This is the most in-depth VPN.ac review available online. Everything you need to know about VPN.ac is included in this review from pricing and speed performance, to encryption levels, to device compatibility and customer support. Additionally, there is a simple setup guide to help you get VPN.ac setup quickly.
VPN.ac is based out of Romania, in Central Eastern Europe. Launched in 2012, this VPN was created by a team made up of "security professionals" of both the online and offline tech industry. This team claim to have created a VPN service of true speed, security and reliability of service. We are skeptical to agree with all three of these factors, but were very impressed by their customer service. Definitely recommended.
Operating System Compatibility
$9 for one month acccount
$8 per month for 3 month account
$6 per month for 6 month account
$4.80 per month for 1 year
VPN Protocols Offered
- 7 Day Money back guarantee
- Accepts bitcoins!
- Allows up to three simultaneous connections at one time
- Very good customer support
- Encryption standard not as robust as some other VPNs
- Overall speed is good, but not great
VPN.ac is not the most well known VPN in the space right now, but is nonetheless a well crafted VPN. There are better VPNs out there for the same price range that deliver better on speed and encryption, but if customer support is important to you, then you could do a lot worse than VPN.ac!
Pricing, Plans, & Payment Options
VPN.AC offer prices for their VPN service that are in the mid-to-high range, in comparison to other VPN service of the same quality level.
You will be looking to pay on average around $7 a month for this service, depending on the pricing plan you choose to subscribe to.
You have the choice of four subscription plans with VPN.AC, as displayed below:
As you would expect, the longer a period you choose to subscribe for; the cheaper your monthly cost for the VPN service will be. Generally speaking, their pricing are fair, however I have experienced many VPNs that are less expensive that appear to be the same quality.
Customers are able to make payment via the most common payment methods one would expect. Credit card and PayPal are available, with the additional options of paying via Perfect Money, CashU and BitCoin:
It is always great to see BitCoin as an available payment option, since users who have the ability to do this can be completely secure in maintaining their anonymity online. Good job with that, VPN.AC.
Money back Guarantee
It is more surprising nowadays to find a VPN service provider that does not offer a money back guarantee of some sort. So it is good to see VPN.AC being no exception to this expectancy.
New customers are offered a 7 day money back guarantee, giving them a full week of testing out the VPN service with the option for a full refund for whatever reason within 7 days of purchase.
The security of service that VPN.AC provide apparently boasts to be of the highest level, with the software being created by a team of "security professionals" with a long history of dealing with security in the technology industry. They flex this claim by stating that only two administrators have full access to their entire VPN infrastructure, which certainly is an impressive level of internal restriction.
Here's a breakdown of the main features offered with VPN.AC:
DNS service are self-hosted
- No DNS services are hosted by third parties.
Top encryption levels
- Up to 256 AES bit encryption available
ISO/IEC 27001 Certified
- Company boasts this impressive certification of information security
Zero activity logging
- No logs are kept of user activity
24 hour retention of connection logs
- User connection logs are only kept for 1 day, for the sole purpose of fixing bugs and troubleshooting
- User privacy is increased by IP addresses being shared on VPN nodes
Private DNS resolvers
- All user DNS queries are resolved internally on VPN.AC's private DNS resolvers.
Personalised, real customer support
- Users interact with the makers of the software themselves. No copy>paste support answers.
- OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP
Fast, stable servers
- All servers are tested rigorously and regularly to match user ISP speeds and stability.
VPN.AC offer downloadable software for both Windows and Mac computers. With me using a Macbook Pro, I went ahead and purchased VPN.AC and proceeded to go through the download/installation/setup/connection process.
Here is a breakdown of that process, with my experienced opinions given throughout:
This process was painless. Very swift with no unnecessary stages or lengthy registration required. You simple select your payment method, enter some information and wait for the confirmation email to arrive:
I was a little disappointed that they ask for so much information. Having reviewed many VPN service providers by this point, I know that such information is not actually necessary, with some VPN services not even asking for an email address.
Only a few moments of waiting and I received my confirmation email, which also contained an activation link to activate my account:
As mentioned, I work from a Macbook so once I clicked through the activation link I was directed to the various software and device download options. These were laid out nice and clear, so I was able to locate and start downloading my OS X VPN.AC VPN software in seconds.
Installation was very quick. In fact, it was the quickest I have experienced so far with VPN installations. Very simple, with just 4 steps to being fully installed.
Once installed, it was just a case of launching the software. This presents a main home screen that is very self-explanatory, prompting you to enter your user account details to access the service, and then select a preferred server location, protocol and port:
It was a little annoying having to retrieve my login details from the activation email, however this was only a few seconds wasted. Once entered, I selected my preferred server specifications and connected.
Connection to the VPN was easy, quick and as simple as one could hope. I was a little disappointed that no indication was given more blatantly that I was connected to the server. The only indication visually of this is that the "Connect" button changes to "Disconnect". Even changing the colour of the button would give a more visceral and clear indication that you have successfully connected to the VPN.
