StrongVPN Review – Introduction
In the chaotic world of internet, many threats loom over the netizens. There are hackers awaiting a chance to steal our identity and there are vigilant agencies spying on our every move.
To protect ourselves from these dangerous entities, we must employ every safety measures that we have at our disposal. In particular, we must turn to VPNs to mask our digital identities.
However, we must first learn how different VPNs work and where their strengths lie. In doing so, we will be able to determine the best VPN service for our online security.
Today, we will conduct a StrongVPN review to examine efficacy of this lesser-known VPN service.
StrongVPN Review – Company Background
StrongVPN also known as Strong VPN is part of US based Reliable Hosting’s product portfolio. The company offers dedicated servers, shared web hosting, virtual private servers, colocation services, domain registration, domain renewal and virtual private networks – which is where StrongVPN comes in. The company claims to have been functioning ever since 1994 that give it almost 20 years of experience in the IT industry.
- Offers user-friendly apps to subscribers
- Provides Netflix streaming benefit to users
- Users can avail discounts on different pricing plans
- Offers services in limited number of countries
Unique Selling Proposition
We write the Unique Selling Proposition section for every VPN service provider after thoroughly reviewing all the features of a VPN service. We did the same for this service. StrongVPN’s prices are reasonable if you consider the average monthly cost incurred for the 12-month pricing plans.
StrongVPN has clearly give a lot of attention to the development of its client. We tried out the client for Windows for a test drive to see what sort of presentation the service chose to exercise.
We have tested and reviewed countless VPN client applications in 2017 but we have never ever seen a VPN client offering features like the StrongVPN client. We were surprised to see that the client initially comes forth as a simple little un-complicated dialog box.
Actually, the client starts out by asking your username and password before allowing you to proceed forward and open out the actual client interface. Once you have supplied your user name and password, a small little uncomplicated window opens up. At first, it looks like a joke and you will find yourself looking around for the rest of the client interface while your mouse hovers on ‘Connect’.
Then you will see the ‘Advanced’ button and our advice is that you hold your breath before you click on it because I promise you that it will catch you off-guard. A much larger window will open out once you click on ‘Advanced’ with features that you won’t find in any other VPN service provider. Clicking on ‘Advanced’ will give you complete control over your VPN connection, its setup and its progress.
Amazing Package Plans
The StrongVPN does not bombard you with speiclized VPN packages. Instead, the package plans are extremely simple. There is nothing noticeable about these packages; they are neither expensive nor affordable. Instead, they lie somewhere in the middle.
There are, however, other VPNs in the market that provide more features for the same price. Therefore, we can conclude that pricing is not the USP of StrongVPN.
Different packages of the service offer the same the features. The packages are priced based only on the period of the subscription. The 12-month plan is priced $5.83 a month, which accumulates to $69.99 in total. On the other hand, the one-month plan is priced $10.
StrongVPN has over 650 servers in 26 countries. However, keep in mind that 140+ of these servers are located in the San Francisco region alone. This sufficiently brings the global server spread of this service.
We believe that a VPN service provider should have a server spread as wide as possible with servers located in regions where they can be easily maintained. Placing far too many servers in a few selected locations may possibly compromise accessibility, security and anonymity. While some VPN service providers tend to focus on expanding their server spreads in the US because of the presence of their head quarter in that region, StrongVPN seems to be focusing on expanding in the US on purpose.
Before connecting to the VPN server, we visited speedtest.net and recorded the following ping, upload speed, and download speed.
After having connected to the StrongVPN San Fransisco server (which is apparently the highlight of StrongVPN’s server portfolio) we visited SpeedTest.net and were quite pleased when we recorded the following ping, upload speed and download speed.
We were quite surprised at how the ping remained almost the same both times and how my upload speed (which we have never been too proud of anyway) did not experience any significant change. Most importantly, the Strong VPN download speed impressed us the most.
Installing StrongVPN Windows Client
Once you the download StrongVPN’s setup file from the website, You will need to run the file as an administrator. After running the file, you will see the installation wizard of StrongVPN.
The procedure from here is extremely easy. Click the ‘Next’ option and then agree with the terms and conditions of the service.
