StrongVPN

Unbiased Review and Comparison of May 2018

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Total Score: 7.6
Rate it!(4553)
  • Poor(132)
  • Average(322)
  • Good(97)
  • Great(5445)
  • Excellent(577)

Highlights

blueOKicon Chameleon encryption and NAT firewall
blueOKicon Great speeds on the best servers
blueOKicon Very good streaming performance

Rating for StrongVPN

  • Privacy
    8.3
  • Speed
    6.9
  • Location
    7.0
  • Usability
    8.4
  • Support
    6.8
  • Value
    7.7

Recommended for

  • Access
    Perfect for going around the Chinese Great Firewall through the proprietary Chameleon protocol.
  • Streaming
    Fast speeds which makes it enjoyable to use for streaming from all the most popular services.
  • Global Use
    Impressive range of virtual locations and servers all over the world makes it appealing to travellers.

Summary

This offering of VPN is from a company that has been around since 1994 so you can expect their experience to come into play. Even though it is based in the US, their zero logs policy makes them a very attractive option. Their security and privacy is decent but the server locations are a sticking point.

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SAVE
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StrongVPN Overview

StrongVPN is a popular US-based service whose parent company has been providing web hosting and network services since 1994. A recent update has introduced a brand new desktop app that's user-friendly and far more streamlined than its dated predecessor, with all servers now available on the OpenVPN protocol.
The new app has also introduced a VPN killswitch feature and DNS & IPv6 leak protection baked in, which is great to see. A strict zero-logs policy means it's a great choice for those seeking complete online anonymity. The server network is fairly small but we recommend checking the specific locations below as it may well suit your needs. The UK and US have the most options.
Device compatibility is pretty good with a comprehensive suite of set-up guides for various routers, operating systems and Kindles, although many require manual configuration..
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  • Pros

    blueOKiconVery easy to use with functional apps.
    blueOKiconGreat security features.
    blueOKiconZero logs policy
  • Cons

    blueOKiconIncorporated in the US which has privacy restrictions.
    blueOKiconServer locations need to be greatly improved.
    blueOKiconCustomer support is not as good as it should be.

Privacy

StrongVPN wins points for a robust zero-logs privacy policy that avoids the temporary logging even the basic details of your connection such as the time you connect/disconnect and the server selected. We love this and wish more VPN services took that approach. This allows us to overlook the company is headquartered in the US, a true enemy of the Internet, as they have no logs to hand over to the state snoopers.
StrongVPN's recent update has also introduced some advanced privacy features, including a VPN killswitch as well as DNS and IPv6 leak blocking. It's also now far more difficult to accidentally connect using less secure protocols, as the app will only display servers that support your chosen protocol (OpenVPN in most cases).
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FeatureStrongVPNExpressVPN NordVPN
Open VPN (Auto)
question
Is the selection between Open VPN, UDP or TCP automatic?
blueOKicon blueOKicon less
Open VPN (UDP/TCP)
question
Can you manually choose between Open VPN, UDP or TCP?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
PPTP
question
Does this app have PPTP VPN protocol?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
SSTP
question
Does this app have SSTP VPN protocol?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
L2TP/IPSec
question
Does this app have L2TP/IPSec protocol?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
IKEv2
question
Does this app have IKEv2 protocol?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
Supports TCP Port 443
question
Does the VPN support secure TCP Port 443 which is used on secure HTTPS traffic?
blueOKicon blueOKicon less
Supports Multihop
question
This technology passes your internet traffic through multiple servers to make you harder to track
less less blueOKicon
Permits P2P
question
Is this VPN compatible with P2P and other torrenting applications?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Strongest encryption
question
What is the highest level of encryption that this VPN service have?
AES - 256AES - 256AES - 256
First party DNS servers
question
Does the VPN service pass your traffic through their own DNS servers or use third party ones?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
DNS Leak Blocking
question
Does the VPN service include tech that blocks DNS leaks?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Killswitch
question
In the event of the VPN losing its connection, does the VPN cut off all internet traffic?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Accepts cryptocurrency
question
Does this VPN accept subscription payment with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
Accepts Paypal
question
Does this VPN accept PayPal payments for its subscription?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Activity logging
question
Are your online activity logs and browsing history being saved or used by the VPN?
less less less
Connection logging
question
Are your connection logs being kept and monitored by this VPN?
blueOKicon blueOKicon less
Tor over VPN server
question
Is this VPN have features that have been tailored to work with the TOR browser?
less less blueOKicon

What does this table mean?

