VPN.ac is operated by Netsec Interactive Solutions, an IT security company established in Romania, in 2009.
Their servers reach over twenty countries across North America and Europe.
And they pride themselves on being “faster, safer, better.”
But are they?
That’s what you’ll find out in this VPN.ac review. We purchased an account, put them through a series of grueling tests, and dug through the fine print to bring you every single detail.
Keep reading to find out if you should buy now or avoid wasting your time.
|LOG FILES:||Grey Area|
|LOCATIONS:||21 countries, 32 servers|
|SUPPORT:||Good customer support and live chat|
|TORRENTING:||Allowed but limited|
|NETFLIX:||Blocks Netflix USA|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||256-bit AES encryption; OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsex, PPTP|
Every VPN says they’re fast and secure.
But VPN.ac apparently means it.
They provide state-of-the-art encryption. And they do it without sacrificing speeds.
Plus, they’re in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and offer strong device support.
Check it out all the details.
1. 6th Fastest Speeds We’ve Seen
Most internet speeds are pretty good to begin with.
The problem is when you start loading them down.
VPN connections add an extra layer of encryption. But that extra stuff also often translates to slower download and upload speeds.
Not so with VPN.ac.
First up, we connected to a server in the Netherlands and ran a speed test using a reputable third-party tool. Here were the initial results:
- Ping: 33 ms
- Download: 90.22 Mbps (9% slower)
- Upload: 48.76 Mbps (8% slower)
Awesome start! Any drop off in either the download or upload speed would be virtually unnoticeable.
Now, let’s see if the U.S. server was able to keep pace.
- Ping: 115 ms
- Download: 58.53 Mbps (40% slower)
- Upload: 25.60 Mbps (51% slower)
Unfortunately, the U.S. server speed was a little slower.
VPN.ac credits their strong connection speeds to being a smaller VPN with fewer users.
But that’s not always a good thing. Here’s why.
A small number of VPN servers typically means you have more customers going after fewer resources. Overloaded servers are slow servers.
The other problem comes down to miles. As in, the physical distance between you and the server you’re connecting to. The further away you are, the slower the connection.
That means VPN.ac looks like a strong bet for users in North America and Europe. But users across other continents might not enjoy the same stellar speeds.
2. Protects Your Privacy with Strong Encryption
A VPN is only as good as its encryption.
It doesn’t matter what their website says, for example, if they’re using an outdated protocol like PPTP that can be hacked within minutes.
Fortunately, VPN.ac offers the best-in-class OpenVPN protocol, along with 256-bit AES encryption. This is the lastest and greatest, used by security professionals and governments to keep private information private.
But, if you are running on an older device or connection, they also give you the the choice to use L2TP/IPsec or PPTP. (Again, don’t use this last one if security is a concern.)
On top of that, VPN.ac also throws in a kill switch.
Let’s say your mobile device is connected to a public WiFi network. But suddenly, it drops and your phone’s data plan kicks in.
That’s good, because it helps you stay online. But it’s bad, because it can leave your entire internet session exposed to your ISP (among others). A kill switch acts as a backup plan to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Last but not least, VPN.ac uses a shared IP address for their users. That is another layer of added privacy to make sure no one can pick out your session data from anyone else.
3. No DNS Leaks and No Malware
Not all VPN connections are as secure as you might think.
Yes, OpenVPN and AES-256 are rock-solid.
But even they won’t save you from a leaky connection.
The problem is that your VPN tells you a connection is established. Everything looks and seems legit.
However, your ISP will say differently.
You might think that the server in France is fooling them. Except the VPN leaks your DNS information.
Think about it this way:
A Domain Name System (DNS) is like an online phonebook of domain names that servers translate into an Internet Protocol (IP).
Each time you visit a website, your browser sends a request to a DNS server (provided by your ISP) with the URL you typed in. The server then points your browser to the right IP address.
What does all this mean?
It means your ISP (plus government agencies and anyone else with that IP) can monitor every single website you visit.
That’s why we put every VPN through a series of DNS and WebRTC leak tests.
The goal is to line up the IP address they see, with the one your VPN tells you, to make sure they match.
And good news!
VPN.ac passed each test with flying colors.
DNS leak test:
IP leak test:
WebRTC leak test:
But don’t stop there.
Pretty much every VPN requires you to download installation files onto your device.
Not usually a big deal, right? The files are small and it only takes a few seconds to lock-down the entire device’s connection.
Except, it is a big deal when those installation files contain harmful adware, malware, or other potential viruses.
So whenever we get a new VPN to review, we also put their install files through a VirusTotal.com test… just to make sure it’s squeaky clean and won’t infect your machine.
