ExpressVPN vs PureVPN comparison in 2021

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: October 18, 2021
ExpressVPN vs PureVPN

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In this comparison, we’re pitting ExpressVPN vs PureVPN. You may have heard of the former, but what about the latter? Is there anything in particular that makes it less known? Let’s compare the two VPN providers and find out!

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and has 3000+ servers in 94+ countries. It uses the Lightway tunneling protocol, works with Netflix, and has RAM-only servers. Meanwhile, PureVPN is based in Hong Kong and has 6500+ servers in 140+ countries. It uses IKEv2 and OpenVPN tunneling protocols, offers a dedicated IP, and can get around geographical restrictions.

Continue reading for a more detailed overview of each VPN’s features, starting with connection speed.

Highlights

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Our rating8.2⭐8.7⭐
“Best for” nomineeBest overall, Fastest VPN, Best VPN for USABest overall, Fastest VPN, Best Chrome extension
Price starts from$8.32/month$2.91/month
ReviewExpressVPN reviewPureVPN review
WebsiteExpressVPNPureVPN

Speed

Typically, ExpressVPN uses its proprietary Lightway tunneling protocol as the fastest option. Meanwhile, PureVPN doesn’t have a comparably fast protocol, for example, WireGuard. That means that PureVPN loses in the first category by default.

Below you can see the results from our VPN speed test comparing the performance of each provider with OpenVPN tunneling protocols.

ExpressVPN vs PureVPN: 14-Day Speed Average

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
ExpressVPN PureVPN
USA server
Download Speed 195 Mbps 77 Mbps
Upload Speed 425 Mbps 165 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed 135 Mbps 84 Mbps
Upload Speed 324 Mbps 244 Mbps
Germany server
Download Speed 239 Mbps 151 Mbps
Upload Speed 504 Mbps 427 Mbps

As you can see, PureVPN is trailing behind ExpressVPN even when both use OpenVPN.

Servers

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Servers3000+6500+
Countries94+140+
All physical serversNoNo
Owns all serversNoNo
RAM-only serversYesNo
P2P serversYesYes

PureVPN has 6500+ servers across 140+ countries, while ExpressVPN has 3000+ servers in  94+ countries. At first glance, it seems that PureVPN is in the lead but plenty of its servers and locations are virtual.

Also, ExpressVPN has one crucial upside – RAM-only servers. Such servers guarantee that any potential browsing data logs are wiped whenever the servers are restarted.

Other than that, both providers use virtual servers to some extent, don’t own their entire server network, and allow P2P traffic.

Pricing

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Free trialN/A7-day trial for $0.99
One month$12.95/month$10.95/month
Six months$9.99/monthN/A
One year$8.32/month$3.74/month
Two yearsN/A$2.91/month
Money-back guarantee30 days31 days
Payment optionsCredit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, Paymentwall (AliPay, UnionPay, and more)Credit card, PayPal

Both VPNs use a fairly standard pricing plan and offer three different subscription options. Additionally, PureVPN has a 7-day trial for $0.99, while ExpressVPN lacks that.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN has a few anonymous payment options, while with PureVPN, you can only choose between a credit card and PayPal. Still, the win goes to PureVPN for being cheaper and offering a “free” trial.

ExpressVPN pricing

Expressvpn pricing

The three ExpressVPN pricing plans are as follows:

The longest one-year plan grants you a 35% discount, which isn’t a lot compared to most VPN providers. However, you can try getting a better deal by using various ExpressVPN coupons. Plus, in addition to credit cards and PayPal, you can also pay via Bitcoin or Paymentwall. Lastly, the service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

PureVPN pricing

PureVPN anniversary pricing

With PureVPN, you can pick between three subscription plans:

The most extended plan gives you a hefty 73% discount. If that’s not enough, you can also peruse all the other PureVPN coupon codes that are available.

However, keep in mind that some of the PureVPN features are only available as bonuses. For example, a dedicated IP or DDoS protection costs $0.99/month, while port forwarding costs $0.25/month. Plus, you can’t get both a dedicated IP and DDoS protection at the same time.

