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VPN.ac review

A solid VPN that supports P2P

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

VPN.ac will get you bullet-proof security online and good speeds when browsing and torrenting on servers close to you but don’t expect access to geo-restricted VOD platforms like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

For

  • Supports torrenting
  • Great speeds on nearby servers
  • Easy-to-use apps

Against

  • Doesn’t unblock Netflix or BBC iPlayer
  • Not many servers
  • No live chat

VPN.ac is a Romania-based VPN provider that has started offering its services at the end of 2012, “after several months of development and rigorous testing.” Its VPN service is available on all major platforms, while its SecureProxy extension is offered for browsers.

Unfortunately, Netflix and BBC iPlayer have so far been successful in blocking its IP addresses, which isn’t the case for the competition presented in our best VPN buyers guide. Regardless, VPN.ac is fast enough for torrenting if you’re connecting to servers close to your physical location, and its native clients are simple enough for any beginner.

Price

If you opt for this provider, you’ll have four subscription options at your disposal. The shortest length is one month and will cost you $9/month. A longer and 11% cheaper option is the 3-month one, at $24 (equal to $8/month), followed by the 1-year subscription with a 46% discount and the price of $58 (or $4.8/month). Finally, you’ll get the best deal if you purchase the 2-year contract which comes with a price tag of $90 (or $3.75/month), placing VPN.ac somewhere in the middle of the pricing range in the VPN industry - there are cheaper players out there but also much more expensive ones.

Under one account, users can run the VPN on up to 6 devices at the same time if they’re using the OpenVPN protocol, or 3 if they’re using WireGuard.

The provider has a 1-week trial option but you have to pay for it, which kind of defeats the purpose and it doesn’t even offer the full service - you can only connect up to 3 devices simultaneously. There’s also a 7-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the platform’s performance. The provider does ask that you reach out to the customer support first to see if they can resolve the issue.

Accepted payment methods include credit/debit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, vouchers/prepaid cards, Alipay, UnionPay, iDeal, WebMoney, SEPA Direct Debit, and more.

(Image credit: Future)

Alternatives

Where VPN.ac fails, the likes of ExpressVPN or NordVPN outperform. This includes unblocking Netflix and BBC iPlayer, as well as the truly risk-free, no-questions-asked money-back guarantees. There are more worthy contenders in those areas, including Surfshark and CyberGhost, both of which are cheaper than VPN.ac.

Streaming

Although many VPN providers can give you access to major VOD services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc. that are blocked in certain areas, VPN.ac, unfortunately, isn’t one of them. If this is your priority, check one of the VPN platforms we listed above or our best VPN buyers guide.

About the company

VPN.ac is operated by Netsec Interactive Solutions, a cyber-security firm established in 2009 in Romania, a country where data retention was declared unconstitutional so you can be sure there’s no authority that would force VPN.ac to retain any of your information.

This VPN provides access to 118 servers in 21 countries via its VPN services, while the SecureProxy addon covers locations in 32 countries. The countries where the provider has servers include Brazil, Czechia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Taiwan, the US, and others.

(Image credit: Future)

Privacy and encryption

To keep your sensitive information safe from outsiders in the privacy-unfriendly online world, VPN.ac utilizes Elliptic Curve Cryptography, obfuscation, the innovative WireGuard technology, and several types of encryption. Traffic protocols deployed, other than the WireGuard (which is in beta stage), include OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, and PPTP. Sharing large files via P2P/torrenting clients is allowed.

If you’re using the OpenVPN protocol, you’ll be able to turn on the kill switch mechanism that disables your Internet access in case the VPN is disconnected, preventing your actual IP address from leaking. You can also turn on/off the IPv6 blocking option in the app.

For an increased level of privacy, you can direct your VPN traffic through not one, but two VPN servers, which is called Double Hop. The Double Hop server combinations can be selected in the server list inside the app. 

The provider claims not to “log/monitor any kind of user activity such as visited web-sites [sic], emails, files transferred, instant messages, DNS queries, etc.” However, some connection logs are kept when you connect to the VPN service, “for security and support purposes”, but they’re erased daily. These connection logs include “your real IP address, connection start/end time, and total traffic transferred during the session.” VPN.Ac adds that it doesn’t retain “any logs on servers, not even common Linux daemon logs.” 

The fact that the only information collected is only kept for a day does sound reassuring but we have no way of knowing for certain unless an independent auditor is brought to observe the platform and issue a public report.

Support

The provider offers its VPN software for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux (in beta stage), as well as the SecureProxy browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

It is also compatible with third-party connection software, allowing you to install it on additional platforms, such as routers (enabling you to circumvent the limitation on simultaneous connections). 

The Android app has been downloaded over 50,000 times and was last updated on May 12, 2020. It has been rated 3.9 (out of 5) by 418 users. As for the iOS users, 30 of them gave the app a median rating of 3.8. The iOS app was last updated on June 4, 2020, when its designers gave it a brand new UI, dark mode, and fixed some bugs.

Should you need any assistance, you can find it on the website in the form of setup tutorials, FAQs, and knowledgebase, divided into thematic categories. If these sources fail to provide you with an answer you seek, then the next logical step is to reach out to customer support. You can do so using email, Wire, Skype, a contact form, or ticketing system, which is reserved for technical/billing support exclusively.

(Image credit: Future)

Speed and experience

As soon as we paid, the confirmation and activation emails arrived instantly. We only needed to download the app, enter the credentials, and connected immediately to a server in Amsterdam. The server performed marvelously - delivering 40Mbps on a 70Mbps testing connection. 

Then, it was the turn on the trickier locations, such as the one in New York, US. This time around, the speeds were expectedly lower but still reaching a very usable 14Mbps. Sydney, Australia hailed only 6Mbps. We also gave Double Hop a shot and it delivered around 20Mbps when connected to servers in the UK and Switzerland, which was a very good result considering the connection went through two separate servers.

Switching between servers went quickly and smoothly. We only needed to select the server we wanted and the app would connect to it, regardless of whether it was already connected to a different server.

Verdict

VPN.ac is a capable and fast provider, at least on the servers in the user's relative vicinity. Coupled with military-grade privacy protection, this makes it one of the best VPN platforms for P2P traffic and torrenting, which it openly supports. Also, it features simple native clients for all major platforms, as well as supporting installation on additional devices. 

Having said that, if the lack of capacity to unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer is a deal-breaker for you, you’ll want to look for a VPN service that is more successful in this area, such as ExpressVPN.