StrongVPN is a New York-based VPN company, and its product offers solid security and standard VPN protocols. The company began selling PCs in 1994 and launched StrongVPN in 2005, making it an older service than many of the best VPN services. Besides, as we discovered in this StrongVPN review, it slipped past Netflix’s geoblocks like they weren’t there.
Key Takeaways: StrongVPN Review
- StrongVPN is a U.S.-based VPN service offering up to 12 simultaneous connections.
- In terms of security, StrongVPN scores high marks, offering a wide variety of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard.
- StrongVPN is safe, but it doesn’t have the fastest speeds, especially at long distances.
- Even with a smaller server network, StrongVPN can unblock some streaming platforms with ease, though it fails to unblock Hulu and BBC iPlayer.
As an average VPN, we find it reliable for watching content and bypassing restrictions, but we couldn’t help wondering where some common features are. StrongVPN isn’t a poor product, but we can confidently say it’s pretty mediocre, with plenty of room for improvement. Read on to learn everything you need to know about StrongVPN, including its features and pricing.
05/03/2023 Facts checked
Retested StrongVPN and rewrote this review to reflect the updated material.
StrongVPN is a solid VPN with good security, but we don’t like how it lacks split tunneling, a larger server network and servers in Africa.
Our tests show that StrongVPN is highly secure, since your actual IP address and ISP are always hidden.
The monthly plan costs $10.99, while the yearly plan is $3.67 per month for the first year.
StrongVPN supports torrenting and believes in an open internet, and it does have a no-logs policy in place, so the provider doesn’t keep a record of your actions.
Average speedDownload Speed95 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency200 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 30
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, cash
- : 10
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 8
StrongVPN Review: Pros & Cons
- 12 simultaneous connections
- Good connection speeds
- Unlocks big streaming apps
- Supports standard protocols
- Excellent customer support
- Lacks standard features
- Slow speeds on some servers
- Small server network
- No African servers
There are a few standard features that we believe every VPN should have. StrongVPN offers a few niceties, but it’s still missing some crucial ones found in top VPNs. Notably, the kill switch and split tunneling functionality are restricted to certain operating systems.
You can install StrongVPN on the following operating systems: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome OS, Linux and many other platforms. It supports up to 12 simultaneous connections, which is more than most VPNs offer, but still doesn’t stack up against Surfshark’s unlimited connections.
Kill Switch & Split Tunneling
A kill switch disables your internet connection whenever your VPN connection drops. If a VPN doesn’t have a kill switch, chances are it’s not worth using. StrongVPN does come with one, but only on the Windows and macOS apps. However, it isn’t enabled by default and you have to toggle it on manually. Those using the Android or iOS app don’t have access to a kill switch at all.
StrongVPN’s split tunneling allows VPN users to choose which apps to exclude from the VPN tunnel. There’s no split tunneling on the PC apps or the iOS app, with the feature only being available to Android users. It works similarly to ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature but lacks its inverse split tunneling function. Check out our ExpressVPN review for a closer look.
Every StrongVPN subscription comes with StrongDNS, the company’s smart DNS service. When using StrongDNS, you’ll connect to the provider’s own DNS servers, gaining access to blocked websites in certain countries.
Some devices, like video game consoles or certain smart TVs, don’t support VPNs, but you can set up a smart DNS like StrongDNS on them if they allow manual DNS server setup. A smart DNS can unblock some content, usually U.S. or U.K. libraries. It doesn’t encrypt your traffic or change your IP address, though, so it doesn’t offer any kind of protection online.
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 makes choosing plans simple, as there are only two of them. You can get StrongVPN subscriptions for a month or a year, going for $10.99 per month or $43.99 per year (which breaks down to $3.67 per month). For the annual subscription, the first year is priced at a discount, but you’ll have to pay more ($79.99 per year) when the second year comes around.
The yearly plan has a 30-day money-back guarantee, while the monthly plan has no refund period at all, which is somewhat puzzling. Other providers, such as CyberGhost (check out our CyberGhost review) offer a shorter 14-day money-back guarantee on its monthly plan.
Unfortunately, StrongVPN doesn’t offer a free trial, not even a mobile-exclusive one, in contrast to ExpressVPN and several other VPNs. While getting a full refund is fine, some users may prefer not spending a dime for a trial.
Major credit cards, PayPal and Alipay are the only available payment methods. There’s no way to pay in crypto or cash, the latter of which Mullvad VPN accepts. Our Mullvad review shows how this works.
