Hong Kong based PureVPN has been serving security and accessibility enthusiasts since 2007. The official website states that the service is currently catering to users around the world with over 500+ servers in 140 countries. This PureVPN review covers all of the functions and features that make PureVPN a popular choice amongst every day internet users
Pros of PureVPN
- Prices starting from $3.53 (Exclusive Limited Time Offer)
- 500+ Servers in 140 countries (80,000+ IP addresses)
- Multiple Add-ons (Internet Kill Switch, NAT Firewall)
- Provides DDoS Protection
- 7 days money back guarantee
- 24/7/365 Live Chat support
- Zero Log Policy
- 5 Simultaneous Logins
- Largest range of accepted payment options
- Multi – device Compatibility
- Compatible on Routers
- Largest collection of servers in UK, US and Canada
- P2P Optimized Servers
- Widest protocol support including (PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, OpenVPN & IKEv2)
Cons of PureVPN
- No Free Trial
- Strict Refund Policy
There are three pricing plans to choose from.
In our PureVPN review, we tested the three-staged purchase process:
Is PureVPN Safe?
Unique Selling Proposition
In our PureVPN review, we found that Split-Tunneling tool is clearly it’s unique selling proposition. The feature allows the PureVPN client to remain active for only selected applications while all other data traffic flows from outside the perimeter of the VPN tunnel established upon VPN activation. Users can add the programs of their choice through the Split-Tunneling tab.
The feature is easy to use and can be enabled/disabled as required. It is ideal for individuals looking to take a load off their VPN tunnel and improve VPN performance. Users looking for heavy VPN use (such as users wishing to engage in more than one of streaming, gaming and torrent downloading at the same time) will appreciate this feature.
A trial can help a user experiment with a VPN service without having to make a full commitment. Since the encryption and tunneling quality provided by most VPN services is impacted by a number of elements, VPN services often offer either unpaid trials or refund guarantees to users. In this PureVPN review, we found that trial is available through the three day money back guarantee. Users can try out the full range of PureVPN features, functions and services. This is a much better deal than other free trials, since free trials usually come with restrictions and limitations.
In comparison, the PureVPN trial provides users full compatibility to try out the service on desktop, laptops, mobiles, routers and other devices. In addition, PureVPN review showed that trial users can also seek support from the LiveChat system to get their problems, issues, and queries resolved. This provides an excellent chance for users to troubleshoot their problems if they want to stay with the service, or ask for a reimbursement if they want to abandon the subscription.
The PureVPN trial also gives users an excellent chance to try the service on custom operating system or consoles. The additional advantage of tutorials and setup guides provides additional support that is not usually available with other VPN services.
For our comprehensive PureVPN review, we found that the provider boasts a server-strength of over 500+ servers. These servers are spread out across 140 countries. The largest collection of PureVPN’s servers is located in the United Kingdom, the United States and in Canada. Besides these, PureVPN has at least two servers located in all the other countries.
A VPN service provider is nothing without a good server spread and PureVPN seems to know this quite clearly. A good server spread is sensibly distributed to give users maximum online anonymity, accessibility and security. But the PureVPN review unveiled that it goes a step further and includes server in those countries as well, where the internet freedom is TRULY considered as a blessing because of strict censorship policies.
That is the reason why PureVPN has three optimal servers in China – because China blocks and bans the living daylights out of the internet. PureVPN chooses to focus server expansion efforts across the world while the bulk of the server count remains in the US and UK. Recently it has further expanded its server locations in the Asian, European, American and African regions as well, where several servers have been added in its list to facilitate the users.
US Server Without PureVPN
For a server located in the United States, SpeetTest.Net reported the following Ping, Download speed and Upload speed for my internet connection when used without a PureVPN connection.
- My IP Location: New York, US
- Destination Server IP Location: Kansas, US
Once I had connected PureVPN, SpeedTest.Net reported the following Ping, Download speed and Upload speed for my encrypted and tunneled internet connection.
