StrongVPN Review – Best VPN for Security
|Number of servers||950+|
|Maximum devices supported||12|
|Supported Client Software||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Routers, Kodi,
Fire TV, Chrome, Linux
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Lake Tahoe, California, StrongVPN has been in the cybersecurity business for some time. For some reason, the VPN product is not as popular as those provided by other leading companies in the same space. Therefore, convincing many potential buyers to buy this product remains a difficult task. In fact, the vast majority of them would settle for the VPNs they hear about every day instead of buying this product.
However, the purpose of this article is to set the record straight by technically reviewing the StrongVPN. After reading this article, you should be able to make informed decisions as we will analyze the strengths, weaknesses and everything you should know about this VPN product.
Although the product was launched in 2005, StrongVPN started as a small business in California in 1994. At the time, the developer, Strong Technology LLC, specialized in selling personal computers. Over time, the computer start-up evolved into offering dial-up Internet services for local area networks. In order to broaden its business horizons, it expanded its range of services to include dedicated server hosting and colocation services.
Key Features of StrongVPN
After learning about the company’s history, we will look at today’s business by breaking down the key elements of the service. Our goal is clear as day: to dissect the good aspects, the areas that are not so good, and then draw a conclusion from our findings.
To date, the service has more than 950 servers in 58 locations around the world. Without a doubt, this server coverage is not as extensive as that of the industry’s leading VPN services today. Despite its size, it is fair enough to provide its subscribers around the world with a robust and reliable VPN connection.
That’s simply because it offers its users many server options to do many different things on the Internet. Over the years, the service provided by this company has continued to improve, thanks to the desire to expand the reach of its servers. What’s also cool about StrongVPN is that you get 12 simultaneous connections, a zero-logging policy and other cool features.
We have already indicated that StrongVPN has over 950 servers in 58 locations worldwide. While this number of servers is not one of the best in the industry, we must commend the team for their efforts in this regard. Well, the VPN company has over 59,500 IP addresses in its pool. There’s no denying that means there are a lot of IP addresses going around.
If you look closely at the distribution of its servers, the majority of StrongVPN servers are located in North America and Europe, while the rest are hosted in South America and Asia. StrongVPN has no servers in Africa.
Compared to the major VPNs in the industry, it has a relatively small network of servers in total. As in Africa, StrongVPN does not have any of its servers distributed in the Middle East. Unlike Canada, Germany and Brazil, the U.S.-based VPN provider has a set of servers in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The importance of having an extensive server network cannot be overstated. If a VPN has extensive server coverage, subscribers tend to derive many benefits from it. One of the benefits of such coverage is that there will be less congestion. Note that congestion is the result of many users trying to access a few servers. In other words, a large server footprint can have a positive effect on network speed.
To address this, there are two factors that determine which StrongVPN servers you can access: Location, and subscription plan. The reason, according to the StrongVPN team, is to provide consistency from high-performance services. You’ll appreciate the fact that StrongVPN servers support many interesting online activities.
Privacy and Security of StrongVPN
It is not disputed that most VPN subscribers do so because they wish to access the Internet securely, privately and anonymously. Now let’s find out what steps StrongVPN has put in place to achieve this.
- Kill Switch
Also known as a network lock feature, an Internet “kill switch” automatically suspends your traffic whenever there is a problem with your VPN connection. Note that the role of a VPN is to keep your identity hidden. Thus, in case of loss of a VPN connection, your identity will be exposed. Since StrongVPN invests a significant portion of its resources in server optimization, you’ll certainly benefit from a kill switch when the highly encrypted network starts to go haywire.
Yes, a kill switch is built into its software. With this feature built-in by default, it means that StrongVPN will not allow your traffic to pass through the ISP’s server if a VPN connection is lost. Like other VPNs, StrongVPN promises 100% uptime. However, it cannot completely rule out the possibility of a connection interruption. A “kill switch” is, therefore, the emergency measure used to prevent such data leaks.
- Encryption protocols
Another fundamental measure used to secure your traffic is the VPN protocol on encryption technology. VPN protocols help your device and the VPN service to communicate securely. By communication, we mean a secure data exchange. VPN protocols provided with StrongVPN include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP and SSTP. Although all of these protocols are provided by StrongVPN, OpenVPN remains the most popular in today’s VPN industry.
