Looking for an underwhelming, overpriced populist VPN? You've found your match. StrongVPN isn't horrible, but across most categories, its average at best. Their customer service is great, but for anyone with privacy or security concerns, it's a definite no-go. The speeds could best be described as ok, while there also aren't a whole lot of user configuration settings. Read on for the nitty gritty with our full StrongVPN review now.
As a US based VPN provider, things start off bad. While the US is a fine country, it's not the best place for a VPN provider to be based because of its data retention laws. It's one of the most high profile and popular VPNs, but they are very strict on torrenting and other infringements on their terms of service. They also don't have a whole lot of transparency with their security information and encryption details.
Despite all of that, the website is great. It's simple, well thought out and very easy to find whatever you need. All of the information is in obvious places and it's also aesthetically pleasing.
Plans and Pricing
It seems like StrongVPN have had a recent overhaul in their pricing policy and plans. They used to offer a wide range of options, starting from about $5 per month and going up to $30. Giving people options is great, but when the level of service that most people require costs $20 per months, that makes you more than double or triple the price of many competitors who offer something comparable. Thankfully, it seems that they've had some sense knocked into them and now just offer the one package at a very reasonable $10 per month. If you sign up for a full year, it will end up only costing you $5.83 each month. This package offers a good level of service and also includes a five day money back guarantee, so you can try it out and see if it works for you. Thankfully, they accept Bitcoin as well as PayPal and credit cards.
The support that StrongVPN offer is top notch. It starts with a solid FAQ that will answer most of your questions. There is also a forum and blog that offer even more resources to give you information or help solve your problems. Its live support is pretty much always available, with responses that are general rapid, detailed and helpful. They also offer a great service that they call Team Viewer, where one of their customer service representatives can remotely log into your computer and install the VPN for you. They have other support options available through Skype, Email and Voicemail.
Privacy and Security
For many users, the privacy and security offered by StrongVPN just isn't up to scratch. They are very strict on P2P filsharing and will give one warning before disconnecting a user from their service. While they don't keep any usage logs, they do record the time, date and location that connections are made, as well as the length of time and the bandwidth that they use. It is through this that they track you down if you are doing anything that infringes on their terms of service.
One huge problem with their site is that it's not easy to find any technical information on what kinds of encryption they are using. Whether they are doing this on purpose or not is up for debate. Either way, it's a big warning sign for anyone with considerable security and privacy concerns. They offer a range of protocols, including PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN and IPSec.
Signing up is easy, but they want a lot of personal information from you. This should be ringing alarm bells for those who want to retain their anonymity. Accepting Bitcoin isn't so much of a selling point when you have to give this much of your personal details away.
Their client doesn't have a whole lot of options. It lets you change your server location, but there aren't exactly any advanced user settings apart from some things to do with technical configuration. Something unusual about the service is that it limits the number of times you can change your servers. This could be inconvenient for some users.
We tested out the speeds and here's what we got:
|No VPN||UK Server||NL Server|
|Download Speed (Mb/s)||20.65||18.11||12.81|
|Upload Speed (Mb/s)||1.13||1.06||1.19|
The speeds are good, but not great. Certainly nothing to brag about.
Meh. . .
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