StrongVPN is a powerful service with some unusual features, but balances this out by not offering features common with other providers. The overall impression is a service that could be good, but is simply too bland. Read our full review for the details.
Although StrongVPN has improved significantly in a number of areas since we last checked in, it’s still lacking in many of the same ways as before. It can still get through to Netflix, but it also still lacks almost any features. It doesn’t have split tunneling, like we see in our ExpressVPN review, and it lacks port forwarding as well, making it arguably the buttered toast of VPNs.
It gets the job done in the most basic way possible, and for some, that could be a good thing. Its server network has improved, and we got incredible speeds in some locations, but we also saw unimpressive speeds on some of the less trafficked areas.
StrongVPN is — in almost every way — average. Throughout this StrongVPN review, we’ll compare it to a variety of other VPNs, some worse and some better. Ultimately, though, StrongVPN is still a long way off from being seen on our best VPN list. It is held back not by failures, but by sheer mediocrity.
SaferVPN has merged with StrongVPN. After the merge is complete, SaferVPN will cease to exist, though current users may continue to use the service until the end of their subscriptions. This does not impact current StrongVPN users.
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Strengths and Weaknesses
- Lots of protocols
- Solid security
- Fast speeds on some servers
- Gets into streaming sites, including Netflix
- 12 simultaneous connections
- Lacking features
- Inconsistent speeds
- Relatively limited server location options
StrongVPN offers applications for a wide variety of devices including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and even Amazon Fire TV. On top of that, it’s also possible to manually set up StrongVPN to run on even more devices, such as Chrome OS and Linux. That said, between all of these different clients, there is very little to talk about when it comes to features.
Looking at the settings menu of the desktop client reveals only half a dozen checkboxes that cover very basic functionality (a far cry from TorGuard’s monstrous UI).
These options include a kill switch and automatic connection, both of which are bare minimum requirements for any VPN. Without them, there are periods of vulnerability when your information could be visible during startup and if the VPN unexpectedly loses connection.
In addition to the kill switch, you can configure the client to reconnect automatically if you lose your VPN connection. All of these options are off by default, but we would urge StrongVPN users to at least turn on the kill switch to greatly improve their security and privacy.
Out of the five tabs in the settings, only one tab — other than “options” — actually has anything you can mess with, and that’s the “protocols” tab. Given the lack of overall features, we were surprised to find a good selection of protocols, including both OpenVPN and WireGuard. We’ll talk about this more in the “security” section.
The other three tabs contain account information, a diagnostic log and the current version of the client you’re using, as well as the option to update.
The lack of features gives a clear indication that StrongVPN is aiming for a more user-friendly experience. However, there are plenty of great examples of feature-rich and user-friendly VPNs, such as CyberGhost (you can read more about it in our CyberGhost review).
StrongVPN Features Overview
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card, AliPay|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Worldwide server amount||950+ servers in 30 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS, Amazon FireStick, Kodi|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|VPN protocols available||IPSec, OpenVPN, L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2, WireGuard|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
|Phone support||office hours|
StrongVPN keeps things simple when it comes to pricing and offers only two plans, compared to the seven options we saw in our AirVPN review.
The monthly pricing is about what we’ve come to expect from a middle-of-the-road VPN, coming in at a couple of dollars less per month than top-tier VPN services, such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN. That said, it’s not an excellent deal for short-term pricing. You can look at our Mullvad review to see what really affordable month-to-month pricing looks like.
Moving up to the yearly option saves you about $4 per month, which is still pretty competitive with the pricing of the average VPN.
Naturally, there are providers that offer more affordable plans in the one-year timeframe, such as PIA (read our Private Internet Access review). There are also strong VPN services that offer longer-term plans with even better pricing. For example, if you head over to our NordVPN review, you can read about NordVPN’s very affordable three-year plan.
StrongVPN does not offer any kind of free plan or even a free trial at the moment, unlike what we saw in our ProtonVPN review. However, it does have the 30-day money-back guarantee that we’ve gotten used to seeing almost everywhere.
Although it might sting to have to pay to try StrongVPN out, at least there’s a way to get your money back if you decide you don’t like or need the service.
Much like the limited plan options, the payment options are a bit sparse, as well. No form of crypto is accepted and neither is cash, something that Mullvad gladly takes if sent in an envelope with your account number. Your payment options with StrongVPN are limited to credit card, PayPal or Alipay.
Although the plans and payment options are as standard as they come, there are two standout features offered with StrongVPN plans.
