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StrongVPN review: Is strong by name strong by nature?

Verified by Nick Jones

We’ve researched and tested StrongVPN’s features, including privacy and security, servers, usability and price, and compared it with other leading VPN providers.

StrongVPN, which merged with Encypt.me VPN in 2022, was founded in 1995, which makes it older than most of its competitors. Initially, it began as a small company named California.net selling computers before moving onto dial-up internet services and eventually becoming StrongVPN in 2005. The provider has expanded to more than 950 servers located in 30 countries, including 46 different cities. 

StrongVPN is headquartered in the US, which is part of Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing alliance, but the company does follow a no-logs policy. The provider offers privacy features such as a kill switch and split tunnelling and its VPN is encrypted by the highest level of encryption – AES-256.

60-second review

Rating: ★★★

StrongVPN offers more than 950 servers in 30 countries including 46 cities worldwide and is one of the oldest VPNs on the market. The provider has a range of privacy features, including split tunnelling, which allows users to choose which traffic to run through the secure VPN tunnel

StrongVPN has an impressive four VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard. StrongVPN owns its servers which ensures an excellent level of privacy and it follows a no-logs policy. The provider’s service is affordable and subscribing to an annual plan is more cost-effective than most of its competitors.

How we research and rate VPNs

120+
HOURS PERFORMANCE TESTING
100+
HOURS OF RESEARCH
25
25 COMPETITORS COMPARED
3
VPN EXPERTS CONSULTED
450+
CUSTOMER REVIEWS READ

Our reviewers are dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and up-to-date information so you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying a VPN. We will only recommend a VPN after hours of testing, extensive head-to-head feature comparisons, and after taking into account verified customer feedback and reviews, and the opinions of industry experts.

Our review scores are determined by the following categories:

  • Privacy and performance (30 per cent)
  • Features and functionality (30 per cent)
  • Reputation and credibility (25 per cent)
  • Plans and pricing/value (10 per cent)
  • Customer experience (5 per cent)

We research and test a total of 25 elements within these categories, including:

  • Number and location of servers
  • Streaming service accessibility
  • Security features, such as AES-256
  • Performance (upload and download speeds, latency)
  • Value for money, guarantees and customer service
  • Independent server-site security audits

All of our VPN articles are verified by our in-house team of fact-checkers, so you can be assured that our content is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. To find out more, read our article on how we review VPNs.

StrongVPN overview

  • Lowest price: $3.97 (£3.20) per month
  • Free version: No
  • Maximum number of connected devices: 12
  • Number of servers: 950+
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2 and IPSec
  • No-log policy: Yes
  • Audited: No
  • Headquarters: United States

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Lots of VPN protocols to choose from Kill switch and split tunnelling are not available for all devices
12 simultaneous devices per subscription Headquartered in the United States
No log policy Not independently audited
VPN servers only located in 30 countries

How does StrongVPN compare?

StrongVPN offers over 950 servers in 30 different countries worldwide, which is considerably less than most of the top VPN service providers. StrongVPN customers can connect up to 12 devices simultaneously as well as benefiting from 59,500 VPN IP addresses. 

StrongVPN has AES-256 encryption, which is the highest encryption cipher available and the provider has four different VPN protocols to choose from. In terms of privacy, StrongVPN is a no-frills VPN; beyond the standard features, such as split tunnelling and a kill switch, there aren’t any premium features like with other providers. 

StrongVPN does follow a strict no-log policy but, unfortunately, this is yet to be independently audited. In addition, StrongVPN is headquartered in the US, which is a part of Five Eyes. 

Product Price Free version? Number of servers Maximum number of devices Netflix BBC iPlayer Disney+ Amazon HBO Max Audit?
StrongVPN From $3.97 (£3.08)/m No 950+ 12 No
ExpressVPN From £5.25/m No 3,000+ 5 Yes
NordVPN From £2.79/m No 5,500+ 6 Yes
Surfshark From £1.78/m No 3,200+ Unlimited Yes
CyberGhost From £1.92/m No 9,000+ 7 Yes
Some prices exclusive of VAT or local taxes. Prices correct as of 21/7/2023
Best alternative to
NordVPN is one of the most trusted VPN providers in the world, offering top-notch encryption, incredible speeds, and extra features to make all your online activities more secure.
4.5
Excellent Trustpilot rating
24/7 customer support
AES-256 encryption
VIEW PLANS At NordVPN

How much does Strong VPN cost?

