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    StrongVPN

    strongvpn
    Rating 4.0 / 5.0

    Jurisdiction: USA | Advanced Privacy Features: Kill Switch, SugarSync encrypted cloud storage | Number of Servers and Countries: Over 950 servers in 20 countries | Streaming and P2P: Yes, all servers

    stcrongvpn review

    StrongVPN is one of the oldest VPN providers around, but is it the best? With a server network that began in 2005, StrongVPN has a lot to offer. It has fast speeds, a strict no-logging policy, and works well for unblocking geographically restricted streaming content. However, as we’ll discuss in this StrongVPN review, it’s not the most secure VPN around, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement. 

    In our StrongVPN review, we’ll break down the pros, cons, and features in detail.

    Pros

    It has a strict no-logging policy
    Supports up to twelve simultaneous device connections
    Unblocks geo-restricted content, including Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video
    Offers reliable and fast speeds in many locations
    No reported DNS, WebRTC, or IP address leaks
    Allows torrenting and other P2P activity on all of its servers
    Provides excellent customer support, including live chat, email, and phone (which is unusual for a VPN)
    It comes with a bonus of 250GB SugarSync cloud storage
    Has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS

    Cons

    Lacks many advanced features
    Based out of the United States and under the jurisdiction of its privacy laws
    Has a small server network
    Some servers use the outdated and unsecured PPTP protocol
    Does not offer browser extensions
    Performance is inconsistent in some areas
    Offers split tunneling, but only on Android devices

    As far as price is concerned, StrongVPN’s monthly plans are competitive. You’ll find VPN providers with lower prices but also ones that are a lot more expensive. That said, the monthly cost becomes reasonable if you commit to a long-term plan.

    Overall, StrongVPN is a solid VPN choice. It performs well when it comes to speed and basic features. Plus, it has top-notch encryption and protocol support on top of a generous offering of connectivity on up to twelve devices simultaneously. Moreover, it comes with an extra 250GBs of cloud storage, which adds additional value. 

    The Verdict

    StrongVPN is not the best VPN, but it is solid overall. It offers fast and reliable speeds, torrenting on all of its servers, and unblocks many popular streaming platforms, including US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

    What’s more, StrongVPN can be used with gaming consoles, streaming devices like AppleTV and supports router installation. You can also use StrongVPN on up to twelve devices at the same time, which is generous compared to most VPNs ‘ limit of five or six. 

    The fact that StrongVPN is based out of the United States is a red flag for a privacy product. However, it has a strict no-logging policy that truly means none of your information is logged or saved. Unlike most VPNs that still log certain things like data usage and timestamps, StrongVPN logs no data whatsoever. 

    That said, StrongVPN could use a stronger server network. For a VPN that’s been in business for as long as it has, we expected to find more servers and a greater global reach. In addition, some of StrongVPN’s privacy features could be improved, and a few extra features wouldn’t hurt either. 

    Still, StrongVPN is simple and effective. It performs better than many VPNs, and the basics are solid. For those who need a straightforward VPN service, StrongVPN is an excellent choice. It’s excellent for beginners. 

    About StrongVPN

    StrongVPN is a VPN provider that has been active since 2005. It was founded and operated by Strong Technology, LLC but has been bought by several different companies over the years. Most recently, StrongVPN was acquired by J2 Global in 2019.

    Today, StrongVPN has over 950 servers in 20 different countries and 46 different cities. This server network is relatively small compared with many other VPN providers. If server locations are important to you, you’ll want to carefully review what StrongVPN has to offer (which we’ll get to in a moment).

    StrongVPN’s breakdown is as follows:

    • Platforms supported: macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, DDWRT, GLiNet routers, Android TV
    • Servers: around 950 total servers in 20 different countries
    • Jurisdiction: United States
    • Logging policy: zero-logging policy (logs nothing whatsoever)
    • Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Alipay
    • Data: unlimited usage
    • Bandwidth: unlimited bandwidth
    • Simultaneous device connections: 12
    • Support: customer support via live chat, email, and phone

    StrongVPN’s Merge with ibvpn.com

    As of August 2020, Strong Technology acquired ibVPN, one of StrongVPN’s direct competitors. For StrongVPN customers, this acquisition meant very little, but for ibVPN users, there were some who were understandably upset. 

    ibVPN was a smaller VPN service based out of Romania. It was known for providing a secure internet experience, and many people enjoyed it because its home base was in privacy-conscious Iceland.

