STRONGVPN REVIEW

Summary

Strong VPN Best – for protection reliability and speed efficiency

StrongVPN is a top, popular VPN service best known for its protection reliability and connection efficiency. The VPN’s name is an excellent indication of its strength of service. It is not overloaded with gimmicks but performs as needed. Also, although it’s based in the US, it has some unique anti-censorship tools, which ensure that it’s under the radar – an advantage that enables them to bypass important geo-restricted sites such as Netflix, Hulu, etc. StrongVPN has a large customer base because of its remarkable service reliability.

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Quick Stats

12

Money Back Guarantee

30 days

Supported Streaming Services

Netflix, Hulu, CBS, HBO, BBC iPlayer

Concurrent Connections

12

Logging Policy

No Logging

P2P Allowed

Yes

Smart DNS

Yes

Encryption

Military Grade AES 256 Bit

Supported Protocols

OpenVPN, L2TP-IPSec, SSTP, IKEv2

Special Features

Double VPN, Kill-Switch, Hide IP, BitTorrent P2P allowed, DNS leak protection

Customer Support

24/7 live support

Server locations

46+ cities across 20+ countries

Number of Servers

650+

Supported Devices

Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android

Jurisdiction

USA

Introduction

2018 has seen StrongVPN make much-needed improvements on its features, performance and design interface – a complete overhaul of its client apps. It’s now clean, with an intuitive user experience. The newly overhauled VPN service aims for simplicity, reliability, and efficiency.

However, how has it performed so far this year? What other perks does this VPN have in store? That is what we aim to review and find out. We promise you an honest and unbiased review so stay tuned.

Jurisdiction

StrongVPN is based in the USA, Dallas, Texas to be exact. Naturally, we consider this a major turnoff.

Servers

StrongVPN operates more than 650 servers in over 46 cities, across 20+ countries – a low coverage compared to its competitors. The VPN has most of its servers spread throughout Europe, North America, and a few in South America, Asia – no coverage in Africa.

The VPN performed well during our testing period. We did not encounter any performance issues, or mid-playback buffering during streaming media content. We also noticed that the VPN worked seamlessly during gaming, without lag (when connected to the default “best available location server”).

To test the performance of servers across all regions, we tried to download content while connected to multiple server locations. We must attest, however, that the results were unexpectedly satisfying. The download rate did not vary much – as expected, the rate went down when we connected to a server far away from our actual location.

Protection

Strict no-logs policy

StrongVPN is based in the United States – a factor that could scare aware prospective users worried about the US intelligence agencies, constantly prying on user data. Nevertheless, StrongVPN maintains a strong claim that they uphold a strict no-logs policy and they don’t store any user traffic. We would prefer they be located somewhere offshore.

Connection protocols

StrongVPN advises its users to use either OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols for the latest versions of client apps. The IKEv2 protocol has been gaining popularity in the cybersecurity industry – especially on mobile security. The protocol can connect and disconnect quickly without suffering any security dangers. However, if you prefer a more solid protocol, we advise you use OpenVPN.

Encryption

The old versions of StrongVPN client apps support 256-Bit encryption under the OpenVPN protocol. Its PPTP protocol supports 128-Bit encryption, while the L2TP protocol uses 256-Bit encryption. PPTP is really fast but deprecated so use with caution.

However, the newly updated client apps use the following encryption techniques when connected with OpenVPN in TLS mode:

  • 256-Bit AES CBC channel encryption
  • 2048-Bit Diffie Hellman RSA key
  • 256-SHA authentication
  • Perfect forwarding secrecy

While its IPSec’s ESP (Encapsulating Security Payload) offers data integrity, encryption, authentication and anti-replay attack functionality on IKEv2 protocols using the following parameters:

  • 256-Bit AES encryption
  • 8192-Bit Diffie Hellman MODP key
  • 512- SHA authentication
  • Perfect forwarding secrecy

Both OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols provide enough security for the vast majority of connected users.

It’s unfortunate that the old client apps won’t utilize the current security parameters. The VPN has lately been advancing its client apps for popular platforms, including Windows, iOS, Android, macOS and browser extensions. However, StrongVPN seemed to have turned its focus away from unsupported devices like routers and set-top boxes that need manual setup configurations. Also, while the old configuration files might work on the latter devices, they lack updated security standards.

