PureVPN has been working to repair its image for several years, after being criticized for cooperating with the FBI by releasing customer data. To find out if recent marketing campaigns are backed up with real changes, I ran extensive tests to see if PureVPN has improved its privacy offering, previously faulty apps, and average performance.
My tests showed PureVPN has made huge progress, particularly in restoring its reputation as a data-secure service. I found significant improvements in PureVPN’s server networks and streaming abilities and was pleased to find it’s undergone an independent audit. While PureVPN still logs some data, like the day and length of your server connection, none of the data is identifiable. I’m satisfied that my online activity is anonymous while using PureVPN.
PureVPN impressed me with its ability to unblock every streaming site I tested. I was even able to unblock Netflix US, which is notoriously difficult to access from abroad — even with a US subscription. This is a huge deal if you travel often and want to keep up with your local content despite regional blocks. While I did have some longer load times than I would without a VPN, I could still watch my favorite shows in HD.
You’ll have no trouble using PureVPN to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. During my tests, I easily accessed Netflix’s US library using PureVPN and watched an episode of New Girl. That said, there were some delays when I loaded another episode or changed my settings (like when I turned on subtitles), so keep this in mind when you start streaming shows.
PureVPN easily slipped past Hulu’s restrictions so that I could access my account. Lesser-known VPNs rarely get past Hulu’s geoblocks, but I was able to test PureVPN on some of my favorite episodes of Saturday Night Live and didn’t experience any lags or buffering.
PureVPN worked well to unblock Amazon Prime Video. I had a buffer-free experience while testing it out. I was able to watch multiple seasons of the popular show, The Expanse.
PureVPN didn’t have any issues unblocking Disney+. I tested PureVPN with Disney+ by connecting to its US servers with my account and the site loaded quickly. I streamed Captain Marvel in HD without any buffering or lag.
I also tested PureVPN with DAZN and got a colleague in the UK to test BBC iPlayer and found that it got around those geoblocks. Having this much success is a great selling point for PureVPN.
The only streaming service that PureVPN struggled to unblock was HBO MAX. The first time I tested its Phoenix server with HBO Max, it couldn’t unblock the platform. However, when I tested a server in San Francisco, I had better luck. My connection was a bit slow and I did find that I had some buffering as I watched The Flight Attendant.
To unblock HBO Max, my advice is to try a few different servers to find the best combination of connectivity and speed. If HBO Max is the main platform you are trying to unblock, however, it might be worth trying another VPN such as CyberGhost that has optimised servers for streaming HBO Max.
I was impressed to see that PureVPN didn’t cause a significant drop in speed. I connected to various worldwide servers, and they all performed well in my speed tests. This is due in part to PureVPN using the WireGuard protocol, which is designed for blazing-fast speeds and top-tier security. I used WireGuard on all of my connections to ensure I got the best speeds every time.
My regular internet speed is around 160Mbps, so I was pleased to find my speeds only dropped by around 20% on average.
Every connection was fast enough for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and browsing online with minimal buffering or lag. Even connecting to Australia (around 15,000km away) only minorly impacted my speed.
Usually, connecting to far-away servers causes a dramatic loss of speed, but PureVPN is able to mitigate that loss easily.
PureVPN usually has the fast speeds necessary for gaming without lag. Most of my experience was seamless, and I could play battle royale-style games like Call of Duty: Warzone without lag or interruption.
However, I encountered a few issues with PureVPN’s virtual servers and high ping. I found PureVPN’s virtual servers were significantly slower than its regular servers, so I wouldn’t recommend them for fast-paced online gaming. I also found some servers had very high ping — anything below 100ms is good for gaming, but some PureVPN servers had a ping of 200ms+.
If you love gaming, ExpressVPN has reliably fast speeds and low ping times. If you don’t like gaming on a computer and prefer a console, ExpressVPN also has native apps that work on Xbox, PS5, and even your Nintendo Switch.
Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.
PureVPN boasts great server numbers with 6,500+ servers and 300,000 IP addresses across 75+ countries. The company owns all of its servers, which are self-managed to provide the best experience for its customers. There’s a good number of servers in each region, with many located in multiple central city hubs. While you can’t select a specific city to connect to in every region, you can connect to individual cities in the following countries: Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US.
However, 20 locations are actually virtual servers that are located in the US. Virtual servers aren’t physically located in the country where the VPN lists its location — they’re only programmed to look like they are.
