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VPN.ac Review

Rebecca Duff
By Rebecca DuffUpdated
Our Score8.2
User Rating
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Speedy, secure VPN with loads of advanced features. Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

What we like
  • Downloads of up to 54Mbps on local connections
  • Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • User-friendly apps for popular platforms
  • Optimized servers for P2P/torrenting
  • Connect securely to 25 countries
  • Loads of advanced privacy features

VPN.AC is a secure VPN that offers fairly fast, reliable performance on local connections, as well as servers optimized for P2P activity. Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer is currently possible, and users in high-censorship countries such as China can connect to obfuscated servers to access government-blocked content. Modern, user-friendly apps are available for most popular platforms, and you can manually configure your existing router to support the software too.

VPN.AC offers solid encryption and loads of extra privacy features, such as first-party DNS servers and a Double Hop feature that routes your web traffic through two VPN servers before it reaches its destination. They collect very minimal connection logs that are permanently erased on a daily basis, which goes a long way to making up for the fact that they’re based in privacy-unfriendly Romania. Customer support is informative with loads of helpful resources, but responses to email were too slow to justify the lack of live chat feature.

Pricing & Deals

VPN.ac offers four different pricing plans that all offer the same features but get cheaper the longer the subscription.

VPN.ac Coupon

VPN.ac Pricing & Deals

Best Value Deal
2 Years
US$3.75/mo
Save 62%
Billed $90.00 every 2 years
12 Months
US$4.80/mo
Save 46%
Billed $58.00 every 12 months
3 Months
US$8.00/mo
Save 11%
Billed $24.00 every 6 months
1 Month
US$9.00/mo
Billed $9.00 every month
Get VPN.ac7-day money-back guarantee

It also offers a seven-day money-back guarantee instead of a free trial, which is stingy in comparison to 30-day refund periods offered by top-tier providers such as ExpressVPN. At first glance VPN.ac offer a ‘no questions asked refund, but digging into the Terms of Service, we found this: “we do not refund orders for vague reasons…without providing us details and letting us help”. It does, however, state you can request a refund “if you are not satisfied”, which seems contradictory.

Payment Options

Users wishing to sign up to VPN.AC have a choice of the usual popular payment options such as major credit and debit cards and PayPal. There’s also a long list of cryptocurrencies to choose from, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero and many more, as well as loads of different international methods like Alipay, UnionPay and WebMoney.

Speed & Reliability

VPN.ac produced decent results in our speed tests on local connections, but less so internationally.

It was reliable however, with little difference between tests. It’s good for avid streamers and P2P users in Europe and Canada. Almost any server will provider buffer-free HD streaming.

Latency was not the lowest but was respectable at 8ms on same-country connections – probably not quick enough for gamers but fine for everyday users.

For more on our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.

Features

Server Locations

Globe with a blue flag25Countries
Image of a city landscape45+Cities
Image of a pink marker100+IP Addresses

VPN.ac’s server network is small, covering just 25 countries in total. You might struggle with anywhere outside of North America or Europe. HideMyAss! has a huge network covering over 190 countries.

The number of servers is small given the overall network, which means likely server congestion and reduced speeds. However you can check the server status page, which tells you the bandwidth usage of each location and therefore how busy it is.

We were surprised at the amount of city-level servers in places like US, UK, Canada, Australia. The Asia-Pacific region isn’t too bad with options in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, but users in South America and Africa are out of luck, with no servers on these continents at all.

You can find the complete list of VPN.ac server locations by country and purpose on their website below.

Platforms & Devices

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid
Linux LogoLinux
Router LogoRouter

VPN.ac offers the usual range of custom apps, all of which can be downloaded with one click. It also offers step-by-step setup guides for devices lacking native apps, such as Linux, but these lack useful screenshots or videos.

If you want to protect all internet-connected devices in your home, you can always install VPN.ac at router level – it’s compatible with DD-WRT, Tomato, AsusWRT and pfSense routers. There are detailed instructions on the website, and it’ll save you having to download the VPN onto loads of individual devices.

