Despite a host of promising features, AceVPN doesn’t live up to its name.
At first glance, it seems very impressive, promising super-fast speeds and access to a whole range of streaming services, but unfortunately these come with huge caveats that could put your privacy at risk.
There’s no easy one-click installation for VPN newbies, nor are there any advanced settings for experienced users – it’s hard to see what market AceVPN is actually aimed at. You can do far better for a much lower monthly cost.
Pricing & Deals
AceVPN offers both a Premium and an Ultimate Plan – the Ultimate is far more expensive but allows you to torrent and gives you access to more countries.
The cost to pay for a single month is a whopping $15.00. Even signing up for the annual plan only gets you a measly discount of 8%, reducing the monthly cost to $13.75 (the priciest annual plan we’ve ever seen). There are also two and three-year options, but even the discount on these is negligible.
Get 22% off AceVPN's 3-year plan
AceVPN Pricing & Deals
The money-back guarantee is pretty stingy too, at just seven days, plus there’s a “$1 processing fee” that’s automatically applied to all refunds – something we’ve never seen before. It does seem to be completely no questions asked, though, which is a plus.
You can also earn yourself a free month of service by referring a friend – simply get them to mention your email address when they sign up. There’s no limit to the number of people you can refer, either.
Payment & Refund Options
You can pay for AceVPN using a credit or debit card or via Paypal, and there’s also an option to send in a check. Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency accepted.
Speed & Reliability
When we saw how well AceVPN performed in our speed tests we were a little suspicious, and we had every right to be. We found DNS leaks in most locations, so as much as it was quick, your privacy is massively compromised – more on this in the Encryption & Security section.
Downloads peaked at 74Mbps, and that was on a long-distance connection (UK to Canada), with most other local connections averaging around 60-70Mbps. East Coast US was a more-than-acceptable 32Mbps, which is ideal for buffer-free streaming.
Uploads were consistently good too, hitting 50Mbps or higher on most local connections. Internationally they weren’t as impressive, but that isn’t unusual – and definitely not worth taking the privacy hit for.
For more on our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
Considering the extortionate pricing, AceVPN’s server network is nowhere near as big as it should be. True, 26 countries isn’t the worst we’ve seen, but it’s hardly extensive worldwide coverage.
As usual, those located in Europe have the most choice, with servers on this continent accounting for 16 of the total 26. There’s a handful of options in Asia, including Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and it’s good to see a server in Australia, too.
Users in South America and Africa are less well-served, with only one server apiece – Mexico and South Africa. There’s also no way of drilling down to specific cities, which could be frustrating for those in bigger countries such as the US.
Platforms & Devices
There are no real custom apps for AceVPN, rather you have to manually configure it on your device to work with your chosen protocol. This involves installing the appropriate software, such as OpenVPN, and downloading the config files from AceVPN’s website.
The major upside of this is that it really increases device compatibility, allowing you to use AceVPN on Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Linux, as well as a whole range of different routers. Comprehensive setup guides on the site walk you step-by-step through the process.
There are no browser extensions but if you’re looking for something more lightweight than a VPN, AceVPN does offer a free proxy service. All you have to do is go to proxy.acevpn.com and type in the URL you want to visit – all requests will then be made through a proxy server.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
Because it can be installed at router level, AceVPN can be used to protect games consoles and streaming devices like the Amazon Fire Stick. If the VPN is configured on your router, all internet-connected devices in your home will be protected. Check out our step-by-step router installation guide here.
Streaming & Torrenting
After looking at AceVPN’s website, we had high hopes for unblocking every streaming service we tried to access. Unfortunately, its bold claims only apply to the ‘Unblock TV’ service, which is designed purely for streaming but doesn’t encrypt any of your traffic.
While connected to the VPN, we were able to watch Netflix on the US server, but BBC iPlayer was blocked. This is hardly surprising following the company’s recent crackdown on VPN providers – if accessing content like this is important to you, take a look at PrivateVPN.
P2P file sharing is only permitted on the AceVPN Premium subscription, and even then you have to download the configuration files for specifically optimized servers. If you’re planning on torrenting regularly, take a look at our best VPNs for risk-free filesharing.
Encryption & Security
Despite AceVPN’s strong encryption and the fact you can choose to only use OpenVPN, the most secure protocol, we still can’t wholeheartedly recommend it from a privacy point of view.
We experienced DNS leaks on almost every server we connected to, which makes using a VPN in the first place totally pointless – they allow your ISP to see all of the websites you visit. This is most likely due to the fact that AceVPN rents its servers from third parties, rather than maintaining its own.
There’s also no kill switch feature, so if the VPN connection were to drop without you realizing, your true IP address would be exposed to any potential snoopers or hackers. A lot of work needs to be done in this area before we’d consider AceVPN a genuinely secure option.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- Supports TCP Port 443
While there are easier options for China if you’re looking for a one-click solution, AceVPN will still work to provide reliable internet access in the country thanks to its Stealth VPN protocol.
It works by changing the protocol fingerprint to make it appear as normal browser traffic, helping you bypass censorship measures. You can download the config files from the website, where you can also find detailed setup guides to get you up and running.
These stealth servers are available in almost all of AceVPN’s worldwide locations, making it a good choice for those in other countries with high levels of censorship such as Turkey or Egypt.
Not only does AceVPN not monitor anything you do online, it doesn’t even collect any basic connection statistics, such as bandwidth usage or chosen VPN server location. This means that no personally identifiable information exists on its servers, so even if a law enforcement agency were to request your data, AceVPN would have nothing to give it.
Even better, there’s a regularly updated Transparency Report on the website, outlining that AceVPN has never been served any warrants, nor have searches or seizures of any kind been performed on AceVPN assets, giving you complete peace of mind.
Ease of Use
Considering there are no native apps for any platforms, AceVPN is relatively easy to use – it just doesn’t look that great. You access the server list through OpenVPN, and even then it doesn’t open in a separate window, so you’re forced to access it through the system tray icon every time.
Because there’s no specific dashboard, there are no advanced settings to speak of either. You also have to make sure you disconnect from one server before you try and connect to another, otherwise you’ll be greeted with a connection error. It’s good for those looking to click-and-forget, though.
Annoyingly, installation isn’t as simple as just clicking a button on the website, but rather requires you to download third-party software onto your device and then manually configure the AceVPN servers you’d like to use.
You can do this via the Client Area – simply select your VPN protocol and download some (or all) of the VPN server locations. There are detailed setup guides that break it down, and it isn’t as fiddly as it sounds, although it does take longer than most other VPNs we’ve tested.
The sheer amount of support on AceVPN’s website is almost overwhelming – we just wish it was better organized. The ‘Support’ tab is split up into loads of other tabs, but it’s almost impossible to tell which one you need for a specific query. Thankfully there is a search feature to help you navigate it.
Unfortunately there’s no live chat, so the only way of contacting the support team is via email. We received a response within a couple of hours though, which solved our problem.
The Bottom Line
- Good local speeds
- Works with Netflix
- Compatible with loads of platforms
- Stealth mode works in China
- DNS leaks on most servers
- No custom apps
- Ridiculously overpriced
- Lacks advanced features
- Small server network
AceVPN could be a real contender if not for a couple of major downsides that make us hesitant to even recommend it at all.
Excellent speeds come with the huge caveat that your DNS requests will be leaked on the majority of servers, not to mention the complete lack of custom apps and the price tag that’s way above the mark for the quality of service on offer.