The beginnings of StrongVPN go back to 1994 when their small company, named Smart Technologies LLC, located in South Lake Tahoe, California, started selling PCs. Later, they expanded their business and started offering dial-up internet services, dedicated servers, and colocation services. Fast forward a couple of years, in 2005, they launched their VPN service and in 2019 StrongVPN was acquired by J2 Global.
StrongVPN has more than 950 servers across over 35 countries and 59 cities and 59,500 IPs available and works with the major protocols including WireGuard, OpenVPN, L2TP, SSTP, IPSec, and IKEv2. It uses AES 256-bit encryption and offers a strict no-logs policy. Furthermore, it also offers protection and security on public WiFi networks and it comes with a kill switch. With that being said, StrongVPN is a safe and secure VPN and it can thus be used while you’re in China. Plus, it allows torrenting and P2P activity as long as it is copyright-free and in compliance with your country’s laws.
StrongVPN offers speeds that are fast for streaming but average for gaming. It successfully unblocks several platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock, but doesn’t unblock BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, you can choose a VPN that best suits your needs.
It is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices, routers, Fire TV, Kodi, Linux, Ubuntu, Tor, and more. You can also use it for gaming on PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox. Aside from that, it is extremely easy to set it up and install the apps on your devices. Their customer support is very prompt and polite, so if you have any questions you can contact them through 24/7 live chat, email, and the ticketing system.
There are annual and monthly subscription plans that start off with a cheap price for the first year or month of use and after, the prices become a bit higher. However, there is no free trial available. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only with the annual plan. StrongVPN also offers a SmartDNS service known as StrongDNS with one subscription. What’s more, the subscriptions come with a free 250GB SugarSync cloud storage which is a major plus for anyone who would like to use it. There are many payment methods available including all major credit cards, PayPal, Alipay, and Bitcoin.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Great for streaming. StrongVPN successfully unblocked Netflix UK/US, Disney+, Hulu, and more on all of the servers I connected to. Jump to the streaming section to see my streaming test results.
- Fast enough for streaming over long distances. I had great speeds for streaming while connected to the European servers with almost no buffering but I was also satisfied with the speeds over longer distances where I experienced minimal lag. Check out my speed test results for more information.
- Offers 24/7 customer support. I tested StrongVPN’s live chat support and I got very prompt, friendly, and helpful answers. Below you can see my interaction with them.
- Average-sized network. StrongVPN has more than 950 servers in over 35 countries and 59 cities and almost 60,000 IP addresses available. Take a look at a more in-depth server network analysis below.
- Is compatible with the major devices. StrongVPN is compatible with and has native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV, and Chrome OS. See more about StrongVPN’s device compatibility below.
- Uses military-grade encryption. StrongVPN uses one of the highest levels of encryption – AES 256-bit which makes it very safe to use. Read more on this topic in the security section.
- Has a strict no-logs policy. StrongVPN protects your privacy and doesn’t collect any information about your activity while connected to their VPN servers. Jump to the privacy section here.
- No free trial. StrongVPN doesn’t offer a free trial but they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee with the annual plan only.
StrongVPN Features — Updated in July 2021
|Money Back Guarantee||30|
|Does VPN keep logs?||Partially|
|Number of servers||950|
|Number of devices per license||12|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat Support|
I had a great experience streaming with StrongVPN on all servers that I connected to. First, I tried three US servers (Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York), and I didn’t run into any problems unblocking Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Peacock, and HBO Max on all of them. Taking into consideration that these servers are far away from my real location, the picture quality wasn’t the clearest at first but it got clearer as I continued streaming.
Then, I tested three UK servers (Canterbury, Manchester, and London) and the streaming was enjoyable, without any noticeable buffering. Additionally, I tried other servers from Europe, Australia, and Asia including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Serbia, Melbourne, and Singapore. On these servers, I also managed to successfully stream content from all of the above-mentioned platforms except HBO Max because HBO Max can only be used in the US. The Europe servers are closer to my real location, so the streaming quality and speed were a little better than the other farther server locations I tried.
Unblocked: Netflix UK/US, Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, HBO Max, and More
StrongVPN unblocks many platforms. The ones that I tested and successfully unblocked were Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, and HBO Max. On StrongVPN’s website, there are other streaming platforms mentioned that can be used with this VPN such as ABC, Channel 4, Crunchyroll, Fire TV, IPTV, ITV, Kodi, SkyGo, Spotify, TVPlayer, and YouTube.
Blocked By: Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer
StrongVPN can’t unblock Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. I tried streaming Amazon Prime Video on the New York server but a message popped up telling me that I should disable my VPN connection in order to access their content. So, unfortunately, StrongVPN couldn’t bypass Amazon Prime Video’s strict geo-restrictions.
