Ace VPN Review (2020): 5 Warning Signs
Given the relevance of the issue of online privacy today, it’s no surprise that VPN services are more popular than ever. With so many VPNs on the market, however, it’s quite hard to choose the right one for you.
You wouldn’t know whether a service meets your needs unless you actually try it first. That’s why I tested AceVPN before making any decisions.
In this AceVPN review, I’ll tell you about my experience with it, so that you too can decide for yourself.
Main Points About the Service
|Locations & Servers||26+ countries, 50+ servers|
|Supported Protocols||OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2|
|Torrent and P2P allowed||Yes|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, routers, TV with free Smart DNS|
|Price, Free Trial||No free trial|
|Better alternative:||Find it here|
What To Consider Before Investing in a VPN?
Privacy & Security
The primary reason people get a VPN is the security and privacy it awards for their online activities. With the increased efforts of many governments to censor Internet access, the consumers’ demand for VPN products of the highest standard is also on the rise.
Indeed, for netizens like you concerned about Internet privacy, a VPN could (in some cases, literally!) be a life-saver.
Therefore, it’s very important to be informed about the following features of a VPN:
- Kill Switch;
- Privacy and logging policy;
Speedy Internet Access
Slow Internet is annoying. Which is why a good VPN service would offer strong security together with no-speed loss. This is achieved by having a high number of servers – not only all over the world, but also within a specific country.
The more users connect to a specific server, the higher the reduction in connection speed. It’s therefore important to check how many servers a VPN has, and where they’re located.
Good Value for Money
I wouldn’t get a free VPN – with “free” digital products, you usually pay with your data. Cyber security is a service that costs money, and when you purchase it, you undoubtedly want to know what you’re getting for that money.
Usually, a VPN service offers several options and some offer a free trial to help you decide.
Ease of Usage & Support
Not everyone has the technical expertise for things like manual configuration or setting up protocols. It’s therefore important that a VPN can be easily installed and operated across many platforms.
A fuss-free interface that allows launch by a simple press of a button is ideal for me, since I’m not a techie!
And I’d definitely appreciate having customer support available in the form of live chat, for instance.
SecureNet LLC and AceVPN – Key Facts
AceVPN is owned by a Texas-based company SecureNet LLC.
Launched in 2009, AceVPN claims to offer “super secure, super private and super anonymous” web surfing with “best value for money”.
There are three packages of service on offer. The first is the free Unblock TV / Smart DNS service, which unblocks TV content with geographical restrictions.
The Premium VPN package is $3.89 per month, and the Ultimate VPN package is $11.67 per month (both 3-year deals).
There is no free trial, but the Premium package offers a 7-day money-back guarantee.
There’s no automatic renewal either.
Features, Benefits & Reg Flags
Security & Encryption
AceVPN’s homepage tells us right away why we should choose it, and the first reason is that it’s “super secure, super private and super anonymous”.
The site has an SSL certificate securing it.
The service also promises multiple devices and protocols.
The encryption standard is 256-bits – the strongest one yet. And the range of protocols is indeed impressive. AceVPN supports OpenVPN, IPSEC IKEv2, L2TP / IPSEC, Stealth VPN and PPTP. The latter, however, is no longer considered a safe protocol.
OpenVPN is more secure but requires additional configuration.
Both its data channel and control channel have to be encrypted in the same way, with the AES-256 cipher. That seems to be the case with AceVPN.
Stealth VPN’s support allows for usage of Tor, and for a secure connection in countries like China that use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to block VPN.
Jurisdiction & Logging Policy
SecureNet LLC is based in the United States – a 5-eye jurisdiction.
That means that under an international agreement, the government is entitled to force companies to hand over data such as logs and personal information and share that data with other signatories of that agreement.
It’s unclear where these third parties are located – but if they are located in the US or other 14-eye countries, they can be compelled just like AceVPN to hand over this data. Although AceVPN specifically states that the third parties are prohibited “from using your personal information for any purpose other than that for which such party was engaged”, these prohibitions have no effect on the actions of authorities and the parties would be obliged to comply by law.
The transparency policy of AceVPN is published on a quarterly basis and according to it, they haven’t been served any warrants to date.
That, however, does not mean that it wouldn’t happen in the future.
Server Locations & Options
AceVPN has 50 servers in 26 countries.
For a company that’s been active for ten years, it’s not very high.
Over 25% of netizens of the world use virtual private networks, and the industry is projected to grow by almost 20% over the next few years.
The more people use it, the higher the number of servers a VPN provider should have in order to meet the demand for speedy and secure connection.
Low number of servers means slow connections, and AceVPN unfortunately has that problem, as you’ll see below.
In addition, different packages offer a different range of servers.
The Ultimate VPN offers all 50, but the Premium VPN offers connections to a limited number of countries. So, if you’re located far away from the countries on offer (USA, UK, France), you’d have to pay extra for a speedy connection.
Speed & Performance
As expected, given the low number of servers, connecting to both US and European server has slowed down my Internet considerably.
|Speed before using AceVPN||48 ms||98 Mbps||53 Mbps|
|Connected to Irish server||55 ms||35.20 Mbps (-64.00%)||30.00 Mbps (-44.00%)|
|Connected to New York server||260 ms||7 Mbps Mbps (-91.00%)||9.50 Mbps (-81.00%)|
Customer Service & UX
As I said before, I am not a techie by trade, even though I understand the importance of cybersecurity. For that reason, I wanted a secure VPN that’s also easy to set up and is user-friendly. AceVPN is the opposite of that.
