PureVPN Review 2019
PureVPN is a well renowned budget friendly VPN service with 2000+ servers suited for torrenting, streaming, and powerful security. For the price of 2.95/mo and a 4.5-star rating, PureVPN manages to offer the best bang for your buck.
PureVPN is amongst the most renowned VPNs in the industry. Yet the company hasn’t had a clean track record.
From the data logging scandal of 2017 to their Windows app leaking credentials, PureVPN wasn’t considered a safe choice – till now.
I revisited PureVPN in 2019, Put it through extensive testing, and found it to be a pretty decent choice.
After all, PureVPN is headquartered in Hong Kong, it offers 2000+ servers, it’s leak-proof, and its good for torrenting, Netflix and for a bunch other applications.
But the service is still not flawless. There are a few flaws which are why it managed to score a 4.5-star rating in my PureVPN review.
My Rating Criteria
So how did I tested PureVPN?
Well to keep things simple, I rated PureVPN on my 8 step rating criteria listed below:
- Pricing – How much does PureVPN cost exactly?
- Security – Is PureVPN Secure?
- Jurisdiction – Is it located in a 5-eyes country?
- Speed – How fast is it?
- Streaming – Does it work with Netflix & other VoD services?
- Leaks – Does it leak IP, DNS & WebRTC?
- Trustworthiness – Logs, Trustpilot ratings, Reddit & Customer support
- Compatibility – Apps and supported devices
A Brief Overview Of PureVPN…
PureVPN is more than a decade old company. It first showed up all the way back in 2006.
PureVPN isn’t an independent company though, it is registered under its parent company by the name of GZ Systems.
They’re headquartered in the data retention free jurisdiction of Hong Kong.
They have around 2000+ serves in around 180+ locations, which is plenty by today’s standards.
Speaking of servers, as opposed to other VPN providers, PureVPN actually owns its servers as opposed to renting them.
Compatibility wise they support all major platforms. Windows, Android, Mac, and Linux are all supported. It is also compatible with routers, smart TVs, and even with casting devices like Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire.
Aside from that, they offer 5 simultaneous connections which can protect up to 5 devices with just one subscription plan.
Feature-wise it is packed with powerful encryption, kill switch, split tunneling, and a bunch of other security features which we’ll look in to in a bit.
This VPN also supports both TOR and NAT Firewall for an added measure of privacy and security.
On paper, PureVPN sounds pretty promising. Let’s dive in and see how these features actually perform…
How Much Does PureVPN Cost Exactly?
PureVPN offers three (3) very reasonably priced subscription plans. The updated pricing plans of PureVPN are listed below:
- 1-month – $10.95 per month (No discount)
- 1-year – $2.95 per month (Save 73%)
- 2-year – $3.29 per month (Save 70%)
Their yearly plan is not only reasonably priced, it comes with 73% discount as well making it one the cheapest VPNs in the industry.
As far as payment options go, you can purchase PureVPN through Crypto, credit cards, PayPal and a bunch of other payment methods.
Do note that coin payments are Nonrefundable. That’s something to consider if you’re planning on getting a refund later on.
Security – Is PureVPN Secure?
PureVPN is considered as one of the safest VPN around, and there’s a reason for it. It offers powerful 256-bit encryption and optimized protocols like OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, PPTP, and even IKEv2.
Each of these protocols is different in terms of functionality and are perfect for gaming, streaming and secure online browsing.
There’s a reason why PureVPN is considered one of the safest VPNs around.
The protocols offered by PureVPN are extremely powerful and offer the first line of defense against online threats like session hacking or Man in the middle attacks (MITM).
Aside from that, 256-bit encryption is also something to like about this provider. If you’re not familiar with what encryption is, it is basically a method of converting your readable data into cryptic data.
PureVPN calls this encryption “Military grade” and I agree. Basically, all your inbound and outbound network gets end to end encrypted, rendering snoopers helpless.
This, of course, sounds promising, however, we’ll see how well it works in the leak test later on.
What do you guys think? Will it pass my IP leak test? Let me know in the comments.
