StrongVPN - Full Review
For the security-conscious internet user, a VPN is an essential bit of software that provides a safe tunnel for data to travel through while hiding it from the attention of criminals, ISPs and other parties that can make use of your personal information.
With so many potential options on the market, an inexperienced user may not know which VPN to choose from – and that’s where we come in. We’ve tested some of the best and most well-known VPNs available according to a strict set of criteria, and today we’re looking at StrongVPN.
A VPN keeps your information secure by re-routing your internet connection through a server in another location, which could be anywhere in the world. This circuitous route inevitably means slower internet speeds, and some VPNs retain speeds better than others.
StrongVPN is inconsistent in this regard – connecting to a server based in the UK would allow us to retain around 60% of our internet speed, but this figure dropped to below 30% if we connected via a server based in the US. The service does automatically connect to the fastest possible connection, but if you require a server in a specific location you may find that speeds are frustratingly low at times.
StrongVPN ranks somewhere in the mid-range of VPNs in terms of its server base. With a little under 1,000 servers covering 40 countries, the server base is nowhere near the size of those offered by Cyberghost or NordVPN, but plenty for the average user to find a fast and stable connection – and the range of countries available means you should be able to access a wide range of content libraries (see the Streaming section below).
Any VPN worth the name should offer strong security measures as a fundamental feature. StrongVPN uses AES-256 encryption to protect your details and has a no-logs policy, which means it does not retain any information of your online activity.
One downside of this product is that a number of its additional features are only available on certain devices. The automatic kill switch, which disconnects you from the internet entirely if your VPN connection drops, is limited to desktops, while split tunnelling (the ability to define which apps go through the VPN and which do not) is only available on mobile devices. A package that includes these features on all devices would be a significant improvement.
If you are subscribed to a streaming app, you may be aware of the restrictions that many have put in place. Services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime vary their content libraries by region.
This makes sense in many cases, where certain shows are unlikely to have a worldwide audience – but if you’re a fan of foreign films or have a favourite show that is aired in another region, it can be annoying when you’re unable to access it.
Luckily, some VPNs can bypass the software used to restrict access by routing your connection through a server based in the region where the content is available.
When we tested it, StrongVPN was able to access a range of Netflix content libraries as well as iPlayer, Hulu and Apple TV – so if you regularly stream shows on your TV, StrongVPN could open up a world of new options.
The use of torrenting software is subject to a never-ending legal dispute, with many companies demanding it be made illegal to prevent the sharing of copyrighted material.
Wary of falling foul of the law, some ISPs now ban P2P software outright, but StrongVPN allows you to get around these restrictions by masking the data you send and received, preventing your ISP from knowing that you’re using the software.
The terms of service make it clear that you must only use the VPN for legal purposes, but aside from that there are no restrictions on torrenting. Having said that, it is worth consideration that StrongVPN is based in the US, where legislation on P2P data transfer is ongoing – so you cannot be sure that the service will continue to support torrenting.
For regular gamers, a VPN can have additional uses. Some ISPs ‘throttle’ the bandwidth available to you at peak times of the day, meaning your device can’t reach the internet speeds you are usually capable of. This can lead to your game suffering from lag or even dropped connections, which makes gaming a frustrating experience.
StrongVPN’s method of hiding your data prevents your ISP from seeing that you are playing games and limiting your bandwidth. Of course, as we’ve already mentioned, the VPN itself can slow down your connection, but during testing we were consistently able to reach speeds high enough to enjoy uninterrupted gaming sessions.
Depending on your point of view, StrongVPN’s list of price plans is either reassuringly simple or just downright inflexible. There are two options available – a rolling plan that costs $10 per month, or a 12-month plan that costs $34.99 (which works out at $2.91 per month). As an added incentive, each of these plans comes with 250gb free cloud storage.
StrongVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in lieu of a free trial. If you do not find the service suitable, simply contact them to cancel your plan and request a refund.
How good is StrongVPN?
StrongVPN is a reliable and trustworthy VPN that provides good security as well as a number of additional features at a reasonable price.
Is StrongVPN free?
StrongVPN is not free. Prices range from $10 for a monthly rolling plan to $34.99 for a year-long plan, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to try it out to see if it suits your needs.
Does StrongVPN work for Netflix?
During our testing period, StrongVPN was consistently able to connect to a range of different Netflix libraries, as well as content from other streaming services.
How safe is StrongVPN?
StrongVPN uses military-level AES-256 encryption and has a policy of not logging information, so there is no reason to think your details or online activity are at risk through using the service.
While speeds are a little inconsistent and certain features are limited to specific devices, StrongVPN did everything we needed it to – offering secure, stable connections capable of supporting online gaming, streaming HD video and using P2P software. Available for under $3 per month if you subscribe to the year-long plan, we can recommend StrongVPN as a cost-effective service that won’t let you down.