VPN.ac has been one of our go-to providers for many years and they’ve always excelled in the service they provide.
But with so many VPN options available these days and a fast-moving industry, have they kept pace with the competition? We aimed to find out so have been putting their service through its paces.
VPN.ac packages have stayed pretty much constant over the year but towards the end of 2018, they released a 2-year package.
This makes their current prices as follows:
- 1-Month: $9 /mo (~£6.88)
- 3-Months: $8 /mo (~£6.11)
- 1-Year: $4.83 /mo (~ £3.69)
- 2-Years: $3.75 /mo (~ £2.86)
The monthly priced account 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 price makes VPN.ac’s monthly cost lower than most.
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 best 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 30 days 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.
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 offers a broad range of protocols including OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP and PPTP. OpenVPN has a few encryption choices including 128-bit, 256-bit, ECC and XOR.
At the time of writing they’re currently in the process of testing WireGuard and it should be available on the service from around February 2019.
The service is one of few that warns about the insecurities of PPTP and it’s little touches like this that show that it’s a service that cares about the education of their users.
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 service you use.
VPN.ac is clear; they don’t claim to be a “no-logging” VPN service.
However, that doesn’t mean they keep all logs, nor do they keep them long.
Any of your activity, while connected to the service, 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 offer VPN servers in 26 countries and while this is less than many of the larger providers, it is an increase of 3 new countries on last year.
The service also offers their Secure Proxy service in over 32 countries.
Individual VPN servers total 114 which is an increase of 18 over last year’s tally.
While neither are the highest numbers in the industry, it is encouraging to see the service slowly expanding and proof that they’re investing into it rather than remaining static.
Servers are mostly available in North America, Europe and a splattering in Asia. They’ve also got VPN servers in Australia and Brazil.
VPN.ac allows you to use their service on up to six devices at the same time.
It’s the same number of devices allowed as last year and it is on the higher end of the scale in comparison to the competition.
Over the last year there are one or two providers that now offer more than six concurrently connected device, although it’s not common.
In our opinion, six devices connected at the same time will more than cover an average users needs and there’s no need to be blinded by higher numbers simply “because”.
If you’re not going to use those connections all at the same time, then they’re nothing more than marketing to you.
Other Notable Features
Where the VPN.ac service stands out is their encryption and policies. They’re one of the most privacy-focused VPN services we’ve seen. There’s no flashy marketing and no bullshit claims about what the service can and can’t do.
VPN.ac is a security company through and through.
The service uses both Shared IP Addresses and Custom DNS Servers and it’s little features like this that enhance the overall security of the service.
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. Equally, BBC iPlayer works well as do most other UK streaming services and others from across the world.
For Chinese users or those travelling there, the service works well with a whole range of servers accessible providing good speeds. If you’re looking for a VPN for China, then VPN.ac is one of the best options.
VPN.ac offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices.
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 is much the same. You can make connection from the main app window. A link to server selection provides server 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 and easy to use. 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 and Mac OS. 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 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 all major devices, VPN.ac also offers an Amazon Fire TV app and a Linux client which is currently in beta.
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 VPN services 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.
VPN.ac is a VPN service 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 put their speeds to the test.
For this test 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 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 VPN services in the industry.
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.
Encryption & Policies
VPN.ac is also a leader in the encryption stakes and has been offering higher encryption levels than most for many years.
OpenVPN connections are available using AES-256-bit, 128-bit or XOR and ECC.
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 some years.
L2TP uses either 256-bit or 128-bit encryption but is dependent on the type of device you’re using.
PPTP is insecure and VPN.ac even state this themselves.
VPN.ac haven’t changed their policies much over the years although they were simplified in the middle of 2018 most likely to comply with GDPR.
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. 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.
VPN.ac is without question one of the best VPN services available.
They’re 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.
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.
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.
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. There’s a good selection of server locations 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 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.
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