Updated: January 1st, 2018
Welcome to the most comprehensive and detailed PureVPN review around. In this PureVPN review you will get all the information you could possibly want to know about this VPN service provider. Want to know about pricing plans? Server speeds? Encryption security? This -- and much more -- is all here. Also provided is a detailed setup guide to help you setup PureVPN on your devices quick and easy.
Using a VPN is - nowadays - a prerequisite the moment you go online to do anything. There are so many cases of data hacking, privacy invasion, and "collecting" of your online data and activity that it is incredibly naive to think that you should not use a privacy-protecting software like a VPN if you simply have "nothing to hide". A VPN is a legal, secure way to keep your online activity and data protected from hackers and third-party entities (i.e. your government, advertisers, or any other individual that wishes to find out about you) while also allowing you to access websites and online services that may be restricted for you simply because of your physical location.
With that said, you also need to know that not all VPN services are created equal. So let's dive into my firsthand review of one of the most popular VPN providers on the market -- PureVPN.
Over the years, PureVPN has built up a reputation as one of the most reliable and established VPN service providers around. After conducting this comprehensive review of the service firsthand, I am inclined to agree with this reputation. PureVPN is a stable, secure and consistent VPN service provider that, although priced in the mid-to-high range, is worth the money.
$9.95 p/month for 1 month
$7.49 p/month for 6 months
$4.16 p/month for 12 months
Operating System Compatibility
VPN Protocols Offered
- Customer support is (in my experience) great
- Speeds are consistent with little-to-zero connection drop offs
- Software is very user-friendly across all common devices
Huge DNS leaks reported by many users, as well as many more users complaining of terrible customer service.
Pricing is in the mid-to-high level, so not the most affordable.
No zero-logging policy offered.
All in all PureVPN appears as a very respectable VPN service provider, yet I cannot ignore the DNS leaks reported by users of this VPN, since this directly results in user's data privacy being insecure.
With that said, users can expect solid, consistent speeds across a great variety of server locations on securely encrypted connections. The price point is a touch high, although it is justified through the service's performance. Read on below for my full, in-depth PureVPN review.
Full PureVPN Review
Pricing, Plans & Payment Options
PureVPN have chosen to price their service in 3 different "commitment" levels, as 99% of VPN services do. This means that you have the option to pay less each month if you commit to the service for 6 or 12 months:
These prices are in the mid-to-high area when compared across all VPN providers available right now, so PureVPN are definitely confident in the quality of their service. With that said, a very generous discount of -65% for users that sign up for a 1 year account is a nice touch.
As mentioned, PureVPN go down the traditional VPN service route by offering 3 different plans that increase in commitment length while decreasing in monthly price.
Users can make payment to PureVPN through a myriad of options, including great anonymous options like Bitcoin and through Gift Cards, which is great:
All in all the process for making payment is very simple and all-encompassing, so clearly PureVPN place a lot of time and effort into this aspect of their service.
Money Back Guarantee
When you signup for PureVPN for the first time you are automatically given a 7-day money back guarantee period, which is good. However, you do need to pay immediately to use the service, with this money back guarantee being offered in the form of you allowing to request a full refund within 7 days of using the service.
This is not ideal, as other VPN service providers offer longer such "free trial" periods that do not require you to pay upfront and request a refund if not satisfied. That being said, at least PureVPN have some level of introductory "grace" period.
Ideally, you would want a VPN that is so confident in its service that it is comfortable offering an initial "no money upfront" free trial period when you first sign up. There are providers that offer this, such as NordVPN.
Regardless of which VPN provider you decide on for your needs and budget, there is one thing that you will definitely have integrated to the service: a bunch of additional little features.
Such additional add-ons are present on 99.999% of premium VPN services, and are developed to either enhance the overall functionality of the service (be it for encryption or for geo-unblocking capabilities) or go the extra mile to make the user experience of the service better.
PureVPN has definitely taken the time to make sure their software is able to compete against the other top VPNs out there, by including a bunch of features for all users. Let's take a look at these quickly right now:
SOFTWARE & APPS
- PureVPN have developed dedicated software and apps for the most popular user devices, which makes setting up and using the service very straight forward. This makes a huge difference when you want to use the software across multiple devices, for example on your laptop and smartphone - but also on your smartTV.
