PureVPN logs too much of your data
Logging & Jurisdiction
PureVPN has a less than ideal history when it comes to logging and we're concerned that the data it collects from your usage isn't anonymized. We were pleased to see the company move from Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands, but PureVPN still collects too much information for us to be wholly comfortable recommending it.
PureVPN has worked to improve its public image after years of criticism for its aggressive logging policy.
Despite saying all the right things on its website, the actual changes to its logging policy simply aren’t enough.
Put in simple terms, here is everything PureVPN logs of its users:
- Days you connect to PureVPN.
- Which PureVPN server you connect to.
- How long you connect for.
- How many times you connect.
- Your internet service provider (ISP).
- Total amount of bandwidth you consume while connected.
If that seems like a lot of information being collected, that’s because it is. We believe it is enough to be able to link a PureVPN user to activity performed through the service.
Of course, you should never use a VPN for anything illegal. But if you live in a country where the authorities can demand access to your browsing data at any time, using PureVPN would not guarantee your anonymity.
PureVPN is based in British Virgin Islands
PureVPN is legally based in the British Virgin Islands after it moved from Hong Kong.
This was a good pro-privacy move as BVI is one of the most private jurisdictions in the world, outside the reach of the 14 Eyes and authoritarian regimes.
Credit should go to PureVPN for uprooting itself for privacy reasons.
Improved speeds make for a smooth experience
Speed & Reliability
PureVPN has upped its speed performance considerably; it's very fast. Local speeds don't drop more than 10%, which is a very good score. Internationally the VPN delivers very strong results, too. You can do any online task with the VPN running and barely notice a difference.
PureVPN is fast. That’s the key takeaway here. We tested it on both short distance connections (within the UK, where we’re located), as well as to a variety of overseas servers.
The results surprised us. Historically PureVPN has lagged behind compared to its competitors, but recent speeds are quite impressive.
First, we recorded PureVPN’s speeds when connecting to a server in the same city as us (London, UK). Check out the results:
Local Speed Test results before using PureVPN:
- Download Speed: 100Mbps
- Upload Speed: 97.52Mbps
- Ping: 5ms
Local Speed Test results with PureVPN:
Download speed loss when PureVPN is running: 10%
As a general rule, any VPN which costs you less than 10% of your connection speed is doing a good job.
The numbers we recorded show that PureVPN is fast enough to be left on 24/7 without you having to worry about noticeable slowdown.
Long-distance speed test results
PureVPN also performed surprisingly well on international connections. Take a look at the five countries we tested below:
Even when connecting to the far side of the world, PureVPN still managed to put up some very solid numbers in our testing.
Remember, we tested on a 100Mbps dedicated broadband line. If your internet connection is slower than that, then your speeds when using a VPN will also be slower.
That said, we feel confident that the effect PureVPN has on your connection will barely be noticeable. You can still stream, game, and use the web with it just like you normally would.
6,500 servers spread over 78 countries
PureVPN has lots of quality VPN servers – 96 city locations across 78 countries, and it goes beyond the usual North America and European focus of most providers. Nearly all of these servers are physically located, too.
Something that PureVPN gets absolutely right is its selection of servers.
It’s all too common to see VPNs ignore entire regions, focusing far too much on Europe and North America.
PureVPN makes no such mistake, with servers located in 78 different countries around the world.
It’s refreshing to see options in the Middle East, East Asia, Central America, and Africa. With so many censored nations in those regions, it’s especially important to have nearby VPN server access.
While you can’t select individual servers, there is a city level choice in a handful of countries.
You can choose to connect to multiple cities in:
- South Africa
6,500 is also a good overall quantity of servers.
PureVPN recently halved the amount of countries it could connect to, but this was in order to focus on quality over quantity. Now 98.7% of PureVPN’s servers are physically located and it’s recently invested in 20Gbps servers for London, Manchester, and Washington DC.
It has retained 69 virtual servers to enable continued access to some locations where physical servers are hard to implement.
Having such a high number of servers available means that you’re less likely to be sharing one with another user. In turn this means that you should see fewer CAPTCHAs around the internet.
An interesting side note is how PureVPN achieves its speeds. There’s nothing fancy or bespoke here – just good old-fashioned OpenVPN.
In a time when so many VPNs are adopting the newer WireGuard, or developing a bespoke protocol of their own, it’s interesting that PureVPN can keep up with a tried-and-tested old favorite.
Unblocks 4 Netflix regions, BBC iPlayer & Hulu
PureVPN is a good choice for fans of streaming multiple Netflix libraries. We unblocked 4 Netflix libraries, but not the US one. It gets around strict BBC iPlayer georestrictions and provides international access to the US-exclusive Hulu. But other VPNs can unblock up to 30 Netflix libraries and more streaming sites.
