- 300,000 + IPs & 2000 + Servers
- Dedicated Streaming Servers Available
- Split Tunneling/DNS Leak Protection
- P2P/Torrenting, Port Forwarding, Static IPs
- L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN & IKEv2 protocols
- DDoS Protection and Internet Kill Switch
Celebrating its twelfth anniversary this year, PureVPN is definitely one of the biggest VPN services in the market at the moment, both in terms of its user base and its features, but is it really a Best VPN service? To find it out, read this comprehensive review on PureVPN by BestVPN.co!
PureVPN is owned by GZ Systems and has its base in Hong Kong, so lets start this review by talking about its hub. This former British colony, is now an autonomous territory of China, but does that make it a place where VPNs shouldn’t be setting up their base?
Not quite, and that’s because, despite China’s notorious reputation regarding its draconian internet privacy laws, Hong Kong is surprisingly, more at par with major European countries than China, as far as internet freedom and data privacy laws are concerned.
Hong Kong is relatively one of the more secure places in the world where a VPN can operate safely, so PureVPN scores some major points here for keeping a major cornerstone of its basics right.
Moving on, PureVPN now offers one of the largest server infrastructures in the world with 2000+ servers in over 140 countries worldwide. This sounds majorly impressive, but I had one major problem with it.
The provider focuses majorly on regions like Europe and North America as far as offering servers are concerned. Here is a breakdown of the server count region wise:
Approximately 69% of the servers offered by PureVPN are located in North America and Europe while Asia gets just a paltry 15% of its servers, making it a majorly undeserved region.
PureVPN is doing nothing different than what is considered conventional in the VPN industry, where a majority of providers offer a big chunk of their servers in North American and Europe while ignoring the rest of the world completely.
This practice has its roots in the facts that firstly, internet penetration is high in these regions and secondly, the knowledge and need to protect oneself online is also high. This results in high sales from these regions for VPN providers, but I believe that its not right to be so skewed when it comes down to your overall server location spread.
PureVPN definitely needs to add more servers in the Asian and African regions in order to reassure users across the world that irrespective of the region they live in, they will get great speeds, low lag times, low ping rates and better connectivity.
PureVPN impressed me greatly with its list of dedicated VPN client apps. The VPN client quartet of Android, iOS, Windows and Mac apps is too conventional to be regarded as factor for some major points here. I look for something extra, that adds value for all kinds of users and in this aspect, PureVPN didn’t disappoint me at all.
Here are the list of VPN clients offered by PureVPN:
The Firestick app’s presence in the list of PureVPN’s client apps came as a pleasant surprise to me and that’s because not many VPNs are catering this niche due to the level of complexity involved in developing an app for Firestick.
But due to the rise in popularity of streaming devices like Firestick and the frustrating process of sideloading apps on these niche devices, providers who offer dedicated apps are the ones consumers are most likely to opt for. This makes PureVPN, one of the finest contenders in the Firestick category, just by virtue of its dedicated Firestick app alone!
I hope to see other VPNs follow suit and take notice of PureVPN’s dedicated app for Firestick to go on and develop similar apps of their own. As for, PureVPN, the dedicated Firestick app is great, but it can’t stop here and PureVPN should move towards developing dedicated apps for other devices like Roku, PS4 among others to become a truly “Compatible VPN Service”.
The Kodi repo by PureVPN is also a great addition to the provider’s compatibility repertoire and it allows users to deploy the VPN on this great software incredibly easily.
Kodi might have seen a downward trend in recent times, mainly because of Google’s steps against the platform due to the privacy concerns Kodi raises, but Kodi is still a long way from becoming obsolete, making the PureVPN repo highly valuable for now. Check our blog VPN for kodi to know more.
Split Tunneling is a feature that works exactly like what its name implies. It “Splits” your traffic, and allows you to be in charge of what goes through your VPN tunnel and what doesn’t.
This feature works well, and came in especially handy when the connection was a bit slow by PureVPN, allowing me to keep my major apps and services safe from intrusion.
Every user will agree that we don’t usually need all of our apps and services to be routed through a VPN enable connection, and some take priority over others for e.g. If I am Torrenting and the speeds are slow, I will definitely prefer the VPN to offer cover for this activity than to protect my Snapchat conversations.
The Split Tunneling Feature by PureVPN is one of its starred features and one of my most preferable features in a VPN from now onwards, once I have used it.
PureVPN also offers a kill switch which has definitely had some complaints and I must say that they are not unfounded. This feature did not work properly till 6 months ago and many users were aghast about it, and that’s because the importance of a properly functioning kill switch is undeniable in the event of a connection drop.
But, PureVPN has undergone a major revamp and its kill switch now works well to serve the function it was meant to perform.
The provider also offers a NAT Firewall which is a great additional security apparatus that can block malicious hackers from entering your system.
Well you know about the background know and some of it major features even, but now, lets get down to a deep analysis of what’s good in the service and what’s not. Lets start with the Pros.
