ExpressVPN vs. PureVPN

Last updated: October 26, 2019
Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Trying to determine the better choice between ExpressVPN and PureVPN? Read this in-depth comparison guide to gain an unbiased picture about both providers!

Nowadays, selecting a VPN service is a difficult task for many, due to the myriad of options available. Almost all services claim to be the most secure, fastest, or best.

However, you can only determine the better choice by pitting both against one another. In this post, it’s ExpressVPN vs. PureVPN; take a look below for their comparison analysis.

Highlights
ExpressVPNPureVPN
  1. 3,000+ Servers in 94 Countries
  2. AES-256-CBC and AES-256-GCM
  3. 3 Simultaneous Connections
  4. Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS & Android
  5. Verified No Logs Policy (Audited)
  1. 2000+ servers in 140 countries
  2. Dedicated IPs available
  3. 5 Simultaneous Connections
  4. Apps for All Platforms/Devices
  5. Verified No Logs Policy (Audited)

Pricing and Discounts

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Subscription Period1 Month1 Month
6 Months1 Year
1 Year2 Years
Special offer3-Months Free85% Discount
Highest price per month$12.95$10.95
Lowest price per month$8.32$1.65
One-Year Price$99.5$69.72
Money Back Guarantee30-Days31-Days

When you compare the two services, ExpressVPN tends to be the more expensive option. It offers three different subscription durations: monthly, six months, and 1-year.

If you go for the monthly plan, you will have to pay a high $12.95. Conversely, if you go for a longer subscription, you can pay lesser and gain better value.

For instance, the six-months plan will cost you $9.99/mo. (billed as $59.95 every 6-months), and the yearly $8.32/mo. (billed as $99.95 every 12-months).

PureVPN is way cheaper with their monthly plan coming close to the yearly costs of Express. You only pay $10.95 for a monthly subscription.

However, if you go opt for a longer duration, you get better discounts. I advise going for the 5-year plan to get the best value. It starts at $1.65/mo. (billed once as $99)!

With regards to money back guarantees, both ExpressVPN and PureVPN offer a 30-day refund, with just a single-day difference between the two, as you can see above.

Get This Best Deal for ExpressVPN: Cut the costs by 35%

Get This Best Deal for PureVPN: Save 85% on their 5-year special

Features

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Simultaneous Connections35
Operating System AppsWindows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV/Firestick, some routersWindows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and Fire TV
Manual Install DevicesSome Routers, Set Top BoxesLinux, Routers, Set Top Boxes
Split TunnelingYes (Desktop Apps Only)Yes (All Apps)
Free ExtrasMedia Streamer Smart DNS, browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and SafariOfficial Kodi addon, ad-blocker, malware-scanner, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox

Both ExpressVPN and PureVPN offer great multi-platform support to users. You have apps available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and even Fire TVs.

You even have browser extensions available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. PureVPN gains an edge over ExpressVPN though, as it even offers a native app for Kodi.

However, the router support available from ExpressVPN is unmatched, as compared to PureVPN. As a result, you may receive better functionality with Express.

Split Tunneling is available with the desktop apps for ExpressVPN and all apps of PureVPN. You can even establish 5 simultaneous connections with PureVPN and 3 with ExpressVPN.

Unblocking Capabilities

ExpressVPNPureVPN
NetflixYesYes
HuluYesYes
Sky GoYesYes
Amazon PrimeYesYes
BBC iPlayerYesYes
ABSYesYes
CBSYesYes
NBCYesYes
ITVYesYes
Channel 4YesYes

ExpressVPN and PureVPN are both able to unblock all popular VoDs in the marketplace. Previously, PureVPN did deliver inconsitent performance.

However, now they are the only provider in the marketplace that can unblock streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer directly through browser extensions.

ExpressVPN does unblock these platforms too, but some servers may fail at bypassing geographical restrictions, which requires you to test multiple servers.

China

Since PureVPN has its headquarters in Hong Kong, it works better for both: Chinese expats and those residing in the country. However, it does not offer a dedicated Chinese page.