The service requires manual installation and configuration after registering and purchasing either the Premium or the Ultimate package.
There is a Knowledge Base section on AceVPN’s website divided by platform.
Windows was relatively simple to navigate, since I already knew about OpenVPN and other protocols, but I got confused by instructions for other platforms.
The rest of the installation process took a lot of time and effort, involving download and extraction of several files.
For users like me, this is an issue. I understand that AceVPN’s USP is to have the user customize the service to what they want specifically, but it’s very frustrating having to figure out the specifics.
AceVPN also doesn’t have a Live Chat feature. This is especially discouraging when you’re struggling with the installation and the set-up process.
Having a forum on the provider’s website helped a bit, but I would have preferred instant answers to my queries.
Value for Money
AceVPN claims to offer “the best value for money and features”.
I combed through the website and ran some tests on the service to see whether the features important to me were functioning.
Number of Devices
I prefer to use several devices at the same time – my laptop, my phone and my tablet – and to have secure connections on all of them.
All three are of different manufacturers. Although AceVPN supports all the platforms, you can only connect on one device at a time and if you want more connections, you’d need to pay for another account.
This was a significant drawback for me.
Torrenting, or P2P file-sharing, is included in AceVPN’s Ultimate VPN package which offers unlimited bandwidth and costs $11.67 per month.
P2P is possible through dedicated servers included in the package, but you have to download a configuration file.
AceVPN has a special package for streaming alone called Smart DNS.
The provider claims that it’s free. However, there is a small issue of it being accessible only if you purchase one of the two packages.
It’s included in both, but when I tried to get Smart DNS on its own, I got redirected to here, where the only options available for purchase were the two packages.
To me, this is not “free”. This misleading statement about Smart DNS being free of cost was another big red flag for me.
What Do Others Say
Other people’s testimonials that I perused around the web were mixed.
Understandably, AceVPN has put the most raving ones on its website, such as these:
As you can see above, these reviews are on page 2 of AceVPN’s website.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on page 3 and saw this:
Same testimonials. Same Lucy and David. Different pages.
Very suspicious that a provider that claims to have “the best value for money” is recycling reviews. I checked all 10 pages and it was the same situation – identical reviews appeared on different ones.
After surfing the web for AceVPN reviews, I saw that the users’ concerns mostly matched mine. For example:
What Are the Alternatives
NordVPN’s 5639 servers in 60 countries looks much more impressive than AceVPN’s 50 servers. And NordVPN users get the advantage of all those servers, including specialized ones, in all packages.
The 3-year-deal costs only $3.49 per month – much cheaper than AceVPN’s $11.57.
And you get a lot more for the price too – specialized servers, privacy-friendly jurisdiction (Panama), 256-bits encryption, Live Chat support, simultaneous usage across six devices, and user-friendly interface.
So, if you want a secure program that’s easy to navigate and is reasonably priced, consider NordVPN.
ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland – a privacy-friendly jurisdiction – and has a transparent privacy and no-logging policy which aims to collect as little personal info as possible. It also allows for P2P sharing and has the same AES-256 encryption level. In addition, it also boasts of the Perfect Forward Secrecy feature which issues you a new encryption key each time you connect.
This additional layer of privacy, together with the policies is what makes this service so attractive, compared to AceVPN.
However, in terms of speed, it looks to be about the same as AceVPN, since it only has 558+ servers in 42 countries.
But if you’re ready to sacrifice speed in favour of strong privacy protections on up to 5 devices for $8 per month, try ProtonVPN.
CyberGhost is a Romania-based service, which is not a 14-eye state, unlike the US.
It has over 5800 servers in 87 countries – so you’ve a higher chance of a speedy connection than with AceVPN, wherever you might be located. It’s also much easier to use and install than AceVPN.
The features that come with the 1-year package which is only $2.75 per month and the 45-day money-back guarantee include 256-bits encryption, simultaneous secure connection on up to 7 devices, 24/7 live support, Netflix and TOR access.
AceVPN lacks a lot of these features – so if they’re a deal-breaker for you, consider Gyberghost instead.
ExpressVPN offers the same 256-bits encryption as AceVPN, whilst being located in a privacy-friendly country (BVI) and having a genuine no-logging policy backed up by real-life examples.
In addition, the service boasts of 3 000 servers in 94 countries. It supports the same protocols as AceVPN, with the exception of Stealth VPN – but ExpressVPN allows for TOR access as well.
ExpressVPN’s 15 months deal is slightly pricier than AceVPN’s Premium Package, but cheaper than the Ultimate package.
There’s no free trial but there’s a 30-day money-back guaranteeIf you’re happy to pay a bit more for the security, 24/7 customer service and ease of usage (ExpressVPN can be launched with a single press of a button), try ExpressVPN.
Conclusion – Warning Signs
AceVPN’s promise of “super secure, super private and super anonymous” web surfing couldn’t be more relevant today. And indeed, the strong encryption and range of protocols on offer makes it a secure service – at least on paper.
But given the complexity of manual installation and lack of instant customer support, there’s no guarantee that it’d function correctly if you’re not an expert. Plus, the privacy concerns aren’t small.
In addition, the small number of servers make it difficult to get a speedy connection, and $11.57 seems a lot to pay for such fuss and all for a single connection at a time.
I recommend that you check out the alternatives I suggested instead.
In my personal opinion, NordVPN (which annoyingly hides this discount page), is very reasonable choice.