I asked their customer support if I can use StrongVPN with BBC iPlayer and they told me that BBC is trying to block VPN providers, so they recommended I use the StrongDNS service to access BBC content. Their StrongDNS comes free with both subscription plans for StrongVPN. However, if you want to use only their StrongDNS, without subscribing to their VPN service, you can make a separate StrongDNS account and try it for free for 7 days.
StrongVPN offers great speeds for streaming overall but on long-distance servers, I experienced a bit of delay when loading websites. However, it wasn’t anything major. The longest I waited for a website to load was about 5 to 7 seconds.
Below you can see some of the speed test results I got with StrongVPN on different servers starting from the nearest to the farthest server. In the first picture you can see the speed I had before connecting to StrongVPN, then the speed while connected to StrongVPN’s best available server, and one of the European servers – Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In the second picture, I included the speeds I got with StrongVPN while connected to some of the farther servers I tested, such as Toronto Chicago, Singapore, and Melbourne.
As it can be seen from my speed test results, the ping time gradually increased as I connected to farther and farther servers but there wasn’t a significant difference or loss in the download and upload speeds when using StrongVPN.
I also tested StrongVPN on the Seattle, US server with three protocols, WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, and the differences in speed when using each of them were minimal.
To conclude, I was very satisfied with StrongVPN’s speeds and I would definitely use it again. The speed test results exceeded my expectations especially for streaming on both near and long-distance locations.
Are StrongVPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes.
StrongVPN’s speeds are fast enough for gaming but you may face some delay due to the high ping if you’re connected to a long-distance server. I played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Steam while connected to the “Best Available” server and I didn’t experience any noticeable delays, even though the ping was 97ms. That was most likely due to the fact that the connection was stable.
I am not a professional nor regular gamer, so the speed results I got while gaming with StrongVPN probably won’t satisfy professional gamers or people who like gaming on a regular basis. With that being said, if you want a VPN with speeds faster than these, there are other great VPNs for gaming.
StrongVPN has over 950 servers across more than 35 countries and 59 cities which is pretty decent. What’s more important, it has reliable connections on its servers and offers 59,500 IP addresses which means that in a given moment at least 59,500 customers can simultaneously use StrongVPN’s services. What’s more, if the IPs are shared, then over 59,500 users can simultaneously use StrongVPN. However, if more users are assigned the same shared IP the speeds can be slowed down. With that being said, no matter how many users they have in total, most likely there will always be an IP address available for you, taking into consideration the vast number of IPs.
On StrongVPN’s website, there is extensive information about the services they provide including all of the countries and cities where their servers are located, so you’ll know if it is a good choice for you even before you purchase a plan.
There are also multi-city servers available in a couple of countries including the US, the UK, Canada, France, and Australia. The advantage of multi-city servers is that they can choose from a larger number of servers available in one city. So if one or more of the servers from a city you’ve selected is not working, you can try the servers from another city of the same country. In the US, for example, there are servers available in 15 cities. So, if you want to unblock US streaming content, there are plenty of servers to choose from and if you can choose from a larger number of servers, you’ll probably have better speeds for streaming, gaming, torrenting, and internet surfing. If you don’t want to manually choose a server location, StrongVPN has a “Best Available” location feature that will choose the server that’s the nearest to you and has the least traffic at the moment.
StrongVPN operates its own servers which makes it even more secure because there is no third party involved. Furthermore, it also offers a SmartDNS service called StrongDNS that you can use to unblock geo-restricted content by masking your real location. Note that a SmartDNS differs from a VPN service in that the SmartDNS doesn’t have all of the security features that a VPN provides. So, a SmartDNS won’t encrypt your data but it also won’t affect your speed as opposed to the VPN. Also, from the information I found in the FAQs on StrongVPN’s website, it is not recommended to use StrongVPN and StrongDNS at the same time on the same device and network because you might lose some functionality when using certain sites.
StrongVPN is as secure as it gets. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption combined with perfect forward secrecy which makes it fall into the category of the most secure VPNs. You can choose from a number of protocols including WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP, and IPSec.
- WireGuard is a new protocol known as one of the fastest on the market that won’t compromise your speeds. It is actually faster than the already well-established OpenVPN protocol which makes it a top option. WireGuard is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
- OpenVPN is very well-known and considered to be one of the most secure VPN protocols. StrongVPN offers TCP and UDP connections on several ports making it compatible with different routers and supports the Scramble feature on both TCP and UDP connections that hides all your OpenVPN traffic. Most of the time, the TCP connection is a bit slower as opposed to the faster UDP connection. OpenVPN is available for Windows, macOS, and Android.
