StrongVPN Review 2018: A powerful contender

  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Policy
  • Support

Summary

StrongVPN has been around as long as anyone can remember and as one of the oldest in the industry they have a lot to live up to. Recent updates and changes have brought StrongVPN right into 2018 helping them compete in an ever tougher marketplace.

Pros

  •  Claimed no-logs policy.
  • 5 concurrent connections.
  • Great download speeds and reliability.
  •  Apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Fire TV devices.
  •  30-day money back guarantee.
  •  Accepts Bitcoin payments.

Cons

  •  Fewer countries with VPN servers.
  •  A few missing features on their apps.
4.2

StrongVPN is a name that has been around in the industry for as long as I can remember. They’ve been offering a consistent and reliable service for years and it’s why their customers keep on resubscribing.

With the pace of change happening rapidly in the VPN world, has StrongVPN kept pace with their rivals or have they fallen behind in what is now an ultra-competitive industry? In this review, I aim to find out. I’ll see why you should spend your money on the StrongVPN service rather than one of the many others.

Packages:

StrongVPN follows suit with most other VPN providers out there and make sure things are nice and uncomplicated in the package stakes.

They offer one package and the only choice you have is how long you want to subscribe for. Unlike some other providers there is no 6-month package but instead you only get to choose between paying monthly or yearly.

The package prices at the time of writing are currently:

  • 1-month @ US $10 p/m (~ £7.47)
  • 12-months @ US $5.83 p/m (~ £4.35)

StrongVPN isn’t the most expensive VPN provider but neither are they the cheapest. Their monthly package is ever so slightly cheaper than many other top level VPN services and their 12-month package is about average when compared across the board with competitors.

There are more expensive and cheaper providers but StrongVPN doesn’t stand out at either end of the scale so I would consider them a mid-range priced service.

The Service:

StrongVPN offers access to the L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, IPSec and IKEv2 VPN protocols which give you plenty of connection choice. Many VPN provider only offer 3 regular protocols so you’re already ahead in the choice stakes from the get go.

Logging

StrongVPN claim like many VPN providers to store no details of your activity while connected to their service. This also includes connection data.

In their policy they say StrongVPN “does not collect or log any traffic of its Services” and goes on to claim that it is a “zero-logging VPN”.

We have no reason to doubt StrongVPN’s claims. There have been no stories about their logging policy being untrustworthy while there have been stories regarding other providers.

On the other hand, there have been no stories to prove such claims and like any provider you will need to make your own careful judgement about your belief of their policy.

Server Locations

The StrongVPN server network has been slowly growing over the past few years and now offers VPN servers in 26 countries across the globe.

This is spread across more than 46 individual cities giving you multiple connection points in many countries and there are somewhere in the region of 650+ individual servers.

These numbers are some of the lower end of the scale making StrongVPN one of the smaller providers in terms of locations. This doesn’t mean you should discount them straight away because the average VPN user will only make permanent use of 2-3 locations throughout the lifespan of their account.

What it should encourage you to do is take a look at their server location list and see if the locations they offer are suitable for your needs.

For example there are plenty of VPN servers across North America and Europe with a handful in Asia and Australia. There are however very few in South America and none in Africa so if you’re in those regions they may not be ideal for you.

Concurrent Connections

We last reviewed StrongVPN a little under a year ago and I’m pleased to report that since then concurrent connections have been increased to 5 from the one account.

This allows you to connect a range of devices of any type to the service. This could either be your entire arsenal of gadgets from computers and laptops through to tablets and phones or those of your entire household.

Allowing you to connect 5 devices on 1 account really does offer good value for money and means you’re likely to only need the one account to keep everything secure.

Other Notable Features

One of my favourite features of the StrongVPN service is the fact it comes built in with free access to their StrongDNS service.

StrongDNS is a standalone SmartDNS service that allows you to unblock content from around the world without the need for the VPN service and without encryption.

This is geared towards unblocking media services like BBC iPlayer in the UK or NBC from the US. You can also select from over 10 different regions of Netflix including the most populous like the United States Netflix site and the United Kingdom one.

StrongDNS has the advantage that it doesn’t encrypt your internet connection so there is absolutely no speed loss. If you’re in a remote area or just have bad or slow internet then the StrongDNS service will allow you to watch your favourite content from overseas no matter where you find yourself in the world.

StrongVPN also has one of the longest money back guarantees in the industry. Although a large handful of providers are now offering 30-day money back guarantees, it’s nice to see StrongVPN competing on this score and matching the 30-day money back period.

If you’re a little cautious when choosing a VPN then this entire money peace of mind will have you covered.

Mobile Apps:

At the start of the year StrongVPN completely overhauled their apps including their mobile ones.

What was once a lacking area of the service the StrongVPN mobile apps for both Android and Apple iOS are now uniform in look but also a joy to use.

