Invisible Browsing VPN review

Now you see me, now you don't…

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Our Verdict

If you can live with the limitations, the Standard account is good value for money, and of course the free option will be great for some folks too.

For

  • Limited free account
  • Low prices
  • Clear privacy policy

Against

  • Cheapest plans support one connection only
  • Poorly designed client
  • Low speeds with some longer connections

Invisible Browsing VPN (ibVPN) is a brand of Romanian-based firm Amplusnet and has been offering VPN services since 2010.

The company currently offers no less than six products, including a free plan, a Standard VPN ($18.48 per year – which is around £14, AU$25) and Ultimate VPN ($58.06 – that's £44, AU$77), and specialist plans for torrents and small businesses. The low prices seem attractive, but check the small print and issues soon appear.

The free account is limited to one connection, a single protocol, 10 countries, has only "best effort" speeds and no mobile app. It's yours for one tweet or Facebook share per year.

The Standard account gives you 90+ servers in 41 countries and supports OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP and SSTP, but it's still strictly no-torrents, and only gives you a single connection.

The $58 per year Ultimate plan is more like the competition, with 100+ servers in 43 countries, three simultaneous connections, torrent and P2P support, a Chrome extension, mobile apps and more.

There are instructions and apps to help you get the service up and running almost anywhere, and almost 50 payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and more.

The trial gives you an extremely limited six hours to try the service out, but you do get a 15-day 100% money-back guarantee, and overall there's plenty of choice and some value for the less demanding user.

Privacy

IbVPN's Privacy Policy is a well-designed document which ditches the usual legal jargon, replacing it with short, clear paragraphs which you might actually want to read.

The following, for example, are every single heading and subheading in the policy: Introduction, Information Collected (Logging, Personal Information, Payment, Encryption, Cookies), How We Use Information, Affiliates. It's writing for people, not lawyers, which is certainly refreshing.

The contents are clear, too. Limited personal information is stored related to user accounts, but it's not shared with anyone, and the system doesn't log or have any way to relate web activities to a specific user.

The Terms of Service page is more complex, but we ploughed through it anyway and found a few interesting points.

IbVPN says its products are only for personal use, and may not be used for commercial purposes.

P2P support is limited to a small number of servers only, and you mustn't "overburden" the service, presumably by using it "too much".

The client blocks SMTP ports 25 and 465 when the service is enabled "to avoid spam from our servers", which could mean you need to reconfigure your email to get it working.

Unusually, the policy says "it is not recommended to use our service for online transactions. In these cases your real IP should be used".

You're also required to be at least 18 before you can sign up for the service.

Performance

Invisible Browsing VPN's client has a cluttered interface which makes little attempt to hide its various options and settings. On the main screen alone you have a login section, a choice of active packages, a list of protocols and sub-protocols, a list of available servers, a separate link to see server load, a 'hide on connection' option, a check your IP address link, a Show Log option, and – oh, yes – the Connect button.

The settings options cover basics like a 'connect when Windows starts' setting and a configurable kill switch (you must choose the applications to close).

There's also a separate ibDNS switch which enables choosing your own DNS region, perhaps speeding up media streaming.

Once we were using ibDNS, ibVPN correctly passed all our leak tests, giving us a new virtual location on demand.

Performance was mixed in our tests*. Best-case short hop speeds were excellent and well above average, but our connection from the UK to the US was poor, with latency increased by 104%, downloads falling to 36% of normal speeds, and uploads reduced to 19% of our usual rate.

This isn't necessarily a fatal problem. We tried streaming HD video and although there was a fractional pause just occasionally, it was still very watchable.

Final verdict

All in all, this service is not bad for the price you're paying. If you can live with the Standard account's no-torrent, single connection conditions, then it's a good value choice.

*Our testing included evaluating general performance (browsing, streaming video). We also used speedtest.net to measure latency, upload and download speeds, and then tested immediately again with the VPN turned off, to check for any difference (over several rounds of testing). We then compared these results to other VPN services we've reviewed. Of course, do note that VPN performance is difficult to measure as there are so many variables.