PureVPN Review 2020 – Long-Standing VPN Service Plagued by Ghosts From The Past!

After taking a quick look at PureVPN’s official website, you’ll surely be impressed by its advertised features. According to the site, this is the world’s fastest VPN and comes with a set of features that you won’t find elsewhere. And most importantly, all of this comes at an affordable price. However, as we always like to say, you should pay close attention to hands-on reviews instead of blindly trusting VPNs and their marketing messages. So, after having tested dozens of VPNs so far, we felt very excited to see what this VPN has to offer. Let’s show you all there is to know about this interesting VPN service. Welcome to our hands-on PureVPN review!

Before we start with our review, we’ll take a quick detour. We’re sure that some of you are reading this article to compare PureVPN to its competitors. So, we’ll start with the basic set of information to introduce you to this software.

Quick Facts

Jurisdiction Hong Kong
Logs No connection or activity logs.
Number of Servers 140+ countries / 2,000+ servers.
Parallel Connections 10
Encryption Standards AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP, PPTP.
Speed Reduction 82% on average
P2P Support YES
Live Chat Support YES
Supported Platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire OS, Web browsers, & compatible routers.
Price Starting at $2.88/month.

Get PureVPN

The following information will give you a quick glance into PureVPN’s media streaming capability. Differently said, you’ll find the table below to be helpful if you plan on using a VPN to unblock media streaming websites.

Media Streaming Support

American Netflix YES
Hulu YES
BBC iPlayer YES (via dedicated IP)
Amazon Prime Video YES (slow performance)
Kodi YES

Lastly, we have one more thing for you. We understand that you might not have the time to read this entire review, so let’s jump to what you really want to know. Here are the most prominent strengths and weaknesses of PureVPN.

The Bottom Line

Pros Broad platform support, Easy installation; Plenty of servers; Unblocks Netflix; Affordable.
Cons Troublesome past; Subpar performance.
The Final Verdict PureVPN comes with a complex past, and this isn’t the most transparent VPN. However, it still comes with a set of interesting and powerful features at a low price.
Our Score 6.8/10

Next, what awaits us is our in-depth and hands-on PureVPN review. So, make sure to keep on reading if you want a behind-the-scenes look at this VPN provider.

PureVPN – TechNadu’s Hands-On Review

Just like we do in our every VPN review, we’ll try to take a good look at PureVPN. We’ll start by checking the VPN’s background information, and then we’ll explain its features, performance, privacy policy, and plenty more. To learn more about this process, you can check how we review VPN services.

Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation

Hong Kong Map

Numerous privacy-related questions are surrounding PureVPN – a company that is shrouded in mystery. Our Score: 2/10.

No matter which VPN you pick, you should know that it will process all your Web browsing data. As you can imagine, this includes your private data as well. This is why it’s imperative to check some background facts about the VPN you plan to use. Here’s the situation that surrounds PureVPN.

Jurisdiction & Applicable Laws

PureVPN proudly states that it’s based in Hong Kong. You probably know that Hong Kong is under the political jurisdiction of China – but you can look at it as an independent territory. It has political autonomy in terms of free markets, freedom of speech, and even some independent diplomatic relations with other countries outside of China. Most importantly, the Great Firewall of China doesn’t apply to Hong Kong.

So, we can presume that PureVPN is perfectly safe for use, right? Well, this is where things get complicated. First, you need to dig deep to learn about this VPN. There is a company registration code on the website, and it corresponds to a company registered in Hong Kong. However, digging a bit deeper will lead you to another company, called Gaditek (founded by Uzair Gadit). This company is based in Karachi, Pakistan – and it even proudly showcases PureVPN’s logo on its official website. Pakistan is a problematic country to base your VPN operations in, as it has data retention laws and a highly complex political situation.

It’s also worth noting that some reports have surfaced linking Gaditek to a series of VPN review websites with highly aggressive SEO (search engine optimization) strategies. By operating those websites, Gaditek hires writers to produce highly positive reviews of PureVPN – and these articles rank high on Google. In other words, it’s false marketing.

Previous Data Leaks

There have been several privacy-related incidents directly connected to PureVPN. Most recently, it was discovered that PureVPN could leak passwords since it’s storing them in a plain text format. This discovery was unveiled in September 2018, and this vulnerability has been apparently solved since.

In March of 2018, PureVPN found itself among VPNs that leak IP data. Despite several protections in place, it was surprising to hear that PureVPN could leak your personal and ‘true’ IP address – fully exposing your online activities. What’s interesting to note is that PureVPN has come up with a solution and upgraded its servers since – according to the company’s representatives. Of course, we’ll make sure to test whether PureVPN is prone to any DNS or IP leaks later on in the article.

