PureVPN is a middling provider that has been trying for years to rub shoulders with the best VPN services. In our last PureVPN review, we discovered that the VPN has sluggish speeds, inconsistent streaming performance and a dodgy privacy history.
- From 2021, PureVPN has been aggressively introducing new features and updates.
- The VPN service is now blazing fast, thanks to its 20 Gbps servers.
- The VPN struggles to unblock several streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus.
- The VPN has restricted the kind of logs it collects, but privacy concerns still abound.
However, from 2021, the VPN service started making big strides, implementing significant changes to its policies and features. In this review, we put the VPN through its paces to determine if it’s worth your money.
Spoiler: PureVPN has considerably improved its speeds and privacy, although its streaming performance still leaves much to be desired.
09/24/2021 Facts checked
Cloudwards completed a freshPureVPN review. Since our previous review, PureVPN has completely redesigned their app UI and now accepts cryptocurrency payments.
02/16/2022 Facts checked
07/27/2022 Facts checked
Updated to include information about several changes to privacy, security, speed, server locations, ease of use and support.
NordVPN provides better VPN security and privacy than PureVPN. Moreover, NordVPN is faster and unblocks all the top streaming services.
PureVPN is a fast VPN with fast upload and download speeds. Its latency is also relatively stable. That means you should have no significant lags or buffering when performing data-heavy tasks like streaming and gaming.
GZ Systems Ltd. owns PureVPN. The VPN service used to have its headquarters in Hong Kong, but it has since moved its base to the British Virgin Islands.
PureVPN is hit-or-miss when it comes to unblocking Netflix. You might have to try multiple PureVPN servers before successfully bypassing Netflix geoblocks, especially in the U.S.
Alternatives for PureVPN
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Strengths & Weaknesses
- WireGuard protocol
- Dedicated IP addresses
- Fast speeds
- Large server network
- Poor streaming performance
When we speak of feature-rich VPNs, NordVPN and Surfshark readily come to mind (read our NordVPN review and Surfshark review). PureVPN isn’t quite ready to be mentioned in that conversation, but it does include a few uncommon extras in its suite of VPN features.
Let’s start with its basic features, though. First is the kill switch, which disables your internet connection in the event your VPN connection drops. However, it’s pretty common among VPNs. Read our article on kill switches to see which VPNs do it best.
It also offers split tunneling, if you want only specific apps to go through the VPN tunnel. The only issue is that it doesn’t allow you to include or exclude specific URLs or websites.
PureVPN also has a built-in speed test. It’s fairly basic, but you can see your potential download and upload speeds before you choose a server. What’s unique, though, is that PureVPN gives you a heads-up on the latency of each server without you having to run a test.
Furthermore, PureVPN offers several extras to add to your subscription at an extra cost. The dedicated IP address feature can help you avoid VPN blocklists and CAPTCHAs. Another helpful extra for advanced users is the port-forwarding feature, which allows you to access your PC or server anywhere while still enjoying the protection of the VPN.
The VPN also offers DDoS protection, which blocks illegal traffic and is useful for e-commerce stores, online businesses and gamers. We find it perplexing that a VPN would charge for this; after all, the way a VPN works prevents DDoS attacks by design, simply by hiding your IP address. See our article on the best VPNs with DDoS protection to see some examples.
PureVPN Features Overview
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Worldwide server amount||6,500 servers in 78 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS, Huawei|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|VPN protocols available||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
PureVPN’s monthly plan is cheap, compared to premium VPNs. At $10.95 per month, it’s less expensive than the likes of ExpressVPN and Surfshark, which are both priced at $12.95 per month. However, that’s still twice the price of Mullvad: €5 per month (which is about $5.11 at the time of writing).
PureVPN offers a whopping 70% discount on the monthly rate if you subscribe for a year. This markdown means you’ll pay $3.24 per month, amounting to $38.95 each year. At that price, its yearly plan is cheaper than some of our budget-friendly VPNs, including Surfshark, which is priced at $3.99 per month (a total of $47.88).
However, if you read the fine print, you’ll notice that PureVPN ditches the discount after the first year, and the price reverts to a total of $53.95 each year, or about $4.50 per month.
The two-year plan is the real star, though, with prices dropped to an eye-popping $1.99 per month. On top of that, you get three months free. In all, you’ll pay $53.95 for the first 27 months and the same every 12 months after that. Comparatively, Surfshark (one of the cheapest VPNs on the market) will set you back $2.49 per month (billed at $59.76 for the first 24 months and annually afterward).
Money-Back Guarantee and Payment Methods
Most VPNs offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, but in a bit of (slightly petty) one-upmanship, PureVPN lets you refund your subscription within 31 days. That shouldn’t make much of a difference, though.
For a truly longer money-back guarantee deal, the honors go to CyberGhost, which allows you to request a refund within 45 days. Read our CyberGhost review.
