PureVPN VPN Review: is it really that good?

PureVPN is a virtual private network that allows users to mask their online internet usage and personal information. It’s got a high Trustpilot rating of 4.7/5 stars and has a range of features that many users will find helpful. In this article, we’ll review various aspects of the VPN, how it works, and what it provides. This should give you a good idea of what to expect and whether or not it’s worth the money.

Available on:
7.86
“Good”
5802
Servers in
98 Countries
31 Days
Moneyback
$0.99 Per
Month
Plans & pricing

PureVPN VPN Review: is it really that good?

7.86

Good
5802
Servers in
98 Countries
31 Days
Moneyback
$0.99 Per
Month
Plans & pricing
Available on:
Written By: Adam Dagan Cyber security & Privacy expert

The quick version is that VPNs provide servers in various countries and locations so that users can keep their true identities and personal information secret. They are also useful for getting around geo-blocked services. For example, some streaming companies like Netflix or Disney+ may only provide certain shows in specific locations. By using a VPN, you can access shows that aren’t available in your area normally.

PureVPN has some issues, but it performs well overall. Below, we’ll break down its pricing structure, features, apps, and important aspects like security measures and privacy policies.

You can sign up for a PureVPN subscription for up to two years at a time, and the company also runs specials. For example, at the time of this writing, there is a seven-day trial available, with full access to all features, for less than a dollar. That’s good value and should let you better understand if this service is right for your needs

Pros & Cons

For easy reference, we’ve listed all the pros and cons of using PureVPN below. This should be a quick checklist if you are deciding whether this platform is right for you.

Pros
  • It offers a generous assortment of features
  • Extremely user-friendly installation process and interface
  • Seven-day trial period for $0.99
  • On the lower end of pricing for the industry
  • No-log certified
  • Huge server list
  • Robust ability to unblock streaming services
    • Works with:
Cons
  • User-friendliness may sacrifice clarity
  • Some significant security issues (has used session logs before)
  • Reported issues with the encryption for Windows

Pricing

8.00
“Very Good”

PureVPN has subscriptions for up to two-year-long increments. Its two-year plan comes with a monthly fee of $3.33, which is very reasonable and is a roughly 70% discount from its normal monthly rate. Even the monthly rate, though, is on the affordable end of the industry spectrum at a little over $10/month.

Additionally, the company provides users with a 31-day money-back guarantee. If you decide that you are unhappy with the services within that first month, you can cancel your subscription and get your money back. New to VPNs and not sure exactly whether it’ll be worth the money? Try out PureVPN for 7 days for only a buck. That’s a very impressive offering.

Speed

8.00
“Very Good”

Slow speeds are an issue when using most VPNs, as the added security and protection measures can cause serious delays. According to reports, PureVPN is decent, at nearly 200 Mbps during the day. At night, however, those speeds drop to astonishingly low speeds. This can be due to a variety of issues and may depend on your location, so we recommend using that seven-day test option to see whether it retains its speed for you.

On average, you can expect a 10% drop or so in speed, and that’s normal for VPN usage in most cases. Too much lag, though, and it’s not worth the money at all.

Servers

PureVPN’s server network is among the largest in the industry, with over 6,500 servers spread out across the globe. Fully half of these are in Europe, but many are spread across the Americas, Asia, and Africa. For perspective, some VPNs struggle to have even 2,000 servers. So PureVPN really stands out here and can be a great choice if you’re looking for a wide range of servers to use.

Why do you want more servers? Largely, that’s because it gives you more options to mask your true IP. Pass through a server in Ukraine, and outsiders will register you as being from there. This adds security and privacy to your web browsing and internet usage.

Generous connection limits you can have up to 10 connections at a time associated with the same account
Additional paid features offers a dedicated IP service as well as port forwarding
No logs PureVPN has a strict no-log policy and has been no-log certified
Apps iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, MacOS, gaming consoles, and more
Security measures uses top-of-the-line 256-bit encryption as well as IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP, PPTP TCP/UDP, and OpenVPN
Extraordinarily large server network more than 6,500 servers across nearly 200 locations
Kill switch Kill switch
Subscription packages up to two year increments
Money-back guarantee available for up to 31 days
Easy to use user-friendly interface

At more than 6,500 servers, PureVPN is up there with the largest VPNs.

User Experience

Our main takeaway for desktop and laptop clients is that the user interface is very simple and straightforward, all the way from initial download and installation through day-to-day usage. The goal seems to be to make the process as quick and simple as possible for new users while still providing veterans with a host of features. We can get on board with that.

