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PureVPN Review

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PureVPN screenshot
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

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Our Verdict

Despite a simple interface and a huge selection of countries to connect to, we simply cannot recommend PureVPN. Speeds have improved, but its recently reworked logging policy still collects far too much of your data.

Overall Rating: 7.1/10

It may be popular, but PureVPN simply cannot compete with the biggest VPNs available right now.

We have serious concerns surrounding its logging policy, and do not believe you should entrust PureVPN with your privacy as a result. AES-256 encryption and the OpenVPN protocol are present and in use, though.

Its desktop app is easy to use, but too simplistic. While it has a kill switch, there are no other VPN features worth mentioning. That means no split tunneling, and port forwarding is now a paid extra.

We were pleased to see that PureVPN’s are recently much improved, recording {{bestlocal-dl}} for downloads on a nearby server.

Its single biggest attraction is its massive selection of 6,500 servers spread over 140 countries.

While that’s a genuinely impressive network, restrictions on torrenting and limited use for streaming bring PureVPN right back down again.

Read on to see what our expert testing found out about PureVPN in-depth, and to find out which VPN alternatives you should consider instead.

PureVPN Pros & Cons

Pros

  1. 6,500 VPN servers in 140 countries worldwide
  2. Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  3. VPN kill switch & no IP address leaks
  4. Simple setup on more than 20 devices & platforms
  5. Generous 10 device allowance
Cons
  1. Past logging policy controversies
  2. Some valuable features recently removed
  3. Hong Kong jurisdiction no longer so private
  4. Customer support agents lack technical knowledge
  5. Complex setup for China, and unreliable

PureVPN Key Data

Data CapUnlimited
Speed90Mbps
Logging PolicySome User Logs
Data LeaksNo
JurisdictionHong Kong
Servers6,500
IP Addresses300,000
Countries140
US NetflixYes
TorrentingRestricted
Works in ChinaYes
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$2.91/mo over 2 Years
Official WebsitePureVPN.com

PureVPN Category Ratings

We test and review every VPN in eight key areas. Here’s how PureVPN performs in each category:

  • Privacy & Logging Policy: 5.1/10
  • Encryption & Security: 8.3/10
  • Speed & Reliability: 7.1/10
  • Streaming & Torrenting: 8.6/10
  • Bypassing Censorship: 3.0/10
  • Ease of Use: 7.8/10
  • Customer Support: 9.6/10
  • Price & Value for Money: 6.5/10

To learn more about our methodology, read our full VPN testing process.

PureVPN still logs too much of your data

About & Logging

Privacy & Logging Policy Rating: 5.1/10

PureVPN has worked to improve its public image after years of criticism for its aggressive logging policy.

Despite saying all the right things on its website, the actual changes to its logging policy simply aren’t enough.

Put in simple terms, here is everything PureVPN logs of its users:

  • Days you connect to PureVPN.
  • Which PureVPN server you connect to.
  • How long you connect for.
  • How many times you connect.
  • Your internet service provider (ISP).
  • Total amount of bandwidth you consume while connected.

The PureVPN privacy policy does not mention any efforts to disconnect your account from this information. It is all linked directly to you.

If that seems like a lot of information being collected, that’s because it is. We believe it is enough to be able to link a PureVPN user to activity performed through the service.

Of course, you should never use a VPN for anything illegal. But if you live in a country where the authorities can demand access to your browsing data at any time, using PureVPN would not guarantee your anonymity.

PureVPN Is Based in Hong Kong

PureVPN is legally based in Hong Kong, which means that it is subject to Hong Kong’s laws. As a choice of jurisdiction for a VPN Hong Kong is largely fine.

On one hand, Hong Kong does not enforce any super-intrusive surveillance laws. It also isn’t part of any international surveillance schemes like Five Eyes. It has maintained a relatively open and free internet for a long time now.

On the other hand, pressure on the territory from China is constantly increasing. There’s no guarantee that Hong Kong will be able to keep its online independence for much longer.

Expert Tip:
There’s simply no need to take a risk when it comes to logging and jurisdiction.

When choosing a VPN there are lots of safer options out there. Pick one with a simpler privacy policy and a less risky jurisdiction.

Greatly improved speeds make for a smooth experience

Speed & Reliability

Speed & Reliability Rating: 7.1/10

PureVPN is fast. That’s the key takeaway here. We tested it on both short distance connections (within the UK, where we’re located), as well as to a variety of overseas servers.

The results surprised us. Historically PureVPN has lagged behind compared to its competitors, but recent speeds are quite impressive.

