VPN.ac has been offering a consistently good service for over 6 years with very little to fault them on.
- Super fast speeds.
- High levels of encryption.
- Apps for all major devices.
- 6 concurrent connections.
- Works with US Netflix & iPlayer.
- Some minor connection logs.
- Fewer server locations.
VPN.ac has been one of our go-to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for many years and they've always excelled in their VPN provision as can be proved by the excellent user reviews they have enjoyed.
But with so many VPN service options available these days and a fast-moving industry, has this provider kept pace with the competition?
We aimed to find out so have been putting their product through its paces for this updated VPN.ac review.
VPN.ac is a VPN service provider that we use on a regular basis because their speeds, in our experience, are some of the best in the industry.
Everything from browsing websites, to emails and video calls, the kinds of stuff you do every day is effortless. It's one of few providers where you don't even notice you're connected to a VPN.
There is no noticeable slowdown carrying out regular everyday tasks.
As with all VPN reviews we do, we ran some speed tests to see how this VPN provider performed.
For these speed tests, we used a Windows computer and with a UK residential internet connection downloaded a test file. Our connection speed without being connected to a VPN was: 63.28 Mbps
We then connected to a random selection of VPN.ac's servers and ran the same speed test. Below are our results:
- UK – 60.24 Mbps
- France – 60.78 Mbps
- Netherlands – 60.79 Mbps
- Switzerland – 60.28 Mbps
- Sweden – 60.72 Mbps
- New York, US – 60.77 Mbps
- Australia – 60.16 Mbps
We are incredibly impressed with VPN.ac's speed test results and it goes to reaffirm them as one of the fastest providers in the VPN market today.
We had to ping some of their servers to double-check they were actual physical servers and not virtual locations. We were that impressed with the results.
You will have no trouble streaming high-quality video or carrying out any other speed-intensive tasks from any country they support.
Much is made about logging these days and rightly so. With many services claiming to retain no logs of what you do while connected yet getting caught out at a later date it pays to take an interest in the logging policy of the VPN you use.
VPN.ac is one provider that is clear on their website; they don't claim to be a “no-logging” VPN. However, that doesn't mean they keep all logs, nor do they keep them long.
Any of your internet activity such as your personal data, while connected to their severs, isn't logged.
Their policy means there's no record of what websites you visited, who you chatted to, what you streamed or the files you downloaded. Not recording these types of details is an essential requirement.
VPN.ac does store ‘Connection Logs'. Connection logs include data such as your real IP address, the time and date you connected and disconnected and how much data you transferred.
While this may sound alarming it's worth noting that VPN.ac only store this information for 24 hours and it's stored in encrypted form in an undisclosed location. It is not stored as part of their VPN server network.
VPN.ac allows up to six simultaneous connections with each account.
It's the same number of simultaneous VPN connections allowed as the last few years and while another provider may offer more, six simultaneous connections should be more than enough for most people to protect all their devices and even some of their family's too.
VPN.ac offer around 150 servers in 20 countries.
This is fewer locations than when we last reviewed when they could confirm servers in 21 countries, but is an indication of the challenges of running a secure VPN these days.
All of VPN.ac's servers are bare-metal servers and physically located in the country's they claim. There are no virtual servers here.
While the server network size is modest, its reach is broad, with Europe, the US and North America very well catered for, a good selection in the Indo-Pacific and Australasia as well.
Does VPN.ac work in China?
For Chinese users or those travelling there, VPN.ac works well with a whole range of specialised servers accessible providing good speeds.
These are labeled in the VPN.ac client as “China Optimized” servers and include ones based in nearby Hong Kong.
If you're looking for a VPN for China, then VPN.ac is one of the stand-out options.
Security and Safety
Protocols and Encryption
VPN.ac offers a broad range of protocols including Wireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP IPSEC and PPTP.
Using the OpenVPN protocol is the default option and has a few encryption choices including 128-bit, 256-bit, ECC and XOR.
If you're after increased security then it's worth using the ECC mode. XOR is useful for users in China and should help disguise the usage of OpenVPN allowing you to bypass the GFW more easily.
If you're interested in reading up on these lesser offered modes, take a look at this guide.
A 4096-bit RSA key is used for handshaking and while not all VPN services offer this, it's been available at VPN.ac for many years.
