Virtual Private Networks are a necessity these days, when the promise of online privacy is increasingly out of users’ hands. That’s why it is important to find a reliable VPN service provider.
Here’s an introduction to one of the more popular VPNs in today’s market—StrongVPN.
StrongVPN is a company that launched back in 2005, in South Lake Tahoe, California. The team counts more than 60 professionals located around the world. More than 650 servers across 20 countries are available to choose from. You will notice on the official website that the customer support team is available 24/7 via live chat.
As for the price, a one-month subscription to this service will cost you $10, while monthly payment for a year-long plan is $5.83. Free trial is not on the menu, unfortunately, but the company does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for those who are not satisfied with the service.
A huge plus in favor of StrongVPN is that it can be used on five different devices provided that you log into your account on each device.
It’s worth noting that the service’s encryption functions significantly slow down some users’ computers, but despite that, the users are mostly satisfied with this VPN’s speed. And if you happen to have issues with your computer’s limited speed, try disconnecting from the service and running a speed test to select a faster server. This worked for us.
The company is especially proud of the fact that they do not keep logs regarding clients’ internet activity. On the website, you can find a guarantee that they will not disclose your information to anyone.
StrongVPN uses L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IPSec and IKEv2 protocols, and 256-bit encryption. For the optimal level of security, use the OpenVPN protocol.
Additionally, the software does not allow DNS or WebRTC leaks, which is a major security plus. Even when your mic and camera are on, your data will be safe with StrongVPN.
StrongVPN’s interface is pretty simple, which makes the app intuitive and easy to use. And while you’d think that this is something users will appreciate, a number of them are explicitly put off by this, finding the software outdated. By contrast, we’ve found this simplicity refreshing.
So, if you are looking for an elegant user interface, you will probably be disappointed. Modern is not the first word that comes to mind when you mention StrongVPN.
Once you open the app, you will be prompted to enter your password and username. The app offers the option to save your credentials. After this, you will be able to select a preferred server and connect to it.
In the section labeled Settings (marked with a characteristic little cog icon) you can adjust your notifications settings, enable DNS and iPv6leak protection or a kill switch. You can also select the option to run the service on Windows startup. Make sure to check the box Automatically look for updates.
There is also a world map featured; however, there’s not much use of it since you can’t even click on any particular country. The default is “Best Available,” and this option offers you a server according to location proximity and server load. Another thing that’s not received well by users is the fact that the servers aren’t labeled, so you can’t really choose according to your desired purpose—for example, Netflix streaming and similar tasks.
We find a relatively small number of servers one of the greater minuses of StrongVPN. StrongVPN has some 600+ servers available, as opposed to the 4,000+ options NordVPN has. This manifests in crowded servers and lower speeds, resulting in longer buffering time of high-quality videos—a huge minus, indeed.
Another useful feature is the kill switch, a built-in option in the desktop app. It is designed to terminate internet connection should you disconnect from the VPN service for any reason. This basically protects both, your personal details and your activity online.
Unfortunately, at this point at least, this option is not available for mobile apps.
StrongVPN allows you to stream Netflix, Hulu and a few other streaming services from around the world. However, if you live in Europe, for example, you will be able to watch content reserved only for United States users. This will also work on your mobile Netflix app.
Sadly, not all servers support Netflix or Hulu, and you will probably have to try several before you find a suitable solution.
StrongVPN allows peer-to-peer file-sharing, which means you will be able to download torrents without worrying about someone finding out or tracking this action.
Full Internet Access
Some countries—China and Turkey for instance—do not allow access to some websites (Facebook, YouTube and even Google). But, StrongVPN enables users to overcome this restriction. However, make sure to download the software before going to China, because you likely will not be able to access the StrongVPN website within China’s borders.
StrongVPN is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle, Chromium OS, Kodi, and many other devices and platforms.
If you want to install the StrongVPN desktop app, you will have to download it from the company’s website first.
In the VPN Apps section, select the version you need (Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, iOS, etc.) and download the software.
And that’s it regarding the installation process. If you click “Run StrongVPN,” the following window will appear prompting you to create your account. If you click to sign up, you will be redirected to company’s website.
After the above steps, you will finally be able to browse the web anonymously, and without any worry that someone could track your internet activity.
StrongVPN can be purchased with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Alipay and PayPal. The company also accepts Bitcoin as one of the payment methods and we find this most useful, for it’s an extension in providing the ultimate anonymity.
What customers find about StrongVPN’s advantages are fast connection time, a kill switch feature and the fact that StrongVPN does not keep logs.
On the other hand, two of the most significant flaws, as reported by the users, are its poor and outdated design, as well as the fact that it slows down your computer. Despite company’s claims that the app should not affect the computer’s performance, users have found this a bit far-fetched, especially if you select a crowded server. So, a word of advice—run a speed test and choose a server based on the result before you connect.
Another faction of user complaints are directed at customer service, which is quite an important factor when deciding on a VPN service for long-term use. Although responsive, we found that their replies to tickets are generic and of little help in response to a specific problem.
Another complaint by users pertains to StrongVPN’s 30-day guarantee. Apparently there have been issues in which StrongVPN tries to wriggle out of the 30-day guarantee on several occasions.
As you can assume, these and other complaints make many clients consider other options. The downsides of StrongVPN are quite important, and cannot be neglected; while the positive sides stand out as differentiators to other competing services.
What are the Alternatives
Some of the most popular alternatives to StrongVPN include the following:
What makes these VPN services a better option than StrongVPN is that some of them offer a free trial period or better payment deals.
Additionally, some (such as PrivateVPN and NordVPN) offer a selection of thousands of servers across the globe. We cannot deny that these numbers are impressive especially when compared to StrongVPN. SaferVPN even has friend referral program that can bring you extra benefits, which is quite appreciated by the users.
StrongVPN Pros and Cons
|Strong encryption||A fewer number of servers compared to other VPN providers|
|Simple user interface||It is not cheap|
|Kill switch||Poor design|
|Does not keep logs||Support service is not customer-oriented|
|You get access to Hulu and Netflix||Can be very slow on some servers|
|Bypasses geo-restrictions||No free trial|
|Responsive customer support||The company is based in the U.S., which may be a security concern|
|You can pay for the service with Bitcoin|
|Compatible with many operating systems including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, etc.|
The Overall Verdict
StrongVPN is a company founded in 2005, in California. The location may be a concern when it comes to this VPN service provider because it must abide by U.S. customer reporting laws, which can be strict. On the other hand, the software uses a 256-encryption protocol which makes it one of the safest options available.
However, there have been some issues that made this app less than perfect as far as VPN software goes. Some of those issues include poor design, a limited number of servers, pricing and the fact that the company puts its own interests before customers’ support.
Ultimately, if you are thinking about getting a decent VPN, we recommend you to first consider your priorities and base your decision around that. What we take into account, for example, when reviewing VPN software, are their speed, whether they’re user-friendly and intuitive, customer support responsiveness and competence, price plan(s) compared against the number and type of features, the amount of servers available and the type of security protocols included.
It all boils down to what “a decent VPN app” means in your book. As for us, it means—a good blend of each of the above aspects, with security being just a little bit more regarded than other criteria.