ExpressVPN, on the other hand, does offer a Chinese page that allows residents in the country for accessing their apps and subscribe to a suitable payment plan.

Sadly, they do not offer servers in China. Whereas, PureVPN does offer 12 servers in the country, with 6 located in Shanghai and 6 in Beijing.

In simple worlds, ExpressVPN is the better choice for those residing in the country, and PureVPN is for those living outside China but want to access local content!

Setup and Interface

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Automatic Setup WizardWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV
Main Location SelectionList-basedList-based
Extra Settings PagesYesYes
Mobile FriendlyYesYes

After spending years reviewing/testing different providers in the VPN industry, I am a witness to how each service has improved their user-interface and overall appearance.

Where PureVPN keeps on experimenting with their designs, ExpressVPN tends to stick to their traditional outlook, maintaining a consistent UI across all its desktop and mobile apps.

The main screen is free of clutter and has a clear and visible connect button in the center for easy connectivity, with country-selection and smart-locations placed at the bottom.

ExpressVPN Interface

This stays consistent on their mobile devices too, but configurations options are lesser than their desktop version. Kill switch and protocol selection are also missing.

PureVPN, on the other hand, uses a different design for their desktop, mobile, and browser extensions. The interface is way larger than ExpressVPN’s and offers plenty of options.

It can get a little confusing for rookies, but overall I do like the idea of selecting different modes. For instance, you have modes for streaming, file sharing, browsing, etc.

The mobile app is more clutter-free, but does not compromise on features. There is a large connect button in the center and a sliding panel for location-selection.

The browser extensions are the most interesting. They adopt the same style as mobile apps in a more compact form, but can unblock platforms like Netflix directly through the browser!

PureVPN Interface

Servers and Performance

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Server Countries94140
Total Number of Servers3,0002,000

ExpressVPN has a huge list of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries and 160 locations around the world. This is already more than many of its competitors in the marketplace.

Performance on each server is also quite amazing and ExpressVPN manages to deliver an average of 85.29 Mbps in downloads and 76.92 Mbps in uploads, based on my speed tests.

PureVPV, on the other hand, offers 2,000+ servers. Although this count is lesser than ExpressVPN, they make up for it by adding servers in more than 140 countries around the world.

Speeds are also quite reasonable, touching the same averages as delivered by ExpressVPN. Both even successfully unblock streaming platforms and work in China.

However, it is worth noting that both providers use virtual locations. 82 of PureVPN’s location use virtual servers, whereas ExpressVPn uses them in only 33 locations.

Security

ExpressVPNPureVPN
VPN ProtocolsPPTP, L2TP, OpenVPNPPTP, L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, OpenVPN
OpenVPN Data EncryptionAES-256-CBCAES-256-CBC
OpenVPN Control Channel EncryptionRSA-4096 RSA-4096
Cloaking TechnologyCipher Block ChainingNone
App SecurityKill SwitchKill Switch and DNS Leak Protection
DNS StatusPrivate DNSPrivate DNS

ExpressVPN supports three protocols: PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP). It uses AES-256-CBC ciphers with HMAC SHA-256 data authentication on the data channel, and AES-256-GCM ciphers with RSA-384 handshake and HMAC SHA-256 data aunthetication on the control channel.

PureVPN, on the other hand, adds SSTP and IKEv2, to the list of supported protocols. SSTP is mostly used on Windows devices and IKEv2 is a useful addition for mobile devices, as it is fast and allows for automatic reconnecting. With regards to encryption, PureVPN is just as strong as ExpressVPN.

It utilizes AES-256-CBC cipher with HMAC SHA1 hash authentication for the data channel and AES-256-CBC cipher with  HMAC SHA384 hash authentication and RSA-4096 handshake encryption for the control channel. You also have plenty more features with PureVPN rather than ExpressVPN.

However, ExpressVPN is the more secure option, as they utilize cipher block chaining and their TrustedServer Infrastructure shifts all its hard drives onto a RAM model, deleting all logs instantaneously. PureVPN is still working on improving their infrastructure with plans on adopting the MUD (Mind Your Data) model.

