StrongVPN Review 2021: Just how good is it?
It can be hard to decide the best when there are so many options out there. This StrongVPN review makes it easier by analyzing every aspect of the VPN to help you make an informed decision.
Pros & Cons
- Keeps zero logs
- Works with Netflix & other services
- It comes with a SmartDNS
- It comes with free cloud storage
- Allows torrenting
- Offers 12 simultaneous connections
- Provides 24/7 live chat support
- Average speeds
- Slightly expensive
- Based in the US
StrongVPN is one of the oldest VPN services, and it has been around since 2005. The VPN has been improving services over the years, and in 2020, it absorbed ibVPN to boost its services. Now, it boasts some great features and functionalities such as:
- The new WireGuard protocol
- 250GB SugarSync cloud storage
- A Smart DNS service
- 12 simultaneous connections
- 24/7 customer support
StrongVPN’s great pack of features justifies its place among the most well-known VPNs, but how does it perform, and just how strong is it? This StrongVPN review puts the VPN to the test and analyzes it in terms of streaming, privacy and security, features, server network, pricing, and more. By the end of the review, you’ll be able to decide whether StrongVPN is the right product for you.
Table of Contents
As we’ve come to expect, top VPNs such as Surfshark VPN can do much more than just the privacy and security that every other VPN promises. So, what can StrongVPN do?
Streaming: Does StrongVPN work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other services?
StrongVPN bills itself as “the best VPN for streaming,” and we sought to find out whether such a brazen claim holds any water.
We were glad to find that StrongVPN bypasses Netflix VPN blocks with ease. We were able to access American Netflix using several servers in the US.
StrongVPN also goes further than most streaming VPNs and provides multiple Netflix libraries. We managed to access Netflix UK, Canada, Japan, and more comfortably.
However, we were disappointed to find that none of the UK servers can unblock BBC iPlayer.
Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and many others worked without a hitch.
StrongVPN also throws in StrongDNS, a SmartDNS service, to improve a user's streaming experience. StrongDNS can unblock 60+ streaming services and websites.
Does StrongVPN support torrenting?
StrongVPN supports torrenting. However, the VPN provider does not mention anything about torrents on the website or even in the knowledge section. We had to contact the support agents, and they told us that the VPN “does not block torrents.”
Does StrongVPN work in China?
StrongVPN has an obfuscation capability that helps users bypass firewalls when using OpenVPN. However, it’s always hard for most VPNs, including StrongVPN, to promise that their VPN will work in China.
StrongVPN recommends using OpenVPN with the scramble feature enabled for the best chances. You can then connect to their San Francisco server as it's reportedly not blocked in China. If you plan to travel to China or any other country with strict censorship measures, you can check our recommendations for the best VPN for China.
StrongVPN is a secure VPN. However, there are some concerns about its privacy.
StrongVPN is operated by Strong Technology LLC, a subsidiary of the American technology giant J2Global. This means that StrongVPN is based in the US, a country known for extensive internet surveillance and data subpoenas. This is not an ideal location for a VPN as the law of the land requires StrongVP by law to submit any data that they have about you in the event of a legal process.
- “We are a zero-logging VPN service, meaning we do not track or store your data while connected to our VPN service.
- The only personal information we collect from you is used for your account setup, such as an email address and payment information.
- We do not sell your personal information to third parties.”
Overall, the fact that StrongVPN states that it doesn’t track or store your data is good. However, the VPN doesn't go into detail about how it handles important data such as connection time stamps, as most of the top VPNs do. This, combined with the fact that the VPN is based in the US, may raise questions about the correlation of activities with connection stamps and account details.
Further, the VPN service can still take the extra step taken by market leaders to have their no-logging claim publicly audited.
We didn't notice any data leaks when connected to any of the StrongVPN servers we tried during our tests.
However, the VPN doesn’t have a DNS leak or IP leak protection feature in any of its apps. This may be a concern as a VPN may end up leaking if a server is configured properly. The only privacy feature that the VPN provides is a kill switch.
StrongVPN does well in terms of security. The VPN offers an OpenVPN setup that uses the industry-standard AES-256-CBC encryption. This is the encryption standard that the NSA, CIA, and FBI use, and it is the current “gold standard.”
