StrongVPN: Complete and Honest Review [Tested in 2020]
|StrongVPN pros||StrongVPN cons|
StrongVPN is one of the oldest VPN providers that was established in 2005. Obviously, prices are not its strong point, they are far from being low. But what will you get paying $52,49 per year? Is it a reasonable investment in your privacy and security? If you want to get to know StrongVPN in its true colors, you need to read on. In this StrongVPN review you will know:
- Can a VPN under the jurisdiction of the USA be trustworthy in the matter of privacy?
- What do the real users think of StrongVPN performance?
- How can you save on Skype calls using this VPN?
- Is it fast enough for its prices?
Use the navigation on the right to access the sections of this StrongVPN review.
StrongVPN: Unique Benefits and Features
As I have already mentioned, StrongVPN is one of the oldest providers which despite the comparatively high prices could manage to keep users’ interest and keeps going to increase its army of admirers. What is the secret? How does it manage to withstand competition in the industry where every provider strives to offer as much as possible to their users? Unlike many other providers which have browsers extensions as an additional tool StrongVPN does not have ones. Nevertheless, it offers a great variety of applications for all sorts of platforms. Besides, it is one of the best VPN providers that are perfect for Skype talks. By the way, did you know that you can save on international calls via Skype using StrongVPN? My main concerns were related to the USA jurisdiction. You probably know that the USA is a constant member of “the Five Eyes Countries” alliance, so this location is far from being perfect for a VPN. Meanwhile, the provider “vows” that they keep no logs and “take your browser history to the grave”. Nevertheless, they will be obliged to give chapter and verse if the government gives an order to compromise your data. StrongVPN offers 950+ servers in 26 countries and 46 cities. And this is not an impressive number. In comparison, another big name of the VPN industry, ExpressVPN offers more than 3000 servers in 94 countries. Though I find StrongVPN download speed mediocre, I can say that overall speed, while I was connected to the provider, was stable. The set of StrongVPN features seems to be not as wide as most competitors have. Its functionality is rather basic. So, if all these advanced features as double encryption, ad blocker, Onion over VPN, and so on have great importance to you, you'd better search for another VPN provider to use (you can read our VPN reviews to choose the appropriate one).
Pros and Cons of StrongVPN
It is high time to tell you about the pros and cons of StrongVPN that I found out while having tested its features. Some of them are obvious, others are hidden and not easy to detect.
StrongVPN practices no logs policy
StrongVPN Refund: After 30 days of use
Some VPN providers allow their users to get access to a free limited version of their service. But StrongVPN makes all the difference. There you cannot find a free trial, so it is impossible to use it without a subscription. But thanks to this provider, you will get access to all the features, 950 servers, and an unlimited bandwidth, even during the 30 days. But clap your eyes on their refund policy before paying a subscription. It includes some nuances:
If you are still doubting, I’ve asked their support team about it and got a response within three minutes. By the way, the StrongVPN support team is their area of strength. I will tell you about it in the next section.
Connecting to up to twelve devices with one account
While most VPN providers allow not more than 5 simultaneous connections, StrongVPN takes it a step further and offers up to 12 connections to different devices with one single account. It is rather convenient if you have a big IoT network, small business or you are searching for a VPN for an office.
Customers’ support: responsive and fast
Being a security expert, I've tested a great number of VPN services and I can tell you for sure that the client support of StrongVPN is one of the best. No matter what problem I addressed them: whether it was a technical issue or the money refund, they surely responded within a couple of minutes. Moreover, unlike many services that use bots for their online chat, with StrongVPN, you can talk with a real person 24/7. As an example, I asked the agent about their Netflix servers:
It is awesome! Keep it up, guys!
Military-grade encryption and a large number of protocols
The entire concept of a VPN is based on encryption. Strong encryption guarantees that your data will be safe when transmitting via a protected channel and no one can get access to it. Where encryption is concerned, this provider has something to boast about. They use AES cipher (Advanced Encryption Standard) and RSA-2048 handshake. The same cipher is used by the FBI, NSA, CIA, and other military structures. So, it is more than enough for most people. Moreover, StrongVPN provides a wide range of protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP and L2TP/IPSec. You can choose one of them on the Setting Menu of the application.
I recommend using the OpenVPN protocol that is available on both Android and desktop versions. However, if you are an iOS or Mac user, IKEv2 will be the best choice for you, then. So, with such a high encryption standard, you can be sure that your data is well protected. Even when using public WiFi network, you will be safe and your IP address will be reliably hidden. When I was writing my StrongVPN review, I carried out an IP Leak test. Read on to know what it revealed.
