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PureVPN Review

Simon Migliano
Simon MiglianoUpdated
PureVPN
Our rating: 3.55
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Reliable VPN delivering privacy for streamers. Huge global server network.

What we like
  • Reliable speeds - 35Mbps global average
  • Hassle-free access to Netflix and other major streaming services
  • P2P and torrenting permitted on most servers
  • User-friendly apps. Simple set-up on all popular devices
  • Connect securely to over 140 countries worldwide

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 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.

PureVPN offers strong encryption and loads of advanced privacy features such as a VPN killswitch and DNS leak protection. They have also recently revamped their privacy policy, meaning they now only collect anonymous connection logs to help with technical assistance and connection problems. The app can be made to work at a push in China, but is a lot less reliable than it used to be. Customer support is good enough, with live chat and lots of useful troubleshooting guides.

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 huge 82% to just $1.94 per month if you opt for the 3-year plan, which is incredibly good value for money. There is also a 12-month plan at the very reasonable price of $4.14, saving you 62%.

PureVPN Pricing & Deals

The prices below include the coupon savings.

Best Value Deal
3 years
US$1.94/mo
Save 82%
Billed $69.84 every 3 years
12 Months
US$4.14/mo
Save 62%
Billed $49.68 every 12 months
1 Month
US$10.95/mo
Billed $10.95 every month
Get PureVPN31-day money-back guarantee

PureVPN offers a 31-day money-back guarantee on both new orders and renewals. This is a genuinely “no questions asked” guarantee with no hidden data caps or restrictions, however if it is due to a technical issue they 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 3-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.

Payment Options

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:34.94 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:19.68 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:139 ms
  • Download Speed Average:48.57 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:49.60 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:42 ms
  • Download Speed Average:157.94 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:77.83 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:8 ms
  • Download Speed Average:158.53 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:162.21 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:3 ms
  • Download Speed Average:67.64 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:64.14 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:5 ms
  • Download Speed Average:97.67 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:56.51 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:14 ms
  • Download Speed Average:36.15 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:56.87 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:24 ms
  • Download Speed Average:70.58 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:53.70 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:4 ms
  • Download Speed Average:94.35 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:91.21 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:11 ms
  • Download Speed Average:162.00 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:104.79 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:3 ms
  • Download Speed Average:96.20 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:94.97 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:7 ms
  • Download Speed Average:28.80 Mbps
    Upload Speed Average:6.85 Mbps
    Ping Time Average:129 ms

PureVPN offers consistent download speeds on both local and global connections. The current average local download speed is 93Mbps, with some locations such as Tokyo offering speeds of 162Mbps. Connecting out to the US from the UK you can expect speeds of around 26Mbps, 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 10Mbps.

We also logged very low latency of 3ms in London and Tokyo, making PureVPN a good choice for gamers. However this isn’t the case for every location, with ping in Vancouver ballooning out to an extremely laggy 129ms.

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 equally as reliable as its download speeds, disregarding poor performance on the Vancouver server. The average local upload speed is currently a very pleasing 74Mbps with some locations offering much higher speeds, such as London at 162Mbps. 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 test for VPN speed performance.

Features

Server Locations

140Countries140Countries
180Cities180Cities
300,000+IP Addresses300,000+IP Addresses

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 78 servers across 11 different US cities providing coast-to-coast coverage is up there with some of the best VPNs in the current market. You can also choose from four cities in Australia and two in New Zealand, with the majority of popular European countries having a choice of at least two servers.

PureVPN also offers amazing choice across the usually less-served continents of Asia, Africa and South America. There’s 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

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid
Linux LogoLinux
Router LogoRouter

PureVPN offers a good range of custom apps for various devices including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and have recently introduced a client specifically for Linux. They have also partnered with FlashRouters so you can buy pre-configured routers with PureVPN already installed, 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 set-up 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.

Browser extensions

Chrome LogoChrome
FireFox LogoFireFox

PureVPN also offers proxy extensions for Chrome and 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.

Console & Streaming Devices

AppleTV LogoAppleTV
Amazon Fire TV LogoAmazon Fire TV
Chromecast LogoChromecast
Nintendo LogoNintendo
PlayStation LogoPlayStation
Roku LogoRoku
Xbox LogoXbox

PureVPN stands out for offering dedicated apps for both the Amazon Fire Stick and Android TV, so all you have to do is download the software from the app store and you’re good to go. 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 PS3, PS4, Nintendo Wii U, Roku and Kodi. These are very easy to follow so you shouldn’t have too many issues. This is where PureVPN’s generous limit of 5 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 experienced absolutely no problems while using the US Netflix server, which got us up and running in one click with no buffering or connectivity issues.

Watching BBC iPlayer is also made incredibly easy through the specified ‘faster streaming’ server, meaning you don’t have to waste your time checking which UK servers are still working with the service. Great speeds mean you can also watch your favorite shows in buffer-free HD.

Fans of other streaming services will love that PureVPN offers optimized servers for over 16 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

It used to be difficult to recommend PureVPN for anyone with stringent privacy needs due to previous issues with their logging policy, but a recent revamp to their privacy policy means that this is no longer so much of a problem.

The app annoyingly defaults on startup to IKEv2 rather than OpenVPN, however you can select different protocols from a drop-down list in the settings menu. The only downside is that 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.

Their VPN killswitch 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 and IPv6 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.

Protocol
  • IKEv2
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
  • PPTP
  • SSTP
Encryption
  • AES-256
Security
  • DNS Leak Blocking
  • First-party DNS
  • IPV6 Leak Blocking
  • VPN Killswitch
  • WebRTC Leak Blocking
Advanced features
  • Split Tunneling

Bypassing Censorship

Despite PureVPN’s website currently being blocked in China, it’s one of the few services to still work in the country. Not only does it have servers in Beijing and Shanghai, it also offers specialized servers for connecting out from the country, maximizing your chances of accessing government-blocked content.

Unfortunately PureVPN is becoming more and more unreliable as time goes on due to China’s VPN crackdown, which is where the 31-day money-back guarantee might come in handy to test out your subscription. PureVPN recommends connecting using SoftEther to bypass the Great Firewall, however this is very fiddly and requires lots of manual configuration, and even then it isn’t guaranteed to work. There are other providers out there that make the process a lot easier.

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.

Privacy

Logging Policy

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. 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

They do 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.

Jurisdiction

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.

In the newly updated privacy policy, PureVPN makes it clear that they are no longer in a position to be able to share user data with any law enforcement agencies. They clearly state that “if and when we receive subpoenas that are legally upheld in the court of law in Hong Kong, we won’t be of much help since we have almost nothing of value to share”, which is reassuring.

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 app is a little more streamlined but far less compatible with major streaming services.

Getting started

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.

  • Installing software
  • How to use the app

Customer Support

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

What we like
  • Fast, reliable performance with local speeds of up to 170Mbps
  • 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
What we like less
  • 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 annual 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 and BBC iPlayer is quick and hassle-free.

In terms of privacy, PureVPN does offer loads of advanced security features such as a VPN killswitch and split tunneling on the desktop app. Despite this, previous issues with its logging policy means that it’s probably not a good choice for those seeking online anonymity. Thankfully they have gone some way to making up for this by completely revamping their privacy policy,  now only collecting anonymous usage stats, meaning they are unable to hand over customer information to law enforcement agencies.

The software looks great and is very user-friendly, however the interface can sometimes be a little slow to respond. It also works at a push in China, making it passable for a short vacation, however it’s maybe not a great choice for long-term use. If you’re looking for a simple VPN to cover basic privacy needs and unblock several major streaming services, you should certainly consider PureVPN.