Finally, in an effort to improve its image, PureVPN recently went through an audit. As per the results of this audit, the VPN doesn’t leak any personal information and it also doesn’t store anything sensitive. This is definitely good news for new subscribers, but we have to recommend exercising caution when using this VPN.

Supported Platforms & Devices

List of PureVPN Applications

PureVPN brings wide compatibility with currently popular devices and operating systems, both desktop and mobile. Router support is there as well. Our Score: 10/10.

When choosing a VPN, you first need to pay attention to its native apps. Ideally, you want a VPN to offer native apps for your every Web-connected device. Leaving a single device unprotected could lead to a leak, eliminating your privacy protection efforts.

Platform Compatibility

Desktop Platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebooks.
Mobile Platforms Android, iOS.
Web Browsers Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
Routers DD-WRT, Tomato, and other compatible routers.
Other Devices Android TV, Amazon Fire OS, Kodi.

By taking a look at the table above, it’s clear that PureVPN has covered the basics as it offers native apps for desktop and mobile platforms. There’s also support for devices such as Chromebooks, Android TV, and Amazon Fire OS, which is something we don’t see very often. Of course, you can also install PureVPN on a router and, therefore, keep all your household devices protected at once.

It’s also worth knowing that you can use PureVPN on up to 10 devices at the same time. It seems like a time-sensitive offer, so there’s a chance that PureVPN will return to supporting up to five devices in the future (which still seems generous enough). Using it on a router counts as a single device, no matter how many devices you connect to that router. This leaves plenty of “empty” slots, so you can protect yourself even on-the-go.

Installation & Initial Configuration

PureVPN Mac Download Page

In general, downloading and installing PureVPN comes without any major annoyances. The process is suitable even for complete beginners. Our Score: 9/10.

As you can imagine, it all starts by getting a PureVPN subscription. Then, you can proceed to download PureVPN apps from its official website. In the past, this used to be a highly complicated process as getting to those apps required you to do a Google search (PureVPN’s website used to be a real mess). However, this is now an effortless task.

When it comes to the installation itself, it comes hassle-free. Once you download the installation file, double-click to open it, then follow the steps you’ll see on your screen, install the VPN, and open its file. Log in using your credentials, and that’s about it. No matter which platform you use, the process of installing PureVPN is quite simple.

You also need to know that PureVPN also asks you to install Web browser extensions during the installation – which seems a bit strange. In general, we don’t recommend using Web browser extensions if you have a native VPN installed on your system. That’s because these extensions are usually proxies, and they can’t bring the same level of protection as their native desktop counterparts.

Prominent Features

List of Prominent PureVPN Features

PureVPN got rid of highly unique yet very problematic features – and is now a reliable and powerful VPN service once again. Our Score: 9/10.

This is where we take a look at the standard set of features that every capable VPN should bring. So, here’s a table explaining what to expect from PureVPN.

VPN Features Checklist

DNS Leak Protection YES
IPv6 Leak Protection YES
Kill-Switch YES
Ad-Blocker, Anti-Malware NO
Unlimited Server Switches YES
Unlimited Bandwidth YES
Unlimited Data YES

Interestingly enough, PureVPN used to come with all kinds of unique features. For example, there were “Gravity” and “Ozone” servers, used to scan for malware and uniquely obfuscate your internet traffic. However, they brought numerous problems and possible data leaks as well. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see these features discontinued.

In the meantime, PureVPN has decided to return to its core features, and we see this as a good thing. Today, this is a capable VPN that comes with DNS and IPv4/6 leak protection, and there’s a kill-switch included as well. Of course, everything this VPN offers comes without any restrictions.

Among other interesting features, PureVPN supports split tunneling. You can use this VPN only for certain apps if you want while leaving other apps outside of this VPN’s protection. There are also dedicated streaming servers, which we’ll soon test.

Good to Know: PureVPN also offers some advanced features, priced extra. You can choose from port forwarding, a range of dedicated IP addresses, and this VPN also provides DDoS protection (which can be useful if you’re into online gaming).

Server Count

List of PureVPN Servers

PureVPN doesn’t have the largest network of servers out there, but it has the power to take you to any corner of the Web. Our Score: 8/10.

The truth is that PureVPN has plenty of servers around the world. So, here are some quick facts regarding its server count.

