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
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.
- 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|
|No VPN||Trial 1||10||ms||97.29||mbps||11.91||mbps|
|Los Angeles||Trial 1||36||ms||54.39||mbps||9.28||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+25||ms||57.89%||54.81%|
|Comp to Bench||+276||ms||13.94%||32.57%|
|Hong Kong||Trial 1||361||ms||1.10||mbps||0.96||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+355||ms||1.24%||7.12%|
|Comp to Bench||+355||ms||10.46%||27.13%|
|Speed Tests – IBVPN – Mobile|
|No VPN||Trial 1||12||ms||74.77||mbps||14.52||mbps|
|Los Angeles||Trial 1||64||ms||39.08||mbps||13.31||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+31||ms||54.77%||93.38%|
|Comp to Bench||+288||ms||12.29%||61.72%|
|Hong Kong||Trial 1||639||ms||0.98||mbps||1.51||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+571||ms||1.43%||15.55%|
|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.
Good grief, these terms are dense. Paragraph after paragraph of “nothing is our fault, everything is yours”.
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.
|FROM THE VPN COMPARISON CHART|
|JURISDICTION||Based In (Country)||Romania|
|Logs DNS Requests|
|Logs IP Address|
|ACTIVISM||Anonymous Payment Method||No|
|PGP Key Available||No|
|Meets PrivacyTools IO Criteria||No|
|LEAK PROTECTION||1st Party DNS Servers||Yes|
|IPv6 Supported / Blocked|
|Supports TCP Port 443|
|Supports SSL Tunnel||Yes|
|Supports SSH Tunnel|
|Other Proprietary Protocols|
|PORT BLOCKING||Auth SMTP||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|
|Refund Period (Days)||15|
|ETHICS||Contradictory Logging Policies||Yes|
|Falsely Claims 100% Effective|
|Incentivizes Social Media Spam||Yes|
|Requires Ethical Copy||Some|
|Requires Full Disclosure||No|
|AFFILIATES||Practice Ethical Copy|
|Give Full Disclosure||No|
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