PureVPN Review (2022) – Cheap, Fast, Simple to Use
PureVPN has been around since 2007 but has recently been making big changes in its service to compete with the top VPN players in the market.
For instance, in 2021, it became the first VPN to have an always-on audit process. This means that the provider can be surprise-audited at any time to check for any stored users logs. Such a move is important to establish users’ trust in the company because, back in 2017, PureVPN shared data logs with the FBI to aid the arrest of an alleged cybercriminal.
We tested out this VPN on key aspects to help you decide if it’s worth using despite past blunders. Is PureVPN safe? Can PureVPN unblock Netflix? And is it now actually trustworthy? We’ll answer these questions and more in our full PureVPN review below.
PureVPN – Short Review
|Unblocks American Netflix and Hulu
|Does not unblock Netflix in other regions such as the Netherlands
|Does not unblock other streaming services like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, etc.
|Has been audited and does not keep logs
|Price increases after initial subscription
|31-day money-back guarantee
After spending over 14 years in Hong Kong, PureVPN relocated its headquarters to the British Virgin Islands in 2021. This was part of its initiatives to enhance user experience, as the British Virgin Islands provide a privacy-centric legal environment for VPN operators.
In our tests, Pure VPN unblocked American Netflix but did not work with Dutch Netflix. We also could not unblock other services like BBC iPlayer. Moreover, the speeds were unreliable and quite slow at times.
PureVPN also offers special P2P servers for torrenting and works well with clients like BitTorrent, but the slow speeds might hinder the process.
PureVPN allows ten simultaneous connections and has apps for all the major platforms and devices like Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and more. However, some features such as split-tunneling are limited to the Windows and Android apps only. PureVPN also has browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox.
Subscriptions start from just a couple of dollars a month for a two-year subscription. However, the price increases after the initial subscription period ends. You can take advantage of a 31-day money-back guarantee to try out the app and get a refund if you don’t enjoy the service.
All things considered, PureVPN achieves an overall score of 6.8 out of 10 in our evaluation. Read the full review below for the details.
- Torrenting allowed
- Works with Netflix
- Credit card
Speed – How Fast is PureVPN?
It’s normal for a VPN to lower the regular speed of your connection as it encrypts your internet traffic — but it should still be speedy enough to support your online activities.
Unfortunately, PureVPN had a severe impact on speeds and was sometimes so slow that web pages could not load. We created PureVPN 3 out of 10 in speed and here are some overall things to keep in mind:
- PureVPN is quite slow, especially on distant servers.
- Speeds interrupted browsing and streaming as websites and videos did not load smoothly.
- We experienced high ping when playing online games.
Speed test results for PureVPN
The following table shows our PureVPN speed test results. Please note that speeds can differ according to your region. These numbers are just to give you a general idea of what we experienced with PureVPN.
As you can see from the results shown, PureVPN significantly cut down our connection speeds, particularly when we connected to the geographically distant American servers.
Speeds during daily use
PureVPN decreased speeds by over 50 percent which was not ideal for daily use. We experienced slow loading of webpages — and sometimes they didn’t load at all. Of course, streaming and gaming were also impacted with severe lags.
The experience was rather disappointing, and as such, we wouldn’t recommend PureVPN over other excellent VPNs like CyberGhost that are equally affordable and provide great speeds.
Safety – How Secure is PureVPN?
VPN services are no good if they don’t focus on keeping you safe online. We rated PureVPN 7 out of 10 in this aspect and here are our main takeaways about its overall safety:
- It supports three protocols, namely IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP & UDP), and WireGuard.
- PureVPN uses industry-standard AES 256-bit data encryption to secure your data.
- There’s an automatic kill switch to prevent IP leakage.
The PureVPN Windows app supports WireGuard, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), and IKEv2 protocols. On the other hand, the macOS app only supports IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec protocols.
You can manually select which VPN protocol to use or let the app automatically choose the best one. Learn more about the different VPN protocols here.
Logging and privacy
As we mentioned in the intro of this PureVPN review, the provider has recently stepped up its privacy practices and has been independently audited in an attempt to compete with premium VPN services.
Though it claims to have a strict “no-logs policy,” it still keeps some basic connection logs about how long you are connected to the VPN, how many connections you make, the internet service provider (ISP) you connect through, how much bandwidth you use, and how often you use the app.
It also keeps records from all the correspondence you have with the company, such as through customer support. However, none of these logs are particularly worrying from a privacy standpoint because the information collected is not personally identifiable to you. Your original IP address and online activity are not visible to PureVPN, so you can stay safe when browsing.
A kill switch is a security feature that automatically kills your internet connection if you lose your connection to the VPN. This prevents your IP address and other information from “leaking.”
