What do you associate with Transylvania? For most of us, it might be a vampire, or possibly The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But for me, it’s ibVPN, a VPN company based in Transylvania, Romania (ib stands for invisible browsing, by the way). In this review, I’m going to give you an education about ibVPN— its best and worst qualities, features, subscription options, customer support, and app. Of course, I’ll be putting ibVPN through some rigorous tests to make sure it’s as fast and secure as the company claims. Let’s get started!
As ibVPN is based in Romania, they'll never be forced to hand over your data, plus, they don't log any specific user activity.
Pros and Cons
- No logging: ibVPN does not log any specific user activity.
- Kill-switch: If ibVPN, all of your activity will be shut off automatically.
- Split tunneling: Access a public and a private server at the same time with ibVPN.
- Netflix access: You’ll be able to access Netflix on some but not all servers.
- Headquartered in Romania: ibVPN will never be legally forced to hand over your information to another country.
- Great app ratings: Both iPhone and Android users liked the ibVPN app.
- Low prices: Subscriptions start at only $1.54 a month if you sign up for a year.
- No phone line: Instead, you’ll be able to reach customer support over live chat 24/7
- Speed: ibVPN caused a lot of latency and delays on upload speed on both my Windows and Mac computers.
Like I said before, ibVPN is based in Transylvania, Romania, and that’s actually a really good thing. Why? Well, not only because it’s fun to say. Romania isn’t a member of any international surveillance alliances like Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes, so ibVPN will never be legally forced to hand over your data. VPNs are totally legal in Romania, and the only parts of the internet that Romania censors are related to gambling, porn, or pedophilia.
As a company, ibVPN has 181 servers in 52 countries and was founded in 2010. So far, so good. Now let’s see what this VPN can actually do.
If you’re not an ibVPN expert by the time you’re done with this section, then you’re doing something wrong.
Will ibVPN Log My Data?
The only data that ibVPN will save is your name, payment information, and the email address that you registered with. These are all standard things to save, as they allow you to actually access your subscription. More importantly, ibVPN won’t log any specific user activity including your traffic, when you used the VPN, for how long, etc.
As ibVPN is based in Romania, they'll never be forced to hand over your data, plus, they don't log any specific user activity.
Does ibVPN Have A Kill Switch?
Fortunately, ibVPN has a kill switch, also known as a network lock feature. That means that if you’re using ibVPN to cruise on a bunch of websites and your connection is lost, all of your websites will immediately shut down. It’s a Plan B if Plan A, ibVPN, doesn’t work out, typical of most VPNs.
What Kind of Tunneling does ibVPN Offer?
More good news— ibVPN has split tunneling, so you can use the VPN and a public network at the same time. It’s helpful if you want to reduce the level of bandwidth that you’re using, or if you simply need to be on both networks at once.
Can I Use Netflix with ibVPN?
Here’s the thing about Netflix— its constantly updating its code to block VPNs, but on the other hand, so are the VPN companies. While ibVPN doesn’t block Netflix itself, you won’t always be able to access it. But hey, sometimes is better than never!
Encryption keeps your data secure by turning it into inscrutable code. Let’s see how ibVPN encrypts your data.
AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard, and it’s basically an algorithm that encrypts your data. Measured in bits, 256 is the industry standard that’s used most commonly today, so ibVPN hits the mark.
IP Security has two ways of encrypting. In transport mode, it only encrypts the data packet message itself, while in tunneling mode it encrypts the entire data packet. It’s used in tandem with protocols to increase security, which brings me to my next point.
Internet protocols determine how data is transmitted across a network. Let’s take a closer look.
OpenVPN is the most secure protocol to bypass firewalls, the ideal combo of security and speed. Rather than being financed by a company, OpenVPN is sourced by the community, who are constantly tinkering with the code to avoid tampering from intelligence agencies.
Stealth is what disguises your VPN traffic as normal, everyday web traffic so that it can bypass firewalls. It’s especially useful if you’re in a country that doesn’t allow VPNs like China, Cuba, Pakistan, and more.
The word “soft” is probably not one you want to associate with your VPN, but trust me on this one, SoftWare Ethernet is a good thing. With 256-bit encryption, it’s a great alternative to OpenVPN that integrates other protocols like PPTP, L2TP, and more.
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is what creates the tunnel through which your data will travel. It’s a very common method that’s been used since the 1990s, and combined with encryption methods, it keeps your data safe and sound.
User Datagram Protocol is what’s responsible for actually sending your data packets. I like to think of UDP as an unorganized mailman. While he’ll get the mail to the right place, some letters may be lost or received in the wrong order. That’s why UDP is paired with the following protocol: TCP.
Transmission Control Protocol is UDP’s trusty and Marie Kondo-like assistant. It’s what actually makes sure that the data has arrived in the right place and making sure it’s put back together in the right order. Together, UDP and TCP are an unstoppable dream team for VPNs.
Okay, so I lied. ShadowSocks isn’t really a protocol, but a proxy through which all of your traffic will go through first. That way, no one will be able to tell that you’re using a VPN. Of course, your traffic isn’t encrypted with ShadowSocks alone, which is why ibVPN combines it with their own encryption methods.
Finally, Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol is used to bypass firewalls on Windows computers.
Now let’s test this thing out!
When it comes to VPNs, I’m testing for two things— security and speed. I test everything out of my Brooklyn apartment on an Optimum network on two different computers, a Macbook Air and a Windows Vivobook. Let’s see if ibVPN is up to my very high standards.
Clearly, ibVPN had faster download speeds on my Mac versus on my Windows computer. It only slowed me down by 30% on the Mac compared to an abysmal 75% on my Windows Vivobook. I’m expect upload speed to mirror these results— let’s find out if I’m right.
I’m very surprised that my Vivobook actually had less of a difference in upload speed compared to my Macbook! However, I’m really not happy with either’s upload speed. While my Vivobook’s upload speed was slowed down by 58%, the upload speed was 75% slower on my Mac! I’m hoping that ibVPN performs better on ping, or latency, so we can turn this thing around.
Unfortunately, ibVPN caused a ton of latency on both of my computers, more than I’ve seen from any other VPN I’ve reviewed so far. While ibVPN caused 230% more latency on the Windows computer, it caused 1,654% more latency on my Mac, a new record!
Overall, I’m not too pleased with ibVPN’s speed, particularly for upload speed and latency. But keep in mind that speed is affected by a ton of factors; your distance from the server, what device you’re using, who is your internet service provider, and more, so take this with a grain of salt. Also consider the fact that ibVPN allows you to try their product completely free for 24 hours (you won’t even have to put down a card!). I recommend downloading the free version and performing some of your own speed tests to really see how ibVPN will work on your computer.
DNS Leak Test
Okay, so the speed tests weren’t exactly what I was hoping for, but maybe ibVPN can make it up to me in my leak tests. DNS stands for domain name server, and it’s what you type in when you want to go to a website, like SecurityBaron.com. Each DNS stands for an IP address, so it’s important that these don’t get leaked outside of ibVPN’s encrypted tunnel so no one can see your traffic. The verdict? No DNS leaks!
WebRTC Leak Test
WebRTC creates faster speeds by allowing browsers to connect directly with each other rather than having to go through an intermediate server. It’s especially helpful for sharing files, video chatting, or livestreaming footage. The only con? In order to use WebRTC, you’ll need to know the other user’s private IP address, so I want to make sure that that stays protected. Like the DNS test, ibVPN passed the WebRTC test with absolutely no leaks.
Whether you’re a single person, a family, or a small business, ibVPN has an option for you.
First, I want to give you some background information about each plan and explain some terms that might be a little esoteric.
If you’re a regular user looking for streaming, privacy, and the ability to bypass firewalls, this is the plan for you. Standard VPN also includes a proxy, which will change your IP address on the web browser itself.
Building on the Standard VPN is the Ultimate VPN. If you want to use sites like Hulu or Pandora, you’ll need to invest in SmartDNS. More good news? It won’t slow down your computer at all, unlike the regular VPN.
