Key Takeaways: NordVPN vs PureVPN
- The main difference between PureVPN and NordVPN is the latter’s fast speeds combined with a wealth of features, particularly security and streaming performance.
- PureVPN has a larger server network and uses virtual VPN servers to provide IP addresses from restricted countries.
- Overall, NordVPN outperforms PureVPN in almost every aspect, though PureVPN has some unique features and is cheaper.
11/14/2023 Facts checked
Article rewritten to focus on aspects instead of general categories. Answered some additional questions and provided more recommendations.
We at Cloudwards think of NordVPN as one of the best VPN services, and the provider certainly lives up to its reputation. Meanwhile, PureVPN has been working hard to compete with the best — we put it to the test in our full review. This time, we’ll examine them together and see how they stack up in a variety of categories.
NordVPN is the fastest VPN in the industry right now. Although PureVPN used to underperform in the speed department, we’re pleasantly surprised to see how far it’s come after upgrading its servers and feature set. In this article, we’ll help you find the best one for your needs.
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 10
How Did We Rate NordVPN vs PureVPN?
We checked how these VPNs performed across several categories, including security features, speed, the streaming platforms they could unblock and whether they had standard VPN features.
Both NordVPN and PureVPN have a money-back guarantee, though instead of the standard 30 days, PureVPN lets you try it out for 31 days. If you request a refund in time, it effectively lets you try it out for free. For more in-depth coverage, check out our NordVPN review and PureVPN review.
NordVPN vs PureVPN: Similarities & Differences
NordVPN and PureVPN both have similar VPN protocols and a reliable no-logs policy. However, there are also areas where they markedly differ.
|$3.19 / month(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee||$2.21 / month(All Plans) 31-days money-back guarantee|
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash||PayPal, Credit card|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available||7 days on mobile|
|Worldwide server amount||5,800 servers in 60 countries||6,500 servers in 65 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS||Android, iOS|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Edge|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|Encryption types||256-AES, ChaCha20||256-AES|
|VPN protocols available||OpenVPN, IKEv2, NordLynx||OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
Here are some of the aspects NordVPN and PureVPN share.
Standard VPN Features
NordVPN and PureVPN both offer the standard features we consider necessary for VPNs to succeed. These include a kill switch, split tunneling, support for multiple platforms and DNS leak protection.
The kill switch kicks in if your VPN connection drops, preventing anyone from spying on your traffic. Split tunneling diverts specific apps or URLs through the VPN tunnel while leaving others unprotected, in case you need to use a website that’s suspicious of VPNs. Both also passed our DNS leak tests, proving they can prevent your internet service provider (ISP) from snooping.
You can download NordVPN and PureVPN on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. PureVPN is also available on Huawei phones that don’t support Google Play services, as you can download an app for these devices and install it manually.
VPN and Encryption Protocols
Currently, PureVPN offers some of the best VPN protocols in the industry: OpenVPN (both TCP and UDP), WireGuard and IKEv2. These protocols also use AES-256 encryption, the current industry standard, or an equivalent like WireGuard’s ChaCha20 cipher.
NordVPN employs NordLynx, a modified version of WireGuard that combines fast speeds and watertight security. Consequently, NordVPN doesn’t offer the standard WireGuard protocol.
Speed used to be a significant issue with PureVPN, but after upgrading to 20 Gbps servers, the provider now achieves speeds comparable to ExpressVPN (check out our ExpressVPN review). These quicker speeds ensure you can stream and browse the internet without noticing any speed drops. Our speed test article shows that NordVPN still holds the title of fastest VPN provider, with only Surfshark and ExpressVPN coming close.
Secure Base Country
PureVPN was founded in Hong Kong, but has since moved to the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a privacy-friendly territory where ExpressVPN is also based. The BVI doesn’t have laws that mandate data retention, so the company can legally avoid keeping logs on its users without repercussions.
NordVPN is based in Panama, which isn’t on the same level of privacy as the BVI, but isn’t part of the Five Eyes and Fourteen Eyes alliance, which is a huge plus. Countries that are part of these alliances are forbidden by their constitutions from spying on their own citizens, but use the alliance as a loophole to share intelligence with each other.
A country’s law enforcement can force a VPN provider to hand data over, but both companies have proven zero-logs policies. Even if the courts allowed access to a government entity, there’d be nothing for them to see. A similar case happened to Proton VPN in 2019, and because it kept no logs, it could comply with court orders without compromising user privacy.
PureVPN and NordVPN have both been through audits in which a trusted third party ran them through privacy and security tests. NordVPN’s audit results are available online, but we couldn’t find a direct link to KPMG’s audit of PureVPN. This makes us a little more suspicious of PureVPN, since audits aren’t worth as much if the results are not made public.
On the other hand, PureVPN has subjected itself to an “always on” audit from KPMG, which lets the latter perform audits without prior notice. With this agreement, PureVPN gets no time to prepare beforehand, minimizing its opportunity to manipulate results. While NordVPN doesn’t have a similar arrangement, it has passed audits from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Deloitte and VerSprite.