    StrongVPN Jurisdiction

    StrongVPN is based out of Winter Park, Florida, in the United States. For some, this fact will raise some serious red flags. The United States, after all, is not an ideal location for a VPN company, given the country’s laws. However, perhaps for this very reason, StrongVPN has a firm no-logging policy to prevent anyone from tracking your web traffic.

    That said, many choose to avoid VPNs based out of countries such as the United States because of their privacy laws. Even though StrongVPN never logs its users’ data, it could still be approached by authorities and asked to begin logging information on someone. At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether or not this fact is important to you or not.

    Transparency

    StrongVPN has a lengthy privacy policy. Perhaps because it is based out of the United States, there’s a lot of legal jargon to wade through. Nevertheless, the main points regarding privacy are as follows:

    • StrongVPN has a zero-logging policy. It does not track or store users’ data while connected to the VPN service.
    • The only personal information StrongVPN collects is users’ data, including your email address and payment information.
    • StrongVPN also makes a point of stating that it does not sell its users’ personal information to third parties.

    At first glance, it appears as if StrongVPN is relatively transparent regarding its privacy policy. However, there’s not much detail. For instance, StrongVPN claims not to sell personal information to “third parties,” but this does not exclude them from using the data themselves. It would be nice if things were more clear. 

    Other questions that come up include whether or not the service prioritizes certain protocols over others? There’s also no mention of if StrongVPN logs connections to its service. StrongVPN needs to make its procedures and policies crystal clear to compete with VPN companies like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. 

    The bottom line is, StrongVPN has about what you’d expect regarding its core terms of service, but its lack of detail is somewhat worrisome. While it appears that StrongVPN sticks to its zero-logging policy, it would be helpful if the company had a third-party audit performed to prove its privacy credentials publicly, like what some of its competitors have done (NordVPN, VyprVPN, TunnelBear, to name a few).

    Features

    StrongVPN features

    StrongVPN offers a simple and effective service without a lot of extras. For starters, there are apps for a wide range of platforms and devices, including iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. On top of that, there’s even an app for Amazon Fire TV. Beyond that, however, StrongVPN does not have a lot of features, but let’s discuss those that it does have. 

    Router Support

    As long as we’re talking about platforms, it’s worth mentioning that StrongVPN has router support. This feature is one that a lot of VPNs don’t offer because it’s a way to get around the simultaneous device connection limit that many VPN providers have.

    Basically, StrongVPN can be installed on certain routers. By doing this, you’re protecting your entire wifi connection via the VPN. In this way, any device that connects to your network will have its internet traffic safeguarded by the VPN. 

    Basic App Functionality

    StrongVPN offers little in the way of features beyond a few basic settings. For example, you can configure the client to reconnect automatically if you lose your VPN connection. Other than that and the kill switch, there’s a diagnostic log, the current version of the client you’re using, and a static map. 

    VPN Kill Switch

    A VPN kill switch is an essential feature that every VPN should have. However, there are enough VPNs that don’t have one that it’s worth mentioning. It’s a feature that protects your devices and IP address when the connection with a VPN server is lost or drops abruptly and unexpectedly. 

    In this way, the kill switch blocks your device from connecting to the internet until your VPN connection is restored, preventing your internet traffic and IP address from being exposed. StrongVPN has a kill switch for all of its apps, but it’s not active by default. When you first set up StrongVPN, one of the first things you should do is activate the kill switch before connecting.

    Protocols

    StrongVPN protocols

    Some VPNs only use one protocol or offer only a limited choice. StrongVPN, on the other hand, allows you to connect to a number of different protocols, including the modern and secure OpenVPN protocol. The protocols you can use include:

    • IKEv2
    • L2TP
    • iPSec
    • OpenVPN
    • WireGuard

    The current standard for solid encryption is OpenVPN. However, WireGuard is the newest publicly available protocol. It offers a fast and secure connection with state-of-the-art encryption. The others are older protocols that offer a less secure connection but may be faster in a pinch.

    Split Tunneling

    With split tunneling, you can use your VPN at the same time you are connected to your local network. In this way, you can choose to route certain traffic through the VPN while keeping other traffic local. This feature allows you to maintain direct internet access and only send sensitive traffic through the VPN tunnel.

