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 that 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 proceed further, let's take a quick detour. We are sure that some of you are reading this review to compare PureVPN to its competitors. With that said, we'll start with the basic set of information/features to introduce you to this software.
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands|
|Logs||No connection or activity logs|
|Number of Servers||75+ countries; 6,500+ servers|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IPsec|
|Speed Reduction||70.6% (on average)|
|Live Chat Support||YES|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire OS, Web browsers & compatible routers.|
|Price||Starts at $2.45/month|
The following table will give you a quick glimpse of PureVPN's media streaming capabilities, which should be helpful if you plan on using this VPN to unblock media streaming websites.
Media Streaming Support
|Hulu||YES (can be slow at times)|
|Amazon Prime Video||YES (but not always)|
|Disney Plus||YES (can be slow at times)|
Lastly, we have one more piece of information for you. Some of you might be in a rush, 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||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. With that said, we recommend it primarily for streaming and unblocking websites.|
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 VPN service 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 - that 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?
Up until recently, PureVPN was based in Hong Kong. However, due to China's ever-growing influence, VPNs have started to abandon that city/territory. That's most probably the reason why PureVPN now says that it comes from the British Virgin Islands, which is an independent and privacy-protecting territory.
Interestingly enough, many other VPNs come from the British Virgin Islands as well, like ExpressVPN and Surfshark. Both of those are highly reputable VPNs with a long history of protecting their customers' sensitive information.
More precisely, PureVPN is a product of a company called GZ Systems Limited, as per this VPN's legal documentation. That's where you'll find the company's address, providing a level of transparency that we don't often see in today's VPN services (if you don't take a closer look, as you're about to find out).
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 those articles rank high on Google. In other words, this is false and misleading marketing.
With that said, it's clear that PureVPN isn't as transparent as it claims to be. On the contrary, it purposefully hides various crucial information that its subscribers should know about. And if you keep on reading this review, you'll see that many other of its marketing messages oversell what this VPN is capable of doing.
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.
We should also mention that in 2017, PureVPN was happy to assist the FBI in catching a cyberstalker. At that time, the VPN claimed that no data was collected, which turned out to be false. Even though committing a crime is against any digital service's 'Terms of Service' out there, the problem is that PureVPN wasn't honest about its logging practices.
What's interesting to note is that PureVPN has come up with a solution and upgraded its servers since – according to the VPN'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 every currently popular device and operating system, 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||Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.|
|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 platforms like Chrome OS, 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 annoyances. The process is suitable even for complete beginners. Our Score: 10/10
As you can imagine, it all starts with getting a PureVPN subscription. Then, you can proceed to download PureVPN's apps from its 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. However, not all of PureVPN's advertised features are available across all of its apps. Our Score: 8/10
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 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. However, this is a premium-priced feature ($2.99/month).
And lastly, PureVPN offers a few additional premium add-ons. For example, there's port forwarding ($0.99/month), useful when torrenting, playing online games, or sharing your website/FTP securely. There's also DDoS protection ($3.99/month), useful for gaming, e-commerce stores, and various types of online businesses.
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: 8/10
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||75+|
|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. On top of that, there are various ways to filter the available servers. Therefore, you can easily make a decision about which server to use, as well as what kind of performance to expect.
Also, we have to mention that a portion of PureVPN's network consists of virtual servers (instead of offering physical servers). For example, servers associated with countries like Egypt, Argentina, Panama, Bolivia, Algeria, Oman, and Mexico are virtual. To check those, you need to check PureVPN's website. Sadly, the VPN's apps make no mention of virtual server locations, which is definitely a transparency oversight.
UI/UX Design & Ease of Use
Despite a recent visual redesign, PureVPN is still miles behind its competitors. Its apps now feature a modern-looking user interface that's still characterized by many visual quirks and inconsistencies. Our Score: 5/10
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 one. 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 (in close proximity to your physical location), any recently used servers, your 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 'Notifications' tab acts as a message board for PureVPN to inform you of anything that requires your attention (we're yet to see a message posted there). The 'Refer a Friend' tab lets you invite up to 24 hours, saying that you can "share free monthly accounts with your friends and family."
Then, there's the 'Setup on Devices' tab, which has a sizeable list of links (using which you can download additional PureVPN apps and take full advantage of your subscription). And lastly, 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).
If we head over to PureVPN's settings, we will encounter three tabs. Let's take a close look at what's found there (at least when it comes to macOS):
- General: This tab lets you change PureVPN's appearance, pick another language, as well as instruct the VPN to launch on system startup and auto-connect (if you want protection 24/7).
- Protocol: PureVPN makes it easy to switch between different VPN protocols. By default, the app will pick the best protocol. However, you're always free to make your own choices.
- Advanced: And lastly, the 'Advanced' tab lets you enable the kill switch, let PureVPN show ping values, and similar. Even though this is a small group of options, all of them are beneficial to tweak.
When it comes to PureVPN's mobile apps, they share the same visual language as the VPN's desktop apps. For example, PureVPN's iOS app opens to a very simple home screen (useful for first-time users), letting you connect to a server or dive into the app's settings. During the last couple of months, this VPN app has become more powerful, which is nice to see as it launched with a limited number of features.
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
As per our tests, PureVPN can unblock a whole range of popular media streaming services. It also fully supports torrenting via a series of specialized servers. However, this VPN's speed can be limited at times. 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 and Torrenting Support
|Disney Plus||YES (can be slow at times)|
|Hulu||YES (can be slow at times)|
|Amazon Prime Video||YES (most of the time)|
|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 can often hear that PureVPN can't unblock Netflix, as reported all over the Web. 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 in the majority of cases. At times, we did experience very slow speeds with plenty of buffering involved. The same applies to Prime Video, which seems to work quite nicely. And lastly, we also managed to unblock BBC's iPlayer without any issues whatsoever.
