PureVPN ever-growing list of features offers a lot of bang for your buck. It fits right in at the top of the VPN market and is one of the most universal VPN services out there.
PureVPN ever-growing list of features offers a lot of bang for your buck. It fits right in at the top of the VPN market and is one of the most universal VPN services out there.
PureVPN has a lot you would want from a reliable VPN – plenty of servers, excellent security features, and affordable prices. Yet, it also raised some privacy concerns in the past.
For those interested in streaming, PureVPN can be a viable option. This VPN unblocks not only Netflix but other streaming platforms, such as BBC iPlayer or Disney+ as well. There’s also a Kodi add-on available.
In the meantime, torrenting fans should be happy with this service and its port forwarding feature. There are plenty of servers to choose from, and a kill switch to protect your identity.
You can download PureVPN apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Additionally, you can get a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. The list of supported devices also includes Amazon Fire TV, smart TVs, game consoles, routers, and Roku.
In this PureVPN review, I’ll discuss its security and privacy, performance, ease-of-use, customer support, and other things. Let’s see if the deal’s worth it!
|Rank||#7 out of 215 providers|
|Company location||Hong Kong|
|Number of locations||140|
|Number of servers||6500|
|Safe for Torrenting||Yes|
|Protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP|
|Customer Support||24/7 live chat|
|Logging policy||Independently-audited no-logs policy|
|Free version or trial||No|
The best way to decide on a VPN’s speed is to run some long-term tests. So that’s what we did by creating our in-house speed testing tool to check the speeds in multiple countries on a daily basis.
While most reviewers test the VPN a few times only before counting the average speed, we use data from the last two weeks. Besides, we minimize the number of steps between the VPN and the speed test server, thus getting more accurate results.
|Download Speed||50 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||156 Mbps|
|Download Speed||72 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||308 Mbps|
|Download Speed||186 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||583 Mbps|
As you can tell from the results, PureVPN download speeds are really good, although sometimes it can be multiple times slower than the #1 provider. It shows better uploading results, but those speeds are more than enough for a casual user anyway.
With PureVPN, you should be able to stream HD videos on Netflix without issues. P2P file exchange will be fast – downloading a 10 GB file should take up to 10 minutes. Of course, if you connect to a remote server in another continent, both uploading and downloading can become an issue.
On a more positive note, when using our test servers in Europe and North America, the client connects quickly, the speeds are decent, and the connections seem reliable.
PureVPN boasts a server network of 6500+ servers across 140+ countries. Those are quite impressive numbers. However, the number of physical servers is not impressive at all – of those 180+ countries, less than 50 are not virtual.
And here’s how PureVPN servers are spread across the globe:
As you can see, the majority of servers are in North America and Europe (68%). However, that’s the case with most VPN providers. What sets PureVPN’s fleet apart is more than 120 servers in 18 African countries. Four of them, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, have physical servers.
The VPN sever speed depends on many factors, but the most important one is distance. If it’s in your country, there’s virtually no way it could be slower than one in another continent. Next comes the server load – if it operates near its full capacity, the performance will suffer. Finally, there are many other technical factors, such as virtual and physical servers.
Pure VPN can automatically choose the fastest server based on your intention. But if you want to configure the DNS manually, here are some of the options:
There’s no separate option to choose the least loaded server because their speed is also measured by the distance, among other factors.
PureVPN advertises its services as a tool to complete anonymity when browsing the internet. Besides, the service is said to have entertainment value via streaming services unblocks.
Their strongest selling points are:
With that said, there were certain problems in the past. PureVPN was at the center of the scandalous disclosure of user data to the FBI in 2017. So, when it comes to the safety of this tool, you’ll have to take the provider’s word for it. Ultimately, their technical prowess is impressive, but whether that will be enough to protect your privacy is for you to decide.
Let’s start with encryption, which is one of the most substantial aspects of PureVPN. Just like the most competitors, this provider uses the practically impenetrable AES-256 encryption. Ths military-grade cipher can withstand a brute-force attack for centuries.
PureVPN is already talking about implementing the next-gen WireGuard protocol, but it’s still unavailable in any of their apps.
In the meantime, you can use a plethora of time-tested alternatives:
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. It doesn’t matter how old or recent your device is, with PureVPN, you’ll have options.