- My IP Location: New York
- Destination Server IP Location: New York
The Ping came down considerably which is a definite improvement and the upload speed remained consistent which is also quite encouraging. However, note that PureVPN’s accessibility and anonymity seems to be coming at the cost of download speed.
UK Server Without PureVPN
For a server located in the United Kingdom, SpeetTest.Net reported the following Ping, Download speed and Upload speed for my internet connection when used without a PureVPN connection.
- My IP Location: Maidenhead, England
- Destination Server IP Location: Maidenhead, England
Once I had connected PureVPN, SpeedTest.Net reported the following Ping, Download speed and Upload speed for my encrypted and tunneled internet connection.
- My IP Location: London, England
- Destination Server IP Location: London, England
I love the Ping I got from the PureVPN server but the download speed seems to have suffered once more while the upload speed hardly experienced any significant change.
PureVPN seems to be holding stable in upload speeds and that is good since VPN encryption relies heavily on data upload speed. The download speeds are moderate but I figure a bit of tweaking with the software and a little bit of nagging with the tech support should bring about an improvement.
PureVPN offers tutorials to setup the VPN service on Windows, Mac, Linux, HP Web OS, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Routers and Boxee Box. However, custom PureVPN apps are only available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
While screenshots of PureVPN Windows app can be seen above, details on the functions and features of Mac app can be found in this detailed PureVPN Review.
PureVPN’s compatibility is gold! The service is compatible with almost every device and platform under the sun. In addition, PureVPN also works great for secondary devices such as gaming consoles and the rest.
An interesting episode I had with the PureVPN Live Chat support is worth mentioning here. I went through the full website and saw no content for using PureVPN on an XBox 360, so I decided to see if I finally had any dirt that I could use to mess with Live Chat support. Within 60 seconds of having initiated the conversation I had been presented with a URL for a PDF document constituting a detailed setup guide for setting up PureVPN on XBox 360 – with and without router support. Kudos to PureVPN!
PureVPN for Router
One of the positives about PureVPN is it’s all round compatibility on different devices, including routers. By using PureVPN for routers, you are effectively securing all your devices that use Wi-Fi through that router. This way you don’t have to configure the VPN service individually on each of your devices.
Similarly, there are devices such as gaming consoles and set-top-boxes, on which you cannot configure a VPN directly. One of the ways to use a VPN on such devices is through a router. Therefore, PureVPN for router allows you to enjoy all the benefits of a VPN not matter which device you use.
Currently, PureVPN supports following routers:
- Netgear Genie
- Sitecom Gigabit
For our PureVPN review, we inquired if it is possible to use the VPN service if we don’t have a flash router or the one’s specified above. Their customer support wes very responsive and helpful as they provided us with a guide, enabling us to configure PureVPN on our router.
PureVPN on Mac
Having over 60 million users worldwide, Mac OS X stands as the second largest operating system after Windows. Interestingly, popularity behind Mac OS X lies on its robust security infrastructure. However, the 2015 Mac exploit proved that Apple’s built-in security infrastructure doesn’t provide reliable protection against modern cyber threats such as ransomware, hackers, identity thieves, data snoopers, phishers, and state surveillance.
To get around with the risks, PureVPN offers a broad range of strong encryption tunneling protocols, ensuring a military grade protection against the odds of the cyber world.
In addition to this, 500+ servers in more than 140 countries allow users to unblock thousands of geo-blocked sites on Mac with just a single click. Moreover, an exclusive 24/7/365 live customer support provides timely assistance at times of query.
PureVPN Internet Kill Switch
The PureVPN Internet Kill Switch has been designed to ensure uncompromising security.
The PureVPN Internet Kill Switch pauses all your internet traffic if your connection to the PureVPN server ever goes down unexpectedly.
This means that data will not leave your system unless it has been routed through PureVPN’s encrypted tunnel; because PureVPN’s Internet Kill Switch will stand guard. The Internet Kill Switch has been designed for online security lovers who are unwilling to compromise on their data security.
