PureVPN is a budget VPN offering reliable performance across a truly global server network. It doesn’t offer the same super-fast speeds as top-tier providers, however it’s incredibly consistent across the majority of popular locations. Access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other major streaming services is incredibly easy through servers optimized for video. User-friendly custom apps are available for a range of devices, including Android TV and the Amazon Fire Stick. Various routers are also supported.
Pricing & Deals
PureVPN provides a range of pricing options to help you decide which is best for you. They all offer the same features but the longer subscription you choose, the less you pay each month.
A single month is the most expensive option at $10.95, but this is reduced by a whopping 80% to just $2.19 per month if you opt for the three-year plan. If you don’t want to commit for that long, the annual plan works out at a reasonable $4.08 a month.
Get an extra 15% off PureVPN's 1-month plan
PureVPN Pricing & Deals
PureVPN offers a 31-day money-back guarantee – this is a genuinely “no questions asked” guarantee with no hidden data caps or restrictions. However, if it is due to a technical issue customer support will try and fix it first. After your refund request is processed, it can take up to 30 days for the refund payment to appear in your account, so be prepared to be patient.
PrivateVPN also offers a three-day trial account with no data cap or usage restrictions for $2.50. This is not refundable under any circumstances, including technical problems, but is a very good way to test out all of the services without worrying about going over your data allowance. You can also sign up to the refer-a-friend scheme where you get ‘surprise rewards’ if you get a friend or family member to subscribe.
PureVPN accepts a very large range of payment methods. This includes most major credit and debit cards, PayPal, an assortment of cryptocurrencies and tons of international options such as WebMoney, Alipay, Sofort and Neosurf. It should be noted that payments using cryptocurrencies are non-refundable.
Speed & Reliability
PureVPN isn’t by any means one of the fastest VPN providers we’ve tested, however we were impressed by the consistency of the speeds across its server network. You can expect performance good enough for everyday streaming and downloading, even across longer distances such as connecting out to the US from the UK. It’s also a great choice for gamers, torrenters and P2P users due to fantastic upload speeds and low latency in popular locations.
PureVPN Performance Data
- Download Speed Average:30.96 MbpsUpload Speed Average:10.51 MbpsPing Time Average:141 ms
- Download Speed Average:167.98 MbpsUpload Speed Average:51.89 MbpsPing Time Average:6 ms
- Download Speed Average:134.33 MbpsUpload Speed Average:54.63 MbpsPing Time Average:3 ms
- Download Speed Average:201.21 MbpsUpload Speed Average:104.79 MbpsPing Time Average:3 ms
- Download Speed Average:197.42 MbpsUpload Speed Average:118.07 MbpsPing Time Average:3 ms
- Download Speed Average:96.49 MbpsUpload Speed Average:31.67 MbpsPing Time Average:30 ms
- Download Speed Average:28.30 MbpsUpload Speed Average:9.45 MbpsPing Time Average:125 ms
- Download Speed Average:95.23 MbpsUpload Speed Average:59.16 MbpsPing Time Average:5 ms
- Download Speed Average:67.58 MbpsUpload Speed Average:23.61 MbpsPing Time Average:26 ms
- Download Speed Average:90.59 MbpsUpload Speed Average:13.64 MbpsPing Time Average:3 ms
- Download Speed Average:399.99 MbpsUpload Speed Average:44.98 MbpsPing Time Average:2 ms
- Download Speed Average:35.35 MbpsUpload Speed Average:6.06 MbpsPing Time Average:46 ms
PureVPN offers consistent download speeds on both local and global connections. The current average local download speed is 126Mbps, with some locations such as Toronto offering excellent speeds of up to 400Mbps. Connecting out to the US from the UK you can expect speeds of around 16Mbps, which is a little lower than most other top-tier providers but still more than adequate for HD streaming. More distant servers didn’t perform quite as well, with connections from Australia and Japan struggling to reach 12Mbps.
We also logged very low latency of 2ms in Toronto and 3ms in London, making PureVPN a good choice for gamers. However this isn’t the case for every location, with ping in San Francisco ballooning out to an extremely laggy 125ms.
PureVPN connects reasonably quickly each time at around 10 seconds on average. We found performance to be very reliable without too much fluctuation and very few connection drops, provided you have a stable internet connection.
PureVPN’s upload speeds were equally as reliable as its download speeds, disregarding poor performance on the Vancouver server. The average local upload speed is currently a very pleasing 43Mbps with some locations offering much higher speeds, such as London at 118Mbps. Combined with PureVPN’s P2P-optimized servers, this makes it a fantastic choice for both torrenters and keen Kodi users.