The PureVPN Windows and Mac apps come with a kill switch, but it is not enabled by default. You need to turn it on in the app’s settings in order to further secure your VPN connection.
What information does PureVPN need?
To create a PureVPN account, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your name
- Email address
- Payment information (either a credit/debit card or PayPal)
For anonymity, you can use a fake name and email address and pay with PayPal. The PureVPN website states you can pay with Bitcoin, but we could not find this option on the payment page. So, it doesn’t currently seem like a VPN you can buy with cryptocurrencies.
Usability – How User-Friendly is PureVPN?
PureVPN has a detailed website and is straightforward to download and install. It has a simplistic user interface that anyone can figure out. However, the website can be annoying given its frequent promotional pop-ups. For this, we’ve rated PureVPN 8 out of 10 on user-friendliness. Here are some points to keep in mind:
- The website is well-designed but there are annoying pop-ups pushing you to buy a subscription.
- The PureVPN installation process is quick and easy.
- The app has a clean and simplistic user interface, making it easy to navigate.
PureVPN website and installation process
The PureVPN website is well laid out and easy to navigate. Right in the center of the homepage is a button to get PureVPN, which redirects you to the pricing page. At the top, there’s a menu to browse different aspects of the VPN and get more information.
The homepage also lets you select a language from many different options such as French, Italian, Turkish, Dutch, and more. At the bottom, there’s a help icon that’s helpful for searching the website or messaging customer support.
However, the website features plenty of promotional pop-ups pushing you to grab a deal and subscribe to PureVPN. This can be quite annoying and intrusive. The screenshot below shows examples of the pop-ups we experienced.
You can install PureVPN after creating an account on the website. The complete process is described stepwise below.
- Select a plan on the pricing page of the PureVPN website.
- Enter your payment information along with your email address and a password of your choice.
- Select any add-ons you need such as dedicated IP addresses, DDoS protection, and port forwarding.
- Once your payment is completed, you can download the PureVPN app for your operating system.
- Open the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to install the VPN client on your system.
Appearance and ease of use
PureVPN’s app reflects the same clear and straightforward interface as its website. Just like with most VPN apps, you will need to sign in to your PureVPN account to start using the app.
We tested PureVPN on macOS and the main window consists of a “Connect” button with a menu of options on the left, as shown in the screenshot below.
You can click on “Locations” on the left pane to view the PureVPN server list. Picking a VPN server is as easy as clicking on the name of the country where the VPN server is located.
To access the settings on the Mac app, we had to click on “PureVPN” in the menu bar and then select “Preferences.”
In the settings window, there are three tabs available, namely “General“, “Protocol“, and “Advanced“.
The “General” tab covers basic settings such as appearance and language, while the “Protocol” tab lets you manually select a protocol for your VPN connection. The Mac app offers only two protocols while the Windows app has four. The “Advanced” settings allow you to enable the PureVPN kill switch.
It’s all pretty straightforward to navigate and understand. We appreciate that there are also short explanations below each settings option to help out new users. This makes the PureVPN Mac and Windows app quite beginner-friendly.
Pricing and payment methods
PureVPN seems like a pretty cheap VPN if you go for a two-year plan, but the downside is that the price changes after your initial subscription period ends. Below is an overview of the subscription options:
- $1.99 per month for 24 months, billed at $47.76 (renews at $69.95)
- $2.99 per month for a yearly subscription (renews at $5.83 per month)
- $10.95 per month for a monthly subscription
You can use a single subscription on up to ten devices at a time. Furthermore, there’s a 31-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try the service and get a full refund if you’re not satisfied within a month’s time.
There are a few add-ons available for an extra fee, as listed below.
- DDoS Protection for $3.99 per month
- Dedicated IP addresses for $2.99 per month
- Port Forwarding for $0.99 per month
- Combo of Dedicated IP with Port Forwarding for $3.49 per month
PureVPN accepts credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) and PayPal. Although the website mentions that it accepts Bitcoin, we could not find the option to buy a subscription with Bitcoin. Using cryptocurrencies to purchase a subscription can be handy when you want to buy a VPN anonymously without providing personal payment information.
It’s vital for a VPN to have good customer support so that any technical issues you run into can be resolved quickly. It’s easy to reach the PureVPN customer support team through 24/7 live chat or email. The support agents are adequately knowledgeable and helpful.
The PureVPN website also has an extensive support page with information covering the setup process and troubleshooting the most common issues. A handy FAQ section helps you find quick answers to your questions. You can also open a support ticket, and the PureVPN team gets back to you to help you out.
