VPN.ac Review

VPN.ac review
VPN.ac

VPN.ac logo

Product Name: VPN.ac

Brand: VPN.ac

Offer price: 3.75

Currency: $

Availability: OnlineOnly

Overall
4.5









  • Price









  • Service









  • Apps









  • Speed









  • Policy









Summary

.

Pros

  • Super fast speeds.
  • High levels of encryption.
  • Apps for all major devices.
  • 6 concurrent connections.
  • Works with US Netflix & iPlayer.

Cons

  • Some minor connection logs.
  • Fewer server locations.

VPN.ac has been one of our go-to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for many years and in our testing they’ve always excelled in their VPN provision.

This can be proved by the excellent user reviews they have enjoyed from review sites and subscribers alike.

But with so many VPN service options available these days and a fast-moving industry, has this provider kept pace with the competition?

In this all new and updated VPN.ac review, we aimed to find out so have been putting their product through its paces.

1. Service

Speeds

Download speed

VPN.ac is a VPN service provider that we use on a regular basis because they’re speeds. In our experience, they have been some of the best in the industry. And our updated VPN.ac review and recent speed test proves that this is still the case.

Everything from browsing websites, to emails and video calls, using streaming sites, the kinds of stuff you do every day is effortless with VPN.ac whether you are using a nearby server or one further afield. It’s one of few VPN provider options where you don’t even notice you’re connected to a VPN.

In our tests, there is no noticeable slowdown in download or upload speeds 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 VPN file. Our connection speed without being connected to a VPN was: 232.9 Mbps

We then connected to a random selection of VPN.ac’s server network and ran the same speed test. Below are our results:

  • UK – 126.4 Mbps
  • France – 135.1 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 134.9 Mbps
  • Switzerland – 131.4 Mbps
  • Sweden – 126.8 Mbps
  • New York, US – 109.3 Mbps
  • Australia – 50.7 Mbps

We are incredibly impressed with VPN.ac’s speed test results. Whether looking at download speed or upload speed, or testing different server speed, our VPN.ac review reaffirms that VPN.ac claims to be one of the fastest providers in the VPN industry today still stand up to scrutiny.

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.

We had no trouble streaming high-quality video or carrying out any other speed-intensive tasks from any country they support.

Logging

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 so 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 during your VPN session such as your personal data, while connected to their severs, isn’t logged.

This 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 for most VPN users and VPN.ac delivers on this.

In our tests, it became clear that 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 so your IP address should be safe.

However, it is not ideal that your VPN is logging IP addresses at all and this is certainly a practice we would prefer to see VPN.ac phase out sooner rather than later. There really is no reason for any VPN to be keeping any records of your real IP address.

Simultaneous Connections

VPN.ac allows up to six simultaneous connections with each account using the standard OpenVPN protocol.

But in a welcome addition, our new tests have discovered that they now offer a further six simultaneous device connections using the WireGuard protocol as well.

That makes a total of twelve simultaneous connections, bring VPN.ac in line with many other providers on the VPN market.

Even though you are required to use different protocols to get all twelve simultaneous device connections up and running, this will still be more than enough for most people to protect all their devices and even some of their family’s too.

Customer Support

It also worth noting the VPN.ac customer support service here, which is excellent.

While there is no 24/7 live chat customer support, which we do miss, there is a helpful and responsive support ticket customer service, which responded to us in no time at all, and a huge selection of guides and tutorials.

The absence of live chat support service is a shame and one area where VPN.ac could definitely improve. But for security and privacy features, they tick plenty of boxes even without live chat support.

2. Server Locations

Server locations

Our new review has found that VPN.ac still offer around 150 servers in 21 countries (with a VPN – 32 countries if you use their Proxy service).

Precise numbers are still not clear on their website which rather implies the number isn’t growing as fast as many other providers server options are.

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 countries they claim. There are no virtual servers here (those that offer fake server locations) which is great as these secure servers are ideal for enhancing user privacy and security.

World map with server locations highlighted.

While the server network size is modest, its reach is broad, with Europe, the US and North America still very well catered for, a good selection in the Indo-Pacific and Australasia as well.

Top Tip

If you need more, ExpressVPN covers 94 countries.

Does VPN.ac offer any Specialist Servers?

Yes. They also offer 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, as our new tests showed, still maintain acceptable speeds and ease of use.