Once the Internet Kill Switch identifies that you have reconnected to the PureVPN server, it unpauses your internet data traffic. You can also manually deactivate PureVPN’s Kill Switch from the PureVPN if you wish to continue using the internet without VPN coverage.
According to the PureVPN FAQ on the Internet Kill Switch, the feature is accessible from PureVPN’s client software. It can be activated/deactivated by checking the feature titled “Activate Internet Kill Switch when VPN disconnects“.
A Crash Course in Using Split Tunneling
In our PureVPN review, we will show you how to utilize the Split Tunneling feature. Split Tunneling only works if you have administrator rights to your system. A ‘guest’ using your system will not be able to use it. Once you enter the Split-Tunneling tab, you will first need to ‘Enable’ split tunneling. The Enable/Disable button is designed to identify the current split tunneling status. PureVPN also allows you to apply Split Tunneling permanently by checking the ‘Make Permanent’ check-box.
Once you have enabled Split Tunneling, there are two ways you can use it. The first is to allow the client to detect applications running on your system that can be subjected to PureVPN tunneling. Doing so will allow the PureVPN client to auto-detect and generate a list of applications.
Remember, the client software’s detection and listing of applications does not mean that these applications are now under PureVPN’s coverage. To run any of applications with PureVPN coverage, click ‘Launch’ for that application and it will be launched under PureVPN coverage.
In case the PureVPN client fails to detect an application, you can manually add it to the list by using the ‘Add an Application’ feature on the lower right corner of the client interface.
Make sure you ‘Enable’ Split Tunneling before you hit ‘Connect’. This way the PureVPN will know that it is not supposed to tunnel the entire data traffic stream and will only begin tunneling an application once you launch the desired application.
PureVPN’s Optional Addons
With PureVPN’s SmartDNS, you can go past the geo-restrictions to access your favorite movies and TV channels. The VPNs are not generally directly supported on the SmartTVs and you have to manually configure them before you use them. SmartDNS is available on all the PureVPN packages and you do not have to pay a single penny to access it.
2) Web Protection & NAT Firewall (for $2.99 per month)
The Network Address Translation Firewall (NAT Firewall) is PureVPN’s answer to users worried about end-to-end security – particularly at the VPN server end. The NAT Firewall is present at the server end and compensates for the hopeless firewall that is built into your Windows and easily penetrable.
A VPN is the ultimate online security solution, but it comes with the catch that your NAT Firewall becomes somewhat redundant, and you lose the protection that NAT Firewall provides.
Activating the PureVPN NAT Firewall will allow you to protect the IP address assigned to you by PureVPN’s server. Failing to use the NAT Firewall makes VPN users at risk from sophisticated hackers who exploit data packets to gain entry into the internet users’ system.
The image below shows how you can activate the NAT Firewall Add-on during check-out from the PureVPN website. The Add-on costs a meager $2.99 per month to secure your data stream from the VPN server end, thus ensuring safety that nobody’s grand daddy can get through (pun intended)!
3) StealthVPN Browser (For high cencorship countries & ISPs) (for $2.99 per month)
The StealthVPN Browser is a VPN browser that is fully device/OS compatible and is the perfect tool for people who want a one-shot gun-shot solution to unblock websites without any extra hassle. The ultra-light super-accessible browser ensures a zero-logging experience for all your sensitive internet use.
4) Dedicated Streaming (for $3.99 per month)
The Dedicated Streaming AddOn works by providing PureVPN users a special browser designed just for streaming purposes. Streaming anything in that browser will give you a 20Mbps speed boost. This speed boost is ideal for internet users who have slow internet connections and therefore fail to enjoy quality movie streaming because of buffering and lag.
5) Dedicated IP (for $1.99 per month)
This AddOn provides PureVPN users a fixed IP. This feature is usually used by specialized VPN users and heavy duty internet users. It is ideal for people who want to setup any form of server for others users since it will give users access to the same fixed IP every time they log in.
The Dedicated IP AddOn works in addition with the standard dynamic IP plan, which means that you will have the standard dynamic IP service at your disposal, and can activate your fixed IP whenever you want.