Besides that, the 7-day free trial actually costs $0.99 and will renew to a yearly plan if you don’t cancel on time. Finally, all plans come with a 31-day money-back guarantee and can be bought with a credit card or PayPal account.

Grab a versatile VPN at a reasonable price
PureVPN has an affordable price, and you can use the VPN in a variety of ways. Try it out with a 7-day trial.

Security

ExpressVPNPureVPN
EncryptionMilitary-grade Military-grade
ProtocolsLightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2OpenVPN, IKEv2
Kill switchYesYes
DNS and IP leaksNo leaksNo leaks
Security featuresTrustedServer, Stealth servers, split tunneling (except iOS), port forwarding, MediaStreamerSplit tunneling (Android), dedicated IP, port forwarding

Like most VPNs that take your security seriously, ExpressVPN and PureVPN are equipped with AES-256 encryption, kill switches, and high-quality leak protection. Common tunneling protocols include OpenVPN and IKEv2. Furthermore, both offer split tunneling and port forwarding features.

Overall, ExpressVPN is the more secure option as it brings more to the table.

ExpressVPN security features

For a substantial price tag, ExpressVPN offers a good number of security features for various use cases.

  • TrustedServer is the name of the RAM-only server technology that ExpressVPN utilizes. With it, privacy is guaranteed on a technical level as no data gets stored on hard drives.
  • Stealth servers allow you to get around internet censorship measures, such as DPI (Deep Packet Inspection).
  • Split tunneling enables you to select apps or websites that should go through or ignore the VPN secure tunnel.
  • Port forwarding makes it easier to establish connections to your network remotely and is important for seeding torrents.
  • MediaStreamer is essentially Smart DNS, with which you can get around geo-restrictions on devices that don’t typically support VPN apps.
  • Lightway is the proprietary tunneling protocol that ExpressVPN offers. It’s lightweight, reasonably fast, and based on the WolfSSL cryptographic library.

PureVPN security features

PureVPN is priced slightly lower than your average VPN. As such, the features it offers are pretty ordinary as well.

  • With split tunneling PureVPN, you can select which applications should go through the VPN connection.
  • For a bonus cost, you can select a dedicated IP from seven different countries.
  • Port forwarding costs a small extra fee and allows you to configure your network and make it accessible remotely.

Privacy

ExpressVPNPureVPN
JurisdictionBritish Virgin IslandsHong Kong
LoggingIndependently-audited and court-proven no-logs policyIndependently-audited no-logs policy
Anonymous paymentBitcoinNo

Both providers have an exciting history in the privacy department. Furthermore, they are based outside the reach of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance and have been audited by third parties. In the end, ExpressVPN has better privacy practices and scores another point.

ExpressVPN privacy

In 2017, ExpressVPN was contacted by Turkish authorities when investigating the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey of that time. They seized some servers from ExpressVPN, hoping to get some valuable information from them. And yet, no relevant data could be gained.

Furthermore, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and has also been independently audited by PwC and Cure53, some well-known names in the cybersecurity industry. Moreover, you can also use Bitcoin to maintain your anonymity while buying the VPN.

PureVPN privacy

On the other hand, Hong Kong-based PureVPN was able to assist the FBI in a cyber-stalker case by providing incriminating information. Although done for a justifiable reason, this undermines the legitimacy of their no-logs claims.

Luckily, the VPN underwent some independent audits after this debacle, which may relieve some. But others might not be convinced. Plus, there’s also no way to pay for this VPN anonymously.

Make your privacy impenetrable with ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has RAM-only servers and multiple third-party audits under its belt to ensure that your confidential data stays secure.

Device compatibility

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Major dedicated appsWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
Other dedicated appsFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Chromebook, Routers, Kindle Fire, Nook HDFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Kodi add-on, DD-WRT applet
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, EdgeChrome, Firefox, Edge (beta)
Manual setupChromecast, Nvidia Shield,Router, QNAP, Synology, OpenELEC, Raspberry Pi, Chromebook
Simultaneous devices510

Both VPNs have dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices. Additional applications are also available for Android TV and Amazon Fire OS. Furthermore, both have browser extensions available for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. Naturally, setting up a router with a VPN is also possible with both services but ExpressVPN has a dedicated app for that.

