So, I review a lot of VPNs. I come across both well known and lesser-known VPNs almost on a daily basis. But the thing that amazes me almost always, is just how good some of the lowkey VPNs can be. StrongVPN is one of those examples.
Spoiler, it is actually better than a lot of other VPN services.
StrongVPN made its debut back in 2005, however, the company that owns StrongVPN, Strong Technology, LLC, has been around in the industry for 25 years.
But StrongVPN was not considered a “reliable choice” back when it was new. In fact, only a couple of years ago, this VPN service got completely redesigned.
Now, it offers lightweight and optimized apps for a lot of operating systems, it offers 950+ servers in 35 countries, up to 12 simultaneous connections, average speeds and it works great with streaming services and torrenting.
But is it better than its competitors? Is it worth the $5.83/mo price tag? Does it have what it takes to be recommended on TheVPNExperts? Read on to find out.
|Servers||950+ servers in 35+ locations|
|Best Feature||Secure protocols (IKEv2, WireGuard, OpenVPN, SSTP and L2TP)|
|Does StrongVPN work with Netflix?||Yes, and it also works great with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer Disney Plus & other services|
|Is StrongVPN good for Torrenting?||Torrenting supported on all servers with no bandwidth limit|
|Customer Support||Live Chat support|
|Money back guarantee||30-day money back guarantee|
|StrongVPN Pricing||Affordable $5.83/mo 1-year plan with 42% discount|
|Other findings||Zero Traffic Logs and Automatic Kill Switch|
StrongVPN Speed Test Analysis
When I review VPNs, I pay close attention to speeds. When testing out StrongVPN, I was not impressed by its speeds. If I had to rate it on a scale 0f good, average, and bad, I would rate StrongVPNs speeds as average.
|Countries||Distance||Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|Singapore||10468.58 km||30.36 Mbps||90.53 Mbps||112 ms|
|South Africa||9354.01 km||30.06 Mbps||87.12 Mbps||300 ms|
|United States||7505.72||30 Mbps||60.78 Mbps||365 ms|
|United Kingdom||677.04 km||20 Mbps||10.57 Mbps||296 ms|
|Australia||14792.34 km||20.79 Mbps||90.53 Mbps||325 ms|
I performed the speed tests on both long-distance and short-distance servers, however, I did notice quite a noticeable dip in numbers.
First I performed the speed test using the “Best Available Location” option which connected me to the closest available server location and then I manually connected to a bunch of long-distance server locations just to extensively test out StrongVPN.
Best Available Location
Without StrongVPN connected, the speeds that I got through my ISP (T-Mobile) in the Netherlands was around 94.1 Mbps download, 95.43 upload, and 7 ms pings on my 100 Mbps connection. Here’s a screenshot of that:
When I tried connecting to a server via the “Best Available Location” option, I automatically got connected to servers in the U.K. That’s about 677.04 km away from the Netherlands where I’m physically located.
Once I got connected to the London, United Kingdom server, I managed to get a download speed of 20.00 Mbps, an upload speed of 10.57 Mbps, and a ping of 296 ms. That’s an 80% decrease in download speed and an 89.43% decrease in the upload speed from my original 100 Mbps internet speed.
That’s a significant drop.
But despite that, I didn’t notice any real difference when browsing the web or streaming for that matter. Sure Netflix and YouTube content started streaming after a bit of a delay, however, I was still able to watch different movies and shows in HD quality.
Even when gaming online, Ping consistently stayed within a pretty reasonable range. For instance, when I played PUBG, my pings ranged between 200 ms – 330 ms.
So overall, you might notice a pretty significant drop in your speed if you use the “Best Server Location” option. However, do keep in mind that your speed test results and performance may vary depending on your geographical location and internet connection speed.
So, after testing the speeds using the “Best Server Location” option, I wanted to see if StrongVPN would perform if I manually choose servers myself. So, I opened up the list of available server locations and performed multiple speed tests while connected to a bunch of long-distance servers.
First, I connected to the U.S Denver server location, which was approximately 7505.72 km away from my actual location. Once I got connected I again noticed a pretty significant speed drop.
On my 100 Mbps internet connection, I managed to only achieve a 10.79 Mbps download speed, a 10.57 Mbps upload speed with 417 pings.
After switching to the Atlanta server location, the speeds did improve, however, nothing too exceptional. This time I managed to achieve a download speed of 30 Mbps and an upload speed of 60.78 Mbps with 417 pings.
Now, before you ask, yes, manually selecting servers did offer faster speeds in my case.
Anyway, after testing out a couple of U.S servers, I then connected to a server in Brisbane Australia. After running the test, I got a download speed of 20.79 Mbps and an upload speed of 90.53 Mbps with 325 ms pings.