Local Speed Test Results

Before using PureVPN:

  1. Download100Mbps
  2. Upload97.52Mbps
  3. Ping5ms

When connected to PureVPN:

  1. Download90.22Mbps
  2. Upload73.88Mbps
  3. Ping22ms

First, we recorded PureVPN’s speeds when connecting to a server in the same city as us (London, UK). Our internet dropped from 100Mbps to 90.22Mbps.

As a general rule, any VPN which costs you less than 10% of your connection speed is doing a good job. The numbers we recorded show that PureVPN is fast enough to be left on 24/7 without you having to worry about noticeable slowdown.

Long-Distance Speed Test Results

PureVPN also performed surprisingly well on international connections. Take a look at the five countries we tested below:

Average Download Speed
Average Download Speed Loss
Germany
87.18Mbps
12.82%
South Africa
86.19Mbps
13.81%
Brazil
82.78Mbps
17.22%
Japan
71.47Mbps
28.53%
US
69.63Mbps
30.37%
Australia
67.20Mbps
32.80%

Even when connecting to the far side of the world, PureVPN still managed to put up some very solid numbers in our testing.

Remember, we tested on a 100Mbps dedicated broadband line. If your internet connection is slower than that, then your speeds when using a VPN will also be slower.

That said, we feel confident that the effect PureVPN has on your connection will barely be noticeable. You can still stream, game, and use the web with it just like you normally would.

6,500 servers spread ove 140 countries

Server Locations

Globe with a blue flag
140Countries
Image of a city landscape
180Cities
Image of a pink marker
300,000IP Addresses

Something that PureVPN gets absolutely right is its selection of servers.

It’s all too common to see VPNs ignore entire regions, focusing far too much on Europe and North America.

PureVPN makes no such mistake, with servers located in 140 different countries around the world.

It’s refreshing to see so many options in the Middle East, East Asia, Central America, and Africa. With so many censored nations in those regions, it’s especially important to have nearby VPN server access.

While you can’t select individual servers, there is a city level choice in a handful of countries.

You can choose to connect to multiple cities in:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Czechia
  • France
  • Germany
  • South Africa
  • UK
  • US

6,500 is also a good overall quantity of servers. Quite a lot of them are virtual server locations, meaning they aren’t physically in the country they’re listed as.

That doesn’t make much difference in practice, though. However it could partly explain why PureVPN has such a hard time unblocking some streaming sites.

What’s more, PureVPN also claims to host over 300,000 IP addresses. This is an absolutely enormous number – one of the highest we’ve ever seen.

Having such a high number of IP addresses available means that you’re less likely to be sharing one with another user. In turn this means that you should see fewer CAPTCHAs around the internet.

An interesting side note is how PureVPN achieves its speeds. There’s nothing fancy or bespoke here – just good old-fashioned OpenVPN.

In a time when so many VPNs are adopting the newer WireGuard, or developing a bespoke protocol of their own, it’s interesting that PureVPN can keep up with a tried-and-tested old favorite.

Unblocks five Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, and more, but think twice before torrenting

Streaming & Torrenting

Streaming & Torrenting Rating: 8.6/10

PureVPN has recently removed all of its dedicated streaming servers. You now simply connect to a server in the region you require and begin streaming.

It’s mostly as simple as that. Every UK server we tried unblocked BBC iPlayer, and every US server unblocked Netflix.

However, PureVPN is only capable of unblocking four other Netflix libraries: Australia, Brazil, Japan, and UK. That’s decent, but there are other VPNs which can unblock lots more.

PureVPN also works to unblock:

  • ABC
  • Amazon Prime
  • ESPN
  • Hulu
  • Sky TV

Torrenting

PureVPN is not a great VPN for torrenting for two reasons.

Firstly, not all PureVPN servers allow P2P traffic. Only 57 of the 140 countries with PureVPN servers are compatible with torrenting.

There are large gaps left by a lack of torrenting-friendly servers. For example if you live in the south of Africa, your nearest torrenting server is in Angola – potentially thousands of kilometers away. The same goes for if you’re in South-East Asia.

Secondly, there’s the big issue of PureVPN’s logging policy. You can read more about it here but, in short, we feel that PureVPN still logs too much information for torrenters to feel confidently anonymous.

Authorities could theoretically gain access to your:

  • Days connected to PureVPN and for how long
  • Total amount of data downloaded in that timeframe
  • Country of residence and ISP

From those figures alone there is a distinct chance that you could be identified – particularly if you are with a smaller ISP or in a smaller country.

PureVPN also had issues with logging controversies in its past.

In October 2017 the FBI was able to identify an accused criminal suspect by matching the IP address of a PureVPN server with the suspect’s real IP address.

