In our Invisible Browsing VPN (ibVPN) review, we dig into what makes this ultra-cheap VPN so popular.
The price is certainly a factor, but this Romania-based VPN packs quite a punch.
In this review, we find out if the quality goes down with the price, or if we just found one of the cheapest bang-for-the-buck VPNs.
With 16 years of presence in the industry, we would like to bet that this VPN provider knows what they’re doing.
Read more to find out.
Netflix Test: Some servers work
Our readers are like us; if we can’t watch my favorite shows on Netflix on one VPN, we look for alternatives.
This is not the case for ibVPN.
You can see and test the Netflix optimized servers for the sole purpose of streaming. Of course, we had to test it and the results were not exactly what we would consider as exceptional.
ibVPN succeeded with accessing Netflix and showing geo-restricted shows but we occasionally got the dreaded black screen. Due to their limited server count, if Netflix is able to block one server, then your options get quite limited.
This is not to say that it never works.
From time to time their IP addresses get refreshed and provided us working Netflix servers. What we really liked about ibVPN for Netflix – the speeds were great and movies didn’t buffer even when playing at the highest video quality.
Pricing & Plans: Confusingly cheap
Spare yourself from the confusion that we went through, just get the Ultimate VPN plan—you get all the features that ibVPN has to offer
At $4.83 month (at the time of writing), the Ultimate VPN Plan is significantly cheaper in comparison to top-tier choices like ExpressVPN, which is priced at $6.67 per month.
That’s almost 2/3 of the price!
They also have different packages, but these plans are neutered from the greater features. Something else to note for the readers: all plans except for the Ultimate VPN plan only allows for 1 device to be connected on the network.
The Ultimate VPN plan offers up to 5 simultaneous connections, which is really convenient since most of us would easily own at least 2 devices.
It truly is confusing as to why they have this kind of pricing structure, but one thing is for sure: the Ultimate Plan is the ultimate deal ibVPN offers. Let’s not forget – ibVPN has regular promotions around the holidays, bringing the Ultimate VPN plan down to as low as $3.45 per month.
Payment Options: Crypto-friendly
You won’t have trouble finding ways to purchase an ibVPN subscription, there’s a wide array of options for payments.
All major credit cards are accepted, they have a partnership with Paymentwall, SMS payments for Romanians, and a whole lot of cryptocurrency options. It’s great that ibVPN did not limit their crypto option to just Bitcoin; they also accept other denominations like Dogecoin.
This is great news for cryptocurrency folks that own a variety of coins.
Something to note though, ibVPN is one of the rare VPN providers that do not accept PayPal transactions.
We have no clue why, but then again there’s a whole lot of other options anyway.
Refund Policy: 15-day money-back guarantee
ibVPN allows you to try out their product without having to enter any credit card information, albeit with a twist.
You only have 24 hours to try out their Ultimate VPN plan; that’s pretty annoying for anyone since they’d have to be in a hurry. But should you wish to extend your trial period, ibVPN offers a 15-day money-back guarantee for those who have purchased the service from them.
This is nothing to brag about since some VPN providers offer a 30-day free trial period…
But at least there’s some leeway in getting your money back if things don’t work out.
Device Compatibility: Wide range
All the bases are covered here; you have Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, gaming consoles, and even routers too.
We’re glad that ibVPN offers these solutions for users, most VPN services at this price range don’t offer anything close to this.
Customer Support: Answers on-demand
We’re fans of live chat support; it just makes the experience way easier for everyone.
We’re bigger fans of fast live chat support – we’re also glad that ibVPN has it, their customer service reps respond to your concerns right away.
You could also file a support ticket through the app or the website, and if you’re more traditional, you could also send them an email.
Product Documentation: Great Help Center
Their Help Center covers everything that other VPN providers also have; setup guides, FAQs, knowledge on VPNs and such.
What sets them apart is that users can schedule for remote assistance.
Should your VPN problems be too worrisome, you can let any of their support team take control of your PC and fix your problems while you watch.
