StrongVPN Review 2017

Let us begin our StrongVPN review by saying that the San Francisco based company has been providing VPN service for about eleven years. This makes then one of the pioneers in the industry. What is more, their core support group has been together for about twenty years and understands that customer support is key to good service. The StrongVPN network consists of about 600 servers. These are strategically placed in 45 cities across 23 different countries which allows them to provide VPN service from almost anywhere in the world. They have custom software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. This makes it easy to connect to their VPN servers regardless of the device you use to connect to it. StrongVPN introduced free SmartDNS for members in 2017.

StrongVPN

Pricing and Special Offers

StongVPN used to offer a variety of VPN packages, but we are glad to say that has recently changed. They now offer a single all-inclusive package. You can subscribe on a monthly or yearly basis. The monthly plan is $10.00, while the annual account is $34.99. We’re very excited to share an exclusive discount for StrongVPN. You can save 50% off a monthly account or sign up for a full year of unlimited VPN access for just $2.92 a month. This makes their service an outstanding value.

StrongVPN pricing

So, what do you get for your $2.92 per month? StrongVPN offers the following benefits for all of their subscribers:

  • Free custom VPN Software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android
  • Absolutely no logging of their users activity while connected to the VPN
  • 2 Simultaneous connections
  • Unlimited VPN bandwidth and usage
  • Free SmartDNS access to unblock geo restrictions
  • Worldwide virtual IPs from more than 600 servers in 23 countries
  • Shared IP addresses among subscribers for better privacy
  • Choice of VPN protocols: OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP, IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP
  • Granular encryption choice – manual selection of encryption strength
  • Firewall protection against attacks while using their VPN
  • The ability to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions
  • Wi-Fi hotspot protection against hackers and identity theft
  • VoIP support to save on long distance costs
  • 5-day money back guarantee

StrongVPN Payment MethodsStrongVPN offers a few different ways to pay for their VPN service. They accept the following credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. You can pay using PayPal if you like to centralize all of your online payments into one site. You can also pay by Bitcoin if you want to be more anonymous. If you use either PayPal or Bitcoin, all that is necessary to establish an account is a username, password, and an email address.

Risk-Free Trial Period

StrongVPN does not offer a free trial. However, they know that you would like to try out their service for yourself. They offer new subscribers a 5-day, 100% money back guarantee. This should be enough time for you to completely test out their VPN service. If you are not completely satisfied for any reason, they will refund your full purchase price. You must fill out and submit a cancel request form within five days of the purchase date. This form can be found in the customer area on their website under the “VPN Accounts” menu. Requests made later than five days from purchase date are not eligible for a refund.

StrongVPN Network and Server Locations

The StrongVPN network has grown in size and performance over the years as technology has advanced. Their network now has about 600 VPN servers in 23 different countries with access to over 87,000 IP addresses. They have servers on nearly every major continent including Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

The best coverage is in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands, and Germany. Here is a list countries where servers are currently hosted:

  • Asia – 6 cities (25+ servers)
    • Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey
  • Europe – 23 cities (170+ servers)
    • Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  • North America – 17 cities (380+ servers)
    • Canada – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver
    • United States – Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington D.C.
  • South America – 1 city (2 servers)
    • Mexico

It is easy to see from this list that StrongVPN has servers all over the world. Their network defaults primarily to the OpenVPN UDP protocol, but it also supports SSTP, L2TP, IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP.

StrongVPN

Privacy and Security

In reviewing StrongVPN policies, we found that they do not log any user activities on their VPN network. They have an extensive privacy policy that spells out exactly how they handle requests for information. Here are some excerpts of their policy:

StrongVPN does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.

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.

…, nor do we track the browsing activities of users who are logged into our VPN service

StrongVPN is located in San Francisco, California and subject to all US and California laws and jurisdictional procedures. They feel the US is a good place for a VPN service since they have no mandatory data retention policy, as many places in the world now do. They would have to comply with all official judicial orders and hand over all the information about their users traffic. However, since they do not keep logs of their users traffic or VPN use, they would comply with any such orders by turning over nothing. StrongVPN cannot furnish information they don’t have.

