StrongVPN Review: An Old Horse in the VPN Market with Host of New Features
VPNs (Virtual Provider Network) have become indispensable for all kinds of internet users these days due to a variety of reasons. Good thing is that there’s no dearth of reliable VPN services. But among the lot, I was rather astonished to learn that StrongVPN being around for quite some time has not managed to secure a position that it rightly deserved. Thankfully, a number of servers and locations have now been added, speed has improved considerably and performance and security are aspects that received a major ‘overhaul’ alongside few apps. Now it feels good to see that StrongVPN has taken the limelight and for obvious reasons. While I have reasons to believe that 2018 can change the way how people view StrongVPN after the (much needed) changes that have surfaced, here is a review how.
- No usage logs and complete guarantee of security and anonymity
- Satisfactory customer service, after updating of app
- Supports multiple devices
- Simple and easy-to-use interface
- Zero-logging policy
- Hassle-free access to Netflix, including other streaming services
- Instant setup of most apps on popular platforms
- Bypasses China’s Great Firewall
- Very few servers, most being PPTP only
- Support for manual configuration nil
- The minimalist design might make it a little limiting for few users
- Internet speed keeps varying from server to server
For VPN services, I have always believed in the simplicity aspect and StrongVPN has done complete justice to it. The VPN service, since its inception in 1994, has been doing good till it received a major overhaul and now it’s there for all to see. While it might not prove the best of the lot, yet the amalgamation of features offer a slight edge over the others in many ways.
Does VPN keep logs?
Compatible with TOR
Does it work in China?
Average Speed Tests
South Lake Tahoe, California
Windows, Android, MAC, iOS
Moderately easy to use
Proper knowledgebase required, offers help via live
chat and email support
$10.00/month (1 month license)
$5.83/month (12 months license)
Below you will find a detailed description of all the features from the table above and some extra.
StrongVPN boasts of having a ‘discreet’ presence in the VPN market. Though the locations are limited in number, thankfully there are enough servers in various nations all over the world that would help most users.
What looks amazing is that the moment you open up the page of StrongVPN, a map is the first thing you see. Alongside, there’s a button allowing you to choose your exact location and then the connect button. As a default, StrongVPN itself finds the closest server with the best possible pace. But in case you do not approve of the same, select from the ‘Best Possible Location’ from the listings given.
Does VPN keep logs?
Thankfully, no! Unlike most nations where logging policies are quite stringent, data disclosure in the US is quite relaxed that way. However, it all depends on the court order that might pressurize the VPN company to reveal its details about IP address and the like.
Thankfully, StrongVPN keeps no hold of any log of users’ activities. In other words, it follows a very strict no-logging policy. You can browse through their official website without leaking any form of data. In case of subscribing to their service, details like the name, email address and billing address must be supplied. StrongVPN is known to store data and sometimes monitor on the activities at the time of using its official website, including the IP address and pages visited. However, if the activities fall outside the purview of its website, then there’s no such monitoring, so that should come as good news to most.
Does VPN hide IP address?
Yes and I’m glad it does. One thing that I can vouch for is the company’s zero-logging principle, which is why they stay true to privacy and anonymity. Among the many notable features, hiding the IP address and changing it likewise if required, depending on the country from where you are browsing is actually possible for this particular VPN.
So you can surf anywhere you feel like, including Wi-Fi spots without having to worry about the IP address, as long as you remember not to do any activity in their official website.
Does VPN have a kill switch?
Maximum number of connections
I have observed this myself that using a good and single StrongVPN subscription, you can connect almost 5 devices simultaneously. The app can be availed for almost all major devices and connections that support VPN protocols totally (major ones including PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, SSTP and OpenVPN) and can also be configured manually.
It’s just a router that does majority of the security work of all the electronic devices connected from that one single place. Besides the privacy aspect, you can rely on it for the convenience, ease and safety it guarantees.
Total number of servers
A total of 682 servers are spread in many nations that support StrongVPN’s server base. Not that it’s the best in the market, but then I have no way of denying it stays at the peak among the many VPN connections.