This is unique among VPN providers, and it’s unheard of in this price range especially. Remote assistance is a nice way to handhold new users but we believe the best VPNs just work out of the box and don’t need handholding; ibVPN is one of them and you’ll most likely never use this feature.
Logging Policy: Strict no-logs
Since ibVPN is based in Romania, they’re not required to keep logs by the law, neither do they voluntarily do so.
No traffic logs are being kept on their servers and this ensures that you have complete privacy while on their network.
One of the co-founders of the company, Dan Gurghian, clarified this policy a bit more in his AMA:
IP and DNS Leak Test: IP and DNS is clear from leaks
Your IP address is basically the first level of your online identity.
If your IP address is exposed, not only is your identity exposed but you can also be subject to threats and vulnerabilities.
We tested for any IP and DNS leaks while being connected to ibVPN and the tests were passed with great success.
No leaks were documented which indicates a secure connection for ibVPN.
Encryption and Protocols: Industry standards used
When choosing your VPNs, you have to be very discerning about the grade of security that can be provided to you.
ibVPN comes with a 256-Bit AES encryption, which is on par with the best VPN services out there.
This means that your online activity is encrypted so well, there’s no chance that anyone can see what sites you visit or what you download, not even your VPN provider.
Kill Switch: Secure internet, always
A kill switch is one of the first lines of defense that your VPNs use in case of an outage.
With the kill switch on, your VPN will block your internet connection when your connection is not secure.
This gives you the assurance that all your online activity are being routed and encrypted through the VPN.
This also nullifies the chance of your IP address being exposed as it will automatically shut down your connection when your IP is being revealed.
ibVPN Neutral Points
Servers and Locations: An army of 200
With VPN providers (even newer ones) offering thousands of servers, ibVPN’s server count is easily put to shame.
A lot of users will quickly judge this VPN provider for having a server count so small in 2018.
We can’t blame them. We’re part of that crowd.
Whatever the numbers are, we believe that we have to be fair in regards to the server count vs. the speed and quality that we get out of these servers. The servers are spread out in 47 countries around the globe; this fairs well for users that travel a whole lot.
And you can’t really use the full suite unless you pay for it either. The basic VPN plan is extremely cheap. ibVPN offers an “Ultimate VPN Plan” for less than a dollar more. They also offer more server options like a P2P server, which is not available in the basic plan.
All these extra services add up…
VPN Speed and Performance: Not too shabby
Any feature-rich VPN that doesn’t put out good speeds is still a bad VPN. Thankfully, ibVPN speed output is not too shabby. It’s far from the fastest VPNs we tested; you obviously get what you pay for.
But this budget-friendly VPN puts out speeds that are usable for large file transfers and even 4K content streaming.
We tested the speeds of ibVPN in our NA and EU servers that are on 100 Mbps connections and we’ve seen somewhere between 25-35% speed losses. As mentioned earlier, these speeds are far from “bad” by any means. We didn’t expect much from ibVPN considering that it’s a cheap service, but we’re glad that they were able to put out a solid performance.
If you’re after raw speeds, you can also try out ibVPN’s option for a Smart DNS service or some other premium VPN providers.
The Smart DNS option basically allows you to still conceal your IP and DNS to have access to geo-restricted content, without encryption. Your online activity and the content you consume won’t be hidden, but you get the fastest streaming speeds possible.
Torrenting Policy: Not included in the basic package
It’s obvious at this point that ibVPN really wants you to go for the Ultimate VPN package rather than their Standard VPN.
You can’t have access to torrenting and P2P file sharing when you don’t subscribe to their Ultimate VPN package.
It’s either that or go for their “Torrent VPN” plan, which was weirdly more expensive than the Ultimate VPN plan that had the same features, and more. What we liked about ibVPN for torrenting is their use of SOCKS5 proxies which effectively allows you to fully maximize the speeds of your torrent downloads, albeit without encryption. If you’re not downloading anything illegal or copyrighted, and just want to spoof your IP address to get rid of geo-blocks, then SOCKS5 proxies are a great thing.
Otherwise, you can stick to just the VPN itself since the speeds aren’t so bad after all.
