IBVPN Review

Disclaimer: The below review is my opinion, which I will try to provide as many examples for and as much evidence as possible to support.  Readers can learn more about how I conduct my reviews, my methodology, etc – here.  More information on review badges here.

This review’s roll was #51 (at the time of the roll, IBVPN).

 

Written Jul 18, 2016

Signing up for the service: I signed up for service on IBVPN’s website and made a few observations: firstly, a full name is required.  This seems to be an ever increasingly common pitfall of services possibly using canned registration systems.  Regardless, it’s a privacy violation

exposed

 

One nice thing is that immediately after payment, you are taken automatically to the client dashboard with downloads and everything you need to get started.  This is a small touch, but it’s much appreciated as it means I’m not required to navigate through some labyrinth of a site to find what I’m looking for.  Not many services do this and it was appreciated.  OpenVPN configs for Linux were clearly labeled and super easy to find.

 

My nitpick on most reviews these days is showing up yet again here – I received a total of 6 welcome emails after signing up – once again, not a huge deal, just sloppy and shows lack of consideration of the user experience.

  • Welcome
  • Order confirmation
  • Payment authorization
  • Payment receipt
  • Setup information
  • Invoice payment confirmation

 

The default VPN password (different from account login) was pretty short and weak – 8 characters, alphanumeric.  It probably could have had a stronger policy attached for the security of the user.

 

Configuring the service: After downloading and extracting the files, they were named a little strangely, indicating that the files had been organized for other purposes (named for a Rasperry Pi setup), but they worked as intended, which is all that matters.  Configuration went off without a hitch thanks to the clear download locations.

 

Speed & Stability tests:  All tests performed using beta.speedtest.net (html5) or the speedtest.net app.  Connecting using UDP, Default encryption was Blowfish-256.

 

Speed Tests – IBVPN – Desktop
    Latency Download Upload
No VPN Trial 1 10 ms 97.29 mbps 11.91 mbps
Trial 2 9 ms 98.13 mbps 11.95 mbps
Trial 3 10 ms 96.57 mbps 11.97 mbps
Average 10 ms 97.33 mbps 11.94 mbps
               
Los Angeles Trial 1 36 ms 54.39 mbps 9.28 mbps
Trial 2 35 ms 55.83 mbps 0.00 mbps
Trial 3 34 ms 58.80 mbps 10.36 mbps
Average 35 ms 56.34 mbps 6.55 mbps
Comp to Bench +25 ms 57.89% 54.81%
               
London Trial 1 286 ms 11.93 mbps 4.70 mbps
Trial 2 285 ms 13.21 mbps 3.14 mbps
Trial 3 286 ms 15.57 mbps 3.83 mbps
Average 286 ms 13.57 mbps 3.89 mbps
Comp to Bench +276 ms 13.94% 32.57%
               
Hong Kong Trial 1 361 ms 1.10 mbps 0.96 mbps
Trial 2 361 ms 1.20 mbps 0.85 mbps
Trial 3 371 ms 1.31 mbps 0.74 mbps
Average 364 ms 1.20 mbps 0.85 mbps
Comp to Bench +355 ms 1.24% 7.12%
               
Melbourne Trial 1 367 ms 15.21 mbps 3.00 mbps
Trial 2 364 ms 15.34 mbps 3.43 mbps
Trial 3 363 ms 0.00 mbps 3.29 mbps
Average 365 ms 10.18 mbps 3.24 mbps
Comp to Bench +355 ms 10.46% 27.13%

 

Speed Tests – IBVPN – Mobile
    Latency Download Upload
No VPN Trial 1 12 ms 74.77 mbps 14.52 mbps
Trial 2 26 ms 74.01 mbps 14.32 mbps
Trial 3 11 ms 75.01 mbps 14.37 mbps
Average 16 ms 74.60 mbps 14.40 mbps
               
Los Angeles Trial 1 64 ms 39.08 mbps 13.31 mbps
Trial 2 39 ms 39.78 mbps 13.75 mbps
Trial 3 39 ms 43.70 mbps 13.29 mbps
Average 47 ms 40.85 mbps 13.45 mbps
Comp to Bench +31 ms 54.77% 93.38%
               
London Trial 1 308 ms 8.02 mbps 6.45 mbps
Trial 2 288 ms 8.51 mbps 10.75 mbps
Trial 3 318 ms 10.98 mbps 9.47 mbps
Average 305 ms 9.17 mbps 8.89 mbps
Comp to Bench +288 ms 12.29% 61.72%
               
Hong Kong Trial 1 639 ms 0.98 mbps 1.51 mbps
Trial 2 657 ms 1.01 mbps 2.83 mbps
Trial 3 465 ms 1.20 mbps 2.38 mbps
Average 587 ms 1.06 mbps 2.24 mbps
Comp to Bench +571 ms 1.43% 15.55%
               
Melbourne Trial 1 411 ms 12.83 mbps 4.88 mbps
Trial 2 357 ms 12.52 mbps 4.61 mbps
Trial 3 355 ms 12.65 mbps 4.62 mbps
Average 374 ms 12.67 mbps 4.70 mbps
Comp to Bench +358 ms 16.98% 32.65%

 

Speeds were only so-so, with a couple of failed tests:  Desktop – Los Angeles – Trial 2 – the upload test failed, so the 0.00 mbps figure is intentional, as was the Desktop – Melbourne – Trial 3 download test failed and is being shown at 0.00 mbps.