Server Network PureVPN
PureVPN has an extensive global network of 6,500+ servers in 78+ countries, which is bigger than those of some of the best VPNs like CyberGhost. Such a sizeable network should help avoid any server overloading issues and offer fast and stable speeds.
Unfortunately, as we described in the section about speed above, PureVPN is quite slow despite its vast servers network, which is why we rate it 7 out of 10 in this area.
- PureVPN has over 6,500 servers across 78 countries.
- Most of the servers are physical, but there are a few virtual servers too.
- Extra features like dedicated IPs and port forwarding are available at an extra cost.
Number of servers and locations
PureVPN’s expansive server network spans 78 countries and 96 total locations, as listed below.
- Africa: Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa
- Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Brunei, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, and Vietnam
- Europe: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
- The Americas: Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexica, Panama Puerto Rico, and the United States
- Oceania: Australia and New Zealand
PureVPN is transparent about the locations of its virtual servers, and they are marked by a “V” icon in the list of servers in the PureVPN app. When you connect to one of these virtual locations, you are assigned an IP address from the country of your choice but your traffic is routed via a server in another country, which for PureVPN is the United States.
PureVPN offers a dedicated IP as an add-on feature for $2.99 per month. This is an anonymous IP address that a VPN exclusively assigns to you. So, you are assigned this IP each time you connect to the VPN. The advantage is that you can enjoy higher speeds and reliability due to less congestion.
But using a dedicated IP address also has a downside. Since you won’t be randomly switching between different IPs, all your activity can be traced back to your dedicated IP, which might pose a security risk.
Just like other VPNs, PureVPN claims to unblock geographically restricted content such as movies and shows on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, DisneyPlus, and more. We tried the different options and our observations are summarized below.
- PureVPN unblocks American Netflix but didn’t work with other regional versions like Dutch Netflix.
- We could not unblock other major streaming services such as DisneyPlus, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.
- PureVPN has optimized P2P servers for torrenting.
PureVPN and Netflix
PureVPN unblocked American Netflix but the slow speeds caused problems in loading and streaming videos. We did not have any luck unblocking other regional versions of Netflix like Dutch or French Netflix.
We were further disappointed that it didn’t work for other streaming services either such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer, DisneyPlus, and Amazon Prime. So, despite the affordable price, PureVPN is not a good option if you want to bypass geo-blocks to stream content. It’s better to go with a reliable option like CyberGhost, which is equally cheap but faster and more effective.
PureVPN and torrents
PureVPN supports torrenting and has special servers set up for peer-to-peer (P2P) file transfers. However, none of these P2P servers are located in major western nations such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Australia, so if you’re in any of these regions, you may have a slow torrenting experience. You can also opt for port forwarding for faster torrenting at an additional charge per month.
PureVPN offers split tunneling on its Android and Windows apps. This feature lets you choose which of your internet traffic is routed through the VPN and which goes to your ISP directly. PureVPN lets you select which apps go through the VPN and which do not use the VPN connection. It can be a handy feature when you’re multitasking.
PureVPN browser extensions
PureVPN offers browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox that are actually proxies and not VPN. This means that they do not encrypt your connection but still work to unblock many websites. For more information about this, check out our article about VPN vs proxy.
The browser extension is easy to use and offers unlimited bandwidth but of course, it won’t keep you safe due to lack of encryption. You can try it free for seven days after which you’ll need a PureVPN subscription to continue using it.
Conclusion – Our Experience with PureVPN
PureVPN is quite decently priced but unfortunately, it simply does not perform well. We were disappointed with its slow speeds and inability to bypass the VPN-blocking technologies of most streaming services. It worked only with American Netflix — but the slow speeds hampered the experience.
Although it supports torrenting, speed can be an issue here, too. So, it’s not really useful as a VPN for torrenting. This is a shame because otherwise, the VPN service does pretty well in terms of security and privacy. It has overhauled its image after disclosing user logs to authorities in the past.
Today, it has been audited and does not record any personally-identifiable user data. Moreover, it uses the best encryption standards and secure protocols to keep you anonymous online. The apps are also pretty easy to use and are available on almost any platform.
We would love to see PureVPN improve its speed and features to truly compete with premium VPNs.
Got a question about PureVPN? We’ve got you covered with our FAQ section below. Click on a question to see the answer.
Yes, PureVPN is quite safe. It uses secure protocols and industry-standard 256-bit encryption. It has also been independently audited and does not keep any personally identifiable logs of user data. You can read more about it in our full PureVPN review.
No, PureVPN is not a free VPN, but it is quite affordable if you go for a long-term subscription. You can get a two-year subscription for $1.99 per month. However, the price increases after the initial two-year subscription. There’s also a 31-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out PureVPN and get a refund if you don’t like it.
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