Review: Invisible Browsing VPN (ibVPN)

ibVPNA little down recently about my regular VPN’s lackluster speed, I started testing out a new service called ibVPN (Invisible Browsing VPN) and am decently happy with the results/ease of use.

The service is strictly PPTP and not SSL, which I suppose is both a pro and a con. From my experience PPTP is faster and easier to setup as services go, but is easier to get blocked.

And blocked I think is exactly what happened with the initial setup I was using with the service. ibVPN allows you to use various different gateways (3 US, 2 UK, 1 DE and 1 NL). I slapped the first US gateway into my settings and tried to connect — no go. Not a great start for my review. Not easily dissuaded, especially when the reward is funny cat videos, I gave the second US gateway a try — worked great.

Youtube videos were loading decently fast, and I could login to Facebook and Twitter no problem and with no noticeable VPN lag. After a few days though, I suddenly started getting this error on Facebook. So, with one gateway completely inaccessible, and the other gateway’s IP being blocked by Facebook, I loaded up the third and final US gateway. Fortunately it’s been working a treat for the last few days, with no problems at all.

Here is some speed data done by pinging the referenced sites with the VPN on and off:
ibVPN Speed Tests

So, as you can see, decently fast (I generally consider anything that pings between 200-300 “fast enough” when dealing with sites hosted, literally, overseas). My final tests were the ones that are most important to me when it comes to make or break for a VPN — how fast does Youtube stream?

I tested three Youtube videos of varying lengths to get a sense of the streaming speed, and tested them at 11am (+8 GMT) and again at 10pm (+8 GMT). Here are the results:

@ 11am:
This 48sec video, this 1:21 sec video, and this 22 min all streamed fine with no need to perform the “pause-wait shuffle”.

@ 10pm:
All three videos loaded at about the same rate, but were noticeably slower than when accessed in the morning. They could not be streamed, and had to be paused to allow a bit of time for them to load. Not a lot of time mind you, but still, not the fluid streaming I had seen earlier in the day.

Pricing

ibVPN’s pricing is about on par with the industry, and if anything a bit cheaper than some of the other VPNs I’ve looked at — likely due to the fact that they only offer PPTP. For access to either the US- or UK-based gateways, it will set you back about $20 USD for half a year, and they throw in the Netherlands gateway for free. For an additional $17 you can have access to all the gateways (US, UK, DE and NL).

Overall

Generally a decent service at a decent price. I’m a little nervous about the inaccessibility of the first US gateway, and Facebook’s blocking of the second’s IP, but results are results and as it stands at the time of this review, I am able to quickly and easily get on all the sites and have them operate with satisfactory, or better than satisfactory results.

Another bonus is that they offer monthly, quarterly and semi-annually payment options — which makes it the perfect service for anyone visiting China in the short-term for travel, teaching ESL or a business trip.


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