StrongVPN: Rich server network and stable speed
StrongVPN is far from being a newbie in the industry. It has been existing since 2005 and constantly extending its server network. By now, the network consists of 950 servers in 26 countries around the world. Yes, some providers (as NordVPN, for example) have even more locations but their audience is much larger. Due to the rich network, the servers aren’t overloaded. You can see all of the servers by pressing “Best Location” button on the main menu of the application:
In fact, StrongVPN servers are far from being fast but they have shown stable speed during my speed tests. Besides, according to the test results, the performance of the servers does not depend on its remoteness from my real location. I expected to see a significant speed drop with a remote server in the US, but I was surprised because that server performed better than the one that the VPN marked as “the best available”.
StrongVPN unblocks Netflix
The content of some streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer, is geo-restricted. I mean, the list of available movies and serials will be different depending on where you are. Besides, Netflix loves to block VPNs, they have an advanced system that identifies those who use a proxy or a VPN. So, not many providers manage to get access to the full catalog of Netflix content that only US and Canada residents have access to. But StrongVPN does! All their US servers work with Netflix. I saw it for myself having conducted the Netflix test.
StrongVPN is compatible with Skype, Viber, and other VoIP services
One of the greatest StrongVPN features is Skype compatibility. Actually, it is one of the best VoIP providers. Many people use it to pay less for international calls via Skype. How? It is easy! With Skype services, the calls are charged at tariffs that depend on your IP address. Thus, if you are in the USA and you are calling your American friend, that is an internal call. And, for example, if you are calling to India from American IP, it will be an international call that is charged at higher rates. However, if you connect to the Indian StrongVPN server, you can make Skype think that this call takes place within one country.
Awkward switching between servers
When writing StrongVPN review and testing the provider, I’ve noticed one strange issue. The point is that you cannot just switch from one server to another. In order to change a server, you need to disconnect from a previous one at first (thus revealing your real IP), and just after that, you are allowed to choose the next server. It is awkward and rather inconvenient!
StrongVPN could be faster
The speed of StrongVPN servers is mediocre. However, they are fast enough for streaming services. But taking into account the above-average prices of the service, I was surprised seeing such mediocre results during my test. The speed is definitely not the strongest side of the provider. Some other services which prices are approximately the same show much better performance when it comes to speed. For example, NordVPN can be proud of its minimal speed loss. You can find the rating of the fastest VPNs in one of my previous reviews.
StrongVPN: Costliness and no free trial
There are only two paid plans (the third one with a 3-month subscription was stopped by the provider lately). Now a user can choose from month subscription for $10 and annual subscription for $ 69.99 per year. Having chosen the last option, you save 42% by monthly billing and pay $5.83 per month.
The prices are quite high for the US-based provider, especially given that the functionality of the VPN is basic, the speed is mediocre, and the service is not popular. Other services have the same features and do not cost an arm and a leg. You can get to know about these providers from my “cheap VPN” review.
The USA jurisdiction
The USA is a constant member of “The Five Eyes” alliance, so it throws discredit on your privacy protection. Indeed, the service based in the US could do more in order to offer proof of being a zero-logging VPN. Even less, some of the big competitors (as SurfShark or TunnelBear) made their systems publicly audited to prove their trustworthiness. Just saying “Believe us, we do not collect your logs” is not enough anymore. Nevertheless, as far as StrongVPN is based in the US, I do not recommend using the service for BitTorrent or other torrent clients. If torrenting is essential, there are a lot of other VPNs for torrenting.
StrongVPN: Benefits and Features
StrongVPN has applications for different platforms and operating systems:
- Windows (Phone, RT, Mobile, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10);
- Ubuntu Linux;
- Android TV;
- Fire Stick;
- Fire TV.
When I was writing this review, I’ve read many users’ complaints about difficulties in downloading and configuration of a StrongVPN client. It is fair to say that StrongVPN has done much to improve the usability of their site and app. All it takes is to have a look at how their official site used to look like just a year ago:
Now it looks up-dated and attractive. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to examine StrongVPN software itself to let you know whether it is user-friendly or not.
Test 1: Is it easy to download and use StrongVPN?
StrongVPN Setup on PC: First of all, you need to choose a tariff and pay for the subscription. Once the registration is complete, you will come across this window:
After you click on the link, you will be redirected to the StrongVPN login page where you need to enter your email and the password.
Having pressed the “Login” button, you will be redirected to the customer’s area. Here you can download a free proxy extension and download StrongVPN client.