    Split tunneling is an effective way to decrease the amount of VPN bandwidth you’re using. However, StrongVPN only offers this feature through its Android app, which is a shame. If you are a Windows or Mac user, you’re out of luck, at least with StrongVPN.

    Absent Popular Features

    Many StrongVPN reviews talk about the VPN provider’s lack of features. Nonetheless, if you prefer a simple service, this aspect could be appealing to you. In fact, this fact gives a clear indication that StrongVPN is aiming for a more user-friendly experience. 

    While this may be the case, there are a lot of security features that it’s missing. For example, it would be nice to have an ad blocker so you can optimize your data usage. What’s more, there are features, such as a dedicated IP and Multihop servers (also called cascaded VPNs), that add extra privacy protection. Multihop servers particularly are excellent as they route your traffic through more than one VPN.

    Some other features that StrongVPN lacks are RAM-only servers and Stealth VPN. If you use RAM-only servers, they never archive your data because the VPN only utilizes RAM memory that routinely dumps with every server restart. And with Stealth VPN, your VPN traffic is disguised as regular traffic. 

    The bottom line is that StrongVPN is excellent as a simple VPN service but does not offer the additional security features many VPN users are looking for. If you are genuinely looking for privacy and anonymity, there are other VPNs to explore. 

    Simultaneous Connections

    While some VPNs offer unlimited device connections, most restrict devices to five or six. For this reason, StrongVPN is a bit ahead of the curve with its limit of twelve devices that can be connected to the VPN at the same time. For more than twelve, you’ll need more than one account. 

    This number is vital for many of us these days. With so many devices in our homes and at work, internet privacy is a real concern. Most of us use our smartphones, laptops, tablets, and SmartTVs on such a regular basis that it’s become challenging to differentiate between those we use for work and those for personal use. 

    StrongVPN’s limit of twelve devices is pretty solid. That’s enough to cover a range and is great for families. That said, there are available VPN providers that do not have this limit. As always, it’s crucial to find a VPN that suits your individual needs. 

    Supported Devices

    StrongVPN supports all major platforms, including macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and others. You can also set it up on Amazon Fire TV or manually use StrongVPN’s custom firmware to install it on Linux and Chrome OS. You’ll find guides on the VPN provider’s website for a number of different manual setups. 

    Furthermore, StrongVPN can be installed on certain routers, thereby routing your entire wifi network through the VPN tunnel. This feature enables you to circumvent the already generous twelve simultaneous device limit, at least on your home network.

    One shortcoming that StrongVPN has is its lack of browser extensions. You’ll have to rely on your device connections to provide you with privacy and security. 

    Servers Network

    Compared to some of the major players in the VPN industry, StrongVPN’s server network is on the small size. It has about 950 servers spread across 39 countries. While the number of servers is pretty good, only 20 countries is not a lot of coverage. Many VPNs offer servers in over 50 countries, which would be preferable.

    StrongVPN has excellent coverage in Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan) and South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile). However, it lacks coverage in Africa (only in South Africa) and New Zealand. As for Europe and North America, the coverage is solid, including multiple city servers in:

    • US (15 cities)
    • UK (6)
    • Canada (3)
    • Australia (2, no Perth)
    • Germany (2)
    • Brazil (2)

    It’s worth noting that StrongVPN operates its own servers, which is a good sign. Plus, it has a high number of available IP addresses for its customers, with almost 60,000. With this many IP addresses, StrongVPN should be able to offer some excellent speeds. 

    Streaming

    According to the VPN provider’s website, StrongVPN is the “Best Streaming VPN.” This statement would suggest that the service works hard to prevent streaming services from blocking it. 

    The good news is that StrongVPN appears to live up to its claim, for the most part. With it, you can stream content on YouTube, Netflix, and others. For Netflix, the US library and Japan are unblocked, but others, including France, Canada, and the UK, may not always work.

    Nevertheless, StrongVPN allows access to many of the most popular streaming services, including:

    • Amazon Prime Video (US)
    • Disney+
    • Netflix
    • Hulu
    • HBO
    • ABC
    • Sky Go

    The only major streaming platform that StrongVPN appears to struggle with is BBC iPlayer. To be fair, iPlayer is one of the more difficult services to access via a VPN unblocking its geographically blocked content. 

