Fast, secure, affordable, and even works in China? Too good to be true?
I ran into VPN.ac as I was searching for an affordable, beginner-friendly VPN. I did a little research and found a ton of contradicting information online. To take the guesswork out of the equation, I decided to test it out myself to see if it is any good.
My takeaway is: if you want secure browsing and decent speeds for an affordable price — read on. Given its price tag, security features, and intuitive platform design, VPN.ac is, in my experience, a solid choice if you’re just starting out with VPNs.
On top of that, VPN.ac can unblock Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Pandora. This means you can access libraries from the countries of your choice, with solid speeds (read: not perfect!) and streaming quality.
It does keep some logs, but the fact that it offers 256-bit encryption makes this VPN more than secure. VPN.ac also features DoubleHop servers and supports P2P traffic. However if you’re looking for a completely log-free VPN, you might consider some other top-level providers.
As far as multiple devices are concerned, with a single VPN.ac account you can connect up to 12 devices, or 6 devices simultaneously using WireGuard.
Because I found so many different testimonies regarding VPN.ac, I decided to put all these claims to the test and try it out for myself.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- High-security features and understandable privacy rules. Obfuscation tools and strong encryption protocols are just some of the competitive advantages this VPN provider has to offer. Check out a detailed list of their privacy security features here.
- Works in China. VPN.ac helps you bypass censorship and adds an extra layer of security. Jump to the server network features here.
- Operating in 20 countries, this VPN has great server coverage: take a look at my server performance tests.
- VPN.ac keeps logs that are erased daily. Being based in an EU country, VPN.ac is not a strictly no-logs VPN provider. Read about their logs policy here.
- Responsive customer support, detailed FAQs, and a ton of useful information on software features. It doesn’t offer 24/7 live chat support though. Find out more about their customer support efficiency here.
- A relatively affordable provider with numerous payment options available. It also offers a 7-day money-back guarantee. Check the pricing here.
- Fast and solid streaming. I unblocked Pandora music, Fox, HBO Now, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer, but some other streaming platforms blocked me. Check out my streaming findings here.
- User-friendly apps for most operating systems, including macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and even some rare routers. Plus, you can connect up to 12 devices at a time. View other compatibility features here.
VPN.ac Features — Updated in October 2021
|📆 Money Back Guarantee||7|
|📝 Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|🖥 Number of servers||50|
|💻 Number of devices per license||12|
|🛡 Kill switch||Yes|
|🗺 Based in country||Romania|
|📥 Supports torrenting||No|
Perhaps it’s not among the top-level streaming VPNs, but it is still a worthy candidate. Technically, VPN.ac won’t give you access to all of the streaming sites, but it has a lot to offer — depending on what you’re looking for.
In case you were hoping to access some of the BBC iPlayer Exclusives like HyperNormalisation or The Rack Pack, or watch your favorite shows on Disney+, and HBO NOW or Netflix – VPN.ac can make your wish come true.
I was amazed that such an affordable provider is able to unblock Pandora music, Fox, HBO Now, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.
Can you watch HBO NOW with VPN.ac? Yes and no, depending on the US server you’re connected to. For example, while connected to the US Central – Dallas server, I managed to unblock HBO NOW content. Interestingly, some other US servers (like the US Central Chicago) wouldn’t grant me access.
The takeaway regarding using HBO NOW with VPN.ac — if it doesn’t work with the first server you connect to, try another one just in case.
As for Pandora music, I found that VPN.ac allows you to access Pandora music outside the US.
VPN.ac also offers a native app for Fire TV Stick, and Android TV that you can download from their Apps & Guides Page. You can even use it for Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation, and Chromecast by simply connecting them to a router that has VPN.ac installed on it. The files and detailed instructions are all found on their website, which makes the entire process straightforward.
Blocked By: US Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video
I wasn’t able to stream US Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. VPN.ac doesn’t boast dedicated streaming servers, so in case you were looking to access the US Netflix library, it is not capable of bypassing US Netflix’s proxy bans. I couldn’t access US Netflix exclusives like The Radium Girls and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape using Double Hop servers or any other US servers:
As far as Amazon Prime Video goes, even though I was connected to a server in the US (the US Central – Chicago server), I was getting the content as if I were still in Austria.
Hulu’s geo-blocking was also too strong. I kept trying to log in, even though the password and the email were correct, I kept getting the following error:
As for Spotify, I initially thought I might be able to use VPN.ac not only to get the lower price for a Spotify Premium monthly subscription. Because subscription prices differ around the world, you can use a VPN to land better deals and get your Spotify subscription from a region that has lower prices.