Large Server Networks
NordVPN has an extensive network of more than 5,000 servers, providing IP addresses in 83 locations across 60 countries and territories. PureVPN currently has over 6,500 VPN servers in around 90 locations across around 65 countries. Both providers have dedicated servers for various purposes like P2P and dedicated IP addresses.
Both NordVPN and PureVPN cover all continents except Antarctica. You’ll likely be able to get the IP address you need with either. However, PureVPN has an edge over NordVPN with its availability of African and Middle Eastern IP addresses. NordVPN only has servers in four countries in Africa and the Middle East, while PureVPN has nine.
Multiple Simultaneous Connections
The ability to connect multiple devices to a provider’s VPN servers can help a whole family preserve internet privacy and safety. Each NordVPN subscription allows six simultaneous connections, while PureVPN accounts support 10. Both VPNs provide unlimited bandwidth for all users.
Besides convenience, supporting multiple connections can help users save money through subscription sharing.
NordVPN and PureVPN allow users to select certain apps or websites to go through the VPN connection, while others remain outside. NordVPN has no split tunneling on its macOS, iOS and Linux apps. It’s only available on Windows, Android and Android TV for now. Split tunneling on PureVPN is similarly only available on Windows and Android, though it also adds some smart TV support for Android TVs and Firesticks.
Both VPNs offer app-based split tunneling, so you can’t split based on URLs (except through NordVPN’s browser extension — more on that later). With NordVPN, you can control split tunneling by making a list of apps that will either run in the VPN (with all others excluded) or run outside the VPN (with all others included).
PureVPN users can only make a list of apps to run in the VPN, with no option for the inverse.
Ease of Use
We’re happy to say neither PureVPN nor NordVPN neglect ease of use. NordVPN’s user interface (UI) is one of the best ones we’ve seen, with clean menus and tips to explain its advanced features. Everything is grouped into coherent sections that take little time to get comfortable with.
PureVPN has a great UI too, albeit slightly less streamlined. You can find whatever you need with a few clicks, and all essential functions are accessible from tabs in the starting window. PureVPN also lets you reach its customer support and FAQ pages from the desktop client.
Many VPNs offer browser extensions as a more accessible alternative to the desktop client or a complementary feature. NordVPN’s browser extension is a lighter version of its PC client, offering VPN, encryption and ad-blocking capabilities. It’s available on Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox.
PureVPN offers a browser extension for Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge and many others. You can connect to VPN servers and enjoy DNS leak protection, but it doesn’t block ads or trackers like NordVPN’s extension. However, PureVPN’s extension has a unique “popular websites” feature that redirects you to streaming websites like Netflix and Hulu while connecting to a VPN server.
You can find out how NordVPN and PureVPN differ in this section.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs to unblock popular streaming services. It can get past the geoblocks of anything from Netflix to Paramount Plus.
PureVPN can unblock BBC iPlayer if you connect to U.K. servers, but unblocking streaming platforms isn’t its strong suit. Our older tests showed that it didn’t work with some Netflix regions, and it couldn’t access Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or Disney Plus at all.
This time, we still couldn’t get into any of the other platforms, but Netflix performed much better, working in several countries that were previously blocked. Also, PureVPN’s recent speed upgrades reduce the chance of lags on the platforms it can unblock — currently just Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Dedicated Server Types
Though both VPNs have servers dedicated to specific tasks, the similarities end there. PureVPN doesn’t offer Onion over VPN or double VPN servers. It also has no specific servers for obfuscation, though obfuscation is applied whenever users select the OpenVPN protocol.
PureVPN does have one server feature NordVPN lacks: quantum-resistant servers. PureVPN claims these servers can resist attacks from quantum computers effectively. Unfortunately, there’s no verification for this.
Quantum computers are many times faster than traditional supercomputers, which allows them to decrypt ciphers faster. PureVPN markets this as future-proofing, a way to ensure that even hackers armed with quantum computers won’t be able to decrypt your traffic.
The problem is that quantum computers are years away from being widely available. If PureVPN wants us to accept that it’s found a way to foil advanced technology, it’ll need to demonstrate that a little more clearly.
Some of PureVPN’s servers have port forwarding capabilities. By connecting to a VPN server with port forwarding, you can access a specific IP address and connect to another server. Some video game servers require port forwarding to access them, and PureVPN can help you connect to them easier.
NordVPN’s servers are all physical, meaning your device will connect to a server actually located where it’s labeled to be. PureVPN has some virtual servers, though it predominantly relies on physical ones. Virtual servers allow VPN companies to provide IP addresses from restrictive countries like Russia and India, while the real servers are located elsewhere. Learn more about the difference in our physical vs virtual server article.
In September 2023, PureVPN removed a large number of virtual locations, dropping the count to 23 from 87. You can still get IP addresses from Vietnam, Bahrain, Brunei and other countries, but unfortunately, locations like Croatia, Kuwait and Jordan are now unavailable.