L2TP uses either 256-bit or 128-bit encryption but is dependent on the type of device you're using.
VPN.ac is also one of few that warns about the insecurities of PPTP on its website and it's little touches like this that show that it's a service that cares about the education of their users.
In addition to these standard protocols, VPN.ac now offers WireGuard protocol too. This is good news, but the downside is that it doesn't come built into their apps.
You will need to set things up manually if you want to use WireGuard and while they do offer a guide for you to follow, it is far more complicated than other providers like NordVPN, which have simple hard-wired WireGuard into their apps.
On the face of it, they are the same policies and terms of usage they've been offering for many years.
While we're not qualified lawyers, there is nothing unusual that we could see. VPN.ac will hide your IP Address and not log the websites you visit.
They are headquartered in Romania. Romania is a members of the EU and so subject to the European Data Retention directive. But it still has decent local privacy laws and no concerning data retention laws.
However, if you're thinking of signing up then you'll want to give them the once over to ensure they're compatible with your needs.
VPN.ac does state they retain connection logs but these are only stored for 24 hours and deleted afterwards. They also claim these are stored in an encrypted form. They don't, however, log details of what you do while connected.
Other Notable Features
Where the VPN.ac service stands out is their encryption and policies. They're one of the most privacy-focused VPN providers we've seen. There's no flashy marketing and no bullshit claims about what the service can and can't do.
The privacy and security features they offer aren't they for show, they are really beneficial to users.
VPN.ac uses both Shared IP Addresses and Custom DNS Servers and it's little features like this that enhance the overall security. There are also a selection of dedicated P2P servers available too.
They also offer 22 double-hop VPN servers which are located around the world including in the US.
Double-hop servers offer an extra layer of protections by sending your internet connection via two differently located servers. VPN.ac is one of the few VPNs to offer double-hop servers while still maintaining acceptable speeds and ease of use. A great feature, as is the kill switch.
It also worth noting their customer support service here which is excellent. While there is no 24/7 live chat customer support, there is a helpful and responsive support ticket customer service and a huge selection of guides and tutorials.
The absence of live chat is a shame and one area where VPN.ac could definitely improve. But for security and privacy features, they tick plenty of boxes.
VPN.ac offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices that bring neat design and ease of use.
So whether you've got a Samsung, Huawei, Sony or any other Android device or an Apple iPhone or iPad, you'll be able to make use of their dedicated apps to handle your VPN connection.
We tested VPN.ac's Android app but the iOS app in much the same and both offer excellent ease of use.
You can make connection from the main app window. A link to server selection provides locations broken down into regions.
Behind the scenes you're able to select from VPN.ac's range of OpenVPN connection types, enable and disable port selection from the home screen, enable ‘China Optimized' modes and select a variety of other connection-based options.
We like the ‘Exclude apps' feature which allows split tunnelling. This lets you exclude apps from using the VPN connection.
If for example you wanted your bank app to fall outside the VPN connection but everything else to remain inside then this is possible on an app by app basis.
Overall the mobile apps are both functional, easy to use and user friendly. They're well designed with all the most essential features accessible while retaining advanced options tucked away neatly.
VPN.ac's desktop apps are available for Windows, Mac OS, and (via manual installation, Linux). They're uniform in appearance across their entire range. If you've learnt their mobile apps then their desktop apps will look familiar.
Again, the main window deals with connection and server selection. The layout makes it quick and easy if you want to connect to your favourite VPN server and then forget about it.
How the desktop apps differ from their mobile counterparts is in added features. The ‘Advanced' setting area is feature rich and includes options such as a Kill Switch, IPv6 Leak protection, China-related options and other numerous changeable settings.
The full range of VPN protocols is available on the desktop apps as is a greater variety of port options.
Since we reviewed VPN.ac last the Kill Switch feature of the app has been completely redesigned which should make it more effective and stop it from causing any connection issues afterwards.
Overall the desktop apps work well whether for Windows Mac or Linux and are well thought out. Connection can be made quickly and there's a whole host of added options hidden away.
As well as offering apps for Windows Mac, and mobile devices, VPN.ac offers a Linux client which requires a manual installation. Full details for this can be found on the website.
There are also manual installation guides online for various different VPN-enabled routers too.
There is also an Amazon Fire TV available in the Amazon app store too.