However, Spotify detected that I was using a shared proxy server.
I was more than satisfied with the speeds overall: I tested almost all of the servers with consistently good speed results.
I experienced slight reductions in upload and download speed, but that happens almost always when you install any VPN because of the extra layer of encryption that it provides.
However, VPN.ac even has a new experimental feature that could improve your speed, called Lower MTU:
As for the speed tests, my baseline speed in Vienna was around 150 Mbps download and 15Mbps upload on macOS.
For a VPN with this popularity and price, I was pleasantly surprised by their server speed. Whether you’re downloading, gaming or streaming, this VPN will deliver.
With this speed performance, I was able to watch 4k resolution shows on Netflix almost without any buffering. The average speed reduction while using VPN is usually 10-20%, and in this case even less on some servers. Of course, for more distant locations like Brazil and Japan, you can expect the speed to drop more:
For a better visual rundown, here’s a table showing download and upload speeds, and ping in each of the locations I tested, plus the average speeds — excluding the baseline speeds:
|Location/server||Download speed||Upload speed||Ping|
|No VPN (Austria)||154.20||15.86||13|
|US Central, Chicago 2||97.16 (36.99% loss)||13.46 (15.13% loss)||147|
|US East, New York 2||131.71 (14.58% loss)||14.44 (8.95% loss)||112|
|Finland, Helsinki (P2P optimized)||145.98 (5.33% loss)||12.16 (23..32% loss)||46|
|Netherlands, Amsterdam, P2P optimized||146.34 (5.09% loss)||14.33 (9.64% loss)||47|
|Brazil, São Paulo||73.18 (51.27% loss)||6.75 (57.44% loss)||352|
|Japan, Tokyo||28.09 (81.27% loss)||1.29 (91.8% loss)||289|
|Germany, Frankfurt||143.89 (6.68% loss)||8.81 (44.45% loss)||33|
|Australia, Sydney||86.37 (43.98% loss)||9.15 (39.80% loss)||304|
A table showing speeds in each of the locations I tested, plus the average speeds
Are VPN.ac’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes
In my experience, VPN.ac can give you solid gaming speeds. As a huge Overwatch fan, I was more than satisfied with latency and streaming quality in general. While using the Germany-Frankfurt server, I was able to play Overwatch with excellent 71ms latency, very similar to the one I usually have without a VPN.
I even played Overwatch on their DoubleHop servers. Latency was around 290ms, which is not ideal — I experienced very little lagging, but still satisfactory.
I found its speeds satisfactory, and most importantly — reliable.
Possibly thanks to its bare-metal servers. Its network consists of physical servers, dedicated to a single user. What this actually means for you is that bare-metal servers, as opposed to virtual ones, don’t get so easily overcrowded which makes the speed and functionality more consistent.
VPN.ac has 50 servers in 20 countries. To make your browsing even more secure, it also features over 30 DoubleHop and around 20 China-optimized servers at the moment. As found on their website, their servers are connected to 1000 Mb/s channels.
As for the bandwidth, I was pleased to find out that VPN.ac has no bandwidth limits:
I also tested to see if there are any fake server locations using ping.pe, and every server I connected to turned out to be legit.
Also, on their website, there’s a page called ‘VPN Nodes Status’ where you can check the real-time bandwidth and status of all their servers. In addition to that, you can also see the current number of their servers and whether there are any infrastructure issues.
Security — Secure and Reliable, Supports Plenty of Protocols
In my experience, VPN.ac is a safe and stable VPN provider with different protocols to choose from.
VPN protocols are important because they can improve safety and speed of your online connection. Some protocols are more focused on security, others on speed. There is no Wireguard for macOS, though.
In case you decide to experiment with different protocols depending on what you’re doing, you will find plenty of choice here. I mostly prefer OpenVPN, simply because it is versatile and the easiest to use.
Luckily, VPN.ac supports this protocol, as well as many others, including IPsec, which has incredibly high security performance. When you add cutting-edge encryption — up to AES-GCM 256-bit with Elliptic Curve or 4096-bit RSA authentication, and Stealth against Firewall/DPI to the mix — you will be more than safe online. Quick tip, though: 256-bit encryption isn’t turned on by default, you need to manually select this option within the app itself, but only when using the OpenVPN protocol:
Moreover, I detected no leaks. My tests showed no DNS or WebRTC leak — I tested servers in the Netherlands, Australia and the US:
If you’re not sure what it all means and which VPN protocol to use, on their Knowledge Base page I found useful tips on which protocol works best with this provider. VPN.ac recommends using OpenVPN with its software for optimum speed, ease of use and security. Also, bear in mind that its kill switch feature has to be turned on manually, within the app itself.