Server Count Info

Number of Servers 2,000+
Number of Locations 180+
Number of Countries 140+
Specific Cities Selection YES
Unlimited Switching YES

Once again, PureVPN exceeds our expectations. Having more than 2,000 servers spread across the globe, this VPN is among those with the highest server count. Furthermore, it is trying to be as transparent as possible by giving you not only an overview of the countries where its servers are located but also the ability to select specific cities.

Finally, we also need to mention that you get access to all of PureVPN’s servers, without any restrictions. You’re also free to switch between servers at any moment.

Ease of Use

PureVPN macOS Main Screen UI

PureVPN doesn’t bring the most polished UI design, which can be confusing at times – especially for complete newbies. Our Score: 5/10.

PureVPN is trying to offer its services through a ‘relaxed’ design, which is evident by the looks of its website and native applications. They come with all kinds of funny graphics and vibrant colors, taking away the seriousness of a VPN application. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect.

PureVPN Initial Mode Selection

Upon the initial launch, you’ll have the option to select a VPN mode – and this includes streaming, Internet freedom, security/privacy, file sharing, and dedicated IP. Each of those modes comes with a predefined set of servers optimized for specific functions (as well as some mode-specific options). When you get past this launch screen, you’ll get to see PureVPN’s home screen that lets you start using the application.

Good to Know: As noted by some of our readers, PureVPN doesn’t always necessarily show the ‘Select Mode’ window at startup. However, you can change between different modes by going to the application’s settings (top-right corner of the windows). It will optimize the VPN for various purposes, so make sure to use this feature.

So, let’s return to PureVPN’s home screen. This is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time, connecting to different servers. First of all, keep in mind that you can filter the available servers by their location and website-unblocking mechanisms. You can also run a ping test to determine the fastest server offered by PureVPN.

PureVPN List of Servers

To connect to a server, simply click on the dropdown menu (on PureVPN’s home page). This will open up a list of locations. Click on any of those, and PureVPN will do the rest. To disconnect and return to your regular Web connection, use the “Disconnect” button.

The only thing left for us to check is the application’s settings panel. You can access it by clicking on the cogwheel button, in the top-right corner:

  • App Settings: You’ll find some basic but highly important options here. To ensure maximum protection, you can set PureVPN to launch on system startup and immediately connect to a predefined VPN server. This is where you can also select one of the supported VPN protocols.
  • Select Mode: As said earlier, you can choose from different modes that prioritize specifically optimized servers. For example, there’s a mode for streaming, Web browsing, file-sharing, and more.
  • Select Language: PureVPN can display its interface in several languages. You’ll get to pick from Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, and Turkish.

PureVPN Network Preferences
  • Network Type: If you’re a skilled VPN user, you can make sure that PureVPN works the way you want. This including letting the application pick the best network-related settings, or you can force it to use a non-NAT network.
  • Advanced Options: This is where you can enable the VPN’s kill-switch, and this is something that we strongly recommend doing. You can also let PureVPN remind you if you’re using your regular Web connection instead of using the VPN.

PureVPN Advanced Options UI
  • Beta Features: This is where you can enable PureVPN’s beta features. However, we have to note that signing up is easy, but getting out of this program is hard. There’s no way of opting out from within the app, which seems like an unfair thing to do on PureVPN’s part.
  • Port Forwarding: In case you need to connect to a specific device or server, you need to enable port forwarding. Luckily, PureVPN made this an easy thing to do.

PureVPN Port Forwarding Preferences Screen
  • Check for Update: Pretty self-explanatory, right? This is where you can check for an update, and make sure you’re having the latest of what PureVPN offers.
  • Help & Support: You’ll find three customer support resources here: a series of frequently asked questions, as well as links to PureVPN’s “About Us” and “Ideas Forum” pages.
  • Support Ticket: Interestingly enough, PureVPN lets you create a support ticket from within the application – which is a really nice and convenient way to get help.
  • Logout: Finally, this is where you can log out of your VPN account.

All in all, PureVPN comes with a very simple UI that’s also easy to use. It’s not the most intuitive at times, nor is it highly polished, but it gets the job done. Of course, further simplification of its UI would be beneficial, especially for inexperienced users.

Media Streaming & Torrenting Support

PureVPN Unblocks Netflix USA

According to our tests, PureVPN can unblock Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. It also fully supports torrenting via a series of specialized servers. Our Score: 8/10.

It’s time to see how successfully can PureVPN unblock media streaming websites. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about fans of P2P traffic either. Here’s what you need to know.

