Features and Pricing Summary:
Network: Servers in 21 countries
Software: Win, Mac, iOS, Android
Refund Policy: 5 day guarantee
Retail Price: $10 a month
Discount Price: Save 41% Off
Welcome to our review of StrongVPN. This company was founded in 1994 as a PC store in South Lake Tahoe, Ca. At the time, it was common to see computer stores branch out into software ventures or companion technologies. StrongVPN is very well known, and was one of the first providers in the VPN industry. Since then, it has continued to grow in to the product they offer today. StrongVPN has some nice features and good speeds, but we will take a look at them shortly. Now however, we will discuss pricing.
Pricing & Discounts
StrongVPN has simplified their pricing plans, and only offers 2 options. Those options are for 1 month of service @ $10 a month, and the year’s worth of service that brings the price down to $5.83 a month. That is a savings of 41% over the month to month charge, making the service nicely priced. The image below shows the plans available. StrongVPN offers new members a 5 day money back guarantee.
To take payments, StrongVPN uses PayPal, Bitcoin, and the well known standards of VISA, MC, AMEX, and DISC. Rather than using a credit card, Paypal is a great decision if you would like another way to manage your account. If you prefer more anonymity, Bitcoin is a good choice. It keeps your payment information safe, additionally.
StrongVPN offers a few features, some of which have been used by other providers over the years. One of the things we enjoy seeing is the number of protocols it supports.
Usually, providers offer a limited number of protocols. The standard ones you would normally see are PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN. Though OpenVPN is the most widely used because it provides the right mix of speed and security, there are others that can be used as well. StrongVPN supports those, plus SSTP. This protocol is used if OpenVPN is not available, but it is exclusive to Windows operating systems. It also operates very similarly to OpenVPN, with the ability to use TCP to circumvent censorship or ISP throttling.
For extremely privacy minded individuals, StrongVPN also offers a high level of encryption, 2048 bit. Though some providers still use 1024 bit security certificates, it is unsafe to use that level. Microsoft started rejecting all certificates using keys that were less than 2048 bit on December 31st, 2013. Other features include 24/7 technical support, and 2 simultaneous connections on different devices. An example of that would be a home machine and a mobile device.
StrongVPN offers locations in 44 cities, located in 21 strategically targeted countries. Though they may not provide servers in as many countries as other providers, they have succeeded in making those countries count.
Most users will not need access to that many countries, but it is always nice to have the options available. If you intend to unblock internet restrictions, StrongVPN has servers in some of the most popular countries.
Depending on your reasons for using a VPN, speed can make a huge difference. It is also one of the factors to look at when you are choosing a provider. If you are going to use a VPN for streaming videos or gaming, you want the best speeds possible. Because the connection is encrypted, you may expect a slight speed loss of up to 25%. In running our test on StrongVPN, we encountered about a 7% speed loss. Not only is that in the acceptable range, it is a good speed. That difference would not be detectable while gaming, browsing, or streaming.
Security and Privacy
The way that VPNs offer privacy protection is through protocols. As we mentioned earlier, different protocols have different levels of encryption. In today’s market, OpenVPN (UDP) has the best mix of privacy and speed. It uses the AES-256 style of encryption, meaning that the protocol is secured using 256 bits. If you are more interested in speed, there are protocols that only offer 128 bit. However, we do not recommend using one like that. When choosing a provider, make sure you pick one that uses at least 2048 for it’s security keys. Of course, SrongVPN is one of them.
With anything that is software related, support is always an important factor. StrongVPN offers product support through a support form that is available and is staffed 24/7, an FAQ section, and quick setup guides. Usually, most problems can be solved through these methods. However, it would be nice to see additional methods like a live chat feature or a contact phone number.
StrongVPN offers software for recent versions of Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. They additionally offer manual setup guides for older versions, as well as Linux, Ubuntu, ChromiumOS, and almost anything that connects to the web. If you have a specific one in mind, checking their setup list will almost certainly be able to help you in getting connected.
StrongVPN makes their sign up process easy, so there are very few steps involved, and you can get started quickly. To sign up, click the join now button, and pick your plan.
Next, enter an email, select your method of payment, and click the join now button. While some companies require more information, StrongVPN uses a minimalist approach.That style has become common as more people try to keep their data private. All you need with them is an email address and payment information.
How to Use StrongVPN for Desktop
StrongVPN has a very streamlined client. If you are looking for bells and whistles, this is not the client for you. That said, it is very functional, and gives you some nice options under the advanced tab. Let’s take a look at using StrongVPN. For this example, we will use their Windows client. The Mac client is very similar, and if you have any issues, the support team would be helpful.
- Begin by launching the client from your desktop. After doing so, you will see a box that looks like the one shown on the right. This is your client, and here is where you may change settings.
- As pointed out by the green arrow, you may change location here. Otherwise, it will default to the last one you used.
- The red arrow points out the advanced settings. Unless you are very technical, you won’t need to change them. The only one you may need to change is the encryption level, based on the one you wish to use. If you are technical, feel free to alter the settings.
- after making changes, simply click the button that is pointed to by the blue arrow, and connect. Your status will show up in the upper right hand corner of the client.
Now, your data is encrypted and you can browse any site like you are located in the US, or any other country you want to choose.
Using StrongVPN for Mobile
As we mentioned, StrongVPN has apps for both Android and iOS. For this example, we will use Android. You may expect the two apps to be similar. This image below represents the procedure.
- Enter your login ID and password.
- Once in to the app, you may change servers, as shown by the red arrow here.
- After selecting the server, click the “ON” button.
- Now, the button turns to green, and you are protected.
- Surf from any location you wish to, knowing that you are protected.
Please note, this software for Android only covers the OpenVPN protocol. The iOS supports more protocols, but they work almost identically. With the guides that StrongVPN offers, setup is easy.
Favorite Features for StrongVPN:
- Servers located in 44 cities in 21 Countries
- Good Speeds
- Streamlined client
- 24 hour support
- 5 day money back guarantee
Suggestions to make StrongVPN Better:
- Add more payment options
- Offer live chat or phone support
- Add servers in more countries
In conclusion, StrongVPN offers a no nonsense service that is very efficient. If you are looking for a solid product and you want to be able to tweak some of the settings, StrongVPN is a good fit. It also works well for those that are not technically inclined. The service is not flashy, but it works well. They offer new members a 5 day money back guarantee which is enough time to test the service, and make a good decision.