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StrongVPN is one of the oldest and most popular VPN services in the world. With close to 15 years in the industry, 950+ servers, different encryption protocols, it rightfully deserves a thorough review to discover its strengths and flaws. At a glance, this extensive VPN reviews looks at the advantages and disadvantages of using StrongVPN, user preference, customer service, security, and privacy, and performance (speeds).
The StrongVPN app might have been launched in 2005, but the company began in 1994 by selling computers and other accessories. Later, through California.net, the company expanded the business to offer dial-up internet services. StrongVPN is based in California, USA.
The StrongVPN app is easy to download, set up, and use. The interface on the homepage is quite informative that you’ll know what to do just by simply skimming over the page. Simply put, it provides the basic features, which don’t distract you from the main information. Consider going to the options menu if you want to dig for more information and features. You can then configure the software according to your tests and preferences.
It’s also easy to connect to a server. Unless you want something specific, the StrongVPN app does all the work for you. On the downside, there are no special mentions for servers that make streaming from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. a snap as seen with other SaferVPN and other prominent services.
Both Android and Windows apps are extremely easy to use. However, the Windows app tends to have a few more settings than the Android client. But still, the two apps are identical in various ways. This makes it easy for you to switch from one device to the other whenever you’re using the VPN. If you find issues using the StrongVPN software, drop your query on the live chat feature on the bottom right-hand side of the VPN’s website. Also, the site’s readability and colors are features to behold.
StrongVPN is compatible with most devices and operating systems as explained below.
Use the step-by-step instructions to configure your router and protect all internet traffic in your home.
Streaming Devices and Games Consoles:
Follow the manual configuration instructions to install StrongVPN on your PlayStation, AppleTV, Xbox, and Amazon Fire TV. The VPN also works on Roku, Chromecast, and Nintendo.
StrongVPN has taken great strides in increasing its server locations across the world. Less than two years ago, the service operated about 600 server locations in 19 countries. But as of December 2019, StrongVPN has 950+ servers spread across 59 cities in 35 countries. With such an impressive number of speeds, you’re certain of concealing your identity and bypassing thousands of censored sites in various locations. On top of that, StrongVPN offers more than 59,500 IP addresses.
StrongVPN claims that they have the best customer service when it comes to response time and quality. And true to their word, the operator has one of the best customer support teams. Its website has around the Clock Live Technical Support team (24/7 live chat). When we tested this site, the tech support was very dedicated and had in-depth knowledge of all the queries we submitted. The customer support is divided into three departments, namely Billing Support, Sales, and Technical Support. You just have to enter your email and insert your query where you’re placed on a queue, and in less within a few seconds, someone will reach out to you.
You may also present non-urgent issues via email. You may send the message via your email address or leave behind a message on the contact form provided on the website. They may take a few hours to get back to you, which is exceptional, considering that they have a live chat option where all your queries are answered instantly. Give them a call at +1-800-755-8001 from 9 am – 5 pm CT (UTC -6), Monday – Friday.
StrongVPN offers only two subscription plans and this may be a little disappointing to most VPN clients looking for more options. The monthly plan costs $10 and the same amount is billed every month, while the 12 months plan is priced $5.83 and is billed $69.99 per year. You want to opt for 12 months plan and save 42 per cent of the total cost.
This service should consider introducing both short-term and long-term plans to appeal to customers with different payment expectations. Longer-term subscriptions say more than one-year plans, are relatively cheap and come with a myriad of discounts. Likewise, three-months, twice-a-year plans offer some savings when compared to one-month plans.
A free trial is not available. However, StrongVPN gives its users a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee if the service doesn’t satisfy their needs. The good news with this money-back guarantee is that no one will ask you any question. You only need to enter your details and claim back your money.
StrongVPN supports various payment options
These options should cover your payment needs but you’ll have to go for other VPNs if your preferred payment method is not included. You may have read elsewhere that StrongVPN accepts payment in Bitcoin, but this is false. When we inquired about this issue, “Hello, do you accept payments in Bitcoins?”, a billing support agent responded, “Hello. No, sorry. We accept credit cards, PayPal, Alipay and ApplePay.” This is one area they should work on because most VPN users want to stay anonymous- even during payments.
