Review: Invisible Browsing VPN (ibVPN)

15 Comments

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.


NOTE: The links in the review are all clean, non-affiliate links. However, if you decide to sign up and give ibVPN a try yourself, we’d love for you to show your support of Lost Laowai and use our affiliate link. It costs you nothing, and helps us keep the lights on.

Talk on Review: Invisible Browsing VPN (ibVPN)


15 Comments
  1. Interesting to hear about some of the other VPN services out there. I’ve been pretty happy with Witopia’s VPN service so far- definitely more expensive, but they allow you to switch gateways all around the world, at no additional cost (well- then again I guess they’re already charging a pretty penny [respectively]). Their customer service has been really good and responsive too.

    • Avatar of

      Witopia is actually the “current VPN” I mention in the post’s opening. I’ve been with them for 2.5 years now and just can’t get the speed out of them that I used to. I’ve tried every gateway, every anti-DNS poisoning solution… still find myself shuffling gateways ad nauseum just to get Youtube to load — never mind stream.

  2. I agree with YouTube streaming- though I feel like it’s more of a ‘time of the day’ thing that I have to juggle, and marked it off as low bandwidth during peak hours. I haven’t had any issues with YouTube loading… thus far =)

    But perhaps it’s just my ignorance which is my bliss for the moment, as I haven’t tried any other paid VPN services apart from Witopia. Perhaps when the day comes, I’ll keep ibvpn in mind =)

  3. Pingback: links for 2010-08-13 « shenzhenintel

    • Avatar of

      By virtual Web server do you mean VPS? Unless you run one anyway, the costs would be more, as most VPNs are less than $5/mo. Shared hosting is an option, but you’d need shared hosting with shell access — not terribly hard to find, though. Any time I’ve considered it I ended up feeling that other than been an exercise in geekdom, there’s little to be saved by not having pros handle it.

      • Ya, I figure I’m gonna need a VPS for work anyways, so it might be worth it.

        Btw, does the GFW have a habit of blocking VPN traffic in general, or just the large service providers?

  4. i also cancelled my ibvpn sub and am waiting for a refund. i have switched to fbvpn, and so far it works fine, also the support team are on the ball which was not the case with ibvpn.

  5. For expert user, I suggest StrongVPN. With different kinds of Products, could satisfy different needs.
    For lite user, I suggest FBVPN. Only with PPTP VPN, but really good service.

  6. I’ll tell you about my case with this VPN provider – ibVPN. I decided to become his client. I paid the entire one year tax. The first time money was returned without explanation. The second experience with other payment provider Avangate, the amount was retained, but the bill of ibVPN remained unpaid. Maybe ibVPN and Avangate works for China, but they asked for my copy of identity documents :-)
    I don’t think that someone is stupid enough to give them their docs. Judge for yourself. I share the last letter from them. Is not this insolence …
    ————————————————–
    Dear Georgy Mihajlov,

    You have placed an order on http://www.amplusnet.com on 2011-06-04
    (Order reference number: # 9171065), order processed by Avangate as the reseller of Amplusnet SRL, the merchant operating http://www.amplusnet.com, order paid with PayPal.

    Your order is currently under evaluation by Avangate antifraud specialists. We perform this verification to prevent unauthorized use of your PayPal account and personal details.

    In order to validate your payment and complete your order, please
    provide us with the following documents during the next two business days: / expired today /

    – A copy of a photo ID (identification card, driver `s license or passport) of the PayPal account holder.
    – Proof of Valid billing address: Utility Bill.

    All items must be legible and uploaded to our secure interface at:
    https: / / secure.avangate.com / order
    or faxed to 650-963-2973 (US / Canada) / +31 84 725 1599 (International).

    …………….
    ————————————————–
    I chose to change my choice. What is your choice?

    • Avatar of

      I’ve been using ibVPN for almost a year now without much trouble. Recent crackdowns have forced a few minor tweaks, but easily handled. Other than that, it drops service sometimes as I’m using the pptp service, and that’s common for all pptp services.

      It sounds like the problem you were having was with Avangate as a payment method, not ibVPN or Amplusnet. Avangate seems to have thought your payment was fraudulent, maybe based on your geographical location or IP address or something (it’s happened to me before with PayPal).

  7. Are you still using ibVPN? I got a trial version (for writing a review of their site on my blog) and got it hooked up a few months ago (Autumn 2011). While I was able to connect to the OpenVPN – most PPTP/L2TP isn’t working anymore – but I experienced many problems with speed and connections, with a number of servers. Though ibVPN seems like a reliable service, I just don’t think it’s a good choice for users in China anymore.

    Even with free trials and cheap prices, it’s not worth the hassle in my opinion. I personally use 12VPN, but have tried VyprVPN and PandaPow as well. All of which are working in China as of Dec 2011 (at least in Fujian)

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