They also make a virtue of their use of dedicated servers which, while not huge in number, they argue ensures user security and privacy is far better protected. These are used across their network and is definitely something we endorse.

There are also a selection of dedicated P2P servers available too which we found excellent for torrenting.

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 and our tests in Shanghai and Beijing found that it still works extremely well behind the Great Firewall in Communist China.

3. Security and Safety

Protocols and Encryption

Protocols and encryption

VPN.ac offers a broad range of protocols including Wireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP IPSEC.

Using the OpenVPN protocol is the default option and has a few encryption choices including 128-bit, 256-bit, OpenVPN ECC and OpenVPN XOR.

If you’re after increased security then it’s worth using the ECC mode. we found that OpenVPN XOR is useful for users in China and should help disguise the usage of OpenVPN allowing you to bypass the Great Firewall 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 VPNs offer this, it’s been available at VPN.ac for many years. Frankly it is the strongest we have seen in a VPN provider and VPN.ac remains almost unique in using it.

L2TP uses either 256-bit or 128-bit encryption but is dependent on the type of device you’re using.

In addition to these standard protocols, VPN.ac now offers WireGuard protocol too. Since last year, VPN.ac has also built this modern security protocol into their apps too.

This means you no longer need to set things up manually if you want to use WireGuard and furthermore, if you do connect to the Wireguard VPN protocols, you will get an additional six simultaneous connections.

A lot of VPNs like to prove their claims to security by arranging for an external provide to use their security audit services to check the veracity of a VPNs claims over the security and privacy protections they offer to your devices and operating systems.

By signing up an independent IT security company to conduct security tests and confirm that their claims are true, VPN.ac could attract a legion of additional subscribers.

Sadly, we found that such an audit has not taken place at the time of writing which means we have to take their claims at face value.

In our tests, we have no reason to doubt what VPN.ac says about its security features. But it’s up to you whether you are content with what they say too.

VPN.ac haven’t changed their privacy policy much over the years although they were simplified in the middle of 2018 most likely to comply with GDPR. You can find the privacy policy easily on their website.

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 a Romania-based VPN service.

Romania is a members of the EU and so subject to the European Data Retention directive. But even though it is an EU country, Romania 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.

As we have already noted, 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.

Where the VPN.ac service stands out is their encryption and policies. They’re one of the most privacy-focused VPNs 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. They even make a point of stressing that they don’t use tracking services like Google Analytics on their website. So, there is no doubt that VPN.ac takes its user privacy and security seriously.

VPN.ac uses both Shared IP Addresses and Custom DNS Server options and its little features like this that enhance the overall security. Having a shared IP address makes it much harder for any site to recognise you as an individual user too.

Another great feature we enjoyed while testing VPN.ac is the kill switch which ensures that if you connection drops for any reason, you real IP address will not be exposed.

There is also DNS leaks protection features. We have run a DNS leak test and an IP leak test and the results of the DNS leak test were impressive. The IP leak test too gave positive results meaning we are confident in VPN.ac’s ability to protect your connection and ensure DNS and IP leak protection.

In addition, there is also a nifty DNS filtering feature to help blocks adverts, malware, and trackers.

4. Apps

Apps

Mobile Apps

VPN.ac offers mobile VPN 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 the VPN. ac app for Android devices but the iOS app is much the same in terms of both appearance and functionality 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.

VPN.ac Android app

Behind the scenes you’re able to select from VPN.ac’s range of OpenVPN connections, enable and disable port selection from the home screen, enable ‘China Optimized’ modes and select a variety of other connection-based options including the kill switch and split tunneling.

We like the ‘Exclude apps’ feature which allows split tunneling. Split tunneling lets you exclude apps from using the VPN connection.

I found this extremely useful when accessing sites like Super 6 overseas via a browser but still being able to access local apps without the VPN.

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.

Desktop Apps

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.

VPN.ac Windows app

How the desktop apps differ from their mobile counterparts is in added security 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, including OpenVPN XOR protocol 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 and the installation process is pretty simple to follow if you are familiar with how Linux works already.

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 and it was great for us when trying to catch the new series of Clarkson’s Farm while on holiday.

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.

Unfortunately there are no VPN.ac browser extension offer available at the moment.