Additional Security Features (The More The Better)
Aside from the traditional security features that most VPNs offer, PureVPN offers few extra goodies that I personally haven’t seen with other VPN providers.
I’m talking about their “Ozone” and “Gravity” features. These features are not gimmicks, they actually work.
“Ozone” Itself is a pretty comprehensive feature. It acts as an antivirus program and warns you if you’re visiting a sketchy website.
This feature even warns you if someone’s attempts to hack into your device.
“Gravity” is also very useful. It basically works as an Ad-blocker and offers a much better browsing experience.
Both “Ozone” and “Gravity” works great and I personally find there features quite useful.
You have to admit, distractions such as social media and online games can become a major distraction for employees and a student alike.
Here is where PureVPN’s app blocker comes in to play. Like the name suggest, the App blocker feature helps you block out selected websites and apps.
Although PureVPN’s App blocker feature is not something totally revolutionary, it’s slightly more tweakable settings set it apart from others.
Here’s what you can use the App blocker feature for:
- Automatically blocks websites of your choice.
- Gain complete control and block selective apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
- Pick customized blocking hours to ensure certain apps are not being used during work or school hours.
- You can also lock down all the apps if you don’t like people messing with your phone.
I quite like this feature and truly believe it is the most underrated feature of PureVPN.
Nowadays, no matter which site you visit, you are going to encounter obtrusive ads. You can hardly find any website that doesn’t have advertisements.
Again, the Adblocker feature doesn’t sound too extraordinary at first, however, this feature is actually quite useful than you might think.
Here’s why you might want to use PureVPN’s Adblocker feature:
- Irrelevant ads can affect the load time of your page, making it slower.
- Most malware comes wrapped in the form of enticing ads.
- A large number of Ads can increase your internet data consumption.
- Tracking Ads can monitor your online behavior for targeted advertisements.
The ad Blocker works well with all browsers, be it Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
The Adblocker feature even scans web pages against a pre-defined list of Ad servers for even more refined browsing experience.
PureVPN Torrenting & P2P File Sharing
Is PureVPN good for Torrenting? Yes, P2P File-sharing and torrenting works great with PureVPN.
However, only specific servers support torrenting.
All of the torrent compatible PureVPN servers can be found at PureVPN website.
Be advised that PureVPN doesn’t permit P2P and torrenting in the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Canada, Australia, and in other countries where torrenting is illegal by law.
Even though torrenting is supported on a few selective servers, it’s nice to see that PureVPN at least supports torrenting in the first place.
This is actually a big deal, and something a lot of torrent users can appreciate.
For instance, TunnelBear and few other VPN providers no longer support torrenting.
This is because VPN companies simply don’t want to deal with copyright infringement cases.
Part of the reason why you can’t access a lot of torrents sites with most VPN services.
PureVPN Kill Switch
Although the PureVPN’s Kill switch feature was highly criticized in the past, however, it’s now been fixed.
The last time I reviewed this provider, the Kill switch feature actually failed twice. That said, I performed the test again for this review and the feature worked properly.
To test the Kill switch feature, I simply clicked the disconnect button from their desktop app. As soon as I did that, my Wi-Fi connection automatically disconnected.
Props to them for making it work the way it should.
Awesome Split Tunneling Feature
In addition to a Kill switch, PureVPN also offers a feature called Split Tunneling. If you don’t know what this feature does, it is basically a two-way tunnel for your encrypted and unencrypted traffic.
For instance, you would only want to encrypt your torrenting traffic leaving your regular browsing traffic unencrypted.
It makes perfect sense, I mean why you would want to burden down your Facebook with overhead encryption.
The Split tunneling feature did had some flaws in the past, however, that too is fixed now. I tested it with torrenting and it worked perfectly as advertised.
PureVPN Dedicated IP Address
Unlike other VPNs like ExpressVPN, PureVPN offers dedicated IPs. This is obviously a plus since it can unblock almost all mainstream geo-blocked websites and services.
It basically offers two types of dedicated IP addresses. The first kind is free for every user with a PureVPN subscription plan.