ExpressVPN device compatibility

List of ExpressVPN supported devices

One of the most exceptional features of ExpressVPN is the fact that it has a dedicated app for routers. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of ExpressVPN supported devices. You can also utilize the VPN on Chromebooks, NAS (Network Access Storage), BlackBerry phones, e-book readers, and much more. The only downside is that you can have only five devices connected simultaneously.

PureVPN device compatibility

PureVPN suported devices

Instead of a multi-purpose router software, PureVPN has a DD-WRT applet available. Furthermore, it has an app for Kodi, making the VPN available on any device that supports Kodi natively. Finally, a single subscription allows you to connect ten different devices simultaneously, which is two times more than what ExpressVPN offers.

Streaming

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Netflix USYesYes
Other Netflix librariesYesYes
Other platformsYesYes
Smart DNSYes (MediaStreamer)No

The two providers are quite alright for streaming but not good enough to make it on our list of best VPNs for streaming. In particular, PureVPN lacks a Smart DNS feature, which is especially important for users who want to stream and get around geographical restrictions on devices that don’t support VPN software, such as game consoles or smart TVs.

Meanwhile, ExpressVPN is too expensive compared to the rest of the providers on the list. However, the MediaStreamer feature makes it a better option than PureVPN.

Torrenting and P2P

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Allowed onAll serversSelected servers
Free SOCKS5 proxyNoNo
Split tunnelingYesYes (Android)
Port forwardingYesYes

In terms of torrenting, ExpressVPN and PureVPN are almost on par. The one downside of PureVPN is that it doesn’t allow torrenting on all servers. Also, it allows split tunneling on Android only.

Otherwise, both VPN options are pretty good as they work in most countries and come with the port forwarding feature. Still, only PureVPN is good enough to make it on our list of best VPNs for torrenting.

China

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Works in ChinaYesYes
Stealth VPNYes (Stealth Servers)No
Tor over VPNNoNo

If you’re planning a holiday in China, you might be disappointed to hear that neither of these VPNs is on our list of best VPNs for China. However, ExpressVPN has Stealth Servers, which are pretty reliable against the online censorship measures of the regime.

Meanwhile, since PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, it is close to China and has an easier time getting new servers up and running around there. Additionally, the less-common SSTP tunneling protocol is relatively effective against the Great Firewall of China.

Customer support

ExpressVPNPureVPN
24/7YesYes
Live chatYesYes
Phone LineNoNo
Email YesYes
KnowledgebaseYesYes

Thankfully, both VPNs provide excellent customer support around the clock. Whether you prefer 24/7 live chat or email communication – ExpressVPN and PureVPN have you covered. Plus, their support pages are pretty extensive and have neatly categorized guides for many use-cases.

Best VPN by category

ExpressVPN🥇PureVPN🥈
Speed and serversWins✔️Loses❌
PricingLoses❌Wins✔️
SecurityWins✔️Loses❌
PrivacyWins✔️Loses❌
CompatibilityLoses❌Wins✔️
StreamingWins✔️Loses❌
TorrentingLoses❌Wins✔️
ChinaWins✔️Loses❌
Customer supportTieTie
Total wins5 out of 93 out of 9

ExpressVPN vs PureVPN – which is better?

The conclusion of the ExpressVPN vs PureVPN battle is upon us, and we can declare a winner. ExpressVPN wins by a small margin. Although it’s pricier, it performs better, offers more security features, a more reliable privacy policy, and a better experience when streaming.

Meanwhile, PureVPN has the benefit of being cheap and allowing more simultaneous connections. Furthermore, both providers have excellent customer service but ExpressVPN is more reliable in censorship-heavy countries, such as China.

Which VPN do you prefer? Let us know by leaving a comment!


You may also like to read:
ExpressVPN vs Surfshark
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
PureVPN vs NordVPN
PureVPN vs TorGuard


FAQ

Is PureVPN better than ExpressVPN?

