VPN.ac Review 2018: The Safest VPN of the Year

VPN.ac Review 2018
  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Policy
  • Support

Summary

VPN.ac have proven themselves to be one of the best VPN providers in recent years and that hasn't changed in 2018.

Pros

  •  Brand new Amazon Fire TV app.
  • Redesigned Android and iOS apps.
  •  Redesigned Desktop apps.
  •  Accept many different payment methods.
  •  Clear privacy policy.
  •  Excellent download speeds.

Cons

  •  Fewer servers than most.
  •  Monthly package expensive.
4.5

VPN.ac have been around a good number of years now but have mostly flown under the radar and continue to be on the fringes of VPN provider exposure.

We’ve always found this to be slightly odd because in the past 3 years we’ve found them to be one of the best VPN providers out there.

In this 2018 review we’ve been looking to see if that sentiment still rings true. Are VPN.ac still one of the best and if not, why not? If you’re thinking of signing up to VPN.ac then take a look at our review to find out what we thought this year.

Packages:

VPN.ac is the same as most other providers out there when it comes to packages. There is one package that varies by subscription length only.

The current subscription periods are as follows:

  • 1-Month @ US$9 p/m (~£6.52)
  • 3-Months @ US$8 p/m (~£5.79)
  • 6-Months @ US$6 p/m (~£4.34)
  • 1-Year @ US$4.8 p/m (~£3.47)

When signing up it’s well worth considering a 1-year package because it’s nearly 50% cheaper than paying on a monthly basis.

If you pay on a monthly basis then by the time you’ve paid for 6-months you could have got a 1-year subscription for the same price.

VPN.ac accept a whole host of payment options from the standard Paypal and Credit Card to Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. If you’re a Chinese user then you can also pay using AliPay and UnionPay.

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Service:

Protocols

VPN.ac supports the most common VPN protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and PPTP.

Refreshingly VPN.ac go as far to warn users that PPTP is insecure and shouldn’t be used for anything more than bypassing regional restrictions. It’s nice to see a provider being so honest and attempting to educate their users.

There are no differences in terms of accessible protocols based on how long you subscribe for.

Logging

VPN.ac is a VPN provider that is totally clear and honest about what they do and don’t log.

As should be expected from any good VPN service there are no logs stored of what you do while connected to their service. This includes things like the websites that you visit, who you chat to or what you watch or download.

By their own admission, they do retain some connection logs which contains your real IP address, your connection start and end time and how much data you transferred.

VPN.ac claim to store these logs in an encrypted manner in an undisclosed location and only for 24 hours. After 24 hours pass the logs are deleted.

Just like any provider, it’s impossible to know if a VPN service is being totally honest about their logging policy. However, we see no reason to disbelieve VPN.ac because they have one of the most open and honest policies we’ve seen.

Server Locations

One of the biggest drawbacks to the VPN.ac service is server locations. They’re actually one of the smallest in terms of available worldwide locations.

VPN servers are available in 23 countries across the world which is 2 more than last year and 5 more than the year previous. There are currently 96 servers in total and some countries have servers available in more than one city such as the US, UK and Australia.

There have been around 20 servers added in the past year which is quite impressive for what we would consider a smaller outfit.

In addition to the VPN servers, VPN.ac also offer an included SecureProxy service that works with most major web-browsers and allows you to connect to 32 different countries.

While there are fewer VPN servers on the service they are strategically located. Aside from South America, Africa and the Middle East and India, the service will be suitable for all other regions.

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Concurrent Connections

VPN.ac has one of the highest limits when it comes to concurrent connections. You’re allowed to use one account on up to 6 devices at the same time.

Although many providers now allow you to use 5 devices at the same time there is still a good number who only allow concurrent use on 3.

We only know of one other provider that match the 6 devices limit of VPN.ac so it’s really a standout feature of the service.

Other Notable Features

VPN.ac uses Shared IP Addresses which means its possible that other users have been assigned the same IP Address as you. This is a critical security feature which means other users interactions are mingled with yours making it much more difficult to pinpoint any specific activity to you.

Custom DNS Servers are also available to be used via their custom apps or when configured manually that will stop the names of the websites you visit from being logged by your ISP or other third-parties. These types of additional features are where VPN.ac really shine.

An exciting development that came at the end of 2017 was the release of their dedicated Amazon app which is suitable for use with Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and other compatible Amazon devices. If you want to protect your streaming habits or you’ve got Kodi installed on either device then you will really appreciate this addition.

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Mobile Apps:

The mobile apps are available for both Android and iOS tablets and phones. Towards the middle of 2017 these were completely redesigned and are now so much more user-friendly than previously.

Like most provider apps the main screen allows you to select a server and make connection. There are a few connection details such as your current location and IP Address but not much else. When connected the app providers the length of time you’ve been connected and how much data you’ve transferred in either direction.

Server selection is easy enough and is broken down into countries by region, there’s also an additional section for Double-Hop servers.