By that, I’m obviously talking about IPs that are offered by default to unblock particular websites and services. However, you will have to share the IP address with other PureVPN users.
Since it basically doesn’t cost anything additional, if you’re a PureVPN subscriber, you can just contact support to get a specific IP to unblock a particular website or service that you’re having trouble with.
The second kind of dedicated IP costs additional over your current subscription plan, however, you wouldn’t have to share your dedicated IP with other PureVPN users.
Dedicated IP is not only perfect for gaming, but it’ll fare much better when it comes to unblocking streaming services. Since dedicated IPs are much harder to blacklist, paying a bit extra can go a long way.
As far as PureVPN’s price for dedicated IP is concerned, it’ll cost you $1.99 a month additional over your current subscription plan.
PureVPN Port Forwarding
Another additional feature that PureVPN offers is Port forwarding. If you don’t know what Port forwarding is, it’s basically a network technology that allows external devices to access computing services on private networks.
Unlike Nat Firewall that can restrict VPN essentials like torrenting, Port forwarding gives VPN users the freedom to specify specific ports for incoming connections.
Port forwarding is especially popular for gaming, torrenting and accessing computing resources like printers.
That being said, PureVPN’s Port forwarding feature isn’t included with any of their subscription plans, in fact, you would have to purchase it additionally.
As far as pricing is concerned, if you purchase the port forwarding feature over your 1-month or 3-month plan, it will cost you $1.99/mo.
However, if you purchase it over a 1-year plan, the same port forwarding feature will cost you $0.99/mo.
PureVPN Modes – Multipurpose Modes
One thing that I really like about PureVPN and only a few VPNs offer is innovative mode selection. This feature literally makes VPN operation a lot easier and less frustrating.
You basically get to choose between five (5) VPN modes:
- Internet freedom
- File sharing
- Remote access server/Dedicated IP
Changing these modes is rather easy and intuitive, however, if you’re new to using PureVPN, I suggest you check out this super simple guide.
Great Global Server Coverage
PureVPN boasts a pretty awesome server coverage. At the moment they offer 2000+ PureVPN servers in 180+ locations across the globe.
While a lot of VPN providers only target their server locations in Europe and North America, PureVPN offers a pretty good global blend of server locations.
Aside from offering the usual coverage in North America, Europe, and Africa, it also offers servers in some rare locations. For instance, they offer servers in Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, and even Myanmar.
That’s truly impressive.
Does PureVPN Work In China?
Yes, PureVPN does works well in China, however, on limited servers. PureVPN offers 6 special obfuscated servers in China – Shanghai and in China – Beijing.
However, since a lot of VPNs are blocked in China, you might not be able to access their site or download the app from the Google Playstore.
I’ve covered some very useful troubleshooting steps specifically for China that should fix any potential issues you might face.
Jurisdiction – Is It Located In A 5-Eyes Country?
Right of the bat, the data retention free jurisdiction of Hong Kong is this providers biggest selling point.
To be real with you, jurisdiction is the number one factor you should look in any VPN service. I say this because VPN logs and jurisdictions are codependent (we’ll talk about this in the logging policy section of this review).
For instance, if PureVPN was headquartered in the United Kingdom (An integral part of the VPN five eyes), they would have had to abide by the UK’s Investigatory Power Act, AKA the Snoopers Charter.
Anyways, Since Hong Kong is a surveillance-free jurisdiction, they are not obligated to store any logs.
Speed – How Fast Is It?
In my PureVPN speed review, the provider managed to offer outstanding download speeds. I mean I was seriously blown away by the results.
To keep things concise, I performed the speeds test on 5 of the following servers:
FYI, I tested the speeds on my 15 Mbps office internet connection.
I’ve compiled the ping, the download speeds and upload speeds of each server in a table below. Do note that the below-mentioned results were achieved using the PureVPN extension and not the actual app.
|Server Location||Ping (MS)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
|U.S Miami FL||266||9.92||6.40|
PureVPN Windows Speed
Just like the Chrome extension, the Windows app of PureVPN also managed to offer quite decent speeds.