Number of countries
The 682 servers that I spoke about is spread over 24 countries all over the world. But perhaps you do not know this- almost 140 or more of them are located in the San Francisco region only and naturally there’s global server spread all around that zone.
The services of StrongVPN is compatible with most devices, which includes Windows, iOS, Mac, Android and Google Chrome.
When it comes to Windows, the app is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10 and then .Net 4.6.1 and higher. You just need to download the app and then install in your system. Then connect it to a VPN server and continue with your private browsing.
For Android, you can download it directly from Google Play or visit the site and then find ‘setup’. The screen that follows will have ‘StrongVPN for Android’ and you can do your work thereafter.
Try visiting the iTunes section or visit the site to get the latest version of StrongVPN iOS app. Basically, it’s compatible with iOS 8.4 or later. Before setting up, check the client setup page containing manual setup guides for configuring iOS versions 5 to 9.
In addition to these, StrongVPN also provides a proxy extension for Chrome browsers and that I will say, is a good bonus! Abut just like any other VPN extension, your IP address will be changed and web traffic won’t be encrypted, so good for geo-spoofing.
Aside the above mentioned systems, StrongVPN is highly compatible with several gaming consoles and streaming devices just by connecting all of them to any router that’s configured. Think of Android TV, Apple, Xbox, Roku and Playstation and you will know how it happens in any of these. But remember that you cannot share the VPN connection with any other device that’s running the app, like smart phones or laptops. If you use consoles or streaming devices therefore, ensure that the router is compatible with the software.
Is StrongVPN compatible with TOR?
For starters, the Tor (derived from ‘the onion router’) functions as an ‘anonymity network’ to help users get the desired level of protection from privacy suffering or censorship of any kind.
Is Torrenting allowed with StrongVPN?
Of course! There’s no fun in Torrenting if you do not have the access to the right VPN, at least this what I understood in all these years! You certainly don’t want your Torrenting history to be viewed by government, ISPs and such. Using StrongVPN, now you can freely and most importantly, privately torrent without having to worry about being watched.
Is Netflix allowed with StrongVPN?
Yes! Good news, surely? Netflix has been giving a tough time to VPNs, unblockers and proxies amd that too in such a manner that the community is now quite worried.
Unlike most other blacklisted VPNs, StrongVPN is going strong! A test was conducted in a web browser and then another mobile app for Android. Not only did it work well and allow the streaming of Netflix, but the buffering time was reduced noticeably. However, it can’t be guaranteed that it will work under all circumstances and every time. Hence contacting the live chat support team is a wise thought.
Does StrongVPN work in China?
Yes, it does. StrongVPN works great in China and the app is known to unblock even censored sites like YouTube, Facebook and several video streaming services in China (unbelievable right?)
From someone like me who knows this, StrongVPN website stands blocked in China, so be very careful about signing up and then download the apps.
Average Speed Tests
A VPN service faltering in speed test is a strict no-no for me, and I’m sure for most. To record StrongVPN speed, I visited this link called speedtest.net and the results impressed me totally. StrongVPN has a connection that occurs rather quick in about 10 seconds precisely, which is good for someone like me since I keep switching servers every now and then.
The connection was tested at major countries like USA, UK, Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong and the speed stayed more or less in the same range. On local connections and to avail good quality, buffer free HD streaming, UK saw 77 mbps much like Netherlands. In fact, Australia too showed server performance at 29 mpbs, and that’s a very fast one indeed there. There was no problem of a speed loss detected and naturally, that’s a good indicator of the high-end service provided.
At the same time, latency was a major issue in same nation connections that comes at around 2 ms (average) for a UK server. Now you know how it has become a top choice for most gamers and streamers bothered by privacy!
Interface and Ease in use
There was a time when I dreaded StrongVPN for the difficult and complex app it was known for. It’s a welcome move to get this one in its new avatar that’s much simpler, easy to use and hassle-free.
Not that the layout and design are very intuitive and innovative, yet you can work with it quite efficiently. The Windows client contains additional settings and is better than the Android app, but both look more or less similar.