For privacy protection, StrongVPN uses AES-256 encryption technology. Also known as military-grade encryption, AES-256 encryption ensures that your traffic is encrypted, making it difficult for spies to know what you are doing online. It’s the industry standard today because it guarantees user privacy. Don’t forget to mention that StrongVPN allows you to choose 128-bit encryption.
But most of the time, we tend to minimize this, because AES-256 encryption is much better than this one. Other technical details of the encryption include the RSA 2048 handshake for HMA authentication and DHE keys for Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). All of these measures have been put in place by the StrongVPN team to ensure the security of your data.
- Wi-Fi protection
In a typical public Wi-Fi hotspot, you can rarely tell the real Internet users from hackers. Indeed, cybercriminals generally linger on these facilities looking for unsuspecting Internet users from whom they might steal. They scour the network looking for victims and attack them when they realize that you are throwing caution to the wind or want to participate in their promotions that are too good to be true.
With their sophisticated phishing tools, they steal connection settings or cause incalculable damage to people’s computers. However, StrongVPN keeps these online deviants at bay when you use it to access the web because it offers special Wi-Fi protection.
- Split tunneling
Split tunneling is another safety feature you should expect from an efficient service. Fortunately, StrongVPN has implemented a shared tunnel. In case you don’t know what this means, it allows you to route your traffic through StrongVPN and ISP communication channels. Note that this can only happen once you have connected your Internet-enabled device to the VPN.
You can then select what you want to route through either network. The advantage is that you may still want to route it through your ISP, even if your VPN is connected. Yes, StrongVPN allows you to do this. This allows you to control how your Internet traffic is routed. However, it is limited on Android devices.
- Leak protection
We performed a simple leak test to see if this service really does secure your DNS traffic. If your VPN leaks your DNS queries, it means that your IP address will also be leaked. In this case, your location and device information may be exposed. We have tested this VPN to see if it offers protection against DNS leakage as it claims. Just before we explain our results, you should know that WebRTC is a protocol for voice and video chats.
It also allows websites to communicate. So we performed DNS and WebRTC leak tests using relevant web tools. Unexpectedly, our result left us with mixed feelings. Well, StrongVPN passed our DNS leak test but failed the WebRTC test. The result of our WebRTC test showed that the connection was made using StrongVPN, which is shocking. We performed the test using our Windows computer.
- TOR compatibility
The TOR network allows you to access the internet safely. Simply put, when you access the internet from the network, your online activities remain hidden. As a result, people tend to compare the security of the VPN and the TOR network. Today, things have changed because both networks can be connected together. When you do that, your traffic goes through a series of nodes before it reaches the exit node.
So this process adds a layer of security to your online activities. The reason for this is that the traffic will be encrypted twice. Yes, this US-based VPN works with the TOR network. You can start the process by connecting your computer to StrongVPN and then to the TOR network. In the end, you can browse the web anonymously and privately.
- Ads blocker
While surfing the Internet, you may occasionally notice unusual ads. Sometimes the ads tell you to click on them to claim certain prizes. If you are a technophile, you already know that these can be scams, malware, spyware, etc. The advantage is that StrongVPN blocks them all, allowing you to enjoy the Internet without seeing those annoying pop-ups.
In the cybersecurity industry, it is not uncommon for vendors to claim that they have a no-connect policy. In addition, they claim that they follow this policy to the letter. Normally, these are the most sensitive points of the service. Well, StrongVPN is no exception. Before going into more detail about how this service deals with the non-registration policy, it is important to note that many of these service providers do not honor these statements.
To add insult to injury, they not only register user data but also sell it to third party companies. As far as StrongVPN is concerned, our findings show that it is doing an excellent job in this regard. Yes, it deserves some credit for that, as we’ve tested it.
Later on, we will see that the cybersecurity software company is living up to its commitments. So if you are concerned that it operates from a Five Eyes member country, you need not worry because the company has made it clear that it does not hold the logs of its users.
Speed of StrongVPN
|Server Location||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
|New York||38 Mbps||5 Mbps|
|Amsterdam||9 Mbps||3 Mbps|
|London||35 Mbps||4 Mbps|
|Hong Kong||20 Mbps||2 Mbps|
To better understand what this VPN brings on board on the speed front, we performed a series of speed tests on some of its servers by choosing 4 different locations. As you already know, speed is essential when it comes to VPN, as you need it to perform all VPN tasks. Although we have compiled our findings, we will go further to give you a breakdown.