Bypassing the geo-restrictions on sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer is no mean feat for a VPN and that’s because bypassing geo-restrictions isn’t as easy as connecting to the server in the country where the service is located and unblocking it. Its 2018 and the streaming sites have become more stringent than ever in protecting their geo-restrictions on copyrighted content.
The biggest roadblock in the ways towards unblocking these major streaming sites is a thing called a VPN Ban. This “Ban” is not a software or a feature, but rather a complex series of mechanisms through which Netflix or BBC iPlayer or even other similar services like them, impose a blackout on VPNs.
For bypassing the VPN ban, a VPN needs to be fast enough to shift servers on a continuous basis and that’s because the ban works by recognizing VPN servers through too much traffic coming from a series of IP addresses and then restricting them from accessing the service.
Shifting servers requires a VPN to be on top of its game always as doing this means you have to be agile as well have dedicated resources to execute the task to perfection.
PureVPN is one of those rare services these days that can offer you a stellar unblocking experience. Not just it unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer but it can work through almost all popular geo-restricted services and sites easily.
According to my PureVPN review, the service is powerful and reliable enough to be trusted for supporting your streaming needs and is definitely among the select providers who can unblock these geo-restricted sites with ease.
VPNs are conventionally offered on a subscription model which means that you usually need to pay a certain amount to subscribe to their service for a certain number of months.
And generally, it’s the user’s psyche to get inclined towards a service that is priced low and offers the right mix of features.
PureVPN has always been one of the most budget friendly VPN services out there with its rock bottom prices.
Its current pricing plans are as follows:
The monthly plan is nothing to write home about and I suspect that this plan is just there to make the other plans look ridiculously expensive. If you want to subscribe to PureVPN ever, never opt for their monthly plan because its just not rightly priced.
The 5-year plan comes in at $79.00 billed once, which makes it cost a user around $1.32 for each month of the subscription plan. According to PureVPN, you save 70% with this plan, but that’s when you compare it to the price of the monthly plan, so this discount figure is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
But currently, PureVPN is uncharacteristically promoting its 5-Year plan that costs just $79 billed once, to subscribe to. The monthly cost of this plan stands at just $1.32, making it appear even more appealing than their 1-year deal.
One year plans aren’t supposed to be the “Starred” plans when you already have a plan with a longer duration, so it was a bit of a surprise as well as a shock when I saw this one year plan being promoted over the 5 year deal. Maybe, this reflects changing customer habits as they might be opting for plans with medium subscription durations instead of going for longer ones.
The pricing is one of the most important pros of PureVPN and it is this strategy of keeping the prices exceedingly affordable that has allowed the provider to stay afloat even in testing times.
Many users who are not familiar with the technical jargon of the VPN industry often get confused about the purpose of the protocols offered by VPNs. Users do often have a basic understanding of things like encryption, servers etc. but not many know what these “Secure protocols” actually do.
Well, these protocols actually secure a user against all sort of “Man in the middle” attacks. These attacks occur when someone intrudes your connection, sits in between (hence man in the middle), and gains the ability to intercept all of your data.
These sort of attacks are most common at public places like Coffee shops, public Wi-Fi, Airports, Offices etc. and that’s because these attackers know that users are often too casual with their protection when at such places.
PureVPN offers OpenVPN to secure you against very such attacks, because its most robust and secure among all protocols being offered these days. But, PureVPN also support other protocols like L2TP, PPTP etc. which the user can opt for if the device they are using doesn’t support OpenVPN or they need a faster connection.
Now coming to another important component of a VPN’s security apparatus, PureVPN also offers AES-256 military grade encryption, which is such a powerful level of encryption that even brute force computing cannot allow any hacker to get through it.
This encryption is called ‘Military Grade” for this exact reason, as its ciphers allow it to be used by sensitive government and military agencies and installations around the world.
So with PureVPN, you are getting security that is as secure as used by a powerful military agency for its sensitive documents, making this VPN top-notch in terms of providing ultra-grade user data privacy and anonymity online.
In recent times, Torrenting has faced a backlash of epic proportions from major government agencies and copyright trolls around the world, closing down popular sites like Torrenthound, Torrentz, KickAss Torrents etc. with many others on the verge of meeting a similar fate.
This is because, these agencies and copyright trolls accuse Torrenting fans and sites to be indulging in copyright violations of content.
However, this hasn’t stopped Torrenting fans to completely shun the activity altogether b
ut rather the activity is still ongoing as it was a few years ago, with the only difference being that the risk accompanying the activity has grown tremendously.
This leaves just VPNs as the sole saviors for users as they make this activity incredibly safer than it would be without it.
But these days many VPNs have cowed away from offering support for Torrenting. PureVPN thus remains one of the last remaining VPN services that can offer users with an incredibly free Torrenting experience.
PureVPN isn’t just offering lip service by saying it supports Torrenting, but it is actually incredibly good in doing what it is saying it does. Its dedicated Torrenting servers allowed me to download movie torrents, software torrents, game torrents from across the web.
The speeds were normal, not excellent, I must say, but I never encountered any sort of other hiccups like getting a DMCA notice in my inbox. Its been a year since I have been checking PureVPN’s performance for Torrenting so I can assure you that PureVPN remains a top provider for Torrenting.