Media Streaming & Torrenting Support

Netflix US YES
Hulu YES
BBC iPlayer YES (via dedicated IP)
Amazon Prime Video YES (slow performance)
Torrenting (P2P) Support YES

The good news is that when it comes to unblocking Netflix (the US version), this VPN can help you. It’s interesting to note that you often hear PureVPN can’t unblock Netflix. However, this wasn’t the case during our testing. We managed to play US-only titles without any problems whatsoever.

PureVPN can also unblock Hulu, and we’ve managed to unblock BBC iPlayer after chatting with the company’s support team. For this service, you need to use a dedicated IP. And when it comes to Amazon Prime Video, we did unblock it, but we weren’t able to play anything due to constant buffering. The bottom line – Netflix and Hulu users are in luck, while users of other services will have to look for another in the list of best VPNs for streaming.

Good to Know: PureVPN is also capable of unblocking plenty of regional websites and streaming services, such as ARTE, ARD, beIN Sports, CWTV, Fox Sports GO, Fuji TV, ITV, Mediaset Espana, RTVE, SVT, and plenty more.

And we have good news if you depend on P2P traffic. PureVPN allows torrenting via many of its servers. For this purpose, you’ll have to go with the ‘File Sharing mode,’ which will make downloading large files as easy as possible.

Security & Privacy

PureVPN Privacy Policy

PureVPN has had plenty of trouble in the past – and this included leaked information. However, it seems that this VPN has done plenty in recent years to improve its reputation. There is some logging, but nothing to be worried about. Our Score: 6/10.

As you could learn in the first segment of our review, PureVPN does have a somewhat problematic past – which can be a major obstacle to using this VPN. So, let’s take a closer look and see how well it can protect the privacy of its users.

Supported Encryption Standards

PureVPN is using plenty of capable tools for encrypting your data. This means that it doesn’t allow a third-party to take advantage of your personal information. The core of this technology is military-grade 256-bit AES encryption – the strongest type available now.

In addition to using highly capable encryption, PureVPN relies on a whole range of VPN protocols as well. These are OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP. Each of these comes with its strengths and weaknesses – where OpenVPN is considered to be the best one right now. This means that PureVPN has covered the basics well.

Logging Policy

Even the most reliable  VPN protocols don’t mean much if your VPN collects your data. And in 2017, PureVPN completely tarnished its own reputation. This was connected to a case where the FBI was able to catch a cyber-stalker by forcing PureVPN to hand over personal data of the person in question. And all of this was happening at a time when PureVPN claimed that it doesn’t know anything about its customers.

To improve its standing, PureVPN has done plenty to persuade its customers into staying. They’ve updated their privacy policy to make it more transparent and here’s what kind of information they log right now:

  • Information regarding your Internet Service Provider;
  • The date you connected to a secure server;
  • Total bandwidth consumed. 

The types of information mentioned above cannot be used to identify what you do online. This means that your real IP address, connection timestamps, or any other personally identifiable information are not collected.

PureVPN has indeed had several problems in the past, and it already managed to disappoint its users once. However, we do believe that the company has improved its privacy policy and that it no longer collects personal data. In fact, this VPN went through an independent audit recently, confirming that PII (personally identifiable information) is never collected – which once again makes PureVPN an interesting pick.

DNS Leak Test

PureVPN Passes DNS Leak Test

Lastly, know that we’ve put PureVPN through a rigorous DNS leak test. We’re happy to report that no leaks were detected. It means that once you connect to a PureVPN’s server, your private information won’t leave the secure tunnel created by the VPN.

Speed & Performance

Netflix Unblocking via PureVPN

On average, PureVPN slowed our Web connection down by around 82%. This is quite below what you can usually expect. Our Score: 2/10.

Now is the time to check the performance of PureVPN. For this purpose, we’ll connect to several servers offered by this VPN, and do several speed tests.

Baseline Speed PureVPN Testing
Our baseline data.

The image above shows the speed of our Web connection without using a VPN. As you can see, we got 491.16 Mbps for downloads and 48.63 Mbps for uploads. These numbers will help us calculate the speed reduction imposed by PureVPN.

Europe Server PureVPN Performance
PureVPN’s Europe-based server performance.

Then, we’ve made a secure connection to a nearby server (located in Europe). In general, we expected to see some reduction but not by much. However, that’s wasn’t the case. We got 175.13 Mbps for downloads and 44.80 Mbps for uploads.

USA Server PureVPN Performance
PureVPN’s USA-based server performance.

Then, we’ve tried a remote server, which in our case would be in the USA. This is when our speed deteriorated even further and came down to only 2.14 Mbps for downloads and 1.42 Mbps for uploads. Once again, this kind of throttling is not usual and should not be as dramatic – especially when it comes to reputable and long-standing VPN providers.