PureVPN has recently removed all of its dedicated streaming servers. You now simply connect to a server in the region you require and begin streaming.
It’s mostly as simple as that. Every UK server we tried unblocked BBC iPlayer, but every US server did not unblock Netflix.
PureVPN is only capable of unblocking 4 Netflix libraries: Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy. That’s decent, but there are other VPNs which can unblock lots more.
PureVPN also works to unblock Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
However, the VPN doesn’t work with DAZN or HBO Max, so we recommend you use a VPN that definitely streams HBO Max, instead.
P2P servers but not risk-free
PureVPN has some P2P servers, but they make up less than half of its available connections. We also caution against PureVPN as a torrenting service due to our concerns over its logging policy. There are safer options available.
PureVPN is not a great VPN for torrenting for two reasons.
Firstly, not all PureVPN servers allow P2P traffic. Those that are optimized are marked, but there are large gaps left by a lack of torrenting-friendly servers. For example if you live in the south of Africa, your nearest torrenting server is in Angola – potentially thousands of kilometers away. The same goes for if you’re in South-East Asia.
Secondly, there’s the big issue of PureVPN’s logging policy. You can read more about it here but, in short, we feel that PureVPN still logs too much information for torrenters to feel confidently anonymous.
Authorities could theoretically gain access to your:
- Days connected to PureVPN and for how long
- Total amount of data downloaded in that timeframe
- Country of residence and ISP
From those figures alone there is a distinct chance that you could be identified – particularly if you are with a smaller ISP or in a smaller country.
PureVPN also had issues with logging controversies in its past.
In October 2017 the FBI was able to identify an accused criminal suspect by matching the IP address of a PureVPN server with the suspect’s real IP address.
While we are by no means saying that they could repeat themselves, it simply adds to the risk you take should you choose to torrent with PureVPN.
Doesn't consistently work in China
We tested PureVPN on our server in Shanghai and found that it didn't work to get around the Great Firewall of China. There are some potential manual configuration options, but we'd advise a more reliable anti-censorship VPN. PureVPN is likely to be far more reliable in Russia, Turkey, or the UAE, especially due to its large server network.
While it may have once done, PureVPN does not currently work in China. Even on the days where it does, it’s far too inconsistent to recommend.
In order to have a chance at connecting to the outside internet from within China, you’ll have to contact PureVPN’s customer support.
The support agent will then give you a comprehensive guide to setting up PureVPN for China. It can be a difficult process and involves a lot of manual configuration. Even then, PureVPN is not guaranteed to work in China.
Our extensive testing of VPNs from directly within China has found that only a handful maintained more than 50% up-time over the past year. If you live in China, or are planning to visit, then give yourself the best chance at bypassing the Great Firewall with our tried-and-tested best VPNs for China.
If you want to unblock the internet in other countries, like Russia, the UAE, or Turkey, then PureVPN is a solid choice. With such a large server network your speeds should hold up well. There are still better VPNs to choose from if you value consistency, though.
Gets the basics right, but advanced features are costly
Security & Features
PureVPN has an industry-standard security suite, including AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN protocol. But there's nothing special or bespoke about it. Advanced features cost extra and there's some obscurity about what DNS servers are used. Casual users might appreciate automatic performance, but experienced users will want more control.
The redesign we mention in the section above isn’t purely cosmetic. PureVPN also completely changed its range of features and settings on its Windows desktop app.
There is now far less customization and connection options than before. For starters, the protocol list has been shrunk.
PureVPN allows you to connect via three protocols: either IKEv2, IPSec (Mac and iOS only), or OpenVPN (TCP or UDP). Previously it offered a range of outdated and flawed protocols, so we’re glad to see them gone.
On the plus side, there’s an option to activate the internet kill switch. We believe this is the single most important advanced feature a VPN can offer. It prevents your IP address from being exposed should the connection drop accidentally. Also, Split tunneling is available on Windows and Android devices, which is good to see.
On the down side, port forwarding is not available on its standard payment plan. If you want to be able to port forward you need to pay an extra $0.99 per month. It’s such a useful feature for torrenters, capable of greatly increasing download speeds, that charging extra for it really is a shame.
We also ran a DNS leak test while connected. Our DNS was properly hidden. However, the DNS server it was replaced with was not owned by PureVPN. Support refused to clarify for us if PureVPN DNS servers are in use, or even exist, anymore.
PureVPN has decided to remove checkboxes and automatically enable 256-bit encryption and IPv6 leak protection. This works to increase the usability of the app for less experienced users, but experienced users who wan’t manual control may not appreciate this change. You can still select your preferred protocol, though.