Choose the folder of your choice for the installation by clicking on browse. However, we always recommend users to let the installation take place in the ‘Program Files’ because that is what most software is built to work out of.
Finally, when you are done choosing the file location, you will be required to give admin permission for installing the client.
After this, the client will begin to install in your system.
Using StrongVPN Windows Client
Once you are done installing the client, you can access StrongVPN by clicking on its exe file. The client will first ask you for the login details of your client. By providing the Strong VPN log in details to the client, you will be able to fully access its features.
Enter in the Email and Password you registered during the sign-up process and hit the Strong VPN Log In button. The client will authenticate your credentials and bring you a window that will display your location and IP address.
From there, you will be given an option to instantly connect with one the servers. Here, you can benefit from the large server list of StrongVPN and select your preferred location.
You can navigate to the setting option to toggle features such as Auto reconnect and Kill switch. We recommend turning on the Kill switch to stay on the safe side. The Kill switch will stop your IP address from leaking if the VPN disconnects for some reason.
The protocol option allows you to choose from IKEv2, OpenVPN, SSTP and L2TP protocols. What we really like in this section is that it lays out the competencies and drawbacks of different protocols. The information provided here can be extremely useful for casual VPN users.
Moreover, the information section allows to change your password or Logout. There is also a “Get Help” option here for you contact the customer service of the service.
Furthermore, you can click the diagnostic option to see status information and configuration about StrongVPN’s gateway and the tunnels associated with it. This information can be helpful while troubleshooting a tunnel problem.
The Update section lets you check for updates in the client.
Once you are connected to the service, you can access geo-restricted website and protect your device from hackers and scammers.
To be blunt, the StrongVPN windows client exceeded our expectations. It is not only navigable but also aesthetically designed. In addition, you can select your preferred servers and protocols in the client with utmost ease.
StrongVPN offers all the top payment methods that are currently being offered by other VPN service providers in the industry. These are: Credit Card, Paypal, Wire Transfer, Western Union, Checks, Stripe and Bitcoin. Unlike other VPN service providers that we have reviewed in the past, we noticed during this StrongVPN review that the company does not actively seek to expand its list of accepted payment methods and only adds in a new one when it has acquired near-global acceptance.
Compatibility & Tutorials
This VPN has unparalleled device and platform compatibility. The Setup page offers a long list of tutorials for a wide variety of supported devices and platforms. The service offers a client application for Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS. All other platforms and protocols have to be setup manually – for which the StrongVPN setup webpage provides detailed instructions.
There are older Tutorials available for PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN protocols for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows Mobile and Microsoft Surface in the Microsoft Category.
Setup tutorials are available for Windows and MAC OS X platforms (versions 10.5 and 10.4) as well as for iOS based iPhone, iPad and iTouch devices.
Other tutorials are also available for Linux, Ubuntu, bada, hpWebOS and S60 Symbian. Router support is available for DD-WRT Routers, Tomato USB, Sabai OS and Mikrotik routers.
Protocols and Encryption
The service offers PPTP, L2TP/SSTP, IKEv2 and OpenVPN (SSL) VPN protocols. You get all these protocols on all the packages offered by the service.
We found the protocol options provided by the service to be extremely impressive. In our experience, not many VPN services are this well rounded when it comes to tunneling protocols.
The diverse protocol options of this service provide a way for users to defend their digital privacy in the most efficient of manners.
The service offers some effective encryption combinations:
- PTPP: 128bit MPPE
- L2TP: 56bit 3DES (three 56-bit keys)
- SSTP: 256bit AES-CBC
However, the company is based in the jurisdiction of five eyes which are known cyber snoopers. This means there is a risk involved while using this service.
StrongVPN Free Trial
StrongVPN does not offer any free-trial. However, all the subscriptions come with a 7 day money back guarantee. I think that a VPN service provider as strapping as StrongVPN would not hesitate to provide free trial accounts for at least a few hours.
When you run a VPN service, you need to convince new and current VPN users that your service is beyond optimum. In order to do so, you need to put a little bit of time, energy and funding into marketing through free trials. There no StrongVPN free trial which makes it a stubborn VPN service. We as the customer like it when the salesperson values our opinions and us. StrongVPN does not value anything else but its own service. The service has the strength to do without the extra sales it would have gotten had it given a free trial, but at one point, it just starts becoming annoyingly audacious.
