StrongVPN is a user-friendly, zero-logs VPN for general browsing and torrenting. Download speeds are pretty fast on local connections but nothing to shout about, however P2P users will love the speedy uploads. Access to Netflix is quick, but it’s currently not possible to watch iPlayer. 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 kill switch 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.
Get an extra 20% off> StrongVPN's 12-month plan
StrongVPN Pricing & Deals
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 seven 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 majority of standard payment options including most major credit and debit cards, PayPal and Alipay. It's disappointing to see no option to pay in cryptocurrencies and if you need to pay via any other international methods unfortunately these aren’t available either.
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 location connections are more than ample enough for HD streaming and quick downloads on a few devices at once. Speedy uploads mean it’s a good choice for torrenters, but high latencies may put off gamers.
StrongVPN offers good enough speeds on local connections for buffer-free HD streaming, peaking at 72Mbps in the Netherlands. Transatlantic users will be impressed with speeds of almost 40Mbps connecting out to the US East Coast, which is pretty fast considering we test from London. We were also pleasantly surprised by Japan’s server performance at almost 20Mbps, which is still enough for HD streaming, if only one device.
We found latency to be less impressive, coming in at 10ms even on same-country connections. Considering some of our top-tier providers boast super low ping times of less than 1ms, keen gamers may want to look else.
StrongVPN takes a while to connect, averaging around 15 seconds, so remember to activate the kill switch to ensure that your IP address isn’t exposed while the VPN is connecting. Performance isn’t as reliable as we’d like it to be, with some servers producing very different results from one test to the next, which is pretty frustrating.
Upload speeds are even better than downloads, coming in at an impressive 94Mbps in the UK and around 85Mbps across the rest of Europe. Performance isn’t as good across long-distance connections, with Australia struggling to reach 3Mbps, 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 26 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 at other providers, such as HideMyAss! which boasts over 190 server locations.
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, Canada and Germany, which is great to see.
As usual, Europe and North America are best represented, accounting for 16 out of the 26 available locations. Asia has a few options such as Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia, but South America is served by just Brazil. Unfortunately, there aren’t any servers in Africa.
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 Microsoft Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. They have 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 setup 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.
Unfortunately, StrongVPN no longer offers its Google Chrome browser extension, and there aren’t options for Mozilla Firefox or Safari either. This will come as a disappointment to heavy browser users looking for a more lightweight experience. Many other providers offer at least a proxy extension, with ExpressVPN boasting full VPN encryption.
Games Consoles & 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. StrongVPN offer a native app for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, however customer support recommend connecting the device to a configured router as ‘setup and navigation might be problematic’, which doesn’t reassure us of its quality. Other providers, including IPVanish, offer a much more reliable solution for the Fire TV Stick, should you need it. 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 setup guides for some of these devices, such as Kodi, 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 has recently regained access to Netflix after a few weeks of it being completely blocked. You can now watch your favorite shows in buffer-free HD through most of the US servers but we’d like to see some dedicated streaming servers in the future to make accessing popular sites even easier.
Unfortunately, during our latest tests, we weren’t able to access BBC iPlayer through any of the UK servers. It’s been possible in the past, but it seems StrongVPN has fallen victim to the BBC’s recent crackdowns on VPN traffic. If watching shows on iPlayer is a priority check out our dedicated roundup of the best VPNs for that purpose.
StrongVPN 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 kill switch 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 Kill Switch
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, but the downside to not collecting any metadata is that server performance could potentially suffer as a result.
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.
StrongVPN states that it will comply with valid subpoena requests, but it can’t provide information that it does not have. Therefore if such a request were to be made, it would simply respond by stating it keeps no customer logs and therefore cannot be of any further assistance.
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 kill switch. 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, but lack some security features, such as a kill switch. 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.
It’s the same story with the help section on the website, which offers a great range of setup manuals for loads of different devices, including video tutorials and screenshots, but lacks comprehensive troubleshooting guides. For basic instructions the FAQ section should do the job, but for anything beyond this you’ll have to contact the support team. Thankfully, there’s a search feature, meaning you should be able to find answers pretty quickly. Overall it’s decent enough, but could do with some improvements.
The Bottom Line
- Solid performance with speeds of up to 72Mbps on local servers
- Quick access to Netflix
- Very user-friendly apps. Instant set-up on popular platforms
- Connect securely to 26 countries
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Too many servers are PPTP-only
- Customer support could be better
- Based in privacy-unfriendly US
- Server network could be bigger
- No access to iPlayer currently
StrongVPN is a great choice if you’re looking for a user-friendly, zero-logs VPN for general browsing and torrenting. Streaming fans will be pleased to read that it’s currently working with Netflix, but you can’t access 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 pretty quick on local connections but nowhere close to the super-fast speeds offered by top-tier providers. Fairly high ping times might be off-putting 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 kill switch 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 browse and torrent securely, StrongVPN is an excellent choice.