(That’s right — we sacrifice a dedicated machine to make sure yours won’t get infected.)
VPN.ac passed this test with flying colors, too.
4. They Don’t Log Your Activity
There’s a little white lie that VPNs like to tell.
Every single website has “No logging” plastered all over it.
Digging through this mountain of legal mumbo-jumbo is just another part of our exhaustive research process.
And let me tell you:
We’ve caught many VPNs lying directly to their customers.
VPN.ac’s documents show that they do not keep any user activity data. This includes the websites you visit, emails, any files downloaded, or even messages.
However, they do keep track of aggregate connection logs. That means they want to see how the service is being used — across all users — to make sure both performance and security remain legit.
So this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Most of this data is kept on a different server altogether. And they’ll erase the data within a certain time frame (one day for VPN.ac, up to a week or month with some other companies).
5. They’re Based in Romania- A Safe Jurisdiction
Romania is located well outside of any 5-eyes, 9-eyes, and 14-eyes security alliance.
That means if they do collect some of your personal data, they won’t share it with any other countries.
So on the one hand, you do need to worry about which data your VPN has access to. Because on the other, they might be forced to reveal that to government agencies.
And if the local jurisdiction places them inside one of the ‘Eyes’ agreements, your data could be shared with dozens of countries around the world.
6. Limited Torrenting Available
Let’s start with the good news.
VPN.ac allows for torrenting. You’re free to use their safe servers to download massive files like movies, games, or music.
There is a catch, though.
You can’t just use any of their servers.
Instead, they only allow torrenting on specific servers.
Coloring outside these lines could get you in trouble. So if you’re looking for restriction-free, unlimited torrenting, check out our top VPNs for torrenting, instead.
7. They Support All Devices
VPN.ac provides access across all the major platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Even better, is that they extend access to routers like DD-WRT, Tomato, Advanced Tomato, OpenWRT, AsusWRT/Merlin, pfSense.
They officially support up to six simultaneous device connections. However with a router, you’re able to side-step this restriction and connect even more.
Unfortunately, they don’t natively support game consoles or smart TVs just yet. But once again, you can use the router workaround to lock-down these devices or gain access to geo-blocked content.
8. They Use Ticket-Based Support (But Also Offer Skype)
VPN.ac’s support was another good news, bad news scenario.
But this time, let’s start with the bad.
Your only support option here is to submit a ticket. Ugh.
Usually, this means it’s going to take you a few days to get a response to any question. Good luck if you need to swap a few messages to clarify issues. Because that could mean you’re looking at closer to a week to get an answer.
Finding out that VPN.ac only offered ticket support was a cringe-worthy moment. Especially considering that other top companies, like ExpressVPN, offer instantaneous live chat.
It only took them one hour to reply! This has to be some kind of support-ticket record.
And despite a short response, it directly answered our question, while also providing a recommendation (to avoid using outdated protocols).
Pro tip: Another test we ran revealed that high-priority ticket results in a response within just a few minutes. So use their priority scheme to possibly speed up your response time.
But wait, there’s more!
We noticed something interesting on the initial confirmation email. Look for “Alternative contact methods” in the middle:
They offer both Wire and Skype support, too! Now, we didn’t test either. But the fact that they do offer another alternative to support tickets is encouraging.
This support experience defied my initial expectations.
VPN.ac’s strong encryption, fast speeds, and solid connection were impressive.
What wasn’t impressive was a buggy app that didn’t extend access to Netflix or Tor.
Here are some of our biggest problems with their service.
1. Buggy App Experience
On the surface, the VPN.ac app looks decent.
It’s easy to use, and offers a variety of options (without being overly complex).
See? Looks decent, right?
But after using it for a few minutes, we quickly spotted a few issues.
One of our tests displayed a Seychelles IP, even though we were actually in Amsterdam.
We already showed that leak tests were clean, though.
So that means one of two things:
Either the app is simply wrong, displaying incorrect locations. Or it means they could possibly be using fake server locations.
(Yes, that’s a thing. And yes, it’s a massive problem.)
The app looks and works fine on the surface. But there are some issues under the hood that cause us some concern.
2. Zero Netflix Servers Worked
Netflix has been leading a crusade over the past several years to identify, block, and shut down access to every VPN service.
And unfortunately, VPN.ac is the latest in a long line of casualties.
The company even owns up to the problem.
Just to make sure, we connected to five different servers at random and tried streaming Netflix content.
Each server was correctly identified and blocked. So no luck on any of them.
Instead, I’d recommend checking out our list of the top VPNs for Netflix.
3. They’re Incompatible With TOR
Google Chrome might be the most popular web browser.
