Even after taking a quick look at PureVPN’s official website, you’ll be impressed by its long list of advertised features. According to the site, this is the world’s fastest VPN and comes with a set of tools that you simply 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. So, welcome to our hands-on PureVPN review!
Before we start with our review, we’ll take a quick detour. We are 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.
|Logs||No connection or activity logs.|
|Number of Servers||140+ countries / 6,500+ servers.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP, PPTP.|
|Speed Reduction||82% on average.|
|Live Chat Support||YES|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire OS, Web browsers & compatible routers.|
|Price||Starting at $3.33/month.|
The following table will give you a quick glimpse of PureVPN’s media streaming capabilities. 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
|BBC iPlayer||YES (via dedicated IP)|
|Amazon Prime Video||YES (but not always)|
Lastly, we have one more piece of information 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; Good for media streaming; Affordable (in the long run).|
|Cons||Very troublesome past; Sub-par performance; Not the most polished UI.|
|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.|
Next, what awaits you 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 service.
PureVPN Review 2021 – Everything You Must Know Before You Subscribe!
Table of Contents
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
Numerous privacy-related questions have been surrounding PureVPN for a while now – 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. And, yes – this can include your private data as well. However, VPNs treat your private data differently, so let’s check the situation surrounding PureVPN.
Where Does PureVPN Come From? Is It Part of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance?
PureVPN proudly states that it’s based in Hong Kong. You probably know that Hong Kong is under China’s political jurisdiction – but you can look at it as an independent territory.
Hong Kong 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 (even though the previous year was difficult for Hong Kong, currently battling an ever-growing Chinese influence).
So, we can presume that PureVPN is perfectly safe for use, right? Well, this is where things get complicated. First, you need to dig quite 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 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. Being the owner of those websites, Gaditek hires writers to produce highly positive reviews of PureVPN – and these articles rank high on Google. In other words, this is false and misleading marketing.
Did PureVPN Leak Private Data in the Past?
There have been several privacy-related incidents directly connected to PureVPN. Most recently, it was discovered that PureVPN could have leaked passwords since it stored them in a plain text format. This discovery was unveiled in September 2018, and this security vulnerability has been apparently solved since.
In March of 2018, PureVPN found itself among a group of VPNs leaking 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, at least. Of course, we’ll make sure to test whether PureVPN is prone to any DNS or IP leaks later on in this PureVPN review.
Finally, in an effort to improve its image, PureVPN 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 its subscribers, but we still recommend exercising caution while using this VPN.
Supported Platforms & Devices
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 just about any Internet-connected device. Leaving a single device unprotected could lead to a leak, eliminating your privacy protection efforts.
|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 looking at the table above, it’s clear that PureVPN has covered the basics well 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. Even though that isn’t the easiest process to go through, it’s the best way to ensure that your personal data doesn’t leak online.
It’s also worth knowing that you can use PureVPN on up to 10 devices at the same time. 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
In general, downloading and installing PureVPN comes without any major annoyances. The process is suitable even for complete beginners. Our Score: 10/10.
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 process 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. And if you ever get stuck along the way, you can consult PureVPN’s installation guides, which come nicely written with plenty of useful material.
PureVPN has eliminated a group of unique yet very problematic features – and is now a reliable and powerful VPN service once again (at least based on its list of standard and advanced features). Our Score: 9/10.
This is where we take a look at the standard set of features that every capable VPN should bring in 2021. 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 (Windows, macOS, Android)|
|Split Tunneling||YES (Windows, Android, Android TV)|
|Unlimited Server Switches||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 obfuscate your Internet traffic in a unique way. However, they also brought performance-related issues. With that said, it’s not surprising to see those 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 (available on Windows, macOS, and Android). You will also find split tunneling on board (available on Windows, Android, and Android TV).
It’s also interesting to note that PureVPN offers dedicated IPs that can be linked to certain countries, such as the United States, Singapore, Malta, Germany, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Server Count & Infrastructure
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: 9/10.
The truth is that PureVPN has plenty of servers around the world. With that said, our PureVPN review wouldn’t be complete without inspecting its server network, which you can learn more about just below.
Server Count Info
|Number of Servers||6,500+|
|Number of Locations||180+|
|Number of Countries||140+|
|Specific Cities Selection||YES|
We have to say that PureVPN has exceeded our expectations. Having more than 6,500 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.
All of that comes in handy once you start to use PureVPN’s software. Once you pick a country, you’ll get to pick a specific location as well. And before you connect to a server, PureVPN can calculate approximate ping values. Therefore, you can easily make a decision about which server to use, as well as what kind of performance to expect.