Overall though, the download, installation, setup and connecting process was very straight forward. Definitely among the most user-friendly and intuitive processes of a VPN software that I have experienced to date.
Seeing as I use an Android smartphone, I also went through the above process for a mobile device. Here is a walkthrough of this process:
As VPN.AC have not developed their own Android mobile app, you are prompted to go to the Google Play store and download either the OpenVPN Connect or OpenVPN for Android apps.
I went ahead and downloaded the OpenVPN for Android app:
Once downloaded and installed, I opened the app and then realised that I would need to go back to the VPN.AC website and check the setup for Android guide they have provided in order to find the link to the section of their website that has all the .ovpn files, to find the file for the VPN.AC server I want to use with the OpenVPN for Android app:
I went with a London based server location for testing the VPN.AC on my Android smartphone:
Once I had the file downloaded, I then went back to the OpenVPN for Android app and imported the file to the app for setup and connection:
It was at this point that I was prompted to enter my VPN.AC username and password. I had to once again retrieve this information from my email, although if I had changed these to more memorable characters then this obviously wouldn't have been a problem.
Once those were entered, I went back to the main profile and clicked on the file which then connected me to the VPN. This directs you to the main "logs" screen, and also brings a key symbol to the top of your Android device, as shown below:
All in all this process was a little laborious, especially when compared to VPN service providers that have developed their own apps for Android, since such apps simply require you to download, select your server, and connect -- all in a matter of seconds.
It would be great if VPN.AC put some time into developing apps for both Android and iOS, however this process was not entirely complex. Just took quick some time since you have to be a lot more hands on with the setup process.
VPN.AC is compatible with Windows and Mac, offering ful VPN software for devices on these operating systems.
Users can also setup the VPN.AC service on Linux, Android and iOS operating system devices. In addition, you can also run the VPN.AC VPN on smartTVs, gaming consoles, eReaders and routers. Although not the most simple to setup on, VPN.AC do offer step-by-step detailed tutorials on how to setup their VPN service on such devices.
Speed & Performance
With the VPN.AC VPN setup on my Macbook, I conducted a simple speed test to see how much or little my download and upload speeds were affected when connected to the VPN against an unconnected test.
As you can see from the results below, there was quite a big difference in the server that I tested out. Although these drops in speed would not be an issue when launching the VPN on an already-fast connection; to launch on a slower connection may cause the VPN speed to be a bit of an issue.
Overall the results were a little disappointing:
This is where VPN.AC were surprisingly great. They offer a semi-regularly available online live chat support on the website, although of little use to a user like myself seeing as they do not appear to operate on European timezones at all. However, offering this in the first place is fantastic.
Email and ticketing systems are also in place, and response time to such queries are fast and very personable. They pride themselves on being "human" with their support interactions, and they definitely live up to that claim.
They even offer Skype support communication for issues that are really pressing and complex for a user, which is a support option that not many VPN service providers offer as standard. This was impressive.
The website is simple. That's honestly the best way to describe it.
Design-wise it is not the most aesthetically impressive, nor pleasing. It even seems quite dated and this can have a negative impact on a new customer's view of the legitimacy of the VPN service VPN.AC can offer:
Functionality-wise, it is solid. Clearly a well thought out website regarding user experience, with all the most important information readily available both by being displayed on the homepage and via the clearly defined navigation menus in the header and footer through out the site.
Security & Privacy
VPN.AC disclose openly that although they don't keep any logs regarding user activity -- they do keep connection logs of users for up to 24 hours. This is not all that uncommon with VPN providers today, however I would obviously prefer it if they offered a total zero logs policy. With that said, connection logs are not the largest threat to user privacy protection, so at least the logs they are keeping are the lesser of two evils. It is just a little odd that with VPN.AC being physically located in Romania, they are under no legal obligation to keep any logs at all.
Protocol-wise, as mentioned, VPN.AC offer a solid 256 AES bit encryption on OpenVPN as well as L2TP/IPsec, which is the standard level of encryption expected from any self-respecting VPN service provider.
Coupling these protocol offerings with the fact that VPN.AC employee shared IP addresses to all users, means that the privacy level of a user's behaviour while on this VPN is really top notch.
To conclude, I would say that VPN.AC offer a VPN service that delivers with regards to functionality, ease-of-setup and security of data. However I would say that it does fall short a little with regards to the speed of service given.
Where they certainly shine is with their customer support. Offering a really personable and fast responsive experience is always really refreshing, so kudos to them for this.
All in all, the price points they offer customers is not completely justified I feel. The reason for this being that I have reviewed and experienced multiple VPN service providers that offer either a level of service comparable to VPN.AC for a lower price, or a much more sophisticated and fast level of service for the same price.
However, since they offer a 7 day money back guarantee, I would certainly recommend them enough to give them a try. Let me know if you give them a shot by leaving your own personal review in the comments!