Some security features that define the working of StrongVPN include high level of protection rendered by Virtual Firewall, no-logs policy, encrypted traffic and zero possibility of blocking from ISP, but there’s more to it than the features I mentioned above.
Apart from the VPN kill switch as a great add-on in the new form meant to block web traffic and reveal the actual IP address, StrongVPN possesses its own zero log DNS servers. In fact, protection against the IPv6 and DNS leaks are great bonuses, which are not really offered by every provider. In addition to that, users can also ‘scramble’ their OpenVPN traffic. This way they get to bypass censorship measures. You can select your port manually too. Isn’t that great?
StrongVPN is totally in support of using either OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocol in the latest versions of the apps. Talking particularly about IKEv2 in mobile devices and its growing popularity, I have seen myself how you connect and reconnect easily, sans security issues. For an open-source protocol, try OpenVPN.
Frankly speaking, I would recommend this for the way it has worked hard in guaranteeing privacy. From encrypting data to routing it through remote servers, everything is done to keep your identity, activity and locations absolutely private.
Compared to its rivals, StrongVPN is still making its best effort. The number of servers and the total number of countries stay a tad lesser to others. But overall, the day-to-day performance is almost there for places like North America, Europe, and comparatively lesser in Asia and South America, with absolutely nothing in Africa.
This is a mixed bag if you ask me, at least in comparison to other VPN providers. The recent update has brought about some wonderful changes, but proves inadequate. So you can now avail live chat 24/7, which however means you talk to sales agents with minimal knowledge but depends mostly on copy-paste answers from FAQs. But having said that, be rest assured the live chat and email support on the website happens rather quick. I was amazed to see staff members being available to be present round the clock.
Well, the knowledge base is not very well-written and stands weak. In times of troubleshooting, it will rarely come of any help. For example, when asking a technical question related to encryption, the technician surfaced who was a little secretive when it came to encryption parameters used in apps. This lack of transparency stands a question mark and that’s sad.
There are manual setup guides, FAQ section and few additional tips too. The FAQ works well for basic instructions, but beyond that you need to get in touch with the client handling team. Also, the search features is absent, so you actually click on several stuff before zeroing on one.
Pricing plans and payment options
1 Month$10.00 /month
- Billed $10.00 every month
- 30-day money-back guarantee
1 Year$5.83 /month
- Save 42%
- Billed $69.99 every 12 months
- 30-day money-back guarantee
To purchase this VPN, you need to avail either of their two subscription plans. And both come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. But yes, there’s no free trial!
If you opt for the monthly plan, it will cost you about $10 per month, while the yearly plan sets you back by $5.83 per month, which helps in saving 42%. Unlike most other VPNs, the plans are limited in number and give no option of discounts. As regards to payment options are concerned, StrongVPN accepts varied modes like credit and debit cards, Alipay, PayPal, Bitcoin and so on.
I’ve seen a sharp decline in the overall popularity of the VPN service from the age old StrongVPN days to what it is now, rather a transformed one. This transformation was much needed and most users have accepted these changes for a better version. From high end security to usability in several sectors like Torrenting and Netflix, StrongVPN was nowhere close to this. However, in the last couple of years, the VPN provider did a much better job, practically outdid itself. But there are services that fall in the same price bracket and offer additional features, alongside having a presence in more countries, which perhaps lessens the popularity of this provider. I think the StrongVPN service providers should take stock of the declining popularity and they might have already been on it.
Should you buy it?
For the new look and features it incorporates like decent speed and moderately good live chat support, StrongVPN can be your best bet. The new, simple, easy and sophisticated design adds to the list of positives. But there’s scope for improvement, especially with ‘Best Available Location’ that doesn’t function properly. However, it falls short in few aspects and there are undoubtedly better ones on the market. The annual plan is a fetch and with the features it contains currently, I would suggest you might try the BETA version at least once.
- Price (1 year subscription plan is cheaper in comparison with top VPNs)
- Number of max connections with single license
- No compatibility with TOR
- Moderate download speed