Almost every time I tried to connect to a virtual server, I had incredibly high latency. Although the interface showed that these servers had low traffic and should be fast, I couldn’t load DNSLeakTest.com or Speedtest.net while connecting to the Belize, Puerto Rico, and Bosnia servers.
I could easily avoid virtual servers when using the mobile app, as these are indicated by a small icon on the server list. However, there’s no way of telling which are virtual or physical on PureVPN’s desktop app. The only way to find out is by looking on PureVPN’s website and clicking “Server Locations.”
I was disappointed to find PureVPN doesn’t offer specialized servers for streaming, torrenting, or online gaming. However, PureVPN does allow you to choose a specialized profile when you first make an account. These profiles adjust encryption levels and tunneling protocols to optimize performance for specific activities — streaming, for example, uses less encryption to boost speeds, while downloading focuses on data privacy over speed.
Specialized servers that don’t skimp on encryption are a common feature provided by top VPN providers. CyberGhost has dedicated servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming that provide fast speeds with the best encryption.
Top-Tier Encryption Levels
PureVPN uses AES-256-bit encryption as standard, the same level of encryption used by financial institutions and military bodies. In short, it’s the most secure encryption available and has never been hacked — it would take someone billions of years to brute-force crack it.
Multiple Secure Tunneling Protocols
PureVPN offers the WireGuard, OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, and IKEv2 protocols. These protocols have different benefits, depending on what you’re using the VPN connection for.
Overall, WireGuard is the top choice for consistent speeds and high-level security. PureVPN will automatically select the best protocol for you, or you can manually choose a protocol in its Settings menu.
Automatic Kill Switch — Cuts Internet Access if VPN is Interrupted
All of PureVPN’s apps have an automatic kill switch, which cuts access to the internet if the VPN connection is interrupted. I tested the kill switch and was pleased to find it instantly stopped my internet connection to ensure my data wouldn’t be exposed.
Split Tunneling — Available on Windows and Android Apps
PureVPN’s split tunneling lets you pick which apps connect to the internet through the VPN, and which ones don’t. It’s great for multitasking — I used it while torrenting to protect my traffic with the encrypted connection while my email and work went through my regular WiFi connection. Split tunneling can also give you a speed boost, as no unnecessary data is encrypted by the VPN.
Unfortunately, PureVPN’s split tunneling is only available on its Windows and Android apps — I’d like to see it on macOS, iOS, and other devices like the split tunneling feature offered by ExpressVPN. Split tunneling is also not compatible with the WireGuard protocol.
Leak Protection — All Data Secured By the Encrypted Connection
Even when using military-grade encryption, there are ways for your data to leak. PureVPN uses data leak protection to secure your connection against IPv4, IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. I tested multiple servers in Europe, the UK, and the US to ensure my data wouldn’t be exposed — PureVPN kept my data secure at all times.
None of my real information (like my IP address in the UK) was visible, meaning PureVPN successfully prevented any data leaking.
Add-On Features — Useful Features Available for an Extra Cost
PureVPN also has several useful features that you can add to your subscription for a small monthly fee:
Zero-Logs Policy Proven by Independent Audit
PureVPN has significantly improved its data privacy in recent years. After cooperating with the FBI in 2016 and using logged data in a cyberstalking case, PureVPN has since become a no-logs VPN. In 2019, the company voluntarily underwent an independent audit to verify its no-logs status and ran a huge marketing campaign to detail its reformed policies.
During my research, I found PureVPN really is a no-logs VPN — it will never collect or store any personally identifying data from its users. While it does still collect some data (like general locations or the time a connection is made), this cannot be traced back to you in any way. Rather, this data is used to monitor and improve the service, and is standard for a VPN service — all top VPNs record some data to keep operations running smoothly.
I was pleased to find PureVPN has the option of anonymous payments as well. As well as credit and debit cards and PayPal, you have the choice of paying through CoinGate with BitCoin, LiteCoin, or Ethereum. This means you can subscribe to and set up PureVPN without using your personal details.
Despite its shady past, I feel confident that PureVPN maintains high levels of data privacy for its users — you won’t have to worry about your data being logged or stored in any way.