What’s more, the VPN service offers various modes of payment. You can pay using PayPal or credit cards and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express. If you want to purchase a subscription anonymously, you can pay using cryptocurrencies through CoinGate.
PureVPN Subscription Add-ons
PureVPN offers four interesting add-on options. First is the dedicated IP address feature, which costs an extra $2.99. Next is the port-forwarding feature, which goes for $0.99 per month.
Alternatively, you can combine the dedicated IP and port-forwarding features for $3.49 monthly. Finally, you can get your hands on DDoS protection for $3.99 per month.
Ease of Use
PureVPN’s desktop app is one of the most polished and attractive apps we’ve seen. It’s reminiscent of ExpressVPN’s and Surfshark’s desktop apps, two of our best beginner-friendly VPNs. There’s no clutter on PureVPN’s Windows app and it’s exceptionally easy to navigate.
On the left-hand side of the app, you’ll find a lineup of options to customize PureVPN to your taste. There are buttons to change your server location, set up other devices and access the customer support center. The settings menu will also allow you to set up your protocols, decide when PureVPN connects, and specify which apps to tunnel.
The PureVPN app also has a notification center, where the VPN will share key information with you, though this can be annoying for some users.
On the Windows app, PureVPN groups its servers according to the following categories: recommended servers, recent locations and favorites. This grouping should make it easy for you to find the servers you use often.
There’s also a search button to help you pull up any server in seconds, and you can filter servers according to quantum-resistant servers and P2P servers. It’s also commendable that PureVPN has added approximate speeds to each server listing. This should remove the trial and error when looking for a blazing-fast server.
Android App & iOS App
PureVPN’s minimalist approach translates to its mobile apps as well. First of all, the app is clean and attractive. When you open the Android app, you’ll be greeted with a large button that automatically connects you to a server, which is common practice among the best VPNs for mobile.
Above the quick-connect button, you’ll see PureVPN’s recommended server for your location. On your screen’s right side is a question mark icon. Click on it to access PureVPN’s comprehensive support, including the in-app live chat feature (more on this later in the review).
If you want to tweak your VPN settings, you’ll have to click the dropdown menu button at the top left of your screen. There, you change your server locations, decide on the protocol to use and activate app-level split tunneling. There’s also the option to set up other devices, from Kodi to Android TV.
In terms of its server network, PureVPN shares the limelight with the best, boasting over 6,500 servers in 78 countries. Granted, it doesn’t have as many servers as CyberGhost (over 8,700 servers), but it outnumbers the likes of Surfshark (over 3,200 servers) and NordVPN (over 5,000 servers).
Most of PureVPN’s network consists of physical servers, though some of its U.S. servers are virtual. You can see the difference between the two server types in our article on virtual vs physical servers.
PureVPN Server List
However, server spread is a more critical metric, and PureVPN doesn’t perform badly in that regard. Most of PureVPN’s servers are located in North America and Europe, meaning you’ll be spoiled for choice if you’re in those places. The VPN doesn’t work in China, so you’ll need to choose a server in a neighboring country.
There are also a handful of servers in often underserved locations like Oceania and Africa. For instance, you’ll find servers in Nigeria and Angola, areas that many VPN services ignore. If there’s no PureVPN server in your location, you can request a server through the live chat option.
In our last review, we deducted points from PureVPN’s rating because of its poor and inconsistent speeds. However, the VPN has made an impressive comeback and now gives ExpressVPN, our fastest VPN, a run for its money. Read our ExpressVPN vs PureVPN review to see how they compare in terms of speed.
The main reason for PureVPN’s upswing in speed is that its server speeds have been upgraded to 20 Gbps. Considering some of PureVPN’s servers had 1 Gbps speeds a few years ago, this move is quite impressive.
20 Gbps servers offer better throughput, meaning they can send large chunks of data faster and without hassle. Plus, those servers can host more people and handle increased server loads better.
How We Ran Our PureVPN Speed Tests
We conducted our speed tests using a high-speed internet connection in Accra, Ghana. First, we checked our download and upload speeds and latency without a VPN. Those values served as a benchmark to help us check the speed drop-offs. Next, we connected to PureVPN servers across various continents, checking our upload speeds, download speeds and latency.
PureVPN Speed Test Results
As shown in the table below, PureVPN delivers consistent upload and download speeds. It’s not fast enough to get into our best fast VPN list, but its results are impressive. The download speeds in the U.S. and the U.K. are fast enough to help you stream and play online games without lags or interruptions.
The upload speeds in Brazil and Australia took a considerable hit, but that’s understandable because of the distance. Remember that these numbers may differ based on your location. However, they give us a fair idea of PureVPN’s speeds across the board.
The last time we reviewed PureVPN, we were disappointed by its inconsistent streaming performance. Unfortunately, PureVPN’s streaming performance is still a mixed bag. The only upside is that its improved speeds have made lags and buffering a thing of the past.
PureVPN was inconsistent in unblocking American Netflix. Although BBC iPlayer worked fine when we connected to servers in London, we didn’t have any luck with other streaming services, including Hulu and Disney Plus. Overall, we wouldn’t recommend PureVPN for streaming.
