PureVPN vs ExpressVPN: Which One Protects Your Privacy Best?

obrBy Joel Tope — Last Updated: 06 Mar'17 2017-03-06T05:32:31+00:00
PureVPN and ExpressVPN are two clear leaders within the VPN industry, though their services are very different in terms of pricing and features.

If you want to look for another provider, feel free to browse through VPN reviews of the leading services. Today we’re going to analyze ExpressVPN vs PureVPN to point out their strengths and weaknesses, but understand that both providers offer excellent service.

Starts from
$ 8.33 per month
Visit ExpressVPNExpressVPN Review
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • SmartDNS and Network Lock
  • Great mobile and desktop apps
  • Great customer service
  • Collects non-identifiable metadata
  • Rather expensive
  • Only connects 3 devices
Starts from
$ 11.00 per month
Visit purevpnpurevpn Review
  • Servers in 140 countries
  • Great pricing
  • Connects to five devices
  • Fantastic privacy protection
  • Bit slow at times
  • Few servers per country
  • Long-term commitment

But which service is better, you ask? Well, we aim to find the answer to question by picking apart their services piece by piece. And first, we’re going to start by taking a look at their prices.

1

Pricing

Both providers have similar pricing models, in the sense that they don’t separate features into different packages. Instead, each provider simply discounts the monthly rate of their service with longer-term subscriptions.

However, I’d say that PureVPN is the clear winner in the pricing category, as they are significantly cheaper. ExpressVPN isn’t the most expensive service I’ve seen, though they are nearer the higher end of the pricing spectrum.

The following outlines PureVPN’s current pricing model, though they do run occasional promotions:

PlanPureVPN
Price Plan
$ 11 00monthly
$ 54 006 months
$ 70 00yearly
Bandwidth Unlimited GB
Included Devices 5
Bitcoin

Likewise, the following details ExpressVPN’s prices:

PlanMonthlySemi-AnnuallyAnnually
Price Plan
$ 12 95monthly
$ 59 956 months
$ 99 95yearly
Bandwidth Unlimited GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB
Included Devices 3 3 3
Bitcoin

Also, note that neither ExpressVPN nor PureVPN has a free trial or free version of their service. Instead, they make do with a money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN has a 30-day guarantee, which will give you more than enough time to test their service.

PureVPN only has a seven-day money-back guarantee, which is still adequate time to make a decision. And both providers will accept payment from a smattering of different tenders such as Bitcoins, credit- and debit cards, PayPal as well as many others.

But all in all, I think PureVPN wins the pricing competition fair and square.


Winner (Pricing): PureVPN
ExpressVPN
PureVPN
2

Features

The features of each VPN tunnel and the size of each providers’ network are extremely different. First off, understand that PureVPN has a more expansive network of VPN servers than any other service I’ve ever seen.

To date, PureVPN operates servers in 141 countries, which provides an immense degree of flexibility to find servers in your geographic proximity.

Though ExpressVPN has servers located in 87 countries, that’s still more than the average provider.

Both intentionally have servers in the most popular geographic regions, such as the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as some more obscure places.

Nevertheless, users can create more simultaneous connections with PureVPN than ExpressVPN. Currently, PureVPN allows up to five simultaneous connections per account.

ExpressVPN only permits three simultaneous connections. This is a definite improvement, however, because within the last year ExpressVPN updated their connection policy (it used to be two simultaneous connections between one handheld device and one computer).

Both providers offer unlimited bandwidth, unlimited data and unlimited server switching. In reality, these aren’t really features as much as standard expectations and it would be odd if they didn’t offer these.

I would also like to draw your attention to one handy feature called split tunneling. PureVPN offers split tunneling, but ExpressVPN does not. This feature allows a user to pick and choose which traffic they want to pass over the VPN tunnel, and which traffic should be forwarded into the Internet without encryption.

Bypassing the VPN tunnel can drastically speed up performance, downloads and streaming applications since unencrypted traffic doesn’t experience tunnel overhead. I think this option is tremendously useful, because without it, all traffic would be forwarded through the VPN tunnel by default — as is the case with ExpressVPN.

However, there are ways to configure firewall rules and use third-party tools to manually implement your own personal split tunneling configuration, though it is inconvenient to do it manually.

Furthermore, both providers offer a handy automatic “kill switch” feature, which has been built into their software client. Enabling a kill switch means the VPN client shuts off downloads and other types of traffic if the VPN tunnel becomes disconnected. This is incredibly useful because it guarantees that data won’t accidentally be transmitted in an unencrypted format if the VPN tunnel drops.

A kill switch is especially useful for Bittorrent downloads, and helps ensure that a seeder, leecher, peer or ISP won’t see your real IP address in the event of a tunnel drop.

And on that note, is also worth mentioning that you’ll be able to download torrents with both services, since they both permit P2P traffic through their servers. However, there is one caveat.

PureVPN doesn’t allow P2P traffic on all of their servers. Rather, they have implemented a global compliance policy to cover their bases and make sure they company with copyright enforcement around the world.

Personally, I think that’s fantastic, because it helps to ensure that they’re not painting a target on their backs or meriting unwanted attention from governmental and law enforcement authorities.

On the whole, I think PureVPN has slightly better features than ExpressVPN. It’s slightly easier to user, as well, and so wins this round, if only by a nose length.