Jurisdiction — Based in the British Virgin Islands, a Privacy Haven
In late 2021, PureVPN moved from Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which is considered a privacy haven — it’s also where top-tier service ExpressVPN has its headquarters. The BVI is outside of the jurisdiction of any intelligence-sharing alliances and has strict data privacy laws. Companies based there aren’t required to log or store any user data, which is ideal for a privacy-focused service like PureVPN.
PureVPN’s relocation to the BVI was to reassure its users. Despite Hong Kong also being outside of Eyes Alliance jurisdictions, users were concerned that pressure from China could interfere with data privacy. Now that PureVPN is headquartered away from China, users can rest assured their data is safe.
A little under half of PureVPN’s servers support P2P connections, which is a good number of servers compared to other VPNs. However, there are noticeable gaps in P2P coverage. Some regions like Asia simply don’t have any nearby P2P servers available (the only P2P servers in Asia are Turkey, Russia, and Brunei).
The good news is that all of these servers still benefit from safety features that protect your identity and activity, like military-grade encryption and data leak protection. This helps you torrent safely by keeping your true location and torrenting anonymous. It also protects you from ISP throttling, which is when the ISP deliberately slows down your connection for using too much bandwidth.
PureVPN might work in China, providing you manually configure it. When I contacted customer support about connecting in China, the agent gave me a list of servers and suggested I follow one of the setup guides available on its help website.
You also have the option to use TCP Listener software to connect to PureVPN from China. This open-source and free software connects to PureVPN’s servers specifically for customers in China. Once you have the TCP Listener software, customer support can give you the addresses that you need to access PureVPN’s list of servers during a live-chat conversation.
Unfortunately, this is all pretty complicated for a regular user. If you’re looking for a VPN that works in China with no extra steps, it’s best to stick with a tried and tested VPN for China.
Getting started with PureVPN is incredibly easy and one of the most user-friendly processes I’ve experienced. It has impressive platform compatibility, so you can use PureVPN to secure all of your devices either directly or through your router. I also found the app interface was intuitive to use and suitable for both beginners and experienced VPN users.
PureVPN supports up to 10 simultaneous device connections, recently increasing its number of offered connections. This is a huge selling point, considering most VPNs only allow a handful of connections.
PureVPN is compatible with major operating systems like Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and smart TVs. I didn’t have any issues when I tried it on my Windows and Android devices — as a Windows user primarily, I found PureVPN as easy to use as any of the top VPNs in 2022.
You can even protect every device on your network by installing PureVPN on your router. I got a colleague to try it on a Mac and it worked well too. It can also be configured on Chromecast, Roku, and game consoles, plus PureVPN is a top VPN for your Smart TV.
In addition to native applications, PureVPN can be run using browser extensions for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. Though these extensions don’t offer as much coverage as the full application. The extension will protect your browser traffic, but it will not offer protection while using other applications.
Setting up PureVPN is easy and seamless. After you subscribe to the service, you get a step-by-step guide to setting up your account in a few clicks. Once I subscribed, PureVPN showed me different options to determine how I want to use the service. I could then choose from those options and get an optimized download. For example, when I clicked “Stream” PureVPN downloaded a browser extension to unblock streaming sites. For “Downloads,” PureVPN is pre-configured with the optimal tunneling protocol, server connections, and automatic kill switch.
I like that I can alter my configurations if my VPN needs to change, so I’m not stuck with a VPN optimized for one purpose.
After choosing my desired configuration, PureVPN prompted me to download the correct app for my operating system. As the program downloaded, PureVPN reminded me of the information I would need to log in to the desktop client. I found this extra step convenient, as I could copy and paste my credentials into the client once it had been fully installed.
Desktop Apps — Easy-to-Navigate, With Optimized Servers on Browser Extensions
On download, I found PureVPN’s app interfaces are clean and easy to use. I had no issues navigating to server lists, app settings, my account details, and more.
PureVPN recommends using its browser extensions to unblock streaming sites, so I tested those as well. They were even easier to use than the desktop client, with optimized server connections for specific popular websites like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube.
The browser extension only protects internet traffic going through that specific browser. If you’re trying to stream and torrent simultaneously, you should use the desktop client.
Mobile Apps — Intuitive Interfaces for Android and iOS
I was pleased to find PureVPN’s mobile apps have a similar intuitive interface as its desktop apps. I downloaded the Android app from the PureVPN website and it took just a couple of minutes to install and set up.
