VPN.ac Review 2017 – High security provider

VPN.ac Review 2017
  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Policy
  • Support

Summary

VPN.ac are definitely one of the better VPN providers available right now.

Pros

  •  Windows, Mac, Android & iOS clients.
  •  6 concurrent connections.
  •  Good speeds.
  •  Highly encryption orientated.
  •  Shared IP Addresses.
  •  7-day money back guarantee.

Cons

  •  Beginners may feel the service is out of their reach.
  •  Less countries covered than others.
4.5

VPN.ac might be a VPN provider that you haven’t previously heard of but if our reviews in recent years are anything to go by then it’s certainly one you’ll want to consider.

While they don’t have flashy advertising or push their service massively across the vast internet they have proven to offer a very fast and reliable service in the past, but is it still the same this year?

We’ve been testing their service in this VPN.ac Review 2017 to see if they still offer the quality service we’ve come to expect.

The Packages:

VPN.ac is like most other VPN providers these days. They offer one package that differs in price depending on how long you choose to sign up for.

The shorter the period you commit to the more expensive but the longer you commit the more savings that can be made.

It’s worth noting that if you sign up for a full year you can expect to pay just under 50% less than the per month cost so it’s well worth considering a longer subscription period.

VPN.ac has 4 pricing packages available which are as follows:

  • 1-Month $9 (approx £7.33)
  • 3-Months $24 (approx £19.56)
  • 6-Months $36 (approx £29.34)
  • 12-Months $58 (approx £47.28)

There are numerous payment methods available from the standard such as Paypal and Credit Card to others like Bitcoin, Alipay and UnionPay.

You can save a further 20% off the standard price using our exclusive discount code at the checkout : VPNCOMPARE20

VPN.ac has a 7-day money back guarantee so if the service isn’t for you then you can get a full refund.

The Service:

VPN.ac offers the standard three VPN protocols that most companies offer which includes PPTP, L2TP/IPSec and the most commonly used OpenVPN.

They go one step further than most providers and make it clear that PPTP is insecure and shouldn’t be used for anything sensitive. A nice touch that shows they’re definitely looking out for their users.

Custom Software & Apps

VPN.ac offer software and apps for the full range of major devices which includes Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.

They have very recently launched their iOS app which while still in beta mode is fully functional. This is a great addition to the service because it means all major devices are supported and allows VPN.ac to compete with other providers out there.

If you’re interested in our thoughts on their new iOS app then take a look at our recent app review.

I tested both their Windows software and Android app which will form the basis of my comments on their custom software & apps but overall both their Mac and iOS apps function much the same.

The Windows software is somewhat minimal in comparison to some of the bigger providers. The software concentrates solely on connection and there are no flashy maps or cutesy animations to distract.

Instantly you can see that VPN.ac is a security persons VPN provider and not one that is overly concerned with appealing to the masses, the software looks like a serious security suite and rightly so.

From the initial screen you can select a Location, Protocol and Port and connect quickly. There are also some other bits of minor information about your connection status and the latest news from VPN.ac themselves.

Behind the scenes is the “Advanced” area. If you’re a beginner then you really don’t need to delve into this area but it’s worth knowing what all the options do and VPN.ac have helpfully described them underneath each option. I won’t cover the individual options here but you can see them and their purpose in the screenshot below.

VPN.ac Windows software

Overall the Windows software is a compact and simple affair. There are no bells and whistles but it certainly covers all the major areas and is as functional as it needs to be.

The Android app is similar to the desktop software so it isn’t much of a leap between both and even if you’re not technically capable you’ll still be able to make connection and protect your mobile device.

The app itself is pretty self explanatory. The main window allows you to select a country and location as well as the OpenVPN connection type and port. It’s worth noting that the software will only allow you to connect using OpenVPN and the other protocols aren’t available, unlike the desktop software.

Further windows include an Info area, Settings, an area to exclude certain apps from making use of the VPN connection and log information.

VPN.ac Android Jan 2017

In terms of the user interface the app isn’t massively Android friendly and while it looks OK and functions well it’s missing simple features like the ability to swipe left to access the next menu. Instead you’re required to physically touch the heading for each section. Not a huge issue but small user friendly features that have been overlooked.

I really like the ability to exclude certain apps from using the VPN connection which is something I haven’t seen before from other providers.

There aren’t too many settings that can or need to be changed on the app and overall it’s a simple way to keep your Android mobile device secure.

Server Locations

VPN.ac have expanded a lot over the past few years and now offer 21 different countries available to connect to with their VPN service. This is 3 countries more than when I reviewed them last in March of 2016.

They also offer a Secure Proxy service if you only want your web browser to be protected and 32 countries are available using this service which comes included as part of your subscription.

The number of server locations puts VPN.ac in the medium sized range of providers. In terms of servers available the service is not going to be suitable for everyone but they are offering strategically placed servers across the world including North America, Europe, Asia and Australia so there really should be something for most people.

