PureVPN Review 2019 – Amazingly Great or Terribly Worse?
PureVPN is probably amongst the oldest VPNs around in the industry today and owned by GZ systems limited. Over the years, they have received their fair share of praises and controversies.
From absolute best to worse, they have seen it all.
Ever since their data logging scandal of 2017 surfaced, they have received a major backlash from the VPN community.
However, this doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a second chance. After all, there’s nothing worse than bad publicity.
That being said, it’s 2019 and it’s time to revisit this VPN once again and see how they’ve improved.
In this PureVPN review, I’m going to extensively put this VPN to the test and tell you exactly if it’s worth getting in 2019.
Here’s what I’ll be looking for:
- Do they operate under the 5, 9 and 14 eyes jurisdictions?
- Does Purevpn keep logs?
- Does it offer good value for money?
- Is PureVPN safe?
- Is it fast?
- App compatibility
- Customer support
- Does it work with Netflix?
Don’t want to read the whole review? Use filters instead……
But first a brief overview…
PureVPN is more than a decade old company. It first showed up all the way back in 2006. It 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. The company also owns its servers as opposed to renting them. In theory, your data should be more secure this way.
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.
That’ve also relaunched their support for iOS. You can find their app on the Apple App Store. A much-awaited relief.
Aside from that, they offer 5 simultaneous connections which can protect up to 5 devices with just one subscription plan. However, you can cancel PureVPN subscription anytime. If you set it up on a router, you can secure even more devices which is great.
Feature-wise it is packed with powerful encryption, a kill switch and a split tunneling feature for creating two separate protected and unprotected network channels.
This VPN also supports both Tor and NAT Firewall for an added measure of privacy and security.
+ What I liked about PureVPN
I’ll start by talking about all the things I like about this service.
Data Retention Free Jurisdiction
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 it was headquartered in the United Kingdom (An integral part of the 5-eyes), they would have to abide by the Investigatory Power Act, AKA the Snoopers Charter.
I have covered 5, 9 and 14 eyes alliances and their impact on your privacy, in great detail in a separate research article.
Anyways, since they’re not headquartered under the 5 eyes countries or other surveillance alliances, they are not obligated to store logs.
That’s a plus for my PureVPN review.
PureVPN logging policy – Checkered past, finally patched
PureVPN logs have had a rocky past.
I’m obviously talking about the infamous data logging case that helped catch a cyber stalker.
Even though the PureVPN login policy claimed to be a log-less VPN, they still disclosed the alleged stalkers information to the FBI. Now some may argue that it was for a good cause, however, what’s wrong is wrong.
That said, the company has come a long way since then. As I said earlier, it’s time to give this VPN another chance. So in that spirit, let’s see if they still store logs or not.
But before we do that, it’s important that we know what data logging even 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.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s start by talking about the official response of CEO about the data logging allegations.
Take a look at the last paragraph. Now we’ll see whether what he claims is actually true or not.
“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
An extremely affordable Yearly plan
Let’s talk about pricing first. I really like their pricing plans. Their yearly plan is not only reasonably priced but also amongst the cheapest in the industry.
The yearly plan also comes with a 73% discount. After the discount, it costs only $2.95 a month.
However, this plan is a bit expansive though and I can’t help wonder why anyone would get this plan over their 2-year plan.
They also offer a 1-month plan and that too is not cheap at all.
Here are the pricing plans as of April 2019:
Flexible payment options
Aside from the affordable 2-year plan, it offers one of the largest selection of payment options. Crypto, credit cards, PayPal and a bunch of other payment modes are all supported.
However, it’s worth noting that Coin payments are Nonrefundable. That’s something to consider if you’re planning on getting a refund later on.
PureVPN Fastest Server and speed test(With chrome extension)
In my PureVPN speed review, the provider managed to offers speeds I have not seen in quite a while. 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. The below results are achieved using the PureVPN Chrome 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 Speeds, Good but inconsistent
While the Chrome extension yielded consistent results, the Windows app didn’t.
For this test, I again used my 15Mbps internet connection and had no problems with PureVPN not connecting.
This time performed the speed test 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|
As you can see, the results are very inconsistent. No server managed to offer consistent download and upload speeds.