    Torrenting

    StrongVPN allows torrenting and other P2P activity on all of its servers. So, where many VPNs set aside a few servers as dedicated P2P servers, StrongVPN allows full access, which is a definite plus for the service.

    All in all, the upload and download speeds for P2P activity are fast and reliable on StrongVPN’s servers. Furthermore, the VPN provider’s no-logging policy should keep your activity private. 

    StrongVPN also has an effective kill switch in case of VPN connection drops. This feature will protect you from possible exposure of your activity and IP address even if you’re not actively engaged on a device. Also, our Strong VPN review detected no DNS, IP, or WebRTC leaks.

    StrongVPN + SugarSync

    One of the unusual features that StrongVPN offers is SugarSync secure cloud storage. This is an additional service providing you with 250GB of cloud storage space, which would normally cost you additionally each month.

    Overall, SugarSync works well for what it does. For instance, you can add files or folders to your account with a convenient right-click menu system that automatically uploads to your webspace. You can also sync this space to various devices, including PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices. 

    Plus, it’s easy to share files with others, and there’s even a feature that enables you to delete files from a lost or stolen device. In other words, if you plan to use SugarSync, it’s an excellent deal along with StrongVPN. However, if you already have cloud storage or don’t need it, it’s best to focus on VPN features that you actually plan to use. 

    StrongVPN Alternatives

    At this point, if you’re looking at StrongVPN and you’re still not sure if it’s the right VPN for you, don’t worry. Although StrongVPN is certainly a contender when it comes to overall performance and unblocking capabilities, there are other VPNs with a strong focus on privacy that you may want to consider. 

    ExpressVPN

    expressvpn

    If you’re looking for alternatives, ExpressVPN is a strong contender. It has everything you could want in a VPN. It has fast speed, plenty of security features, unblocks Netflix, supports torrenting, and has zero logging issues that a third-party audit has confirmed. 

    ExpressVPN is supported on more devices than most VPNs. It has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. Plus, it has custom firmware for routers and detailed manual setup guides for Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromebooks, Kindle Fire, Playstation, and more. 

    However, what makes ExpressVPN at the top of its game are the many security features it offers. It has its own DNS servers, so there are no worries about leaks, it uses high-end encryption technology, and it has an excellent split tunneling feature that enables you to choose which traffic to router through the VPN tunnel and which to keep local.

    Server Network

    ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in around 160 locations across 94 different countries. Compared to StrongVPN, ExpressVPN is the clear winner when it comes to this aspect. In fact, ExpressVPN is known to offer the best balance of hardware and virtual servers in the most countries of any VPN on the market.

    What’s more, ExpressVPN covers more geographical locations with servers in 94 countries. ExpressVPN’s server network includes several servers in Africa (rather than just one in South Africa like most VPNs) and extensive coverage across South America. The VPN provider even has servers in difficult countries like Vietnam and Turkey.

    Privacy and Security

    ExpressVPN uses 256-AES encryption, which is top-of-the-line and features a highly secure data transfer process. It also uses multiple protocols, including OpenVPN. On top of that, it has an excellent kill switch and has DNS leak protection.

    As for privacy, ExpressVPN is based out of the British Virgin Islands, which is good regarding jurisdiction. It also never keeps logs of your data, which a third-party audit has verified. Overall, it’s clear that ExpressVPN understands the privacy issues involved with VPNs and does everything in its power to offer a secure experience.

    Features

    ExpressVPN offers fast speeds and has apps for all major platforms. It also has browser extensions for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox and can be installed on certain routers. ExpressVPN also unblocks geo-restricted streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and even BBC iPlayer.

    With ExpressVPN, you can connect to up to five devices at once. You can torrent with the service, and it has an effective kill switch and split tunneling capabilities. It even has what it calls the Lightway protocol, designed to boost speeds by using the Wireguard protocol. 

    Pros

    • Over 3,000 servers worldwide
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Built-in speed test feature
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • It can be used on up to five devices
    • Unblocks Netflix and other streaming services
    • No-logging policy

    Cons

    • It doesn’t auto-connect to the fastest servers
    • A little more expensive than competitors

    PrivateVPN

    privatevpn

    PrivateVPN is a small VPN provider based out of Sweden. For having only 150 servers, the VPN provider manages to be excellent at a lot of things. It can be used to unblock geo-restricted streaming services, torrenting and offers high speeds and privacy.