Next, I connected to the Singapore server which managed to output 30.36 Mbps download speed, 90.53 upload speed, and pings of 112 ms.
Lastly, I connected to a server location in Johannesburg South Africa and I managed to achieve a download speed of 30.06 Mbps and an upload speed of 87.12 Mbps and with 300 ms pings.
So, overall, StrongVPN’s speeds are not the best on paper. During testing, I found the results to be quite inconsistent. However, as far as actual real-world performance is concerned, I didn’t notice things getting unbearably slow to use, to be honest with you.
If you have a fast enough internet connection, you might not even notice StrongVPN running in the background.
StrongVPN Passed DNS Leak Tests
If you want to make sure you’re not leaving any breadcrumbs behind, getting a VPN with solid leak protection is a must. And it is become a norm for the industry to ensure DNS leak protection.
When I went ahead and explored the different features of StrongVPN, I couldn’t find an option for leak protection. However, when I actually performed multiple leak tests, StrongVPN passed without any issues at all.
|Countries||IP Leak||DNS Leak|
To quickly check for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks, I connected to an Australian server and visited IPleak.net. Here’s a screenshot of the result:
From the screenshot above, you can see that my IP address is from Queensland Australia and none of the 22 DNS servers belong to my local ISP from the Netherlands. Another cool thing worth mentioning is that my IPv6 is totally untraceable.
So overall, StrongVPN is actually leak proof. Despite not having a built-in option to enable or disable leak protection, StrongVPN didn’t leak.
Does it Unblock Netflix, Kodi, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime?
If we talk about streaming performance and unblocking capabilities, I was really impressed by StrongVPN. Though I do have to admit that not having the option for optimized streaming servers made picking the right servers a bit difficult.
|Netflix||Yes||Miami U.S server|
|Hulu||Yes||Miami U.S server|
|Disney Plus||Yes||Miami U.S server|
|BBC iPlayer||Yes||Works with Strong DNS Config|
|Kodi||Yes||Miami U.S server|
To test out Netflix, I connected to the U.S Miami server location. I then tried streaming “Bulletproof 2” which is only available on the U.S library of Netflix. Surprisingly, it started playing just in the first try with zero buffering issues whatsoever.
Here’s a screenshot of my Netherlands IP address where I’m physically located:
And here’s a screenshot of me streaming “Bulletproof 2” on Netflix U.S with the Miami U.S server:
After that, I decided to unblock Hulu with the same U.S server and it worked. I tried streaming “The Mask” and it started playing flawlessly without any issues. Here’s a screenshot of that:
Disney Plus also worked without any issues and in the very first attempt. I tried streaming “Silver Surfer” with the U.S Miami server location and it worked effortlessly. Here’s a screenshot of that:
The only streaming service that didn’t work with StrongVPN out of the box was BBC iPlayer. I tried switching to different U.K servers, protocols and I even changed my browser but I still couldn’t stream anything on BBC iPlayer.
As a last resort, I contacted StrongVPN’s live chat support and they told me that BBC iPlayer will only work if I configure “StrongDNS”. The support representative also provided me with a guide to set everything up.
Eventually, after enabling “StrongDNS” from StrongVPN’s website and tweaking my default DNS server by following the guide, I finally managed to stream “Zac & Mia” on BBC iPlayer without any issues.
However, the whole process was quite tedious so I won’t necessarily give any props to StrongVPN. I think they should work on their service and offer an optimized server option with pre-configured settings to make things easier for new users.
Last but not least, I also tried using Kodi with StrongVPN, however, I quickly learned that they don’t offer any add-on.
After contacting StrongVPN through live chat, the support agent told me that I can try the OpenELEC/LibreELEC method to configure StrongVPN on Kodi. However, since the whole process is quite tedious, I just went ahead and ran StrongVPN in the background before launching Kodi.
Surprisingly enough, I was not only able to install my favorite add-ons like “The Crew”, but also stream a bunch of movies without ever experiencing any lag or connection drops.
StrongVPN is a Good Choice For Torrenting
StrongVPN is actually a good choice for torrenting and P2P file sharing. The reason is, it supports torrenting on all of its servers. There’s also no bandwidth limits so you easily download large files without experiencing any throttling issues.
In addition to that, StrongVPN does offer a few important security features like Kill switch, a variety of secure VPN protocols and even a no-logs policy.
One thing I don’t like about StrongVPN though is that there are no specialized servers optimized for torrenting as some other VPNs do.
Anyways, to test out the torrenting performance of StrongVPN, I connected to a couple of P2P friendly locations like Switzerland and Mexico.
To start off, I connected to the Switzerland server location with my separate 10 Mbps internet connection. After being connected, I managed to achieve a downloading speed of around 1.0 MiB/s and an uploading speed of 0 B/s with 15 (2202) seeds.