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.
This feature is enabled by default on Windows. Mac users can activate the PureVPN kill switch by going to Settings:
When it comes to mobile apps, PureVPN is yet to add this feature to the 8.x version. In the meantime, Android owners can use the native “Always-on VPN” feature.
I also hope that the customization options from the old kill switch will return someday. For example, you could choose to stop all incoming and ongoing traffic even after manually disconnecting from the VPN. Another option, named Auto-redial, would let the app reconnect and block internet traffic at the same time.
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 184.108.40.206.
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.
People often ask where PureVPN is located? It’s located in Hong Kong, which is a privacy-friendly location. This location is also not part of the 5-9-14 eyes countries, which essentially means that it’s under no obligation to share users’ information with countries belonging to that surveillance framework.
However, all of this is continuously threatened by mainland China pressing it with excessive surveillance measures. The departure of the “one country, two systems” status that Hong Kong used to have means that this VPN provider could lose its ability to provide anonymity.
PureVPN operates under the name of GZ Systems Limited, which is owned by a parent company Gaditek. What should be worrisome is that it’s based in Pakistan, which is notorious for its data retention laws, and may be able to use its military muscle into bullying PureVPN to release vital user information.
It was discussed in our major research on the hidden owners of popular VPN products. Gaditek is shady. What’s more, they maintain several websites to promote PureVPN as the #1 VPN.
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.
However, it’s worth highlighting that in 2017, PureVPN assisted an FBI investigation that led to the arrest of a cyberstalker. While it is commendable that a criminal was brought to books, this is a concern for a VPN that “supposedly” does not monitor user activity or store logs.
Independent audits of VPN security and no-log policies are becoming more common, and PureVPN has joined the fray. In 2019, they had their no-log policy audited by a leading California security audit service, Altius IT.
In 2020, PureVPN asked KPMG, one of the leading accounting companies, to do a second audit, which also went well. If that wasn’t enough, the auditors have the right to initiate a non-scheduled audit at any time without warning.
This sounds like a good set-up. However, I cannot guarantee that their ghosts from the past won’t return again.
Other than secure encryption, proper tunneling protocols, and a kill switch, PureVPN has these technical features (most of them cost extra):
PureVPN supports most major device types, including desktop, mobile devices, smart TVs, and more. At the end of 2020, they’ve introduced a redesigned app with a uniform design across the all major platforms. With minimal design, it also offered minimal customization, which wasn’t met with an applause from the advanced users.
The PureVPN download supports these desktop apps:
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.
Earlier before, you would get to choose the primary purpose of why you’re getting the product – Stream, Be secure, Download, and Other. The app would have separate modes to choose, depending on what you wanted to do.
I’m glad that PureVPN finally ditched this different modes system. It was probably created for novice users but got them even more confused, irritating the veterans at the same time.
As previously mentioned, the desktop apps use a lot of white space, but when there’s such a limited number of options, it looks rather empty. What’s more, the window size is locked, so PureVPN takes up more space than it could and should.
The main menu has a standard big connection button with a recommended location and the option to visit Locations, Help, Subscription details, and Settings. What you’ll find in the latter depends on your OS.
Windows users can toggle the kill switch and choose between OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols. In the meantime, the macOS version kill switch is turned off by default, and the automatic protocol is L2TP/IPSec. Luckily, you can selet IKEv2/IPSec instead.
Speaking of PureVPN for Linux, it doesn’t have a GUI, like most services. You can install the VPN on Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Mint, and Debian – both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are supported.
To sum up, PureVPN desktop apps could have more features because the majority of the top competitors have both better-looking and more customizable clients.
You can get PureVPN on:
Once you download and log into the app, you get the first screen that is a compact version of the desktop counterpart. For a VPN that’s so low on features, using a similar design for Windows and macOS would have been beneficial.
Putting the usability aside, I find that the Android app has its own combination of features. One is split tunneling, which allows you to choose which apps will use the VPN connection. When it comes to security protocols, OpenVPN is the only choice, so toggling between TCP and UDP will be your only customization, at least for the time being. The kill switch is not there, but you can use the Android’s native “Always-on VPN” feature.