Follow these steps to use StrongVPN:
You need to create an account with the operator before using the service. Make sure that you have your email address because you will be asked to provide one. Select your preferred plan, and enter your email address. Next, you’re required to choose your preferred method of payment.
Once you’ve created an account, select your device’s system from a list of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon.
After installing the StrongVPN application, open it, and choose a server location of your preference. Then, you can unlock the blocked sites to stream, play games, or read games. Remember that you can also download content from the censored sites. However, copyright laws prohibit you from using other people’s content without their consent, and this may land you in trouble.
Netflix is known for its tough measures against VPNs and hackers. And most VPNs are unable to stream Netflix sites. They crack down on unblockers, proxies, and VPNs intended to bypass its sites. With that said, any service that can unblock geo-restricted Netflix sites passes as a powerful VPN. Our tests showed that StrongVPN can restore Netflix compatibility from both the U.S. and U.K. servers.
However, the VPN was unable to bypass Netflix Canada and France. StrongVPN’s website asserts that it supports Kodi, HBO, Sky Go, and ABC, in addition to Netflix. StrongVPN allows you to stream content from NBC.com and ABC.com. You can also use StrongVPN to watch content from Channel 4. However, the service failed to unblock BBC iPlayer. Hulu is also blocked on most of its U.S. servers.
One of the reasons you use a VPN is to conceal identity when sharing bits of larger files with other people online. This is called torrenting. StrongVPN doesn’t disappoint when it comes to torrenting and P2P downloads. The download speeds for torrents may not be the best even when using fast connections. But with StrongVPN, there is a significant increase in torrent speeds.
Considering that StrongVPN launched more than a decade ago, the service regularly changes its privacy policies regularly depending on the client’s needs and expectations. Find out about StrongVPN’s logging policy, DNS and WebRTC leaks, and protocol options to determine if the network is secure or not.
Most VPN companies, especially the free ones, make your online activities less secure despite promising you that they keep no logs. They share your information and activity with third parties. But how do VPN networks keep your logs? When browsing, you hide behind a VPN’s server IP and the company providing the network may collect and record your data and activities. The service operator may then decide to hand over your information to government agencies, copyright holders, and other third parties.
StrongVPN offers a good selection of strong, popular protocols to ensure that your data is fully encrypted. They include IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Protocol Version 2), OpenVPN (TCP, UDP and Scramble connection types), SSTP, IPSec (IP Security), L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol), and WireGuard protocols. These protocols work different depending on the type of device you’re using and your needs. So which protocol should you use?
Don’t hesitate to select IPSec/IKEv2 if you’re using Windows, macOS, and iOS. IKEv2 is fast, secure, and allows you to switch between Wi-Fi and cellular networks without interfering with your VPN connection. IPSec is the older and less secure form of IKEv2 and only works for macOS and iOS devices. Go for OpenVPN if you’re on Android or of you’ve issues using IKEv2 on your Windows and macOS systems. However, SSTP would be the ideal choice if you only use the VPN on a Windows device.
WireGuard might be a new protocol, but it is easier and faster than its predecessors. It’s also more secure than other protocols. This protocol is ideal when you’re running a VPN on various platforms and devices. WireGuard works perfectly with macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. The mix of speed and security and the ability to work on any device is why WireGuard should be your preferred protocol.
In the realms of technology, kill switch is a mechanism that halts all internet traffic from and to your device when the VPN connection drops. This prevents any unencrypted data from leaking and is quite useful for peer-to-peer file sharing. StrongVPN provides a kill switch for its Windows clients. The process of enabling the kill switch is also simple in that you just need to navigate to the settings menu, click Options, and check the box named ‘Kill Switch’. On macOS devices, click on the StrongVPN tab, select preferences, select ‘General’, and check the kill switch box. Note that the kill switch works only for OpenVPN and LT2P protocols.
