Despite the fact that they’ve been in business twice as long as most of their competitors, StrongVPN is still a relatively unknown company.
This fact, in and of itself, should be enough to make most potential customers pause.
After all, if a company has been practicing their craft and optimizing their product for longer than their competition, you would expect that product to be twice as good, right?
Well, as you are about to find out, this isn’t always the case.
Although StrongVPN has significantly improved their services since the last time I reviewed them, there are still several outstanding issues that may or may not preclude you from joining their customer base.
To help you make an informed and data-driven decision, I’ll be reviewing StrongVPN in great detail, going over everything from their speed to customer service to unique features and compatibility in an attempt to answer the question –
“Is StrongVPN really that Strong?”.
|PROTOCOLS:||OpenVPN & Others|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging|
|LOCATIONS:||26 Countries 682 Servers|
|SUPPORT:||Ticket Support System|
|EASE OF USE:||Needs Improvement|
Background & Features
Founded in 2005 under the umbrella of Strong Technology LLC., Strong VPN is headquartered in one of the oldest (and coolest) locations for a U.S.-based tech company, Lake Tahoe.
This placid and quaint little town on the border of Nevada and California is perhaps the last place that you would expect to find a bustling VPN startup.
However, the team at StrongVPN. have been slinging PCs, dial-up internet, and VPN servers from their scenic headquarters for more than 20 years.
With 682 servers spread across 26 countries StrongVPN’s server base isn’t the biggest that I’ve ever seen but it should provide you with plenty of options (although, as you will see later, this isn’t really the case).
Their services are compatible with most major devices including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Google Chrome. They also provide their customers with an extensive help center where they can find detailed instructions for setting up StrongVPN with a home router.
StrongVPN allows their customers to connect using all major protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, and SSTP.
They have also built-in kill-switch app.
So far, things are looking pretty good.
However, before I go any further, I want to address that StrongVPN offers only 2 simultaneous connections.
But let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of StrongVPN to see if their service lives up to its name.
Pros of Using StrongVPN
1. Works with Netflix (For Now)
Netflix has been cracking down on VPNs, proxies, and unblockers with an intensity that has both startled and enraged their international community.
Despite the public outcries and complaints, Netflix has remained adamant about the ban and they’ve even taken steps to strengthen their software’s security in hopes that they can eliminate all possible unblocker loop-holes.
Since 2016, their IT department has defeated the efforts of some of the strongest and most renowned VPN companies on the market.
Taking these facts into consideration, I had foolishly assumed that my efforts to stream Netflix using StrongVPN’s services would result in this…
After all, the last time I reviewed StrongVPN, they were one of the worst VPNs that I had ever reviewed.
So it came as a shock when I was not only able to stream Netflix from a U.S. based server, but I was able to do so without any real buffer time or delay.
Considering how many other VPNs have been unable to restore Netflix compatibility, this is a huge selling point for StrongVPN.
2. Quick, Helpful Customer Service
It’s not often that I am able to include customer service under the “Pros” section of a VPN review.
Especially when I’m reviewing a VPN provider that doesn’t offer live support for their customers.
However, I am pleased to say that StrongVPN hits the nail on the head with regards to their customer support.
While reviewing their services, I decided to submit an (admittedly) made up support ticket at around 4:25 p.m.
I returned to my regularly scheduled browsing and assumed that I wouldn’t receive a response until I checked my email the next morning.
I was surprised when I opened my inbox about half an hour later and found the following message.
While I didn’t suffer through any “customer service worthy” issues while reviewing StrongVPN, I was impressed by the rapid response time and professionalism displayed by their support team.
To ensure the accuracy of this review, I scoured the web for other third-party reviews and customer complaints surrounding their support team and, surprisingly, came up dry.
Well done StrongVPN… well done indeed.
3. Strong AES-256 Encryption and StrongDNS
That’s the number of United States citizens who were affected by the Equifax breach, one of the largest security breaches in the history of cyber terrorism.
At this very moment, your social security number, driver’s license number, name, home address, phone number and more might be in the hands of the Equifax hackers, making you vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. (If you are concerned that your personal data might be affected, you can click here to learn what to do.)
While it’s still unclear exactly how the hackers breached the systems, we do know that they exploited a flaw in a tool called Apache Strut which is used by a wide variety of government organizations and large corporations, including Equifax.
Beyond the sheer volume of people who were affected, what makes this hack so concerning is that a cybersecurity arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, US-CERT, “Identified and Disclosed” the flaw in March, of 2017.
This means that the security team behind Apache Struts had almost four months to resolve the issue and while they allegedly took measures to fix the flaw and mitigate the security risk, their efforts were insufficient at best.
The fallout from these hacks still remains to be seen, however, individuals worldwide are beginning to understand just how real the threat of cyberterrorism is and as such, they are beginning to take measures to optimize their online security and “Hacker Proof” their lives.
One of the most important measures that anyone can take to improve their online privacy is (obviously) to purchase and use a VPN.
However, not all VPNs are made equally and many of them have serious security flaws that all but ruin the service.
Luckily, StrongVPN uses one of the most advanced (albeit common) encryption standards in known existence.
Known as the Advanced Encryption Standard or AES, StrongVPN employs the same encryption used by the CIA, FBI, and NSA.
This means that you can sleep easy knowing that your information and private data are about as safe as they can be with StrongVPN, especially when you take the company’s logging policy into account.
And speaking of which…
4. No Logs Policy
Something that I’ve always found ironic about the VPN industry is that certain VPN companies actually make your online browsing less secure.