PureVPN is not the most secure VPN on the market, but it gets the basics right. While we appreciate the simplifying of the apps by making features automatic, we’d like to see port forwarding included as part of the standard pricing plan and the introduction of the WireGuard protocol.
Apps for popular devices
Platforms & Devices
PureVPN is compatible with a wide array of platforms and comes with a 10-device allowance. It has a dedicated app for Kodi and Fire TV Stick, which isn’t common. You can also install it on router, but we’d like to see the Linux option improved.
You can install and use PureVPN on these devices:
The chances are good that PureVPN has an app for the device you want to cover. Whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, an iPhone or an Android, there’s a dedicated and up-to-date PureVPN app for it.
The PureVPN DD-WRT router applet is perhaps its most impressive offering. Very few VPNs have proper apps for routers, and PureVPN is one of them. Once installed you can access a basic GUI from your router’s login page that allows you to choose servers and enable various extra features.
That applet isn’t available on other types of router, but PureVPN does have an impressively detailed set of installation guides for across a large number of makes and models.
If you’re a Linux user you may be disappointed. While PureVPN does have installations available for all the most popular distros, they all work via the command line. It’s ugly, impractical, and lacks key features like DNS leak protection. If Linux is all you care about, you shouldn’t use PureVPN.
Games consoles & streaming devices
The dedicated PureVPN Amazon Fire TV app is a solid choice if that’s your preferred streaming platform.
It’s nothing fancy, but it’s simple to navigate and lets you connect to your desired server in just a few button presses. Of course PureVPN doesn’t unblock all that many streaming libraries, but if you’re happy with the selection available then it’s a fine choice.
There’s also a dedicated PureVPN Kodi add-on, which isn’t all that common among VPNs. We don’t fully recommend PureVPN for use with Kodi, however, due to its questionable logging policy.
For all other streaming devices and platforms, the ability to install PureVPN on your router means that they’re covered. There’s no smart DNS available, so router setup is the only way to unblock streaming sites on consoles.
While that’s not ideal, you shouldn’t be intimidated. PureVPN’s list of setup guides is one of the best we’ve ever seen.
A PureVPN subscription also comes with proxy browser extensions for
While PureVPN’s browser addons come with WebRTC leak protection, it’s important to remember that these proxies don’t encrypt your connection so should not be used in place of the full desktop client. They are a good added bonus, nonetheless.
There are currently no extensions for Opera or Safari.
Easy-to-use apps on all major platforms
Ease of Use
PureVPN's redesign has improved its usability and interface. We encountered no issues or technical problems and we're impressed by how many devices PureVPN can be used on.
How to Install & Set Up PureVPN
Following a recent redesign, PureVPN’s app is clean and simple. It’s a huge improvement that makes it much easier to use (and to look at).
We downloaded and tested PureVPN on every platform it supports to see just how well it works. The results were largely impressive. PureVPN may have its flaws, but usability isn’t one of them.
Find the device you’re planning on using PureVPN with below to see what it looks like and how it works.
Windows users get the most complete PureVPN experience. As is the case with most VPNs, this is the platform with the most features and is always the first to receive new updates.
The PureVPN app is extremely simple, with a clean and easy-to-use design. You can toggle the kill switch (called IKS in the app) and change protocols.
Other than that, there are no real extra features to speak of. Having FAQs and the ability to submit a support ticket built-in to the app is a nice touch, though.
Good news for Apple users: the PureVPN macOS client is now practically identical to the Windows app.
That means that it’s just as clean and usable, plus there’s no missing features.
You can download it straight from the PureVPN website (not the Mac app store), and install it with a couple of clicks.
We’re also glad to see that it’s not a Menu Bar app. Many VPNs decide to create a more compact version of their app for Mac that extends from the Menu Bar. These are usually much harder to use – not the case with PureVPN.
That said, the old version of the app didn’t tell us that we were due for an update. We instead had to uninstall it and then re-download the installer from the PureVPN website. If you’re a Mac user and your app doesn’t look like this yet then you should do the same.
iPhones weren’t left out of the redesign either. It’s a lovely, clean iOS VPN app that’s super simple to use. The ability to sort the global server list by ping, popularity, and alphabetical order is a very nice touch.
There’s a minimal set of features to play with. However, there is one that we strongly recommend you take a look at.
Open the menu and then tap Settings > Advanced > Connection Protocol. Switch the toggle from Automatic to Off.
We recommend this because one of PureVPN’s protocols is IPSec, which is seriously outdated and potentially insecure. We don’t know for sure how often the app would try to select it, but it’s best to remove all doubt.