If you require a massive amount of server locations the likes offered by other providers such as IPVanish who have more than 60 available then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

What VPN.ac do offer is quality over quantity and while there are a select few providers that offer quantity with quality you can be sure with VPN.ac that all the server locations that they do offer are not oversold and offer extremely good speeds.

Servers are available in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States.

A total of 76 servers are available with multiple locations in some countries.

General Observations

VPN.ac offers a massive 6 concurrent connections which is one of the biggest on the market. This is a great feature because it allows you to protect multiple devices both at home and while mobile.

Most providers usually allow between 2 and 5 devices so having the ability to protect 6 from the one account is unique.

Shared IP Addresses are in operation which means many users are assigned the same IP Address which in theory should make it harder to link one user to any specific action and created a tangled web of activity.

Private DNS servers are available on the service which means your ISP or other organisation can’t log the URLs of the websites you visit. These DNS servers are located outside of the US and UK, encrypted and filled with random requests to ensure that no pattern of your requests can be determined.

At the end of 2016 VPN.ac introduced double-hop VPN servers that pass your data through not just one but two VPN servers in two different locations. There will of course be a speed disadvantage and it’s not recommended to use this type of connection for streaming video or high bandwidth tasks but for extra privacy it’s a welcomed feature.

The Speeds:

VPN.ac is without question one of the fastest VPN providers on the market. Just taking a look at the server loads will show that the servers they offer are kept to minimum usage meaning the service is not oversold and the infrastructure easily able to handle the number of customers.

The result is some very impressive speeds. In 2016 we ran monthly speed tests on some of the top VPN provider’s UK VPN servers and VPN.ac without faltering came in the top 3 every month.

The story is much the same around the world and even while travelling on my currently rather slow Australia Wi-Fi connection some decent speeds are achievable to nearby locations.

With a local speed of 46.93 Mbps the following results were achieved.

Sydney:

Sydney VPN Server

Melbourne:

Melbourne VPN Server

West Coast, USA:

West Coast, USA VPN Server

Singapore:

Singapore VPN Server

It’s impossible to accurately report VPN server speeds because there are so many factors involved but over the past few years let’s just say VPN.ac has been incredibly fast and is one of my top providers where speed is concerned.

They’re suitable for everyday browsing but also for fast downloading, streaming high quality video and other speed intensive tasks.

The Encryption, Policies & Support:

Encryption

VPN.ac are encryption experts and offer many modes that other providers don’t.

OpenVPN has the following encryption standards available.

  • 256-bit AES-CBC
  • 128-bit AES-CBC
  • 128-bit BF-CBC

A 4096-bit RSA handshaking key is in use which is one of the highest in the industry and most other large providers don’t compete.

L2TP/IPSec uses 256-bit AES or 128-bit AES depending on the device or operating system you use.

PPTP uses 128-bit MPPE but again VPN.ac note that this protocol is insecure.

Finally, the included Secure Proxy service uses AES 128-GCM with 4096-bit RSA certificates.

Policies

VPN.ac policies are one of the clearest in the industry and list exactly what a VPN service can and can not do.

There are no wild claims here and they attempt to be as honest as possible with what is logged and the limitations of their service which is not reserved solely to VPN.ac but is true right across the board.

It’s refreshing to see such honesty and leaves you as the user well informed about what you’re signing up to.

Support

Support is mostly offered by Support Ticket which is standard for most VPN providers.

There are also a few more unusual support methods including direct email with GPG key supplied for encrypted communications, a XMPP/Jabber contact and a Skype contact.

Unfortunately, no live help is available.

Following suit with most of what VPN.ac do they warn that Skype is not secure and recommend only using it if their other secure communication methods are blocked in your country, such as China.

The Verdict:

VPN.ac is without a doubt one of my favourite VPN providers in recent years and 2017 has been no exception.

Initially they appear to be a techies dream provider because of the focus they put on security and the lengths they go to to show their security credentials.

This may put you off if you’re a novice computer user but in reality the service is open to users of all skills and the simple software and apps make connection possible for anyone from the expert to the beginner.

Speed is a real bonus of the service and they’re one of the fastest providers I’ve tested.

The lack of server locations may be an issue for you if you live in a less common VPN server location then you’ll need to consider if their 21 country locations are enough for your needs.

Pricing is competitive with what else is available on the market and when taking a yearly package they actually come out cheaper than most of the competition.

Added features such as 6 concurrent connections, the Secure Proxy and a wealth of encryption options that aren’t available from most other providers make the service good value for money.

Overall I’d definitely recommend the service, there is little to fault VPN.ac on but if you’re a complete beginner you may find beginner friendly interfaces and set-ups of some other providers more appealing. If you have at least minimal computer skills then VPN.ac is certainly worth signing up to.

Save a further 20% off the standard price by using our exclusive discount code : VPNCOMPARE20