However, there are some issues. For example, some of the options are meant to make selection easy but don’t actually explain what they mean. What’s the difference between Internet Freedom optimization and Security optimization, for instance? That’s a question we expect many users to ask themselves, as there isn’t much clarification.

PureVPN has a range of apps with which it is compatible. These include the Paymentwall platform with more than 150 apps for payment purposes. As far as using the VPN goes, there is a dedicated client for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV, browser extensions, Kodi, and more. The user experience on these is much the same as that of the experience on desktop and laptop, with some minor changes to reduce features and run time.

The important thing here is that many of the mobile apps, specifically Android, retain most of the features as seen on desktop or laptop. That is pretty unique among VPNs and means that PureVPN is quite versatile in its approach.

Languages

  • English (US)
  • English (UK)
  • Japanese
  • English (AU)

Security Categories

9.00
“Excellent”

PureVPN has a badge on its website that promotes it as being No-Log Certified. However, the fact of the matter is that the company has been found to keep service logs. While some justification could be made for this (i.e. they need to hold onto service logs briefly so that they can help users with any issues), it goes against the spirit of a no-logs policy in the eyes of many users.

Split tunneling is the ability to be able to select which apps or devices use a VPN and which do not. This gives you considerable control over the devices you protect at any given time. For example, you might want to allow certain apps to go through your usual ISP rather than a VPN for speed purposes. Fortunately, PureVPN does allow split tunneling across desktop, laptop, mobile, and tablet clients.

PureVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption. This is among the most difficult to crack encryption systems out there, making it among the safest. Most VPNs use this form of encryption, run through various protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, and others. Of note, PureVPN also offers the less-secure PPTP protocol, which is so out of date that most of its competitors jettisoned it long ago.

Still, the point is that you should be safe. However, we mentioned an encryption issue above, where the client continuously uses IKEv2 even when other protocols are selected. We expect that to be fixed ASAP.

It’s important to have privacy while browsing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to avoid pesky advertisements. Who among us wants to help feed the advertising algorithms that lets companies target us? To this end, PureVPN offers easy-to-use browsing via extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Kill switches cut you off from the internet as soon as the software recognizes that you are no longer connected to the VPN’s server. It’s a safeguard so that you don’t end up browsing the internet through an exposed server while still thinking you’re using the VPN. PureVPN has an effective kill switch for all its clients.

Like the encryption issue listed above, there is one problem with the Windows client. It has been reported that the kill switch is a bit glitchy when using the Windows client, specifically, run on IKEv2 protocols. That’s mainly a problem because the client also seems to want to use IKEv2 regardless of what you choose.

Some VPNs are starting to move toward RAM-only servers. This means all usage information and data is stored not on disk drives but as Random Access Memory, which is then erased whenever the server is rebooted (which, in theory, is often). Unfortunately, PureVPN is not one of those VPNs. This is another concern when coupled with PureVPN’s history of keeping logs for at least some period of time.

Security should not be affected when you use PureVPN on your gaming console versus using it on your laptop or PC. The same encryption methods and protocols apply. Again, though, there is room for some concern, as the VPN has kept logs in the past and does not use RAM-only storage. That means especially skilled hackers might be able to track down your information.

On desktop and laptop, which are two of the most popular clients used by VPN users, protocols include OpenVPN, IKEv2, and many more. As we’ve noted, however, the client for Windows seems only to want to connect via IKEv2 protocols. This can be confusing at best and a security problem at worst if you believe you’re covered under protocols that aren’t in place.

You should be safe and secure while using PureVPN across different browsers and operating systems. There are extensions specifically for Chrome and Firefox, but you can use the VPN with MacOS and Linux browsers as well. Security used for browsing includes encrypting your usage data via AS 256-bit encryption techniques, which would take even the world’s fastest supercomputer millions of years to brute force.

Again, the one issue is that the Windows client’s kill switch does not always work, according to reports. This can leave you exposed to external forces even when you think you’re connected via the VPN.

There is no change in security measures from when you are using PureVPN on desktop versus when you are using it on tablets or mobile devices. The client still provides users with an option of different security protocols to run and still encrypts data with the 256-bit key. Plus, the Android app doesn’t appear to lose functionality or to be susceptible to the Windows kill switch and encryption issues. For this reason, mobile devices might actually be more secure than a desktop client for PureVPN.

We were impressed with PureVPN’s router information online. For example, it told us that the VPN is compatible with 22 different brand names to avoid any ambiguity (since configuring a non-compatible router with software can destroy the router). It also has plenty of resources for setup purposes and even suggests different specific routers according to users’ needs.

Some other VPNs don’t even list router compatibility on their websites, so this was a nice touch.

