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PureVPN Review

By Simon Migliano | Updated November 4, 2019

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Ranked #38 out of 74 VPNs

PureVPN screenshot

Read PureVPN user reviews

At a glance, PureVPN looks like the real deal, even to those experienced with VPNs. Thousands of servers, hundreds of thousands of IP addresses, support for 20 devices and platforms, and 24/7 support are all truly eye-catching perks.

We don’t want to take PureVPN at face value though, which is why we’ve dived past the marketing speak and the claims from the service to find out real answers to the need-to-know questions surrounding it, including:

  • Who owns PureVPN?
  • Does PureVPN work with Netflix?
  • How much does PureVPN cost?
  • How many devices can use PureVPN?
  • Is PureVPN good for torrenting?
  • Can you use PureVPN in China?
  • And, most importantly, is PureVPN any good?

If you’re in a rush then you can see the most important takeaways in the table below – otherwise scroll down for the full review.

Overview

PureVPN Pros & Cons

  1. Good VPN speeds
  2. VPN kill switch & no DNS/IP/WebRTC leaks
  3. Optimized VPN servers work with Netflix, iPlayer & more
  4. 2,000+ VPN servers in over 140 countries worldwide
  5. User-friendly VPN apps for popular platforms, simple setup
  1. Previous logging policy controversies
  2. Desktop VPN app can be clunky and unresponsive
  3. Customer support agents lack technical knowledge
  4. Fiddly setup for China, and unreliable at times

PureVPN Key Summary

Top Download Speed72Mbps
Logging PolicySome User Logs
IP, DNS or WebRTC LeaksNo
JurisdictionHong Kong (Privacy Haven)
Servers2,000
IP Addresses300,000+
Countries140
US NetflixYes
TorrentingRestricted
Works in ChinaYes
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$1.65/mo over 5 Years
Official WebsitePureVPN.com

PureVPN is one of the oldest and most established names in the entire VPN market, but it hasn’t quite managed to keep up with the times. It’s still a good VPN, but right now it’s obvious that some of PureVPN’s big-name rivals have it beaten.

You can find out all you need to know about PureVPN, both good and bad, below – starting with who’s behind the VPN service.

About & Logging Policy

Who is PureVPN?

PureVPN was founded in 2007 by GZ Systems Ltd, which operates under the jurisdiction of Hong Kong, putting it beyond the reach of the privacy-unfriendly US and EU.

PureVPN says it specifically chose Hong Kong for its headquarters because there are no mandatory data retention laws, therefore it isn’t a legal requirement to store user data or share it with any third parties.

PureVPN clearly states that “if and when [it] receive[s] subpoenas that are legally upheld in the court of law in Hong Kong, [it] won’t be of much help since [it has] almost nothing of value to share”, which is reassuring.

Logging Policy

Previous controversies surrounding PureVPN’s logging policy means we’re still a little skeptical of this VPN service – you might want to look into providers with strict no-logs policies, such as CyberGhost or PrivateVPN.

It emerged that in an online harassment case that took place in October 2017 the FBI was able to identify the accused by matching the IP address of a PureVPN server used in the crime with the true IP address that he used to connect to the server.

While we don’t condone the actions of the alleged criminal, PureVPN 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 collected is:

  • The day you connect to a specific VPN server location
  • Your Internet Service Provider
  • Total bandwidth used by each user

It does not log:

  • Your originating IP address
  • Connection timestamps
  • DNS requests
  • 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 has also gone so far as to commission an independent audit of its logging policy to win back its users’ trust.

Speed & Reliability

Fast speeds on nearby VPN servers, less speedy over long-distance connections

PureVPN isn’t the fastest VPN we’ve tested, but it’s still pretty quick.

Download and upload speeds on nearby servers (e.g. London to London) are more than fast enough for buffer-free streaming.

Our proprietary speed testing tool also showed impressive consistency across the whole of PureVPN’s server network.

Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.

Before using PureVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    91.42

  2. UploadMbps

    97.52

  3. Pingms

    5

When connected to PureVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    72.73

  2. UploadMbps

    73.88

  3. Pingms

    22

Download speed without PureVPN: 91.42Mbps

Download speed with PureVPN: 72.73Mbps

Our download speed loss when PureVPN is running: 20%

PureVPN performs fairly well over international connections, like the UK to the Australia, but some connections are a bit hit-and-miss (like the UK to the US).

Take a look at the VPN speeds we recorded in our London-based tests (remember that our internet connection without a VPN is 100Mbps):

  • USA: 31Mbps (download) & 19Mbps (upload)
  • Germany: 63Mbps (download) & 55Mbps (upload)
  • Singapore: 42Mbps (download) & 10Mbps (upload)
  • Australia: 41Mbps (download) & 6Mbps (upload)

As you can see, PureVPN’s upload speeds aren’t very fast on long-distance connections, but unless you plan to torrent on faraway servers this shouldn’t be an issue.

PureVPN’s ping times are average, so gamers might be better off looking at other VPNs with super low latency. You can check out our VPN recommendations for gaming here.

Looking for a super-fast VPN? Then check out PrivateVPN.