PureVPN security (supports benchmark protocols and encryption)
It does offer some very nifty protocols like OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, PPTP, and even IKEv2.
Each of these protocols is different in terms of functionality. Depending on which protocols you choose, you can perform gaming, streaming, torrenting and even secure online banking.
These protocols are extremely powerful and offer the first line of defense against online threats like session hacking or Man in the middle attacks (MITM).
OpenVPN is the industry’s benchmark protocol for both speed and security. OpenVPN is also the latest and greatest protocol around so it’s good to see that it offers such protocols.
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.
It calls this encryption “Military grade” and I agree. Basically, all your inbound and outbound network gets an 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 that I personally haven’t seen in other VPNs I’ve reviewed.
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, it warns you if you’re visiting a sketchy website and even warns you if someone’s attempting to hack 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” worked great in the test.
Distractions such as social media and online games can become a major hurdle, creating inefficiency, whether you are an employee or a student.
Not saying that you would willingly block the applications that you use, but employers and parents can block certain applications so that people concentrate at work and don’t waste time.
Here is where PureVPN’s app blocker comes in to play! It helps you select the websites and apps that can and cannot be accessed by making your own customized list.
App Blocker by PureVPN is not something that wasn’t available in the market before, but its unique features set it apart from the others.
- Automatically blocks websites that carry a high risk, which could result in your data and online security being lost.
- It gives you complete control over which apps to block such as Facebook, Instagram, and the likes.
- You can specifically block apps at times when you want to, for example, you can turn them off when it’s your kids time to study or you can turn to disable it when its break time at work.
- You can Lock all the apps on your mobile phone if you have kids around so that they don’t mess up with your phone.
- The app has been developed in such a way that it can be used by individuals as well as large and medium-sized businesses.
One factor that it has always focused on is its user interface, simple and intuitive. The same goes for its App Blocker, a simple one-click activation system.
The Best Ad Blocker?
Gone are the days when only small websites used annoying pop-up ads. Today almost any website you visit have pop-up ads that even when you try to cancel trick you into opening them.
You can hardly find any website or article that doesn’t bring up advertisements. You might be thinking that it doesn’t make for an extraordinary feature, but I will tell you why blocking advertisements matters so much.
- Firstly it affects the load time of your page, making it slower.
- Secondly, most of the malware comes wrapped up in the form of ads that are usually enticing.
- Thirdly, they increase the data usage costing you much more for your internet.
- Lastly, some ads track your online behavior so that they can send you targeted advertisements.
The ad Blocker works well with all browsers, be it Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
It goes even further than that by scanning web pages against a pre-defined list of ad servers.
It completely supports torrenting and P2P. This might not sound much but it is.
Well because a lot of VPN providers don’t really offer P2P support anymore. For instance, TunnelBear no longer supports torrenting.
This is because VPN companies don’t want to deal with copyright infringement cases. There is still a handful of VPN torrenting providers that do support torrenting, however, only on few servers.
Part of the reason why a lot of torrents sites are getting blocked these days.
On the other hand, it offers torrenting on a lot of servers. Pretty much you can download torrents on any of their available servers.
Excellent device compatibility
Compatibility wise its pretty great. The list of supported devices is honestly impressive. I’m not talking about the mainstream desktop and mobile platforms, I’m talking about their out of the way support for routers, gaming consoles and casting devices.
Here’s a complete list of supported devices:
- Android TV
- Amazon Firestick
- Microsoft Surface
- Boxee box
- Now TV Box
- Raspberry Pi
- Chrome cast
- Play Station
- iOS App(Relaunched)
I personally checked out their Android and Windows apps. While the PureVPN Android app worked flawlessly, their Windows app had quite a lot of issues. More on that later on.
Aside from the traditional support for desktop and mobile devices, I was glad to see their support for Firestick and 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.
Installing the app on my Firestick device was easy. I was easily able to sideload it without any issues.
PureVPN on Kodi also worked great. The Installation process was flawless. It’s good to see that PureVPN Kodi can be used as a VPN for Kodi. Not a lot of VPN providers do that.