Privacy Categories

9.00
“Excellent”

The location of a VPN’s headquarters is of supreme importance, since laws in different countries affect the legality of their services and whether or not they are required to provide logs when asked by government entities. Based in Hong Kong, PureVPN exists outside of the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance and is therefore able to provide plenty of privacy measures for its users.

Despite its spotty history with session logs, the company’s location in Hong Kong means that it doesn’t have to abide by China’s, the United States’, or the UK’s strict internet access laws.

You’ll need a router that can run the correct protocols to comply with the VPN’s requirements (i.e. OpenVPN, IKEv2, etc.). What we really liked about PureVPN is that it has a comprehensive list of acceptable, compatible routers as well as a suggestion list of the best routers in your area. You can also access in-depth installation guides that differ depending on your exact brand of router.

After PureVPN’s previous scandal with keeping session logs, the company underwent an external audit to earn back users’ trust. It now advertises itself as No-Log Certified, since outside agencies have examined its policies and verified that it abides by privacy and security measures.

We like this a lot, especially since most VPNs have failed to undergo an external audit and therefore only have the strength of their own word regarding privacy. However, it may take a long time for the userbase to fully trust PureVPN after it was caught keeping logs and even handing them over to government agencies when requested.

The Lightway protocol was developed by PureVPN’s competitor ExpressVPN. Currently, that is the only VPN company that uses the protocol, which purports to be more secure than the ones used by PureVPN (i.e. OpenVPN, IKEv2, etc.). This isn’t a huge downside, though, as literally no other VPN company than ExpressVPN currently uses Lightway, and since some reports claim that Lightway (while apparently more secure) slows down the VPN’s speed.

Support

7.00
“Good”

How to install

PureVPN offers installation guides for various clients and apps, as well as routers. Its process is quite simple and should be good for beginners. However, the program does ask the user about how they want to optimize the VPN. It uses confusing terms like Internet Freedom and Security, and it’s not immediately clear what those terms refer to. For example, why should I optimize for Internet Freedom? In what ways do I have less freedom in usage if I optimize for Security? These questions aren’t answered, but you can switch your optimization to find the one that works best on your device.

Still, despite the process being easy and being able to re-optimize your client, the jargon may turn off some users. If you do download and install the client, you’ll then be prompted to select the protocol you want to use and then select servers from a list of locations. Simple to use, easy to understand. We just think the initial optimization question should have that same understandability.

Customer Service

Some users have desired the online resources available to help with customer service situations. However, we can’t take off marks for that, since the customer support lines are open around the clock. 24/7 support is a common feature among VPNs, but it’s also one that often goes unnoticed until things fall apart. We think having a support crew around via live chat or phone is important and can help users should any issues arise.

Summary

Written By: Adam Dagan Cyber security & Privacy expert

PureVPN is already popular, with over 3 million reported users worldwide. That makes sense, as it offers comprehensive services, plenty of options for customization, a generous 10-connection limit, and effective unblocking services for some of the most popular streaming sites. It uses the high-level 256-bit encryption strategy and a host of protocols, and it has been externally audited to be No-Log Certified.

There are some downsides, though. Reports of glitchy kill switches and encryption problems with the Windows client keeps PureVPN really being in the top tier of VPNs. Its history of session logs also doesn’t do a lot to instill confidence, and confidence in security and privacy is really the name of the game when it comes to VPNs. We think its middling price structure adequately reflects PureVPN’s position among its competitors: somewhere in the middle

Go with PureVPN

FAQ

Is PureVPN free

A: PureVPN’s speeds are average among VPNs. It tends to run faster during the day than at night, and it has been reported to dip into extremely slow speeds at night. However, that could be due to factors outside its control, such as server traffic numbers. Still, it’s not the fastest around even on good days, though it does manage up to 200 Mbps.

Is PureVPN fast?

A: PureVPN’s speeds are average among VPNs. It tends to run faster during the day than at night, and it has been reported to dip into extremely slow speeds at night. However, that could be due to factors outside its control, such as server traffic numbers. Still, it’s not the fastest around even on good days, though it does manage up to 200 Mbps.

Is PureVPN good for torrenting?

A: Not really, if we’re being honest. It does allow P2P file sharing on many of its servers, but its history of session logging and lack of RAM-only data storage means that users may not feel comfortable torrenting if they are based in locations where torrenting is problematic.

Is PureVPN legal?

A: The answer to this question depends on where you live. Yes, PureVPN is a legal business that operates out of Hong Kong, but some countries (such as Iran) limit or ban the use of VPNs in general. You’ll need to check your local laws, but for most of the Americas and Europe, at least, PureVPN is a legal service. What you do with it and how you use it, on the other hand, is up to you.