PureVPN doesn’t come anywhere close to top-tier providers in terms of peak performance on individual servers, however what makes it very appealing is the sheer consistency across its network. If you want to stream US Netflix in Ultra HD across multiple devices then it’s perhaps worth looking elsewhere, however for most people PureVPN’s speeds will be more than adequate.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
PureVPN has a very impressive range of server locations with over 140 countries on offer across 6 continents. Very few VPN providers come close to offering this amount of choice, with the majority just catering to the more popular destinations.
PureVPN operates an excellent amount of servers at just over 2,000, however it really stands out for maintaining 125-150 individual IP addresses per server, reaching a total of more than 300,000. This is by far the highest number of IP addresses we’ve seen from any provider, massively reducing the risk of server congestion and making it a lot easier for you to get ‘lost in the crowd’.
A choice of 13 different US cities provides coast-to-coast coverage, and you can drill down to city level in Australia, the UK, Canada, and a handful of other countries too.
PureVPN also offers amazing choice across the usually less-served continents of Asia, Africa and South America. There are all the normal options such as Brazil, South Africa, and Japan, along with some more unusual ones including Kuwait, Cambodia, Venezuela and Cape Verde. PureVPN users are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to the depth of the global network.
You can find the complete list of PureVPN server locations by country and city on their website below.
Platforms & Devices
PureVPN offers a good range of custom apps for various devices including Microsoft Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and have recently introduced a client specifically for Linux. You can buy pre-configured routers with PureVPN already installed through its partnership with FlashRouters, meaning all you have to do is connect your devices and you’re ready to go.
On PureVPN’s website you can also find a series of manual setup guides for those devices without native apps, such as Chromecast and various Blu-ray players. The software is also compatible with a long list of routers, which can be found on the site, along with instructions to manually configure your own.
PureVPN also offers proxy extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. These are incredibly easy to download and add to your browser, and can be installed in a matter of seconds if you already have the main app. As well as giving you the ability to access the web securely and unblock censored content, they also protect you from WebRTC leaks, which can potentially expose your true IP address.
It’s important to remember that these extensions do not encrypt your connection and therefore should not be used in place of the desktop client, however they are still a very useful bonus feature.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
PureVPN stands out for offering dedicated apps for both the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Android TV, so all you have to do is download the software from the app store and you’re good to go. We like that they now offer a Kodi add-on too. You can also use a range of other streaming devices by connecting them to a configured router or piggybacking off a VPN connection from another device running the PureVPN app, such as a laptop or smartphone.
PureVPN provides an extensive range of manual set-up guides on their website for various games consoles and other streaming devices including PlayStation 3 and 4, Nintendo Wii U and Roku. These are very easy to follow so you shouldn’t have too many issues. This is where PureVPN’s generous limit of five simultaneous connections comes in useful, as you can protect several of your devices at any given time.
Streaming & Torrenting
PureVPN is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for fast, hassle-free access to all major streaming services. If you choose the streaming mode in the main menu you’re presented with a list of all the optimized streaming servers worldwide. We were able to access Netflix first time through the dedicated server and experienced no buffering or connectivity issues.
Watching BBC iPlayer isn’t quite as reliable, but we were able to access the service during our most recent tests by connecting to the dedicated UK streaming server. It’s worth noting that you can usually access the site through the browser extensions too, but these are just proxies, so don’t encrypt your browser traffic.
Fans of other streaming services will love that PureVPN offers optimized servers for over 20 different providers and channels, including Sky TV, Hulu, ABC and ESPN. It’s also a great choice for keen Kodi fans and torrenters as P2P is permitted on the majority of servers, which massively reduces the risk of slow speeds or congestion.
Encryption & Security
The app annoyingly defaults on startup to ‘automatic’, which chooses the ‘best’ protocol for you. However you can select different protocols from a drop-down list in the settings menu. Frustratingly, PureVPN marks OpenVPN as being less secure than IKEv2 and SSTP, which could put inexperienced users off, even though we know OpenVPN is the best protocol for all-round performance and security.
The VPN kill switch is an essential feature, blocking all web traffic should the VPN connection drop for any reason, preventing your true IP address from being exposed. The desktop app includes split tunneling, allowing you to direct specific traffic through the VPN and leave the rest to be directed via your ISP. You’re also protected against DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks, giving you peace of mind that your IP address isn’t visible to anyone other than yourself.
If you’re willing to give PureVPN the benefit of the doubt and overlook their previous privacy issues, they’re certainly secure enough for most. That being said, those kinds of events often leave a bad taste in the mouth that experienced users might not be able to forget.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- DNS Leak Blocking
- First-party DNS
- IPV6 Leak Blocking
- VPN Kill Switch
- WebRTC Leak Blocking
- Split Tunneling
Despite PureVPN’s website currently being blocked in China, it’s one of the few services to still work in the country. However, it’s becoming more and more unreliable as time goes on due to China’s VPN crackdown.
Currently, only the Windows app can be used in the country, but customer support suggested that manual configuration is more effective at beating the censors. There are other providers out there offering a much simpler, more comprehensive solution should you need it, such as ExpressVPN.