PureVPN iOS App relaunched
Good news iOS users, PureVPN has launched a new version of its app, which is up and running. 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.
Previously, the iOS app for this service had been removed from the App Store, as it failed to comply with the parameters set by Apple.
Apple has certain parameters when it comes to allowing apps on the App Store. These strict guidelines screen out apps that are malicious or have certain flaws.
Here is a review form that is presented to you when you submit your app.
Apple reviews these answers along with some other factors before accepting an application for its store.
Great global server coverage
It boasts a pretty awesome server coverage. At the moment they offer 2000+ PureVPN servers in 141+ countries across the globe.
PureVPN server list is truly global.
While a lot of VPN providers only target their server locations in Europe and North America, it 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.
If your PureVPN cannot connect for any reason, you should not lose your hopes.
You can try your luck by connecting to any other server of your choice.
Actually working Kill switch
Although the Kill switch feature was highly criticized in the past, however, it seems as if 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, it 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 seems to be 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 created 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 price is concerned, its dedicated IP costs $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.
However considering that the average monthly price of acquiring the Port forwarding feature is only $1.99, it is totally worth using.
Doesn’t leak IP
It also didn’t leak my IP.
I performed the leak test on various servers using ipleak.org and didn’t experience any leaks.
Take a look at the screenshots below.
Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Hulu all worked (No proxy error)
Netflix worked just fine on PureVPN. That said, it didn’t connect straight away and I did encounter the dreaded proxy error at least once or twice.
However, 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.
BBC iPlayer and Hulu also worked without any issues.
Haggle-free refund policy
In the past, it has been criticized for their Refund policy, however, it’s been updated now.
Their new Refund policy is fairly straightforward. You can claim a refund within 31 days to get your money back.
According to their Refund policy, all refund requests are processed within 24 hours and payment may take up to 30 days.
That said, refunds are not applicable to special plans and the 3-day PureVPN trial account.
– Now for the things, I dislike about PureVPN
Areas where this service definitely needs to improve.
PureVPN slow customer support
Right of the bat, PureVPN 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.
PureVPN China (Works but sometimes can have issues)
Like a lot of VPNs, it is also blocked in China. You can’t access their site nor can you download the PureVPN app from the Google Playstore.
That said, it can work if you have it preinstalled on your device before you enter China. However, bear in mind you won’t be able to access any PureVPN support documentation due to their site being blocked.
This is the reason you may face hassles while using PureVPN account in the country.
If you do want to use PureVPN while you’re in China, I suggest you check out our detailed guide on PureVPN China.
I’ve covered some very useful troubleshooting steps specifically for China that should fix any potential issues you might face.
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.
Has PureVPN Encountered Warrant Canary?
Honestly speaking, PureVPN has not clarified itself about the said practice.
There are handfuls of VPN providers like Surfshark that have made their intentions clear by describing their stance over warrant canary.
I think PureVPN will need to provide enough insights to their customers regarding the issuance of government subpoena sooner or later.
PureVPN Trustpilot review
Trustpilot is considered to be one of the most credible review websites, with real customer reviews.
PureVPN has a 5-star rating on Trustpilot and over 7,000 reviews have been posted.
PureVPN rating has been termed excellent by 85% of the reviewers, which means a massive percentage of satisfied customers.
PureVPN Reddit Review
Although PureVPN managed to win me over, let see what some Redditors have to say about this service.
Checking out two recent threads on Reddit about PureVPN and I must say it had mostly good reviews, mostly.
Naturally, there are some negative comments about the service too.
So there you have it, folks, this was my review of PureVPN.
While there’s a lot to love about this VPN, there are still a few annoying issues that need to be fixed. That said, this doesn’t mean their service hasn’t improved over the years.
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.
So, how secure is PureVPN, do I recommend it?
Yes! Why not, it’s cheap, it offers 2000+ servers, thousands of anonymous IPs to choose from and privacy features that’s on par with other industry leaders.
Curious about what others have to say about PureVPN?
Overall, I mostly have good things to say about PureVPN, however, others might disagree. Check out some PureVPN user reviews in the comments below.
While you’re at it, leave some genuine PureVPN customer reviews in the comments as well.