User-friendliness is an important factor when choosing a VPN. StrongVPN is a simple product that you can learn to navigate in seconds, though the interface is rather pared down. The settings menu has clear descriptions to help newcomers understand what numerous features do.
StrongVPN is easy to install and set up. The Android app loads quickly, but we didn’t like how the Windows client needed around 10 seconds to log in and load. Even so, we like the simple scheme StrongVPN’s apps have.
If you want to set up the StrongVPN router app, this router installation article can help, complete with detailed instructions and images.
StrongVPN Desktop App
The desktop app has three main buttons: the connect button, the locations list and the settings menu in the form of a cog icon. The server list has a search bar and lets you sort by alphabetic or reverse alphabetical order. Finding a server or location takes no time at all.
The settings menu splits options into five tabs, though you’ll most likely only need the “options” and “protocol” tabs. The other three aren’t as crucial for establishing a VPN connection. They are the “information,” “diagnostics” and “update” tabs.
The “information” tab has your account info, while the “diagnostics” tab has logs in case you need tech support, which can help the provider better understand your issue. The “update” tab lets you get the latest version and opt in to any beta PC clients.
StrongVPN Mobile App
The iOS and Android apps are similar to the desktop apps in appearance. In terms of function, everything is almost identical, except there are fewer protocols, no split tunneling (save for StrongVPN’s Android app) and no kill switch. The settings menu is simplified and straightforward to navigate.
When using the Android app, it takes less than three taps to change a setting. You can see the options in this image of the settings menu.
It’s also possible to contact support right from the mobile app. You can choose from accessing the knowledgebase, live chat or submitting a ticket.
We tested StrongVPN from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia using Ookla’s Speedtest website. Since our tester in Malaysia is closer to Australia and other Asian countries, the results will differ from a tester in the U.S. or Europe. Speed tests in different countries will always have varying results because of varying distance to servers — the closer you are, the faster the connection.
For each location and our unprotected connection, we measured the speeds and ping twice and then found the average. Please note that other conditions, like distance to the server and sometimes weather, might affect the actual speeds.
The speed at which your device sends data to a server is the upload speed, while the rate that servers send information to you is the download speed. Latency is how long it takes for a network to respond to data transfer commands. Generally, the higher the download and upload speeds, the better the VPN. However, it’s best to have as little latency (or ping) as possible.
Note that we used WireGuard as our protocol because of how fast it was compared to OpenVPN. When we tried the latter, some websites took longer to load.
StrongVPN Speed Test Results
The above readings show that StrongVPN isn’t the fastest VPN service around, and we’re surprised to see how poor the Australian connection is. The San Francisco server also returned a consistently poor download speed rating. StrongVPN’s U.K. servers were mostly stable but yielded an upload speed of 5.41 Mbps once, though it never happened again.
We like how Singapore and Israel have faster speeds, but the other locations put up subpar performances. It’s enough to unblock streaming services and websites, but you may encounter extended loading times if you select a distant IP address.
While running the Ookla speed test, we noticed that our real IP address and ISP were hidden every time we connected to a VPN server, which was good to see.
Sadly, competitors like NordVPN, Surfshark and ExpressVPN all offer incredible speeds even when you connect to faraway servers. StrongVPN isn’t horrible, but we expected better from it.
StrongVPN uses top-of-the-line security features to prevent anyone from looking into your web traffic. We used IPleak.net, a reliable testing website, to test for any DNS leaks. IPleak.net only showed the IP addresses and internet service providers of the servers we selected.
You’re protected by AES-256 encryption over OpenVPN, the golden standard in the VPN industry. The faster WireGuard protocol uses ChaCha20 encryption. Rest assured, as both encryption ciphers are safe.
Since StrongVPN offers solid security, we tried looking for any news of breaches. The provider claims that it’s never been compromised, and we hope this status continues.
The StrongVPN Windows app lets you choose from five VPN protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, SSTP and L2TP. The last two aren’t common anymore because L2TP isn’t truly encrypted, and SSTP isn’t supported on macOS. Fortunately, even with only three main protocols, you’re more than covered, and that’s more than some other VPNs support.
The famous OpenVPN protocol is a staple for any VPN services worth its salt, and you’ll find it on all premium services. Its security has been fine-tuned for years due to its open-source status. You can select between UDP and TCP, while there’s a “scramble” option to add obfuscation.