Winner (Features): PureVPN
ExpressVPN
PureVPN
3

Security

As far as security is concerned, I think it’s pretty close to a tie. ExpressVPN and PureVPN offer extremely strong encryption protocols that are virtually impossible to crack.

I was impressed to see that they offered so many options, because a few providers only offer PPTP and OpenVPN connections. Both PureVPN and ExpressVPN offer the following connections options:

  • PPTP
  • SSTP
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • OpenVPN

And you have the option of using TCP or UDP with both providers. I’d highly recommend refraining from using PPTP since it is flawed and can be easily decrypted. But the stronger protocols use AES-256-bit encryption, which is more than adequate.

I would also like to take a moment to add some perspective on their security features. While both providers offer plenty of connection options, I wasn’t overly impressed, because it seems they lack advanced encryption features.

For instance, some providers even add Blowfish connections, 512-bit encryption keys, cascading VPN tunnels, double encryption, obfuscation techniques, and other advanced features.

Nevertheless, both providers offer strong security, and they are evenly matched with regards to the protocol types and encryption they use.


Winner (Security): Tie
ExpressVPN
PureVPN
4

Privacy Policies and Logging

If you don’t like U.S.-based services because of NSA surveillance, I’ve got some good news for you. Neither ExpressVPN nor PureVPN is based out of the United States.

Express VPN is based out of the British Virgin Islands, while PureVPN works out out of Hong Kong, which has much more favorable data retention regulations than the U.S. In fact, they explicitly state the following in their privacy policy:

Furthermore, they don’t log the activities of any of their users, though they do some store some essential information such as the accounts’ names, email address, and phone numbers in select countries.

PureVPN also won’t disclose any of that information to third parties unless they are forced by a government or law enforcement authority, either. In their privacy policy, PureVPN states the following:

So all in all, PureVPN is miles ahead of U.S.-based VPN services because they have a strong privacy policy, don’t log any users’ activities, and are based in Hong Kong.

But how does ExpressVPN compare? Well, ExpressVPN does log a little bit more data, but it’s pretty insignificant.

ExpressVPN won’t ever log your online activities, though they log the dates when a user connects to a VPN server (it’s just a date, there’s no timestamps), which server location is used, and how much data is transferred per day. The good news is that all of this information isn’t recorded on a per-account.

Instead, it’s aggregated in generic and anonymous statistics, so you won’t be personally identified. Realize, however, that collecting generic data and server statistics is actually pretty common among VPN providers.

Essentially, VPN providers log stats so they can keep track of which servers are the busiest, and can identify where they need to add new servers. All in all, I think it’s really a tie between their level of privacy.

Both ExpressVPN and PureVPN are based outside of the U.S., refuse to log customers’ online activities, and will only share information with the authorities under the force of a warrant, subpoena, or other legal issue.


Winner (Privacy Policies and Logging): Tie
ExpressVPN
PureVPN
5

Support

ExpressVPN and PureVPN both have 24/7 support to assist their customers with configuration, troubleshooting and account issues. To open a ticket, customers can initiate contact via live chat, email or an online form.

When I pinged the support departments via live chat, I got a response within 30 seconds, and the technicians seemed to be knowledgeable (I quizzed them a little over the relative strength of security protocols). Furthermore, both providers had a FAQ section, as well as troubleshooting and configuration tutorials.

I was pleased to find that their online knowledge bases were thoroughly fleshed out, and can show you how to setup their software on every system that’s supported. I would have to tip my hat to ExpressVPN for making the superior troubleshooting guides, however.

ExpressVPN took a lot of high quality pictures, and highlighted the pertinent portions of the software interface to make it extremely easy to follow along step-by-step.

PureVPN, on the other hand, doesn’t include images in their guides — but they do write out the steps in great detail.

Though PureVPN’s guides lack images, both providers will show you how to do just about everything, from disabling a firewall on Mac OSX to disabling proxy settings in all of the leading web browsers.

Altogether, I think their support is pretty evenly matched, yet I need to tip the scales slightly in favor of ExpressVPN — simply because of its superior knowledge base, which features guides complete with highlighted images.


Winner (Support): ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
PureVPN
6

The Verdict

I was surprised to see how many advantages PureVPN has vs ExpressVPN. Some of these include drastically cheaper pricing, five simultaneous connections (instead of ExpressVPN’s three) and per-application tunnel routing (e.g. split tunneling).

Both PureVPN and ExpressVPN were more or less the same with regards to their security, privacy and logging policies. Furthermore, PureVPN has more servers in the United States than ExpressVPN, and more locations as well. Right now PureVPN has 13 locations while ExpressVPN only has nine.

However, ExpressVPN seems to have more servers concentrated in few countries, which would be a great reason to opt for them if you know you’ll be connecting to a single country most of the time. PureVPN, though they have servers in 140 countries, seems to spread themselves a little thin in some areas to cover more ground.

But with exception to the server locations, I’d recommend PureVPN over ExpressVPN. PureVPN just adds more value — their software is better and it costs less than ExpressVPN.

And when you boil it all down, the only categories where these two providers have significant differences (in my opinion) is price and features. I find that I keep asking myself the same question when comparing these two providers: why would I pay more for ExpressVPN when it has fewer features?

PureVPN is the clear winner for now, but things could change in the future as each provider improves their service. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to make your voice heard below. Thank you for reading.

Winner: PureVPN

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