What kind of encryption does StrongVPN offer to users of their VPN service? They implement OpenVPN as their primary default protocol in their Windows, Mac OS X, and Android clients. TLSv1.2 is used for server authentication and control. By default, it uses 2048 bit key exchange and 2048 bit RSA certificate for verification that the key actually came from a StongVPN server. By default, all data is encrypted and decrypted using a AES-128-CBC cipher initialized with a 128 bit key and HMAC authentication is enabled.

The StrongVPN iOS app defaults to the IKEv2 protocol. IKEv2 is just as secure as OpenVPN and is good for mobile devices. It reconnects easily and maintains the VPN session when the connection is lost or changes. This is due to its support of MOBIKE. Regardless of your operating system, you can always be assured that all of your Internet traffic is securely encrypted with StongVPN.

StrongVPN Support

StongVPN is one of the few services that has a 24/7 live chat to answer any light technical, sales, or billing questions you might have. In our dealings with the staff behind the live chat, we found them to be fast, courteous, and on point in answering the question we had about the service. Sometimes, they would direct us to FAQs and support pages to help with our questions. For more technical problems, they provide a 24/7/365 email ticket support system with a quick response time so you can be assured there is someone working on your issue.

StrongVPN Support Form

StrongVPN provides a simple form to submit tickets. You must fill in “Full name”, “Email address”, “Subject”, and a “Description” of your problem. Choose your “Department” from the following: Abuse, Billing/Accounting/Orders, Sales, Technical support. Optional choices are available for the OS and VPN connection type. Once all of these have been filled in, check “I’m not a robot”, and click on the green “Submit” button. Once you subscribe to their service, you can login to your customer area on their website and get access to a priority ticket which allows you to attach log files and screenshots.

StrongVPN

Client Software and Mobile Apps

We have setup guides to help you get started with StrongVPN. Rather than show them all in our review, we have split them into separate posts to make the guides easier to read. They are quite long. After you sign up for service, simply visit the guides section of our site or click any of the links below. We will provide a link to the guide for each operating system along with a brief overview of the client.

StongVPN has custom software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. You can download these custom clients from the StrongVPN setup page of their website which can be accessed from clicking on the “Setup” in the main site menu.

StrongVPN Setup Menu

Once the setup page opens, click on the operating system button as is shown in the next image to download their client installer to your computer or transfer to iTunes Store to download the iOS app or Google Play for the Android app.

StrongVPN Software Setup

They also have manual setups here to configure their VPN using a variety of protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP on Android, iOS, Linux, Tomato routers, DD-WRT routers, and Chrome OS. Once you sign up for an account, they will send you a welcoming email with your username and password so that you can connect to their VPN network of servers using your chosen client software.

It’s time to take a look at the software that their team has developed for the VPN service. We will begin with StrongVPN for Windows (StrongVPN Windows Guide):

StongVPN Windows Client Unconnected

I suggest you view our guide for a full look at the Windows client. It’s not difficult to use.  Especially for those who just want to select a location and connect. In years past switch servers was an involved process but all that has gone away. You can select between OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, and OpenVPN Proxy. From there simply click on the server dropdown in the middle of the client. The right side of our screenshot shows a partial list of VPN services. As you can see StrongVPN has several server locations in the United States.

Now it’s time for StrongVPN for Mac (StrongVPN Mac Guide):

StrongVPN Mac Client

The Mac client is about as simple as it gets. You still have a few options to setup if desired but you don’t have to change anything. You can select a server location and connect. If you want more control over the client, there is a settings area where you can configure the protocol. The Mac client defaults to OpenVPN, but it also supports PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and IPSec. You can also set a custom port number.