Then you need to download and install the VPN on your operating system. The process is simple even for a twelve o'clock flasher.
Then the StrongVPN software will be downloaded automatically. It takes no more than a few minutes. All the process took five minutes. I find the interface of a StrongVPN app for Windows 10 to be quite user-friendly and intuitive. You can find the Setting menu in the right corner of the app.
Here you can turn on/off the options of the app:
You can choose the servers by the search. Besides, you can find the server using the “Best Available’’ option (servers are chosen automatically).
- Auto-reconnect on/off;
- Connect on launch;
- Start VPN on startup (auto-start of VPN after you start your PC);
- Kill Switch;
Conclusion: The StrongVPN app for Windows 10 is user-friendly, easy to install and use. As one of the main reasons people buy a VPN is for watching Netflix and downloading torrenting, I decided to examine StrongVPN: whether it unblocks Netflix and torrent sites.
Test 2: Does NordVPN work with Netflix?
The provider has 14 US servers that could connect to Netflix. I connected to the US server in Chicago to access American Netflix.
Then I tried to download the “100 days of Loneliness” documentary that is available only for US residents. As you may see from the screenshot, I’ve succeed.
Test 3: Does StrongVPN work with torrenting?
I got connected to one of the StrongVPN servers in the Netherlands and tried to download a 797 MB file. It’s a go! The file was downloaded in less than 10 minutes.
Conclusion: VPNs are famous for torrenting and peer-to-peer file-sharing and StrongVPN certainly does not disappoint.
StrongVPN: Speed and Security Tests
For my StrongVPN review I have tested two kinds of servers:
- a server that is not far from my real location, which was marked as “the best available”;
- a remote server in the USA.
StrongVPN speed test results
The first thing I need to do for my test is to fix the speed of my ISP without a VPN. The download speed was 76.08 Mbps and upload – 76.57 Mbps.
Then I decided to connect to the server that is not far from my real location, in Europe. I allowed the VPN to choose an appropriate server with the best speed, and the provider determined the Polish server as that one.
Here is the result:
Well, I would not include StrongVPN in my list of the fastest VPN services. The download speed drops by 30% as compared with the speed provided by my ISP. Actually, I expected a better result with the nearby server. The upload speed is agreeable. Here are the speed test results when I was connected to one of the UK servers:
The result is approximately the same as the previous one. Let alone with upload speed that has become better. That's funny, it's usually the other way around. The further the server, the worse the metrics. Let's have a look at another server in the USA, which is used for unblocking geo-restricted Netflix content. I have chosen the server in Atlanta:
As you can see, that server is even faster than the previous ones. The download speed has increased up to 33.65 mbps and the upload speed - up to 69.67 mbps. Nevertheless, it is enough for watching video content.
StrongVPN IP Leak Test: is it trustworthy?
It is no secret that the main reason why people download and install a VPN is to ensure their privacy and security when online. So if an IP leak takes place, it will bring to naught the whole concept of this tech. So, let's check whether StrongVPN reliably hides your IP from the prying eyes. How did I check it out? The first thing I need to do is to get to know my real IP. I use this service for this purpose: https://ipleak.net/. My next step is to enable several StrongVPN servers to identify whether IP leaks or not. NB: if you see your real IP or DNS when the VPN server is connected, it means that the leak is taken place. Thus, your Internet Service Provider will see everything you are doing on the Internet. Here are the results of the IP and DNS Leak test for the StrongVPN UK server:
Other servers: Singapore, IP 188.8.131.52 – No leaks USA, Dallas, IP 184.108.40.206 – No leaks Turkey, Istanbul, IP 220.127.116.11 – No leaks Conclusion: the VPN hides your IP address and does not allow your ISP or other third parties to spy on you, and see where you are, what you are up to on the Internet. StrongVPN is 100% trustworthy.
StrongVPN: Frequently Asked Questions
Is it true that StrongVPN has a referral program?
Yes. You can benefit from referring new customers to the provider. After an invited person signs up, you will be eligible to earn a 20$ for future purchases. You can read on the referral program on the official website.
What is StrongDNS? Is it a part of the provider?
In order to find an answer, I contacted their online support. I’ve found out that StrongDNS is a separate service.
Can I use Bitcoins for subscription payment?
Yes. StrongVPN accepts Bitcoins since 2013. It is a perfect payment method for convenience and security.
Do they have obfuscated servers?
Yes, it is possible to enable the scramble option so you can bypass internet restrictions.