Switching to Apple, I expected to find another unique combination of settings. Turns out, the iOS client extends the protocol list to OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP. Unfortunately, there are no other options available. While I’m used to providers not spending too much time on the iOS apps, PureVPN makes me question the point of this new app.
PureVPN has extensions for Chrome and Firefox. There’s also a beta version for the Edge browser. The Chrome version has more than 300,000 installs, which is not a bad results. The Firefox version, of course, is much less popular, with almost 20,000 downloads.
Neither of the browser extensions is free, which means you either have to get a subscription or use the 7-day “free trial,” which requires your payment details.
Downloading and installing the add-ons went well, but I was caught off-guard by the auto-loading PureVPN webpage. It stated that I can get a Premium browser extension for $1.99/month, with fast speeds and over 100 streaming channels. The price was the same as the annual plan of the VPN at the time of writing this review. I honestly cannot understand why PureVPN would offer its service by naming it a Premium browser extension.
Moving on to the actual add-ons, they seem to do their job well. While the design stayed the same, no functions have been removed either. Both Firefox and Chrome extensions kept their word and unblocked both Netflix US and BBC iPlayer for me.
Once you get them set up and running, using PureVPN browser extensions is a breeze. You can quickly select a country, there’s a Popular Websites tab with streaming platforms, and the Prevent WebRTC leak switch at the bottom. This is a bare minimum, but it should get the job done if you really just need to unblock websites and browse the web safely.
The main downside of a browser extension is that it only encrypts your browser traffic. On the other hand, using it solves the infamous browser-level issue of leaking WebRTC. Most VPNs can avoid WebRTC leaks only by using their proprietary browser add-ons.
Here are some of the platforms that also have apps or can be configured manually:
Android TV app can be downloaded from Google Play Store or sideloaded on Android TV Box. PureVPN for Fire Stick is also a great app that will turn any smart TV to a streaming hub. Apple TV and other smart TV owners probably know already that they don’t support VPNs, so you’ll need to connect the device on a router, wifi, or Ethernet first.
A third option for watching your beloved shows online is to use the Kodi app on your Kodi-enabled device. The app was designed according to the media player, so you should have no problem getting used to it.
When it comes to routers, PureVPN gives you plenty of options. You can use a DD-WRT applet or configure it manually. There are more than 20 supported router models, which include Tomato, Asus, pfSense, Linksys, and TP-Link, among others.
Finally, Roku, Chromecast, Blue Ray players, and game consoles can be set up via the router. On top of that, you can manually configure this VPN on QNAP, Synology, OpenELEC, Raspberry Pi, Chromebook, and so on.
PureVPN is offering seven Netflix libraries in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, and Australia. For most users, this should be more than enough, except, of course, if you’re looking for something local. I personally was unable to access the Australian library, though.
You should expect fast speeds from PureVPN – during my test, the connection was good enough to stream not only in HD but 4K as well. Of course, if your regular connection is too slow for watching in high-quality, a VPN won’t do no good. That is, unless your ISP is throttling the bandwidth.
You can opt-in for a dedicated IP to guarantee unrestricted access to Netflix. However, seeing how well the regular subscription works, this may seem like an overkill.
What’s really missing is the Smart DNS feature. It allows you to unblock Netflix or any other platform without encrypting your connection, which results in much faster speeds. Another great thing is that you can use Smart DNS on virtually any device, even on those that don’t natively support VPNs. Hopefully, PureVPN will add this feature in the near future.
With PureVPN, you can watch more than 100 popular streaming platforms, such as:
The most convenient way to access them is from the browser extension that automatically connects to the right sever and loads the chosen resource.
If you’re having trouble accessing any of these, there are detailed instructions available on their website’s Support Center.
What’s more, you can use PureVPN and Kodi together. There’s an add-on that you can download and use on your Kodi-enabled device.
Yes, but not in all countries. PureVPN does not support torrenting in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada:
Furthermore, we have blocked P2P on some of our servers as per changing Global Web Policy. We don’t allow p2p/filesharing where it’s illegal by law named United Kingdom (UK) , United States (US), Canada, Australia etc.
All in all, I must say that PureVPN is an excellent 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 crucial if you need to maintain a download/upload ratio.
One of the standout benefits of subscribing to PureVPN is that it supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. This is great if you intend to stay incognito at every given stage of your dealings with the VPN provider and remain untraceable.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, PureVPN has raised the number of simultaneous connections from 5 to 10. What’s more, premium users get to gift 12 monthly accounts.