    PrivateVPN features competitive pricing and has excellent customer support. However, where the company really shines is with its technical features. It has OpenVPN, lVEv2, and L2TP support, system-wide kill switches for all of its apps, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, port forwarding support, and a stealth mode to bypass VPN blocking.

    With PrivateVPN, you can use it on up to six devices simultaneously. Plus, the VPN constantly works to enable you to use it to unblock all sorts of geo-restricted content, including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, NBC, CBS, Fox, and more. It even unblocks the notoriously difficult BBC iPlayer.

    Overall, it’s a solid VPN, and there are some advantages in opting for a smaller company. For instance, its live support has you talking directly with the developers rather than customer service agents. 

    Server Network

    As we mentioned, PrivateVPN’s server network is small. It has around 150 servers in 60 different countries. Compared with many VPN providers, including StrongVPN, this is pretty small. That said, PrivateVPN’s servers perform at average to fast speeds depending on the server and your location.

    PrivateVPN also helps you find servers to do certain things, such as to stream a particular service. It also doesn’t assume you only want US content. For example, when you open the Netflix category, you’ll be able to choose the library you’d like to watch, including France, Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, and more. 

    Privacy and Security

    Like most VPNs these days, PrivateVPN has a no-logging policy. They do not keep or save logs of your internet activity, including your bandwidth, data content, IP addresses, DNS queries, traffic destination, browsing history, or time stamps for your connection.

    For security, PrivateVPN uses top-notch 256-AES encryption and SHA256 authentication. For protocols, you can choose between OpenVPN, UDP, TCP, IKEv2, L2TP, and PPTP. It also features protection against lPv6 and DNS leaks.

    Features

    For a small VPN, PrivateVPN has a lot to offer. It has apps for the major platforms that perform a lot like most VPN apps but with some additional tweaks that are nice to have. Such as, when you click the current location, a separate window opens with a list of cities and ping times. You can sort them by name, use the search box to find one in particular, and save your commonly used locations.

    PrivateVPN also has a stealth tool to bypass VPN blocking, which makes it work in China. It also has some auto-start options, diagnostic tools such as an install/repair feature, and a pointer to the log files. All in all, PrivateVPN is a VPN provider with a zero-log policy at a reduced price. 

    Pros

    • Pre-configured to unblock many streaming services, including Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more
    • Fast and reliable connection speeds
    • It can be used on up to six devices
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • User-friendly interface
    • Excellent customer support
    • Allows torrenting 

    Cons

    • It has a small number of servers
    • Kill switch is Windows only

    Pricing

    StrongVPN keeps it simple with two different pricing plans. The first is a little big above-average pricing for a month-to-month plan. The second is a one-year plan that drops the price to well over half of the other one. 

    There’s no free trial option, but StrongVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for those who are not “100% satisfied with the StrongVPN service.” This guarantee does not have data caps or hidden restrictions. 

    As for payment options, StrongVPN accepts major credit cards, PayPal, and Alipay. However, it does not take cryptocurrencies.

    Summary

    StrongVPN is a good VPN that gets all of the basics right. It’s fast, unblocks a lot of geo-restricted content like Netflix, and is flexible enough to install on routers and gaming consoles.

    On top of that, StrongVPN allows torrenting on all of its servers and has a strict no-logging policy. It also offers a generous twelve simultaneous connections. 

    That said, StrongVPN is not the most private VPN provider out there. It doesn’t offer much in the way of additional security features, and it’s based out of the United States. Plus, it has a relatively small server network that needs to be expanded if StrongVPN hopes to compete with bigger VPN providers.

    StrongVPN is a good choice for novice VPN users.

    Tim Robinson

    Tim Robinson

    I research, write, and publish about VPN and other privacy tools.

    My first VPN setup was over ten years ago, and since then, it is an essential part of my internet experience. I surf the internet, stream, and work with a VPN.

    Tim Robinson

    Tim Robinson

    I research, write, and publish about VPN and other privacy tools.

    My first VPN setup was over ten years ago, and since then, it is an essential part of my internet experience. I surf the internet, stream, and work with a VPN.

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