StrongVPN is a user-friendly, zero-logs VPN that works well to unblock major streaming sites. Download speeds are good enough in most popular locations but nothing to shout about, however gamers and torrenters will love the low latency and fast uploads. Access to Netflix and iPlayer is quick and more importantly very reliable. Newly-updated custom apps are available for most popular platforms and are incredibly easy to set up and use.
StrongVPN offers robust encryption and some essential advanced privacy features, such as a VPN killswitch and first-party DNS servers. It’s strictly zero-logs, not even collecting basic connection metadata, so you don’t need to worry about your personal information being leaked to your ISP. Additional obfuscation tools mean it works fairly well to connect out from China, although performance isn’t great. Customer service is hit-and-miss but 24/7 live chat is useful.
Pricing & Deals
StrongVPN offers a couple of different pricing plans to help you decide on the most suitable option. These have the same features but the longer subscription you opt for, the less you pay on a monthly basis.
The priciest option is the single month plan at $10.00, however this is reduced by 42% to a very reasonable $5.83 if you sign up to an annual package.
StrongVPN Pricing & Deals
The prices below include the coupon savings.
StrongVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in place of a free trial. This is for customers who are “less than 100% satisfied with the StrongVPN service”, and there are no hidden restrictions or data caps. However it’s good to bear in mind that if you pay via Bitcoin you’re not eligible for a refund, and if you purchase the app via the iTunes or App Store you’ll have to go through Apple to get your money back.
StrongVPN does occasionally run ‘free trial’ promotions, but the downside to this is if you participate in one of these you won’t be eligible for a refund payment, which is a little disappointing. Refunds can take up to 7 working days to appear in your bank account, but this is pretty much standard with all providers, making signing up to StrongVPN relatively risk-free (as long as you don’t pay with Bitcoin).
StrongVPN accepts the usual range of payment options including most major credit and debit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and Alipay. If you need to pay via any other international methods unfortunately these aren’t available.
Speed & Reliability
StrongVPN’s speed test results are reasonable but nothing to write home about, especially compared to the blazing-fast speeds on offer by other top-tier providers. However speeds on all popular servers are more than ample enough for HD streaming and quick multiple file downloads, so as long as you’re not doing anything too extreme you shouldn’t have a problem. Speedy uploads and low latency mean it’s a good choice for gamers and torrenters.
StrongVPN offers good enough speeds on local connections for buffer-free HD streaming, peaking at 76Mbps in France and 73Mbps in the Netherlands. Transatlantic users will be impressed with speeds of over 60Mbps connecting out to the US from Europe, which is up there with some of the best providers on the current market. We were also pleasantly surprised by Australia’s server performance at 34Mbps, which is very fast considering we test from London.
We also found latency to be very low on same-country connections, coming in at around 2ms on average on our UK server. This makes StrongVPN a great choice for gamers as well as privacy-conscious streamers.
StrongVPN connects fairly quickly each time in around 10 seconds, which is good news if you’re going to be switching servers often. Performance isn’t as reliable as we’d like it to be, with some servers coming in at 100Mbps+ on one test and less than 50Mbps on the next, which is pretty frustrating.
Upload speeds are equally as solid as downloads, coming in at an impressive 90Mbps in the Netherlands and 80Mbps in the UK and France. Performance isn’t as good across long-distance connections, with Australia and Japan struggling to reach 5Mbps, however this is to be expected and won’t be a problem for the majority. P2P is also supported on all of StrongVPN’s servers, making it very appealing to torrenters.
Whilst there are providers out there that offer much higher speeds on individual servers, StrongVPN is a great choice if you’re looking for solid performance across both local and international connections. If you’re planning on setting the VPN up on your router and streaming in Ultra HD across multiple devices you might need to look elsewhere, however the software is more than quick enough for everyday internet users.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How we test for VPN speed performance.
StrongVPN’s server network is on the small side compared to its rivals, with only 27 of the most popular countries on offer. If you’re a fairly light VPN user then your needs will most likely be covered, however should you need some more choice then you might be better off looking elsewhere.
The advertised 650 servers sounds a lot more impressive than it really is as two-thirds are PPTP-only servers. This legacy protocol should really only be used as a last resort as there are known insecurities. StrongVPN does however maintain an incredibly high number of individual IP addresses at almost 60,000, meaning it’s far easier for you to get ‘lost in the crowd’.
We were pleasantly surprised to see a choice of 12 US cities in a network this size, putting StrongVPN up there with some of the top providers for coverage in that country. There’s also city-level choice in the UK, Brazil, Germany and Luxembourg, which is great to see.