StrongVPN only offers a paid-for plan, with an option to pay monthly or annually. Customers who choose to pay yearly will benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try the VPN risk-free. Like with most VPNs, choosing to pay yearly will be more cost-effective than a pay-monthly plan. Whichever plan you choose, you’ll be able to connect and use up to 12 devices simultaneously.

Subscription term Price
Monthly $11.99 (£9.65) / month
12 months $3.97 (£3.20) / month
Prices may exclude VAT or local taxes. Prices correct as of 21/7/2023

Payment options

StrongVPN has a few different ways for customers to pay for its subscription. While there’s no option to pay via cryptocurrency, customers can pay via Alipay – an online payment platform in China.

Ways to pay for Strong VPN:

  • Credit card
  • PayPal
  • Alipay 
Compare our top recommended providers
Best Overall
Get up to 67% off
Best Value
Get 79% off + 2 months free
Best All-rounder
3 months free on the 12 month plan
Best for Gaming
Get 82% off + 2 months extra

StrongVPN’s features

Ziff Davis recently merged StrongVPN with Encypt.me VPN, with the aim of the joined forces to create a superior VPN service – evidence of this is sparse. Strong VPN’s 950+ servers are located in just 30 different countries, which is quite limited when we compare this with Strong VPN’s competitors. 

The provider does offer a wide range of protocols, a high level of encryption and security features like the kill switch and split tunnelling. The main issue we’ve identified with this VPN is that depending on which devices you own, you’ll receive very different experiences. From our research, our reviewer gathered this VPN is more geared towards Android users, since most of the privacy features are available to use on its VPN for Android

Strong VPN claims it takes its customer’s privacy seriously by following a no-logs policy. However, this is still yet to be independently audited.

Server count and countries

StrongVPN has expanded its servers to 950+ which are located in 30 different countries and 46 cities worldwide and offers 59,500 different VPN IPs. It also has 15 different server locations in the US, as well as five UK server locations to choose from. 

However, StrongVPN certainly does not offer the most locations when compared with top VPN providers such as ExpressVPN or Surfshark, but its 950+ server count is better than some of the lesser-known VPNs such as PrivadoVPN, Private Internet Access and Windscribe. Also, none of its servers is located in countries with repressive internet policies like China and Russia.

No-log policy and headquarters

One privacy feature that most VPN users look for from their providers is a no-logs policy. This policy means that none of your data or IP addresses is stored anywhere, which is an important feature to have when it comes to cybersecurity.

StrongVPN follows a strict no-logs policy, in part as a result of owning its servers, which gives it full control over who and what can access your data. The policy outlines that none of your data or activity will ever be sold to third-party sites. 

The only information collected by StrongVPN is:

  • Name
  • Billing information
  • Email address

Everything else, including your web sessions, time stamps, sensitive data and IP addresses, is not logged or stored on StrongVPN’s servers. However, at the time of reviewing, StrongVPN’s no-logs policy is still yet to be independently audited. 

StrongVPN is headquartered in the United States, which means it does not benefit from data privacy laws. Although StrongVPN follows a no-logs policy, being headquartered in the US, a member of Five Eyes – an intelligence-sharing alliance – casts doubt over its security. 

Being headquartered in a country that is a part of Five Eyes does not necessarily mean the VPN logs, stores or would share data, but not having a no-logs policy independently audited doesn’t bode well for any VPN.   

Kill switch

Simply put, a VPN kill switch is designed to protect you from accidentally exposing your traffic or IP address to third parties. When a kill switch has been turned on, it will disable any and all internet traffic if your device is not connected to your VPN. This privacy feature is crucial to protecting your online identity. It also means that you’ll always know if your VPN connection has dropped because your internet connection will automatically cut out. 

StrongVPN’s kill switch works exactly how we expected when our researchers tried and tested this feature. Unfortunately, the kill switch is currently only available for Windows and MacOS devices.

Split tunnelling

When connected to a VPN, all of your internet traffic is routed through a secure encrypted tunnel. Split tunnelling allows users to route some traffic through their VPN tunnel while excluding others. By doing this, you can pick and choose which apps or devices are passing through the VPN connection. 

