Looking for a solid VPN service that delivers on the basics – including Netflix unblocking, simple setup, great security, and ability to use it for up to twelve devices? StrongVPN might be the service for you. Our StrongVPN review will tell you what you need to know.
StrongVPN covers all of the basics that you need and delivers strongly on its primary functions. It has the highly secure OpenVPN protocol, speedy connections, and uses AES-256-CBC encryption. Testers have also reported that they were unable to find any WebRTC or DNS leaks.
You’ll be able to use it to access the content you want from sites such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix, and the customer service commitment is good. Do be a little bit wary on the privacy front though, as StrongVPN is located in the USA, rather than more privacy-friendly locations, such as Switzerland.
Read the full StrongVPN review to learn more.
StrongVPN is simple and is designed to focus on what’s actually likely to be important to users. The user interface is a little minimal, but if you’re a rookie in the world of VPNs, this may be an advantage for you.
Apps, servers, and connections
While we only tried the Windows version of the app for our StrongVPN review, you’ll find apps available for iOS, Mac, and Android as well. There are over 650 servers to choose from, located in 26 countries and 46 cities. That’s pretty serious. There’s a map which shows the nearest available server, but you can’t move around it to find other servers.
However, connection times are reportedly good and the desktop version provides alerts that show you are protected. Don’t worry if these kinds of notifications drive you crazy – you can simply go to your settings to disable them.
One downside is the lack of functionality in the location picker. For example, you can’t see ping time or server load figures to help you choose the best server. There’s also no handy “recent connection” menu to speed things up, nor any means of creating a favorites list. You can show the “connect” option by right-clicking on the system tray icon, but it’s not possible to use this to find a fresh server.
You can’t trial the service, so you’ll need to sign up for at least a month – noting that there is a 30-day-money-back guarantee in place if you don’t like it. When you do sign up you’ll see download buttons for all the expected clients: Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS.
There are highly detailed instructions provided to manually set up your account. These include topics such as Kodi, routers, Linux, Amazon Kindle, Chrome OS and more.
Choose from a range of protocols – SSTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, IPsec or IKEv2. IKEv2 and OpenVPN are the best options to use for the best combo of security and speed. There is no data cap or bandwidth limit, and you can use P2P on every server for torrenting.
Our StrongVPN review is happy to conclude that the service has customer support available around the clock, 24/7. The user feedback is good and the service seems to be helpful and speedy. Access it via the live chat or the email system on the website.
Is StrongVPN safe to use?
StrongVPN has a couple of surprises up its sleeve. For example, the ability to connect as many as 12 devices at the same time. That’s probably more than most users will need, but it’s always good to know the features if you’re a power user.
The company also has its own secure DNS. There’s a kill switch and although there’s no explicit reference to leak protection, our tests haven’t detected any.
The encryption parameters are AES-256 encryption, SHA256 authentication, and a 2048-bit RSA Handshake via OpenVPN. IKEv2 connections use comparable features and offer a high degree of security that will be considered more than adequate for most users.
- Firstly, the company never stores or tracks your data when you use the VPN.
- StrongVPN only gathers personal information needed to set up your account; basically your log-in details, an email address and your payment method.
- It commits to never sell your data on to any third party
One thing to be mindful of though is the fact that in-depth detail is often lacking. For example, there isn’t really further information about whether log connections are kept, and if so, under what conditions.
A skeptical user might be a little wary here, especially knowing that StrongVPN is located in the US, which isn’t exactly famed for its privacy protection.
Does the lack of detail reflect any hidden details or agendas? Possibly not, but it’s worth bearing this in mind if you’re using a VPN to safeguard your data from any kind of snooping or hacking.
China, Russia, and other restricted countries
Since we’re not physically in China or Russia, this section of our StrongVPN review relies on indirect information. It should be possible to use this service from across the globe and that it should be capable of bypassing the Great Firewall of China. With the desktop app, you can use the “scramble” feature in the settings to make OpenVPN traffic harder to detect for DPI.
In China, it can be used to unblock sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and video streaming, as well as other censored sites. It does the same in other countries that have internet censorship in place.
The good news is that you’ll find some positive points here in the dialogue box. For example, if the VPN connection falls out, there is a kill switch. You can also choose whether you prefer to use an OpenVPN connection type (with TCP or UDP) and port.
The scramble function is good if you are trying to get past attempts to block your VPN, and this can be useful if you are accessing content from China, Russia or other locations with internet blocking in place. There’s also plenty of diagnostic help available than we’ve seen in other VPN services.
Last, but not least, you’ll find an option to reinstall the TAP driver in Windows. This is the virtual network interface that VPNs typically use to get online).
Although these features are useful, they aren’t particularly advanced or unusual. For example, there aren’t configuration options, DNS leak features or any options for auto-connecting when you’re on an insecure wireless hotspot.
Does StrongVPN work with Netflix?
Good news for entertainment fans around the world: StrongVPN unlocks Netflix US, Hulu, and a bunch of other popular content streaming platforms. This is no small feat – many VPN services struggle with Netflix, who is very diligent when it comes to blocking VPN servers.
When asked, StrongVPN support was also sincere in saying their service could not be used to watch content on BBC iPlayer at the moment. This is not much of a surprise – the British platform has always been a difficult nut to crack and only a few VPN services are able to unblock it with some degree of reliability. With that said, the free StrongDNS service could be used to watch BBC iPlayer, which is quite spectacular.
If you would like to use StrongVPN to access not just Netflix, but other geo-blocked platforms as well, just ask via live chat support whether the VPN supports them.
Can StrongVPN be used for torrenting?
StrongVPN goes so far as to say it is “The Best Torrent VPN” – a gross overstatement if we’ve ever seen one. However, it does illustrate a positive quality of the service. Namely, the stance of StrongVPN on torrenting is very positive. The VPN allows P2P traffic on all servers and the service seems to be secure enough for the activity as well.
In short, while StrongVPN is certainly not the best VPN for torrenting, it is a very decent choice.
Speed tests on a baseline of 75 Mbps download found speeds of up to 60 Mbps (Europe). US speeds were also good at around 55 Mbps. You may struggle with speeds on some of the further servers though, such as Brazil or Australia.
There are different pricing options on offer depending on what you’re after. Our StrongVPN review found:
- A 1-month plan at $10 a month
- A 12-month plan at $5.83 a month
The pricing structure is relatively standard on the VPN market. Basically, in the UK you’ll be paying the equivalent of around £4.50 a month if you pay for the full year upfront. The monthly rolling plan works out at c. £7.70 a month. You also get a full 30-day money back guarantee in case it’s not to your liking.
This is actually quite expensive considering the features. A determined user will certainly find a better deal for less. Also, there is no anonymous payment option, which can also be cause for concern.
Conclusion of our StrongVPN review
StrongVPN isn’t exactly chock full of features, but it does deliver the basics nicely, if somewhat expensively. If you want to be able to connect a lot of devices at once, it may well be worth a look.