While we are by no means saying that they could repeat themselves, it simply adds to the risk you take should you choose to torrent with PureVPN.

Doesn't consistently work in China

Censorship

Bypassing Censorship Rating: 3.0/10

While it may have once done, PureVPN does not currently work in China. Even on the days where it does, it’s far too inconsistent to recommend.

In order to have a chance at connecting to the outside internet from within China, you’ll have to contact PureVPN’s customer support.

The support agent will then give you a comprehensive guide to setting up PureVPN for China. It can be a difficult process and involves a lot of manual configuration. Even then, PureVPN is not guaranteed to work in China.

Our extensive testing of VPNs from directly within China has found that only a handful maintained more than 50% up-time over the past year. If you live in China, or are planning to visit, then give yourself the best chance at bypassing the Great Firewall with our tried-and-tested best VPNs for China.

If you want to unblock the internet in other countries, like Russia, the UAE, or Turkey, then PureVPN is a solid choice. With such a large server network your speeds should hold up well. There are still better VPNs to choose from if you value consistency, though.

Apps for popular devices, plus browser extensions

Platforms & Devices

Apps

  1. Windows Logo
    Windows
  2. Mac Logo
    Mac
  3. iOS Logo
    iOS
  4. Android Logo
    Android
  5. Linux Logo
    Linux
  6. Router Logo
    Router

The chances are good that PureVPN has an app for the device you want to cover. Whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, an iPhone or an Android, there’s a dedicated and up-to-date PureVPN app for it.

The PureVPN DD-WRT router applet is perhaps its most impressive offering. Very few VPNs have proper apps for routers, and PureVPN is one of them. Once installed you can access a basic GUI from your router’s login page that allows you to choose servers and enable various extra features.

That applet isn’t available on other types of router, but PureVPN does have an impressively detailed set of installation guides for across a large number of makes and models.

If you’re a Linux user you may be disappointed. While PureVPN does have installations available for all the most popular distros, they all work via the command line. It’s ugly, impractical, and lacks key features like DNS leak protection. If Linux is all you care about, you shouldn’t use PureVPN.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

  1. AppleTV Logo
    AppleTV
  2. Amazon Fire TV Logo
    Amazon Fire TV
  3. Chromecast Logo
    Chromecast
  4. Nintendo Logo
    Nintendo
  5. PlayStation Logo
    PlayStation
  6. Roku Logo
    Roku
  7. Xbox Logo
    Xbox

The dedicated PureVPN Amazon Fire TV app is a solid choice if that’s your preferred streaming platform.

It’s nothing fancy, but it’s simple to navigate and lets you connect to your desired server in just a few button presses. Of course PureVPN doesn’t unblock all that many streaming libraries, but if you’re happy with the selection available then it’s a fine choice.

There’s also a dedicated PureVPN Kodi add-on, which isn’t all that common among VPNs. We don’t fully recommend PureVPN for use with Kodi, however, due to its questionable logging policy.

For all other streaming devices and platforms, the ability to install PureVPN on your router means that they’re covered. There’s no smart DNS available, so router setup is the only way to unblock streaming sites on consoles.

While that’s not ideal, you shouldn’t be intimidated. PureVPN’s list of setup guides is one of the best we’ve ever seen.

PureVPNs setup guide homepage

Each section has dozens more guides to help users.

Browser Extensions

  1. Chrome Logo
    Chrome
  2. Microsoft Edge Logo
    Microsoft Edge
  3. Firefox Logo
    Firefox

A PureVPN subscription also comes with proxy browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and, recently, Microsoft Edge.

While PureVPN’s browser addons come with WebRTC leak protection, it’s important to remember that these proxies don’t encrypt your connection so should not be used in place of the full desktop client. They are a good added bonus, nonetheless.

There are currently no extensions for Opera or Safari.

Gets the basics right, but advanced features recently removed

Encryption & Security

Protocols
  1. IKEv2/IPSec
  2. OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
Encryption
  1. AES-256
Security
  1. DNS Leak Blocking
  2. IPV6 Leak Blocking
  3. VPN Kill Switch
  4. WebRTC Leak Blocking
Advanced features

    Encryption & Security Rating: 8.3/10

    The redesign we mention in the section above isn’t purely cosmetic. PureVPN also completely changed its range of features and settings on its Windows desktop app.

    There is now far less customization and connection options than before. For starters, the protocol list has been shrunk.

    PureVPN allows you to connect via two protocols: either IKEv2 or OpenVPN (TCP or UDP). Previously it offered a range of outdated and flawed protocols, so we’re glad to see them gone.