The main advantage of split tunnelling is the ability to choose which traffic is routed through the VPN tunnel will have a positive effect on internet speed. By not routing all apps or traffic through the tunnel, you’ll require less bandwidth – which slows down your internet speeds. 

Although StrongVPN’s split tunnelling feature is only available for Android users, this is similar to some other VPNs we’ve reviewed. Any VPN provider that fails to make all of its features available for all of its users is somewhat disappointing.

Encryption and privacy

StrongVPN uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys – most commonly known as AES-256. These encryption ciphers are the highest level of cybersecurity and are commonly used by governments to protect classified information. As well as employing high-grade encryption, StrongVPN has various protocols available to add another layer of security:

  • WireGuard: An easier, faster and more secure protocol than some of its predecessors. It also improves the battery life of mobile devices as well as faster speeds than OpenVPN. Available for iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows 
  • OpenVPN: An SSL-based protocol that offers a great combination of speed and security, it’s usually the preferred protocol for VPN users. Available for MacOS, Windows and Android 
  • IKEv2: A modern protocol that uses IPSec. It supports mobile devices so you can switch between cellular and wifi. Available for Android, iOS, macOS and Windows
  • IPSec: An older protocol that is less secure and usually replaced by IKEv2, but StrongVPN still supports IPSec. Only available on iOS and macOS devices

StrongVPN performance test results

Although privacy and security features are the most important features when it comes to a VPN, ideally these elements affect your internet speed minimally. A good VPN will have the right balance between privacy features while retaining decent upload and download speeds. 

With that being said, the only way to know if StrongVPN retains good internet speeds is to test the VPN connection. When testing your internet speed while connected to a VPN you’ll want to consider: download speed, upload speed and latency (ping).

  • Download speed: Refers to the rate at which digital data is transferred from the internet to your device
  • Upload speed: The rate that data is transferred from your device to the internet
  • Latency (ping): The time it takes for a set of data to be transmitted to a server on the internet and back to your device again

Our researchers tested StrongVPN to calculate how much connecting to one of its servers affected our internet speed. To do this, we first tested our internet speed when not connected to StrongVPN – this established a baseline download and upload speed to work out the degradation of our VPN connection speeds. To conduct this research, our reviewers used the Ookla Speedtest. 

strongvpn-perf-4
Speed test result without StrongVPN turned on. This is our base line. The numbers along the bottom of the image are the ping (latency) in milliseconds and the amount of data downloaded (green) and uploaded (purple) during the test, measured in megabytes. (Ookla)
Download speed (Mbps) Upload speed (Mbps) Latency (ping) Percentage of base download speed Percentage of base upload speed
No VPN 73.39 18.57 16ms
UK to UK 69.31 16.28 13ms 94% 88%
UK to US 62.35 17.22 98ms 85% 93%
UK to Aus 59.54 16.79 292ms 81% 90%

We found that connecting to StrongVPN’s servers did affect our internet speeds and, at times, our download and upload speeds were below average. 

Overall, our connection to StrongVPN’s UK server was the best – but still not as good as some of the top VPNs we’ve reviewed. Our download speed was only 6 per cent slower than that of our non-VPN connection, which is an excellent speed and comparable to ExpressVPN and Surfshark. However, our upload speed dropped a considerable amount – 12 per cent –  which is far from ideal and, surprisingly, happened to be the worst upload speed out of the three server locations that we tested.

strongvpn-perf-3
Speed test result when connected to a UK StrongVPN server from the UK (Ookla)

StrongVPN’s US server also had mixed speed test results. While our upload speed was just 7 per cent slower than that of our non-VPN connection, the upload speed dropped by 15 per cent. Although these aren’t the best speed results that we’ve seen when reviewing VPNs, they’re also not the worst – they’re just average speeds. In addition to this, our latency also dropped to 98ms, which was considerably lower than our non-VPN connection and UK connection. 

strongvpn-perf-2
Speed test result when connected to a Proton VPN US server (Ookla)

Typically, the VPNs we review tend to perform the worst when connected to an Australian server, and StrongVPN was no exception. Our download speed was 19 per cent slower and our upload speed was 10 per cent slower than that of our non-VPN connection. Generally, any speed more than 10 per cent slower is below average and would be noticeable. 

strongvpn-perf-1
Speed test result when connected to a StrongVPN server in Australia from the UK (Ookla)

WebRTC leak test

WebRTC, or Real-Time communication, is an open-source technology which streamlines real-time browser communications. Simply put, WebRTC is responsible for voice and video communication and file sharing within web pages. 

