PureVPN vs. Surfshark
Today, we will be pitting both providers against one another to determine, which is the better choice. So, without further ado, check out this in-depth PureVPV vs. Surfshark comparison.
Pricing and Discounts
|Subscription Period||1 Month||1 Month|
|1 Year||1 Year|
|2 Years||2 Years|
|Special offer||73% Off on a 2-Year Plan||83% Off on a 24-Months Plan|
|Highest price per month||$10.95||$11.95|
|Lowest price per month||$1.65||$1.99|
|Money Back Guarantee||31-Days||30-Days|
Both PureVPN and Surfshark are famed as inexpensive providers in the marketplace of VPNs. Therefore, the pricing of each service is quite competitive upon comparing them.
For instance, if you opt for the standard monthly plan, Surfshark will cost you $11.95. However, if you decide to go with PureVPN, the same plan will set you back by $10.95.
This indicates there is a difference of $1 between both providers, which is consistent on the yearly plans as well. Where Surfshark costs you $71.88, PureVPN is a little cheaper at $69.72.
If you go for the 2-year plan, PureVPN further reduces the monthly costs to $3.49, billed as $83. On the other hand, Surfshark gives a 83% on the monthly pricing. This means, you pay $47.76 for 2-years!
As a result, PureVPN tends to be cheaper on the monthly and yearly plans, whereas Surfshark is the more budget-friendly option for a longer 2-years duration by a margin of $30.
To bridge this difference, PureVPN does offer a “special” incentive though. It is currently providing a 5-year plan at a huge 88% discount, reducing the monthly costs to $1.32 (totaling to $79 for 60-months).
A paid trial is available with PureVPN for 3-days, but you will have to provide your billing information to activate it. Surfshark, on the other hand, offers a 7-day free trial only on iOS and Android.
Both providers, however, make available a lengthy money back guarantee. Where Surfshark gives you a 30-day refund, PureVPN gains an edge by giving you a day extra (a 31-day money back guarantee).
Get This Best Deal for PureVPN: Save 73% on their 2-year special
Get This Best Deal for Surfshark: Save 83% on their 2-year special
|Operating System Apps||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and Fire TV||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and Fire TV|
|Manual Install Devices||Linux, Routers, Set Top Boxes||Routers|
|Split Tunneling||Yes (All Apps)||Yes (All Apps)|
|Free Extras||Official Kodi add-on, ad-blocker, malware-scanner, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox||Shadowsocks Support, Hacklock, Blindsearch, NoBorders Mode, TrustDNS|
In terms of features, PureVPN and Surfshark are quite “equal”, even though the technologies used are different. I will be breaking down the lists for each provider below.
Surfshark, on the other hand, also does support a huge number of devices. Sadly, it does not offer a dedicated add-on for Kodi and Apple TVs, which makes installing it on larger screens a little difficult.
For advanced technologies, PureVPN offers dedicated IPs, ad/tracker blockers, malware scanners, NAT firewall, and a myriad of other features to boost your security and privacy.
Surfshark, on the other hand, offers many unique features too. These include Shadowsocks Support, Hacklock, Blindsearch, a NoBorders Mode, and TrustDNS as well.
Despite being incredibly budget-friendly, both PureVPN and Surfshark offer exceptional unblocking capabilities. To my surprise, they bypassed geo-restrictions on sites, where even industry-leaders failed.
Where Surfshark just requires you to connect to different servers for unblocking different libraries, PureVPN does go the extra mile though. They offer a easy-to-use “popular websites” option.
This feature lists all popular streaming platforms in one location. Simply click on the one you want to access and PureVPN’s app will redirect you to the unblocked version, within a few seconds.
Best part of all: where countless providers fail, PureVPN’s browser extensions on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, also work for unblocking popular platforms like Netflix, minus any hassles.
The “Great Firewall” in China utilizes various techniques like Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), Blackholing, DNS hijacking, DNS poisoning, and IP blocking, etc to ban VPN access in the country.
All of this makes it close to impossible to bypass geo-restrictions from within the country and outside (to access local Chinese content). However, Surfshark and PureVPN are not ones to back down so easily.
