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StrongVPN review

Simple apps alongside excellent connection speeds

Strongvpn
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

StrongVPN is a solid VPN service with all the industry-standard features and then some. While it doesn't provide the breadth of servers or offer as many features as some of the leading brands, it offers excellent performance, streaming and browsing on a large number of devices at the same time, as well as mobile support.

For

  • Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 12 simultaneous connections
  • Unblocks Netflix

Against

  • No traditional free trial
  • Based in the US

Not quite as well-known as its big-name competitors, since all the way back in 2005 StrongVPN has been steadily forging a name for itself by delivering a simple product focused around security and streaming.

Head over to the website and you won’t find the usual marketing bluster, and instead you’ll be met with the StrongVPN ethos – simplicity rules, and if it works well, there’s no need to over-egg it.

With 950+ servers in over 35 countries, it boasts a serviceable, if not massive, server network, and with good P2P support, Netflix unblocking, excellent connection speeds and the ability to use your subscription on up to 12 devices simultaneously, there’s definitely a lot to like about the provider.

Want to know if StrongVPN can match up to the very best VPN providers today? Just keep scrolling to read our comprehensive StrongVPN review.

Strongvpn review - devices

(Image credit: Future)

Pricing

As we’d expect, StrongVPN’s pricing structure is pretty down-to-earth. There are two plans to choose from – one month, and one year.

If you go for the one-month plan, you’ll pay a very reasonable $5, which jumps up to $10 every month after the first upon renewal.

Bag a one-year plan and you can drop prices quite significantly. For the first year you’ll pay just $39.99, which works out at $3.33 a month, but again, be aware that after renewal you’ll be paying twice that at $6.67 a month.

However, a nice bit of added value comes in the form of a free 250GB plan with cloud storage provider SugarSync. This is the same as what IPVanish used to offer, and if you’ll use it, it’s definitely worth considering.

There’s no VPN free trial, but all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test the service thoroughly before committing – and payments can be made via major credit cards, PayPal, and Alipay.

Privacy and security

StrongVPN provides good basic privacy thanks to the use of military-grade 256-bit encryption. Connecting is performed through OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, and SSTP protocols, as well as the proprietary WireGuard technology. This new protocol was introduced with the goal of having different protocols’ best features assembled into one.

It provides faster speeds than OpenVPN, increases performance, requires less computational resources than IPSec, is more secure than all other protocols, and is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android clients.

An additional safety feature traditionally used by VPN providers is a kill switch, and StrongVPN has one as well. When turned on, a kill switch will jump in whenever the VPN connection drops, effectively blocking your Internet connection so no data is leaked.

StrongVPN calls itself a ‘zero-logging VPN’, which means it will never track or store your data and browsing activities while connected to its service. It only collects the information necessary for account creation which it promises not to sell to third parties.

Unfortunately, this is as much detail as we get in the Privacy Policy, and there has been no outside confirmation of these no-logging claims. Since other VPN providers are starting to open their doors to independent auditors, it would do well for StrongVPN to do the same.

This would mean a lot for people concerned about the physical location of the StrongVPN headquarters - the United States, a country whose government is known for anything but keeping its nose out of people’s online activities.

Performance

Connections speeds are almost as important as the privacy and security of a service, and this is where many users’ minds will be made up. We tested StrongVPN on two 1Gbps connections – US and UK – and used a number of speed testing sites and services to judge exactly what the VPN can deliver.

Using OpenVPN in the US, speeds reached 190-230Mbps. That’s not up there with the very fastest, but still very usable. IKEv2 speeds jumped to 260-280Mbps in the US, which is rather impressive – only beaten by ExpressVPN.

If you want to max out your speeds, though, we’d strongly suggest using the new WireGuard protocol – and this turns StrongVPN into a seriously fast VPN. In the US we got reliable speeds of around 590-600Mbps, and in the UK it hovered around the 600Mbps for just about every test. Only a select few (NordVPN, Surfshark and ExpressVPN) have beaten these speeds, so if you want to max out your connection, StrongVPN is an excellent choice.

What are StrongVPN's apps like?

StrongVPN supports a wide range of platforms. These include Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Fire TV, for which it has native clients. Plenty of other platforms are covered with manual setup guides and include Linux, Synology NAS, Kodi, Amazon Kindle, Chrome OS, as well as specific router models. You can also purchase a router with StrongVPN already installed.

The service can be used on up to 12 devices simultaneously, while the router support gives you the possibility to increase this already high number to virtually unlimited. This is possible because a router counts as only one device, regardless of how many other devices are connected to it.

The Windows client offers up a small map which highlights your current location, and it displays your external IP. A single click can get you connected.

You can also use a server list to choose your location, but while it works well, there are no additional amenities such as a favorites system or ping time display.

That lack of user-friendly niceties is a running theme, too. You can’t connect to a new server without manually disconnecting first, you can’t double click on a server to quick connect, and the system tray icon doesn’t give you options to connect to any particular location. The map itself is also quite rudimentary, with no zooming or panning.

That’s not all bad, though, as everything is very simple to use. Connections times are quick, and of course, you’re likely to get great speeds as mentioned above. You’ll also get a useful kill switch to protect you if your connection dies – and its performance is much better since our last test.

On iOS and Android, things are much the same – with a similar interface and simple features. Unfortunately neither have a kill switch (although you can always use Android’s in-built kill switch), but you’ll still get OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard support. That’s better than many competitors.

You’ll also be able to use split tunneling, which is an omission we’d love to see implemented on desktop too.

Overall, StrongVPN’s mobile apps are very usable, if not the most powerful on the market.

(Image credit: Future)

Streaming and torrenting

As more and more people realise what VPNs can offer when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content, this is becoming an ever-more important section.

In our Netflix testing we had no issues, with StrongVPN accessing US Netflix from a variety of servers. It also allowed us to watch Disney+, and what’s more, Amazon Prime is available too.

The only fly in the ointment is BBC iPlayer, which we couldn’t get working, but many VPNs struggle with the service.

A number of the best streaming VPN services do perform slightly better (ExpressVPN and NordVPN for a start), but overall StrongVPN is rather impressive when it comes to unblocking content.

However, we’ve got no complaints when it comes to torrenting, as every one of StrongVPN’s servers is fit for P2P use.

Customer support

If you encounter any problems when installing and using the service, you can consult the library of articles on the help site. They are divided into groups according to the area covered, including setup guides, technical support, billing support, FAQ, and about section. The support site is searchable by keyword.

StrongVPN also has a blog, which is a good read for anyone interested in both the company and the VPN industry in general.

For all your concerns that cannot be answered by the support site, the company’s expert customer service agents are there for you, 24/7. You can reach them on live chat or submit a detailed request on the website and get a response via email in under an hour. 

A welcome addition to these common practices is the phone line which allows you to get in touch with them anytime during the company’s office hours - between 9 AM and 5 PM CT (UTC -6), Monday through Friday.

Bottom line

Although more pricing options would be highly appreciated and the fact that the provider is based in the US does raise some concerns, StrongVPN is a generally well-rounded service that opens many doors for its users - streaming geographically restricted content and torrenting on many devices, all the while boasting excellent speeds. The phone support provides even more options to establish contact with the company and get speedy assistance.

Specs

Client platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, DDWRT, macOS, GLiNet routers, Android TV.
Supported protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP and WireGuard
No. of servers: About 950
No. of countries: About 20
Country of registration: USA
Payment options: Credit cards, PayPal, Alipay
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: IKEv2 
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: 12
Customer support: Email, live chat
Privacy policy: No logging

(Image credit: Future)