For this test, I again used my 15Mbps internet connection on the following 5 servers:
- UK Manchester
- France Paris
- Germany Frankfurt
- US Miami FL
- Japan Tokyo
Just like before, I’ve compiled the ping, the download speeds and upload speeds of each server in a table below.
|Server Location||Ping (MS)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
|U.S Miami FL||220||9.97||1.34|
Streaming – Does It Work With Netflix & Other VoD Services?
Yes, Netflix works just fine with PureVPN. However, you can encounter the Netflix proxy error at least once or twice.
After switching to a different U.S server, I was able to successfully unblock the U.S library of Netflix.
This is seriously impressive considering most VPN’s don’t work with Netflix.
If you’re wondering about the streaming experience, it was great. I didn’t notice any lags or any pixelated video quality.
If it doesn’t work for you, try switching servers. You can find a fresh new working IP for Netflix by contacting PureVPN support team.
BBC iPlayer and Hulu also worked without any issues.
Leaks – Does It leak IP, DNS & WebRTC?
PureVPN is among the very few VPN’s that doesn’t leak your IP, DNS, or WebRTC.
When you’re considering a secure VPN, it is imperative to make sure your VPN is not suffering from any form of leaks.
I performed the leak test for PureVPN on various servers using ipleak.org and didn’t experience any leaks at all.
Take a look at the screenshots below.
Trustworthiness – Logs, Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
The one thing I really appreciate about PureVPN is the fact that they no longer keep logs.
With the updated PureVPN logging policy, the provider promises to neither store any connection logs, nor any usage logs.
If you don’t know what data logging means, I’ve covered it in great detail in my in-depth logging policy research article.
I suggest you check that out to get a much broader knowledge of different types of VPN logs and its relation with jurisdictions.
Although PureVPN no longer keeps any logs, if we go back a few years ago, PureVPN was involved in a serious controversy regarding data logging.
I’m obviously talking about the infamous data logging case that helped catch a cyberstalker.
Even though PureVPN claimed to be a log-less VPN service, they still disclosed the alleged stalkers information to the FBI.
Based on the severity of the matter, the CEO of PureVPN had to come forward and officially release a statement regarding the data logging allegations.
“We DO NOT keep any record of your browsing activities, connection logs, records of the VPN IPs assigned to you, your original IPs, your connection time, the history of your browsing, the sites you visited, your outgoing traffic, the content or data you accessed, or the DNS queries generated by you.”
Files You Download And Websites You Visit (Usage Or Activity Logs)
The Only Thing They Do Log
PureVPN has an excellent reputation on Trustpilot. Unlike NordVPN, based on over 7880+ reviews, PureVPN has a spotless 5-star rating. More than 80% of users have rated PureVPN as Excellent.
Although PureVPN managed to win me over, let see what some Reddit users have to say about this service.
Checking out two recent threads on PureVPN Reddit, I must say PureVPN has mostly good reviews, mostly.
Naturally, there are some negative comments about the service too.
PureVPN Slow Customer Support
I’m not going to beat around the bush here, PureVPN’s support is terrible.
To prove my point, I simply inquired about their refund process. Here’s how that went.
Their response was not only slow but harshly blunt.
That’s not all, their terrible customer support continued when I decided to generate a Ticket on their website.
After clicking the link, the page loaded for a while and finally prompted me with an error message. Take a look at the screenshot below.
To see why I was experiencing this issue, I decided to inquire about it with their not so excellent customer support. To my surprise, they didn’t even know this issue existed until I pointed it out.
Overall, they definitely need to improve their live chat support.
Compatibility – Apps And Supported Devices
Compatibility wise PureVPN is pretty great. Combine with the fact that you can use PureVPN on 5 devices simultaneously, makes PureVPN a pretty versatile VPN service.
The list of supported devices is honestly impressive. Here’s a complete list of devices that PureVPN supports:
- Android TV
- Amazon Firestick
- Microsoft Surface
- Boxee box
- Now TV Box
- Raspberry Pi
- Chrome cast
- Play Station
- iOS App(Relaunched)
While the PureVPN Android app worked flawlessly, their Windows app has quite a lot of issues. More on that later.