We started the speed test with the StrongVPN server in New York. At the end of the test, we found that the download and upload speeds were 38 Mbps and 9 Mbps respectively. It is safe to say that the server speed is relatively accurate. The reason is simply that you can use the speed to do so much online.
Then we switched to the Amsterdam server. Contrary to our usual result in that European city, the Amsterdam server behaved deplorably. To be precise, the download speed struggled to stay stable at 9 Mbps while the upload speed was much worse at 3 Mbps. These figures represent a significant deviation from what we experienced in New York.
But then we ran further tests on European servers, focusing on the London server. In London, we saw an astronomical increase in speed, which was almost equal to the speed of the server in New York. Simply put, we got 35 Mbps and 4 Mbps in download speed and upload speed respectively. Without a doubt, this is a major improvement over the speed results we got from the Amsterdam server.
To conclude, we went to the East to evaluate the performance of the Hong Kong StrongVPN server. In Hong Kong, the download speed was 20 Mbps while the upload speed was stable at 2 Mbps. Overall, these results are not bad at all, but they could be better.
- Summary of Speed
The speed test allows us to deduce that the overall speed performance of this VPN is not stable. On closer inspection, the servers in New York and London remain the best, which means that those who access the internet from these server locations will always enjoy better internet service.
A close look at their results shows that they share similarities in terms of download and upload speeds. In contrast, the server in Amsterdam performed appallingly well. This is not the case with the Amsterdam servers we have tested in the past.
Surprisingly, the Hong Kong server performed much better than the Amsterdam server. The fact is that the Hong Kong server was not impressive anywhere. However, we have to congratulate the StrongVPN team for the speed of their server in China because their performance (based on our previous experience) is generally terrible. In summary, we can say that StrongVPN’s speed is not constant.
In all this, we must point out that there are certain factors that affect speed. These factors are your location, the speed of the computer’s processor and the speed of the ISP. Most often you will see a slight decrease in speed when your VPN connection is established.
But one of the factors used to determine the effectiveness of a VPN service is that the drop in speed should be infinitesimal. There are relevant web tools that you can use to measure the pre-VPN connection and the post-VPN connection to determine the speed difference.
StrongVPN Customer Service
|Type of support||Ticket system|
|Free trial period||No|
Good customer service is one of the requirements of a good VPN. The reason is that the helpdesk gives a human face to the service. Note that most VPN users do not have physical interactions with the provider. In any case, customer support is the last resort when you encounter technical problems. Since this is very important to the user, every good VPN has a customer service department. But it’s up to you whether a VPN has good customer service or not.
Here’s the good news, we’ll help you do that – that’s why you’re reading this guide in the first place. Keep in mind that many VPN providers claim to offer the best customer service, but this is just a marketing trick. In fact, some of their agents know virtually nothing about their services. Overall, the criteria for evaluating good customer service are as follows:
- Multiple communication channels (email, live chat, social media, etc.)
- Working 24/7
- Quick response to messages (questions and complaints)
We conducted simple tests to determine the effectiveness of the StrongVPN team in this regard. The test results have been presented in tabular form, but we will explain them in detail.
Based on the criteria we have listed above, the StrongVPN help desk team works 24 hours a day, which means that they have 24-hour support on weekdays. This means that you can contact them and be sure to get an answer in no time.
We started a discussion with one of the representatives via their live chat support by simply asking them a question: “Do you have a free trial period?”. We were answered with a simple “No”. In general, the trial period allows you to evaluate the service and decide whether or not to subscribe to it.
Unfortunately, over time, potential subscribers have abused this privilege, forcing many VPN providers to withdraw it. Note that we were able to kill two birds with one stone because not only did we discover that StrongVPN does not offer the service, but we also recorded that the representative responded within 10 minutes. The response time is impressive, even though our message was the fifth in a long waiting list.
In addition, we asked another question by e-mail. Part of the email said, “Does StrongVPN offer a money-back guarantee? Well, we received a response about 8 hours later, saying that the company does and honors these requests within “30 days”. So we can infer that StrongVPN is trying to compensate for its refusal to give a free trial period with a money-back guarantee. You can take it to the bank, StrongVPN has a responsive customer support team.
