PureVPN was launched in 2006 as an experiment and started offering commercial services the following year. It was developed by a Hong Kong company called GZ Systems, which should not be confused with G&Z Systems, an American AT&T and DirectTV provider.
Today, PureVPN is well-known primarily for its impressive number of server locations that allow its users to establish a secure data tunnel from pretty much anywhere in the world. It is also the #2 pick on our list of ExpressVPN Alternatives.
In our PureVPN review, you can read more about the VPN’s overall reliability, supported devices, current server network, security setup, logging policy, streaming and P2P capabilities, pricing, and more.
Speed & Performance
PureVPN features 5 different operating modes, Streaming being the fastest one, so this is what our testing team in Belgrade, Serbia focused on. We tested 15 different PureVPN servers across Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas and compared our results with other modes while connected to servers in the US and Germany.
In the Streaming mode, our top performers were servers in Paris, Amsterdam, and Seattle. The Swedish server actually increased our benchmark speed, which is not something that happens often. These servers performed so well because the Streaming mode is a proxy service implemented to geo-spoof restricted platforms like Netflix US without encrypting traffic. India, New Zealand, Mexico City, and London also did rather well while Honk Kong, Tokyo, and Toronto were serviceable.
|Location||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
When it comes to other modes, as expected, we had the lowest results while using the Security/Privacy mode since this option turns your client into an actual VPN by encrypting your online traffic. Even though the company advertises Streaming as its fastest mode, we actually recorded greater speeds while using File Sharing on German servers.
|Modes compared – US|
|US – Seattle||Ping ms||Download Mbps||Upload Mbps|
|Security / Privacy||181||11.79||3.3|
|File Sharing||no US servers||no US servers||no US servers|
|Modes compared – Germany|
|US – Seattle||Ping ms||Download Mbps||Upload Mbps|
|Security / Privacy||46||15.29||2.42|
During our testing circuit, we did experience a couple of disconnects, so we had to turn the killswitch off in order to speed up the process. Apart from this, the performance was rather smooth without any sudden spikes or speed drops.
As expected, PureVPN supports all major platforms with native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and even Linux. You can also download browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Finally, the software can be configured manually on gaming consoles (PS3/4, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U), routers (Tomato, DD-WRT, Belkin, Asus, TP-Link, etc.), Android TV, Kodi, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV & Firestick, Apple TV, BoxeeBox, Raspberry Pi, Kindle Fire, WebOS, Blue Ray Players, and other platforms.
The official website features comprehensive step-by-step instructions for installing PureVPN on your chosen device, so you do not have to worry about any technicalities even if you are a VPN beginner. Having said that, you will need some technical knowledge to set up the software manually on routers and similar devices.
PureVPN currently features 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries and 180+ server locations. The official website provides a nice list of the available options and even allows you to filter servers by country. At the moment, there are 650+ servers in North America, 10+ in Central America, 80+ in South America, close to 800 in Europe, 300+ in Asia, 90+ in Oceania, and 150+ in Africa.
PureVPN uses a combination of bare metal and virtual servers, which basically does not have any effect on the end-user. However, it is one of the rare companies that clearly mark virtual servers on the official site and in the client. The servers that support the company’s Ozone feature are also marked. Apart from this, PureVPN offers servers optimized for VoIP and P2P traffic.
VoIP-ready servers allow you to use Viber, Skype, Vonage, Google Hangouts, and other similar apps with an added layer of security. In other words, nobody will be able to intercept your business or private conversations and you will be able to use your favorite apps in countries that block VoIP (China, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Guyana, Libya, Mexico, Paraguay, North Korea, and the Caribbean). It is also an excellent solution for online gamers.
The company provides its users with unlimited speeds, bandwidth, and server switching and supports up to 5 simultaneous connections per account.
Safety & Security
PureVPN features a wide variety of modern security measures, so we will start this section of our PureVPN review with the most important one – encryption. The software allows you to set your preferred security levels, ranging from no encryption to AES-256, also known as “military-grade” or “bank-grade” cipher. You can choose your preferred settings under system preference -> Network -> PureVPN for macOS and on the Settings tab for Windows.
When it comes to connection protocols, it seems that PureVPN chooses IKEv2 and SSTP as defaults. You can still opt for OpenVPN (TCP-UDP) and the official website features a multitude of useful instruction manuals for different platforms. The same goes for PPTP and L2TP, but you should not use these protocols unless you absolutely have to. If you are not sure about the optimal protocol for you, the app can choose the most appropriate option automatically.
The current configuration for OpenVPN is:
- Data channel – AES-256-CBC with HMAC SHA-1 authentication
- Control channel – AES-256-CBC with RSA-2048 handshake
IKEv2 is not tested as thoroughly as OpenVPN, but it is definitely much faster, which is why numerous companies are starting to use it as their default protocol.
PureVPN also offers an exclusive protocol called StealthVPN, which represents the cutting edge of modern VPN technology. It utilizes ports 443 and 5500, making it ideal for bypassing firewalls and gaining access to geo-blocked websites.
As we already mentioned in this PureVPN review, the company offers two proprietary features called Ozone and Gravity, which should be perceived as superclusters of extra security.
Ozone allows you to protect your online traffic from intruders, malware, and suspicious websites. It contains a server-side antivirus, content filtering, IDS/IPS, and app and URL filtering. And yes, it does come with an ad-block. Note that this feature is available only in select countries for the time being.
On the other hand, Gravity is the company’s way of protecting your DNS requests and preventing websites with malicious code from loading anything on your device. In other words, traffic does not just go through PureVPN’s secure DNS servers but also through hi-tech firewalls that kill off any potential threats before they get the chance to do any damage.
PureVPN implements reliable protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. During our tests, we did not detect our real IP address or DNS requests leaking anywhere. Finally, the software comes with a reliable automatic killswitch.
PureVPN features a couple of optional add-ons, including Dedicated IPs, DDoS protection, and port forwarding.
Logging & Privacy
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, which gives it the highest degree of autonomy while still being under the Central People’s government. Hong Kong does not have any mandatory data retention laws, so PureVPN does not have to collect and store user data in order to potentially hand it over to the government.
When you create your personal PureVPN account, the company will collect your name, email address, and payment method. This information is used to provide you with the requested service, improve and personalize services, communicate with you, process your transactions, prevent fraud, and for compliance purposes.
Furthermore, the company WILL know when you connected to specific server locations (dates, not times) and how much bandwidth was used through your account. This is collected to prevent malicious behavior that can disrupt other users.
PureVPN also implements certain tools in its clients, including Google Analytics, iTunes, Crashlytics, Apptentive, Firebase, New Relic, MixPanel, and Facebook Pixel.
The support tickets functionality is provided by Zendesk and the live chat feature by LiveChat Inc., so your name, email address, and correspondence with the support team will be recorded in their systems.
On the other hand, the company DOES NOT record your origin or assigned IPs, session timestamps, DNS requests, and browsing activities after connecting to one of the available servers. PureVPN implements appropriate security measures, including top-of-the-line encryption algorithms, to secure your information and make every data transfer as safe as possible.
When it comes to your rights regarding the collected information, you can always access, update, and correct the data within your profile. You can also opt out of any marketing communication and unsubscribe to marketing emails. Finally, you can request data deletion at any given moment and the company will erase everything but your email within 30 days. Your email is kept to prevent fake or duplicate accounts, but PureVPN will delete it if you request email deletion.
Using the Streaming mode, our team was able to unblock Netflix US from Europe alongside other geo-restricted platforms like Hulu and Crunchyroll. Unfortunately, we were unable to access BBC iPlayer during our tests. Other relevant versions of Netflix were unavailable as well, including Netflix France, Japan, UK, Germany, and Italy. Since the Streaming mode basically turns PureVPN into a proxy service by turning off its ability to encrypt your traffic, we were able to stream everything in full HD with plenty of speed to spare.
PureVPN is a torrent-friendly service with P2P-optimized servers across the world. The servers are not marked on the official website, but you can find a list of torrent-friendly servers in the client. You can protect your P2P traffic even further with an optional add-on, which is especially useful if torrenting is your main source of popular content.
