Although it has had serious improvements implemented in the past two years, StrongVPN is still far from being a serious contender to Nord’s position. From pricing to the location of its developers, and overall slow connection speeds, we see no reason why anyone would pit StrongVPN against NordVPN in any contest. NordVPN, on the other hand, is one of those services that are hard to beat on any given day by any given VPN. Thanks to cost-effective subscriptions, detailed advanced features, a strong security suite, as well as specialized servers for different types of Internet traffic, their offer is hard to refuse.
Still, let’s make sure that StrongVPN gets its fair shot at the title before anyone decides to disqualify it. Sometimes, underdogs can have their own charm when they challenge frontrunners.
How secure are these two?
Both NordVPN and StrongVPN use AES-256 encryption with an RSA 2048-bit handshake. These algorithms are pretty unbreakable, as of right now. Aside from being the standard in premium VPN services, they represent the technology that military organizations use to safeguard their online connections. The two services also use similar protocols, such as OpenVPN and IKEv2, and, in either of the two cases, no DNS leaks were reported, nor could we identify any in our tests. The two services offer a kill switch feature for when the secure connection does, for one reason or another, break off.
Much like Nord’s obfuscated servers, StrongVPN provides a scramble feature which can be of immense help when trying to maintain your anonymity, as well as by-pass restrictions imposed by firewalls like those of China and Russia. Unfortunately, Strong’s security features come to a halt at this point. Everything else that NordVPN offers, such as their Onion over VPN, CyberSec, or Double VPN options are unmatched by Strong’s application. Most importantly, we would note the fact that Nord’s developers, Tefincom S.A., are based in Panama, while Strong’s are located in the U.S.
Although you may not find their geographic location particularly important, data retention laws imposed by certain jurisdictions, such as that of the U.S., have forced several VPN services to keep user logs despite claiming not to. Alternatively, Panama has no such legislation, meaning that NordVPN is well within its legal rights to uphold their zero-logs policy.
Connection speed test: which is better?
If you’re trying to connect to a European or U.S. server with StrongVPN, then their speeds are comparable to what NordVPN offers in this region. For instance, one of Strong’s European servers got us up to 75 Mbps of download and 60 Mbps upload, whereas NordVPN landed us at 76 dl with 66 up. In the U.S., NordVPN fared similarly on the download end, with 62 Mbps, but only 10 Mbps on upload. Strong’s performance was a bit lower in the States, but they weren’t that far off the mark.
The major downside that we’ve noticed in Strong’s performance is its inability to provide a decent connection speed for users not located in Europe or the U.S. If you happen to find yourself in the southern hemisphere looking for a nearby server that can deliver peak performance, you’re in bad luck. This is to be expected when you try to pit Strong’s 650+ servers against Nord’s massive architecture of 5200+ servers in over 60 countries.
Do they unblock Netflix?
You don’t have to worry about either NordVPN or StrongVPN being unable to deliver your favorite Netflix, Hulu, or Kodi content regardless of where you travel. Neither of the two struggles with finding a good server that allows high-quality streaming. In addition, NordVPN has no issues with the notoriously elusive BBC iPlayer, but StrongVPN cannot access it from outside the U.K. Their developers were also quite honest about this shortcoming, which we found refreshing.
If you don’t mind sacrificing your secure connection, you can, however, access BBC iPlayer through the software’s StrongDNS feature. This is an acceptable compromise, at times, but your ISP will be able to tell what it is that you are doing. Aside from exposing your traffic, you’ll also risk your connection being throttled. Other than this, both services are adept at circumventing geo-fences and other geo-blocked content that might not be available to you while traveling.
Customer support and usability
This is one aspect where it’s quite difficult to settle the NordVPN vs StrongVPN matchup. The two VPNs have 24/7 support that can jump to your aid at any time, in addition to an extensive network of the FAQ, troubleshooting, and self-help literature on their websites. We’ve gathered from our experience as well as that of many other users that NordVPN and StrongVPN are on par from this perspective. Still, we cannot help but commend the former for being able to maintain their quality customer support service given that they now have to handle an upwards of 3,000 requests per day.
Strong’s and Nord’s software applications are easy to use and cross-platform compatible. However, there are several features that NordVPN boasts over its competitor. When you want to select a server from a region in the location picker, Nord’s app informs you of each server’s ping, distance, and load. None of this is the case with Strong. There’s no way to set up a list of favorite servers on Strong, nor can you select a recent connection – both of which you can do on Nord’s app.
NordVPN vs StrongVPN: pricing options
Unfortunately, StrongVPN also falls behind in the pricing category. To date, they offer just two options, a monthly subscription of $10 or a 12-month one for $5.83. Conversely, Nord’s monthly fee is $11.95 and their 12-month plan is $6.99. To this, they have added a 2-year plan at $3.99, as well as a 3-year one at a staggering $2.99.
A VPN doesn’t get more flexible and advantageous than this. Furthermore, NordVPN gives you the possibility to try their services for 7 days for free, while also having a 30-day money back guarantee, which is not the case with their US rival. With Strong, you either sign-up or you don’t. If you don’t like them, there’s no getting your monthly fee back.
And the trophy goes to…
We wouldn’t say that StrongVPN is particularly bad. It’s a robust package that allows you to protect your online traffic with some of the best encryption that is out there. However, we found that their pricing options, company’s location, performance outside of Europe and the U.S., as well as lack of detailed features in their software quite underwhelming.
Meanwhile, NordVPN proved to be a better service in each of the categories of our comparison, while also giving you the incredible option of subscribing for just $2.99. This time, there was no way for the underdog to emerge victorious.