The Amazon Fire TV app which works with the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube is an excellent addition to the service. Most VPNs don't offer dedicated Amazon apps and while they're becoming slightly more popular, it's still not common to find providers offering this option.
They were one of the first to market with a dedicated Amazon app and unlike other providers, their interface hasn't been dogged with navigation issues. Using the Amazon app is simple and navigating around the options quick and effortless.
If you're after unblocking apps or services on your Amazon Fire TV device or you want to protect your Kodi, IPTV or other streaming habits then this will undoubtedly come in useful.
Does VPN.ac work with Netflix?
US Netflix is available across their entire service range so you can connect to your nearest server and be able to access the American Netflix catalogue.
We have seen some reports of issues with accessing Netflix (US version) on some servers, but if you encounter these, just check with customer support to see which servers are working with Netflix and you should be up and running in no time.
Does VPN.ac work with BBC iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer works well on VPN.ac, with the same caveat as US Netflix.
Some servers will have problems unblocking BBC iPlayer but you shouldn't usually have too much trouble finding one that does work.
Most other UK streaming platforms work well with VPN.ac as well because as long as you choose a server that offer UK IP Addresses, they can easily be unblocked.
Does VPN.ac work with other streaming services?
Unfortunately, aside from these two, VPN.ac is not great at unblocking streaming services.
If you want to watch Amazon Prime video, Disney+, Hulu, or other popular streaming services, you are out of luck. There are other VPNs that can unblock all of them but VPN.ac isn't one of them.
Prices and Plans
VPN.ac packages have stayed pretty much constant over the year but a few years ago, they released a 2-year package.
This makes their current range of price plan as follows:
- 1-Month: $9 per month (~£6.88)
- 3-Months: $8 per month (~£6.11)
- 1-Year: $4.80 per month (~ £3.69)
- 2-Years: $3.75 per mont (~ £2.86)
The monthly plan used to be considered quite high but as most VPN service providers these days are pushing more extended subscription periods it's not uncommon to see prices in the range of $10-$14.
The $9 plan actually makes VPN.ac's monthly cost lower than most.
There are a good range of payment methods too. Payment methods include credit cards, a range of cryptocurrencies, and PayPal.
The new 2-year package and the 1-year package represent the best value.
We don't usually advocate signing up for periods over 1-year because the quality of VPN services can change. However, VPN.ac has been consistently one of the top service providers over the years so I see little reason why signing up to their 2-year package would be risky.
VPN.ac offers a 7-day money back guarantee. With most VPN services now offering a 30 day money-back guarantee and over it's shorter than what else is available.
That said a full week should be enough time for you to make your mind up about the quality of the service and the refund policy works very well in practice. Any problems and VPN.ac offers a decent customer service provision too.
You can also take a 1-week trial for $2 which is hidden away in the FAQ section if you don't want to risk too much cash in advance.
VPN.ac is without question one of the best VPN services available.
This provider is not entirely as well known as some of the more prominent VPN services which goes someway to aid their impressive speeds.
However, they do also invest in their network and don't oversubscribe their service which is another reason they're able to provide such fast and reliable speeds. These would be ideal for streaming but with the exception of US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, they aren't great in this area.
Their monthly package is a little expensive although not negatively in comparison to other providers. We like their new 2-year deal which brings the price down considerably and their 1-year deal also offers excellent value without the extended subscription risk.
We were happy with the refund policy too even if it was a little short.
The logging policy of VPN.ac is a minor drawback. While they're completely honest about logging connection data, it is only for 24 hours. Being based in Romania means they can offer decent privacy policies thanks to relaxed local data retention laws.
Other services claim to log nothing and while this may be true, there have been plenty of occasions where providers have been caught out lying. It's a toss-up between VPN.ac's honestly about minor logs versus services that are often unproven “no-logs” services.
Apps are available for all major devices and work well. You get six simultaneous connections too.
There's a good selection of servers although smaller than many and if you're in certain countries or regions you'll need to check that they offer server support nearby. It's again one of the only minor negatives of the service.
Overall privacy and security provisions are excellent with some great bonus features like double-hop servers and a kill switch available too.
Overall VPN.ac is a service we wouldn't hesitate to recommend. If you can live with minor logs and a lesser but still substantial server location selection then there is very little else to fault this service on.