No, PureVPN is not better than ExpressVPN. Although cheaper, it lacks any stand-out features that would make it an above-average VPN. Meanwhile, ExpressVPN is faster, has a proprietary tunneling protocol, RAM-only servers, and better privacy.

Does ExpressVPN work in China?

Yes, ExpressVPN works in China. You even don’t have to do anything because Stealth Servers are turned on whenever a VPN detects the presence of Deep Packet Inspection.

Is PureVPN any good?

PureVPN is a fairly standard VPN. It’s reasonably priced, has good server coverage, and a decent amount of security features. However, it lacks any exceptional features and its privacy practices are a bit murky.

Is PureVPN free to use?

No, PureVPN is not free to use. However, it has a 7-day “free” trial for $0.99 and a 31-day money-back guarantee.

Top VPN providers
NordVPN
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

12 comments
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  1. Cal

    I remember when I was using PureVPN and wanted to connect to it one day and had serious issues for a few hours. And that’s not all that wasn’t working with Pure. They’re a bad service and I wouldn’t use them ever again.


  2. Gerry

    ExpressVPN will probably win most battles pretty clearly. Whether it’s on android or PC or Mac, Express does a good job. Their pricing is a bit steep but then again, they do have the quality behind them.


  3. Mariano

    As a Kodi streamer, I will most likely avoid purevpn based on its speed. I usually tend to install apps that require a focus on speed. Thanls for the needed insight in this article!


  4. Julius Tan

    I would definitely go for ExpressVPN as the apps support android. Even the routers are pretty reliable and there are no issues to connect to my phone so far.


    1. Kevin Marlowe

      Hi Julius,

      Both ExpressVPN and PureVPN has an OpenVPN based app for Android. It’s true though, that ExpressVPN is better with routers because of the custom app, although you can successfully use both to connect at the router level.


  5. Tusta

    PureVPN: that name should mean something but it sure doesn’t. This VPN is bad and not worth the money in my opinion. I tried it and I would never go back. ExpressVPN is 3 or 4 leagues above this. I used Express with Openvpn and things worked out great. The setup is easy and the speed is very good. Overall, Express VPN might be the best VPN I’ve used so far. If security and anonymity are important to you then you should use this and stay safe. It costs a bit more than most VPNs because it is of high quality and that will be easily seen once you use it.


  6. Paul

    With all the VPN’s out now, I would definitely say expressvpn is the best out of the few I have tried.
    I like the fact that the company is out of the country, so the united states government cannot easily get their hands on them and information of users.
    Purevpn frequently loses internet connection and have to manually change a server to get it to work again. Also uses 40% of my battery in 10 hours of usage, consuming more than other heavily used apps on my phone and when I had a chat with their customer support concerning the intermittent disconnection, I couldn’t get a solution after paying for 6 months. Have never had any issue using express vpn


  7. Aliceinthewonderland89

    It looks like PureVPN lacks a lot of basic necessities that any VPN provider should offer, and therefore ExpressVPN is a clear winner.


  8. Sanelma Lehtomäki

    I’m thankful I read this review because it’s a reminder you can’t take a VPN’s hype at face value. You need to talk to users and rely on reviews like this. Any VPN that cooperates with law enforcement is useless. PureVPN= Pure virtual police nosiness. If you use PureVPN, you’re a fool.


  9. La Ophelia

    Both VPN have user friendly app and good at providing anonymity. Main concern with PureVPN is it’s approach to privacy means that its users may not be as anonymous as they think they are. ExpressVPN scores with its strict no logging policy, privacy and security features, and greater number of servers. It also supports P2P / torrenting across all its servers as well as offering the faster and more stable connection ensures that it is the winner.


  10. Tom Boxhall

    I read nothing but bad things about PureVPN online, and the fact that’s cheaper than most VPNs out there shouldn’t make it an option for anyone. I would go without a VPN rather than getting PureVPN.


  11. Ružica Petrović

    This comparison has really been helpful for me. I have come across many other websites comparing the two VPNs, but nothing as detailed and comprehensive as this. I’ve been looking to choose a VPN to use with torrenting, and I got my answer!

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