It is a no brainer that your main reasons for using a VPN are to hide your identity and protect your data. Without a VPN, DNS servers will identify the web server and IP address whenever you enter a URL in a browser. StrongVPN passes this test, considering that your IP address is kept concealed. However, when using DNSLeak.com for testing, we found out that DNS information is not leaked, but it shows that the connection was done by StrongVPN. The test identifies Strong Technologies, LLC as the customer. Such usage leaks may be problematic if an organization wants to determine if you’re using a VPN. So, if you simply want to protect yourself online, StrongVPN should be your choice. But you may have to look elsewhere if you want no one to know that you’re using a VPN.
WebRTC is a protocol that allows you to share real-time files and videos without necessarily using extra plugins. This communication protocol might predispose your identity and data to unwanted users. Using ipleak.net to test if StrongVPN protects WebRTC, there were no issues. The network’s dedicated DNS servers help you maintain anonymous browsing and file sharing. The leak test results might only show a shared address space IP.
Speed is as important as anonymity in VPN purchases. But encryption usually slows down the internet speed. However, the fall-off depends on the device, your internet provider, and server location. Running the test on speedtest.net without a VPN brings the following results:
Download: 76.47 Mb/s
Upload: 82.35 Mb/S
And with the StrongVPN connected,
Download: 34.06 Mb/s
Upload: 38.60 Mb/s
Download: 14.38 Mb/s
Upload: 4.63 Mb/s
San Jose, USA:
Download: 47 Mb/S
Upload: 56 Mb/s
Connecting to a server when using StrongVPN takes less than 10 seconds. The service may not be the fastest when compared to other premium VPNs, such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN, you will still be able to achieve most of your goals.
Mainland China is known all over the world for its stringent rules against foreign sites and businesses. You can’t use Facebook, Google, Gmail, YouTube, and other blocked sites when you are within the borders of this country. The government of the People’s Republic of China is known to track and monitor what people do online, not to mention that it prohibits the set up of foreign VPN servers on its soil. It only takes powerful virtual private networks to bypass geo-blocked sites in China. So, yes, StrongVPN works in China. This is through OpenVPN obfuscation, which makes internet traffic difficult to track or detect. You should remember that the StrongVPN website is blocked in China. So be sure to download the StrongVPN app before visiting the country. Other highly censored countries that StrongVPN can bypass strong aggressive web blocks include UAE, Turkey, and Iran.
Like other VPNs, StrongVPN has its positives and negatives as explained here.
StrongVPN has made impressive leaps and bounds on its service over the last couple of years. As one of the oldest VPNs in the market, they constantly aspire to the best by making regular changes on their site and services. As far as privacy and security are concerned, StrongVPN doesn’t disappoint. Despite its main base being in the USA, which is a country that loudly supports the 5-eyes Surveillance, the site keeps no logs and does not leak any of your information. The only data it keeps is your email and name when creating an account and making payments. The site should work on returning Bitcoin to its modes of payments, given that some people never want to be known or traced. The operator should also add more subscription plans to attract clients with different needs and demands.
Other than privacy, the StrongVPN’s speeds are also impressive. Having close to 1,000 servers in 35+ countries is a great selling point. This might not guarantee you the best speeds in the market. But its speeds compete favorably with those provided by peers.
Unfortunately, there are limited or no servers in India, making it difficult for users to access geo-blocked content in this region. You may have to use the servers in Malaysia to access geo-restricted content. Another plus for StrongVPN works perfectly in China, but as mentioned above, download the app before visiting the country. StrongVPN is simply one of the best services when it comes to media streaming.
You can unblock region-based Netflix and other content from major media platforms. You also want to protect most, if not all, of your devices against data leaks. And the ability to connect StrongVPN to 12 devices simultaneously satisfies this need. One other factor that separates StrongVPN from its peers is the use of WireGuard protocol to protect users’ data. WireGuard is actually an upgrade from OpenVPN and IKEv2 because it offers fast speeds and works on a range of devices, including Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.
With that said, StrongVPN scores 7 out of a possible 10!