The information here is quite technical and only very tech savvy people will be able to figure out what it all means. However, this does not mean you can't make a wise decision based on it. Every tick is a good thing so the more ticks you see for StrongVPN the better.
This rule applies throughout the table except for the logging rows where ticks actually undermine your privacy.
Score: 8.3

Speed & Performance

StrongVPN's speed test results are reasonable but nothing to write home about. Thankfully the recent software update means that we were able to run all of our tests over the industry-standard OpenVPN protocol, but this did mean we noticed quite a large drop in performance on some more popular servers.
The biggest problem was consistency, with certain servers performing at almost 100Mbps on one test and less than 50Mbps on the next, which isn't ideal. Speeds across Europe and the US were for the most part good enough for HD streaming, and we were pleasantly surprised with a speedy 34Mbps in Australia considering we test from London. Low latency makes it a decent choice for gamers.
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FeatureStrongVPNExpressVPNNordVPN
Avg global DL speed
question
This is a rolling average of the download speed accummulated over all the server locations we have tested
23.1460.4969.43
Avg global UL speed
question
This is a rolling average of the upload speed accummulated over all the server locations we have tested
38.5724.6441.63
Ping time
question
This refers to the shortest latency recorded in our tests. Shorter ping times indicate higher performance
2ms2ms2ms
Unlimited bandwidth
question
This indicates if the VPN has a cap on the bandwidth usage
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Average time to connect
question
This measures how long it takes to connect with a server location.
10s8s10s

What does this table mean?

For most users, speed is the next most important factor when selecting a VPN. No matter what VPN you choose, there will be some reduction in speed so the best VPNs are those with the least impact on speed and other parameters that affect it.
Ping time has to do with how fast data is received, especially for streaming and is almost as important as direct upload/download speeds. Short ping times and high download bandwidth is the best combination for the fastest streaming experience.
The quicker the VPN connects to a server essentially directly impacts how quickly you can access the internet so shorter connection times are best.
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Server LocationDownload Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)
australiaAustralia80.4393.25
GermanyGermany34.4855.23
UKUK90.57140.31
USAUSA67.2393.35
SingaporeSingapore85.23124.42
NetherlandsNetherlands53.1475.02
FranceFrance33.5250.74
CanadaCanada89.42126.63
JapanJapan71.34113.42

How we get these VPN speed data?

blueOKicon We constantly evaluate the performance of all the VPN providers we have reviewed so that our information is always up to date so that you can make the best decision always.
blueOKicon We employ our very own proprietary speed test tool which measures speeds between servers for every location while using the VPN service.
blueOKicon The purpose of these tests is to show you what is obtainable speed wise so you can judge if your location of choice will meet your needs.
Score: 6.9

Locations

StrongVPN has a fairly small network compared to competitors at just 46 locations in 27 countries. The advertised 650 servers sound a lot more impressive that it really is as two-thirds are PPTP-only servers. This legacy protocol really should only be used as a last resort as it's known to be insecure.
Taking the network as a whole, there is city-level choice in the US, UK, Brazil, Germany and Luxembourg. Europe and North America are best represented. Asia has a few options but if you need South America or Africa then look elsewhere.
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FeatureStrongVPNExpressVPNNordVPN
Server locations
question
This is the total number of server locations the VPN has available
8361148
Servers
question
This is the total number of servers the VPN has available
700+3,500+2,000+
IP address
question
This the total amount of unique IP addresses the VPN has available
200,000+3,500+20,000+
Dynamic server switching
question
This indicates whether or not the VPN has a feature that automatically switches you to a faster server within the same server location
blueOKicon blueOKicon less

What does this table mean?