Internet kill switch

This feature is only found on the desktop apps, but are not found on the mobile clients. Moreover, the feature can only be activated using either OpenVPN or L2TP protocols. The kill switch is designed to disconnect your connected device, during unexpected connection drops – preventing data from leaking outside of the VPN tunnel. The feature is particularly significant for P2P sharing – making sure you are always concealing your actual IP address.

Speed

Apart from security and privacy, speed is another factor of consideration when selecting a VPN provider. The higher the speed, the better. A good VPN service ought to have high connection speeds, regardless of the distance of connected server location.

Note that this reviewer is currently on a slow internet connection, so these speeds are not an indication of the speed of the provider and are in relation to this reviewers connection.

StrongVPN has an excellent reputation when it comes to speed. Unlike other VPNs, the VPN doesn’t drop much – visible results from our tests are below. The speed test we performed using the Speedtest tool, before and after connecting to the VPN, revealed impressive results. Moreover, we tried accessing various popular streaming sites such as Netflix US, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer – and the experience was satisfying – no buffering nor lags of any kind.

You should know that the speed test results displayed depend on the state of the network strength, which kept fluctuating. Therefore, the results must be considered as such.

We started our speed test with the baseline – testing the speed while the VPN was off. The snapshot below illustrates the results.

Now we tried to connect to a nearby server and run the speed test. See how the speeds didn’t change much from the original baseline test.

As amazing as that was, the results we got after connecting to a faraway server was genuinely refreshing. The figures almost never changed – a perfect indication that StrongVPN is genuinely a fast VPN.

DNS leak test

StrongVPN performed well in our DNS test too. DNS leaks are a common phenomenon with VPN services – some VPN services can leak DNS data by accident. Below is a screenshot of the results we recorded after performing a thorough DNS leak test – recorded zero leaks.

Pricing and payment options

StrongVPN is currently only offering two subscription plans. You can choose from either of the plans – both have a 30-day money back guarantee. You can, for instance, choose to select the monthly plan which goes for $10 per month – not recommended. Consequently, you can go for the annual plan, now at a lowered rate of $5.83 every month – you’ll pay $69.99 for the entire year.

Payment options

StrongVPN supports all major credit cards, PayPal and AliPay. They recently removed the Bitcoin option – which was available before. To buy a subscription, you need a working email address and choose from either of the listed payment option to complete the subscription process.

Supported connections

StrongVPN is probably the only VPN service to allow concurrent connections of up to 12 devices under a single account. Client apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Linux and other supported devices can be set up manually.

Features

StrongVPN boasts of all the essential features you’ll desire in a basic VPN service.

Kill-Switch

You’ll notice the Kill-Switch feature, which works by automatically disconnecting your internet connectivity when there’s a VPN connection drop. This is important because an accidental VPN connection drop can lead to the exposure of your actual IP address.

Anonymous browsing

The VPN also boasts of improved global server coverage – ensuring strong performance. This allows for efficient anonymous browsing, a feature which conceals your IP address, so your online presence remains untraceable with a virtual IP.

Bypass censorship

This feature enables users to watch their favorite content on all popular streaming outlets – despite any geo-restrictions being in place. The feature also allows for access to blocked websites and portals – not otherwise reachable without a VPN.

WiFi Protect

This feature works by protecting your traffic data when connected to a public WiFi network – protecting you from prying eyes of hackers and phishers. WiFi protect ensures your online presence is masked, making you undetectable on a public Wifi.

Ease of use

StrongVPN has a clean, intuitive, and an easy-to-navigate website – all new.

Setup and Interface

Its client apps have similarly been upgraded to offer a premium look. All the main controls are found on the user dashboard for all the client apps. The auto-server select option is an excellent addition if you want to get connected quickly – the VPN chooses a server location close to your physical location for faster connection speeds.

The connection process is quick – once you tap on the connection button – it takes mere seconds to connect. The disconnection process is equally instantaneous. You can navigate to the “Settings” window if you wish to fine-tune connection options.

StrongVPN Windows client

To download the windows client app, click on the Account tab found on the top menu of the official website, then go to StrongVPN client page. Choose the client you prefer and download. Click the setup wizard, and finally, input your login details created at the time of the subscription to start.

