restored or the VPN reconnects). Application KillSwitch may be more convenient as it does not completely close the access to the Internet, but Internet KillSwitch is safer.
InvisibleBrowsingVPN implements the KillSwitch feature for the All-In-One Windows and macOS apps. The All-In-One Windows app offers both Internet and application KillSwitch, while the All-In-One macOS app-only Application KillSwitch. As far as I was able to test they work well.
DNS leak protection
ibVPN provides strong DNS leak protection with the following options: use their DNS servers while connected to the VPN and filter the DNS requests using the firewall, to avoid DNS leaks while connected to the encrypted tunnel.
Generally speaking, it is advisable to use DNS services that do not log your activities.
Automatically change IP
A useful feature for those obsessed with online anonymity or for online marketers is the automatic shift IP feature: go to Servers, select the desired server locations as Favourites and click on Rotating Favourites. Next, click Connect. The app will change your IP every several minutes (you may choose the time interval from the Settings tab from predefined values: 5, 10, 15, 30, 60 minutes).
I recommend you also to turn KillSwitch (Internet KillSwitch) ON, as the IP switch requires 5-30 seconds to complete.
Proxy & SOCKS5
ibVPN is more than a VPN provider as it also offers other anonymizing services. By subscribing to the UltimateVPN plan, you even get access to proxies that you can use to manually set up your browsers (Chrome proxy, Opera proxy, Firefox proxy, Edge proxy) or you may use in proxy in proxy switcher apps, like EliteProxySwitcher. The browser extensions use the same proxies.
SOCKS5 is extremely useful for those interested in torrenting. Most of the BitTorrent clients can be set up to use SOCKS5 proxies and, the advantage is that the downloads automatically stop if the SOCKS5 connection drops. InvisibleBrowsingVPN provides SOCKS5 proxies on the P2P servers and locations.
ibVPN review – SmartDNS
ibDNS is the SmartDNS solution from ibVPN. It is essential to understand that Smart DNS is not a VPN. It only can be used to access/unblock specific online streaming channels. SmartDNS does NOT change your IP address, nor does it provide any security or anonymity.
The Smart DNS solution unblocks over 300 channels from all over the World (United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Romania, Poland, Egypt, India, Brazil). A complete list can be found in the Client Area.
ibDNS/SmartDNS is available for the UltimateVPN and ibDNS packages (see the Pricing).
ibDNS can be set up automatically from the Windows app or manually on the following devices and operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7/Vista, Windows XP, macOS, Linux, iPhone/iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, DD-WRT, Boxee Box, Chrome cast, Apple TV, LG Smart TV, Sony Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, LG WebOS Smart TV, PS 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One. On iOS, ibVPN provides a helper app to set up the ibDNS servers.
The UltimateVPN package (see Pricing) offers access to 5 simultaneous connections, meaning that you can connect from 5 different devices at the same time. You may install InvisibleBrowsingVPN on how many devices you want, but you can only connect to their apps from 5 devices.
The Standard VPN and Torrent VPN have only one concurrent connection. If you need more, you may opt-in for the Family VPN packages (7 devices) or the Small Business packages (up to 200 connections).
The VPN free trial is available for those interested in testing the service before subscribing. The available trial is for 24 hours from the time the account is created. It is full-featured (equivalent to the Ultimate VPN package). If you need more time to test, you may contact the customer service, and they will extend it manually.
ibVPN is one of the few top VPN providers that still promote a pricing structure based on packages. Every package encloses a set of features suitable for specific scenarios. Take a look below at the available packages and the pricing:
What package to choose? For using a VPN on one device at a time (one connection), go for the StandardVPN. It is a good deal. If you need it for downloading torrents, choose the TorrentVPN package. For online streaming go for the ibDNS package. The UltimateVPN is the most complete and, probably, the best pick.
Promos and discounts
I am an ibVPN client for more than five years, and I noticed some patterns in their marketing strategy. Thus, if you are waiting for a good deal for the packages listed below here are the main discount campaigns:
- Anniversary Promo – the end of January – 50% off everything.
- Summer Promo – during the Summer months – 50% off to the StandardVPN.
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday – last Friday from November – various discounts.
- Winter promo – from the middle of December to the beginning of January – different discounts and multi-annual plans.
Are you looking for a VPN deal? Here is a site that lists active promotions. If you know other promotions feel free to share them in the comments below.
You may pay for ibVPN services using many ways: credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies (Litecoin, Blackcoin, Dogecoin, Ripple), Perfect Money, OKPay, OOOPay, Payza, Webmoney, Credit cards, SMS, iDeal, AliPay, Qiwi Wallet, Openbucks, MOL.
15 days money back plus the 24-hour trial shows that ibVPN is confident in the quality of their service. Even if you have tried the service, you may ask for a refund after subscribing.
ibVPN offers 24/7 live chat and ticket support. My experience with customer service was always excellent, both on sales and tech issues. They are very friendly and try to find solutions for every reported problem. The only point I noted is that the chat support is not live 24/7. Sometimes it goes offline for several hours.
Invisible Browsing VPN review – Performance/speed testing
It is essential to understand that the speed of your Internet connection while connected to a server depends on factors like the speed of your regular Internet connection (without VPN), the connection from your location to the VPN server, the policy of your ISP (some may block or slow down VPN connections), the load of the VPN server (the number of users sharing the location), the available bandwidth. Thus, some factors may NOT be related directly to the service.
Back to my study: I have performed some speed tests to see how the service behaves for some specific settings.
Firstly, I have tested my regular Internet connection and then compared it with the speed of the connection (the test was performed using the Windows app, Setting the fastest connection from the Connection Wizard). I got connected to the Czech Republic, and the speed results were the followings:
Secondly, I selected a US server (for streaming). It worth mentioning that I am located in Europe.
Thirdly, I was curious to see the speed for the recommended P2P server and settings:
Before subscribing to any VPN service, it is advisable to look for real user reviews. ibVPN has a lot of such reviews on their site. As far as I can tell, they look real, but you could never know. They may be filtered and the “bad ones” may not be shown. You may also find several ibVPN user reviews on TrustPilot and other ibVPN review sites.
ibVPN Pros – What I like about ibVPN
I have to say that I am a fan of the ibVPN service and I am recommending it when I have the chance. Here are some of the things I like the most about ibVPN:
- Robust VPN service, good security, no logging
- Fair pricing, great discounts during promotions.
- Great VPN apps.
- Lots of great features like Fastest server option, Double VPN, Tor Over VPN, SOCKS5, etc.
- It includes access to ibDNS / SmartDNS.
- The support team is excellent. Every time the ibVPN team made me feel like an important client and I wrote the InvisibleBrowsingVPN review having this in mind.
- It works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
ibVPN Cons – What could be improved
There is not much I can say bad about ibVPN. I would like to see more servers (including backups) in specific locations like the East European countries and Asia. Also, it would be nice to see a page with the live server status.
ibVPN review 2020 – Conclusion
This is my extensive ibVPN review. It is long, but not exhaustive, and, there is probably more to say about ibVPN. The conclusion is that ibVPN is a top VPN provider and you should consider it as your VPN solution.
What do you think of ibVPN? Have you tried it? What features should I add to this ibVPN Ultimate VPN review? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.