StrongVPN: Truly open, free internet?
The internet network that we use for our office and personal purposes has many limitations, all of which can be exposed in certain locations. A completely free and unlimited access-based network connection would be a dream come true for many internet users. Virtual private networks are the dream solution for all of the internet’s limitations.
StrongVPN, like many of the famous VPN service providers, is based in the US and is one of the most popular service options, mainly because of its exceptional unblocking capability of the toughest and most brutal Chinese Great Firewall.
Is My Privacy Protected with StrongVPN?
StrongVPN offers different protocol networks, which is one of the its main highlights in terms of privacy. Subscribers can choose from a wide range of protocol options like PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, SSTP and IPSec as their required network protocol. The one that ensures maximum privacy and anonymity of them all would be the OpenVPN protocol-based 256-bit AES encryption. The service provider also owns and operates its very own DNS servers, which is a very good thing. Many leading companies do not have such a feature.
Operating their own DNS servers literally means that your confidential data will not be sold or transferred or leaked to any third parties. As per the privacy statement mentioned on the official website, the company does not maintain logs. However, in reality they do keep connection logs of their subscribers to a certain extent. An automatic kill switch feature is offered by StrongVPN, which is beneficial for subscribers, because this will ensure that your connection gets cut off automatically as soon as your VPN connection drops for some unforeseen reason.
Another drawback of StrongVPN is that it is based in the US and so it is bound to abide by the strict rules framed in the country, especially the Five Eyes group that monitor and spy all the internet activities performed by the subscribers. Geo-spoofing of other intelligence agencies and activity tracking companies is also there. You might have gained understanding about the level of privacy offered by StrongVPN by now. Well, we will spell it out for you – yes, StrongVPN is not as reliable as some of its competitors, which is a major letdown.
How Much is StrongVPN? Is There a Free Trial?
StrongVPN service provider at the moment offers only 3 different membership plans. Monthly subscription costs $10 and a 3-month plan will cost $8/month which is means a 20% discount. The most popular membership plan is the yearly subscription, which costs $5.83/month, which equals to an almost 40% discount. A high speed network connection, multiple protocols and 2 simultaneous connections are offered as standard across all these membership plans.
A 7-day money back guarantee is also offered across the board. Subscribers can gain access to all the servers operated by the company by subscribing to any of these packages. Payments can be made via credit/debit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and Alipay. There is no free trial on offer, which might not suit those who are looking to test the features offered by the company. Moreover, a 7-day money back guarantee might not be enough to test the quality of the service. Compared to other companies’ plans, these ones are a bit pricey.
StrongVPN Speed Test
Speed test performance results were not as good as some of its rivals operating from the US. Download speeds of the US-based servers were not as quick as some of its peers. However, this flaw was managed by higher upload speeds. Upload and download speeds of the servers were different from one another and likewise, the speed experienced in one particular server location was also varied with time. IP-leak protection is not enough, and as a result of this, your original IP address might become exposed, which is also a bummer.
IP-leak protection can be improved by using an OpenVPN protocol-based network offered by the company. Other protocol-based connections tend to be very leaky and IP revealing. IPv6-leak results were not reliable and you can test for such leaks using many online platforms. However, a OpenVPN UDP connection test came out highly positive with no visible leaks. TCP connections are highly stable, but if you want a high-speed connection, then UDP is your choice. Unlimited bandwidth range keeps those who stream a lot really happy.
How is Customer Service at StrongVPN?
Their customer service is pretty average and although there is no phone or video support on offer, you can definitely get answers to your queries by posting all your complaints on the support section of the company. 24/7/365 customer support is provided in the form of a contact form. A FAQ support page for VPN setup, Billing and other queries are available, but are not as extensive as we would have liked it to be. You can only find answers to some general issues and queries, which is a huge drawback. Subscribers can easily fill out the form and get a reply instantly, but none of it can match the support a live chat offers. You cannot find their contact information anywhere on the web, and the only support you can get is the contact form.
The features list of StrongVPN offers a wide range of features and lets us give you pointers of information before going any further:
- Servers in 24 countries.
- 24/7/365 customer support.
- 7-day money back guarantee policy.
- Multiple protocols.
- 2 simultaneous connections.
- Up to 2048-bit encryption available.
- No log policy.
- App available for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS.
- Unlimited bandwidth range.
- No speed restrictions.
The StrongVPN service provider offers equality to all its subscribers by providing access to all its features across all the subscription plans. Feature limitations and speed throttling are non-existent, which is a very good sign. All the subscribers also get offered with a free Strong DNS service, which will be an extension on your Google Chrome web browser. It may not provide best in class security like a VPN, but it is more than enough for bypassing geographic restrictions and firewalls. The company operates its own DNS server, which is the most important feature.
Although it has more than 600 servers, it is not that widespread and some users may not like this server range. The two simultaneous connections feature is good, but not that excellent compared to companies that offer almost 5 or more simultaneous connections. An automatic kill switch feature is also provided to the subscriber. Scrambling is another special feature offered by StrongVPN, which means your VPN connected internet traffic would be normal and nobody could find out whether you are using a VPN or not. Scrambling adds another layer of security for certain, but is not very secure. Subscribers who are using a VPN mainly for streaming video streaming website platforms will definitely love Strong VPN.
Is StrongVPN Safe?
The company states that it doesn’t maintain any connection or usage logs, but for some reason, they do store certain usage logs. If you are worried about providing your personal information, then you could very well make the payment for the service using Bitcoin. Multiple protocols are offered by this VPN. Use a OpenVPN protocol-based network for achieving high security. OpenVPN-based 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard ensures maximum protection. AES symmetrical key system encrypts and decrypts data on both ends, making it one of the most secure form of network connections. A 2048 public key encryption is used to avoid the problem of coordinating AES keys.
As mentioned earlier, StrongVPN also offers other protocol-based network connections, which include PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, SSTP and more. If you are not able to connect with an OpenVPN protocol network and if security is your prime requirement, then SSTP should be the ideal choice. Smartphone users can use IPSec if they are worried about draining their power source due to OpenVPN encryption.
StrongVPN offers excellent VPN solutions in many ways, but it is not as reliable and as effective as some of the top companies in this field. The user interface is quite baffling for both desktop and mobile app users. If the service provider assigns you an OpenVPN UDP connection, you’d be able to get a secure network connection, but otherwise you’d only receive a mediocre service. StrongVPN also has many strong points as we discussed above, and it is one of the best services to bypass any kind of bandwidth caps and restrictions that might have been imposed by your ISP. StrongVPN might not be the best service provider, but it does a decent job for certain.