That’s actually better than what I expected. I managed to download a 2.16 GiB file in around 45 minutes.
Next, I switched to the Mexico server location and I still didn’t notice any speed drops or degraded torrenting performance.
Overall, considering StrongVPN’s torrenting performance and legit no logs policy, I think it deserves a solid 10/10 rating. However, if I’m being picky, I would have loved it if StrongVPN added a Socks5 proxy feature for faster uploading and downloading.
StrongVPN App is Easy to Use
If we talk about the user experience of StrongVPN, it is dead easy to use. Even if you’re a newbie, you’ll find it super easy to use. StrongVPN’s apps are clutter-free. There are no expanding windows and stuff like that. All you get is small lightweight applications with multiple tabs for easy navigation.
Speaking of lightweight, the setup file size for Windows operating systems is around 29.9 Mb and 13 Mb for macOS operating systems. When I installed the applications on my testing devices, it took me less than 5 minutes to get everything set up.
Aside from being lightweight, I like how there are not a lot of overwhelming options and settings. You basically just get two tabs “Options” and “Protocols” for customizations and that’s about it.
Even selecting servers is super easy too. You can either use the “Best Server Location” option, use filters based on Country and city or you can manually search for any server location yourself. It’s all quite convenient in my opinion.
Even the iOS and Android apps of StrongVPN are quite easy and convenient to use. The iOS app has a 4.4-star rating on the Apple app store and a 3.9-star rating on Google Playstore. Again, the apps for both mobile operating systems don’t come with a lot of options which makes it really easy to get used to if you’re new.
StrongVPN Has a No-Logging Policy
“StrongVPN does not collect or log any traffic of its Services, making us a zero-logging VPN.”
StrongVPN does collect some information, however, it’s very basic and absolutely necessary for payment processing and account creation. Here’s everything that StrongVPN stores about you when you first signup:
- An email address
- A payment method
- A full name
- A credit card
- A billing address
Once your account is created, you can access and modify your billing and subscription information at any time via the control panel if you like.
Overall, their privacy and logging policy is pretty spotless.
StrongVPN Gives a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee – Proven
Getting refunded is always one of the most frustrating parts of reviewing a VPN service. I don’t know what it is, but VPN providers just don’t like refunding people. I’ve actually covered an entire research article exposing the reality behind the refund policy of popular VPN providers.
Fortunately, that was not the case with StrongVPN. I just went on to their websites and asked for a refund. The support representative in return just asked me for my email address. After I provided my email address, the support agent immediately processed my refund request right away.
After waiting for around 5 working days, I got my money refunded into my account. Overall, I was really impressed by StrongVPN’s hassle-free refund process.
Key Features of StrongVPN
For new and inexperienced VPN users, StrongVPN is great. I’ve already said it over and over again. However, for more advanced users, StrongVPN might seem underpowered.
Except for a Kill Switch and OpenVPN scramble feature, there’s not much you’re to find in StrongVPN. But that’s something that can be improved in future updates.
As for encryption, StrongVPN uses AES-256-CBC channel encryption, 2048-bit Diffie Hellman RSA key, SHA256 authentication and Perfect forward secrecy if you opt for the OpenVPN protocol. That’s more than enough to fend off any hacker on public networks.
Speaking of OpenVPN, StrongVPN supports both variations of OpenVPN which are UDP and TCP. You can also select which ports you wish to use from the following list:
One feature I guess a lot of advanced VPN users will really appreciate is the option to switch on or off “Scramble”. This feature basically offers obfuscation and will only work with the OpenVPN protocol.
As for other protocols, StrongVPN supports IKEv2, WireGuard, SSTP and L2TP. One cool thing about the WireGuard protocol is that it is available across almost all apps offered by StrongVPN.
As I said earlier, StrongVPN comes with a built-in Kill Switch feature. You can turn it off or on from the setting menu if you like. One thing that I quite don’t like is that the Kill Switch feature is only available on the Windows and macOS apps.
Anyways, I’ve tested out this feature and it actually works quite well. As soon as my VPN connection got disconnected, StrongVPN wouldn’t let me browse the web until the connection was restored.
While technically not a feature, StrongVPN does give you a couple of options to customize how the app behaves in different instances.
For instance, you can select the option to start StrongVPN automatically when your system starts. You can enable auto-reconnect or you can even pick an option that allows StrongVPN to automatically connect once you launch the app.
It’s all really convenient, however, I do wish StrongVPN would have added options like Split tunneling, Ad-blocker, and more for advanced users.
Analysis of Servers
The server park of StrongVPN is not too massive, especially for the price it charges for its subscription plans. Currently, it offers 950+ servers in 30+ countries.
