PureVPN is a well-known VPN service that’s been around since 2007. However, it was involved in some shady practices, especially in terms of privacy. In 2017, the company provided the FBI with information to help apprehend a cyberstalker in Massachusetts. Not quite in tune with its no-logs policy, right?
Therefore, we decided to put PureVPN under the microscope to see if it turned the corner. The provider went through a series of unbiased tests, based on our VPN rating system. Check out its performance below.
Table of Content
- PureVPN Pros and Cons
- Interface and Design
- PureVPN Server Network
- How Fast Is PureVPN?
- PureVPN – Streaming and Torrenting
- Privacy and Security
- PureVPN Customer Support
- How Much Does PureVPN Cost?
- Does PureVPN Work in China?
- Final Words
|Money-back guarantee||31 days|
|Allowed simultaneous connections||Five devices|
|Supported streaming services||US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, ESPN, NBC Sports, BBC iPlayer, and more.|
|Encryption||Military-grade AES 256-bit|
|Protocols||OpenVPN, L2TP-IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2|
|Special features||Kill switch, split tunneling, Port Forwarding (premium add-on), and Dedicated IP (premium add-on).|
|Customer support||24/7 customer support with a live chat feature|
|Server locations||2,000+ servers across 140+ locations|
|Compatible devices||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox|
|Legal Jurisdiction||Hong Kong (outside Five-Eyes domain)|
|Free trial||3 days (costs $0.99)|
PureVPN Pros and Cons
PureVPN is a product of GZ Systems, a software company that develops Android apps. The VPN is based in Hong Kong, outside Five, Nine, and 14-Eyes jurisdiction. Since it has been around for quite some time, the service developed an extensive network of over 2,000 servers. And what is really impressive is that these servers branch out to more than 140 countries and 180 locations worldwide.
Furthermore, PureVPN allows you to bypass the geo-blocks that streaming platforms like Netflix impose. It can also circumvent the VPN ban these services force. As for torrent users, they will enjoy P2P-optimized servers located in places where torrenting is legal.
Although PureVPN had some privacy and logging issues in the past, the company now has a strict and audited no-logs policy. Moreover, it uses the most secure encryption on the market: AES-256. And for extra security, there’s a kill switch that cuts off your Internet connection of the VPN malfunctions.
Add to that the five simultaneous device connections, 24/7 customer support, and the 31-day money-back guarantee, and you got yourself a decent VPN service. However, there are a couple of drawbacks, like a previous privacy scandal, and a free trial that costs money. Still, this is an affordable and efficient VPN service, and we definitely recommend it.
- Certified no-logs policy.
- Military-grade encryption.
- Vast server network.
- Kill switch.
- Torrent support.
- Works with the majority of streaming platforms.
- 31-day refund policy.
- Five simultaneous device connections.
- 24/7 customer support with live chat feature.
- Compatible apps for the majority of operating systems.
- A 3-day free trial that costs money.
- No Smart DNS proxy.
- Used to log data in the past.
- Charges for premium add-ons.
Interface and Design
We start off with an overview of the PureVPN website, which is one of the most detailed sites we’ve ever seen. The homepage displays everything you need to know about the service, including privacy features, unblocking capabilities, customer support, server network, reviews, and compatibility.
There is also more information about PureVPN and its features on top of the screen. You can access pages like pricing, server locations, why you should install PureVPN, and what is a VPN. And, of course, you’ll find several subscription button shortcuts throughout the homepage. And at the bottom right of the page, you’ll find the live chat button, which is available 24/7.
We tested PureVPN’s Mac desktop client, and we thought it was very easy to use. Even new VPN users will have no problem operating or navigating it. The service allows users to select from several categories, based on their preferences. They include streaming, file-sharing, Internet freedom, security/privacy, and dedicated IP.
And you can customize the app from settings, which is in the left side panel. From there, you can enable key features like the kill switch. You’ll also find other options, like language, network type, and advanced options.