VPNs are supposed to go around firewalls and geo-restrictions and while PureVPN can unblock major sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, it seems like it isn’t putting in the same efforts towards making its service accessible in China.
PureVPN can definitely bypass the Chinese Firewall, but that can only happen if one can access its service in China. PureVPN’s website remains blocked in China and the provider hasn’t put up any redirection codes for users to go around the restrictions and unblock its site.
On the other hand, ExpressVPN and NordVPN certainly do offer such redirection codes as I covered in detail about them in my guide on China VPN on Android.
If you still don’t understand how this works, then let me explain it to you in a more simpler manner. Lets assume you live in Beijing and you want to buy a VPN in order to avail a much more freer internet. Among your options is PureVPN, so you decide to check out its website to see what the service actually has to offer. But now, when you type in PureVPN.com in to your browser, the Chinese Firewall doesn’t let you through.
The only way remaining for you to go to PureVPN’s website now is to buy another VPN like NordVPN and then use it to connect to a server outside China so you can unblock PureVPN’s website, which is impractical and illogical at the same time. So no PureVPN for the Chinese for now!
Marketing is acceptable and all brands and firms are allowed to indulge in practices that help them in promoting their service. However, this should never come at the cost of transparency.
PureVPN is a good enough VPN but its credibility is majorly affected through its own bad policies that it can do away with quite easily. I can never understand why PureVPN hasn’t corrected this thing yet as its gnawing away at its chances of being much more appealing.
PureVPN says that “it keeps zero logs” and that its offers a “31 Day Refund Policy”.
But if you go in and dig deeper into the provider’s site, which most users don’t, you would find that these statements are a bit “over-sweeping”.
Lets take a look at its zero logs policy first, which the provider itself advertises so blatantly everywhere on the site. Yes, the provider doesn’t keep any sort of logs that have “Personally identifiable information” like browsing activities, which makes it as safe as any other VPN can be.
But, it does keep logs of non-personally identifiable information like the day and the VPN server location you connected to, and the amount of bandwidth you consumed per session. These logs are harmless and don’t compromise a user’s privacy, in fact they can certainly allow the provider to improve performance.
This is a transparency issue which the provider needs to address. If you keep logs, even if they are harmless, you need to tell that up front, no questions asked.
Now to the other very similar problem and i.e. of the 31 refund policy. If you visit PureVPN’s website, you will notice that they have advertised it their 31 day refund policy everywhere.
PureVPN needs to change its approach to the way it markets such offers by becoming more transparent. Even an asterisk on top of such announcements on its site telling a user that it needs to read more to become aware of the terms and conditions of the offer will add more credibility for the service.
VPNs are complicated services so users need the customer support to be top notch in order to facilitate them with all kinds of queries and questions.
PureVPN, underperforms as far as its customer support is concerned and that’s because its live chat feature and the agents behind it feel too mechanistic.
For e.g. I asked them whether the refund policy becomes void after you’ve consumed a certain amount of GBs in your bandwidth, and the reply I got was a link to its refund policy page.
As is evident from the question I asked here, the reply needed a much more detailed and personalized answer than the one I got from them. This was disappointing for me and it is one of the most problematic points of an otherwise good enough service.
Their site does have very detailed setup guides for all kinds of devices, troubleshooting repositories and all but when the chat support feature is there, it needs to perform well, period!
In my review, I can safely conclude that PureVPN is definitely one of the most appropriate candidates that you can opt for if you are looking for a VPN service that can support your streaming needs.
It offers all the right features for the task like unblocking capabilities, cheap pricing plans, high server count, and expansive server location spread etc.
So if you want to know as to what PureVPN is best for, then you answer is streaming.
As I covered about this earlier as well, PureVPN is a big NO for Chinese citizens and that’s because it lacks the right features for the job just in the same way it offers the right ones for streaming.
PureVPN is, despite all of these chinks in the armor, one of the Top VPN services in the market at the moment. It’s a regular feature in all Best VPN categories especially those that concern activities like Streaming and Torrenting.
Its pricing is its biggest plus while its negligible attitude towards improving its sore points is its biggest negative.
PureVPN offers incredible support for all kinds of devices and is probably one of the top two providers in the business as far as offering compatibility is concerned.
It unblocks virtually everything from Netflix US to Hulu and from BBC iPlayer to Amazon Prime from anywhere.
My recommendations to this VPN is that it needs to focus massively on correcting its wrongs which doesn’t seem like a big task. What’s the big deal in including asterisks and training your support staff better? Nothing right? So, I really think that this can be done quite easily, and if PureVPN does do it, then it will become even more preferable than it already is.
For users looking to buy the service, my advice would be that your money spent on buying its subscription will definitely be worth its value, however, its best that you only opt for this provider if its just streaming or Torrenting that you are looking to acquire VPN support for.
If you don’t agree with any of the points presented in the review or if you’ve had a different experience with the provider, I would love to hear you out. Do present your side of the story in the comments thread below so that we can engage in a meaningful conversation here!