To make sense of this data, we are going to put all of the information mentioned above in a table. This will help us calculate how much PureVPN reduced the speed of our Web connection.

Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline Speed 491.16 Mbps 48.63 Mbps 0%
Nearby Server 175.13 Mbps 44.80 Mbps 64%
Remote Server  2.14 Mbps 1.42 Mbps 99.5%

We can conclude that PureVPN made our Web connection slower by 82%, on average. It’s true that VPNs can slow you down since your data needs to be travel more. However, this kind of drastic reduction is quite below what you can usually expect.

Customer Support

PureVPN Troubleshooting Page

PureVPN comes with plenty of customer support material, ranging from a live chat functionality up to comprehensive FAQs. Our Score: 10/10.

We’ll also tell you what kind of customer support you can expect from PureVPN. After all, having someone to assist you in case of any question is quite important.

  • Live Chat Support: On every page of PureVPN’s website, you can find a live chat button in the bottom-right corner. This is the best and speediest way to get help since you can talk to a real person. There aren’t any queues, and you can start chatting with someone in an instant.
  • Setup Guides: To help you install this VPN, you can rely on several setup guides. This perhaps isn’t needed when installing PureVPN on Windows or macOS. However, you’ll find resources helpful when installing the VPN on a router.
  • FAQs: If you have any doubts about buying or using this VPN, you can check out frequently asked questions.
  • Support Tickets: Instead of sending an email, you can open a support ticket and send a message to PureVPN’s support team. You can expect a response in a day or two.
  • Special Guides: PureVPN also offers some special guides for users in China, watching Netflix outside the USA, and more.

Pricing

Link to PureVPN Pricing Scheme

PureVPN is among the cheapest VPNs out there. However, make sure to read the fine print to avoid being surprised in the future. Our Score: 6/10. 

Lastly, we’ll take a look at PureVPN’s pricing structure. We have put together a helpful table below, where you can find information to get started.

Total Price Per Month Savings
1-Month Plan $10.95 $10.95 0%
1-Year Plan $48.96 $4.08 63%
2-Year Plan $69.12 $2.88 70%

Clearly, PureVPN’s two-year plan is by far its best option – you can subscribe to PureVPN for $69.12, which comes down to $2.88 per month. We’ll be honest with you and we’ll say that you’ll hardly find a better price right now. And if you’re still unsure, you can buy PureVPN’s 7-day trial for only $0.99.

You should also know that PureVPN offers an annual plan, whose price is $4.08 per month. This means that you will be charged $48.96. However, if you check out the fine print, this is the price for the VPN’s first year only. After the first year, you’ll be charged $69.95.

Good to Know: PureVPN offers special discounts, quite often. So, if there’s a big (shopping) holiday around, you’ll want to check PureVPN’s website for any promotions. These typically bring the price down in a dramatic way, so keep this in mind.

PureVPN also offers a range of premium-priced addons, including port forwarding ($0.99 per month), dedicated IPs ($3.99 per month), and DDoS protection ($4.99 per month).

There are different ways to pay, including credit cards, Bitcoin, PayPal, AliPay, Skrill, and more. And finally, you should know that PureVPN offers a 31-day money-back guarantee – with no questions asked. And you should also note that some payment methods do not include the refund option (if you pay via the Google Play Store and iOS App Store).

Do We Recommend PureVPN?

Link to PureVPN Website

So, the big question is – is PureVPN worth the money? If you’ve read this review carefully, you know that PureVPN is far from perfect. Most importantly, privacy-conscientious users should keep in mind that this VPN isn’t the best option for online privacy. However, if you want to unblock websites, and if you’re not paranoid about your privacy, PureVPN could be a reliable option.

  • PROS: Simple to use; Plenty of interesting features, Thousands of servers across the world; Strong encryption; Unblocks Netflix.
  • CONS: Problematic past; Subpar performance.
  • OUR SCORE: 6.8 out of 10!

In case you think PureVPN could be a good fit for you, don’t hesitate and sign up for PureVPN today. Even though it might not be the most secure option, we’re sure that some users would find it to be useful, especially considering its low price!

Review Summary

PureVPN isn't a perfect VPN - but it still comes with plenty to offer. We recommend it to average home users who want to unblock websites and media streaming services, and who aren't exactly paranoid when it comes to their digital privacy.

6.8
Overall Score
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
2
Supported Platforms & Devices
10
Installation & Initial Configuration
9
Prominent Features
9
Server Count
8
Ease of Use
5
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
8
Security & Privacy
6
Speed & Performance
2
Customer Support
10
Pricing
6

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