By default, StrongVPN selected the WireGuard protocol, a newer solution offering higher speeds and streamlined open-source code. WireGuard employs ChaCha20, a cutting-edge cipher.
IKEv2 is older, dating back to 1998, and it encrypts your web traffic using AES-256. Due to its incredible speeds, many VPN services offer it on their mobile apps. We don’t see a reason to use IKEv2 unless a country is somehow blocking OpenVPN or WireGuard, as there are times when IKEv2 bypasses censorship when the former protocols can’t.
When using StrongVPN’s mobile apps, PPTP and L2TP are entirely missing. WireGuard is also selected by default.
The only personal information StrongVPN needs is collected when you purchase a subscription, such as your full name, billing address and credit card details.
We did notice that some of StrongVPN’s servers are associated with StackPath, a company with a stake in IPVanish. IPVanish is a VPN service that has sent user data to the FBI, as our IPVanish review covers. Though this doesn’t directly affect StrongVPN, we believe it’s still important to mention.
StrongVPN operates in the U.S., which is part of the Five Eyes network. We prefer VPNs in countries with the best privacy laws, such as Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands, but StrongVPN is still secure.
Even though StrongVPN doesn’t have any dedicated servers for streaming, it managed to unblock some streaming platforms without trouble. Everything was smooth and we had no issues when we watched shows or movies.
You can unblock Amazon Prime Video, Max and Peacock content using StrongVPN. It also managed to get into Netflix and Disney Plus.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Hulu, as the service immediately blocked us. BBC iPlayer has upgraded its security, and we couldn’t bypass its restrictions anymore. Our BBC iPlayer VPN article shows you how to enjoy the content with a different VPN.
|Amazon Prime Video|
Can StrongVPN Unblock Netflix?
It’s quite impressive that StrongVPN not only manages to unblock Netflix, but we could watch our favorite shows at 1080p without lag or buffering. We skipped ahead and only had to wait for around a second for the video to load. If you want to watch Netflix, StrongVPN has you covered.
StrongVPN has over 950 servers distributed across 30 countries. This is a small spread compared to giants like Private Internet Access and Surfshark, and we’re unsure if the servers here are virtual or physical. Learn more about the difference in our virtual vs physical server article.
From our testing, a VPN connection to distant locations introduced speed drops and latency. While this isn’t definitive proof of physical servers, we’re inclined to believe StrongVPN doesn’t use virtual servers, or doesn’t use that many of them.
While we like the large selection of European countries, we’re surprised to see that there aren’t any African locations. The small number of Asian and Middle Eastern servers also doesn’t help StrongVPN win any prizes for server spread. Therefore, we recommend using a different product if you want access to a VPN server in rarer countries.
StrongVPN’s customer support consists of live chat services, email ticket submission and a knowledgebase. We managed to test the live chat function and were surprised to find how responsive the agents were. The chat window first directs you to a bot, but it quickly brought a customer support representative in when we asked more complex questions.
The agent was helpful and provided concise answers. Few providers have speedy customer support, so we’re always glad to receive assistance without much waiting. When we sent an email asking a different question, we received a reply within 45 minutes.
The knowledgebase has many concise articles. Unlike some VPNs, which have outdated guides, the StrongVPN team often publishes new articles, with one of the latest ones being released just nine days ago. Other articles received updates recently, too.
StrongVPN offers a U.S. phone number for those who need direct assistance. This rarity is welcome because many companies have long since switched to using live chat for help.
We’re happy that StrongVPN doesn’t mess around regarding customer service. Sometimes, even premium VPNs have poor response times. Fortunately, when you ask a StrongVPN customer service agent for help, you’re sure to receive it.
StrongVPN’s features are mostly geared toward security and privacy, and we deem it a secure VPN capable of maintaining anonymity. StrongVPN apps function smoothly across platforms, and the Android app is especially fast. While it doesn’t have a free trial, you can always get a refund thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee on the yearly plan.
However, those who want fast speeds, a large server network and the ability to unblock every streaming service may be disappointed. StrongVPN bypasses Netflix’s geoblocks, but doesn’t work against Hulu and BBC iPlayer. A lack of universal split tunneling and several other functions also hurt its ratings. Despite these lows, we can safely say StrongVPN is a slightly above-average VPN with some potential.
Have you used StrongVPN in the past? What problems did you notice? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.