Privacy

ExpressVPNPureVPN
HeadquartersBritish Virgin IslandsHong Kong
Connection LogsNoneNone
Activity LogsNoneNone
Sign Up InformationEmail AddressEmail Address
Anonymous Payment MethodsBitcoin and MintVarious Cryptocurrencies

ExpressVPN has its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands. As such, they are free from any mandatory data retention or mass surveillance laws, followed by the British Monarch.

This is because BVI is an autonomous nation with its own set of laws, which promote user confidentiality and privacy. Therefore, ExpressVPN gains a good edge over others in the market.

I always tell my viewers, never to trust any VPN service located in the US, unless they have a proven track record like PIA (which has been involved in two legal cases, but never revealed any logging information).

PureVPN, on the other hand, is located in Hong Kong, which is still technically part of China. Despite having its own legal framework, the location is somewhat of a slippery slope for a VPN provider.

As one may never know when the Chinese Government may take over of Hong Kong and adopt the “Great Firewall” For now though, the location is as safe as it gets, with no mass surveillance or data retention laws.

Both ExpressVPN and PureVPN have undergone a security audit, verifying their logless claims. However, PureVPN does have a troubled history with privacy, so I do give Express the win here.

Configuration

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Address AllocationSharedShared/Dedicated
Static IPsNoneYes
DDoS ProtectionNoneYes
NAT FirewallYesYes

For configurations, PureVPN gains an upperhand over Express. Where the BVI-based provider adopts a shared infrastructure and address allocation, PureVPN supports both: dynamic and static.

This helps the Hong Kong-based provider offer more incentive to its users, particularly expats/travelers wanting remote access to office files and protection while accessing banking information.

It even makes it easier for PureVPN to bypass geographical restrictions on streaming platforms, as you use an IP address that is private and not being utilized by many different users at a single time.

Dedicated IPs are available as an add-on by PureVPN, meaning you will have to pay extra for them, with features like DDoS protection costing you more.

Customer Service

ExpressVPNPureVPN
Video GuidesYesYes
Searchable Knowledge Base YesYes
Phone SupportNoNo
Email SupportYesYes
Average Email Response Time33 Minutes39 Minutes
Ticket SupportYesYes
Live Chat SupportYes (Outsourced)Yes (Outsourced)

Both PureVPN and ExpressVPN offer support via live chat, email, and a ticket system. Testing the live chat services revealed that responses were quite fast.

Email/ticket support did take some time with PureVPN (averaging at 40 minutes per reply), whereas ExpressVPN cut it shorter (averaging at 33 minutes).

We conducted these tests by sending each VPN three questions via email. Among them, two were general queries and two were a little more technical. See the statistics below:

ExpressVPN

QuestionInitial Response TimeNumber of EmailsQuestion Answered
Can ExpressVPN be traced?15 Minutes1Yes
Does ExpressVPN store Logs?18 Minutes1Yes
How to Watch Netflix with ExpressVPN?55 Minutes1Yes
What features does ExpressVPN offer for torrenting?47 Minutes1Yes

PureVPN

QuestionInitial Response TimeNumber of EmailsQuestion Answered
Is PureVPN good for Torrenting?25 Minutes1Yes
Does PureVPN work with Netflix?39 Minutes1Yes
Can I Install PureVPN on LibreELEC50 Minutes1Yes
How to setup PureVPN on Firestick?44 Minutes1Yes

The Winner: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Wins

While both of the VPNs reviewed deliver amazing performance, security, privacy, and features, ExpressVPN definitely tends to be the better option.

It offers a larger network of servers, successfully unblocks Netflix, works in China, and even offers a router app that works on DD-WRT and Tomato routers.

You generally receive good speeds for streaming in 4k and downloading torrent files. Also, the VPN has a verified no logs policy, even the Turkish authorities could not bypass.

The VPN is an all-rounder service, which is worth the high costs. However, if you are in search of a cheaper alternative, there is no better option than PureVPN!

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