VPN.ac Android App 2018

From the main app screen it’s also possible to access further advanced features such as Prefs, Advanced, News and Help.

Prefs deals with standard connection options such as automatic connection on launching the app, pausing the VPN connection should your screen go off and a nice addition of a dark and light theme which is good for day and night use.

The Advanced section has all the options to customise the type of OpenVPN connection and the port used. You can also switch between UDP and TCP.

There are further special modes for China, the ability to enable Small Packets, use a system proxy and bypassing the VPN for local networks. On top of this you can choose to exclude certain apps to not make use of the VPN connection and show log and detailed connection information charts.

The final two sections allow you to read the latest News from VPN.ac and get Help if you get stuck.

Overall the mobile apps are easy to navigate and have most of the features you’ll need for mobile privacy. We didn’t experience any issues getting connected and found them to be easy and functional.

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Desktop Apps:

At the end of the 2017 the desktop apps for both Windows and Mac OS also both got redesigned. Although the previous apps for desktop worked well they were lacking visually.

The desktop apps now sport the same look as the mobile apps which makes using the service over all your devices easy due to the unformed app layout.

Essentially the layout and function of the desktop apps are the same as the mobile ones. Connection can be made from the main screen as can server selection with further options tucked away behind the scenes.

VPN.ac Windows App

The desktop software is a bit more advanced in terms of features over the mobile app.

Unlike the mobile apps the Desktop app allows you to switch between various OpenVPN modes plus L2TP/IPsec and PPTP.

In addition to the added protocols there’s a kill switch, IPv6 leak protection and some further settings which can be seen in the screenshot above.

Just like the mobile apps we had no issues with the desktop app, getting connected was quick and painless and the app functioned well.

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Speeds:

When using the VPN.ac service we found their speeds to be above average from what else is available out there.

We had no issues visiting websites, streaming video or downloading files. There were no noticeable slowdowns or buffering when making use of most services.

Overall the service felt smooth and at no point when using local servers did we feel there was much impact on our performance.

Of course using any VPN service with a high-level encryption such as OpenVPN will have a speed impact but it was almost impossible to determine this for our usage.

There are so many factors that it’s hard to accurately inform you of the kinds of speeds you may achieve.

As a rough guide we downloaded a 1Gb test file from a European server from our UK connection. On our 250 Mbps connection we received 218.67 Mbps when downloading the test file without a VPN connection.

The following are the results when connected to some nearby VPN.ac servers using OpenVPN 256-bit.

  • United Kingdom – 108.68 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 92 Mbps
  • Switzerland – 96 Mbps
  • Sweden – 98.98 Mbps
  • Norway – 54.74 Mbps
  • France – 125.56 Mbps

In comparison to other providers we found VPN.ac to offer some of the higher speeds in the industry and aside from the Norway server, they were all above average.

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Encryption & Policies:

Encryption

Encryption is one area where VPN.ac really stand out as they offer some of the highest encryption levels in the VPN industry.

OpenVPN is available to connect in the following modes 256-bit AES-CBC, 128-bit AES-CBC or 128-bit BF-CBC and also with ECC or Xor supported.

VPN.ac use a 4096-bit RSA-key for handshaking which is one of the highest available in the industry.

L2TP uses either 256-bit AES or 128-bit AES encryption depending on the device you’re using.

PPTP uses 128-bit MPPE encryption but VPN.ac point out that this is insecure and should be used for nothing sensitive.

Policies

VPN.ac policies haven’t changed much in nearly 4 years. However, saying that they are some of the clearest policies we’ve seen in the VPN industry.

There is nothing that we can see that should be of major concern. In terms of logs VPN.ac is crystal clear about what they do and don’t log.

VPN.ac doesn’t log any of your actual usage, but they do store minimal connection logs. These are retained for 24 hours, however, they are stored off-server in a secure location and deleted after just 24 hours.

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Verdict:

VPN.ac has been one of our favourite VPN providers in recent years and that hasn’t changed in 2018.

You may not have even heard of VPN.ac before. If you search other VPN review websites then you’re unlikely to find a review of their service and you certainly won’t see them featured on many “Best VPN for” lists.

This is actually no fault of VPN.ac themselves because they are actually one of the best VPN services out there, so much so that they made our top picks of 2018.

We especially liked the speeds on the service and the reliability of their connections.

Their monthly subscription price is a little on the high side but when subscribing for a longer period such as year they actually become one of the cheapest VPN services available.

One area where VPN.ac are lacking is server locations but with expansion over recent years they’re suitable for use practically everywhere except South America and Africa. Although they have fewer server locations, their service is certainly quality over quantity.

In our opinion if the server locations are suitable for your needs then you can’t go wrong by signing up to VPN.ac. They’ve been one of our favourite VPN services and they continue to be so in 2018.

If you’re still a little unsure then they offer a full 7-day money back guarantee that lets you test the service risk-free.

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