 

Server Locations

2,000 VPN servers spread across 140 countries

Globe with a blue flag140Countries
Image of a city landscape180Cities
Image of a pink marker300,000+IP Addresses

PureVPN has VPN servers in 140 countries across six continents, catering to the more than just the popular destinations like North America and Western Europe (although it still has VPN servers in the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia for those who need them).

PureVPN operates an excellent number of VPN servers – there’s just over 2,000 in total. Some of these are virtual servers, which are marked with a ‘V’ on PureVPN’s server locations list. All of the other physical servers are owned by PureVPN.

What’s most impressive is the 300,000+ IP addresses – that’s one of the highest numbers we’ve ever seen and massively reduces the risk of server congestion, guaranteeing high VPN speeds.

A choice of 13 different US city-level servers and four different Australia city-level servers means that PureVPN provides coast-to-coast coverage. You can drill down to multiple cities in a number of countries:

  • Australia (4)
  • Canada (3)
  • China (2)
  • Czech Republic (2)
  • France (2)
  • Germany (5)
  • Malaysia (2)
  • South Africa (2)
  • UK (4)
  • US (13)

Streaming & Torrenting

Optimized VPN servers work with Netflix but not recommended for torrenting

PureVPN is a decent VPN if you’re looking for fast, hassle-free access to major streaming services.

PureVPN Stream Mode unlocks over 20 listed TV streaming services and channels using optimized VPN servers, including:

Throughout our regular tests, we have had no issues accessing Netflix through PureVPN’s dedicated server, but watching BBC iPlayer has been a bit hit-and-miss – you may have to try a few different servers before you get BBC iPlayer to work.

Torrenting

PureVPN isn’t a good choice for Kodi fans and torrenters, even if P2P is permitted on the majority of its VPN servers.

The past issues with PureVPN’s logging policy prevent us from recommending this VPN service for privacy-sensitive P2P activities. You can read more about PureVPN’s logging policy below.

Some readers have also reported that PureVPN support agents have recommended using Dedicated IPs for P2P traffic, which is bad advice.

A dedicated IP address is a fixed IP address assigned to a PureVPN account, and it never changes. While it might be effective for streaming Netflix, it’s not good for privacy.

If you need a VPN for torrenting, check out our guide of the best VPNs here.

Bypassing Censorship

Works in China, but setup is fiddly

PureVPN is one of the few VPN services to still work in China, despite the recent government crackdowns on VPN providers, even if it’s becoming less and less reliable as time goes on.

You’ll have to contact PureVPN’s customer support in order to receive a comprehensive guide to setting up your VPN for China. It can be a fiddly process and involves a lot of manual configuration. Even then, PureVPN is not guaranteed to always work in China.

Take a look at our top VPN recommendations for China here.

While PureVPN’s server network is huge and likely to provider servers in nearby free-speech countries, there are other providers out there that have a much simpler, more comprehensive solution for other high-censorship countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Platforms & Devices

Custom VPN apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS & more

Apps

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

PureVPN has a good range of custom apps for various devices including:

PureVPN’s apps are easy to install, taking just minutes set up, and they’re pretty simple to use too. You can use PureVPN on up to five devices at any given time.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

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

PureVPN stands out from other VPN services for providing 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 start streaming. There’s even a Kodi add-on for PureVPN too.

PureVPN can protect your other streaming devices and games consoles like Xbox and PlayStation by connecting them to a configured router, which will encrypt traffic on all internet-connected devices in your home.

You can buy pre-configured routers with PureVPN already installed, or manually configure your existing router if it’s compatible.

If you have a DD-WRT router, PureVPN provides an applet that makes using a VPN on your router much simpler.

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome
Firefox LogoFirefox

PureVPN also provides proxy browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

While PureVPN’s browser extensions 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, but they could always be introduced in the future.

Encryption & Security

Strong VPN encryption & plenty of advanced security features

Protocol

IKEv2/IPSec

L2TP/IPSec

OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)

PPTP

SSTP

Encryption

AES-256

Security

DNS Leak Blocking

First-party DNS

IPV6 Leak Blocking

VPN Kill Switch

WebRTC Leak Blocking

Advanced features

Split Tunneling

Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.

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

The PureVPN app chooses the ‘best’ VPN protocol for you on startup, but we recommend using OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) as it’s the best protocol for all-round performance and privacy. Encryption is via ‘unbreakable’ cipher AES-256.

Screenshot of PureVPN Settings Menu in App

You can also connect with the following VPN protocols:

  • IKEv2 – very fast and secure, great for mobile devices
  • PPTP – very unsafe, and can be easily cracked
  • L2TP – generally secure
  • SSTP – comes with some potential security risks

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.

PureVPN also protects you against DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks – which our independent tests proved to be working effectively – giving you peace of mind that your online activity isn’t visible to anyone other than yourself.

Screenshot of browserleaks.com leak test results while connected to PureVPN

PureVPN leak test results of browserleaks.com while connected to a US VPN server. We test from the UK.

The PureVPN desktop app also includes split tunneling, allowing you to direct specific traffic through the VPN and leave the rest to go outside of the encrypted tunnel.