Although WebRTC is something that many internet users benefit from daily without knowing, it comes with one major flaw – it has the potential to leak your IP address. For anybody who would like to keep their online identity private, a VPN has the potential to do this. 

Our researchers performed a WebRTC leak test when not connected to StrongVPN, and the results showed that our real IP address was shown and this could potentially be leaked to any third party. We performed the same WebRTC leak test when connected to one of StrongVPN’s servers which revealed only our VPN server IP address, meaning our real IP address was safe and secure. 

Breaches and audits

StrongVPN was merged with Encypt.me VPN by Ziff Davis, formerly J2 Global, a digital media and internet company, to make one superior service – the company also owns IPVanish. 

StrongVPN has been in business since 1995, which makes it somewhat of a VPN veteran, begging the question, why has StrongVPN’s no-logs policy still not been audited? 

Although StrongVPN outlines its no-logs policy and, in theory, it sounds all above board, in order to gain the full trust of users, it would be better to have this independently verified. 

StrongVPN is also headquartered in the US, which could concern the privacy-conscious. The US, along with the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia, are part of Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing alliance. 

Compatibility and apps

StrongVPN has apps that work on the following computers and devices:

  • Computers: Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Chromebook
  • Mobile devices: Android, iOS and Nokia
  • TV systems: Amazon Firestick, Android TV and Kodi

Desktop app 

StrongVPN’s desktop app is the most basic VPN app that we’ve come across, both in design and features. The app’s features will also vary depending on which device you’re using. As previously mentioned StrongVPN’s privacy features are not available on all of its devices.

Changing the server also isn’t as straightforward as other VPN apps that we’ve tested. On StrongVPN’s app, you’ll be faced with a map which shows you where your VPN server is located, as well as the server IP address that you’re connected to. To change servers you can click on the country that you’re currently connected to and it will take you to another screen with a list. 

The list is, again, quite basic; there is no option to save a favourite server or create any type of user profile. There is an option to choose the best available server, which is helpful and will ensure you connect to the fastest available server.  

Despite the above, StrongVPN was relatively straightforward to use and we found that our connection was secure and stable while connected. There is an option to change your VPN protocol within StrongVPN settings and depending on which device you’re using you can toggle on the kill switch and split tunnelling. 

Mobile app 

StrongVPN’s mobile app is available for iOS and Android users. With the Android app, you’ll be able to use StrongVPN’s split tunnelling feature, allowing you to choose which traffic to run through the VPN. If you’re using MacOS or Windows, you’ll be able to use StrongVPN’s kill switch. 

Overall, StrongVPN’s mobile app was user-friendly and we were able to switch VPN protocols within the app’s settings. Much like the desktop app, you can choose the best server available. We found the VPN’s connection to be stable and didn’t notice any drop in connection while trying to browse the web or use other apps at the same time.  

Router compatibility 

VPNs are commonly installed on computers, mobile devices and game consoles, but they can also be installed directly onto your router. Configuring your router to run StrongVPN means that all of your devices are protected, provided they’re connected to your home network. Installing StongVPN directly onto your router will give you access to OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2 and IPSec protocols.  

StrongVPN is compatible with the following routers:

  • Asus
  • Sabai
  • Tomato
  • DD-WRT
  • Mikrotik

StrongVPN has various router set-up guides that you can use to help you configure your router. However, some are more technical than others and may require you to seek professional help. 

Customer support

When it comes to customer support, StrongVPN ticks many boxes, and its customer reviews also praise the provider for its speedy response times, too. 

There are various ways to access customer support including a live chat, email and set-up guides. 

Live chat: Thequickest and most efficient way to contact StrongVPN via its live chat service. In just a few clicks you’ll be able to speak to a real human and bypass the chatbot. Our researchers found that the StrongVPN’s customer service team were helpful and knew the answers to our VPN queries.  

Email: Another way to contact StrongVPN is via email – although it won’t be as quick. This service is better suited to general enquiries and not troubleshooting a specific VPN issue. 

Set-up guides: StrongVPN has numerous set-up guides available on its support page to guide you through setting up StrongVPN on various devices including router configuration. 

What do customers say?