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.
UI/UX Design & Ease of Use
Despite a recent redesign, PureVPN is still miles behind its competitors. Its apps now feature a modern-looking UI that’s still characterized by visual quirks and inconsistencies. Our Score: 4/10.
PureVPN used to bring an outdated and somewhat confusing UI, which was redesigned a couple of months ago. Now, this is a much more polished application – even though there’s still plenty of work that can be done to improve it.
The home screen of PureVPN is very simple. You can connect to the nearest server or decide to connect to the most recently used server. To tap into all of PureVPN’s servers, you need to click on ‘Locations’ on the left-hand side. That’s where you will see a recommended location, recently used servers, favorite servers, or you can pick any server manually.
When it comes to other options in PureVPN’s main menu (on the left side of its interface), you won’t find much there. The ‘Support’ tab lets you check a small group of frequently asked questions, and you can submit a support ticket or start a live chat (by going to PureVPN’s site).
When it comes to other tabs, they’re labeled ‘Refer a Friend’ and ‘Profile.’ PureVPN lets you send up to 24 invites, and so you can “share free monthly accounts.” And finally, the ‘Profile’ tap lets you check your profile information, when your subscription is due to expire, and similar.
If we head over to PureVPN’s settings, you will encounter two tabs. The ‘General’ tab lets you start PureVPN on system startup, enable the kill switch, auto-update the app, and similar. And then, there’s the ‘Protocol’ tab that will let you switch from using PureVPN’s automatic protocol selection and picking a protocol manually.
All in all, we are happy to see this VPN making an effort to redesign its apps. However, we are not yet convinced that PureVPN has picked the right direction. Compared to top-rated VPNs, this one looks like a product in development, with numerous interface quirks that are yet to be ironed out.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
According to our tests, PureVPN can unblock Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, 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 u0026amp; Torrenting Support
|BBC iPlayer||YES (via dedicated IPs)|
|Amazon Prime Video||YES (but not always)|
|Torrenting (P2P) Support||YES (specialized servers)|
The good news is that when it comes to unblocking Netflix (the US version), this VPN can help you. It’s also 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 Disney Plus without any problems. 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, Hulu, and Disney Plus users are in luck, while users of other services will have to look for another in the list of best VPNs for streaming.
Also, we have good news if you depend on P2P traffic. PureVPN allows torrenting via many of its servers. These are clearly labeled across all of PureVPN’s apps, so interacting with them is really easy.
Security & Privacy
PureVPN has had plenty of issues in the past – and this included leaked data. 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 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 its users’ privacy.
Which VPN Protocols Does PureVPN Support?
PureVPN is using plenty of capable tools for encrypting your data. This means 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 – with OpenVPN bring considered the best one right now. This means PureVPN has covered the basics well.
Does PureVPN Log Private & Sensitive Data?
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 could catch a cyber-stalker by forcing PureVPN to hand over very precise personal data about one of its subscribers. And all of this was happening at a time when PureVPN claimed that it doesn’t know anything about its customers.
- 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.
In fact, this VPN went through an independent audit, confirming that PII (personally identifiable information) is never collected – which once again makes PureVPN an interesting pick.
Does PureVPN Leak/Expose Private Data?
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
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.
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.
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.
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 have 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%|
|Europe-Based Server||175.13 Mbps||44.80 Mbps||64%|
|USA-Based Server||2.14 Mbps||1.42 Mbps||99.5%|
We can conclude that PureVPN made our Internet 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.
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.
PureVPN comes with an expensive monthly plan. However, if you’re willing to invest in long-term plans, you can save up to around 70%. Our Score: 7/10.
Lastly, we’ll take a look at PureVPN’s pricing structure. We have put together a helpful table below, so take a good look.
If you want to pay every month, PureVPN will cost you $10.95 each month. However, keep in mind that PureVPN’s long-term plan comes with dramatic savings. Right now, you can save up to around 70% on PureVPN’s two-year plan, whose price comes down to $3.33/month.
PureVPN also offers a range of premium-priced addons, including port forwarding ($0.99 per month), dedicated IPs ($2.99 per month), and DDoS protection ($3.99 per month).
When it comes to supported payment options, you can choose between credit cards and PayPal. 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?
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, access media streaming services, and if you’re not paranoid about your privacy, PureVPN could be a reliable option.
- PROS: Plenty of interesting features; Thousands of servers across the world; Strong encryption; Strong VPN protocols; Unblocks Netflix.
- CONS: Problematic past; Subpar performance; Not the most polished UI and UX.
- OUR SCORE: 7.0 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!