But it’s also a hive of privacy invasion, with Big Brother Google tracking your each and every move.
That’s why private browsers like The Onion Router (TOR) exist.
They use layers of connections to bounce your signal around the world, making it difficult (if not impossible) to trace your original starting point.
The issue is that TOR is not always safe. People can setup bad relay points and take advantage of security loopholes.
And sadly, VPN.ac is incompatible with TOR.
We tried testing it and were unable to hide our true IP address. So you’re going to need another TOR-friendly solution.
VPN.ac Costs, Plans, & Payment Methods
VPN.ac has four payment plans. The only difference between them have to do with the term you’re prepaying for (and the discount you get).
You can pay $9 for a simple month-to-month subscription.
You can bump that up to a quarter, bringing the cost down a dollar per month for a total of $24 bucks.
The one year plan is $58 total, which brings the effective monthly cost down to $4.8.
And for the biggest savings, you can prepay for two full years at $90 to save 62%. This one results in a monthly price of $3.75, which is good enough to place them in the top ten cheapest VPNs we’ve reviewed.
VPN.ac offers a seven days money-back guarantee. So you’re free to try them out and get a full refund if it doesn’t work.
They accept all major credit and debit cards. They also accept PayPal, Alipay, UnionPay, and even Bitcoin for anonymous payments.
Do We Recommend VPN.ac?
There wasn’t a single thing we hated about VPN.ac.
In fact, there was a lot to like. Fast speeds, good protocol and encryption options, even decent support times (despite being only ticket-based).
But overall, they were only able to come in at 44 out of 78 options.
Part of the reason was for mediocre performance in a few key categories.
App use was OK, but buggy and flawed. Netflix didn’t work. Neither did Tor. There weren’t that many country servers available. And the ones they did offer were highly concentrated in just a few spots.
VPN.ac is pretty solid. But it’s not exceptional across the board, either.
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5 user reviews for VPN.ac
If you want actual privacy or unblocking, there is nothing better
If you want a VPN for Netflix, get a different VPN. If you want a privacy focused VPN then VPN.AC is the best I've ever used. I travel to China constantly and VPN.AC is the best service to get working in those pesky connections. They have spend hundreds of tickets with me helping me sort out my own network issues trying to use their services in a non standard way (e.g. helping me set up the service on my router, even though they have no obligation to do so). Plus their support techs actually are network tech who know what they are talking about. Perhaps the average user won't care about this but for a network tech like myself there is nothing better than working with other professionals who can speak your language!
I stay with them for the HUGE variety of protocols and ports available on connections as this is critical in restricted locations.
Netflix can work!
It's been 2 years that I use VPN.AC I use it for torrenting. Speeds are good (I have 1gb Fiber channel and I'm arround 250Mb/s on torrent european servers). I can access USA netflix from France. Not all servers are working but some of them (dallas 2 for example) are working fine with netflix ! As I travel a lot on some very restrictive countries (Saudi Arabia / China / Dubaï)... they offer a good strong connection on european servers and they have a china protocol that work perfectly! I think you are a little unfair on that notation.
Works in China
I live in China, and I've kept VPN.AC as my backup VPN for several years. About a year ago, I started using the browser extension on Chrome as my primary connection method on my desktop. I've found this to be very convenient. This allows me to use another browser to access sites in China (specifically baopals.com), which won't load when ExpressVPN is protecting the whole computer.
ExpressVPN has been my primary VPN for the four years I've been in China, but 10 days ago, ExpressVPN was blocked. VPN.AC provided the alternative connection I needed. While VPN.AC is middle of the road in many respects, its China performance has been solid. If you are an expat in China, I would recommend it as a low cost China option, or as a second VPN for added VPN availability in China.
User for 6 Months
I have really liked VPN.ac but please note I do not use my VPN for Netflix.
They now have a browser extension for their service which is great for computers that do not allow you to install clients. Speed is really good (US user). Nice protocol selection including ECC & XOR. Some logging is done to mitigate abuse. I say this is a pro because the info logged is minimal and is deleted every 24 hours.
Browser extension can crash requiring browser restart to regain connection. Not often but can be annoying. Limited Torrent servers (Canada - Toronto, Luxembourg, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, France, Romania. ) No live support. I have never needed support but still would like the option.
THat One GUy
One Week Review
So far after one week of use VPN.ac has been solid for me on a windows 7 machine running 256bit openvpn on udp. Their servers are rock solid, and speeds excellent. I have not tried their support as I have not needed it. Netflix worked fine for me, not that I need it to though. Also their browser plugin is very handy. I like their Romanian location and jurisdiction the most. I tried expresvpn and perfect-privacy as well. Both were fine, but I am preferring VPN.ac for now.