StrongVPN receives mixed reviews across Trustpilot, Apple App Store, Google Play Store. Notably, its Trustpilot reviews are mostly excellent, with 85 per cent of them five-star rated. Many customers praise StrongVPN for its customer support and easy-to-use service. 

However, some customers have complained that StrongVPN is not ideal for streaming, citing technical issues.

  • Trustpilot: 4.6 out of five stars (2,351 reviews)
  • Apple App Store: 4.3 out of five stars (851 reviews) 
  • Google Play Store: 3.9 out of five stars (3,900 reviews)

“I absolutely love this service. I use it for both my Android phone and my Windows laptop. Both have just been wonderful to integrate this VPN with. I love that all the step-by-step instructions that you guys have on your website really help novices be able to understand what to do.”

“A human comes to the online chat almost immediately – no time spent with useless bots. Very quick identification of the issue and quick resolution. Sometimes I’ve given them remote access so they can check quicker than having to explain everything to me in text. I could always see everything that was happening, so I felt comfortable. [It’s] always quick, and always fixes the problem.”

“I chose the yearly membership to be able to access the series that I follow during the summer holidays. I used to have an Unblock-US account that worked perfectly. When I was forced to migrate to StrongVPN, the transition was smooth for a short period of time. For the past year, I didn’t use it as due to the pandemic, I couldn’t travel. Now that I need it, although it shows that I’m connected to a UK VPN, I am unable to stream, download or access any of the UK streaming services. Very disappointed!”

“Use the product mainly on my laptop but on my phone as well. Good pricing – excellent service. Started using it for work overseas and haven’t had a single problem since then. Has always been straightforward, quick and reliable.”

Independent Advisor verdict

StrongVPN’s service, while it has been in business for 18 years, doesn’t match up to a fair few of its competitors. 

After reviewing StrongVPN, it was clear the area in which this provider is lacking in – the availability of privacy features. Although all users can benefit from the unhackable AES-256 encryption cipher, not all StrongVPN users can use its split tunnelling and kill switch. Also, beyond the standard security and privacy features, there are not any extra features as we have found with other VPN providers. 

However, we did find its mobile and desktop apps easy to use and our VPN connections appeared to be stable. Our researcher’s speed tests from StrongVPN were average and the speeds varied considerably depending on which server we connected to.  

Overall, StrongVPN successfully protects the user’s identity and, from our research and testing, we found our IP address was hidden while using the service. For those looking for a VPN service with a wide range of privacy features, this may not be the best option for you. But, if you just need a simple VPN that will protect your online identity, then StrongVPN is more than capable. 

Overall score: ★★★

Score breakdown

Reputation ★★★
Privacy ★★½
Performance and features ★★★★
Plans and pricing value ★★½
Customer experience ★★★½
Round up of today’s best VPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.79 /Month
£6.79 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.26 /Month
£4.26 /Month
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
Atlas 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
Windscribe 12 month £4.60 /Month
£4.60 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £2.92 /Month
£2.92 /Month

The data in this review is reported from a neutral stance and should be used for informational purposes only. We review VPN services from the perspective of:

  • The quality of the product based on the security it affords the user
  • User experience of the application(s)
  • Level and quality of customer service

Independent Advisor does not endorse the streaming of content from regions other than where the subscription is held, nor does it endorse the downloading or consumption of illegally pirated content.

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

Nick Jones

Editor in Chief

Nick Jones is a highly experienced consumer journalist and editor, who has been writing and producing content for print and online media for over 25 years.

He has worked at some of the UK’s leading publishers including Future Publishing, Highbury Entertainment, and Imagine Publishing, with publications as diverse as Homebuilding & Renovating, TechRadar, and Creative Bloq, writing and editing content for audiences whose interests include history, computing, gaming, films, and science. He’s also produced a number of podcasts in the technology, science, gaming, and true crime genres.

Nick has also enjoyed a highly successful career in content marketing, working in a variety of topics such as health, technology, and finance, with market-leading global companies including Cisco, Pfizer, Santander, and Virgin Media.

Now the Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Advisor, Nick is involved in all aspects of the site’s content, where his expertise in finance, technology, and home products informs every article that’s published on-site. He takes a hands-on approach with our VPN content, penning a number of the articles himself, and verifying that everything we publish in this topic is accurate.

Whatever the area of interest he’s worked in, Nick has always been a consumer champion, helping people find the best deals and give them the information they need to make an informed buying decision.