Also, we have some 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. PureVPN's desktop apps let you filter the VPN's P2P servers as well, making it even easier to find a fast-performing option.
Security & Privacy
PureVPN has had plenty of issues in the past. However, it seems that this VPN has done plenty in recent years to improve its reputation. There is some logging still involved, making it hard to recommend this VPN if you're only interested in protecting your privacy. 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 uses plenty of capable tools for encrypting your data. That means it doesn’t allow third parties to take advantage of your personal information. The core of this tech is military-grade 256-bit AES encryption – the strongest type available right now.
In addition to using highly capable encryption (AES-256), PureVPN relies on a whole range of VPN protocols as well - OpenVPN, IPsec, and IKEv2. Until recently, this VPN supported PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP, but these are no longer accessible from the VPN's apps.
Even though PureVPN should provide a very secure tunnel for your data, it's not on the same level as its competitors. That's because many VPNs have already adopted WireGuard, the latest VPN protocol available that combines fast performance with high-end security. Of course, this isn't a major downside. However, we have to note that other VPN could give you more options without you having to pay more.
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. That was connected to a case where the FBI caught a cyber-stalker by forcing PureVPN to hand over very precise personal data about one of its subscribers. And all of that was happening at a time when PureVPN claimed it didn'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 your real IP address, connection timestamps, or any other personally identifiable pieces of information remain private.
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 will remain within this VPN's secure tunnel.
Speed & Performance
On average, PureVPN slowed our Web connection down by around 70%. This is quite below what you can usually expect. On top of that, PureVPN comes with unpredictable performance, which could be a problem in the long run. Our Score: 3/10
While reviewing VPN services, we connect to both local and remote servers to check their speeds. We did the same with PureVPN, so here's what you can expect in terms of its performance.
The image above shows the speed of our Web connection without using the VPN. As you can see, we got 486.49 Mbps for downloads and 47.56 Mbps for uploads. Those are our baseline stats, helping us calculate the reduction of performance imposed by PureVPN.
We're located in Europe, which means that to test local connections, we use servers located in Italy and the UK. Above, you can see the numbers we got from an Italy-based server, which gave us 152.97 Mbps for downloads and 23.09 Mbps for uploads.
Then, a server in the UK gave us 187.54 Mbps for downloads and 19.93 Mbps for uploads. In general, we expected those numbers to be higher.
When it comes to testing remote connections, we typically connect to servers in the US, Canada, India, and Australia. The image you see above is related to PureVPN's US-based server, which gave us 159.51 Mbps for downloads and 6.96 Mbps for uploads.
Then, a server in Canada behaved quite poorly. No matter how many times we tested various Canada-based servers provided by PureVPN, we never managed to go over 5.80 Mbps for downloads and 6.58 Mbps for uploads.
A server in India gave us 200.04 Mbps for downloads and 4.88 Mbps for uploads. Overall, those are good numbers for a remote location (remember that we're located in Europe).
And lastly, a server in Australia gave us 149.96 Mbps for downloads and 4.27 Mbps for uploads. Once again, those numbers are quite high for a highly remote VPN connection.
To make sense of the data and images displayed above, we have put all of that information in the following table. So, let's take a quick look, shall we?
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Speed Reduction|
|Baseline Speed||486.49 Mbps||47.46 Mbps||0%|
|Italy||152.97 Mbps||23.09 Mbps||68.5%|
|United Kingdom||187.54 Mbps||19.93 Mbps||61.4%|
|United States||159.51 Mbps||6.96 Mbps||67.2%|
|Canada||5.80 Mbps||6.58 Mbps||98.8%|
|India||200.04 Mbps||4.88 Mbps||58.8%|
|Australia||149.96 Mbps||4.27 Mbps||69.1%|
We conclude that PureVPN made our Internet connection slower by 70.6%, on average. Even though every VPN will slow you down, you can expect much better performance, in general. What's problematic about PureVPN is that some of its servers performed quite poorly, which means that its performance and speed are quite unpredictable.
PureVPN comes with plenty of customer support material, ranging from live chat up to comprehensive FAQs and more. 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 questions or issues 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 installation guides to be helpful when installing this VPN on a router, for example.
- FAQs: If you have any doubts about buying or using this VPN, you can check out PureVPN's 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, how to watch Netflix outside the United States, and more.
When compared to its competitors, PureVPN is a more affordable option. That especially goes for its long-term plans. However, there's the question of PureVPN's value, considering its numerous downsides. Our Score: 7/10
Lastly, we'll take a look at PureVPN's pricing structure. Here's how much you'll need to pay to become a PureVPN subscriber.
Strangely enough, PureVPN no longer offers a monthly plan (which used to be priced at $10.95). That option has been replaced by PureVPN's 3-month plan, which comes down to $6.65 per month.
As you can imagine, the biggest savings are found in the VPN's long-term subscriptions. There's the 12-month subscription, priced at $3.74 per month. And there's also the 24-month subscription, priced at $2.91 per month.
We should also mention that PureVPN is no stranger to massive discounts, as this VPN uses various shopping and cyber-security events to promote its services. So, make sure to check for the latest PureVPN deals, and you might find something quite attractive.
PureVPN also offers a range of premium-priced add-ons, 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, PayPal, Apple Pay, and various crypto-currencies. And finally, 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, for example).
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 has a number of issues it needs to overcome. 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; Easy to use.
- 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!