Aside from the traditional support for desktop and mobile devices, I’m glad to see their support for Roku.
This is seriously impressive as not a lot of providers offer support for such devices. I personally watch a lot of movies so it’s perfect for me.
Now you might be wondering, does, does PureVPN work on Firestick?
Yes, PureVPN is fully compatible with Firestick. In fact, PureVPN offers a fully optimized standalone application for Firestick & Fire TV which can be easily sideloaded.
It’s no surprise that online privacy is shrinking by the day. No matter what we do online, we’re always being monitored.
Even streaming shows from the comfort of your room is no longer hidden from the eyes of would-be digital marketers and copyright narcs looking to make money off of you.
Although Firestick is an awesome device with endless streaming capabilities, excessive monitoring by your ISP can take all the fun out of it.
That is unless you use a combination of PureVPN Firestick to truly anonymize your online activities.
With PureVPN working silently in the background, you’ll be able to not only unblock geo-locked streaming services but also stay totally secure.
If you wish to get PureVPN on you Firestick, you can do just that in 5 easy steps
- Fire up your Firestick device and then launch apps
- Now go to categories and select utilities
- Look for the PureVPN app and download it
- Now head back to the main menu and then navigate to My Apps
- Finally, click on the PureVPN icon to launch the PureVPN app
PureVPN iOS App relaunched
Since the PureVPN iOS app is officially relaunched on the Apple App store, you can download it on your iPhone or iPad in just 3 simple steps.
- Head to the Apple App store
- Search for the PureVPN app
- Download the app for your iPhone or iPad
If we go back a couple of months, the iOS app of PureVPN got removed from the App Store, as it failed to comply with the parameters set by Apple.
That said, the app is back online and is compatible with the latest iOS versions.
I tested the new app to check its performance and I can safely say, the new version is a marked improvement with easy to use interface and works without any hiccups.
Terribly sluggish and unresponsive Windows app
Their windows app is seriously awful. You can’t connect to any server in one go. You have to retry multiple times just to connect to a specific server.
Besides that, the application is also super sluggish to use. Typing in a server location lags terribly. A lot of times the application also become unresponsive for no apparent reason.
Their Windows app also has a tendency to disconnect my Wi-Fi for no reason what so ever.
Even when it’s working fine, it takes way too long to connect to a specific server.
Overall, their Windows app is an utter nightmare to use.
PureVPN Linux – Better Than Windows
Although PureVPN might suck on the Windows platform, using it on a Linux based machine isn’t all that bad.
Now granted there is no standalone PureVPN application that supports Linux, however, with a bit of configuration, you can run PureVPN on your Linux machine.
Typically setting up non-GUI based apps on Linux can be quite challenging, however, PureVPN has done a pretty good job at streamlining the configuration process.
It literally takes three (3) steps to get PureVPN up and running on your Linux machine…
- Simply download the PureVPN Linux application for Debian OSor for Redhat OS.
- Get a PureVPN subscription and login.
- Choose a server location and enjoy ultimate anonymity and security on your Linux machine.
PureVPN Mac – Minimalist & Functional
PureVPN’s Mac app is nothing like its Windows counterpart. Instead of being unbearably unresponsive, the Mac app is absolute bliss to use.
With the same intuitive mode selection option, everything is streamlined and makes using the app dead easy. The interface is super slick and looks quite modern and minimalistic.
Verdict – Is PureVPN Worth Getting?
Considering all features and affordable pricing, PureVPN is definitely worth getting.
That said, while there’s a lot to love about this VPN, there are still a few annoying issues that need to be fixed.
To be honest, the last time I wrote on PureVPN review, I found their service to be absolutely terrible. However, they’ve certainly come a long way since then.
If you compare let’s say PureVPN vs IPVanish, PureVPN is not only much safer, much cheaper, but it also offers far more servers as well. Not to mention PureVPN’s privacy features that are on par with other industry leaders.