As usual, Europe and North America are best represented, accounting for 37 out of the 46 available locations. Asia has a few options such as Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia, but if you need South America or Africa then look elsewhere.
You can find the complete list of StrongVPN server locations by country and city on their website below.
Platforms & Devices
StrongVPN offers the usual range of custom apps for popular platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It has also partnered with FlashRouters to provide plug and play routers with the VPN software already installed, meaning you can protect all of your devices without having to setup individual apps on each one.
There are also manual set-up guides on the support section of StrongVPN’s website for those devices lacking native apps, such as Linux, Amazon Kindle and Kodi. You can also find step-by-step instructions on how to manually configure your existing router to work with the software if you don’t want to buy a new one.
StrongVPN additionally offers a proxy extension for Chrome browsers, which is a nice added bonus, however it doesn’t measure up to the main apps in terms of privacy features. Unlike a true VPN extension, the proxy will only change your IP address and won’t encrypt your web traffic, so it’s great for geo-spoofing but not much else.
The extension also has a bandwidth limit of 3GB as it’s a free standalone product, so it’s not going to be a lot of use if you’re planning on streaming or downloading a ton of TV shows. It’s a handy little feature to have in your browser, but if you already have the desktop client installed we would advise using that instead.
Console & Streaming Devices
StrongVPN can be used with a broad range of games consoles and streaming devices simply by connecting them to a configured router. This includes devices such as Apple and Android TV, Roku, Xbox and Playstation, as well as many others. Unfortunately there’s no way of sharing the VPN connection with another device running the app, such as a laptop or smartphone, so if you’re mainly going to be using consoles or streaming devices you need to check your router is compatible with the software.
There are set-up guides for some of these devices, such as Kodi and Boxee Box, on the support section of StrongVPN’s website. If you’re stuck, we’d highly recommend searching through the customer forums, as we found lots of helpful tips on how to manually configure a ton of other devices. Admittedly these aren’t official website resources as they’re submitted by users, however they may come in handy if you encounter any issues.
Streaming & Torrenting
StrongVPN is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for fast, hassle-free access to Netflix and other major streaming sites. We were able to access Netflix through all of its US servers with absolutely no issues in any of our recent tests, and the video quality was actually incredibly good with very little buffering. The choice of 12 US cities comes in handy here as even if one of them were to get blocked, you’d have lots of other options to fall back on.
The story is the same with BBC iPlayer, which was accessible through all six of StrongVPN’s UK servers. Great speeds in these locations mean you can also take advantage of the HD option and watch all of your favorite shows in the highest possible quality.
StrongVPN also remains popular with fans of other streaming services such as Hulu, Sky and HBO due to easy access and decent speeds. Torrenters will love that P2P activity is permitted on all servers worldwide, and a strict zero-logs policy means all your online activity remains anonymous.
Encryption & Security
StrongVPN’s recent update has introduced some much-needed privacy features to bring it up to speed with other top-tier providers. You can select your chosen protocol from a list on the desktop app, however we’d always recommend using OpenVPN as this is the most secure. Unfortunately not all servers are available on this protocol, but we don’t think it’s worth sacrificing a level of security just to get access to more server locations.
The VPN killswitch was the most welcome addition as it blocks all web traffic should the VPN connection drop for any reason, preventing your true IP address from being exposed. StrongVPN also operates its own zero-log DNS servers, meaning there’s no chance of your web traffic being routed through less-secure third-party servers that could potentially reveal your browsing activity to your ISP. Protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks are added bonuses not offered by every other provider.
StrongVPN also gives users the ability to ‘scramble’ their OpenVPN traffic, which adds an additional layer of obfuscation and therefore makes it easier to bypass censorship measures. The option to manually select your port is also very useful.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- DNS Leak Blocking
- First-party DNS
- IPV6 Leak Blocking
- Supports TCP Port 443
- VPN Killswitch
Even despite StrongVPN’s main website currently being blocked in China, it’s still a fairly good option for those looking to connect out from that country. Users can still access the site using a variety of alternative domain names, although we’d recommend trying to download the software before you travel, if at all possible.
The broad choice of protocols is really helpful for those in China, as even if one is blocked there are several others you can try, however bear in mind they don’t all offer an equal level of security. The additional obfuscation (scramble) tool is another great feature, as it means your web traffic is far less likely to be detected as a VPN connection, therefore allowing you to overcome the Great Firewall more easily.