In terms of protocols, StrongVPN provides OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, SSTP, and L2TP.
OpenVPN is the most recommended VPN protocol as it provides a great balance between security and speeds.
Incorporating the relatively new WireGuard is also a great touch as the protocol is easier and faster than OpenVPN, and it is also very secure.
IKEv2 is also a modern protocol that is fast and secure. The protocol's most significant advantage is its reliability in mobile connections as it can switch between networks (for example, from WiFi to cellular) without dropping the VPN connection.
SSTP and L2TP are a bit older, but SSTP can be helpful in bypassing firewalls that block OpenVPN traffic. L2TP is legacy and not recommended.
StrongVPN provides several exciting features, and we have highlighted the best of them below.
250GB SugarSync cloud storage
Since being acquired by J2 Global, StrongVPN now provides SugarSync cloud service as a bonus to all users. The cloud service offers file storage, syncing, and encrypted backup. You can use it to store your files securely and access them from anywhere. You can also sync your files between various devices, including mobile phones. And in case of loss or theft, you can wipe your data remotely.
The SugarSync bundle provides 250 GB of space, and the bonus can be a great incentive if you use or would like a cloud service. A standalone package for the same amount of space costs $9.99 a month.
StrongDNS is another service under Strong Technologies LLC that is bundled with every StrongVPN account. It is a Smart DNS service that allows users to unblock streaming sites and other websites without using the VPN.
To access StrongDNS, use your StrongVPN login credentials to sign in on StrongDNS website. From there, all you need to do is activate your IP address in the members portal. You can then enter the provided DNS addresses on your Smart TV, gaming console, computer, or even mobile phone.
One of the best things we noticed about StrongDNS compared to Smart DNS services from other VPNs is that you can change a service's location. For example, you can switch Netflix location from the US to UK or 18 other countries. Once you do that, your Netflix catalog will change automatically.
Coming back to the VPN, StrongVPN has a kill switch that helps users avoid leaking exposing their real identity. The feature works by dropping all internet connections whenever the VPN connection is terminated.
Split tunneling is a limited StrongVPN feature that is only found in their Android app. The feature allows users to select apps they would like to exclude from VPN tunneling.
StrongVPN provides a feature known as Scramble, which is available for the OpenVPN protocol. This feature adds obfuscation capabilities to OpenVPN traffic to make it less recognizable to censorship firewalls. This means that StrongVPN can be used to bypass government censorships.
12 simultaneous connections
StrongVPN goes beyond the standard 5 simultaneous connections to offer 12. This means that you can share your account with your entire family and connect to the VPN without worrying about the number of users.
StrongVPN has a server network that consists of 950+ VPN servers spread across 56 locations in 30 countries, an increase of about 300 servers after the VPN bought out ibVPN. These servers share a total of 59,500+ IP addresses.
Overall, the StrongVPN server network is small compared to other top VPN providers such as CyberGhost. However, the VPN states that they own and control all their servers, which is a huge plus in terms of reliability and privacy. They can however incorporate more countries in Asia, South America, and Africa.
StrongVPN likes to keep it simple here by providing only two plans: a monthly plan and a yearly plan. Both plans offer similar features and functionalities, but as always, the longer plan offers the best value.
Here’s a breakdown of the two plans:
- Monthly Plan: The plan costs $10 a month, billed every 30 days.
- Yearly Plan: The plan costs $5.83 a month, billed $69.99 every 12 months.
Compared with other VPNs, StrongVPN’s monthly plan tries just about avoids being labeled as expensive. However, the VPN’s yearly plan is quite costly as you can get most of the top 10 VPNs at a lower price. The only way you can justify the price is if you need the cloud service bonus.
That said, you can get occasional discounts for your first subscription. For example, the pricing had a 50% discount during this review.
Supported payment methods
StrongVPN accepts payments through Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover cards. You can also pay through PayPal and Alipay.
While these are sufficient payment methods, it’s disappointing to see that the VPN doesn’t accept cryptocurrency. If you’d like more anonymity, you can check out the best VPNs that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Does StrongVPN have a free trial?
No, StrongVPN does not have a free trial.
Does StrongVPN have a money-back guarantee?