The interface of the mobile apps is simple and quick to navigate and they definitely compete with the quality of some of the other top providers.

StrongVPN Android App

Connection can be made quickly with just a few taps of the app and one of the best aspects is they match the desktop clients in look. This allows you to seamlessly move between the apps on all devices. If you’re new to VPN usage then you’ll certainly appreciate this feature.

Servers can be selected either by country or by letting the app itself choose the ‘Best Available’.

The Settings area of the app is a reduced version of the Desktop client but still packs a punch in features. Connection type is limited to OpenVPN which can be altered between TCP and UDP.

You’re also able to specify the port for connection and use the obfuscation capability feature of OpenVPN known as ‘Scramble’ to help you beat networks that have restrictive firewalls.

Desktop Apps:

The Desktop apps look exactly like the mobile apps which make moving between your devices simple. If you’re new to VPN use then you’ll definitely appreciate this uniform design.

The desktop apps work much the same as the mobile apps. With server selection based on country or what it would consider the ‘Best Available’.

StrongVPN Windows App

Where the desktop apps differ is in the preferences section. There are plenty more options and choices here.

As well as the usual connect on start-up and auto-reconnect type options there’s an additional Kill Switch feature which will cut your internet connection should the VPN drop. This stops any data leaking outside the VPN connection.

VPN protocol choices are plenty too with IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP & UDP), SSTP and L2TP available to choose from. There’s no PPTP option but with this being an outdated and insecure protocol it’s not a huge loss.

Outside of that there’s not much else to report. The desktop apps work well, get you connected and do the job they’re intended to.

Speeds:

I tested StrongVPN over a period of a few weeks for my general daily internet use to see how they performed.

Connecting to countries nearby such as the Netherlands produced good results. I noticed no visible slowdowns compared to my normal internet speeds when carrying out general tasks.

Everyday internet usage such as browsing websites, watching videos and other general usage didn’t appear to suffer when connected to StrongVPN.

I especially like the StrongDNS service that comes free with the VPN account, this allowed me to access blocked TV services without speed loss.

StrongDNS uses no encryption so if you’ve got poor internet speed or you’re in a remote location with unreliable internet then the free StrongDNS service gives you the best chance of accessing and streaming overseas content that would otherwise be blocked.

Encryption & Policies:

Encryption

StrongVPN has plenty of options when it comes to choosing a VPN protocol, everything from OpenVPN to IKEv2, L2TP and SSTP are available.

There is very little information available about what encryption many of the protocols use but OpenVPN is using AES-256 bit encryption with a 2048-bit RSA key for handshaking.

This is industry standard and it’s good to see the service using strong encryption for their OpenVPN protocol.

Policies

StrongVPN claim they store no logs of your activity nor do they track it. Information they do store includes your email address and any details related to your payment type. As they accept Bitcoin this means you can limit even the amount of payment information.

The service on a whole uses Shared IP Addresses which means your usage is mixed with other users. Even in the unlikely event details of your connection were discovered, the data would be mixed with other users making it almost impossible to determine your usage.

StrongVPN’s policies have recently been updated in May 2018 to comply with GDPR regulations which is good news for EU customers, but there is an overall privacy policy which StrongVPN applies to all users.

Not all VPN providers have a GDPR compliant policy section even though it is now a requirement if they market to EU customers. It’s good to see StrongVPN taking this seriously and from a glance it looks like all the required information to be GDPR compliant is included (I’m not a lawyer however, this is just a glancing opinion).

Verdict:

StrongVPN has been around for an extremely long time. In fact their parent company goes back as far as 1995.

In the past I wasn’t the biggest fan of the service due to the incredibly awkward software and the disjointed mobile apps that didn’t match their desktop counterparts.

I’m happy to report that this is a thing of the past and both the desktop and mobile apps are now simple to use. They’re well designed and although they’re still lacking one or two features of other providers they do the job and get you connected and secure without fuss.

I really liked the StrongDNS service that comes included free as it allows you to unblock TV services from around the world without speed loss and as it costs nothing extra, it’s a bonus!

StrongVPN is lacking on the server locations front. With servers in just 26 countries across the world they’re much smaller than some of their similarly priced competitors. I did find the majority of servers to be fast and reliable though so if you don’t need hundreds of locations (which most of us don’t) then they should still satisfy your needs.

The service has certainly improved over the years, with the improved apps, 5 simultaneous connections, live help and a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy.

StrongVPN still has a few features it needs to add before it can be considered the top VPN service out there. However, all the new additions are really welcomed and have put the service amongst the best.

If you’re after a reliable VPN service with fast servers and plenty of substance and can look past the smaller number of countries covered then they make a good choice. If you’re still unhappy you’ve got 30 days to get your money back – you can’t say fairer than that.

Have you already tried StrongVPN or did you sign up based on this review? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the service about what you liked and disliked and ultimately what you think they need to improve.

Why not let me and others know in the comments section below?

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