Browser extension use is generally less preferable than setting up VPN connections through apps so the absence of browser extensions from the VPN.ac offering will not be keenly felt by many users.

5. Streaming

Streaming

A large proportion of VPN users use their VPN to unblock streaming services from different countries. To do this, fast connection speeds, including download and upload speed, are key as well as usable apps and servers in the right places.

VPN.ac ticks all the boxes when it comes to the features that you need to use a VPN successfully with streaming services. But how does it actually perform?

Does VPN.ac work with Netflix?

US Netflix is available across their entire service range so you can connect to your nearest US 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 if our experience is anything to go by, you should be up and running in no time.

Does VPN.ac work with BBC iPlayer?

In our tests, BBC iPlayer works well on VPN.ac, with the same caveat as US Netflix.

Some UK server options will have problems unblocking BBC iPlayer but you shouldn’t usually have too much trouble finding one that does work. Just have a go and if needs be, during your VPN session, connect to a different server and try with the BBC iPlayer again.

We tried this when trying to watch Match of the Day in Asia and found it worked well.

Most other UK streaming platforms work well with VPN.ac as well because as long as you choose a UK server that offer UK IP Addresses, they can easily be unblocked.

Does VPN.ac work with Amazon Prime Video?

If you want to watch Amazon Prime video in different countries around the world then VPN.ac isn’t the VPN for you.

When we tested it out, we found that VPN.ac cannot unblock Amazon Prime video anywhere.

We test VPNs on this streaming service all the time as it is one of the hardest to unblock. Sadly, VPN.ac comes up short with this one.

Does VPN.ac work with other streaming services?

Unfortunately, aside from these two, VPN.ac is not great at unblocking streaming sites.

If you want to access Hulu, Disney+ or other popular streaming services, you are out of luck. VPN. ac claims to be among the best at unblocking streaming platforms. But the truth is their performance is distinctly mixed and there are other VPNs that are much better.

Some VPNs can unblock all of the above streaming services but as we learned in our tests, VPN.ac isn’t one of them.

6. Prices

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 month (~ £2.86)

Top Tip

Get VPN.ac for $3 /mo using code ‘VPNCOMPARE20‘ and this link.

VPN.ac discount code

The monthly plan used to be considered quite highly priced but as most VPN service providers these days are pushing more extended subscription periods and 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 and means we are happy to classify this as an affordable VPN provider.

There are a good range of payment methods too. Payment methods include credit cards, a wide range of cryptocurrencies including

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Litecoin
  • Ethereum
  • Dash
  • Monero
  • And many more

You can also pay for a VPN.ac subscription using Gift Cards, iDEAL, Giropay, and mobile/SMS payments too. The new 2-year package and the 1-year package represent the best value in our profession view.

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 we can see little reason why signing up to their 2-year package would be risky.

Yes, VPN.ac offers a 7-day money back guarantee. With most VPN service providers now offering a 30 day money-back guarantee and over this is somewhat 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 their refund policy works very well in practice. Any problems and VPN.ac offers a decent customer support 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.

7. Verdict

Verdict

Our VPN.ac review shows that this is without question one of the best VPN providers 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 since they have fewer users than the big boys in the sector.

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 across their entire VPN network.

These would be ideal for streaming, but sadly, with the exception of US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, they aren’t too great in this area.

What are the drawbacks of VPN.ac?

Their monthly package is a little expensive although not excessively so 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 shorter than a lot of other rival VPN providers.

The logging policy of VPN.ac is definitely a notable drawback. While they’re completely honest about logging connection data, and it is only retained for 24 hours, the practice is still far from ideal.

Being based in Romania means they can offer decent privacy policies thanks to relaxed local data retention laws, but the fact that any data is retained will put some users off completely.

Sadly, at the time of writing, VPN.ac shows no sign of shifting its position on this issue, instead preferring to question the no logging IP addresses and data claims of other VPN providers.

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.

What are the best points of VPN.ac?

In our review, we found that VPN.ac’s apps are available for all major devices and work well.

You get six simultaneous connections too, which goes up to twelve if you make six connections on the Open VPN protocol and the other six on WireGuard.

There’s a good selection of servers although this is smaller than many other providers 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. Their China optimized servers are a real bonus too.

To conclude our VPN.ac review, we would say that this is a service we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend for the most part. 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.

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Author: Christopher Seward

Having used the internet since 1994, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

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