PureVPN Review 2021: Before You Buy, Is It Worth It?

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PureVPN Overview September 2021

PureVPN has been working to repair its image since being criticized for cooperating with the FBI by releasing customer data several years ago. I wanted to see if these recent intensive marketing campaigns were backed up with real changes. So, I ran extensive tests to see if PureVPN has improved its privacy offering, previously faulty apps, and average performance.

My results showed that while it has made progress in its server networks, streaming abilities, and opted for an independent audit, its privacy policy is still questionable. PureVPN still keeps certain user logs like data usage, which can be troubling especially given the company’s past practices.

The good news is that you don’t have to commit to a long-term contract if you want to try PureVPN for yourself. You can test all of PureVPN’s features risk-free for 31 days with its money-back guarantee. If you find that it’s not the VPN for you or you’re uncomfortable with its privacy policy, you can easily get a refund.

Try PureVPN risk-free today!

September 2021 Coupon Code! For a limited time only, PureVPN is offering a staggering extra 10% off its current top offer, meaning you can get PureVPN for as little as $2.59 per month (when you purchase a 2-year plan upfront.) Make sure to enter the coupon code nologvpn at checkout to take advantage of this great deal. You can find the 'Have Coupon Code' box right above where you add your email address to sign up!

You can find all the details here - but don't forget to add the coupon code nologvpn during checkout!

Don’t Have Time? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary

Try PureVPN risk-free today!

PureVPN Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer (but Can’t Access HBO Max consistently)

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.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+: Unblocked

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.

Screenshot of PureVPN unblocking Netflix

I was able to watch New Girl on Netflix with PureVPN’s Phoenix Server

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.

Screenshot of PureVPN unblocking Hulu

I was surprised that PureVPN had no trouble accessing Hulu.

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.

Screenshot of PureVPN unblocking Amazon Prime Video

I connected to Amazon Prime Video quickly while using PureVPN

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.

Screenshot of PureVPN unblocking Disney+

I had no trouble watching Captain Marvel on Disney+ when using PureVPN

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.

HBO Max: Blocked, Sometimes

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.

Screenshot of PureVPN unblocking HBO Max

I was disappointed that my streaming experience was inconsistent when using PureVPN to unblock HBO MAX

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.

Try PureVPN risk-free today! 

Speed7.0

Does PureVPN Offer High-Speeds? Yes, but the Connection was Often Unreliable

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.

When running my speed tests, I had the most trouble picking a server with a stable connection. Some servers seemed promising when I connected, but the tests didn’t load or timed out. This made finding a server frustrating and caused me to lose confidence in the network.

Speed Test Results

Before testing the VPN, I ran a speed test on my home network and got 73Mbps. After connecting to PureVPN and testing various servers worldwide, I found an average loss of 10-15% speed.

Screenshot of speeds tests while using PureVPN
I was impressed that I didn’t suffer a considerable loss of speed when connected to PureVPN
I was surprised that my speeds were only down 32% when I connected to a server in Australia. Usually, connecting to far-away servers causes a dramatic loss of speed but even this was fast enough for torrenting, gaming, and streaming without lags in performance.

Is PureVPN Fast Enough for Gaming? Sometimes

When I did manage to find a server that worked, PureVPN usually had adequate speeds necessary for gaming without lag. Most of the experience was seamless, but I encountered a few issues when changing servers. I had average connection speeds of 50Mbps but often lost connection to servers. And the connection speed isn’t consistent throughout. While I could game on most servers, some servers were far too slow (particularly the virtual servers) or had too high of a ping to offer a quality experience, especially in competitive multiplayer games.

If you love gaming, try ExpressVPN with its reliably fast speeds and short 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.

Try PureVPN risk-free today!

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

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.

Servers8.0

Server Network — A Large Network of Dedicated and Virtual Servers

PureVPN boasts great server numbers with 6,500+ servers and 300,000 IP addresses across 140 countries. The company owns all of its servers, which are self-managed to provide the best experience for its customers. There will often be 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, Czechia, Canada, Germany, UK, France, South Africa, and the US. These city-level servers allow you to connect to a more defined area than just an overall region. If you’re located in one of the above regions, connecting to a city-level server close by can offer better and more consistent speeds compared to region-level servers that may not be located near you.