If you don’t want to get in touch with this team, you can visit their FAQ page to learn more about their services. We were a little surprised that the team gave us positive answers when we asked simple questions with obvious answers.
Some VPN teams will simply reply to your message with a link to the FAQ, asking you to learn more about their services on the page. Nevertheless, it has a well-controlled ticketing system and also has “configuration guides”. With all these channels at your disposal, you can learn more about the services offered by StrongVPN.
You can also contact the team via Skype and telephone. Phone contact is particularly strange! Note that live chat is only available Monday through Friday. Have you taken the time to imagine what will happen if you have a technical problem on the weekend? Well, that’s where the ticketing system comes in, as you’ll have to leave a ticket or send an email – StrongVPN addresses its tickets and emails accordingly.
Supported Client Software
If a VPN does not support popular operating systems, that’s a no-no! The reason is that many potential users may have different devices running on many different operating systems. Well, let’s find out what StrongVPN has to offer in this regard.
If you are using a Windows operating system, you have absolutely nothing to worry about because this VPN is specially developed for that platform. The reason for this is that Windows is the most widely used platform in the world. To get started, you will follow its step-by-step instruction guide on its website to download the client.
You can use the Connect and Disconnect buttons on the GUI app every time you want to connect or disconnect. The application was launched on December 31, 2013 and we tested it to confirm that StrongVPN offers Windows users everything it has to offer, just to get the most out of the service.
Do you use Linux or one of its distributions? If so, you can also join the growing number of subscribers who are taking advantage of StrongVPN. There are Linux GUI, Ubuntu/Linux Command-line Interface, Linux Mint, Fedora, Manjaro, Debian, etc. clients. Instructions for installing and using the clients are also available on the StrongVPN website.
It works perfectly with OpenVPN and has an option for GUI clients such as Fruho and Pritunl. If you are not a technician, you may have difficulty setting up the application. In this case, you will need to get help.
Yes, there is also a StrongVPN for macOS. To get started, you need to register, download and install it. Then you can connect to the StrongVPN server and get secure Internet access. The application is compatible with Yosemite (OS 10.10), Catalina (macOS 10.15) and everything in between.
The detailed installation guide is available on the StrongVPN website, so installing it is not rocket science. As soon as you’ve finished installing the application, you’ll be redirected to the login button to start exploring the benefits it has in store for you.
Mobile device users can also join the growing community of StrongVPN users. To do so, you’ll need to visit your Google Play store. With 100,000 downloads to date, this shows that many users are using this service to enhance their Internet experience. Suffice it to say that it is very highly rated and evaluated.
These are clear indications that you’re really getting value for your money. After downloading this application to your mobile device, you can visit the StrongVPN website to learn how to set it up and start using it. The disadvantage of this application is that it doesn’t have an emergency stop button yet.
Just like Android users, users of iOS devices also benefit from StrongVPN. You can visit the Apple Store from your iDevice to download and install the application. The client is easy to install and use. If you have trouble with the installation, you may need to visit the StrongVPN website and follow the step-by-step installation process.
Once the installation is complete, log in and start browsing the web. The installation must be done manually. The advantage of using this application on your device is that you can choose from a wide range of VPN protocols.
When you connect your router to StrongVPN, you can then go ahead and connect devices that are not VPN compatible. You can protect your Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, Kodi, Roku, Boxee and many others. In fact, it’s one of the ways StrongVPN deepens the concept of the Internet of Things in your home. You can do it yourself or ask someone to help you with configuration. Some of the routers that work with StrongVPN are ASUS, Netgear, Linksys, and so on.
- Amazon FireTV
You can use StrongVPN to unlock Amazon FireTV or Fire Stick. Note that you need to configure some things. The good thing is that detailed configuration is available on the StrongVPN website. The truth is that the configuration is not difficult because it contains step-by-step illustrated instructions.
In order to bypass Amazon FireTV, you must connect through a StrongVPN server in the United States. At the location selection stage, there is a list of available servers to choose from. Next, there is a “Best Available” menu, where you must select one of the available servers that can bypass the Amazon FireTV firewall. Obviously, Amazon FireTV is one of the many geoblocked sites that StrongVPN can unlock. Be sure to give it a try.