The first — something that is bragged about and emphasized on the site — is that your VPN account gets you access to 250GB of SugarSync storage space. This is a simple cloud storage service that we weren’t huge fans of in our SugarSync review.
The second thing StrongVPN touts with its accounts is an impressive 12 simultaneous connections. This goes well beyond the industry standard for many providers and lets you protect tons of devices, though we still didn’t include StrongVPN in our best VPN for multiple devices guide.
Ease of Use
Our experience with StrongVPN began with signing up on the website. The website is basic, and signing up simply involves picking one of the two plan options and handing over an email and payment information.
Once that was done, it was easy enough to find where the various clients were on the site. Installing the software went smoothly as well, but keep in mind that some protocols and operating systems might require manual setup. The manual process is a bit trickier, but the guides on the StrongVPN website are easy enough to follow.
Once the client was installed, we got our first look at the software itself, which has a remarkably clean look. Most of the window is taken up by a world map that shows where you are connecting to, but it doesn’t have any functionality beyond that.
If you look at our NordVPN vs ProtonVPN article, you can see two VPNs that make much better use of the map-centered interface.
Above the map is where you can find your IP address and connection time, while below the map you’ll see the server selection menu and “connect” buttons. This covers everything on the main window of the client, aside from the gear in the top right to open the settings.
Clicking on the server selection option takes you to the list of server locations, which is sorted alphabetically and has a search bar at the top. Although most countries offer only a single location, some of the more trafficked spots, such as the U.S. and the UK, let you choose from a number of cities.
Moving into the settings, as we mentioned earlier, there isn’t too much to talk about. StrongVPN seems to be opting to offer less in terms of functionality in favor of making the VPN service more easy to use. There are only a few checkboxes for the most part, and each one is fairly self-explanatory, similar to TunnelBear (read our TunnelBear review).
As for the protocols offered, each one actually has a very helpful write-up that offers a clear idea of how secure and fast each protocol is. There are even generalized recommendations for the best use of each protocol.
The StrongVPN applications are all about the same and offer what most people would expect from a VPN client. It’s easy to use and offers a “fire and forget” solution to those who might not be interested in tinkering with their VPN’s settings and options.
StrongVPN came out of the gate looking very impressive in our speed testing. In the U.S., we somehow saw lower latency than on our unprotected connection, prompting us to very carefully test to make sure the VPN was operating properly. We also saw nearly our full download bandwidth coming back to us.
We confirmed that the VPN was indeed working and we weren’t just seeing our unprotected speeds. This makes StrongVPN a potential contender for our best VPN for gaming because low pings are essential in fast-paced games.
Almost as impressive as the speeds on paper was the real-world performance we saw. Things loaded in just as quickly as if we weren’t using StrongVPN at all.
Moving to the UK, we saw a drop in our speeds on paper, but we still saw very impressive performance in the wild. Videos would load in instantly, even in full HD.
Japan was where the first severe crack in the armor appeared. While our download speeds were good, we got a zero on our upload speeds. This is an abnormality that we’ve seen before with other VPNs, and it was something we saw in multiple test runs with StrongVPN.
Despite this weird reading, the Japanese server worked and could even stream HD video. It was a bit more sluggish at first to start loading, which makes sense. Likely, the server is waiting to hear from us and not the other way around, given the results we saw on paper.
Once the server we were contacting started streaming the video to us, the download speeds took over, and we were able to watch comfortably and without interruption.
Finally, Brazil saw solid speed, while Switzerland faltered a bit on paper. That said, despite the relatively low download speeds when connecting to Switzerland, we were able to load in HD video on either server in less than a second.
Although some of StrongVPN’s servers have outright impressive speeds, it still lacks consistency, which will be keeping it off our fastest VPN list for now.
StrongVPN offers an impressive number of protocol options, including WireGuard and OpenVPN. If you look at our VPN protocol breakdown, you’ll see that OpenVPN is widely preferred for its balance of excellent security and solid performance.
However, WireGuard is a brand new protocol that many VPNs, such as Hide.me and IVPN, are touting as the future of VPN security (read our Hide.me review and IVPN review).
Currently, WireGuard is actually the default protocol option when you install the StrongVPN desktop client. However, we would recommend that most people change this to OpenVPN because WireGuard is still self-described as being in “heavy development.” At this stage, WireGuard could still have undiscovered vulnerabilities or issues.