It’s also quite simple to connect to a PureVPN server. After choosing why you want to use the VPN, a connect button will appear on your screen. You can change the country you want to connect to by tapping on the tiny arrow that’s above the connect button. Then, you’ll be able to choose the server that you’d like. Strangely enough, PureVPN does not have a quick connect feature, which connects you to the best available server based on your location.
We also tested the PureVPN Android app, and just like its desktop counterpart, it is quite user-friendly. It allows you to select your PureVPN preference, whether it’s streaming, torrenting or the other categories. To connect press the large green button on your screen, which will connect you to the best server near you.
To choose another location, press countries on top of the page. You can also customize the app and activate kill switch or split tunneling by going to settings. Simply click on the hamburger icon on the left of the screen, followed by settings.
PureVPN earned mixed reviews and ratings from users. On Trustpilot, for example, it has an excellent 4.8/5 rating, with most people praising customer support and app efficiency.
“Very reliable VPN service. I highly recommend PureVPN to anyone in need of a stable connection.”Jason, PureVPN user on Trustpilot
But Google Play and App Store users had less impressive ratings, with PureVPN receiving 3.4 and 3.7 stars out of five, respectively.
Just like every premium VPN service, PureVPN has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. You can also add it as an extension to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. This allows you to automatically install the app on smartphones, tablets, and computers. Furthermore, PureVPN provides setup guides for routers, Android TV, Amazon Firestick, and more.
The company allows you to connect up to five devices at the same time using just one account.
PureVPN Server Network
PureVPN was created in 2007. This longevity allowed it to grow a broad network of over 2,000 servers in more than 140 countries and 180+ locations. That makes it one of the widest grids in the VPN industry, giving you access to 300,000 IP addresses.
These servers are spread across all continents and regions (except Antarctica), including the most in-demand cities and locations. Here is the full scale of PureVPN’s coverage.
- United States
- El Salvador
- Puerto Rico
- Trinidad and Tobago
- St Lucia
- Dominican Republic
- Turks and Caicos Island
- Cayman Islands
- British Virgin Island
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Isle of Man
- United Kingdom
Asia and Oceania
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- South Africa
- Cape Verde
How fast Is PureVPN?
One of the most important aspects when choosing a VPN is speed. That’s because a lot of consumers use a VPN for streaming, and you need fast servers to avoid buffering issues. Therefore, we had to test PureVPN’s speed to see how much it affects your Internet connection.
We connected to three servers in different countries to see if PureVPN can maintain stable speeds throughout. Here are the results:
- Test one: No VPN connection
First, we tested how our Internet connection is without a VPN connection. As you may know, VPN encryption and rerouting consume a small part of your Internet. Therefore, no matter which service you use, once you connect to a VPN server, speed will drop a little.
- Test two: UK server
The first PureVPN we connected to was from Great Britain, UK, which is near our actual location. As you can see, speed rates dropped to 190 Mbps, which is almost half. Still, these are decent speeds for streaming, torrenting, and any other online activity.
- Test three: Dutch server
Then, we connected to another European server that is a bit further to our location. The Netherlands server showed a speed drop of more than 50% but still delivered decent speed rates. The reason behind the additional slump is because the city of Diemen is farther to our location than the UK server.
- Test four: US server
For our final test, we connected to a very popular country in the VPN industry, which is the US. However, speed rates dropped significantly to 37 Mbps, almost a 90% decrease. Because we were using high-speed Internet, we were still able to stream without any major issues. But for those who have slower connections, they might suffer from buffering problems when connecting to distant servers.
What Is the Final Verdict?
PureVPN isn’t the fastest VPN we’ve tested, but it’s not the worst one out there either. We thought it scored some decent results when we connected to nearby servers, but speed rates massively dropped after connecting to the US server. Therefore, if you were to install this service, it’s better that you stick to close servers or have a fast Internet connection.
Can You Use PureVPN for Streaming and Torrenting?