More server locations mean that it is more likely that the user density will be lower and consequently your connection will be faster. So the higher servers and server locations, the better.
Your privacy is protected more if there are more IP addresses to choose from as it makes it harder for you to be tracked. Dynamic server switching adds to that difficulty as it switches you to the best servers available automatically making you even harder to track.
Score: 7.0

Usability

  • What we like

    blueOKiconSimple uncluttered app
    blueOKiconOpen VPN available on iOS and Android
    blueOKiconChanging servers is smooth
  • What we like less

    blueOKiconOpen VPN not available on all servers
    blueOKiconDesktop app has less features
    blueOKiconIncorporation of world map is superfluous
StrongVPN's recent update means it is now far more user-friendly on desktop. All features are now a great deal more accessible, including selecting a server and a VPN protocol. The main screen is now sleek and stripped back, featuring only your chosen IP address, server location (displayed on a world map) and a connect button.
Slow connection speeds are now a thing of the past, with StrongVPN connecting to our chosen server locations in an average of 12 seconds. We love that only selected servers are displayed depending on the protocol you've selected, meaning there's no danger of connecting via the insecure PPTP without realizing.
Even more advanced settings are easy to navigate due to being helpfully divided into clearly-labeled tabs. There's also lots of extra information alongside the different VPN protocols to help you select the best one for your needs, and we like being able to toggle between UDP and TCP on OpenVPN. You can also choose to connect on launch, meaning you don't even have to remember to click connect before you start browsing.
The mobile apps are also very good; simple and effective with a big button in the middle of the screen. Connection settings are straightforward: pick a country and which flavor of OpenVPN you want and connect in an instant. We're so pleased StrongVPN have finally updated the desktop client to meet the same high standard as their mobile apps.
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Device/OS/BrowserStrongVPNExpressVPN NordVPN
WindowsWindows blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
WindowsMac blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
LinuxLinux Manual blueOKicon Manual
iOSiOS blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
AndroidAndroid blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
RouterRouter Manual blueOKicon Manual
Games consolesGames consoles less Manual less
Fire TV StickFire TV Stick Manual blueOKicon Manual
Chrome extensionChrome extension less blueOKicon blueOKicon
Games consolesFirefox extension less blueOKicon blueOKicon
Games consolesSafari (for mac) extension less blueOKicon blueOKicon

What does this table mean?

Here are the most common devices, operating systems and browsers that people connect to the internet through. Anywhere there is a tick on the StrongVPN column signifies that it can be installed
Manual means that StrongVPN will work but the process of setting it up will be more complicated. Instead of an automatic setup, you may need to use third-party/open source software and reconfigure your device.
Score: 8.4

Customer Support

Following the recent app update, StrongVPN's support section has also been given a complete overhaul and livechat is now available 24/7. We received a reply within a couple of minutes but it felt incredibly scripted and the support agent struggled to answer some of our more technical questions. Thankfully our details were forwarded to the tech team, who responded very quickly and did resolve our issue by their second email 12 hours later.
The knowledge base is neither comprehensive, well-written nor particularly useful for troubleshooting. For basic instructions it does the job, but for anything beyond this you'll have to contact the support team. FAQs are well laid out but lacking a search feature, which is a pain.
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FeatureStrongVPNExpressVPNNordVPN
Support quality 
question
This is a measure of the overall quality of the VPN's customer service
7.1109.2
24/7 support
question
Does this VPN offer round the clock support?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Live chat
question
Does this VPN have representatives available for live chat?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Knowledge base
question
Are there detailed how-to videos and tutorial available online or within the VPN apps?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Video tutorials
question
Does this VPN have tutorial videos available to show users how to use the software?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon

What does this table mean?

For most people that know enough to use a VPN, they most likely will know their way around. However, that is not a reason for a company to ignore customer care services.
They need to assume the user is a complete novice and be prepared to answer all questions no matter how rudimentary. That's the mark of a great service
Score: 6.8

Value for money

  • What we like

    blueOKiconStrong DNS servers
    blueOKiconApps are quite good
    blueOKiconUnlocks the best contents for streaming
  • What we like less

    blueOKiconServer locations are too few
    blueOKiconBased in the US
    blueOKiconCould use some improvement in customer service
Score: 7.7
Table of Content
Privacy Speed Locations Usability Support Value
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