If you’re looking to torrent anonymously but don’t need SmartDNS or a proxy, Torrent VPN is a good option for you at only $3.08 a month.
IBDNS/ Smart DNS
Next, there’s IBDNS/ Smart DNS, which provide SmartDNS and a proxy but no VPN. Without the VPN, you’ll get the fastest speeds, but keep in mind that your traffic wont’ be encrypted. It’s perfect for getting past firewalls and streaming, as you’ll get a turbo-speed connection.
Family VPN 7
The Family plan allows for seven simultaneous connections and gives you both the VPN and SmartDNS. It’s perfect for a family that loves to stream!
Small Business 15
The Small Business Plan 15 allows for, you guessed it, 15 simultaneous connections. Like the Family plan, it provides SmartDNS in addition to the VPN itself.
Small Business 25
Finally, there’s Small Business 25 for 25 simultaneous connections and SmartDNS in addition to your VPN.
As most VPNs cater to individuals, I love that ibVPN has packages for larger groups. If you’re looking for tons of simultaneous connections or a price point that fits your family or business, ibVPN has reasonably priced options.
What does ibVPN work on? The answer is a lot of things, including Windows, Apple, Linux, Android, iOS, Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and most routers.
If you’re using Chrome, Firefox, or Opera as your web browser, ibVPN offers extensions.
ibVPN Customer Support
An important part of any product is the customer support. After all, what’s a successful VPN anyway without a strong customer support team standing behind it?
You can contact customer support through a live chat or a support ticket 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When I asked a question through live chat, I received an immediate, detailed, and straightforward response, which I thought was very impressive. But I’m just one person, so let’s take a look at what other ibVPN customers had to say.
Customer Support Ratings
Currently, ibVPN has an Amazon rating of 3.2 from 18 reviews. Out of the five reviews that mentioned customer support specifically, four were positive, or 80%— I like those odds.
“Excellent personable customer service when needed. System works well and has multiple servers to use and works on multiple media options,”
The ibVPN App
If you’re on your iPhone or Android, you want to make sure that the ibVPN app works without a hitch. Well, I have some good news for you. The ibVPN app got a four from the Google Play store and a 4.6 from the Apple store! I’m super pleased, as VPN apps can really go either way.
ibVPN vs. Private Internet Access
I’m comparing ibVPN to Private Internet Access, another VPN company based in Denver, Colorado. Although the company claims it doesn’t log information, I’m a little concerned about the location of their headquarters. After all, the U.S is a part of both Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes, making it possible that PIA could be legally forced to hand over your data to another country. Not great. However, like ibVPN, PIA has some good features like a kill switch, Netflix and torrenting abilities, and anonymous IP addresses. They also have one clear advantage over ibVPN, and that’s speed on both the Mac and the Vivobook. Overall, I’d say if privacy is more important to you, I’d pick ibVPN, but if you have a need for speed, go with PIA.
Recap of ibVPN
I’ll admit that I was a bit disappointed with ibVPN, primarily because of its speed (or lack thereof). But that may or may not be a huge deal to you. As everyone was different preferences, I want to break down exactly who ibVPN would be good for.
Go with ibVPN if you’d like…
- No logging: Your traffic and activity are safe and sound with ibVPN, which performed well on my leak tests.
- Kill-switch: Even if ibVPN, you’ll still be protected.
- Split tunneling: For faster bandwidth, you can opt to use split tunneling.
- Netflix: ibVPN has no restrictions against Netflix, although it may or may not work all the time.
- No surveillance alliances: Being based in Romania has its perks!
- Highly-rated app: Both iPhone and Android users loved the ibVPN app.
- Affordable for large groups: ibVPN is one of the few VPN companies I’ve reviewed to offer such large and discounted bundles.
But avoid it for the following reasons…
- Speed: Particularly for upload speed and latency, my Internet had significant slowdowns with ibVPN.
- No phone: This is pretty typical of VPN companies, but ibVPN’s customer support is not offered over the phone.
For more options, check out the best VPNs of 2019.