However, 80 locations are actually virtual servers located in other countries. 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. It was hard to avoid these servers because there is 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”. If you don’t need a connection from a country with a virtual server, I recommend avoiding them altogether.

I found it easier to avoid virtual servers when using the mobile app as these are indicated by a small icon on the server list.

a screenshot of PureVPN's server list
I was annoyed that I had to go to PureVPN’s website to see which servers were virtual ones

I didn’t see any mention of specialized servers for streaming or gaming on PureVPN’s website, so I reached out to customer support to see if these were available. I was disappointed to learn that this isn’t a feature. However, PureVPN does allow you to choose a specialized profile geared towards streaming when you first make an account. This does increase speeds somewhat, but it comes at the cost of a weaker encryption protocol compared to the other profile options. 

Specialized servers that don’t skimp on encryption are a common feature provided by top VPN providers. I recommend you try Cyberghost for a VPN with servers optimized for streaming and gaming.

Security — Water-Tight, Military-Grade Encryption

PureVPN has an arsenal of tools and military-grade security features to keep your data safe when surfing the web. The strongest is its AES 256-bit encryption that PureVPN applies to its server connections. I always recommend looking for this industry-standard encryption level when considering a VPN.

I also look for an automatic kill switch. All of PureVPN’s apps have one available. If you’re using PureVPN and lose connection to its server, the kill switch will shut down your internet completely. That way, you don’t have to worry about your private data being exposed.

Another feature I like is PureVPN’s split tunneling. This feature lets you pick which apps connect to the internet through the VPN, and which ones don’t. It’s great for multitasking while torrenting because you can designate that your torrenting traffic goes through the VPN while your social media or email goes through your regular WiFi connection.

PureVPN allows you to choose between a few different protocols for encryption: IKEv2, TCP, and UDP. Essentially, these different algorithms all aim to secure your data. IKEv2 is considered the strongest, and PureVPN will connect to that one by default. It also makes sure you’re connected to the next best option should something go wrong with it’s automatic fallback connection.

Your connection will also be secured by DNS, IPV6, and WebRTC leak protection. What this means is that there are strong stop gaps that prevent your actual location from being discovered.

Privacy — Promises to Protect User Data, but Their History Proves Different

PureVPN claims to have a strict no-logs policy that has been audited by a third-party. In 2016, however, PureVPN cooperated with the FBI and provided logs of customer information in a cyberstalking case. PureVPN used its records to prove that the defendant accessed his email and connected to rover.com while connected to the VPN. This partnership may be troubling if you’re seeking privacy because PureVPN’s headquarters are in Hong Kong, outside the Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes Alliance’s jurisdiction. This means that PureVPN isn’t required to share customer data with law enforcement agencies in the alliance.

Since then, the company has been trying to repair its image. In 2019, PureVPN worked with Altius IT to produce a third-party audit to prove that its no-log policy is truly no-log. After the audit, PureVPN ran an entire marketing campaign praising its reformed policy.

I wanted to verify PureVPN’s claims, and I found an inconsistency in how it describes what information it stores for payment. PureVPN states that it accepts gift cards and cryptocurrency to keep customer data private. However, these options weren’t available at checkout when I purchased a one-month subscription.

a screenshot of PureVPN's accepted payment methods

I was suspicious that PureVPN said it accepted cryptocurrency, but I couldn’t pay that way

I reached out to customer service to ask about these payment methods. The representative I talked to didn’t explain the inaccuracy and dodged my questions.

a screenshot of a support chat with a PureVPN representative

PureVPN customer service offered no solutions about being able to pay with cryptocurrency

I found that PureVPN maintains so-called “connection logs” to ensure good service across its platform. These logs record a customer’s connections and how much bandwidth they use. I would typically consider this standard information storage by a VPN, but it feels a bit suspicious given its history. I reached out to customer service for details, and they assured me that they couldn’t use these logs to identify a user or record what sites someone connects to.

a screenshot of PureVPN's log policy

I was suspicious of PureVPN’s connection logs given its history of sharing customer information

If you don’t feel comfortable trusting your data to a company based in China and known to cooperate with US authorities, I’d recommend that you use ExpressVPN. For those who prioritize privacy, ExpressVPN has an iron-clad no-logs policy and a proven record on privacy. If you’re interested in trying it out yourself, you can test ExpressVPN and all its features risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee — if you don’t like it, you can easily get a full refund.