You may be wondering if StrongVPN has browser extensions. The answer is simple: yes, it does. Unfortunately, there is an extension for Chrome only. By installing the Chrome browser extension, you can choose from 14 different server locations worldwide. When you do this, it will then start routing your Google Chrome traffic through its servers.
For some reason, StrongVPN does not yet have browser extensions for Firefox and Apple Safari. But don’t worry, you can still use the native applications of those operating systems instead of browser extensions. As we always say here, the Browser Extender VPN only protects your online activities, but the application protects your entire smart device. Therefore, it is best to run them simultaneously.
Torrenting with StrongVPN
As governments continually work with production companies to prevent torrents from violating copyright laws online, it is clear that they are fighting a losing battle. The reason for this is that VPNs are increasingly being developed to protect trolls.
Although these VPNs are specifically designed to support legal peer-to-peer downloads, what subscribers do with them is actually beyond their control. In general, a VPN that supports torrenting allows users to access their websites and protects them from prying eyes when accessing torrent sites.
Note that content producers always monitor troll activities on these sites, just to find out their IP addresses and take legal action against them (depending on the country). Note that torrent laws vary from country to country. So, is StrongVPN supportive of torrents? YES, it does. It is one of the unique services that make it a service apart. Finally, find out about the local torrent laws in your area before using this service.
Netflix Access with StrongVPN
US Netflix has been at the forefront of the fight against VPNs that allow users to unblock its firewalls and broadcast its content. Over time, people complained bitterly that the US streaming giant was targeting them, but Netflix didn’t want to stop the crackdown. Indeed, the media giant has a dynamic IT department, and it continues to render many VPNs unusable.
This explains why many VPNs that claim to be able to unblock Netflix content stop working after a while. Despite this, this service unlocks and broadcasts US Netflix without delay and endless buffers. So when it comes to torrent and streaming, StrongVPN is simply outstanding.
So far, we have spent some time discussing the intricacies of StrongVPN. At this point, we need to shed light on some of its drawbacks.
StrongVPN is based in the United States. The US government is a member of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliances. As you may not be aware, the 5, 9, or 14-Eyes Alliances are a group of countries that have signed a treaty for online intelligence sharing.
This means that the U.S. government can get a court injunction ordering StrongVPN to secretly share its user’s private information. To put it bluntly, this is a setback. According to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency already has the records of many VPN users.
- Unblocking capabilities
While this VPN is doing a good job of unlocking some streaming sites like US Netflix, we must stress that it can no longer bypass Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer now. This is an obvious loophole. A close look at some premium VPNs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN shows that they can bypass all these streaming sites at the drop of a hat.
- A small number of servers
While we have to commend this VPN for its efforts to evolve its server network, we must state categorically that there is still a lot to be done. We have already discussed the importance of having a wide distribution of servers. Some of the high-end VPNs have between 3,000 and 5,000 servers hosted around the world.
- Inconsistent speed
In our speed test, we noticed that this VPN provider had a certain level of inconsistency. Without excellent upload and download speeds, you may not be able to do much online. Indeed, this is not good for the VPN, as all major VPN providers work around the clock to maintain a top-notch game on the speed front. This is definitely a drawback.
Conclusion About StrongVPN
In conclusion, we must admit here that certain characteristics make this VPN stand out. These include customer service, security and anonymity, torrent and streaming, VPN support, non-log policy and a host of other features. In these areas, StrongVPN has proven to be exceptional, providing reliable services to its many users around the world. In fact, these are key areas that most users look for when using a VPN product.
On the other hand, we can’t turn a blind eye to other areas where there have been shortcomings. For example, its speed leaves a lot to be desired. Although it has made appreciable efforts to improve, the speed is still abysmal. In addition, the user interface seems outdated. In fact, the user interface does not seem easy to use, which is a problem that many users would find difficult to manage.
Here’s our verdict: Since this VPN product is relatively affordable, it has our approval. Of course, we can’t rule out that StrongVPN is making steady and very significant progress. So, in the months or years to come, we are likely to see a VPN that will come out better and stronger. However, the team still has a lot of work to do if it is to compete with the best VPN service providers in the industry.