Both providers successfully manage to deliver unblocking capabilities to Chinese residents. Surfshark offers a dedicated mirror website to download their apps within the country.
Then, it gives access to the “NoBorders” mode, which uses “obfuscation” for bypassing the VPN blocking algorithms of the GFW. Similarly, PureVPN also offers great functionalities.
In fact, since it is based in Hong Kong, it works better for both: Chinese expats and residents. The provider is also the ONLY one in the marketplace that offers 12 Chinese servers.
Among these 6 are located in Beijing and 6 in Shanghai, which makes it possible for expats of China to access their favorite local content on like iQiYi (爱奇艺), QQ Video(QQ视频), Toudou (土豆), Youku (优酷).
Surfshark and PureVPN are both safe and reliable options for downloading torrents. You do not have to worry about slow speeds, leak issues, or getting DMCA notices with hefty fines.
With either option, you have specific p2p servers available that offer great security for protecting you from local ISPs and copyright infringement hunters looking to fine you.
Best part of all: You can add a SOCKS5 proxy to increase speeds and even utilize the Split Tunneling feature to redirect VPN traffic to those sources that require it and those that do not.
Setup and Interface
|Automatic Setup Wizard||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Main Location Selection||List-based||List-based|
|Extra Settings Pages||Yes||Yes|
As compared to other providers, PureVPN boasts quite the unique design and appearance. It offers plenty of easy-to-use apps across multiple devices, which include larger screens of Firestick and Android/Apple TVs.
The desktop Windows and MacOS versions utilize the same UI and design, which cater to rookie and expert VPN users. For instance, you have plenty of configurations for the tech-minded.
Then for the less tech-savvy, PureVPN offers different modes and even a “popular websites” option. If you want to torrent, select the p2p mode. If you want to unblock Netflix, simply click on its icon!
Meanwhile, the mobile apps utilize a “darker” appearance, but one that is equally impressive. You have specialty server listings for all your VPN related needs, along with access to Dedicated IPs as well.
Surfshark’s apps are built in a minimalist manner which makes them extremely user-friendly. The app’s GUI are especially great and so is the architecture, so you won’t have major problems navigating.
Connection times are also incredibly quick; averaging at a minimal 5 seconds. However, locations that are far away from where you reside may take a little longer in connecting.
As far as features are concerned, you have plenty of configuration options in the “settings” menu. Users can even access dedicated IP locations directly from within the app.
However, in comparison to PureVPN, the BVI-based provider apps lacks the same “easy-of-use” brought by the inclusion of “popular websites” and different modes for varied needs.
|Total Number of Servers||2,000||1,040|
The Hong Kong based provider offers 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries around the world. This also makes it the only VPN to support that many countries in the marketplace.
As such, it is not that difficult to determine a winner among the two in this aspect. Surfshark, on the other hand, needs to increase its server count massively to compete with PureVPN.
Not to mention, PureVPN offers specialized servers for torrenting, gaming, streaming, and browsing activities. This classification of servers is missing with Surfshark.
The provider previously had 800+ servers in 50+ countries. However, by the end of 2019, they have expanded this list to over 1040 servers in 61 countries worldwide.
Unfortunately, this network infrastructure still needs a major upgrade, if Surfshark wants to continue delivering great speeds and unblocking capabilities as the expand their user-base.
To get a better idea about the performance of PureVPN and Surfshark, I conducted a comprehensive speed analysis. This involved testing different servers for all internet activities.
These include streaming on Netflix, downloading torrent files, playing online games, or simply browsing the internet. For the task, we picked up 4 random servers from Pure and Surfshark.
On an average, PureVPN managed to deliver 91.51Mbps in download and 88.59Mbps in uploads, after testing their servers in 4 different locations.
Conversely, the BVI-based Surfshark offered good performance too, delivering an average of 89.99 Mbps in downloads and 86.25 Mbps in upload.
