Operating System: Windows, Mac, Mobile
Application Category: VPN
PureVPN has always been a popular name in the world of VPNs and if you are willing to pay for two years up from you can buy it for $84.95 which works out at $3.54 per month.
Privacy and Security
For the privacy conscious folk, PureVPN is based in Hong Kong and passes the main concerns for The One Privacy Site. This includes them not complying with the Fourteen Eyes multinational intelligence agreement or being with a country classed as Enemy of the Internet. They do fall foul of some logging issues which includes time stamps and bandwidth, but they don’t log general traffic. Overall, as far as your privacy is concerned, I wouldn’t worry about this service, and they accept dozens of payment methods including numerous anonymous options.
We DO NOT keep any record of your browsing activities, connection logs, records of the VPN IPs assigned to you, your original IPs, your connection time, the history of your browsing, the sites you visited, your outgoing traffic, the content or data you accessed, or the DNS queries generated by you.
We know the day you connected to a specific VPN location and from which Internet Service Provider. This bare minimum set of data is required to help you with technical assistance, solving connecting problems, and overcoming region-specific problems.
NOT included in the logs: Origin IP, VPN IP, specific time when you connected to our server, activities after connecting to our server
Every paid PureVPN user gets access to unlimited bandwidth, irrespective of how that bandwidth is used. We keep track of the total bandwidth consumed by you to make sure every PureVPN user gets the same highest level of speed and experience with PureVPN. If we suspect abuse of our service by any user where the user is found consuming an unnatural amount of bandwidth and disrupting the service for other users, then we reserve the right to contact that user and ask them to explain their conduct.
PureVPN supports a large number of protocols giving you the option to connect to their network in whatever method you may want. These protocols include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and even IKEv2.
Furthermore, they use industry standard 256-bit encryption which is one of the most secure connections possible used by government agencies around the world.
PureVPN supports pretty much any device you want, including mobile, Windows and Mac. If you want to secure all your connections within your home, you can also set up the VPN on your router, having all traffic routed through the VPN. They have even gone to the extent of developing an applet for DD-WRT based routers allowing you to eliminate the set-up stress. Alternatively, they have extensive guides for multiple brands of routers.
I tested the VPN on my main Windows PC, so I opted to use their custom coded software. The Pure VPN software offers a plethora of features not available on the likes of Freedome, and it is designed to suit any need rather than just creating a secure connection.
In particular, there is a strong focus on streaming and file sharing. When you first load up the app you can select what mode you want, which includes streaming, internet freedom, security, file shared and dedicated IP.
Apart from the dedicated IP, it is not too clear how each mode differentiates from each other, but I assume that the software prioritises services based on your chosen mode. It also appears to limit some location options depending on your setting.
Choosing the mode is only just one of the eclectic range of options. You can have the software launch on start-up, auto pick or manually choose your selected protocol, set up a VPN hotspot, do split tunnelling, port forwarding and more.
Overall this software should cater for casual and advanced users alike. The split tunnelling looks like an interesting option; this allows you to select which apps use the VPN IP and which use your normal IP. So, if you wanted secure file sharing via torrents, you could run it on your chosen torrent application while running everything else normally.
As with most VPNs, you have the option to select the endpoint destination of your traffic, this allows you to bypass geo-restrictions for websites and some services, or just to hide your origin country.
PureVPN claims to have over 2000 servers in 140 countries. It is an impressive number of options if not a little excessive.
PureVPN also has various other additional feature that you can pay for. The dedicated IP is a useful one, for example, if you have a server that you may access remotely but still want to run its traffic through the VPN you will need a dedicated IP or use a dynamic IP domain service.
One of the reasons I liked Freedom was its ability to quickly connect the network and then provide a consistently reliable speed throughout the day. It is incredibly annoying forgetting that you have a VPN running and wonder why your internet is going so slowly or pages just not loading due to connectivity issues.
With some other VPNs I have had issues with disconnects too, it would just hang and completely kill my internet connection often forcing me to restart.
During my testing I found PureVPN to perform very well, connection took maybe less than 5 seconds for most options and speed tests on speedtest.net were impressive. In fact, it outperformed Freedome in many of the scenarios I tried. I also experienced no issues with disconnecting and reconnecting.
My speed test prior to running the following tests was 37ms ping, 213.50Mbps and 20.50Mbps. I am on the VIVID 350 package with Virgin, and usually get over 300Mbps but must have been having a bad day when I ran these tests.
Using the UK option, I was able to achieve a ping of 25ms and a download of 142.57 Mbps with an upload of 19.68Mbps. This is very impressive and allows me to do my day to day work with no noticeable differences in speed.
Switching to the US I achieved 188ms/26Mbps/4.88Mbps
- Denmark was 53ms/101.74Mbps/19.14Mbps
- Belguim was 25ms/153.54Mbps/18.59Mbps
- Germany was 41ms/41.91Mbps/17.85Mbps
- Czech was 55ms/10Mbps/19/50Mbps
- China failed the test
- Seychelles was 397ms/7.27Mbps/2Mbps
So, you will likely see a range of performances depending on your chosen location, this is the case for all VPNs. Maintaining 2000 servers probably means a few don’t achieve the performance they should.
If you want a fast-reliable connection with a low ping, you are always best to choose something close to home, and I suspect major countries/cities will help ensure a reliable connection.
In order to verify that the above numbers were semi-accurate and suitable for my personal use, I tried to download some Linux ISOs and carry out another speed check via Think Broadband. I opted for the Belgium server as this was the fastest.
Downloading Ubuntu 18 I achieved 9.6MBs – so about 76.8Mbps, this appeared to be server limited as trying to download Linus Mint from a UK server I got 15.8MBs or about 126Mbs. I then finally tested using Think Broadband which came out with 143.01 Mbps, 20Mbps and latency of 43ms.
So overall once you are on a fast server it does perform very well.
Geo-bypassing streaming restrictions
Netflix has clamped down on VPNs being able to stream content on their Network. PureVPN doesn’t explicitly advertise the ability to stream from Netflix they just have entertainment/streaming as an option. I have found that it is possible to stream but it is server dependent. On a UK server, I was told not to use a VPN, switching to a US server I was able to get things to work. As the company doesn’t guarantee this function and most other VPNs fail, including Freedome, I would say this is a good result.
Other streaming services such as the BBC has fewer issues, and I was able to stream fine based on the UK server.
I have come away impressed with PureVPN; they have a fantastic feature set that is beyond what many people need. The number of service options is insane, and this could be a reason why a couple of servers such as China underperformed.
For me, I don’t need obscure endpoints and opting for somewhere more local achieved exceptional results.
Twelve-month pricing is about the same as Freedome, but if you opt for longer durations, the price per month goes down further. There are other cheaper VPNs on the market, but from my experience, you get what you pay for, and Pure VPN is an excellent balance of cost vs performance.
Operating System: Windows, Mac, Mobile
Application Category: VPN