Since NordVPN doesn’t rely on virtual servers, it can’t provide IP addresses from countries that don’t allow VPNs.
NordVPN’s threat protection prevents ads and malware from tracking or harming your device. The desktop version of this feature works without a VPN connection, but those using threat protection lite (primarily mobile users) must connect to a VPN server for it to kick in. Threat protection is highly effective at removing ads, though NordVPN isn’t the best VPN with a built-in ad blocker.
PureVPN doesn’t have a built-in ad blocker. It offers PurePrivacy as part of the company’s security suite, but it only blocks trackers, not advertisements.
Availability in China
NordVPN works in China and is one of the best China VPNs. It works best if you select the obfuscated servers or use NordLynx, though as with all VPNs in China, availability may be sporadic. Your location in China can also affect whether NordVPN gets past the Great Firewall or not.
PureVPN may work in China, as it has obfuscation capabilities if you use its OpenVPN protocol. However, we couldn’t find solid proof of it bypassing Chinese restrictions.
NordVPN has added tiers to its subscriptions, which include Standard, Plus and Complete. All tiers have plans lasting a month, one year or two years (which comes with three extra months). Plus subscriptions let you access the NordPass password manager and data breach detection. Complete adds 1TB of encrypted NordLocker storage on top of the Plus features.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
If you’re considering Standard tier, the monthly plan is $12.99 while the annual plan goes for $4.99 a month. The two-year plan costs $3.19. If you want to get the Plus and Complete subscriptions, we recommend the two-year plans at $3.99 and $5.19 per month, respectively.
Currently, PureVPN has a three-tier subscription with plans lasting one month, a year and two years. It also offers four paid add-ons: port forwarding, dedicated IP addresses, dedicated servers and dedicated servers IPs with port forwarding.
- Only VPN. Two extra months free on 2-year plan.
- Unlimited GB
- Adds password manager and file encryption software. Two extra months free on 2-year plan.
- Unlimited GB
- Adds a personal privacy manager. Three extra months free on 2-year plan.
- Unlimited GB
PureVPN’s Standard tier starts with a monthly plan costing $12.45. You can get the yearly and two-year subscriptions for $3.75 and $2.21 per month, which is slightly cheaper than NordVPN. The Plus and Max tiers have two-year plans going for $3.33 and $3.87 per month.
Which Is Better: NordVPN vs PureVPN?
After factoring in each VPN’s offerings, we’ve concluded that NordVPN is the better service. However, we applaud PureVPN for making things more competitive in recent years. Competing with the biggest names in the VPN industry is difficult, yet PureVPN hasn’t stopped trying to improve its services.
NordVPN’s security, feature set, speed and customer service are all superior. It remains the fastest service and lets you unblock all popular streaming platforms from anywhere in the world. If you pay for the Plus subscription, you gain access to a password manager, while the Complete tier adds in 1TB of NordLocker encrypted cloud storage.
PureVPN has a larger server network, offers more simultaneous connections and is cheaper. You also have all the best standard VPN protocols, though PureVPN doesn’t have anything that compares with NordLynx.
We Recommend NordVPN If You Want…
- The fastest speeds possible: NordVPN’s upload and download speeds are some of the fastest available.
- Top-tier security: NordVPN boasts a proven no-logs policy from various third-parties and has published the results for all to see.
- Amazing streaming performance: You can unblock every popular streaming service available, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video with NordVPN’s servers.
We Recommend PureVPN If You Want…
- Cheaper subscriptions: PureVPN’s plans are slightly cheaper than NordVPN’s on most lengths and tiers.
- A large server spread: PureVPN users have access to more servers and locations than NordVPN offers.
- More simultaneous connections: PureVPN supports up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is four more than NordVPN, perfect for larger groups who need extra internet security.
If You Want to Consider Other Services, Check Out…
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency2 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, cash
- : 10
Average speedDownload Speed95 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency200 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- : Unlimited
$3.33 / month(save 66%)(All Plans)
- : Credit card
- : 5
The Verdict: Why We Think NordVPN Wins Overall
NordVPN has been working on incorporating newer features. While PureVPN has also been steadily improving, its progress still leaves something to be desired. In addition, NordVPN has a better track record, with third-party audits that have proven its capabilities. Though PureVPN is catching up, it has a ways to go before reaching NordVPN’s level.
What do you think of our comparison? What did we miss about the VPNs, if anything? Do you agree with our conclusions? Let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.
FAQ: NordVPN vs PureVPN
ExpressVPN is the best VPN overall, though NordVPN isn’t too far behind.
In previous tests, PureVPN wasn’t the best service for unblocking Netflix, as it struggled to unblock some regions, but recent testing seems to have shown improvement.
PureVPN isn’t the best VPN, but it has put in a lot of effort to compete with the best.
PureVPN has been audited by KPMG and is now based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no mandatory data retention laws.