The huge choice of server locations means PureVPN is still a good choice for users in other high-censorship countries, such as Turkey, Iran or UAE, as you will never be too far from a fast, reliable server. The broad choice of protocols is also a bonus here.
Previous controversies surrounding PureVPN’s logging policy means we’re still a little skeptical to recommend it to those seeking a high level of privacy who might want to look into other providers with strict zero-logs policies, such as IPVanish and CyberGhost. It recently emerged that consumers were lied to about the amount of connection metadata it collects, in an online harassment case brought against Ryan Lin in October 2017. In short, the FBI was able to identify Lin by matching the IP address of a PureVPN server used in the crime with Lin’s true IP address that he used to connect to the server.
Whilst PureVPN deserves credit for helping catch an alleged criminal, the problem is that it didn’t tell customers it logged their IP address, and claimed to only log connection times and bandwidth used. Even worse, it made the false claim that “We do NOT keep any logs that can identify or help in monitoring a user’s activity”, which clearly isn’t the case.
However, PureVPN has recently gone some way to redeeming itself with the introduction of a completely revamped logging policy, where the only information that they collect is:
- The day you connect to a specific VPN server location
- Your Internet Service Provider
- Total bandwidth used by each user
It does not collect your originating IP address, connection timestamps, DNS requests or the IP address of your chosen VPN server. This means that nothing you do online can be traced back to you as an individual, restoring a little bit of our confidence in the service.
PureVPN operates under the jurisdiction of Hong Kong, putting it beyond the reach of US and EU jurisdiction. It says it specifically chose HK for its headquarters because there are no mandatory data retention laws, therefore it isn’t a legal requirement to to store user data or share it with any third parties.
Ease of Use
The PureVPN apps look great at first glance and have some good ideas about user experience, however we found the execution to be a bit hit and miss. We love the main dashboard that can be customized by purpose (streaming, internet freedom, fire sharing, security, dedicated IP), displaying your new location, IP address and connection duration.
More configurable options can be found in the settings menu, hidden behind the cog icon along the top of the app. These are helpfully organized into sub-sections such as ‘split tunneling’ and ‘VPN hotspot’ to make them easy to navigate. There’s also helpful explanations that go alongside some of the more advanced options, such as IPv6 leak protection, to ensure that even VPN newbies know what they’re doing.
Although the desktop app is pretty clunky and there is some noticeable lag, it is overall very easy to use, if a little frustrating at times. There’s also no ‘remember me’ option, meaning we had to enter our login details every time we restarted the app, which is kind of inconvenient. The mobile apps are a little more streamlined- the Android one connects through OpenVPN, however iOS users will have to choose between L2TP, IKEV and IPSec.
Installing PureVPN is an incredibly simple process and only takes a few minutes from start to finish, even if you’ve never downloaded a VPN before. There are extensive user-friendly set-up guides for a whole host of popular devices on the PureVPN website.
The general process is to download the relevant software from the site, click on the setup file and then follow the sequence of installation prompts. These are very straightforward to follow but if you have any problems, the set-up guides on the site are packed full of useful screenshots and should get you back on track. After you’ve done this, simply enter your login credentials and you’re ready to go.
PureVPN’s customer support is a bit of a mixed bag and not at the same level as most top-tier providers. Live chat agents respond promptly and courteously but are not effective at solving anything beyond helping newbies use the product. Email responses are also very quick but obviously scripted, linking us back to the support section of the site, which isn’t very helpful if you have already tried using FAQ material.
The support center on the website is certainly comprehensive with lots of FAQs, troubleshooting advice and manual set-up guides for loads of devices. There’s also a useful search feature, saving you from scrolling through tons of articles to find what you’re looking for. Our only real complain is that it’s not always very well-written or in perfect English, which can make it look a little unprofessional.
The Bottom Line
- Fast, reliable performance with local speeds of up to 400Mbps
- Quick, easy access to Netflix and other major streaming services
- Easy to use. Very quick set-up on most popular devices
- Huge global network - connect securely to 140 countries
- Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox are a bonus
- Desktop client can be clunky and unresponsive
- Company history of handing user information to law enforcement
- Auto mode in the app defaults to less secure protocols
- Limited customer support
PureVPN is a fantastic choice for frequent streamers and those who want to tighten up security while browsing on the move. It’s one of the cheapest VPNs on the current market and offers excellent value for money, especially on the three-year plan. It’s not as fast as the majority of top-tier providers but offers a high level of consistency across a vast global network of over 140 countries. Optimized streaming servers mean access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other popular services is quick and hassle-free.
The software looks great and is very user-friendly, however the interface can sometimes be a little slow to respond. It can be used in China at a push, but there are better options out there. If you’re looking for a simple VPN to cover basic privacy needs and unblock several major streaming services, you should certainly consider PureVPN.