VPN.ac is one of the lesser known VPN providers. There's a lot to like about them with great security and privacy in place. They accept Bitcoin and allow up to six simultaneous connections. It also comes at a decent price. The only problem is that it's competitively slow. If you're in no hurry to watch the next episode of Game of Thrones, this might not matter to you, but to the Now Generation, speed is everything. Read on for the rest of our VPN.ac review.
This provider is based in Romania, which puts it in a good position with regards to privacy laws. They offer up to six simultaneous connections and are fine with P2P, but recommend that you do it though one of the more appropriate servers, such as the Netherlands, Romania, Hong Kong, Luxembourg or France. All up, there are 20 servers across Europe, North America and Hong Kong.
VPN.ac use shared IPs and only keep connection logs for a day, which is another positive aspect. They allow users up to 1TB per month in bandwidth and don't have a speed limit. The website is simple and flows well. It's easy to scroll through and find all of the information you might need. It's visually appealing and not too busy.
Plans and Pricing
Pricing is pretty standard with VPN.ac. You get all of their services in their regular package. If you just want to commit month to month, it will cost $9. For three months, it will work out to $24 total, a six-month deal will cost $36 and a yearlong subscription is $58. They offer a seven-day money back guarantee if you are unhappy with their service, so trying them out for a little while is completely risk-free. Thankfully, they have a wide range of payment options that includes Bitcoin, so subscribers can pay anonymously. PayPal, credit card, Alipay and UnionPay are also accepted.
VPN.ac has one of the better FAQs that we have come across. It answers most common questions in enough detail to give clarity to everyone. They also have a range of tutorials that can help you with setup and many common issues that you may have. In addition to this, they offer live chat, but it is not always available, which is a shame. VPN.ac also offer ticket support, which normally send through detailed responses very quickly. You can also email them for help or even give them a call on Skype.
Privacy and Security
The privacy and security of VPN.ac is generally great. Because they're based in Romania, they do their best to keep the government from sniffing around in your personal matters. They don't keep usage logs, but they do keep connection logs for one day on an encrypted server that is in an undisclosed location. The connection logs take your IP address, start and finish time of your connection and the total amount of traffic that has transferred during the period. It is deleted the next day, but for some of the more paranoid users, this might make it a no deal. Yes, you can use other VPNs that take no logs whatsoever, but for most users, this shouldn't be a problem. If you're wanted by the government or think you're being tracked by assassins who want your grandma's chicken recipe, you might want to look elsewhere. Everyone else should be cool.
Technically speaking, VPN.ac take their security pretty seriously. Their OpenVPN encryption is 256-bit AES and their L2TP/IPsec is also 256-bit. They use shared IP addresses, which makes it practically impossible for anyone to tell who is doing what online.
If you pay with Bitcoin, you can use any email address and don't have to give away any of your other details. Of course, with PayPal or credit card, you will have to give out your real name and other information.
At VPN.ac, they use open source software for all devices and platforms. Because of this, the client is much more stripped back than some others. There is no port forwarding, DNS leak protection or VPN kill switches, which will upset some potential users. Because it is open source, anyone can have a look at it and make sure that there aren't any backdoors. If I was smart enough to understand coding, I'd certainly have a gander through to check if the NSA had wormed their way in. If you would prefer something a bit more simple, they also offer Mac, Android and Windows software.
To get the open source client up and running, you first need to download it and install it. You will have to download and unzip the configuration files into the OpenVPN configuration folder. Get the OpenVPN GUI started, then select whichever server you want to connect to. All you have to do now is put in your username and password and then you are ready to go.
We tested out the speeds and here's what we got:
|No VPN||UK Server||NL Server|
|Download Speed (Mb/s)||20.66||13.36||12.62|
|Upload Speed (Mb/s)||1.17||1.08||1.10|
As you can see, this is really bad. Like really, really bad. This is one of the few areas that VPN.ac doesn't match up to its competitors in but, unfortunately, it's also one of the most important ones. If speeds not a huge issue for you, it's still a good choice, but unfortunately for most of us, speed is critical. On the bright side, at least it did well in our DNS leak test.
VPN.ac is a great VPN, except for the whole speed thing. They do a lot of things that we like, including accepting Bitcoin, keeping no significant logs, offering up to six simultaneous connections and offering great security and privacy. Unfortunately, their speed just doesn't match up with their competitors. It's kind of like a tortoise, well built and strong, but incredibly slow. Some people like tortoises, but they definitely aren't for everyone.
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