- SSTP, L2TP, IPSec & PPTP provided on up to 256-bit data encryption. This is the industry standard level of encryption protocols used by the top VPN providers today, so PureVPN deliver on this well.
LARGE SERVER LIBRARY
- PureVPN offers 500+ servers across 141 countries. Having a large server library is something you definitely want to consider if you plan to use PureVPN to access geo-restricted websites and/or online content. The more server locations you have to choose from; the more countries you can "appear" within; the less blocked content you will encounter online.
- Users can connect to the VPN service across up to 5 devices simultaneously. An often overlooked feature to have on a VPN, this little handy integration to PureVPN really takes the user experience to another level. Not having to log out of one device before logging into another one every time you change devices makes a big difference to the VPN you're using. Especially if you plan to use it every day!
DATA TRANSFER BANDWIDTH
- You can transfer unlimited data on PureVPN. No caps, no restrictions. So should you want to be performing large streaming, downloading, uploading, browsing activities while on the VPN, then you will not have to deal with worrying about hitting a data limit.
- 24/7 live chat is provided on every single day of the year. This may seem like such an obvious "feature" for any popular software, let alone for a VPN, however you would be surprised by how many popular VPN service providers don't offer round the clock, attentive and quality live chat support on their website for all users (regardless of your timezone). PureVPN are smart and considerate enough to have implemented this on their service.
- Rather than using shared IPs, users can request a dedicated IP add-on for their PureVPN account. Why does this matter? Well, put simply, using a dedicated IP will mean you are the only one on that server, so you will not have your network performance or activity impacted by multiple users being on the same server as you.
- Very handy "internet kill switch" tool can be utilised. An internet kill switch is a clever little add on that most VPN providers come with as standard these days. They act as a 'fail-safe' way to instantly drop off your connection to the internet the very moment your VPN randomly disconnects. Of course, you don't want your VPN to drop-off its connection, however this may happen from time to time (I personally experienced no drop in connection while testing out PureVPN), so having this kill switch tool enabled is a handy feature.
The PureVPN software itself has been developed and designed to a very high level. Clear consideration has been placed on making the software as user-friendly as possible, while still giving you multiple options to customise your connection every time.
Setting up an account is simple and takes just 2 minutes. You select the plan you wish to use, then after receiving a couple of emails providing you with your unique username and password, you are prompted to download the specific PureVPN software/app for the device(s) you will use the service on. This selection looks like so:
To give and example of how intuitive this device selection page is, here is a snapshot of me selecting the software for my Macbook:
After having downloaded the software to your desired device, the installation process will request to begin immediately. This also takes just a few moments and only requires you to click through a few steps:
With the software now installed, you can go ahead and open it up to see exactly how quick the software loads and presents itself. Here you will asked to login to the service using the generated username and password you received via email upon creating you account when signing up:
Upon logging into the software, you will be asked to select what the primary purpose of your session will be, whether streaming, file-sharing, security, dedicated IP or simply "internet freedom":
Once you have chosen your purpose to connect to the VPN, you can then go ahead and decide which server location you want to connect through by simply clicking the button and choosing from the dropdown:
Then with your server location selected, simply hit "connect" and you will connected to the VPN in a matter of seconds. Here below is an example of me connecting from a Hungary location to a US based server that I selected in the previous step:
To use PureVPN on your mobile device, you can grab the dedicated mobile app that PureVPN have developed for each of the most popular mobile OS (i.e. iOS, Android and Windows) as well as some others.
This bares emphasising, as although most VPN providers have developed stand-alone mobile apps for their software, like PureVPN have done, there are still many VPNs that do not offer this -- which requires you instead to go through a super laborious and rather technical process to get your mobile device connected to the VPN. So I can see that upon doing this review PureVPN are definitely taking the time and effort to develop apps for all the major mobile operating systems.
Anyway, so for my mobile setup, I use an Android device and thus went to the Google Play Store on my smartphone and searched for the "PureVPN" app, downloaded it then installed it according:
With the PureVPN installed on your mobile device, go ahead and open it up and you will -- as with the desktop software -- be prompted to login with your generated username + password.