Yes. The VPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, it’s important to note that this guarantee only applies to the 1-year plan.
The StrongVPN website is well designed and easy to use. To create an account, you only need to click “Join Now,” and you’ll be redirected to the subscription page. You will then be asked to provide an email address and a payment method. From there, StrongVPN will give you a temporary password for your account.
However, things are not so straightforward if you choose to pay via PayPal. If you use an email address that is different from the PayPal address, the system will tell you that it encountered a problem.
While subscribing, they emailed us a link (to our PayPal address) which we would then use to verify that the PayPal belonged to the person trying to pay for an account. Considering that the VPN doesn’t provide an anonymous payment method, this unique approach may raise some questions.
Nevertheless, we were able to pay the pending invoice after verifying our PayPal address.
Which devices & platforms does StrongVPN support?
StrongVPN is quite compatible. The VPN provides client apps for:
- Fire TV
You can download StrongVPN apps from the website's app section. There’s also a StrongVPN chrome extension available on the Chrome store. Note that the extension is just a proxy, and so it doesn't provide encryption.
Apart from the apps, you can also set up the VPN manually on Linux, Ubuntu Linux, Synology NAS, Kodi, Amazon Kindle, and Chrome OS. The VPN provides guides for each.
Ease of use
The StrongVPN Windows App
The StrongVPN download file for Windows is about 30 MBs, but it installs within a minute. After logging in, here’s what it looks like.
You can easily connect to the fastest location by clicking the connect button. You can also select a server by clicking the server button.
The settings button on the top right side allows you to customize your connection. You can enable the kill switch and choose a protocol.
You can then connect to your desired server.
Overall, we weren’t impressed with the StrongVPN client for Windows. The app wasn’t as intuitive as we’ve gotten used to, and it doesn’t have shortcuts that make going back to a previous window easy. You also can’t double-click to connect to a server or even access the server list when you are connected. Although they’ve given the interface a new look, there’s still a lot of work to be done. In the meanwhile, it’s not among our best VPN for Windows.
The StrongVPN Android & iOS Apps
The StrongVPN Android and iOS apps look and work similarly to the desktop app. However, they are all stripped down.
The iOS app does not have any advanced features, and you can only customize your connection by choosing a protocol. The available protocols are IKEv2, IPSec, and WireGuard.
The StrongVPN Android app has an extra functionality called Split Tunnel. The feature allows you to select apps that you’d like to exempt from the VPN connection.
Overall, the mobile apps are well designed and easy to use. They could however do with more features.
To give you an idea of how fast StrongVPN is, we subjected the VPN to several tests using both nearby (same country) and distant (different continents) servers. Our base connection was 50 Mbps, and we used WireGuard as the default protocol.
When connected to nearby servers, we averaged speeds of 43 Mbps. Distant servers averaged 31 Mbps. When using OpenVPN, the speeds were 39 Mbps and 28 Mbps, respectively.
Overall, StrongVPN provides average speeds despite using WireGuard.
The VPN does well here as it provides 24/7 live chat customer support. There's also a rare addition of phone support which is available Monday to Friday from 9 A.M to 5 P.M UTC.
Apart from in-person support, there’s a comprehensive knowledge base that provides technical guides and FAQs. Overall, StrongVPN customer support is impressive.
Does StrongVPN work with Netflix?
Yes, StrongVPN works with Netflix. You can use it to access multiple Netflix libraries.
Is Strong VPN Free?
No, StrongVPN is not free, and it doesn’t have a free trial. Its lowest price is $5.83 a month.
How do I use/activate StrongVPN coupon codes?
If you have a StrongVPN coupon, enter it during checkout. Note that some discount coupons are applied automatically.
How good is StrongVPN?
StrongVPN is a good VPN as it provides solid security and lots of functionalities.
StrongVPN comes out as a reliable VPN service that can offer streaming, torrenting, solid security, and much more. It also comes with cloud storage and a SmartDNS as bonus services, which means it can provide great value.
That said, the VPN also has some drawbacks worth considering. These include its privacy concerns, average speeds, and the not-so-great desktop apps. The pricing is also high, but if you are going to use the cloud service, StrongVPN may be a great option.