Due to licensing agreements, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and co cannot offer their content outside their respective zones. Even Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offer different catalogs for each country or region. That is why a lot of users connect to VPN servers to bypass the geo-blocks that streaming platforms impose. However, these services started blacklisting VPN IP addresses to prevent unauthorized access to shows.
Still, several premium VPNs can still bypass regional restrictions and deliver your favorite programs. With PureVPN, we were able to unblock the US library that streaming giant Netflix offers. And the same server also gave us access to Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
Furthermore, BBC iPlayer is famous for its strict VPN blocking policy. Not many services can bypass its regional restrictions or its VPN blacklisting. We connected to the first UK server we came across and we were able to unblock BBC iPlayer immediately.
In other words, PureVPN works brilliantly with the most in-demand streaming platforms out there. So we definitely recommend it for cord-cutters and streamers.
No Smart DNS
While some users prefer VPNs due to their privacy features and unblocking capabilities, others don’t like how these tools reduce Internet speed. Therefore, they prefer Smart DNS proxies, programs that only reroute the URLs that reveal your location. They leave the rest of your traffic intact, without changing our IP address or encrypting your data.
But PureVPN does not offer Smart DNS servers at the moment, an area they can improve in the future.
Torrent and P2P Support
Those who share files over peer-to-peer networks need all the protection they can get, especially if they live in countries that prohibit torrenting. Copyright trolls are lurking online waiting for you to download copyrighted material. As a result, you could face grave consequences, including fines and the termination of your Internet connection.
Therefore, you need a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic. But several providers don’t support P2P websites. Not PureVPN, though. In fact, the company has servers optimized for torrenting located in countries that allow P2P file-sharing activities.
You can find the full P2P server list below:
- The Bahamas
- The British Virgin Islands
- Brunei Darussalam
- Bulgaria, Cambodia
- Cape Verde
- The Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Estonia, Ethiopia
- Laos, Latvia
- Monaco, Mongolia
- Papua New Guinea
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Lucia
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
PureVPN Privacy and Security
When you use a VPN, you want to make sure that only the most secure features have your back. After all, that’s a virtual private network’s main job; to protect your online anonymity. We checked out what PureVPN has in store in that department, and tested it for any data leaks. Here’s what the VPN offers:
Not all countries have favorable data laws. Some governments force companies operating within their dominion to hand in user information upon request. The Five-Eyes alliance, for example, features five nations cooperating with each other in the field of surveillance and data collection. And their main focus is to monitor the Internet.
This collaboration expanded to 14 countries, which include the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Spain. So if your VPN is based in one of those places, they will be forced to submit whatever information they have on you. Therefore, it’s better to subscribe to services that are outside those regions.
PureVPN is headquartered in Hong Kong, an autonomous and special administrative region of China. It has separate governing and economic systems from that of China. Hong Kong is not part of any intelligence-gathering alliance, which means PureVPN does not have to present any information about its customers.
Despite being in Hong Kong, PureVPN aided the FBI by providing information that led to the arrest of Massachusetts man for cyberstalking. This action contradicted the no-logs policy that the company claimed it followed. Though PureVPN did mention that it will cooperate with agencies who give them a proper warrant.
- Your actual IP address
- The IP that PureVPN servers assign to you
- Your VPN session timestamp
- Browsing history and web destinations
- DNS requests
PureVPN keeps minimal information, like your name, email address, and payment method. All VPNs collect similar data to improve their services. However, we did not like that you have to enter your full name, even for Bitcoin transactions.
Every premium VPN service uses the Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys. It is the most secure encryption on the market and is impossible to break so far. You would have to go through 115,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,984,665,640,560,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible combinations to decrypt AES-256. The world’s supercomputers can’t accomplish that even if they ran for billions of years.
Top government agencies all over the world, including the US National Security Agency (NSA), use this encryption to protect classified files.
Kill Switch and Leak Tests
A kill switch is crucial when you connect to a VPN server. It disconnects your device from the Internet in case the VPN connection drops. Hence, your traffic won’t get redirected to your ISP’s servers where it can be compromised. In other words, kill switches are your last line of defense against data leaks.