After punching in your account details and logging into the app, the next step is again to select the main focus of your session on the VPN from the clearly defined options. Here's a look at how well-designed and user-friendly the app looks on an Android device:
Then you can choose which server location you want to connect to the VPN through. This app is really well designed and is a breeze to use. Below is a look at the easy-to-navigate server location selection option:
Once you have chosen your preferred server location to connect through, go ahead and connect to the VPN. You will be momentarily presented with a "connecting" screen that displays the connection you are making, which is a nice touch on the app designers' part.
And then that's you connected to the PureVPN service on your mobile device. Very straight forward indeed.
Once you are connected, you will be shown a screen that displays your status (connected or disconnected), along with a helpful dropdown menu in the top left as shown below:
When in said "Settings" option, you can edit and check out some handy tools like allowing to select specific cities within the server country location you want to connect to, as well as specifying the protocol you want to use:
Thus concludes a quick walkthrough on how to setup PureVPN on both your desk/laptop device and mobile device in less than 5 minutes without any "technical expertise" required at all.
PureVPN do a great job of offering software and apps that are super simple to setup and use, so you almost don't even need this quick guide!
Device compatibility, as you can expect from the previous section of this review, is where PureVPN perform very well.
Users are able to setup and use PureVPN across any and (almost) all devices one would ever want to have a VPN connection setup on. From operating systems like Apple, Windows, iOS, Android and Linux to different devices like eReaders, home routers, games consoles and and smartTVs -- PureVPN is fully compatible and provides very easy-to-follow setup guides for all of these.
To that end, does PureVPN also provide seamless (or at least "As easy as possible") compatibility with one of the more obscure and less-used but still highly useful devices: your home router?
Well, the following routers are listed clearly on the PureVPN website as not having a dedicated app:
Sitecom Gigabit Router
But - I saw through researching this review PureVPN do state that you can quite easily setup their VPN onto the above routers manually, and they do provide really clear and simple guides on their website.
That's as much as you can ask for from a VPN provider today. Having reviewed the best VPN services around, I can say that no major VPN offers a dedicated app to allow seamless (i.e. "non manual") connection to your home router.
The same is the case for all additional devices you would want PureVPN setup onto that are not used primarily for being online, such as games consoles (Xbox, Playstation, etc), smartTVs, and even your Kindle eReader. You will need to manually setup the PureVPN connection, but it will work.
Speed & Performance
To get a personal, firsthand gauge of how PureVPN affects the speed of your connection, I conducted a simple speed test with speedtest.net that sent a ping from my device both without then with the VPN connected.
Here are the results from said test, to give you an idea of how big or small an inevitable drop in speed to expect with PureVPN:
As you can see, there was quite a considerable drop in speed when connected to the VPN. However, this is not too uncommon a drop since my internet was pretty fast to begin with. What this means is that, although the speed did drop a large amount, the performance of internet was barely impacted at all -- i.e. I could stream, download/upload and browse online content without any buffering or latency issues, which is what matters most.
It's also worth noting that I tested a few other server locations on PureVPN to gauge the consistency of the speeds offered by this VPN service, and they remained steady practically across the globe. That's important.
Ultimately, you want to consider how your internet speed is affected by your VPN only if you are planning to use the VPN primarily for streaming media (video and audio) or uploading/downloading large files (i.e. using P2P torrenting while on the VPN).
If you are using a VPN instead primarily for privacy protection, then as long as your internet speed is not affected that much when connected to it; you need not make the VPN's speed impact such a deciding factor for you.
If you need any support for whatever reason with PureVPN, then this is where you -- in my opinion -- really get your money's worth. PureVPN boast readily available customer support 24 hours a day; 7 days a week; 365 days a year.
Not only do they provide such dedicated round-the-clock support, but they also offer said support across multiple channels, giving you the option to contact a support agent to resolve your issue via email, a ticketing system and, most importantly, via live chat right on the website:
Live chat, as mentioned earlier in this review, is something you come to expect without question from a service you are paying for. PureVPN clearly agree with this assumption, and as far as I could see they do not take any shortcuts with this support channel. In the above screenshot I took for this review, I waited literally no more than 30 seconds before receiving a prompt reply that fully answered my query.