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome
Firefox LogoFirefox

VPN.ac offers SecureProxy extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. They’re designed for a lightweight browser experience, as they’re more vulnerable to IP leaks. VPN.ac even warn about the risks while using the extension, and advise blocking Flash, WebRTC and Java.

They are however pretty good for connecting out of high-censorship countries, as they’re less easy to detect using Deep Packet Inspection technologies, meaning you’re more likely to be able to bypass government blocks.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

AppleTV LogoAppleTV
Amazon Fire TV LogoAmazon Fire TV
Chromecast LogoChromecast
Nintendo LogoNintendo
PlayStation LogoPlayStation
Roku LogoRoku
Xbox LogoXbox

VPN.ac offers a native app for the Amazon Fire TV and Stick, but it also works with loads of other games consoles and streaming devices by connecting them to a manually configured router, for which there are step-by-step instructions on the website. This includes Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox and more.

Once up and running, it’ll automatically protect the internet-connected devices in your home. If you’re willing to spend time installing the VPN at router level, VPN.ac is a great choice.

Streaming & Torrenting

VPN.ac could be a good shout for hassle-free access to streaming sites including Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but a lack of optimized servers means that it’s not always the case.

It’s rare to find a VPN that still works consistently, but we accessed BBC iPlayer on our second attempt using London 2 server. We don’t know how long this perk will last due to the fact VPN.ac doesn’t offer any dedicated streaming servers, however a choice of four city-specific servers in the UK means that at least you have a few fallbacks should one stop working.

VPN.ac offers optimized servers for P2P activity, but these are only located in Europe and Canada. Torrent traffic isn’t blocked in any location, however performance is not guaranteed to be as good and servers could get crowded at peak times.

Encryption & Security

VPN.ac is a good choice for users seeking high levels of privacy. The desktop app defaults to OpenVPN, the preferred protocol. Encryption is via top cipher AES-256, used by the US federal government and considered ‘unbreakable’.

The desktop app comes with a ton of additional privacy features, such as VPN.ac’s ‘Gateway removal’ – a kill switch. This protects your true IP address from sudden disconnections. You’re also protected against DNS and IPv6 leaks, and although it doesn’t provide integrated WebRTC leak protection even if the provider information in the support section of its site as to how to prevent these from happening,

VPN.ac operates its own DNS servers, preventing your web traffic from being routed through less-secure servers owned by third parties. Additionally, it offers loads of Double Hop servers, where your traffic is routed through two different locations before reaching its destination, providing you with an extra layer of privacy should you need it.

Protocol
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
  • PPTP
Encryption
  • AES-256
Security
  • DNS Leak Blocking
  • First-party DNS
  • IPV6 Leak Blocking
  • VPN Kill Switch
Advanced features
  • Double VPN

Bypassing Censorship

VPN.ac continues to be a reliable choice for China, despite its major crackdown on VPN providers. There is an option called ‘I am in China’ that will display up-to-date locations in the the ‘China Optimized’ category, saving time from testing different locations to find one that works.

VPN.ac also offers loads of support for China users, including a China Status page detailing the current situation in the country and the best ways to connect. The main website is currently blocked in China, but you can access it through an alternative domain.

This level of support and effective bypassing of censorship means we’d also recommend VPN.ac to users in places such as Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Privacy

Logging Policy

VPN.ac’s Privacy Policy was updated to be ‘simplified and more concise’, with a logging policy cut down to no more than a couple of sentences. It covers the essential information. It collects service connection logs, including:

  • Originating IP address
  • Start and end time of VPN connections
  • Total amount of data transferred

It states that this information is collected for service functionality, troubleshooting and security, which seems legitimate, although we don’t really like that this includes your true IP address, as it could be used to personally identify you.

Thankfully this data is stored on an encrypted server and erased on a daily basis, so at least there’s no permanent record of your connection details.