Try PureVPN risk-free today!

Torrenting — Dedicated P2P Servers Overshadowed by Dubious Logging Practices

While PureVPN has support for torrenting with 50+ P2P servers, its questionable logs policy makes it hard to recommend for torrentors wanting peace of mind. A little under half of the servers in the list support P2P connections. While this is a good number of servers compared to some competitors, it still falls short with noticeable gaps in P2P coverage. Some regions like South Africa simply don’t have any nearby P2P servers available.

The good news is that all of these servers still benefit from safety features that protect your identity, like IP protection. This helps you torrent safely by protecting you from malware, and hackers. It also protects you from ISP throttling, which is when the ISP deliberately slows down your connection for using too much bandwidth. Please note that while torrenting isn’t illegal, downloading copyrighted titles is in many countries. Whatever the case, please make sure you’re only torrenting titles that are within the public domain.

Does PureVPN Work in China? Yes

PureVPN does work in China but you will need to download TCP Listener software. I couldn’t personally test it since I don’t live in China but Customer support explained that you don’t need PureVPN’s desktop client to connect to its servers while in China. You just need simple TCP Listener software, which is open-source and free. It 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.

A screenshot of PureVPN's support chat detailing how to use its service in China
I was a little overwhelmed with the information customer support gave me about connecting in China

The agent gave me plenty of resources to set up these features, however, I wasn’t able to test them since I’m not visiting China. If you are traveling to China for a holiday or work, you should download all of this software beforehand since government firewalls might block them once you arrive. For a one-stop VPN solution that gets around censorship, try ExpressVPN as it consistently works in China.

Try PureVPN risk-free today!

Server Locations

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belgium
See all supported locations...

User Experience8.0

Getting started with PureVPN is incredibly easy and has one of the most user-friendly processes I’ve experienced. After purchasing a one-month plan, PureVPN directed me to a questionnaire to determine how I wanted to use the service. It provided different options that would offer specialized downloads. For example, when I clicked “Stream” PureVPN helped me download a browser extension to unblock streaming sites.

Simultaneous Device Connections — Connects up to 10 Devices

PureVPN allows you to have 10 simultaneous device connections. This allows you to connect most of your devices for your different needs. PureVPN recently increased its number of offered connections which is a huge selling point considering most VPNs only allow a handful of connections. However, if you need to connect more than 10 devices at the same time — for a watch party or work for example — IPVanish allows you to seamlessly connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.

Device Compatibility — Works With Major Devices and Operating Systems

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. If you’re a Windows user, PureVPN is comparable to the top VPNs for Windows devices. 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.

a screenshot of the platforms that PureVPN supports
I was impressed to see how many different devices PureVPN supports with native apps
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.

Ease of Setup & Installation — One-click Installation and Easy Navigation

Setting up PureVPN is easy and seamless. After you subscribe for the service, you get a step-by-step guide into setting up your account in a few clicks.

a screenshot of the different profile modes that PureVPN offers

I was impressed by PureVPN’s personalized approach to discovering my intended VPN use
Then, PureVPN confirmed my operating system so I could download the right version of the software.

a screenshot of the operating systems that PureVPN supports

PureVPN automatically detected 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 fully installed.

Once I downloaded the Windows app, I found that the interface was clean and easy to use. I liked that you could add servers to a favorites list for easy access.

a screenshot of PureVPN's desktop client interface

PureVPN has a neat user interface for connecting to its servers

PureVPN recommended using its browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox to unblock streaming sites, so I tested those as well. They were even easier to use than the desktop client. However, the browser extension only protects internet traffic going through that specific browser. If you’re trying to stream on Firefox and torrent simultaneously, you should use the desktop client.

screenshot of PureVPN's browser extension interface
I liked how easy it was to use PureVPN’s browser extension

During my testing, I downloaded the Android version of the PureVPN app from the official website. It installed and I connected to the app within minutes. The interface was very similar to the desktop version.

a screenshot of PureVPN's Android client interface

I found PureVPN’s Android app easy to use

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.

Support4.0

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. However, testing the live chat gave me mixed results. I got a quick reply and helpful feedback when I asked about how to connect to its servers while in China. When asking about payment options, however, I got unpleasant answers and unhelpful responses. The agent didn’t offer much advice outside of providing help desk articles.