Unlike with other providers, you are not given a choice with StrongVPN when it comes to encryption. The encryption used is tied to which protocol you choose, and we highly urge people to choose OpenVPN because it gets paired with an extremely strong encryption, AES-256 (read our description of encryption for more on that).
Each of the protocols has a description in the settings. Although WireGuard is the default, OpenVPN is described as “the best security” even within StrongVPN’s own software, while WireGuard is said to be “simple yet fast.”
All the protocol options open up a lot of possibilities for those who need security or the ability to bypass firewalls. However, it still lacks some of the more hard-to-find features, such as a custom protocol, like the one we looked at in our VyprVPN review.
Regardless, StrongVPN still checks all the most important boxes for VPN security. We were also not able to detect any DNS leaks or IP leaks during our testing on any of StrongVPN’s servers.
You will have to hand over an email address and payment method. The unfortunate thing is that crypto and other discreet payment options are not as available, like they are with some other providers, such as Mullvad.
If you pay with a credit or debit card, you will have to give StongVPN your name and address in order for your payment to be processed. Your other options are to use PayPal or Alipay, which aren’t entirely discrete either.
StrongVPN is based in the U.S., which doesn’t have the best privacy laws out there. Ideally, we would like to see VPNs based in places like the British Virgin Islands or Switzerland, where you can rest assured nobody will be prodding the server room.
The final thing to note regarding StrongVPN’s privacy is that in our previous StrongVPN review, we found that some of the servers were associated with the company StackPath, which has a stake in IPVanish.
If you read our IPVanish review, you can see that it has a very poor track record of handing over user information to authorities, so it’s something to be aware of when using StrongVPN, but not necessarily condemning.
StrongVPN impressed us with its streaming performance. We tested a number of sites using both OpenVPN and WireGuard, and we found that we had no issues accessing anything. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video all loaded in very quickly and in full HD. BBC iPlayer was also no match.
Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any proxy errors or other errors relating to using a VPN. If you want a strong VPN service to beat the Netflix VPN ban, this gVPN is a fine choice.
Although other aspects of StrongVPN’s performance are going to keep it just shy of our best VPN for streaming list, it is undoubtedly up to the task, if that’s why you need it.
StrongVPN has expanded its server network considerably since we last checked it out, but it still isn’t too impressive. The overall server count has risen from about 600 to more than 950, which means the network will be able to handle spikes in traffic much more easily.
Likewise, the number of countries it covers has climbed from 20 to 30, with many of the new servers being outside the U.S. and Europe, unlike in the past.
Although it still doesn’t compare to a top-tier or truly monstrous network, like we looked at in our HideMyAss review, it’s reaching a respectable size and showing rapid expansion. The key thing that needs improvement here is the number of server locations in Asia, South America and, even more so, Africa.
When it comes to customer support, StrongVPN gives users plenty of options. As is pretty much standard for most websites these days, there is a button in the bottom right that will open up a live chat window so you can talk to its customer service right away.
You can usually connect to its support within a few minutes, but it might not always have the answers you’re looking for. When this happens, the support representative will actually pull a knowledgeable person into the chat, which is great for getting answers but it took additional time.
There is also the option to reach out to customer support through email, but this can take a while to hear back. We’ve had experiences when we got a response within a very short window, but there were also times when customer service took days to reply.
The final way to contact customer support is with the phone line that can be found on the checkout page of the StrongVPN website, as well as a few other places here and there. This support option is becoming a rare find these days, but nothing can really replace talking to a support person and getting answers in real time.
If you want to try and find answers for yourself, StrongVPN has an FAQ and a knowledgebase, but both are pretty lacking and cover only setup and some general knowledge questions.
StrongVPN has shown improvement — especially with regard to the inclusion of the very new WireGuard protocol and the addition of a lot more servers — but it seems to still be missing the point. It has not added any new features and still lacks things like split tunneling, port forwarding and more.
Although StrongVPN still has the 30-day money-back guarantee as a way to try it out, we suggest checking out some of the higher ranking options in our VPN reviews before making that call. If you have your own experience with StrongVPN, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.
- Yes, StrongVPN is able to get through to Netflix without any issue. It loads Netflix videos in full HD almost instantly and had no trouble with any streaming site we threw at it.
- StrongVPN is a virtual private network -- or, VPN -- service. A VPN provides a way of passing your internet traffic through a server to make you appear as though you are somewhere else and to protect your identity and data. A VPN is almost always paired with encryption to ensure a safe connection.