Even though they promote a “No Logs” policy on their website, if you read the fine print, you will quickly realize that many VPNs (especially free VPNs) not only log your information and activity, but they then turn around and sell it to third parties and affiliates.
With issues like this becoming more and more prevalent, it’s more important than ever before that you fully understand a VPN’s logging policy before making a purchase.
Luckily for StrongVPN, their logging policy passes with flying colors.
And unfortunately, it’s time to talk about the elephants in the corner.
Cons of Using StrongVPN
1. Very Slow on Most Servers
Since I last reviewed StrongVPN, the company has almost quadrupled the speeds provided by many of their servers.
So the fact that I still included their server speeds in the “Cons” section of this review should tell you something about how atrociously slow they used to be.
To StrongVPN’s credit, they have improved their speeds tremendously.
Almost to the point where their VPN is actually usable for everyday activities.
However, considering the steep price (which we will touch on in a minute) and their sparse selection of features, things are just too slow for me.
US Server (New York)
- Ping: 57ms
- Download: 38.96 Mbps
- Upload: 5.00 Mbps
EU Server (Amsterdam)
- Ping: 132ms
- Download: 9.78 Mbps
- Upload: 3.18 Mbps
Asia Server (Hong Kong)
- Ping: 245 ms
- Download: 20.10 Mbps
- Upload: 2.35 Mbps
UK Server (London)
- Ping: 122ms
- Download: 35.47 Mbps
- Upload: 4.63 Mbps
As always take such speed tests with a grain of salt as they simply rely on too many variables. However, since we’ve tested 35+ VPN services so far, we have an average that we can compare to other VPNs.
2. Very Outdated User-Interface
I’m a sucker for nostalgia.
Nothing will make me grin quicker than a killer 90’s song or a working model of a Window 98 era PC.
However, there are plenty of times in my life where I don’t want to experience nostalgia in any way, shape, or form, and one of those times happens to be when I’m trying to protect my personal data.
Sadly, StrongVPN’s user interface looks and performs like something out of the early 2000’s.
The layout and design aren’t exactly intuitive, and things don’t get much better when you scroll over to the (hard to find) advanced settings.
I found StrongVPN’s UI to be extremely frustrating and, even as a seasoned VPN user, I struggled to find and change the settings I wanted.
Although it might not be the worst interface I’ve ever encountered, the team over at StrongVPN would certainly benefit from bringing their software’s design into the 21st century.
3. Over Priced for the Services Provided
This is the part of the review where StrongVPN could have saved themselves.
Sure, their speeds are pretty lackadaisical and their user interface looks like something from Windows ’98, however, when you consider the fact that they provide high-quality customer service, Netflix compatibility, and a zero logs policy, all of their weaknesses could be overlooked for the right price.
Unfortunately, for StrongVPN, the price is not right.
Here’s how it all breaks down.
Monthly: $10 or $120 per year
Quarterly: $24 or $96 per year
At the end of the day, StrongVPN is a budget VPN that tries to get away with charging premium VPN pricing
Even when you select StrongVPN’s cheapest package, they are still more expensive than VyprVPN, PIA and Ivacy
All of which are among our 5 most highly rated VPNs!
In fact, StrongVPN is only $1 per month cheaper than our top-rated service of 2018, ExpressVPN, which offers speeds that are 3X faster than StrongVPN’s and dozens of additional features.
So, as Happy Gilmore once said, “The price is wrong”.
4. U.S. Jurisdiction Might Dissuade Some Customers
Ever since Edward Snowden leaked countless documents revealing just how much information the U.S. government tracks and stores, many privacy advocates have become cautious of using a VPN service located in any of the “Five Eyes” countries.
Although this is a valid concern that should be taken into consideration when deciding which VPN client you will use, StrongVPN’s strict logging policy should help you rest easy at night….
WE WILL ONLY COMPLY WITH ALL VALID SUBPOENA REQUEST THAT FOLLOW THE LETTER OF THE LAW. WE CANNOT PROVIDE INFORMATION THAT WE DO NOT HAVE. STRONGVPN WILL NOT PARTICIPATE WITH ANY REQUEST THAT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
However, as we’ve seen with HotSpot Shield and other VPNs throughout the years, there are no guarantees, and when it comes to personal security, I always prefer to hedge my bets.
5. You Have to Play “Server Roulette”
One of the biggest problems that I found with StrongVPN’s service is that using their VPN is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette.
What do I mean by this?
Well, unlike every other VPN on the marketplace, they assign servers at random (I’m assuming this is done to preserve their budget) meaning that their clients are basically playing the lottery every time they connect a device.
One month you might have outstanding service that is up to par with StrongVPN’s competition.
The next month, the server you’ve been assigned might be so atrocious you can’t even download a simple Word Document (no, I’m not exaggerating).
There is no consistency with their service or the servers to which you get assigned making StrongVPN an (almost) literal crapshoot.
Do I Recommend StrongVPN?
I’ve got to applaud the team over at StrongVPN.
Since the last time that I reviewed their services, they have improved their speeds, strengthened their customer service, and increased their money back guarantee from 5 to 7 days.
This are some big improvements.
However… It’s still not enough to earn my endorsement.
StrongVPN has a lot going for it with its Netflix compatibility, quick customer support team, and no logging policy.
But considering the outrageous price tag, slow speeds, and frustrating interface, I simply cannot give StrongVPN my seal of approval.
If you are looking for a higher ranked VPN in a similar price range, then I recommend you check out our reviews of ExpressVPN and PIA.