The servers were based in USA, UK, France and Canada. Where Surfshark clocked in with a speed loss of around 10.01% while PureVPN was better at an 8.50% on average.
|VPN Protocols||PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, OpenVPN||L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, OpenVPN|
|OpenVPN Data Encryption||AES-256-CBC||AES-256|
|OpenVPN Control Channel Encryption||RSA-4096||RSA-2048|
|App Security||Kill Switch, Wi-Fi, DNS/WebRTC/ IP Leak Protection||Kill Switch and DNS/WebRTC/ IP Leak Protection|
|DNS Status||Private DNS||Private DNS|
PureVPN supports PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), SSTP and IKEv2. SSTP is mostly used on Windows devices and IKEv2 is a useful addition for mobile devices.
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.
Surfshark, on the other hand, is a big fan of the IKEv2 protocol and uses it as “default” across all of its devices. Users, nevertheless, do have the option of configuring OpenVPN on all platforms.
It utilizes AES-256-GCM ciphers so no additional authentication is provided on the data channel. For the control channel, Surfshark uses AES-256-GCM cipher with the TLS key exchange secured using RSA-2048.
Perfect forward secrecy is provided by an ECDH-(384?) key exchange. If we talk about security overall though, PureVPN tends to be stronger – thanks to its inclusion of the RSA-4096.
Surfshark still relies on the outdated RSA-2048 on its control channel, and this needs to be upgraded, if it needs to compete with top names in the marketplace like PureVPN.
|Headquarters||Hong Kong||British Vrigin Islands|
|Sign Up Information||Email Address||Email Address|
|Anonymous Payment Methods||Monero, Dash, Gridcoin, Rpple, ZCaas, Ehterum, Litecoin, Bitcoin, and more||Various Cryptocurrencies|
Luckily, PureVPN and Surfshark are both located in safe jurisdictions. Where PureVPN has its headquarters in Hong Kong, Surfshark enjoys an equally privacy-friendly location, British Virgin Islands.
Since both Hong Kong and British Virgin Islands are not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, you do not have to worry about mandatory mass surveillance and data retention laws.
There is no issue with either providers’ logging policies either. Where PureVPN did log information first, they recently joined the ranks of logless VPN services, even getting their product audited by AltiusIT.
|Static IPs||7+ Countries||6+ Locations|
PureVPN adopts a shared and static address allocation. You have 2,000+ servers with dynamic IPs and then 7+ countries, where you can get a dedicated IP for as low as $1.99/mo.
If you opt for additional features on dedicated IPs, like DDoS protection and port forwarding, you may have to pay higher than the standard $1.99/mo, depending on the location.
Surfshark initially only supported dynamic IPs, but as of October 2019, they introduced dedicated IPs. You can access them directly from within the app for an additional cost.
|Searchable Knowledge Base||Yes||Yes|
|Average Email Response Time||39 Minutes||1 Hour|
|Live Chat Support||Yes||No|
PureVPN and Surfshark both offer support in the form of video guides, knowledge base, FAQs, email, and tickets. All of these are good options to receive support.
Apart from these, you have live chat support available. Both providers offer quick support through this medium and the representatives are quite proactive.
The second best option for most is email support. So, I went a little further with my testing to analyze the response times from both providers as well.
Below you can see the stats of both providers on the basis of four different questions.
|Question||Initial Response Time||Number of Emails||Question Answered|
|Is PureVPN good for Torrenting?||25 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Does PureVPN work with Netflix?||39 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Can I Install PureVPN on LibreELEC||50 Minutes||1||Yes|
|How to setup PureVPN on Firestick?||44 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Question||Initial Response Time||Number of Emails||Question Answered|
|Does Surfshark work with Netflix?||1 Hour||1||Yes|
|Is Surfshark good for Torrenting?||48 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Does Surfshark work in China?||52 Minutes||1||Yes|
|How to use obfuscated servers in Surfshark?||59 Minutes||1||Yes|
Determining a winner among PureVPN and Surfshark was an incredibly difficult task, as both providers are equally-matched in most facets that make a premium VPN product.
However, since PureVPN offers 1,000+ more servers than Surfshark, has 12 Chinese servers, and offers more dedicated IPs; it gains an edge over the BVI-based provider.
Therefore, for this comparison, PureVPN emerges victorious. It was still quite a close competition, and considering Surfshark is still a newcomer (launched in 2018), it may even overpower Pure in a few years.