    On the plus side, there’s an option to activate the internet kill switch. We believe this is the single most important advanced feature a VPN can offer. It prevents your IP address from being exposed should the connection drop accidentally.

    On the down side, though, PureVPN has removed the option to port forward from its standard payment plan. If you want to be able to port forward you now need to pay an extra $0.99 per month. It’s such a useful feature for torrenters, capable of greatly increasing download speeds, that charging extra for it really is a shame.

    It has also removed split tunneling altogether, another useful feature that we always appreciated. It’s unclear why PureVPN decided to take away these options, but the added usability has come at the expense of features that were no doubt very important to some users.

    To make matters worse, the PureVPN website still advertises split tunneling as one of its features. Don’t be fooled if you’re considering a subscription – it is no longer a part of the VPN.

    It doesn’t stop there though. PureVPN also used to feature checkboxes for three other features:

    • Enable 256-bit encryption
    • Only use PureVPN DNS servers when connected
    • IPv6 leak protection

    All three of those checkboxes can no longer be found in the app, so we reached out to PureVPN customer support for clarification.

    The PureVPN website still states AES-256 encryption is used, and customer support confirmed that for us. IPv6 leak protection is also automatically enabled now.

    We also ran a DNS leak test while connected. On the plus side, our DNS was properly hidden. However, the DNS server it was replaced with was not owned by PureVPN. Support refused to clarify for us if PureVPN DNS servers are in use, or even exist, anymore.

    As you can probably tell by now, PureVPN is far from the most secure VPN on the market. Its questionable past combined with the recent bizarre decision to remove (or provide a lack of clarity around) its features means that we’re sceptical. It’s not an unsafe VPN, but it doesn’t fill us with confidence, either

    Easy-to-use apps on Windows, iOS & all other major platforms

    Ease of Use

    How to Install & Set Up PureVPN

    Ease of Use Rating: 7.8/10

    Following a recent redesign, PureVPN’s app is clean and simple. It’s a huge improvement that makes it much easier to use (and to look at).

    We downloaded and tested PureVPN on every platform it supports to see just how well it works. The results were largely impressive. PureVPN may have its flaws, but usability isn’t one of them.

    Find the device you’re planning on using PureVPN with below to see what it looks like and how it works.

    Windows PC

    PureVPN homescreen on Windows

    PureVPN’s new app design is much simpler.

    Windows users get the most complete PureVPN experience. As is the case with most VPNs, this is the platform with the most features and is always the first to receive new updates.

    PureVPN server select screen on Windows

    Streaming servers are gone, but you can still create a list of favorites.

    The PureVPN app is extremely simple, with a clean and easy-to-use design. You can toggle the kill switch (called IKS in the app) and change protocols.

    PureVPN settings screen on Windows

    There aren’t many settings to choose from, but you should make sure that IKS is enabled.

    Other than that, there are no real extra features to speak of. Having FAQs and the ability to submit a support ticket built-in to the app is a nice touch, though.

    Apple MacOS

    The PureVPN MacOS homescreen

    PureVPN on MacOS is almost identical to the Windows version

    Good news for Apple users: the PureVPN MacOS client is now practically identical to the Windows app.

    That means that it’s just as clean and usable, plus there’s no missing features.

    The PureVPN MacOS server screen

    You can sort and filter severs on the MacOS app

    You can download it straight from the PureVPN website (not the Mac app store), and install it with a couple of clicks.

    The PureVPN MacOS settings menu

    The kill switch isn’t enabled by default – don’t get caught out

    We’re also glad to see that it’s not a Menu Bar app. Many VPNs decide to create a more compact version of their app for Mac that extends from the Menu Bar. These are usually much harder to use – not the case with PureVPN.

    That said, the old version of the app didn’t tell us that we were due for an update. We instead had to uninstall it and then re-download the installer from the PureVPN website. If you’re a Mac user and your app doesn’t look like this yet then you should do the same.

    Apple iOS

    iPhones weren’t left out of the redesign either. It’s a lovely, clean iOS VPN app that’s super simple to use. The ability to sort the global server list by ping, popularity, and alphabetical order is a very nice touch.

    There’s a minimal set of features to play with. However, there is one that we strongly recommend you take a look at.

    Open the menu and then tap Settings > Advanced > Connection Protocol. Switch the toggle from Automatic to Off.

    We recommend this because one of PureVPN’s protocols is IPSec, which is seriously outdated and potentially insecure. We don’t know for sure how often the app would try to select it, but it’s best to remove all doubt.

    Of the remaining options, IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, and OpenVPN TCP are all great choices.