PureVPN offers a kill switch in all its apps, but you have to manually activate it from settings. Other providers have an automatic kill switch as soon as you connect to one of their servers. Still, both tools will do the same job, so make sure to always enable PureVPN’s kill switch
We also tested PureVPN for any potential data, IP, and DNS leaks. We connected to a US server, then used an IP checker to see whether the IP address on display was American or our actual one. Furthermore, we conducted a WebRTC leak scan to see if the PureVPN was giving away private information. As you can see below, there are no data leaks.
“[we] did not find any evidence of system configurations and/or system/service log files that independently, or collectively, could lead to identifying a specific person and/or the person’s activity when using the PureVPN service.”Altius IT on PureVPN
Other than the usual privacy and security features that top VPN services provide, PureVPN offers some unique tools to increase your anonymity. However, we did not like that you have to pay extra to get them.
- Port forwarding: It allows you to open or forward any UDP/TCP Ports and connect your device with any other device or server. You’ll also be able to increase P2P download speeds and open specific ports for online gaming. Please note that this add-on costs $0.99/month.
- Dedicated IP: This feature gives you better control over your digital identity and secures your online assets by IP-restricting them. It also costs an additional $0.99/month.
- DDoS protection: It protects from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which could disrupt your traffic. This feature will block unwarranted traffic, thus protecting individuals, businesses, and gamers. The add-on costs $0.99/month
PureVPN Customer Support
A responsive and knowledgeable customer support service is vital when you’re in the VPN business. There’s still a lot of people who aren’t that familiar with these tools and could have questions to ask. Therefore, the company must provide quick and precise answers.
You can contact PureVPN via email and support ticket. But the fastest method is their live chat feature, which is available 24/7. We tested it and asked several questions to client support, and an employee replied within seconds with detailed answers.
alternatively, you can try the PureVPN support page, where you’ll find solutions for common problems in the FAQs, guides, and VPN use cases sections.
How Expensive Is PureVPN?
PureVPN has an average price tag when compared to other top VPN services. Its monthly subscription fee is cheaper than several other providers and there’s great value if you opt for long-term annual plans. However, some of the other VPNs we’ve tested offered better discounts for yearly packages. Still, PureVPN is quite affordable.
- Monthly plan: $10.95 a month
- Yearly plan: $69.95 per year, which equals $5.83/month (47% discount).
- Two-year plan: $79.95 billed every two years, equalling $3.33/month (save 70%).
The last subscription plan features the biggest savings, with a discount of up to 70%. Each plan comes with a 31-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to test the service for a full month before you make a decision. If during that period, you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel and get a full refund.
Another excellent feature that PureVPN offers is the several payment methods for its subscription plans. That includes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, UnionPay, Alipay, and most importantly cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
According to the website, PureVPN offers a three-day free trial that costs $0.99. We thought it was a bit strange to charge money for a supposedly free service, so we contacted customer support for more information. But the answer was even stranger as one of their employees told us that the trial period costs a non-refundable $2.99. It turned out that the free trial isn’t so free after all.
Does PureVPN Work in China?
The Great Firewall of China blocks the majority of popular online services like Google, Youtube, and Facebook. Furthermore, it bans the use of most VPNs, which means Chinese residents cannot connect to foreign servers and access their favorite websites. PureVPN, however, still works in China.
2020 PureVPN Review – Final Words
PureVPN may have had a few privacy problems in the past, but it seems that it sorted everything out. The company has a certified zero-logs policy that keeps no records of your sensitive data, except a few minor details. But we did not appreciate why it keeps your full name.
PureVPN also uses the military-grade AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and other unique privacy features to maintain your anonymity. Moreover, the VPN has an extensive server network, can unblock streaming platforms, and has P2P-optimized servers. Add to that its affordable price tag and 31-day refund policy, and you’re looking at decent service. And if PureVPN offered a Smart DNS proxy and an actual free trial, it would have earned a better score.
Do you think PureVPN is worth your money? Let us know below.