I’ll admit straight away – reviewing PureVPN is tricky. It has a lot you would want from a reliable VPN – plenty of servers, excellent security features, and affordable prices. Yet it has also let its users down in the past by sharing data with law enforcement.
Before giving the final verdict, let’s see what exactly makes this decade-old VPN provider so controversial.
In this PureVPN review, I’ll discuss its security and privacy features, its apps, and devices it supports, as well as the pricing, customer service, and other things. Let’s see if the deals are worth it!
Security and privacy features
PureVPN has some excellent features, such as secure encryption and split tunneling. On the other hand, it has some blemishes in its history that we can’t ignore.
Encryption and tunneling protocols
Let’s start with encryption, which is one of the strongest aspects of PureVPN. This provider uses the practically impenetrable AES-256 encryption.
There is a very wide selection of tunneling protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, WireGuard, and IKEv2. Not all of these are available on each device type, but all apps have at least one secure tunneling protocol, which is more than enough.
An essential security feature: the kill switch stops all internet traffic if your VPN connection drops. This prevents your real IP address (and identity from leaking), maintaining your anonymity online.
You can activate the PureVPN kill switch feature by going to Preferences:
Unfortunately, this PureVPN feature has been found faulty in the past. The issues have been fixed, but this kill switch wasn’t implemented in the most bulletproof way. It uses Windows Firewall to block internet traffic, which means your anonymity is at the mercy of Microsoft (something that’s never particularly reassuring).
IP or DNS leaks
IP or DNS leaks are probably the worst things that can happen to you when using a VPN. This means that your IP address, your browsing history as well as your location can be traced right back to you.
With that said, I decided to run an online test to see how reliable PureVPN is.
First of all, I connected to Sweden with my PureVPN account and was assigned the IP address 188.8.131.52.
Then I checked whether it was leaking:
As you can see, this is the IP address PureVPN gave me, meaning there was no IP leak.
Officially, PureVPN is based in Hong Kong and operates under the name of GZ Systems Limited. After a bit of digging, however, you’ll find that a Pakistani company called Gaditek boasts PureVPN as part of their impact:
It was discussed in our major research on the hidden owners of popular VPN products. Gaditek is shady. As we show in our study, they maintain several websites to promote PureVPN as the #1 VPN. One of these is a widely-known and well-ranked site called vpnranks.com:
So, if you’re wondering how come you’ve been reading all these great PureVPN reviews, well, it might just be that marketing gun aimed at you.
In the past, there have been several issues with PureVPN’s attitude towards privacy. Let’s take a look at one of them.
In the fall of 2017, when performing their investigation, the FBI contacted PureVPN about a US-based cyberstalker who was using this VPN service to stalk on a former roommate, her family, and friends.
Contrary to their advertised no-logs policy, however, PureVPN retrieved the theoretically non-existent logs. Those logs helped to determine the suspect had accessed his Gmail and another email account from the same IP address.
The service was also able to say that the same user had accessed the VPN from two different IP addresses – the suspect’s home and place of work. The FBI apprehended the cyberstalker.
However, times have changed. Independent audits of VPN security and no-log policies are becoming more common, and PureVPN has joined the fray. They have now had their no-log policy audited by a leading California security audit service, Altius IT.
The results? The report states:
“[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.”
This sounds like genuine progress, although doubts will always remain.
You can get PureVPN with cryptocurrencies (via CoinGate) and gift cards (via Paygarden).
Just keep in mind that anonymous payments have no refund.
Other technical features
Other than strong encryption, good tunneling protocols, and a kill switch, PureVPN has these technical features:
- Wifi security: automatic protection when your device connects to an unsecured public Wifi.
- Port forwarding: mainly useful for P2P and connecting directly to your PC from a remote location.
- Split Tunneling: lets you choose which apps should connect to the internet through the VPN and which can go directly through the ISP.
What is more, PureVPN boasts a server network of 2000+ servers across 140+ countries (virtual and real locations), which is quite an impressive number.
The best way to decide on a VPN’s speed is to run some tests.
Firstly, I tested the speed without a VPN:
- Download: 134.88 Mbps (54% drop-off)
- Upload: 28.86 Mbps (89% drop-off)
- Ping: 24
- Download: 99.66 Mbps (66% drop-off)
- Upload: 6.06 Mbps (98% drop-off)
- Ping: 193
- Download: 116.81 Mbps (61% drop-off)
- Upload: 3.90 Mbps (98.5% drop-off)
- Ping: 307
As you can tell from the tests, PureVPN download speeds are good, whereas upload speeds are disappointing.