Finally, there’s a new 7-day trial for $0.99 that includes all premium features. You can cancel it anytime, and if you don’t – you’ll be subscribed to the annual plan with 47% off.
Apart from the 1-month plan, PureVPN prices are highly affordable. Here’s how all the offers look like during the Holiday season of 2020:
The last plan appears only as a pop-up while browsing PureVPN’s website. Five years is a long time, but if you like this service, consider saving 89% off.
Opting for any of these plans would provide you with enterprise-grade encryption, multi-login (ten devices at the same time), 6500+ 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 refund PureVPN purchase after using it for almost a month, with no strings attached.
Also, PureVPN once again supports a number of anonymous and other payment options. You pay with a credit card, PayPal, AliPay, cryptocurrencies, and PaymentWall (Sofort, GiroPay, WebMoney, and more). Anonymous payments are not refundable.
PureVPN offers the following customer support options:
The Support Center page is divided into seven main categories: Setup Guides, Troubleshoot, Account & Billing, VPN Use Cases, FAQs, Business, Learning Center, Status & Announcement.
While some of them are self-explanatory, others have a very specific role. For instance, VPN User Cases aims to help a certain group of people, such as students, businessmen, or travelers. In the meantime, Learning Center offers guidance for advanced users, who, for example, want to make Vuze load torrents via VPN only.
These categories is a nice feature that helps your potential customers find the answers about the product, its setup, etc. If the answer is not there, you can always use a chat bar at the bottom of the page.
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.
I have to admit that the PureVPN 24/7 live chat support is speedy. When I inquired about the macOS settings, I got instant reply and helpful assistance with relevant links.
Nevertheless, lots of unsatisfied PureVPN customers have left comments all over the internet about clunky support. There have been lots of issues with the free 7-day trial, losing connections, not being able to connect to servers, and so on.
The complaints on the internet are usually unrelated to the response speed. However, you may get automated messages with related links to the PureVPN FAQ pages, which may not help you sort out your problem.
PureVPN does work in China. However, this does not mean that provider’s website is unblocked. What this means is that you might have to figure out how to get this VPN installed. If you’re traveling to China, you should install in on all your devices beforehand.
Due to PureVPN operating from Hong Kong as their headquarters, this helps them to set up many servers in Asian countries. This means that when in China, you’ll always have servers nearby.
However, don’t expect this to last forever. With mainland China pressing Hong Hong with national security legislation, the ability to bypass The Great Firewall of China could soon be a thing of the past. It’s not clear how it will affect this provider, so follow all future updates.
PureVPN is a secure VPN service with a twice-confirmed no-logs policy. It’s on the same level as the other market leaders. In fact, it should be even higher on our “best of” list if not for those past scandals and proximity to China.
Should you choose it, expect fast speeds, safe torrenting, and plenty of streaming options from all over the world. PureVPN has apps for all major platforms and can be configured to work on many more. And should you struggle with setting it up on our router or Chromebook, 24/7 customer support will be there for you.
The final argument for PureVPN is the low price. Even without its partially-hidden 5-year plan, you can get a premium-class service without selling your kidney.
To sum up, if you just want to spoof your IP address and location to access geo-blocked content and protect your P2P efforts, you will be satisfied with PureVPN.
VPNs are built with privacy in mind. Some countries restrict the usage of VPN because users can bypass certain laws put in place to control the public discourse. This means that VPNs are illegal in the following countries: North Korea, Russia, China, Turkmenistan, Oman, Iraq, Iran, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Turkey. Always be extra cautious if using VPN software there.
PureVPN doesn’t have a free version. However, it offers a 7-day trial that costs only $0.99. This should be plenty of time to decide if the service is worth a full subscription price. Most importantly, you can cancel at any time and get your dollar back.
One of the standout benefits of subscribing to PureVPN is that it supports the use of Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other anonymous payment options when receiving payments. This is great if you intend to stay incognito at every given stage of your dealings with the VPN provider and remain untraceable.
It does have it, but only on older 7.x versions. If you turn on the Content Filter feature, ads will be blocked before they’re even loaded. This will work with any browser, including Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, or Opera.
Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.