Consumer VPN market overview The consumer VPN market is a challenging one, with many players vying to be the top of the lucrative data privacy and security pyramid. According to a recent report by Global Market Insights, the VPN market is set to ...
Number of servers: No. of servers: 2,000+
Price from: $2.95
#30 out of 96 VPN providersRead our Full Opinion
Great server list (2,000+ servers in 140+ countries)
Compatible with most popular platforms
24/7 live chat support, ticket system, good knowledge base
Not bad for torrenting
What others say about PureVPN:
“ It is not packed to the gills with advanced features, but it has just enough unique features to stand out from the rest of the VPN service crowd. “
“ While PureVPN has a problematic history with privacy, they have improved their policy, backed with GDPR compliance. “
“ PureVPN works, sometimes even with Netflix, but it has enough issues to keep the VPN from being your go-to choice for private internet access. “
“ [...] we have concerns about the customer service, the real-name policy and the fact that it's essentially based in China. “
What is PureVPN?
Few VPN service providers have been as controversial as PureVPN’s GZ Systems Limited of Hong Kong. Mainly, this is because it’s not clear how real GZ Systems is. The Pakistani company called Gaditek, on the other hand, is very real and has PureVPN as part of its portfolio. This sort of practice is nothing new on the VPN market – there are valid reasons for developers to function behind a front, the main one being lower chances that law enforcement can compel the VPN into cooperating.
PureVPN, however, has cooperated with authorities regardless of their official jurisdiction, and not just any authorities – they are infamous for helping the FBI. The notoriety is truly well-earned in PureVPN’s case because the company not only gave information on its customer. More importantly, they had information to give, which went against their “no logs” policy.
So, shadiness is one half of PureVPN’s reputation. Aside from the logging scandal, they have been called out for hidden clauses in their policies, a seemingly-malicious level of negligence towards issues like IP/DNS leaks, offering features that only half-function, and more problems besides.
But there is a positive side as well. PureVPN displays one of the best levels of performance on the market, is compatible with a wide array of different device types, and leaves some truly remarkable tools at the user’s disposal (such as split-tunneling). Moreover, the company seems to have fixed at least some of the more egregious security oversights VPN reviewers have bashed it for.
Overall, as a professional VPN review site, we cannot wholeheartedly recommend this service provider. But we’ll be damned if we fail to admit PureVPN has some great upsides.
Where PureVPN is based and why this is important
The official location of the company behind PureVPN – GZ Systems Ltd – is Hong Kong. Legally, this is not a bad place to own a Virtual Private Network. Hong Kong is not part of the 5-9-14 eyes international surveillance framework, meaning the city-state’s intelligence agencies should have no reason to share your data with the countries of that framework.
Additionally, there are no data retention laws in Hong Kong, allowing PureVPN to have a legitimate no-logging policy (although history has put this into question).
It is, however, impossible to ignore China’s influence in Hong Kong. Perhaps this is not as concerning for users in the west (who are beyond the reach of the Chinese government), but others should beware and probably skip PureVPN altogether.
Gaditek and Pakistan
The probable real owner of PureVPN is Gaditek – a company based in Karachi, Pakistan. This is also a problematic country to run a VPN from: it has data retention laws, and its law enforcement/military have immense power when it comes to getting someone’s personal information, especially when that someone is engaging in activities the Pakistani government is not fond of. Additionally, Pakistan’s love-hate relationship with the US has concerning implications for the sharing of surveillance data. Of course, these factors are mainly important if the user is a target of Pakistani law enforcement.
What does a PureVPN location say?
Not part of 5-9-14 eyes agreement
Major privacy concerns both in Hong Kong and Pakistan
Compare PureVPN to other providers
We have written 3 articles comparing PureVPN to other VPN services. 1 of these PureVPN lost emphatically (vs ExpressVPN), while the other 2 were a close call (vs IPVanish and PIA). Of course, we only compared PureVPN to other top-notch services and there is no shame in losing these.
PureVPN comparisons written on VPNPro
Available plans and pricing
One of the strongest aspects of PureVPN – the deals. There are three pricing plans, going from 1 month ($10.95) to 2 years ($3.29 a month billed bi-annually). Currently, there is also an outrageously cheap 1-year plan, available for $2.99 a month billed annually. Each plan allows the user five simultaneous connections. Considering the suite of features (and ignoring some of the security concerns), PureVPN seems like perhaps the best deal on the market today.
In addition to the three regular subscription options, there is also a paid 3-day trial available for $2.50. If you’ve bought an annual subscription and would like your money back, you can take advantage of the 31-day money-back guarantee (unless you went for the trial). The number “31” is one day over the industry standard of 30 – we can appreciate the sense of humor.
Future customers will be happy to learn that there are plenty of ways they can pay for PureVPN. Aside from the traditional Credit Card and PayPal options, PureVPN also accepts Alipay, various cryptocurrencies, Gift Cards, etc. On this front at least, anonymity is preserved.
Platforms PureVPN supports
PureVPN has custom apps for all of the most popular platforms – Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. Additionally, the VPN offers extensions for Chrome/Firefox and supports a long list of other devices (Routers, Android TV, Amazon FireStick, Microsoft Surface,
Kodi, Roku, Boxee, Now TV Box, Raspberry Pi, Chrome cast, Play Station, and Xbox).
That’s not a bad list, even for a tool in the top half of the market. The majority of users should be satisfied – even those who intend to use the full 5 simultaneous connection limit.
The apps are intuitive and easy to use, even with the vast feature list in mind. Perhaps the only negative thing to say is they look atrocious. There’s not a good-looking pixel in them.
The various uses of PureVPN
Using a VPN service affords people a general level of online security and privacy. Through encryption, they are less likely to become the victims of targeted marketing campaigns or elaborate social engineering schemes. It is nevertheless true that most users have a particular goal in mind when it comes to VPN services. Here’s how PureVPN deals with the most popular user desires.
PureVPN for streaming
The media landscape is littered with streaming platforms, the most popular being familiar names, such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and so forth. One thing these have in common is their use of geo-blocking to preserve copyright agreements. For the simple user, that might mean not being able to watch their favorite show on Netflix due to living on the wrong part of the globe.
VPN services are a primary method of dealing with geo-blocking, but they are not all equal. PureVPN, for instance, is not the best tool for the job, especially when it comes to unblocking Netflix US. It doesn’t help that the app won’t let you connect to a specific server, either. Users may find more luck on some of the other streaming platforms, but testing before buying is a good idea.
PureVPN for torrenting
The main requirements for a good torrenting VPN are a good attitude towards P2P, speed, and security. While there may be doubts about PureVPN’s security credentials, we would say none of the issues mentioned apply in the case of torrenting.
PureVPN doesn’t block or throttle P2P traffic and has P2P-optimized servers. It offers malware protection for those adventurous trips to your local digital Tortuga Island and keeps the speeds up as much as possible.
PureVPN for China and other restricted countries
We strongly advise against using PureVPN if you’re a user in China, especially if your activities are sensitive – journalism, activism, etc. The company’s official location, Hong Kong, is simply too close to China for comfort.
Also, while the VPN does have a ‘Stealth’ protocol (which can sometimes be necessary to bypass the Great Firewall of China), it is only available on PureVPN’s Windows app.
Users in other VPN-averse countries may have a better time with PureVPN, but there are lots of better choices.
Articles about PureVPN you might be interested in
You will find every article we’ve written about PureVPN below.
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