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Since we last reviewed StrongVPN, it has streamlined its plans. The firm now advertises just a monthly and yearly package. In our opinion, the monthly plan is a touch on the pricey side. However, for Windows users, in particular, the cost of the yearly subscription is competitive.
StrongVPN throws in a smart DNS feature for free with all its plans, which is a nice addition for those looking to be able to unblock a lot of content.
Subscribers are given a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means that anybody can subscribe and change their mind. Payment can be made via debit card, credit card, American Express, PayPal, and Alipay. However, no cryptocurrencies are currently accepted.
No limitations or restrictions
Killswitch (windows only)
Smart DNS service
12 Simultaneous devices
Unblock Netflix US
Router support for many models
Strong OpenVPN encryption
Fast connection speeds
During our tests, we discovered that StrongVPN is able to unblock a number of highly sought after streaming services including Netflix US. We also got into the UK Netflix without a problem. However, it, unfortunately, does not manage to unlock the UK's BBC iPlayer. So, if this is a concern, look elsewhere.
StrongVPN also got us into ABC.com and NBC.com successfully. We were also able to access Channel 4's on-demand service from the UK.
Speed and Performance
We test VPNs using a server-based, scientific speed test system. Our proprietary system is one of a kind within the VPN comparison market and it permits consumers to get an accurate snapshot of what to expect regarding VPN performance. Our system tests StrongVPN three times a day, and the results show that it is a fast VPN more than capable of providing speeds good enough for streaming high-quality 4K video. Its connection speeds also put StrongVPN in the elite category of VPNs that can cope with data-intensive tasks such as gaming.
To test StrongVPN for privacy we checked for both IPv4 and IPv6 leaks using a Virtual Machine on Windows. We tested using an incognito window to ensure there were no cache problems. Our tests revealed no IPv4 leaks, or IPv4 WebRTC leaks. Results revealed that StrongVPN does indeed handle DNS requests with its own servers.
However, unfortunately, the VPN does suffer from IPv6 WebRTC leaks. This means that you will need to completely disable IPv6 to use this VPN successfully for privacy purposes. To be fair, StrongVPN admits this is the case, and once IPv6 is disabled the VPN does work like a charm. This is something you must watch out for - but is not necessarily a deal breaker as it is very easy to disable IPv6.
Privacy and security
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Being based in the US is not great for privacy. The US is the home of the NSA and the CIA and the US enforces warrants and gag orders that can force firms to give up data about users and keep it a secret for an undefined length of time. Despite this drawback, StrongVPN is a service that advertises a strong no logs policy. That means the VPN is storing no logs whatsoever about the data that passes through its servers.
Where encryption is concerned, this VPN provides a choice of protocols. IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN are available using its various apps. Our recommended protocol is OpenVPN, and this is available on both desktop versions and Android. We checked StrongVPN's OpenVPN implementation to ensure it is strong enough to protect subscriber's data from attacks. We found that its encryption implementation exceeds our minimum requirements for privacy and security, meaning that this VPN is secure.
AES 256 cipher with an RSA-2048 handshake, and SHA-1 (HMAC) for hash authentication. I was not able to ascertain whether Perfect Forward Secrecy is implemented. On the whole, this encryption is more than robust enough for most people.
On the other hand, a VPN is only securing your data as long as the VPN is connected and because a killswitch is only available on Windows, this VPN may not be suitable for everybody. In addition, IPv6 must be disabled to use this VPN securely.
The StrongVPN website is useful, however, it lacks important data concerning its encryption implementation standards. Its FAQ section is useful but only provides the bare necessities. The good news is that StrongVPN does have a 24/7 live chat window on its website. I found its agents to be extremely helpful. However, the tech department was only available during the week.
Subscribing is easy, and when talking to live chat they are able to link you to a lot of useful information that is buried within the site. Good overall.
Signing up is easy and you are not asked to provide a lot of data. This is good and if you sign up with a burner email you can get a subscription with a great amount of privacy. Sadly, cryptocurrencies are not available. One thing worth noting is that when you first download the client it automatically assigns you to a "home" server. This server is PPTP, an outdated form of encryption that we do not recommend. For this reason, the first thing you could do after installing StrongVPN is to change its encryption settings in the client's options.
The StrongVPN Windows VPN Client
This is StrongVPN's best client, and we would argue that StrongVPN is much better for Windows users than consumers using any other Operating System. OpenVPN is available, the software is easy to use, and it is fully featured with IPv4 DNS leak protection and a killswitch. VPN obfuscation is also available via a feature called scramble. StrongVPN told me that this feature sets the VPN to TCP over port 443 (to disguise OpenVPN traffic as regular HTTP).
StrongVPN also has apps is available for Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. Manual setup instructions are also available for all of these platforms. Linux, Ubuntu, and Chromium OS operating systems can also integrate the StrongVPN service via a manual installation of a third-party OpenVPN client. You can also access the VPN from routers running DD-WRT, Tomato, and Sabai router operating systems.
A killswitch is not available on any of these platforms, which rules StrongVPN for torrenting on Mac, Android, and iOS. However, if streaming and unblocking content is your main desire then this VPN is reliable on all platforms.
Wireguard is a next-generation open-source VPN protocol that has been designed to be both robust and lightweight. It implements stealth by default and is based on a number of robust modern cryptographic primitives. Few VPNs have started providing access to WireGuard but StrongVPN's implementation has just come out of beta and is now fully released.
We decided to test StrongVPN’s implementation of the WireGuard protocol to see how it performs. Subscribers who want to use WireGuard must log in to the website on a specific page. From there, users can select the platform they require a WireGuard client for. This will forward them to the WireGuard website to install the third party client.
We downloaded the Android client to give it a test run - because it is easy to set up using a QR code. However, it is possible to set it up for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS if you prefer.
To get started, we selected the location of the server we wanted to connect to (London). We tested WireGuard on an IPv4 connection because an IPv6 implementation is not yet available.
Once connected to WireGuard, we tested for IP leaks and found that we experienced no IP leaks, DNS leaks, or WebRTC leaks. This means that the tunnel established successfully and without problems. We were impressed by the speed with which a connection is established.
Test VPN for IP Leaks
Since reviewing this VPN service, we have created our own VPN leak test. It is easy to use and 100% reliable.
Next, we tested Wireguard speeds on a 50 Mbps Virgin Media connection in the UK. We found it to perform extremely well. There was hardly any difference between our connection with and without the VPN. This is truly impressive and definitely makes StrongVPN’s implementation of WireGuard extremely interesting indeed.
It is worth bearing in mind that WireGuard is still considered experimental and it has not been fully audited. This means it may still be a bit premature to start using it for security purposes. However, it is nice to see commercial VPNs like Strong experimental with this well-publicized new protocol. Ten out of ten for effort.
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We spoke with StrongVPN's customer support team at length and found them to be extremely helpful. At one stage we were in a live chat with two of their agents at one time, which is something we have never experienced before. The tech team was knowledgable, however, the really techy guys were only available during weekdays. Despite this we found StrongVPN to have one of the best live chat customer support teams we have ever encountered. Users can also contact StrongVPN via email if they prefer.