StrongVPN is a fairly large US-based VPN provider that claims to offer “military-grade” security and privacy.
Besides the promise of heightened security, StrongVPN also guarantees high-speeds and the best tech support out there. Although I didn’t have the need to talk to tech support during my week-long testing of their service, there are a lot of customer reviews that back up their claims.
Before we dive into the review, I just want to mention that I tested StrongVPN’s software on Mac OS X El Capitan as well as on iOS 9.3 on an iPhone 6S. That being said, StrongVPN is also compatible with older versions of Mac OS and iOS. Mac OS X Yosemite is supported right out of the box and a legacy client is available for users on even older operating systems.
With that out of the way, let’s begin with the Mac client.
StrongVPN for El Capitan
After launching StrongVPN on your Mac, the first thing you’ll notice is its minimal footprint. After turning it on, StrongVPN will be completely out of your way, which is something I appreciate from my VPN clients.
As you can see from the screenshot below, there aren’t too many options to configure, which can be appealing to users new to VPN, or those looking for a “one-click” solution. If you fall into one of those groups, you can easily secure your Internet connection by simply clicking “Connect.”
If you’re a little more advanced, there are a few options that you can tweak – let’s start with picking a server.
Next to the big “Connect” button you will notice a little “globe” icon, press it. Here you will find the complete list of the available StrongVPN servers. According to their website, in order to guarantee maximum speeds, they monitor their servers closely and remove them from this list as soon as too many connections are observed.
You can also do a quick test of your own to confirm. By double clicking any entry on this list, StrongVPN will do a quick connection test and display the current Ping and Download speed for the location.
Besides the option of selecting a specific server, users can also choose between a number of server protocols.
Keep in mind, it’s recommended that you leave this untouched, unless you know what you’re doing. For brevity’s sake, I won’t go into detail about the various differences and use cases of each protocol, but you can read the short summaries provided to get a decent understanding.
Another thing I want to mention before shifting focus to the iOS app is that the Mac client supports multiple accounts – should you need to quickly switch between them.
StrongVPN for iOS
The StrongVPN iOS app is very similar to its desktop counterpart in both function and appearance. When you first install the app you will also be instructed to install their VPN profile, and then a certificate that will allow you to connect to StrongVPN’s servers.
After the initial setup, you can easily enable the VPN by simply hitting “Connect.” Similarly to the desktop app, you can also choose between a few dozen servers. Unlike the desktop app, you’re not able to preview the servers’ download speeds or ping, so you might have to try a couple before you find one that works best for you.
Outside of picking a server, there isn’t too much to do within the app. With the exception of switching between multiple accounts, there are no other options for you to configure.
One downside of the iOS app is the fact that you have to install a new certificate every time you want to switch servers. Although it doesn’t take more than a minute, it’s just something other providers manage to avoid.
Before wrapping up this review, I’d like to quickly mention the pricing for anyone curious. unlike many other VPN providers, StrongVPN offers only 2 subscription options – monthly or annually. If you chose the monthly route, expect to pay £6/mo (US$10), whereas if you commit to a full year you’ll save 41% and pay only £4/mo (US$5.83). Regardless of which option you choose both subscriptions are identical in their offering.
As an aside – StrongVPN accepts all of the popular payment methods, including PayPal, but they don’t accept bitcoin.
After using StrongVPN for about a week, I can honestly say that it has been a fine client. I enjoyed using it mostly due to its simplicity and the fact that it was out of sight for the most part. The speeds I got from StrongVPN varied greatly depending on the server I picked, but overall I was quite pleased.
Keep in mind that there are other competitive solutions out there, and it simply boils down to preference.
If you’re still unsure whether or not StrongVPN is going to work for you, you can easily purchase a subscription and give it a go. If you find that it’s not quite what you were looking for, you can take advantage of the 5-day money back guarantee and check out other options.