I liked that there were clear tabs for the different region-level and city-level servers in the network. It was also always clear when I was connected, as there would be an icon in my notifications bar even when I exited from the application.
PureVPN has 3 different support options: 24/7 Live Chat, Email/Ticket Support, and Helpdesk Knowledge Base. Of these, 24/7 live chat support is the most convenient way to reach customer support.
There are 2 ways to connect to live chat — through the PureVPN support site, which is mostly a bot-chat, or through the app itself in the Support menu. The bot-chat was limited and didn’t give me a chance to ask specific questions, making it a frustrating way to get help. However, live chat through the app was much easier, as this connected me directly to a support agent. They were able to quickly answer my questions and give specific recommendations based on my personal circumstances.
The online Helpdesk Knowledge Base has a comprehensive range of setup guides and FAQs, but navigation is occasionally confusing. For example, when I clicked on a “VPN Basics” article, I was taken to an overview of different VPN tunneling protocols — not the information I expected. However, using the Search function made it easier to find specific articles for troubleshooting, billing, and more.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend using email ticketing, as I didn’t receive a response from PureVPN during testing. I sent several ticket requests and had no messages back.
We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.
PureVPN is priced very reasonably, considering its top-tier encryption and fast global speeds. While it’s not the most comprehensive VPN service available, its low price makes it an attractive option for a long-term subscription. Although the monthly plan is more expensive than some of the other top monthly VPNs, PureVPN provides no shortage of discounts. When I signed up for a one-month subscription, PureVPN offered me an 86% discount for the full-year plan.
Payment Methods — Secure and Anonymous
Previously, you could only pay for PureVPN with a credit card, PayPal, or Google Play. So I was pleased to see that PureVPN has added a cryptocurrency option to their payment system. Using CoinGate, you can now sign up for PureVPN with BitCoin, LiteCoin, or Ethereum as well as credit cards, PayPal, and Google Play.
Money-Back Guarantee — Takes Several Days For Refund Approval
To fully test PureVPN, I signed up for a 1-month subscription and used the service for 26 days. I then reached out to PureVPN’s live chat to cancel my account and request a refund. After canceling my account, PureVPN customer service forwarded my refund request to the billing team for review. This seemed rather odd, as most VPNs provide a refund immediately. I had to wait 3 days to hear back from the billing team about my review request.
During the time it took to review my request, I received several emails from PureVPN’s customer service team trying to get me to keep the service. Some of these emails were very pushy, using hard-selling tactics that were off-putting.
I think it’s important that canceling a service be as easy as signing up for one, and PureVPN made this process painful.
PureVPN’s recent improvements have made it a top choice VPN service, especially for streaming. Its fast speeds on its global network mean you can stream your favorite shows and movies lag-free, plus torrent and game online without interruptions.
However, it does have some faults. PureVPN’s network of virtual servers is significantly slower, and you can’t always tell when you’ve connected to one. Plus, PureVPN has a somewhat shady history regarding data logging and sharing. After extensive testing and research, I’m satisfied that PureVPN no longer logs identifying data and all connections are anonymous.
With its low price, PureVPN is one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, and well worth trying for yourself. I recommend you test PureVPN to see if it’s right for you, and you can do so risk-free as it’s backed by a 31-day money-back guarantee. Just make sure you make your refund request a few days in advance, as I found it can take PureVPN several days to approve it.
Yes, PureVPN is a secure and private VPN service. It can unblock every major streaming service and has several advanced security features that can protect your information as you surf the web.
While PureVPN has hit-or-miss customer service, I was satisfied overall with its service. PureVPN has proven itself to be reliable and safe despite its prior issues, and its user-friendly interface makes securing connections simple. I suggest you test PureVPN for yourself to find out if it’s the right choice for you — if not, you can get a full refund thanks to its money-back guarantee.
You can’t test PureVPN for free, but you can get your money back after trying it for 31 days. PureVPN offers a money-back guarantee with every subscription, so you can test the service and get a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
It can take some time to get your money back from PureVPN. When I tested the money-back guarantee, I found customer support tried pushing me to keep my subscription. However, if you maintain that you don’t need the service anymore, you’ll eventually get a refund. When I tested this process, I got my money back in 5 days.
If you’re not satisfied with PureVPN and want to test free VPN options, you can try some of these recommended VPNs.
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