On a more positive note, when connecting to most servers on the list, the client connects quickly, the speeds are decent, and the connections seem reliable.
Does PureVPN support my device?
PureVPN supports most major device types, including desktop, mobile devices, smart TVs, and more.
PureVPN desktop app
The PureVPN download supports these desktop apps:
When you’re installing the app on your chosen device, you get to choose the main purpose of why you’re getting the product:
The installation of PureVPN is no different than the majority of the programs. All you have to do is follow the steps, and you’ll be fine.
Once you’re on the app, you get to choose your IP location:
When you do that, you are sent to this page:
This screen may be a bit confusing. Say, you want to stream videos and be secure at the same time? Somehow these preset choices suggest that you will only have online security and privacy if you choose that option.
If you want to change any other settings and preferences, got to the Preferences icon, which has several useful submenu options:
PureVPN mobile app
You can get PureVPN on:
Once you download and log into the app, you get this screen to choose your IP location:
What I like about the mobile version is the VPN on-demand feature. To activate it, go to the Settings:
Choose Advance -> On Demand VPN:
In this window, you can turn it on – meaning, your phone will connect to a VPN automatically whenever you are browsing certain websites and domains.
PureVPN for web browsers
PureVPN has extensions for Chrome and Firefox. When you’re installing your desktop app, you get a chance to install your chosen extension at the same time:
Other PureVPN apps
The following platforms are also supported and can be configured manually:
- Android TV
- Amazon Firestick
- Smart TV
- Gaming Consoles
Netflix and other streaming services
With PureVPN, you can stream both Netflix and Kodi.
However, if you’re looking for a reliable and trustworthy service for streaming TV shows not only on Netflix but on multiple streaming platforms, I would advise you to look further: I was not able to unblock the BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Amazon Prime using PureVPN.
Does PureVPN support torrenting?
Yes, but not in all countries. PureVPN does not support torrenting in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada:
All in all, I must say that PureVPN is a good choice for torrenting. In addition to their good server selection and download speeds, there are also some nice additional features. For example, port forwarding is important if you need to maintain a download/upload ratio.
The PureVPN Support’s page on their website is divided into five main categories:
That’s a nice feature to have to help your potential customers find the answers to the questions they may have about the product, its setup, etc. If the answer is not there, you can use a chat bar at the bottom of the page.
Once you purchase one of their plans and face some issues, you can use these Support options:
- Nicely designed and very informative knowledge base
- Support ticketing system
- 24/7 Live chat support
I have to admit that the PureVPN 24/7 live chat support is speedy. When I inquired about the FBI case and their no logs policy, I got instant replies and helpful support with relevant links.
You can quickly initiate a chat by opening the support chat window in the bottom right corner of your browser page. And, you can chat right away.
Nevertheless, lots of unsatisfied PureVPN customers have left comments all over the internet about clunky support. There have been lots of issues regarding the 7-day money-back guarantee, losing connections, not being able to connect to servers, and the like.
The complaints are usually unrelated to the response speed because the support team is quite quick. However, you may get automated messages with related links to the PureVPN FAQ pages, which may not help you sort out your problem.
PureVPN offers three plans to choose from:
Sadly, PureVPN doesn’t have a free plan. However, apart from the 1-month plan, PureVPN prices are highly affordable.
The 1-month plan costs $10.95, while 1-year is only $5.83/month, and the 2-year plan is $3.33/month.
Opting for one of these plans would provide you with enterprise-grade encryption, multi-login (up to five devices at the same time), 2000+ secure servers in 140+ countries, as well as 24/7 customer support.
What I like about their pricing plans is that each of them comes with a 31-day money-back guarantee.
You can also choose one of the many payment methods, including plenty of anonymous ways to pay for your subscription: credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies (via CoinGate), AliPay, BlueSnap, and PaymentWall:
Should you get PureVPN?
It’s true that PureVPN made a severe mistake by promoting itself as a no-logs policy flag-bearer and seemingly betrayed its customers in the past, which may be an issue for those users who want absolute online security and privacy. Luckily, they’ve improved on that and have a now-confirmed no-logs policy.
Nonetheless, I would advise users to look for a premium VPN service that offers multi-hops and other security features for a higher level of anonymity.
However, if you need to spoof your IP address and location to access geo-blocked web content, you may well be satisfied with PureVPN and its amazingly low pricing.