PureVPN used to have a malware and ad blocker (Gravity and Ozone) but these have been removed as of June 2019.

During our testing we did notice something a little odd.

When we connected to certain servers (in the UK), our traffic was routed through Squid proxy servers.

We got in touch with PureVPN to ask why this was and this was their response:

Screenshot of PureVPN's customer support response to our question about Squid proxy

“It is to inform you that we are using squid on our multiple servers including UK for better routing.”

We then asked PureVPN to confirm that Squid does not log user traffic:

Screenshot of PureVPN's customer support response to our question about Squid proxy

“It is to inform you that Yes, all logging is disabled on squid. Unfortunately, we cannot disclose for business reasons.”

We would like to see more transparency about this issue on PureVPN’s website.

Ease of Use

Custom VPN apps are quick to set up but a little clunky

How to Install & Set Up PureVPN

Installing PureVPN is super easy and won’t trouble even the most inexperienced of VPN users. Simply download the software, follow the installation prompts, then enter your login credentials.

The PureVPN apps show promise and there’s a clear focus on user experience, but we found the execution to be inconsistent.

The main dashboard is easy enough to use and can be customized by purpose (streaming, internet freedom, file sharing, security, dedicated IP), but PureVPN’s desktop apps still feel a little clunky and old-fashioned.

Well-organized configurable options can be found in PureVPN’s settings menu, and we love the helpful explanations that go alongside some of the more advanced options, such as IPv6 leak protection.

PureVPN’s mobile apps are a little more streamlined than their desktop counterparts without compromising on advanced features.

Browser Extensions

Screenshot of PureVPN Chrome Extension

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

Customer Support

Helpful live chat support and comprehensive online resources

24/7 Live chat supportYes
Online ResourcesYes

PureVPN’s customer support is pretty good, but it could still do with some improvements.

PureVPN has a 24/7 live chat feature, which is very handy for quick, simple questions. The support agents respond promptly and courteously but their knowledge doesn’t extend to more complicated queries – it was much the same story for email support.

The Support Center on the website is certainly comprehensive with lots of FAQs, troubleshooting advice and manual setup guides for loads of devices.

If you have a simple question, you’ll be able to find answers in minutes, but if it’s anything technically complicated you’ll have to be a little more persistent.

Pricing & Deals

Reasonably priced on annual plan

PureVPN Coupon

PureVPN Pricing Plan

The longer you commit to PureVPN the less you’ll pay on a monthly basis – as is the case with most VPNs.

A single month is the most expensive option at $10.95, but this is reduced by a massive 70% to just $3.33 per month if you opt for the two-year plan. There’s also an annual plan for a reasonable $5.81 a month and a five-year plan for $1.65 if you’d like to commit for that long.

PureVPN’s longer term plans are extremely cheap – if you’re looking to save money then PureVPN is a very strong contender.

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

You can’t use PureVPN for free, but you can 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 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 a data allowance.

The Bottom Line

Do We Recommend PureVPN?

PureVPN hasn’t got a spotless past but a new logging policy and an independent audit to back it up have regained some of our trust.

While some might want to opt for a VPN with no controversies to its name, PureVPN is still a good choice for users that need access to content from all over the world (140 countries to be precise) and it’s useful for streaming Netflix and other services too.

Alternatives to PureVPN

ExpressVPN Logo

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has proven its trustworthiness on multiple occasions - once when one of its Turkish servers was seized and no user connection logs could be found, and on other occasions when it's completed independent privacy and security audits. Read ExpressVPN review

NordVPN Logo

NordVPN

P2P is permitted on most of PureVPN's servers, but NordVPN is a far better VPN for torrenting. It's fast, secure, and no-logs. NordVPN also provides excellent 24/7 customer support and sleek custom apps. Read NordVPN review

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio

Top10VPN

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Best Positive Review
 100% 

Would recommend this VPN to anyone who wants a great VPN

Verified Customer

Would recommend this VPN to anyone who wants a great VPN . Has great prices on there plans and the servers and speeds for me are great I have been using over 1 year now and no down times or slow speeds. I did have 1 small issue about 3 months back and it was on my end where i was not to knowledgeable about how to use a program and the support team was right there too help me and was very knowledgeable and patient with me. So if your looking for a great VPN for the price and speed then PureVPN is right for you try it out you will love it just like me and millions of other people.

Best Critical Review
 20% 

Beijing, China

Just been to Beijing for 14 days. PureVPN did not work any of the days. Contacting support did not help either. Their only reply was “it will work within 48 hours”. It never did.

Showing 2 out of 2 reviews
  1.  20% 

    Beware

    Pure VPN was ok but at the end of my agreed term they used my Credit card to renew at a higher rate without my expressed consent. Going on CHAT I was given links for cancelling future automatic renewals and on insisting I get a refund I was given a link for that too. I'm concerned that they still have my credit card information and black listed them with my bank. Pure VPN would not confirm that my credit card info was removed from their system. I received an email that my credit card was credited but so far it's not showing up.

  2.  100% 

    Problems downloading the app in my MacBook Pro

    Verified Customer

    The Customer Support service was excellent. The technical team provided remote support in an very effective way, and helped me to solve the problem in a few minutes.