6) Dedicated IP with DDoS Protection
With DDoS Protection IP provided by PureVPN, make sure to protect your devices against all sorts of DDoS attacks. You can get PureVPN’s Dedicated IP with DDoS Protection for additional $5.99/month.
Setup instructions are available for operating systems that are not catered to with custom software. These include Linux, HP WebOS (Only for WebOS Version 3.0.2 and above), OpenVPN (for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7), Blackberry, DD-WRT flashed routers and Boxee Box.
The setup instructions are great and explained in detail with screen-shots available for most tutorials. I would like to see a VPN service that has apps, clients and software running for every operating system out there.
PureVPN offers users access to five protocols: PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, OpenVPN and IKEv2. However, our user-experience turned out to be a little different. The protocol drop-down menu in the PureVPN client was limited to PPTP, L2TP and SSTP.
You have to talk to the customer support about the remaining protocols and they told me that an individual looking to use Open VPN will have to connect VPN through alteration in internal configuration files while IKEv2 has to be connected manually. Clearly PureVPN chose to exaggerate the VPN connection possibilities a little.
The PureVPN website states that all three pricing packages come with up to 256-bit encryption. It is comforting to know that PureVPN has a consumer friendly feature set accompanying the pricing plans. You get at least 256-bit encryption no matter which pricing plan you choose to subscribe to. On the other hand, I find it slightly worrying that PureVPN uses the term “upto” in identifying protocol encryption levels.
What the website won’t tell you is that the PureVPN client offers four categorical encryption settings to choose from. Once you install the free PureVPN client, go to the ‘Settings’ tab for general system settings and look under ‘Security’.
- Option 1 – No Encryption Allowed (The VPN server will disconnect and thereby drop your VPN session if you choose this and the selected VPN server requires encryption)
- Option 2 – Optional Encryption (The absence or presence of encryption will have no impact on your VPN covered internet session)
- Option 3 – Require Encryption (The VPN server will disconnect if and thereby drop your VPN session if it declines your request for Encryption)
- Option 4 – Maximum Strength Encryption (Much like in the above case, the VPN server will disconnect if and thereby drop your VPN session if it declines your request for Encryption)
It is clear that PureVPN does not want you to acquire a quantification of encryption levels at any point. However, if you use your VPN without encryption, it fails the purpose behind the entire exercise of using a VPN. I would personally choose either option 3 or option 4 – anything else would be a compromise on value for money. I suggest you follow the same approach for the sake of your own safety.
The PureVPN website explicitly states that it does not share, sell or rent user information. The PureVPN website uses browser cookies (which is acceptable and in line with industry standards). Data storage and protection policies state that consumer information is not shared with any third party unless and until the consumer specifically provides permission to do so at the point of information submission. Even then, the collected information is accessible to PureVPN’s technical and maintenance staff responsible for keeping the service running and roaring.
I do not like the sound of that and I suggest you make life miserable for the Live Chat tech support if you ever feel that you are being routed to a second server at any time during your PureVPN session.
PureVPN Free Trial
PureVPN does not offer a free trial – For users still unsure of PureVPN’s service, there is a 7 day money back guarantee. Needless to point out, 7 days is a little too short a margin considering how there are other VPN service providers out there who provide money back guarantees for as much as 30 days.
PureVPN is a VPN for the middle-class netizen. If you don’t have enough money in your bank account to worry about losing a few hundred dollars every month, then PureVPN is the VPN for you. The server spread is beyond good and the customer support is exceptional. The client software is extremely user friendly and the compatibility is almost pioneering. PureVPN gets my vote!
When I visited the website for this review and went to the pricing plan page, PureVPN had yet another discount campaign running and was giving 10% off on all plans. PureVPN is a big one for discounts offers. A trip through PureVPN review made it clear that PureVPN manages to come up with a new discount offer for just about every single holiday on the calendar – making PureVPN extremely affordable for people who are into smart buying.
In light of the cost-effectiveness, the moderately good service quality seems quite justified and all of it comes together to form a complete package that makes for a good return on investment.
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