We are not going to sugarcoat it, StrongVPN is not among the best VPNs out there. It’s not the worst either. But it is definitely unusual. It has problems with things that shouldn’t be a problem for VPNs, like speeds and the assigning of protocols, but it is excellent when it comes to things that VPNs either ignore or can’t deal with, like excellent customer support service and the ability to use US Netflix, respectively. So, when you look at it, it’s hard to make a decision here. The only thing that we can say is that you should decide what is important to you in a VPN and if StrongVPN fits those parameters, you should definitely start using it.
StrongVPN has a long history behind it. The company was started way back in 2005 as a small PC store. They eventually moved to internet service and are now a strong VPN provider with over 650 servers in 26 countries. This doesn’t make StrongVPN a big VPN provider like the top dogs, but they are still somewhere in the middle, which certainly isn’t bad. What is bad though is that they are based in California, USA. And by now you are probably aware of the fact that the USA is not the best place for VPNs. With their strict laws and the fact that the government spies on its citizens, it’s definitely a risky place to set up a VPN business.
StrongVPN uses several protocols for its connection, and the most widely used is naturally OpenVPN, the industry standard. As for the encryption method, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is used with a 256-bit key. No surprises here either as AES is thought to be practically uncrackable and the most reputable VPNs use it, and even many militaries and governments.
This all sounds good but one notable problem occurs with the fact that they use other protocols as well, for example, the outdated PPTP protocol and its replacement SSTP. Most VPN services have stopped using PPTP all together as it offers almost no protection or privacy in this day and age. Some VPNs offer it, but it’s usually optional. However, when it comes to StrongVPN, we’ve noticed that their system assigns a protocol at random. On paper, it should opt for OpenVPN or maybe even L2TP (which is the preferred protocol on smartphones), but often it opts for SSTP which uses the same encryption methods as its predecessor PPTP that offers no privacy at all. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s still a big problem that StrongVPN should solve.
What you should know here is that this is still fixable. If you are unlucky and get assigned with the SSTP protocol, you can still ask the customer support to change this for you. The good thing is that they will happily oblige as their customer support is the best thing they have to offer. You can read about it down below in the customer support section of this review. In addition, if you want to avoid this problem altogether, you should specify which protocol you want when you sign up (OpenVPN should definitely be your choice).
Another problem with user privacy is the fact that StrongVPN is based in the US, just like we mentioned before. To be fair, the US is not as draconian with their laws as many would imagine, plenty of other countries are the same and sometimes even worse. However, the problem is that the USA government agencies can easily pressure a VPN provider to give them their user’s data, if the VPN is based in the USA and if that agency needs it for some legal purposes, for example in a lawsuit. This isn’t a thing that most people need to worry about (even when torrenting), but it’s still not something that should be dismissed altogether.
With that being the case, it should be noted that StrongVPN is still very good when it comes to user privacy. According to their statements and their website, they keep no logs whatsoever, so even though it can happen that the government decides to pressure them to give up their user data, they wouldn’t have much to give anyway.
Now, what’s surprising about StrongVPN is the fact that you can use it to bypass China’s Great Firewall, which isn’t always the case for VPNs.
Even though some of StrongVPN servers don’t work properly all the time and the speeds can be worse than the ones among the best VPNs, you still won’t encounter any data limits or speed inconsistencies while you’re using this VPN, which is certainly a big plus for them.
When it comes to their client, it’s decent, nothing special, but it works the way it’s supposed to. It’s not visually pleasing, but that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. A VPN doesn’t have to look pretty, it has to work, that should be the only thing that matters.
Furthermore, when it comes to their client, you’ll be happy to know that they offer them for all notable platforms, so you’ll be able to use this VPN on whichever device you have.
When it comes to torrenting and streaming, StrongVPN is actually great. Torrenting is fully allowed, but you have to be careful as StrongVPN is located in the USA where torrenting of copyrighted material is illegal, and combined with the fact that StrongVPN’s security is not as good as it should be, you can get into trouble. Besides this, StrongVPN surprisingly works with Netflix, which is not usually the case as Netflix has recently been very good at blocking VPNs.
It’s not just US Netflix that you can use with StrongVPN, you can also use other streaming sites like BBC, Hulu, Channel 4 and much more.
In the end, it should be noted that a killswitch feature is available and works properly.
StrongVPN is one of the few VPNs that includes a free trial for every type of subscription. The free trial lasts only for 5 days, but this is more than enough to effectively check every aspect of their service and see for yourself whether or not this service is suitable for you. Besides, there is also a 30 days money back guarantee, so you can cancel at any point. These two things combined make it very easy for everyone to check for free how good this VPN is.
The plans StrongVPN has are one of its strong points. They were once very complicated and came in several layers, but now you have only 3 simple plans to chose from, a 1-month, 2-months, and 12 months plan.
If you decide to purchase a plan from StrongVPN, you’ll be glad to know that they offer a wide variety of payment methods. They support all major credit cards, PayPal, Alipay, and you can even pay with Bitcoins if you want to.
Like we mentioned in the pros and cons section, StrongVPN is one of the best in the business, if not the best, when it comes to their customer support service.
They have a live chat where you can ask a question at any point during the day as their team works 24/7. The live chat does often have a queue, so you might not get help instantly, but you will still get it fairly quickly all the time, which is really almost unprecedented in this business, or maybe with anything online.
Another huge plus here is that even though their website is only offered in English, their support is available for you in several other languages like Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin.