Welcome to our review of PureVPN. This VPN service was made available to the public in 2007, and started with servers in 2 locations. Over time, they have continued to add features and make improvements. They also list themselves as the world’s fastest and most reliable VPN service. In this review, we will put that claim to the test. Their website is very polished, and has some very nice looking graphics. We will take a look at some of their features, and see how they compare, but first we will discuss the topic of pricing.
Pricing and Discounts
Though the global economy is recovering, the world still likes deals. Fortunately, PureVPN understands this. By looking at our image below, you can see that their service starts at $10.95 a month. At the time of this review, however, they are offering six months of the service for $8.95 a month. The best value by far is their year plan. Buying a year of service will bring the price down to just $5.98 a month. PureVPN offers new members a 7 day money back guarantee.
For making payments, PureVPN offers a multitude of choices. That includes the four major credit cards of Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Other payment types are PayPal, Payza, PaymentWall, Alipay, Bitcoin, and others. We are glad to see Bitcoin on that list. Because it is a cryptocurrency, it allows for an extra layer of anonymity in paying for your service.
In the growing VPN market, companies do whatever they can to set themselves apart from competitors. We have already mentioned one way, and that is through pricing. The second way is by providing good features. PureVPN has some really nice features that would make them different from others.
There are several advanced features that have become crucial in VPN usage. The first one we will talk about is their kill switch feature. That will automatically kill your internet connection should the VPN drop. The first box down addresses that scenario too, by reconnecting if the connection drops. Split Tunneling is an option that will let you choose which apps you want to always have encrypted. If you are a person that does several things at the same time, you may only wish to encrypt part of your traffic. Virtual Router is a Windows feature that will convert your machine in to an encrypted wireless hotspot. You can use that option without having the VPN connected, but of course, the data would not be secure. Additionally, PureVPN has several addon features that we will take a look at. SmartDNS is a service that changes your computer’s settings to help you get around geo-restrictions. That will allow you to view content from other countries you would not normally be allowed to see. An example of that is being able to watch BBC iPlayer from outside the UK. It works similarly to a VPN, but the connection is not encrypted. That is a cheaper option than going with their Dedicated Streaming option. PureVPN states they will give you access to their special web browsers that will automatically boost your connection by 20 mbps. Web Protection will secure the user both internally and externally. StealthVPN Browser is designed for countries with high censorship. It gives you the option to browse just like you were in a country like the US. PureVPN allows 5 simultaneous connections on one account, which is more than most providers. The last feature we will speak of is their 2 different versions of Dedicated IP addresses. Both will give you the same IP whenever you log on, but one version provides you with protection against Denial of Service attacks.
The PureVPN team offers more than 500 servers, worldwide. Those servers are divided up amongst 180 locations in 141 countries. In the image below, we show you a portion of these servers, but there are too many to fit. Whether you are using a VPN for gaming, streaming music, or watching content from a different country, PureVPN has many options available.
Even though we are aware most users would not need to connect to that many countries, it is nice to have a wide range of choices. You may wish to connect to a specific country that not all VPN providers support. In that case, having access to almost ¾ of the world’s countries is beneficial.
We have reviewed the PureVPN features and their network, so you may be thinking “That is fine, but how are the speeds?” Whenever you look at VPN performance, you can expect some speed loss because of encryption. As we ran our test, we experienced about a 12% reduction in speed. That number is in line with industry standards. The amount of acceptable loss ranges from 10% -25%. Also, the ping times are identical. That is not typical, but it shows there is no lag on that server, when compared to our internet connection. For our test, we used the 256 bit (the highest) encryption that was offered. Given our speed test results, we concur that their network is fast.
Security and Privacy
To be able to offer privacy, VPN providers use protocols. Since every protocol has their own algorithms used in data encryption, they offer different levels of protection. PureVPN offers 5 protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2. It is great to see that many options available. Though some of the protocols mentioned are not as secure as others, we recommend using OpenVPN (UDP) for the fastest and most secure protocol choice. If you are using a mobile device, IKEv2 is a great option as well. In the image below, we point out where you find the protocols in the console.
In regards to support, the PureVPN team offers several choices. Our favorite one is their 24/7 chat support. In addition, they have a knowledge base, frequently asked questions, easy to follow tutorials, and a support ticket feature. As we were looking over the website, the chat window popped up without us doing anything to cause it. That could be a good feature if you need help, but it could also be annoying at times.
PureVPN has specific apps for the following operating systems.
- Mac OS X
On their website, you will find those 4 apps. You will also find guides for routers, and according to their site, support for 20+ other operating systems, including Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast. No matter what setup you are looking for, they offer support for a wide range of products.
Sign Up Process
As easy to use as VPNs are, you would expect the sign up would be pretty easy to do. Simply choose your level of service, and enter your name, email address, and type of billing. This is also where you choose the extra features we mentioned earlier. In the image below, you will notice a number of payment opptions.
Select a payment source, make sure the payment info is correct, and you will be ready to use your PureVPN unlimited account. One thing we noticed is they do seem to need more information than some other services. There are certainly some providers that require more, but there are also providers that require less information.
How to Use PureVPN for Desktop
We are happy to see that PureVPN’s product is so straight forward and easy to use. That is a real benefit for the average user that may be new to the privacy market, and using a VPN for the first time. For this demonstration, we will use the Windows client. The Mac client is similar, but this will give everyone the idea.
- Go ahead and click on the green shield PureVPN icon on your desktop. That will open a console that looks like this one. This is where you may choose your protocol, and your purpose/country.
- Choose your protocol, again we recommend OpenVPN (UDP) as shown on the right. Then pick your purpose or the country you want to connect to. Say that you wanted to connect to the fastest US. Simply choose that purpose, and you will see it in the drop down box to the right of protocol.
- Next, click the green button on the far right that says “Quick Connect”. Once connected there, you will see the status at the top change to connected, your new IP address, the duration of the time connected, and the button change from green to red.
- Enjoy whatever purpose you had planned for using the VPN. You would then have access to anything you would be able to see in the US, just as if you were there.
That would also be true if you chose another purpose. If you wanted to change the purpose or server, just hit the disconnect button, change the field, and reconnect.
How to Use PureVPN for Mobile
It is always nice to see a provider that supplies specialized mobile apps. Though we will use the Android OS for this section, the iOS app should be close to the same. If you do find that you have individual questions not answered here, we are positive you will find the answer through one of their support channels.
- Start by going to the Google Play Store on your Android device and doing a search for PureVPN. Then download, accept the terms, and open the app.
- Enter your credentials and press the “Login” button.
- After getting to the home screen as you see in the picture to the right, you can either connect to your last server, or change servers. To do that, you would click the 3 horizontal lines indicated by the red arrow, and select servers. Much like the desktop version, the same purposes are there as well. From there, you may also set the other settings.
- Connect and enjoy. At this point, you may expect the same type of results you get from the desktop version.
Favorite features for PureVPN:
- Reasonably priced
- Desktop and mobile apps are easy to use
- Nice speeds
- Good features like split tunneling, kill switch, and virtual router
- Multi-protocol support
- 24 hour live chat feature, and other avenues of customer service
- p2p friendly
Thoughts to make PureVPN better:
- Roll some of the good addon services in to the regular service
- Stop live help sessions from popping up automatically
In conclusion, we find that PureVPN offers some good features at a reasonal price. However, some of the features that we look for are only available as addons. An example of that is the NAT firewall option. If you add in the costs of the extra features, the price can very quickly jump. We were glad to see they have great live chat support, well written setup guides for virtually all devices, and some great included options. They offer new members a 7 day money back guarantee, so you will have enough time to test the service and make the right decision.