If you wish to preserve your on-line exercise non-public – or if you wish to disguise your location – then you want to use a digital non-public community comparable to StrongVPN. Its light-weight software program shopper enables you to securely encrypt your web site visitors and route it by way of server places in additional than 30 international locations all over the world. This implies you’ll be able to entry video streaming providers that aren’t out there in your locale, and use file-sharing purposes with out your ISP with the ability to spy in your site visitors.
Pricing is straightforward: you’ll be able to pay £8.33 per 30 days, or join a full yr at £33.32, which involves £2.78 per 30 days. That’s a superb worth, however bear in mind that after your first twelve months the annual plan goes as much as £62 per yr, equal to a a lot much less aggressive £5.17 per 30 days.
Subscribers can join from as much as 12 separate units without delay, with native shopper software program provided for Home windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Amazon’s Fireplace OS. Alternatively, in case your router helps outbound VPN connections utilizing PPTP or OpenVPN then you’ll be able to configure it to guard all site visitors from all of the units in your community. All accounts include the bonus of 250GB of on-line storage from SugarSync, in the course of your subscription.
In case you want assist, you will get it through e-mail or 24/7 Reside Chat; StrongVPN additionally presents telephone assist, however you need to name a US quantity, which may be on the expensive aspect for British prospects. And for those who’re dissatisfied for any motive, annual plans include a 30-day money-back assure.
StrongVPN VPN evaluation: What’s it like to make use of?
The StrongVPN Home windows app has a fairly clear front-end. A map of the world immediately reveals your present digital location (or your actual one if the VPN is off); beneath it there’s a location button which you could click on to choose a server, and the colored button beneath that connects and disconnects the VPN. It couldn’t actually be a lot less complicated.
In reality, we expect it’s a little bit too easy. It could have been good to see a couple of shortcuts to current or most popular servers, however StrongVPN doesn’t assist that, so every time you need to swap servers you need to carry up the server listing and search or scroll on your desired location. The Settings web page is kind of quick on choices, too, though it does provide a alternative of 5 totally different VPN protocols, which can please techies.
The system tray icon may use a little bit extra sophistication, too. You possibly can right-click it to carry up a fast connection menu, however this solely enables you to hook up with whichever server is already chosen in the primary interface; on the very least it might be useful to indicate a reminder of which server that’s.
On the plus aspect, the Android app maintains an admirably constant feel and appear, with an almost an identical format. For some motive, the connection particulars and site button have been swapped round, however total it’s an interface that can take you seconds moderately than minutes to become familiar with.
StrongVPN VPN evaluation: How briskly is it?
Tunnelling your web connection by way of a distant VPN server inevitably has an impression on efficiency. To see how briskly StrongVPN is, we used the Google Pace Check service on a Home windows laptop computer and an Android pill, each linked to a 200Mbits/sec home fibre line over a Wi-Fi 6 connection.
The outcomes had been acceptable however not excellent. With the laptop computer linked to a StrongVPN server in London (the identical metropolis we’re situated in), we noticed a mean obtain pace of 171Mbits/sec. For comparability, PIA VPN achieved 187Mbits/sec in the identical check, whereas Cover.me hit 191Mbits/sec.
Once we tried a server in New York, speeds fell a lot additional, to 80Mbits/sec. This isn’t uncommon for a connection over this distance – we’ve seen related speeds from CyberGhost and ExpressVPN – nevertheless it’s a good distance behind NordVPN’s 182Mbits/sec, or the 178Mbits/sec achieved by IPVanish.
Testing on Android yielded a lot the identical outcomes. The London server gave us a wonderful 195Mbits/sec, however switching to New York slashed that to 83Mbits/sec.
These speeds are fantastic for many belongings you’d need to do on-line, nevertheless it’s irritating that you just don’t get the complete good thing about an costly high-speed fibre connection. And because the server choice web page doesn’t present any indication of relative pace, the one method to see if there’s a sooner server which may fit your wants is thru tiresome trial and error. What’s extra, as we’ve talked about, while you do discover a good server, there’s no approach to put it aside for fast entry subsequent time.
To be honest, StrongVPN does have a break up tunnelling characteristic that lets nominated apps bypass the VPN and run at full pace, however that is presently solely out there within the Android app – for those who’re utilizing some other platform, you miss out.
StrongVPN VPN evaluation: Is it good for video streaming?
The speeds above point out that there’s greater than sufficient bandwidth right here for 4K video streaming, even from the US. And it’s no downside to stream from a number of units without delay, as every gadget will get its personal server connection – though this doesn’t apply for those who’ve arrange the VPN at your router. In that situation, all of your site visitors goes over a single connection, and bandwidth may get tight.
StrongVPN additionally does a superb job of unblocking the streaming providers you’re almost certainly to need to use. Connecting to the New York server gave us instantaneous entry to the US libraries of Netflix and Disney+, utilizing each Chrome for Home windows and the native Android apps. And when utilizing a UK-based server we had no downside watching BBC iPlayer, that means this can be a VPN you should utilize to maintain up with British content material from outdoors of the nation.
We did hit a couple of hiccups, although. BritBox and Now TV labored completely by way of their respective Android apps, however we couldn’t get these websites to play in a laptop computer browser. It’s additionally not attainable to entry US-only content material in Amazon Prime Video, however that’s not the fault of the VPN – it’s as a result of Amazon makes use of your billing tackle to find out what you’re allowed to observe.
StrongVPN VPN evaluation: Is it safe?
To assist keep away from unintentional publicity, StrongVPN can optionally allow the VPN as quickly because the system begins up. The Home windows and Mac purchasers additionally embody a kill swap operate, which freezes all web entry if the VPN connection drops, making certain that nothing delicate will get unintentionally despatched to your ISP.
Disappointingly, although, the kill swap characteristic isn’t included within the Android app. There’s additionally no possibility to interact the VPN selectively relying on which community you’re linked to or which apps are operating, nor to make use of advanced multi-hop routing to hide your location.
Be aware, too, that StrongVPN is headquartered within the USA, which is a part of the “5 Eyes” intelligence-sharing community together with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Which means that any info that the corporate’s holding about you possibly can be obtained by the US authorities and handed again to the UK.
That isn’t essentially trigger for alarm: StrongVPN proudly declares that it retains no logs of your on-line exercise or connection historical past – solely an e-mail tackle and a fee technique. Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply it couldn’t be compelled to gather info sooner or later. And since StrongVPN doesn’t settle for fee through nameless reward playing cards or cryptocurrencies, the saved fee technique is successfully a affirmation of your id.
StrongVPN VPN evaluation: Must you purchase it?
StrongVPN is a serviceable VPN that’s good worth for the primary yr – particularly when you have a use for the bundled cloud storage. It’s very simple to make use of, and it acquired us into most geo-restricted streaming websites with zero fuss.
It’s not the quickest VPN on the block, nevertheless, and the value hike after your first yr is tough to swallow. There are some disappointing gaps within the characteristic set, too, with no method to save your most popular servers, no break up tunnelling on Home windows, and no kill swap on Android.
That’s earlier than you think about the truth that the service is predicated within the USA. Realistically talking, except you’re a wished legal it’s impossible that the FBI goes to spy in your web connection – however when there are quite a few alternate options primarily based in additional impartial, privacy-friendly jurisdictions, why take the chance?
StrongVPN VPN evaluation: Fast details
|Based mostly in:||USA|
|Least expensive worth:||£2.78/month (first annual subscription, then £5.17/month)|
|Cash-back assure:||30 days|
|24/7 buyer assist:||Y|
|Netflix and Disney+:||Y|
|Killswitch:||Home windows and macOS solely|