- IKEv2 is the protocol that is recommended the most by StrongVPN, especially for mobile devices. This protocol is fast and secure and lets you automatically reconnect to StrongVPN when switching from mobile data to a WiFi network or vice versa. IKEv2 is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
- SSTP is almost as secure as the OpenVPN protocol and definitely more secure than IPSec or L2TP. SSTP encrypts the traffic between StrongVPN and your chosen StrongVPN server. It is available only for Windows.
- IPSec and L2TP are legacy protocols still supported by StrongVPN. On their own, they’re not the most secure but when paired together their security significantly increases. IPSec is available for macOS and iOS while L2TP is available for macOS and Windows.
StrongVPN makes a recommendation on their website about which protocol is best to use with certain devices. This is really helpful for someone who doesn’t really know much about protocols so they can make a choice that would fit their device the most.
For additional security StrongVPN offers a kill switch feature that automatically disconnects your internet if the VPN connection unexpectedly cuts short. This feature prevents your IP address or other data from being leaked when that happens, so it’s a great security feature to have. The kill switch feature is only available on StrongVPN’s Windows and macOS apps.
StrongVPN also offers split tunneling on the Android app which basically means that you can choose which apps on your device you would like to use with StrongVPN and which ones you would like to use without it.
StrongVPN operates its own DNS servers and offers a SmartDNS service called StrongDNS that can be used for accessing geo-restricted content considering that with it you can only change your real location but without all the security features offered by the VPN.
Last but not least, I ran leak tests and there were no DNS, WebRTC, and IP leaks on both of the servers I tested.
On the plus side, they make sure to mention that they don’t sell their customers’ personal information to third parties that they collaborate with such as ReliableHosting, ZenDesk, SendGrid, and others.
Furthermore, there is a short clause about data retention where they don’t disclose exactly how long they retain your personal data but only state that they may keep it for as long as needed, and in the case of some legal issues the data retention period may have the same duration as the legal processes involved.
Torrenting — Allowed on All Servers but not Explicitly
StrongVPN allows torrenting as well as P2P file-sharing on all servers. However, note that torrenting of copyrighted materials is illegal, while torrenting of copyright-free material is legal. Also, in some countries torrenting, in general, is banned, so you should check the laws and regulations of your country before engaging in this activity.
StrongVPN doesn’t mention anywhere on their website that torrenting is allowed which is very much understandable. Torrenting is a touchy subject for VPNs, and its purpose can be misunderstood and misused by many thus leading to legal issues.
Even though StrongVPN doesn’t mention torrenting on the website, in their Terms of Service they do mention that the misuse of copyright-protected materials will lead to termination of one’s account. Furthermore, they have a policy dedicated to this issue alone that can be found by clicking on the Policies link located at the bottom of their homepage.
Does StrongVPN Work in China? Yes
Yes, StrongVPN works in China. It bypasses China’s Great Firewall, but note that the use of VPNs that aren’t approved by the government is illegal in China. However, so far no tourists have been punished, banned, or chased after for using a VPN while visiting China. Nevertheless, StrongVPN supports the OpenVPN obfuscation feature called Scramble that you can use for additional privacy and security. This feature masks the fact that you’re using a VPN and it makes it harder for highly censored countries like China to detect it. Considering that StrongVPN’s website and apps are blocked in China, remember to get a subscription and install the apps compatible with your devices before you travel there.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Connect Up To 12 at Once
StrongVPN allows 12 simultaneous device connections with one account which can be pretty much considered unlimited for most users. With that being said, StrongVPN offers security and safety on all your home devices even if you use them at the same time.
StrongVPN has native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, FireTV, and ChromeOS. It is also compatible with but doesn’t have native apps for Linux, Ubuntu, Kodi, Amazon Kindle, HP webOS, Nokia Maemo, Nokia Symbian, Synology NAS, and routers.
However, on StrongVPN’s website, you can find step-by-step setup guides for each of them. These setup guides can be accessed by clicking on the VPN Apps link located at the bottom of the website’s homepage.
There is an option to buy a preloaded StrongVPN router if you don’t want to deal with the lengthy manual setup guides for different models. On the website, you can choose one of the preloaded StrongVPN routers that you like the most and have it shipped at home. After that, only a few steps are required to connect your new router and you can secure all non-native devices including Apple TVs, Android TVs, Smart TVs, Roku, Boxee, and gaming consoles such as PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox, as mentioned on their website’s FAQs.
Furthermore, this VPN offers a browser extension for Chrome only, not for other browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Edge, Opera, or others. And, if you want additional security, StrongVPN is one of the VPNs that work with Tor.