Plans & Pricing
PureVPN’s monthly plan costs $10.95 and it is ideal for testing the service and comparing it with other providers. If you choose to stick with Pure, you can lower the subscription fees by opting for one of the longer plans.
The available add-one include:
- Port forwarding – $1.99 per month
- Dedicated IP – $1.99 per month
- Dedicated IP with DDoS protection – $2.99 per month
All options come with a generous 31-day money-back guarantee, which gives you more than enough time to test the software and determine if it works for you. The accepted payment methods include credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, and American Express), PayPal, Alipay, PaymentWall, BlueSnap, numerous cryptocurrencies, and gift cards.
Even though the official website lists American Express as one of the accepted payment methods, we were unable to purchase a subscription using our Amex card. Since our testing team was located in Belgrade, Serbia, a country that is not on the list of greenlit SafeKey markets, we could not pass the 3D secure payment check. For some reason, we could not even make the payment with a VPN connected to US servers.
Note that your subscription renews automatically, so if you want to cancel your current plan after expiration, you have to do so manually through your personal PureVPN account. The Help section on the official website features comprehensive guides on how to do this depending on your payment method. You can also change or upgrade your current plan at any given moment.
PureVPN features 24/7 customer support and you can reach the company’s support team using the contact form or live chat feature on the official website. If you opt to send them a message, the average response time is a couple of hours. You can also send a direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org or even a letter at GZ Systems Limited, 36F, Tower Two, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Subscribers can also submit a support ticket through the Help Desk tab on their dashboard.
PureVPN Pros & Cons
As we wrap up this PureVPN review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.
- Native apps for all popular platforms
- 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries
- Unlimited speeds, bandwidth, and server switching
- Up to 5 simultaneous connections
- Servers optimized for P2P and streaming
- Solid security configuration
- Ozone and Gravity features
- Protection against DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leaks
- Premium add-ons, including port forwarding and DDoS protection
- Split tunneling
- Automatic killswitch
- No-logging policy
- 24/7 customer support, including live chat
- Accepts cryptocurrencies
- Incorporated in China
- DNS leaks when Ozone and Gravity are enabled at the same time
I was looking for a decently priced VPN and decided to try PureVPN. Since it had a $0.99 7 day trial, I thought, why not? Well I decided that I wanted to go with a VPN a little more refined, even if the price was more, so I cancelled my subscription. A week later, they charged me for an annual subscription. They labeled it as a annual “trial” so I wouldn’t receive any emails stating that my subscription changed. I contacted their support, they ADMITTED to me cancelling my 7 day trail and that they switched it over to annual by “accident” then proceeded to say they can give me a ‘partial’ refund. For their goof!
Needless to say, it isn’t worth the risk of using this very mediocre VPN service. Just bite the bullet and get Nord or Express.
I chose PureVPN because it offers the biggest coverage. I was immpresed by the number of servers which is around 2000 I think, and that I can pick by country. Also, it allows me to use my standard communication apps when I travel which I do a Lot. It’s annoying to install a different app every time I go to China or Dubai and lots of my business correspondence happens online and via skype.
More than a month ago i have purchased PureVPN. I have tested it for less than a day and was not satisfied. The next day i wanted money refund. After many e-mails and support tickets, still no money refund. They don’t even want to answer my tickets. I’m desperate and don’t know what to do any more.
Not only did this VPN not serve the intended purpose, their customer service is the worst I have dealt with from any tech company in years. They were unhelpful and unwilling to honor their money back guarantee. I had to speak with at least seven representatives over two weeks to get anything resolved.
Brad Park is my name. These guys are awful. Service does not work for netflix. Then I asked for refund. They said they OK. then the next day they said they can’t refund due to “merchant limitations”. And they offered me a gift card!!!! Don’t sign up. The service is crappy and they are dishonest
A shocking product all round. Constant disconnections, unreliable, shows connected but nothing happens, customer service nice but likerobots. Speeds are terrible a lot of the time. Have to manually disconnect all the time.
Have asked for a refund but they refuse as I got a promo deal for 5 years, which is not a legitimate reason not to refund. A huge regret going with them, shady sales tactics. Stay clear of them truly. It’s a painful experience and your money is gone