Of the remaining options, IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, and OpenVPN TCP are all great choices.
Another clean and easy-to-use application, PureVPN for Android is a great experience for anyone intimidated by the idea of using a VPN.
Be sure to take a look at the split tunneling option within the menu. It’s a feature that’s unique to the Android app – in fact it’s not even available on the Windows version, which is unusual.
Split tunneling allows you to decide which apps do and don’t pass through PureVPN’s encryption.
It won’t take long to set up PureVPN’s proxy browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge. Just click ‘Download Extension’ on PureVPN’s website, add the extension to your browser, log in, and connect.
Perhaps the best feature is the list of 31 streaming services the PureVPN extension can unblock. Just click on the one you want to access to connect to the necessary location. It’s not 100% perfect, and it is an unencrypted proxy connection, but it’s still very useful for streamers.
24/7 live chat & impressive online resources
We can't fault the PureVPN support system. You can chat to its support team via live chat any time of day. If you need complex instructions, you can also consult the vast online resources, where there are guides and walkthroughs for almost every conceivable scenario. It's one of the best online help centers we've seen.
|24/7 LiveChat support||Yes|
|24/7 Email support||Yes|
PureVPN offers around-the-clock live chat support. You can speak to an agent at any time of day, seven days a week.
We’ve always found them to be polite and punctual, even if they aren’t the most knowledgeable. If you have a simple problem you should certainly be able to get it resolved, though.
This isn’t an issue, as PureVPN handles more complex issues via its huge selection of online guides.
Its selection of online resources is absolutely vast – it’s incredibly impressive. There are hundreds of step-by-step walkthroughs for every platform and process you could imagine.
There’s so much material that it almost seems impossible that you’d encounter a problem not already addressed (complete with images to help guide you).
Lower prices are tempting, but still not worth it
Price & Value for Money
PureVPN is cheap on its multi-year plan, but that's only if you don't wan't the extra features. For port forwarding, dedicated IPs, and DDoS protection you have to pay more each month – more than the standard plan costs. We don't suggest paying extra.
As with most VPNs, the longer your subscription to PureVPN, the cheaper it gets.
Its prices are now lower than ever, with a two-year subscription offering the best savings. You can check all of the pricing plans below:
US$10.95/moBilled $10.95 every month
US$2.99/moBilled $35.88 for the first year, $69.96 thereafter
US$1.99/moBilled $47.76 the first 2 years, $69.95 annually thereafter
Bear in mind that to make these long-term savings, you’ll have to pay the full subscription cost up front.
There are also add-ons to choose from which massively increase the monthly cost:
- Port forwarding – $0.99 more per month
- Dedicated IP address in 7 countries – $2.99 more per month
- Dedicated IP with DDoS Protection –$3.99 more per month
- Dedicated IP with Port forwarding – $3.49 more per month
For users wanting port forwarding, you’re better off choosing a better VPN that includes it in their standard plans. PIA VPN’s port forwarding tool is one of the best we’ve tested.
Those long-term prices are definitely reasonable, but PureVPN is still poor value for money. There are multiple VPNs that are not only cheaper, but much better, too. We’ve rounded up the best cheap VPNs here.
Payment & refund options
You can pay for a PureVPN subscription via a number of payment methods, including:
It’s good that PureVPN accepts a decent range of payment methods, including the more private option of cryptocurrencies (although paying with cryptocurrency is non-refundable).
PureVPN recently launched a seven-day trial service for $0.99 to test the service before buying into a plan. A PureVPN subscriber can also give up to 24 free monthly accounts to friends.
You can also test out the PureVPN software for 31 days risk-free with its money-back guarantee. This is genuinely no questions asked, with no hidden data caps or restrictions. If it is due to a technical issue customer support will try and fix it first.
After your PureVPN refund request is processed and your account canceled, it can take up to 30 days for the refund payment to appear in your account.
PureVPN isn't quite good enough
The Bottom Line
In short, we don’t recommend PureVPN. There are simply too many better VPNs with a more trustworthy past available at a cheaper price. PureVPN isn’t terrible, but there’s no real reason to choose it over a competitor.
It may be much faster now, but it still can’t be fully trusted not to log your data.
Additional research by David Hughes
Alternatives to PureVPN
ExpressVPN has proven its trustworthiness on multiple occasions - once when one of its Turkish servers was seized and no user connection logs could be found, and on other occasions when it's completed independent privacy and security audits. Read ExpressVPN review
P2P is permitted on most of PureVPN's servers, but NordVPN is a far better VPN for torrenting. It's fast, secure, and no-logs. NordVPN also provides excellent 24/7 customer support and sleek custom apps. Read NordVPN review