The customer service of this VPN has four important features; email support, Setup Guides, Troubleshooting and FAQ.
The service replies to a mail typically within 10-12 hours. We mailed a query for this StrongVPN review and received a comprehensive reply. It seems to us that the customer support team of this service is well equipped to deal with a wide variety questions.
Furthermore, there are also setup guides available on the official website. These guides help you in installing or manually setting up the service on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire and Linux. In addition, it assists you in using the service with different routers.
If for some reason you are not satisfied with the service, you can receive a refund within 7 days. We believe that the refund window here is sufficient. This is because you can test a VPN service thoroughly within a week.
StrongVPN for Smartphones
The StrongVPN apps for smartphones are designed similarly to the desktop client of the service. You can get the iOS app on the Apple App Store and the Android App on the Google Play.
Similar to the windows client, these apps provides a map, IP address, time span of the connection and a location picker.
Other than this, the apps are easy to navigate and have an aesthetic design. The setting section allows you to change protocols, toggle connection settings and select a port number. You can also see your account information on this section.
StrongVPN Review on Reddit
Redditors are known for their blunt opinions regarding different matters. They also do not take any prisoners when it comes to VPNs. Therefore, we considered it necessary to search this forum to see what they are experiencing with this service.
This review on reddit consists of some harsh criticism of the service. In particular, the user is not happy that the service has done away with their live chat option.
In contrast, another user appreciates the customer support of the service.
StrongVPN is not your standard VPN service provider. It is a trendsetter in the industry and offers the most services around.
Once you log into the Customer Area on the website, you get access to a dashboard. This dashboard is different from that which you will get on your client. This dashboard will let you deal with matters relating to your account.
- Change your billing password
- Audit your activity log to double-check if your account has been used by anyone else other than you. The ‘Security Audit’ function records the date of use and the IP from which the account was used
- Share your StrongVPN account by adding authorized contacts. The service offers the option to either fully share your account or partially share it with your authorized contacts
- View your Application programming interface key
- Subscribe/unsubscribe from special offers and discounts
- Download StrongVPN client for your desired platform and view tutorials to set it up on your desired client
- Refer the VPN service to a friend and recommend a specific package in doing so
However, most importantly, the website based Dashboard lets you manage your account by viewing your account status, changing servers, conducting speed tests and pausing your account. The VPN Accounts Summary page also lists available servers and free accounts on each server.
Alternatives of StrongVPN
By now, our StrongVPN review of 2018 has highlighted all the strongpoints and drawbacks of this VPN service. However, some readers still might be confused about buying this service. For them, we have also written reviews of some other VPN services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is StrongVPN Safe?
You never know how safe a VPN service really is. In past, many top VPN services have ended up leaking customer data. Some have done this intentionally to earn profit while others have lost their data due to hackers.
Is StrongVPN Netflix Compatible?
You can unblock and access Netflix with this service. This is an amazing feat for this service as most VPNs fail to bypass the restriction imposed by Netflix.
We tested the VPN for Netflix US on both Windows and Netlfix. The results exceeded our expectations as we had absolutely no trouble streaming content on the website.
Just in keep in mind that Netflix regularly updates its VPN detection system. The company invests heavily in its geo-restriction software that means we are not sure how long this will last. So far, the service is delivering on its promise of unrestricted access to Netflix.
Other streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and SkyGo can also be accessed through this VPN.
During our StrongVPN review, we noticed that the service has greatly evolved in last few years. It has changed its packages and features to cater to the demand of a wider audience.
The service has added more servers and has brought several updates to apps for a better user experience. We would like to give credit to StrongVPN for trying their best to satisfy the digital privacy seeker.
However, we believe this service has still a long way to go before it can compete with the top VPN providers.
The aspect where this service could improve is its range of servers. As of now, the server coverage of the VPN is somewhat below average. In addition, we believe the price of this service is a bit on the higher side. Especially if you consider the features this service provides.
The good thing is that you get a 7 days refund to test out the service and see if it works for you.