Can PureVPN Unblock Netflix and Amazon Prime Video?
PureVPN struggled to unblock Netflix U.S. on the first try. As a result, we had to sift through several servers before recording some success. For example, we received error messages when attempting to connect to Netflix through PureVPN’s servers in Washington and Miami. However, servers in Ashburn and Seattle worked just fine.
We also checked if PureVPN could unblock other Netflix regional libraries. First, we tried to access the Netflix library in the Netherlands, but we were unsuccessful. Similarly, it seemed that Netflix’s France geoblock was too strong for PureVPN’s servers, although the servers in Japan worked fine.
Likewise, we drew a blank when attempting to unblock Amazon Prime Video. Despite changing servers, we still had no luck. It seems PureVPN has not made significant strides in its streaming abilities. You’ll be better off with ExpressVPN, which doubles as our top VPN choice for streaming Netflix and the best VPN for streaming Amazon Prime Video.
For a VPN to be secure, it needs strong encryption. Thankfully, PureVPN offers AES-256 encryption, which is about as good as it gets. Read our post on AES encryption to discover more about this encryption standard.
Apart from encryption, a VPN must establish a secure tunnel between your device and a VPN remote server, and it does so using a VPN protocol. Your choice of VPN protocol often depends on the speed and security balance you want to achieve, so it’s helpful if a VPN offers multiple protocol options. Check out our VPN protocol breakdown to learn more about the most common protocols.
PureVPN supports the most popular VPN protocols: OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), WireGuard and IKEv2. OpenVPN is your best bet if you’re looking for the best balance between speed and security, while the WireGuard protocol can make your VPN connection even faster. IKEv2 is a good choice for mobile users.
The VPN has even introduced quantum-resistant encryption keys on the OpenVPN protocol. In layperson’s terms, this new feature makes encryption impossible to crack, even using a powerful quantum supercomputer, which greatly enhances the security of the servers.
You can set PureVPN to select the most appropriate protocol automatically. There’s also a “connect to fallback” button that instructs the VPN to connect to the next best protocol if your preferred protocol is unavailable. Note that not all of PureVPN’s servers support the various protocols, so be sure to double-check.
PureVPN Proxy and Leak Protection
PureVPN also offers an HTTPS proxy, which is a step up from a regular proxy. However, there’s no need to use a proxy when you’re already paying for a VPN, which is a vastly superior type of software, as you can see in our VPN vs proxy vs Tor article.
PureVPN provides IPv6, WebRTC and smart DNS leak protection. The VPN also has useful testing tools for all the leaks mentioned above to help you verify if there are leaks you need to be wary of.
PureVPN claims not to collect any logs that can be connected to you. However, in 2017, the VPN supplied information to the FBI about a user who was a cyberstalker. While helping criminals get arrested is critical, the release of user data left a sour taste in the mouths of privacy-conscious users.
PureVPN moved its base from Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands, a more privacy-friendly jurisdiction with no mandatory data retention laws, and the service holds the honor of being the first VPN to submit itself to an “always on” VPN audit. This agreement with the reputed audit firm KPMG means that it can audit PureVPN at any time without prior notice.
This gives PureVPN no leeway to clean up before audits.
Customer service is another area where PureVPN has made great strides. Its knowledgebase is well organized and filled with useful information. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for in the knowledgebase, you can generate a ticket. You’ll receive a response through your email address.
Alternatively, you can contact PureVPN’s customer support agents 24/7 through the live chat option. PureVPN has also extended its support to 11 languages and added a support center notification feature for all users.
Live Chat Support
The last time we reviewed PureVPN, its live chat feature performed terribly, with the bot unable to answer even basic questions. However, the bot redeemed itself during our testing. The live chatbot was organized and provided helpful answers. It quickly connected us to a live support agent, but that’s where things went sour.
We asked some pretty basic questions and the live agent disappeared on us, leaving us waiting for several minutes. After a couple of reminders, we finally received a response, although it was not as detailed as we expected.
The next day, we received an email from PureVPN’s customer success manager who was double-checking if our issues were resolved and whether we were satisfied. It’s worth mentioning that PureVPN now offers 24/7 in-app live chat support for its apps.
PureVPN Review: The Verdict
PureVPN has grown in leaps and bounds since our last review. The VPN service has overhauled its services, massively improving its server speeds, introducing the WireGuard protocol and even moving its base from Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands.
PureVPN’s streaming performance is still a mixed bag, though. It struggles with Netflix and is ineffective against Amazon Prime’s geoblocks.
That said, we were impressed with PureVPN’s overall improvement and we’re keeping our eyes open for future additions. This combined with an impressive first-year discount might make it worth trying if it sounds like it suits your needs.
Do you agree with our opinions on PureVPN? What are your thoughts on the VPN’s new lineup of features? Have you tried them out yet? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. As always, thanks for reading.