    Google Android

    PureVPN homescreen on Android

    PureVPN on Android looks very similar to its desktop counterparts

    Another clean and easy-to-use application, PureVPN for Android is a great experience for anyone intimidated by the idea of using a VPN.

    The server select screen on PureVPN for Android

    While you can still access your list of favorite servers on Android, you can’t add to them from within the app

    Be sure to take a look at the split tunneling option within the menu. It’s a feature that’s unique to the Android app – in fact it’s not even available on the Windows version, which is unusual.

    Split tunneling allows you to decide which apps do and don’t pass through PureVPN’s encryption.

    Browser Extensions

    It won’t take long to set up PureVPN’s proxy browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge. Just click ‘Download Extension’ on PureVPN’s website, add the extension to your browser, log in, and connect.

    Screenshot of PureVPN Chrome Extension

    PureVPN browser extension for Chrome.

    Perhaps the best feature is the list of 31 streaming services the PureVPN extension can unblock. Just click on the one you want to access to connect to the necessary location. It’s not 100% perfect, and it is an unencrypted proxy connection, but it’s still very useful for streamers.

    24/7 live chat is helpful, combined with some of the best online resources we've seen

    Customer Support

    24/7 Live chat supportYes
    24/7 Email supportYes
    Online ResourcesYes

    Customer Support Rating: 9.6/10

    PureVPN offers around-the-clock live chat support. You can speak to an agent at any time of day, seven days a week.

    We’ve always found them to be polite and punctual, even if they aren’t the most knowledgeable. If you have a simple problem you should certainly be able to get it resolved, though.

    This isn’t an issue, as PureVPN handles more complex issues via its huge selection of online guides.

    Its selection of online resources is absolutely vast – it’s incredibly impressive. There are hundreds of step-by-step walkthroughs for every platform and process you could imagine.

    There’s so much material that it almost seems impossible that you’d encounter a problem not already addressed (complete with images to help guide you).

    New lower prices are tempting, but still not worth it

    Pricing

    Price & Value for Money Rating: 6.5/10

    As with most VPNs, the longer your subscription to PureVPN, the cheaper it gets.

    Its prices are now lower than ever, with a two-year subscription costing $2.91 per month.

    You can also sign up for a year (at $4.16 per month), or just one month ($10.95).

    Bear in mind that if you do want to make those long-term savings then you have to pay it all up front. For example the two-year contract may be the equivalent of $2.91 per month, but you will be charged a $69.95 lump sum.

    There are also add-ons to choose from which massively increase the monthly cost:

    • Port forwarding – $0.99 more per month
    • Dedicated IP address – $2.99 more per month
    • DDoS protection – $3.99 more per month

    In our opinion, if you really need any of those features then you’re better off simply choosing a better VPN which has them included in the base price.

    Those long-term prices are definitely reasonable, but PureVPN is still poor value for money. There are multiple VPNs that are not only cheaper, but much better, too. We’ve rounded up the best cheap VPNs here.

    1. Monthly

      US$10.95/mo

      Billed $10.95 every month
    2. 12 months

      US$4.16/mo

      Billed $49.95 for the first year
      Save 62%
    3. 2 years

      US$2.91/mo

      Billed $69.95 for the first 2 years
      Save 73%

    All plans have 31-day money-back guarantee

    Payment & Refund Options

    Credit CardYes
    PayPalYes
    AliPayYes
    UnionPayYes

    PureVPN accepts a wide range of payment methods, including some more private options:

    • Credit and debit cards
    • PayPal
    • AliPay
    • Loads of cryptocurrencies through CoinPayments, including BitCoin
    • Loads of international methods through PaymentWall and BlueSnap

    PureVPN recently launched a seven-day trial service for $0.99 to test the service before buying into a plan. A PureVPN subscriber can also give up to 24 free monthly accounts to friends.

    You can also test out the PureVPN software for 31 days risk-free with its money-back guarantee. This is genuinely no questions asked, with no hidden data caps or restrictions. If it is due to a technical issue customer support will try and fix it first.

    After your PureVPN refund request is processed and your account canceled, it can take up to 30 days for the refund payment to appear in your account.

    PureVPN just isn't good enough

    The Bottom Line

    In short, we don’t recommend PureVPN. There are simply too many better VPNs with a more trustworthy past available at a cheaper price. PureVPN isn’t terrible, but there’s no real reason to choose it over a competitor.

    It may be much faster now, but the recent app redesign has done just as much harm as good, and it still can’t be fully trusted not to log your data.

    Additional research by David Hughes

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    About the Author


    • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

      Simon Migliano

      Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio


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