Jurisdiction

VPN.ac is based in Romania, within reach of intrusive EU data retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements with countries such as US and Canada.

The minimal logging policy means that this probably won’t be too much of an issue, however those seeking the closest possible thing to online anonymity should probably look elsewhere. It also states in the Privacy Policy that it will transfer the limited personal data it has to third parties if ‘required by law’, which is concerning.

As far as we’re aware, this is yet to happen, but there’s no guarantee this will be the case forever.

Ease of Use

VPN.ac’s windows desktop app is incredibly modern and user-friendly. The main screen has enough essential information without being cluttered – you can see chosen VPN protocol and port, virtual location, new IP address and connection status. There is also a button to check for IP leaks and connection status.

There is a ‘Help’ tab in the bottom right-hand corner with useful links to common issues users may experience, however instead of displaying these in-app, it redirects you to the

Getting Started

Downloading and installing VPN.AC was incredibly easy and took us literally a matter of minutes from purchase to connection. The process is as simple as downloading the relevant software from the Tutorials section of their website, and following the prompts given to you by the installation wizard (which mainly involves clicking the ‘next’ button a few times, followed by the ‘finish’ button). It automatically creates a desktop shortcut for the app too, which is really useful.

When we clicked on the app to use it for the first time, we received a message saying that the TAP drivers hadn’t been installed and did we want to install them now – we clicked yes and this was done in a matter of seconds. Once this was finished, the app launched, we entered our login details and we were ready to start using the VPN. Just make sure you have your confirmation email to hand as all the information you need is in there. If you get stuck, the tutorials on the website should get you back on the right track.

  • Installing software
  • How to use the app

Customer Support

VPN.ac’s customer support is pretty good, but we don’t like that some aspects of it are limited to paying customers, such as instructions for China users.

Thankfully there is lots more to be found in its helpfully organized Knowledgebase, including FAQs, troubleshooting tops and detailed setup guides.

Unfortunately VPN.ac doesn’t offer a live chat feature, and the best way to contact them is via a form submitted through the website or direct email. We filled in a support form but it took over 24 hours to get a response. Considering many of its rivals, such as VPNArea, offer genuine 24/7 live chat support, we’d like to see some improvements here.

On the bright side, we do really like that the company includes its Skype ID as a method of contact, as this is especially useful for users in countries such as China where most other communication methods are blocked. It does advise, however, that this is not a secure communication protocol and should really only be used as a last resort.
Unfort

The Bottom Line

What we like
  • Local download speeds of up to 54Mbps
  • Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Optimized servers for P2P/torrenting
  • Connect securely to 25 countries
  • Custom apps available for popular platforms
What we like less
  • Very small server network
  • No live chat feature
  • Jurisdiction in privacy-unfriendly Romania

VPN.AC is a less well-known provider than some of our top picks, but that doesn’t change the fact it offers a reliable, secure service that’s great for both tech-savvy users and VPN newbies. It’s not the cheapest option out there but offers pretty good value for money, especially if you opt for one of the longer subscriptions. Performance is good on local connections, however P2P-optimized servers are limited to Europe and Canada, and serious gamers might want to look for lower latency. Access to Netflix and iPlayer is currently possible but a lack of dedicated streaming servers means this might not always be the case.

Privacy-wise, VPN.AC offers loads of extra features such as a VPN kill switch, protection against IPv6 and first-party DNS servers. A very minimal logging policy goes some way to mitigating the fact it’s based in privacy-unfriendly Romania, as your connection logs are permanently erased on a daily basis. There are optimized servers for users in high-censorship countries, including China, to help bypass government blocks and access restricted content.

Custom apps are available for Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android devices and are incredibly sleek and easy to use. You can also manually configure various other devices, including a long list of routers. Customer support on the website is very good with loads of information, but we really missed a live chat feature as this meant we often had to wait over 24 hours for a response via email. At the cost of just $3.75 per month on the two-year plan, VPN.AC is definitely worth a go, especially if you’re a keen streamer or want to connect out from China.

 


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