At the time of the review (and update), there are 35 servers that allow P2P activities – the servers are located in Hong Kong, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Ukraine, and the Netherlands.
Sign-Up Process: Feels dated
If you’ve been visiting a lot of VPN websites like us, you would know that almost everyone tries their best to add some eye candy to their website.
We shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, or in our case, a VPN by the website… but the entirety of ibVPN’s looks feels dated.
If you’re the type who likes reading and following instructions, the process shouldn’t be so hard for you.
But, if you’re the type who prefers a more simple approach to signing up (like what Windscribe has accomplished), then you might need to take a few extra steps.
After signing up with ibVPN, you will be taken to a downloads page, where you select the platform of your choice.
This automatically starts the download, and the installation process is no different from any software. It’s a fairly simple process.
Once the installation is completed, you have to place your login credentials before reaching the main menu.
Product Interface: Lots of text
While there’s a 1-click connect option, the main menu is filled with lots of options and information that could seem daunting for novice VPN users.
It’s not pretty, unlike other VPNs that really focus on the best user experience
But, what we do appreciate is that everything we need to change is accessible in the menus.
The saying goes, “function over form”… or something like it.
Not one we can think of! Perhaps the outdated interface? This is purely subjective and the VPN client works. We can’t deduct too many points for aesthetics considering it will just run in the background most of the time.
Below are some of ibVPN’s premium server features. The majority of VPNs do not offer these types of features. It’s really amazing that ibVPN has these specialty servers as this was something we have only seen in the like of the well-renowned NordVPN and Private Internet Access.
As if a VPN is not enough for the average user, ibVPN offers a double VPN solution.
This enables the user to connect to a VPN server that connects to another VPN server, effectively doubling the encryption of their data and online activity.
This comes with the downside of slowing down your internet connection, but for the most paranoid about anonymity, this one’s a great selling point.
TOR Over VPN
Users of the deep and dark web would be glad to find out that ibVPN has this feature as well.
Combining the anonymity of browsing with TOR with the added-on privacy of a VPN empowers users’ privacy.
This is virtually a fool-proof way to have secure and private access to those unindexed websites.
ibVPN as a Business
The history of ibVPN starts in 2003 when a team of privacy advocates formed and started various privacy and anonymity projects. The company is known as AmplusNET S.R.L. – a parent company of ibVPN that also specializes in software monitoring and analytics.
In total, they have been around for 16 years, just a little younger than Yahoo and Google. The official launch of the company was in 2010 and since then, they have been fighting the good fight. When we consider that the internet isn’t really that old yet, we quickly realize that ibVPN has been around for quite some time.
The tech industry isn’t so forgiving, and to operate for 8 years in the industry is enough proof that ibVPN operates with great business acumen.
Speaking of great business acumen, ibVPN even has a GDPR Expert and DPO according to LinkedIn. So we know they take customer data very seriously.
According to Romania’s public database, the company reported having a turnover of 3,012,584 RON, or around $750,000 in 2017; of which, net profit being 988,240 RON, or around $247,000.
Some of our casual readers might disagree with us, but having a VPN based in the 14-eyes alliance turns us off a bit.
A VPN service under the 14-eyes means that their government, as well as the alliance members, can take your data from your VPN provider with whatever means necessary. There are even reported cases of wiretapping in these countries. This can be alarming for those who are going for complete anonymity.
Luckily, ibVPN is based in Romania which has no data retention laws and isn’t known to be friendly with the alliances.
Your data and identity look safe here.
ibVPN Conclusion: Recommended Budget VPN
Without a doubt, the 2-year commitment doesn’t really sound so bad when you factor in how cheap ibVPN is.
You get top-grade security for a really low subscription, decent chance to access Netflix, reliable speeds, and there’s a (public) long business track record that you can rely on.
It’s not the fastest VPN, it doesn’t have so many servers, it’s certainly not the prettiest, but it’s one of the cheapest.
If you’re a user on a budget, ibVPN might be just for you!
Curious to see how ibVPN works? Watch their feature short video here: