When it comes to VPNs, it is imperative to balance the reality of security strength and connection speed with price depending on the needs of consumers. And StrongVPN offers users an option that leans into questions of price over security.
StrongVPN was started in 1994 by a small company of men and women in California with the goal of selling computers to consumers. They eventually expanded into providing internet access and web hosting. In the early 2000s, they soon entered the VPN market. They have since expanded to other countries such as France, the United Kingdom and Japan.
For users, getting a subscription to StrongVPN subscription is a straightforward process. Users can access the website, then choose one of two plans. There is the 1-month plan which costs $10 a month, or can be purchased in 12-month quantities for approximately $5.83 a month (or $69.99 a year). Both of these options seemingly come with 250 GB of Sugarsync data storage. Users will have to make payment upfront, meaning that they will have to take a risk in determining if the service is able to fit their needs. Thankfully, the company offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee, which minimizes the risk involved for the consumer.
After registering for the service, users will be prompted to download the service for their own purposes. The website offers a number of apps for a multitude of operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire TV and VPN routers. each one comes complete with a guide about how to install the software and get it running. The guide is simple in design and easy to follow, with visual screenshots and clear and descriptive guides for how to do so.
The main page of the website lists that users are able to use a multitude of coding tools to encrypt their server connections. These include L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard. These can be easily swapped out by clicking on the gear/Options symbol at the top and accessing “Protocol,” where users can swap and modify each coding method according to their needs.
The company states upfront that they are a “zero logging VPN service” and do not track or store any data used while operating with their VPN service. The only data they gather is the email, password and financial information required for the account itself. The data is not sold to third-parties and cookies are used on their site for basic functions. That said, the company does not inform users about whether or not connections are being logged, if it has preferred protocols or other details that may offer deep insight into the VPN, thus providing a limited look at how exactly their encryption and security priorities play out on a day-to-day basis.
Once installed, the interface is very straightforward. Users can choose their preferred server and then connect. The service appears straightforward but is minimal in details. The interface listing servers is minimalist, not offering key details such as whether or not a server is receiving high traffic, if there are issues or whether one should expect severe delays. This makes it hard to choose particular servers unless you are looking for a specific location.
Users also have a number of simple options available for customizing things. They can make it so the app activates upon Windows start, provides notifications, automatically reconnects in case of disconnect, or uses a kill switch when the VPN is unable to connect. Software updates and diagnostics will run automatically for users.
On top of that, if users are struggling with issues, the service offers 24/7 chat-based customer support.
For many users, VPNs are often used to protect their own security while downloading files, either from torrenting servers or from their favorite gaming website. We used the Google internet speed test to determine the strength of the connection. For a control, the device this was all tested on runs at a speed of 46.8 Mbps download/27 Mbps upload. Here’s how a selection of random servers compared.
28.9 Mbps download, 6 Mbps upload speed to a New York-based server.
1.52 Mbps download, 8.02 Mbps upload speed to a Glasgow (UK) based server.
29.3 Mbps Download, 11.1 Mbps upload from a Sydney, Australia-based server.
Overall, we had minimal issues with downloads. Connections seem to shift and change, as we attempted to test this over several days. Thankfully, the service does have a “Best Available” option which will allow users to connect to the strongest server at the time depending on unknown variables.
While running on a server from Australia, we had minimal difficulty accessing simple services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. The web speed was able to be accessed. However, the BBC iPlayer did give us some struggle, seemingly inaccessible. Videos were able to run without much struggles, with minimal lag while in use.
Both of the subscriptions offered by StrongVPN offer users a file syncing service so that any changes on files contained in such a service would be provided across platforms. While StrongVPN offers the service, it is not often evident how to get it. Some reviewers report that they had to contact customer service to get access to such a service.
The service works particularly well and has proven itself to be reliable across platforms. If you are a computer user who swaps devices or wants to make sure your files are safe and saved in the cloud, Sugarsync is a worthwhile option.
One of the integral tools of a VPN is the ability to bypass localized and regional restrictions on data. This might include accessing BBC content or breaching past Chinese censorship. So far, our ability to access Chinese content has been successful, as well as bypassing Chinese firewalls. We were also quite successful in also accessing content in Canada and the United Kingdoms.
As of June 2020, StrongVPN features servers in over 30 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Estonia, France and Germany.
StrongVPN provides the key tools necessary to keep a connection safe and does so in clear and simple terms. The price is certainly reasonable compared to other options, and it offers strong options for data access. While it could use some further expansion on security details, it offers users a solid option for data protection and torrenting.