This means StrongVPN is also a solid choice for people in other high-censorship countries such as Iran, Turkey and the UAE, as governments will find it a lot more difficult to tell that you’re connecting using a VPN. There are however providers out there that offer much more reliable performance due to larger server networks, so if you need consistently fast speeds you might want to take a look at other options.
StrongVPN operates a very strict zero-logs policy, stating that it doesn’t collect or log any traffic or use of its VPN service. This includes even basic connection metadata such as timestamps, chosen server or bandwidth consumed. We love this approach and wish it was the case with more VPN providers.
Because they collect absolutely no customer data, there is no way any of your browsing activity can be traced back to you as an individual, which is great news. If you’re seeking complete online anonymity, you should most definitely consider StrongVPN.
StrongVPN operates under the jurisdiction of the USA, one of the least privacy-friendly locations in the world. However you shouldn’t let this put you off, as since no customer logs are kept there’s no way of tying down any activity to an individual user.
Ease of use
StrongVPN has recently updated its set of custom apps to make them far more accessible to inexperienced VPN users. The main screen is incredibly stripped back, displaying only your new IP address, time elapsed, chosen server location and a big connect button. The big world map takes up a lot of space and doesn’t seem to serve any real purpose, in all honesty we would rather see some more information about our connection, such as our chosen VPN protocol.
A limited range of settings can be found behind the cog icon along the top of the app, however these are very basic, restricted to protocol selection and a few on/off toggles for more general options such as the killswitch. We would have appreciated a few more configurable options here, such as DNS and IPv6 leak protection, as currently these are baked into the software so there’s no way of controlling them.
We love that you can set up the desktop client to automatically connect on launch, meaning you don’t even have to remember to click connect before you start browsing. The mobile apps are also very good; simple and effective with a big button in the middle of the screen. StrongVPN offers a sleek, user-friendly experience but hardcore users who want to manually configure a load of settings will probably want to look elsewhere.
Downloading and installing StrongVPN is an incredibly simple process, even if you’ve never used a VPN before. It’s as easy as downloading the relevant software from the website and following the prompts given to you by the installation wizard, which usually just involves hitting ‘next’ and then ‘finish’. Once you’ve done this, all that’s left to do is enter your username and password and you’re ready to start using the service.
There are detailed set-up guides for most major platforms on the site, which include lots of helpful screenshots so you can make sure you’re doing the right thing. The installation prompts are straightforward enough to follow, but should you get stuck just refer back to the guides and they should get you on the right track.
StrongVPN’s customer support is a bit of a mixed bag in comparison to other providers. Following the recent update, live chat is now available 24/7, but most of the time we just ended up talking to a sales agent who copied and pasted answers from the FAQs. This was a little disappointing, however whenever they couldn’t solve our problems they’d forward our details to the tech team, who were always quick to respond and very helpful.
The knowledge base on the website is neither comprehensive, well-written nor particularly useful for troubleshooting. For basic instructions the FAQ section should do the job, but for anything beyond this you’ll have to contact the support team. There’s also no search feature, meaning you’re forced to click through a load of irrelevant fluff before you actually find what you were looking for. Overall a frustrating experience that needs some more work.
The Bottom Line
- Solid performance with speeds of up to 76Mbps on local servers
- Fast, hassle-free access to Netflix and other major streaming services
- Very user-friendly apps. Instant set-up on popular platforms
- Connect securely to 27 countries
- Incredibly strict zero-logs policy
- Too many servers are PPTP-only
- Limited customer service options
- Based in privacy-unfriendly US
- Server network could be bigger
StrongVPN is a great choice if you’re looking for a solid, zero-logs VPN offering reliable access to major streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It’s not one of the cheapest options on the current market but we think it offers great value for money, especially on the annual plan. Performance is decent on local connections but nowhere close to the super-fast speeds offered by top-tier providers. Low latency makes it a good option for gamers.
In terms of privacy, StrongVPN is a true zero-logs VPN that doesn’t even store temporary connection metadata, mitigating the fact it’s based in the privacy-unfriendly US. Additional obfuscation tools mean it works well in China and other high-censorship countries, and a VPN killswitch and first-party DNS servers are great bonus features.
We love StrongVPN’s redesigned set of custom apps, now offering a far more user-friendly experience, although we would like to see some more configurable options added in the near future. Those looking for sheer speed will be disappointed, but if you’re looking for a simple, click-and-forget VPN to unblock streaming and browse securely, StrongVPN is an excellent choice.