If you want to connect VPN.ac with your home router, again, you can do so by using OpenVPN “with custom ROMs like DD-WRT, Tomato, Advanced Tomato, OpenWRT, AsusWRT/Merlin, pfSense,” as mentioned on their FAQ page.
Even though PPTP is technically the fastest, VPN.ac does not recommend using this protocol because of its weak encryption — which allows for the amazing speeds in the first place.
You can also use IKEv2/IPSec, which is also one of the fastest protocols, in case you want to increase your speed. On top of that, it also offers L2TP which provides a much safer connection than and pure TLS with the browser add-on — with a caveat, though. If you do use add-ons for tunneling, make sure you use Fash, WebRTC and Java because using browser add-ons may allow IP leaking, jeopardizing your security.
As indicated on their website, thanks to their DPI technology, the connections using the SecureProxy don’t trigger alerts like classic VPNs normally do, which means you are more likely to remain undetected.
As far as the company goes, VPN.ac is operated by an IT security company, Netsec Interactive Solutions, whose members are highly-experienced in the IT sector. The company even has ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certifications, which even further show that the organization has invested in the technology and skilled personnel for optimum information security.
As indicated on their website, pentesting and security audit services make the infrastructure incredibly strong. Thanks to their decade-long experience in the security sector, VPN.ac’s encryption and data security are top-notch and compliant even with military and government use requirements.
More than safe for all surfing needs. Even though Romania is the only EU country to ban data retention laws, the incoming data is still subject to data-sharing laws to a certain degree. However, data retention is illegal and unconstitutional according to Romanian laws. This makes Romania a great country to base a VPN provider.
But the question still remains: does VPN.ac keep logs? Yes, and no. As stated on VPN.ac’s FAQ Page, even though it does not monitor or log any kind of user activity, it does keep connection logs to improve security and support.
Technically, logs are deleted daily -– it only keeps connection logs very briefly for troubleshooting purposes. In addition to that, it doesn’t use Google Analytics at all but only stores your chat records for a month, and it doesn’t keep Linux daemons as most other VPNs do.
Torrenting is unlimited and works on every server I tested. But is P2P and torrenting safe using VPN.ac? Yes — but with a caveat. According to their customer support, “connecting to a VPN is not enough by any means, you need to configure your torrent client correctly to work only over a VPN connection.” There is a guide for safe torrenting on its site.
However, what makes VPN.ac potentially a safe option for torrenting is its ability to help you avoid DMCA complaints from your ISP provider. Technically, they are exempt from the usual data retention laws that other EU states are subject to, which makes this VPN provider a good option for torrenting. Being based in Romania, you can use VPN.ac to stay on the safe side while torrenting, but I’d let you decide on that because I don’t condone intellectual property theft nor encourage the illegal download of copyrighted material.
It also prides itself on the “28-gigabit” feature of their servers as well as Secure DNS feature — also relevant for torrenting — and it even gives tips on how to optimize your P2P activity.
In most cases — yes, as indicated on its website. Being able to bypass censorship in China is one of the main selling points of this VPN provider. It has around 20 China-optimized servers equipped with hefty obfuscation tools to help you go around The Great Firewall undetected.
Connecting you through two servers (which are DoubleHop servers) and using OpenVPN XOR and TCP-443 port allows you to remain undetectable, making your connection even more secure and private.
What’s more, in the activation email, you get special tips and instructions from the provider about how to proceed when connecting from China:
The maximum number of devices you can connect at once is 12. Compared to other providers that usually allow up to 5 or a maximum of 6 devices, VPN.ac is quite generous in this department.
The thing is, however, half have to use WireGuard and the other half OpenVPN or IPSec protocols. I tested 4 devices at once, I experienced a slight reduction in speed, but nothing major.
Also, VPN.ac has browser extensions (for Chrome, Firefox and opera) for all major operating systems and devices.
However, browser extensions can make you prone to leaks, which is why this VPN may not be the best if privacy is your main reason for using a VPN.
As found on their website, VPN.ac offers apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, compatible with all new releases and devices. Aside from these, it also supports Linux, and even some rare routers including Tomato, DD-WRT, pfSense, and AsusWRT.
Another useful feature is its browser extension. Even though browser extensions are not as safe as regular VPN apps, they can be a handy and fast feature especially if you need a VPN for basic surfing needs.