 

Getting support: The website has a live chat feature, which when clicked, returned the response, “We’re away, submit a ticket”.  Oftentimes, my questions to a company’s support team is based on any problems I might have during configuration – but since it went pretty smoothly this time, I submitted a ticket asking about the contradiction (more below) about the “no logs” claim on the website, but the connection meta data logging policy in the terms and conditions.  IBVPN responded quickly, but with almost a copy-paste of the section from their terms explaining what exactly is logged.  I followed up the question asking about the naming mismatch with their Linux config files to give them something they’d need to think to answer.  The answer was kept simple (that the configs work for more than one platform).  Overall answers came very quickly, but lacked detailed explanations and effort.

 

Getting a refund: I followed up the support ticket with a refund request.  They responded quickly, and granted me a refund without too much more hassle.

 

Concerns in Terms & Conditions / Privacy Policy:

Good grief, these terms are dense.  Paragraph after paragraph of “nothing is our fault, everything is yours”.

obtuse

 

We are blocking the SMTP ports 25 and 465 to avoid spam from our servers.
Please check with your email provider if they support other SMTP ports. Most email providers support port 587 which allow TLS encryption for sending emails.

While this doesn’t block ALL authenticated SMTP, it could block some, definitely make sure that if this is a need of yours, you can transmit email through your SMTP server on port 587.

 

Our network uses AES 256-bit encryption system, which encrypts user’s information in a way that becomes virtually impossible to decrypt it.

This contradicts another of their info pages which says that Blowfish-256 is used.

 

With the re-marketing function, we can reach people who have already accessed our site and we can list for them relevant ads when they visit other sites included in Google Display Network.

IBVPN is one of many that use Google Ads, but since they’re including it in their terms, I thought I’d bring it up here.

 

Final thoughts: IBVPN strikes me as another run of the mill VPN service that is more serious about what promo they’ll be running next week, than maintaining and improving their service to meet the needs of the privacy-conscious among us.  Their service was easy to setup and configure, but the VPN tunnel wasn’t the most stable and the speeds were average at best.  Their support team was quick to reply, but didn’t come back with much substance when they did.  IBVPN goes to great lengths to spell out the number of ways they aren’t responsible for the service in its lake of terms.  In my opinion, although it’s far from the worst service I’ve used, there isn’t much to see here.

shady

 

FROM THE VPN COMPARISON CHART
CATEGORY VPN SERVICE IBVPN
JURISDICTION Based In (Country) Romania
Fourteen Eyes? No
Freedom Status Free
LOGGING Logs Traffic No
Logs DNS Requests
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
ACTIVISM Anonymous Payment Method No
Accepts Bitcoin Yes
PGP Key Available No
Meets PrivacyTools IO Criteria No
LEAK PROTECTION 1st Party DNS Servers Yes
IPv6 Supported / Blocked
  Offers OpenVPN Yes
OBFUSCATION Supports Multihop
Supports TCP Port 443
Supports Obfsproxy
Supports SOCKS
Supports SSL Tunnel Yes
Supports SSH Tunnel
Other Proprietary Protocols
PORT BLOCKING Auth SMTP Some
P2P Some
SPEEDS US Server Average % 57.89
Int’l Server Average % 8.55
SERVERS Dedicated or Virtual
SECURITY Default Data Encryption Blowfish-256
Strongest Data Encryption Blowfish-256
Weakest Handshake Encryption
Strongest Handshake Encryption
AVAILABILITY # of Connections 1
# of Countries 43
# of Servers 95
Linux Support (Manual) Yes
WEBSITE # of Persistent Cookies 15
# of External Trackers 9
# of Proprietary APIs 27
Server SSL Rating A+
SSL Cert issued to Self
PRICING $ / Month (Annual Pricing) $4.08
$ / Connection / Month $4.08
Free Trial Yes
Refund Period (Days) 15
ETHICS Contradictory Logging Policies Yes
Falsely Claims 100% Effective
Incentivizes Social Media Spam Yes
POLICIES Forbids Spam No
Requires Ethical Copy Some
Requires Full Disclosure No
AFFILIATES Practice Ethical Copy
Give Full Disclosure No

 

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