This is a detailed review conducted by myself, and I can only 100% attest to my own experience with PureVPN and its software, including the customer support I encountered. However, there have been many complaints mentioned on some of our peer reviewing websites (like here) with users stating that the customer support they encountered was either non-existent, or very unfriendly and not helpful. Some users have even stated in their PureVPN review that the 7-day money back guarantee has not been honoured for them. This was not my experience, however I do feel it important to mention these secondary user opinions, so you get a full idea of this VPN provider from this review.
Both aesthetically and navigationally, the PureVPN website has been designed and developed to a high standard. When you arrive right on the homepage, you are presented with the most important information you would want to know about this VPN service provider:
As you can see in the above shot of the homepage; you are clearly presented with the most significant navigational options including pricing, features and a link that lists the dedicated apps that PureVPN have developed.
I was a little disappointed not to find fully transparent information regarding the actual company, like where they are located and the actual business credentials. Why does this matter? Well, you want to know exactly where your VPN service provider is located to then determine which national online data and privacy law jurisdictions they are under. I was able to determine with some simple Googling that PureVPN are located in Hong Kong, which is great - however, it would be nice if they stated this on the "About Us" section of their site, in the interest of trust and transparency.
Regardless, the PureVPN is definitely one of the top websites I have personally interacted with when compared against the many, many other VPN service websites I've experienced up to this point. Thankfully this attention to aesthetic and usability carries over consistently across the actual software and apps.
Security & Privacy
The level of encryption experienced with a PureVPN connection is right up there with the best VPN services around today. You have the option of connecting through protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, L2TP and even IKEv2 on up to 256-bit encryption, which is great.
Unfortunately, although PureVPN take every security precaution to protect the privacy of every user's data on the service, PureVPN do state that if prompted by an official authoritative body, they will hand over your personal data behaviour. With that said, PureVPN have specifically chosen to base the service from Hong Kong as doing so means they are not legally obligated to retain a single bit of data from any user.
What does this mean? It means that although VPN will comply with a legal body that requests access to a user's data with substantial evidence and a warrant to do so -- there is every possibility that PureVPN will have not retained this data.
PureVPN Review Conclusion
All in all, PureVPN is definitely one of the best performing VPN service providers on the market today. They are a long-time established service that have clearly developed massively over the years and worked hard to constantly improve their VPN service, software and apps to make setup and connection as simple and efficient as possible for users of all "technical" skill levels. Here's a quick bullet point listing for what I liked and disliked most overall:
What I liked most:
I really cannot say anything negative about the actual functionality and intuitiveness of the software on both desktop/laptop and mobile devices. Really consistent, high quality software that's super simple to use.
Round the clock live chat support
Great to have support a mere click away. Should you have any issues with the VPN, the live chat is there and responsive (in my experience).
Explained earlier, this feature is just super handy to have as an option so you don't have to worry about your VPN dropping out and you not noticing, and thus continuing your online activity with a privacy-compromised connection.
Large server location library
The larger the library; the more unrestricted your internet activity can be. PureVPN definitely offer a server library that is larger than most other top VPN providers.
What I disliked most:
As I explained in the speed test conducted in this review - your internet speed will slow down more than I have experienced on similarly-priced VPN providers. So keep that in mind if you want to be streaming movies or downloading a bunch of data while on the VPN.
Taking a look at the wall of DNS leak complaints here, you can see that many customers of PureVPN have said that their IP address was in no way encrypted when using the VPN. This is for many online users the only reason to use a VPN - so to have so many user reports of PureVPN not delivering on cannot be ignored.
All things considered, with the price point being in the mid-to-high range, I can say that it is justified in the level of both consistent server connections, server locations, (my personal experience with) customer support and the software/app ease-of-use. However, if privacy protection is paramount to you, then I would reconsider going with PureVPN and instead go with a much more proven top quality VPN like ExpressVPN.
I will still suggest giving PureVPN a try for yourself, since the service offers a 7 day money back guarantee you really have nothing to lose. If you do give it a try -- let me know in the comments below about your experience with this top service.