PureVPN is a service that serves as an alternative to market giants. This VPN offers very attractive prices and decent performance, but it certainly lacks the extra feature that makes it indispensable.
Table of Contents
|Money-Back Guarantee||Yes, within 31 days|
|Number of Servers/Locations||6,500 servers in 78 countries|
|Number of Simultaneous Connections||5|
|Access to US Netflix||Yes|
What is PureVPN?
As always, it is essential to know the history of a VPN to trust it fully. PureVPN was founded in 2007 by a Pakistani entrepreneur and is the first project of GZ Systems Limited, a company specializing in cybersecurity software for individuals and professionals.
Like many FinTech companies, it has its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands (previously based in Hong Kong), outside the jurisdiction of the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes alliances.
Interface and User Experience
PureVPN’s client is by far the most streamlined of all the ones we’ve tested so far, even ahead of ExpressVPN. We noticed an improvement since the last update: it’s now possible to log in directly to the app with your original credentials, while the VPN previously had a somewhat cumbersome double login system.
Once connected, you’re presented with a straightforward window: a main page invites you to click on the large purple connection button, and the VPN automatically selects a recommended server. Once connected and the service is running, you have access to some information such as live connection data and other data via the drop-down menu at the bottom: protocol used, IP type, etc.
The left sidebar provides access to the server list, support, account information, notifications, and options. The interface is efficient, but nothing extraordinary compared to what PureVPN’s direct competitors offer. For example, we notice the complete absence of a list of servers dedicated to streaming or accessing the Tor network.
However, we do see the arrival of a list of servers specific to P2P. Despite its apparent simplicity, we would have liked more clarity in the menu organization.
As for options, there’s the ability to enable or disable the kill switch and a dedicated menu for split tunneling, allowing you to isolate the VPN use on one or more applications. Again, it’s a bit sparse.
We would have liked to use a multi-hop to secure the connection on two remote servers simultaneously or simply define a specific DNS, an option that is quite common among most VPNs on the market. Fortunately, it’s possible to specify a particular IP to connect to.
We’re also a bit surprised by the VPN’s default recommended choice. From a Parisian connection, PureVPN recommends an American server. We understand the idea (access to foreign VOD being one of the main uses of a VPN), but not necessarily the most relevant in terms of security or performance.
Regarding the mobile app, it follows the same pattern with a quick connect button that bypasses the rest of the interface. The drop-down menu only gives access to the server list and settings, the latter not going any further than what the PC version offers.
Ultimately, PureVPN stays true to its name, providing a “pure” software experience that delivers the essentials at the expense of features expected from a modern VPN service.
PureVPN Servers and Performance
PureVPN has chosen not to focus on dedicated servers for specific usage types. Instead, they prioritize their extensive global network, which boasts 6,500 servers in 70 countries. While this is slightly lower than CyberGhost’s offering, it is still well above competitors like NordVPN and Surfshark.
The following results were obtained from various tests conducted with a fiber, wired, and Paris-based connection:
Connection Type Download (Mb/s) Upload (Mb/s) Ping Without VPN 945 673 1 French Server (Paris) 162 58 3 US Server (New York) 158 10 79 US Server (San Francisco) 173 7 140 Japanese Server (Tokyo) 202 5 238 South African Server (Johannesburg) 175 4 167 Finnish Server (Helsinki) 120 13 46
These tests were conducted with an automatic protocol assignment. The numbers show that PureVPN is not on par with the top VPNs in the market. However, this does not mean that typical use cases, like video streaming, are impossible. For example, accessing US VoD services (Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, etc.) is possible without any detected issues during testing.
The main reason for these results is PureVPN’s default connection protocol prioritizing features over performance. They primarily use IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols. WireGuard is more efficient but not offered by default due to incompatibilities with advanced features such as split tunneling or GPS pass-by on some servers. This peculiar choice makes sense but compromises performance.
With WireGuard enabled, higher rates are achieved:
|Connection Type||Download (Mb/s)||Upload (Mb/s)||Ping|
|French Server, without WireGuard (IKEv2)||161||68||3|
|French Server, with WireGuard||718||579||2|
In summary, don’t rely on PureVPN for raw performance, as it ranks average among market services.
Despite its claims and favorable geographic location, PureVPN has had issues with user data protection. In 2017, an individual was arrested by the FBI for online misconduct, and some evidence used against him included PureVPN records of his business and personal IP addresses. This is clearly not good publicity for a VPN supposed to protect or not store users’ private data.
PureVPN states that they do not keep any records of users’ browsing activities, connection logs, assigned IPs, original IPs, connection times, browsing history, visited sites, outgoing traffic, accessed content, or generated DNS requests.
However, PureVPN still collects some usage data, such as the day you connected to a specific location, your ISP, connection duration, the number of connections established from a server, and bandwidth usage. Fortunately, this information cannot identify individuals, although the “zero log” policy claim is somewhat misleading.
PureVPN Customer Support
Right off the bat, it’s appreciated that PureVPN has made efforts to integrate some of its customer support features within the app itself. Users now have access to a chat function from within the app, as opposed to previously only being available on the web platform. Regarding the online chat, the support representative speaks English and is available fairly quickly. You may need to wait a few minutes between questions to receive a response, but this is not a major issue.
Generally, PureVPN is not a very expensive service, especially during promotional periods. They typically offer three plans ranging from 1 month to 2 years, with very reasonable prices that rarely exceed $2 USD per month for a two-year subscription.
It’s worth noting that PureVPN has improved its previous offerings by including additional security services alongside the VPN, such as a password manager, a data monitoring and protection platform, and secure cloud storage with data encryption.
What features does PureVPN lack compared to its competitors?
PureVPN lacks some features that are commonly found in other VPN services, such as dedicated servers for streaming or accessing the Tor network, a multi-hop feature to secure connections on two remote servers simultaneously, and the ability to define a specific DNS. The VPN’s interface and options are more basic and streamlined than those of its competitors, with fewer customization options and advanced settings.
Can I trust PureVPN with my data and privacy?
PureVPN has made efforts to improve its data and privacy protection since a 2017 incident where user data was provided to the FBI. The VPN service has since undergone audits and evaluations to verify its “zero log” status, including a recent audit by KPMG. PureVPN now claims not to keep any records of users’ browsing activities or other sensitive information. However, the company still collects some usage data that cannot be used to identify individuals.
Is PureVPN suitable for streaming and unblocking geo-restricted content?
PureVPN is capable of streaming and unblocking geo-restricted content, including accessing US VoD services like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ without any detected issues during testing. While its performance may not be on par with top VPNs in the market, it is still adequate for typical use cases like video streaming.
How can I improve PureVPN’s performance?
PureVPN’s default connection protocol prioritizes features over performance, using IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols. You can improve the VPN’s performance by manually enabling the WireGuard protocol, which is more efficient but may have compatibility issues with advanced features like split tunneling or GPS pass-by on some servers.
How does PureVPN’s pricing compare to other VPN services?
PureVPN offers competitive pricing, with plans typically ranging from 1 month to 2 years. During promotional periods, the prices can be very reasonable, with a two-year subscription rarely exceeding $2 USD per month. In addition to the VPN service, PureVPN also includes additional security services like a password manager, a data monitoring and protection platform, and secure cloud storage with data encryption in its packages.