Server list

Unfortunately, StrongVPN doesn’t label its servers as per their use-case. This makes it challenging to select servers for specific tasks – say for streaming content. For instance, to get a server that successfully gives you access to Netflix US, you might need to consult with the live support agents. Otherwise, the process might take you some time to get the right server to use – a trial and error technique.

Settings and customization

You can access the settings window by clicking the settings icon at the top bar. Here are the settings options you can choose to tweak:

  • Options – this includes various aspects of the app status, like reconnect, connect on launch, start when windows starts, and display notifications on the taskbar. You can also activate the kill switch feature on this window.
  • Protocols – here you have connection options by selecting between OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP or the L2TP protocols. The app automatically selects the best protocol, or you can choose to pick the one you prefer. As always, we recommend you go for OpenVPN, considering it offers an excellent balance of tight security and high speeds.
  • OpenVPN – still under OpenVPN, you’ll get “Scramble” option, which allows for obfuscation – to conceal you from various network traffic sensors that could otherwise detect your presence. It bypasses a technology knows as Deep Packet Inspection.
  • Information – here you’ll find your account details. A get help button for contacting customer service – only available through the browser website.
  • Diagnostics – this page offers a timeline of app activity – from the time of connection, or when you reconnect to a different server location.
  • Updates – this section allows you to set up how often the client app can search for updates.

StrongVPN Mobile client

The mobile client apps have a similar new premium look, like the windows client. The experience was almost identical for both the apps – windows and mobile. To get connected, you can choose the “Best Available location” option to get started.



You can open its settings page, by tapping on the 3-vertical dots at the top-right corner of the app. The settings menu is a lot simpler compared to the one on the windows client app. It has various options, including Protocol, Auto Reconnect, Scramble, as well as Contact – for customer support. Mobile client apps only support OpenVPN protocol – an excellent choice.

Customer support

StrongVPN offers 24/ 7 customer support for live chat, and email – accessed through the website. They also provide plenty of reading materials such as guides, troubleshooting, FAQs and an indexed search bar for self-service troubleshooting.

When we tried to contact their 24/7 live chat support, the system took about 25 seconds to assign me an agent.
The agent assigned was polite and patient. He was eager to answer even the most basic queries we threw at him. The questions he was unfamliliar with were quickly redirected to a technical agent who was able to answer our questions.

Compatibility

Compatibility with streaming services

StrongVPN unblocks US Netflix. Netflix is one of the popular streaming services that has managed to blacklist most VPN services – resulting in annoying playback errors for most providers. However, when we tested with StrongVPN – through the web browser and mobile app – StrongVPN was able to unblock Netflix US content easily.

You should know that we were lucky to unblock Netflix content on the first server we tested. However, we cannot guarantee all servers work that fast. We suggest you contact customer support to guide you get the best server to connect to – “if” you find yourself struggling.
StrongVPN also unblocked content on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer on our tests.

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Bottom Line

ProsCons
Automated Kill-Switch, ObfuscationNot the broadest server coverage
New easy to use appsNo free trial
Great for Netflix US, Hulu, BBC, etc.
P2P and torrenting allowed
No-Loging Policy
OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, SSTP protocols supported
Works in China
AES 256 Bit encryption
12 Concurrent devices
24/7 Customer Support
30-Day money back guarantee

StrongVPN has improved immensely over the last year. It’s new, more straightforward, and the more minimalistic client apps are a big plus. Its user dashboard and settings menu have been simplified to accommodate both, technical, and regular users.

When compared to other top VPNs such as ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN and NordVPN, Strong VPN has done well regarding its military-grade security, performance, and speed. However, its server location coverage remains a setback the company is yet to improve.

Finally, all VPN experiences often differ from user to user. However, StrongVPN has simple, easy to use minimalistic feature-packed apps that offers an excellent user experience. The strict no-logs policy is good, but we are still not happy that the company is based in the United States. If in doubt, you can always give them a shot, and you’re your money back because they offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

Disclosure
The VPN Guru is an independent review site. In order to pay fund ourselves, we do receive affiliate compensation for clicking on our links. Note that this does not affect our reviews. It may, however, impact the location and/or prominence of the placement of location on where the VPN’s appear on the site.