As for network coverage, most of the servers of StrongVPN are available in North America and Europe, however, you can still find a decent number of servers in Asia, South America, and Africa. I like that it offers servers in the United Arab Emirates and even Israel.
While we’re talking about servers, I think it’s worth mentioning that StrongVPN doesn’t offer any servers in China. But on the bright side, you can still find servers in the nearby country of Hong Kong.
For more information regarding StrongVPN servers, you can check out StrongVPN’s server page.
StrongVPN Apps compatibility
StrongVPN is compatible with almost all operating systems and devices. Even if you want to configure it on gaming consoles and casting devices, you can easily do that by following different tutorials listed on their website. Just because it allows you to connect up to 12 simultaneous connections, it made to our list of top VPNs for multiple devices.
Here are all the devices that StrongVPN supports:
- Amazon Fire TV
StrongVPN for macOS & Windows
The Windows and macOS apps of StrongVPN are very minimalist in design and lightweight. You’re not going to experience any lags or crashes, however, you’re also not going to find a ton of options.
The Windows app of StrongVPN is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10 .Net 4.6.1 or higher and the macOS app is compatible with Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, Mojave and Catalina OSX.
One thing you’re going to notice straight away is that both the Windows and macOS apps are almost identical. Same interface and almost the same options as well.
Finding servers and messing around with the few available options is really easy with both the Windows and macOS apps. However, you’re not going to find any useful stats when picking any server location. For instance, you can’t even see latency, bandwidth, or current server load and capacity.
Here’s what the interface looks like:
StrongVPN for Android & iOS
The mobile apps of StrongVPN are designed for ease. However, just like the Windows and macOS apps, the iOS and Android apps barely offer any options.
In the iOS and Android app, I like the “On Demand Settings” option. It’s not much, however, it does allow the apps to automatically connect to the VPN server when it detects trusted cellular or Wi-Fi networks.
Aside from that, you do get the option to switch between different protocols. However, that’s very basic so I won’t go into detail.
Here’s what the interface of the iOS and Android app looks like:
Overall, I do wish they could have added more options in the mobile apps as well for advanced users. I’m really looking forward to that in the future update. Since it supports iOS versions 11.0 and above we kind of find it the best VPN for iOS devices.
StrongVPN Browser Extensions
I don’t know about you, but I love the convenience of not having to launch the app every time I just want to casually browse the web. Having a browser extension is so convenient.
Luckily, StrongVPN does offer an extension for Google Chrome only at the moment. I found the Chrome extension to be very well designed. However, I do find it a bit odd that most of the available proxy server locations are from the U.S.
StrongVPN Router App
Aside from supporting desktop and mobile devices, I like that StrongVPN is also compatible with routers. Here’s are all the router brands that are compatible with StrongVPN:
You can find setup guides for all of the above-mentioned routers on the StrongVPN’s website.
I personally configured StrongVPN on my DD-WRT router and found the tutorial to be very helpful. There are a lot of pictures and every step is explained in detail. That’s something any newbie can appreciate.
One thing I don’t like about the whole router situation of StrongVPN is that you can’t buy pre-configured routers for it. I looked it up on Flashrouters and I couldn’t find any router with StrongVPN configured on it.
Does StrongVPN Work in China?
While even famous VPNs don’t quite work in China nowadays, I found it quite surprising that StrongVPN still works in China. I even contacted their live chat support agent and she confirmed that StrongVPN will work reliably in China. Here’s a screenshot of that:
So, if you’re thinking of traveling to China and want to be able to use Facebook, Twitter, and others, StrongVPN can be a good choice to carry with you to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
Best Alternative to StrongVPN
To be honest with you, I think StrongVPN is a great choice for a lot of people. However, I think it doesn’t justify its monthly cost of $5.83/mo.
StrongVPN also comparatively offers fewer features than its competition. You don’t get advanced options like Split Tunneling, Double hop, Ad-blocker, and more. That’s something I would like to see any VPN service offer which costs $5.83/mo. Surfshark in comparison offers way more features for just $1.99/mo.
Now don’t get me wrong, I personally really like StrongVPN, especially for its streaming performance, however, a few more features and more servers will definitely make StrongVPN more appealing to a wider audience.
If you want to get a VPN that’s more affordable than StrongVPN and offers more features, you might find my in-depth Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN and ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs PureVPN comparisons helpful.
Do I Recommend StrongVPN?
If you don’t care a lot about features and just want a VPN that can reliably unblock streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and more, then I highly recommend using StrongVPN.
That is if you can afford the expensive monthly cost of $5.83/mo.
Overall, I think StrongVPN is a great product. It has drastically improved over the years and you can certainly feel the change in its performance. However, it still needs to improve a bit. If new features can be added in the next update, I think StrongVPN can really give other VPN providers a run for their money.