Next up is the StrongVPN app for iOS (StrongVPN iOS Guide):

StongVPN iOS App Server Switch

Whether you wan to connect using iPhone or iPad, the StrongVPN iOS app has you covered.  The app will let you choose between IKEv2, PPTP, and L2TP.  I recommend you stay with the recommended IKEv2 protocol which is well suited for changing between Wi-Fi and mobile networks.  Connecting to their network is just a tap away.  Select the server location and the app will encrypt your data.

Last nut not least, let’s look at StrongVPN for Android (StrongVPN Android Guide):

StrongVPN Android Sever Change

Android users have some advanced features to help make the most out of the StrongVPN network.  The app will let you enable scramble which will help you avoid deep packet inspection techniques in countries like China.  You can set a remote port and also save on battery usage.  The app is well suited for those who travel and want privacy protection along with the ability to keep up with the latest news and other websites.

StrongVPN Speed Test

We were happy with the overall performance of the StrongVPN service. You can see from the speed test below that their speed was excellent. As expected, there was some speed loss while connected to one of their VPN servers. This is expected due to the overhead that encrypting all of your VPN traffic incurs. However, this loss was well within acceptable values in the case of StrongVPN.

StrongVPN Speed Test

As you can see from the images above, the encrypted connection lowered our base ISP download speed from 66.25 Mb/s to 61.83 Mb/s. This is a drop of about 9.3% to a server in Atlanta, GA. We find that acceptable and among the top VPNs we tested. This minimal loss in connection speed is well worth the security offered by encrypting all of your Internet traffic.

StrongVPN Review : Conclusion

StrongVPN has been in the VPN business since 2005. Their main office is in San Francisco. Their network consists over 600 servers spread across 23 different countries with over 87,000 IP addresses available to their users. They have multiple fast servers in popular countries like the US, UK, Canada, and The Netherlands. They do not log any information about their users while using their services. Everyone is on the honor system regarding their TOS. They are VoIP and P2P friendly and state that if requested by judicial authorities for user activity information, they will comply by turning over nothing as they do not log their subscribers activities while using their VPN servers.

StrongVPN offers custom software clients for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. These apps are easy to install and allow their users to connect to VPN servers with just a few clicks of the mouse or taps on the screen. Their Windows client includes a kill switch feature that will stop communications if the VPN drops. The Windows and Android software include technology to scramble the data to help keep it hidden from deep packet inspection. This can help protect you from censorship in countries like China and Iran.

The StrongVPN apps provide some of the best encryption available using AES-128 and AES-256. Most of their software defaults to OpenVPN because of its speed, security, and overall reliability. The iOS app recommends IKEv2, because of its support for MOBIKE. IKEv2 makes reconnecting to the VPN easier when changing Wi-Fi hotspots or transferring from home networks to cellular ones without losing your VPN session.

StongVPN provides manual tutorials and visual setup guides to connect to their service using Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Ubuntu, Amazon, Google Chrome OS, DD-WRT routers, Tomato routers and some other devices. Their support begins with a 24/7/365 online chat service. They have an extensive FAQ database that extends to an email ticketing system with a fast turn-around time. They officially say that they do not log any of their VPN users activity while accessing their network.

What we liked most about the service:

  • Exclusive discount for our readers
  • Clients for Windows and Mac OS X
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android.
  • They do not log any user activity for their subscribers.
  • Free SmartDNS access for all members.
  • 24/7/365 live chat support for light technical or billing issues. Quick turn-around time on email tickets.
  • VPN kill switch in their Windows software client.
  • Data scrambler to protect against deep packet inspection.
  • 5-day money back guarantee with no limitations.

Ideas to improve the service:

  • Clean up some of the legacy stuff in their custom clients.
  • Add more server locations to their network (regional servers for Oceania and Africa).

The StrongVPN network covers most major continents. They have fast servers in Europe, North America, Central and South America, and Asia. All new members are covered by their 5-day money back guarantee so you will have plenty of time to test the service. Give them a test run and see what you think. We are excited to share that StrongVPN is offering a discount to our readers. You can sign up for unlimited access from just $2.92 per month with our exclusive discount.

StrongVPN

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