Screenshot of a chat conversation with PureVPN customer support

I found my interactions with PureVPN customer support were relatively unhelpful and usually frustrating
I felt like customer support forced me to get answers out of them, which should never be the case. Several times when I connected with customer service, I had a similar interaction, which made working with them very frustrating.

How We Test Customer Support and Why Should You Care

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.

Pricing7.0

PureVPN is priced reasonably well compared to many top VPN services out there. However, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. PureVPN’s advantages are unblocking popular streaming services, a massive server network, and plenty of native apps. It suffers on consistent servers, the privacy policy, and customer service.

The only ways to purchase a PureVPN subscription is by credit card, PayPal, or Google Play. To pay anonymously, you could create a Google email for your PureVPN subscription. You could then load that account with Google Play gift cards and use the resulting credit to pay for a year’s membership in full.

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. PureVPN has a 31-day money-back guarantee that you can use to try out the software.

To have enough time to try all the features PureVPN has to offer, I signed up for a one-month membership and tested the 31-day money-back guarantee. After 26 days, I 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.

a screenshot of PureVPN's live chat processing a refund request

I was surprised that I didn’t get a refund automatically from PureVPN

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.

A screenshot of an email from PureVPN's support team confirming a refund request

It took 3 days to hear that PureVPN had approved my refund request

I think it’s important that canceling a service be as easy as signing up for one. PureVPN made this process painful. ExpressVPN offers a painless money-back guarantee. You can try it out for 30 days and if you are not satisfied you can request a refund. The process is straightforward and even has a no-questions-asked policy that it stands by it firmly.

September 2021 Coupon Code! For a limited time only, PureVPN is offering a staggering extra 10% off its current top offer, meaning you can get PureVPN for as little as $2.59 per month (when you purchase a 2-year plan upfront.) Make sure to enter the coupon code nologvpn at checkout to take advantage of this great deal. You can find the 'Have Coupon Code' box right above where you add your email address to sign up!

You can find all the details here - but don't forget to add the coupon code nologvpn during checkout!

PureVPN offers the following plans

Final Verdict

While it has great features like a working kill switch and supports torrenting, PureVPN is simply too inconsistent and not trustworthy enough to use as my daily VPN. With recurring problems with virtual servers and a shady privacy history, I found myself looking for alternatives. While I liked that it easily unblocked every major streaming service I tested and got decent speeds, I can’t look past its other faults.

PureVPN’s price makes it one of the most affordable VPNs on the market. However, PIA has more high-quality features at an even lower monthly cost. Not only does it unblock all of the most popular streaming sites with no lag or buffering time, it also has a robust no-logs policy that you can trust.

Try PureVPN risk-free today!

FAQs About PureVPN

Is PureVPN good?

Yes, PureVPN is decent for a lesser-known VPN, but it’s not perfect. It has the ability to unblock every major streaming service, and it also has several advanced security features that can protect your information as you surf the web.

PureVPN’s imperfections show with inconsistent server performance, sketchy logging history, and difficult customer service. I also had to go to its website to make sure I wasn’t connecting to a virtual server everytime I connected which was disruptive. Each time I reached out through live chat, I felt like I would be better off digging for the information myself. ExpressVPN has a trustworthy no-logs policy, consistently high speeds, and an easy interface, making it a better VPN for the money.

Can I use PureVPN for free?

You can’t test PureVPN for free, but you can get your money back after trying it for 31 days. If you try it out for 31-days and find it isn’t for you, you can take advantage of PureVPN’s money-back guarantee and get a refund.

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.

Is PureVPN really safe?

PureVPN is safe, but its reputation is dodgy enough to second guess its security features. With military-grade AES-256-bit encryption and an automatic kill switch, PureVPN has several top-of-the-line security features. However, it also has a history of sharing customer information, which should make anyone feel uneasy.

I prioritize my anonymity on the web, which is why I think high-quality VPNs are worth it. ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy has been audited by reputable third-parties, so you can trust that your information is safe. It also has more security features than PureVPN, which helps ensure you’re protected when surfing the web.

Try PureVPN risk-free today!

Important to know

2006
Yes
5
7 days guaranteed
windows mac android ios router

Contact Details

[email protected]
www.PureVPN.com

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