- Unblocks Netflix and more
- Good value for money
- Feature rich
- Lots of device support
- Poor support site
- App issues
PureVPN, based in Hong Kong, has been around for over a decade now and in that time has grown to cover over 140 countries across the globe. That's thanks to over 2,000 servers which span more than 180 locations in total. All that equates to great coverage no matter where you are in the world.
Security is excellent with lots of features like a selection of protocols, strong encryption and a smarter than average kill switch. All that works across lots of devices allowing you to get anonymous access to whatever you need across many different devices. This is at the same time as this supports a generous 10 devices in use at the same time.
A free trial and money-back guarantee period make this a great VPN to try out before you actually commit to paying.
Pricing and plans
PureVPN is a little on the pricey side when compared to the competition. Initially there's a seven day trial charged at $0.99 then you can claim 47 percent off the annual plan after that. That said, this appears to be the only way to get an annual plan so it's not a real saving when you look closer. If you're looking for a longer testing time but don't want to commit then you can try the month-to-month option but that'll cost you $10.95 a month putting it above average.
Go for a longer term commitment and you pay less at $8.33 per month for a six month plan. Go for it with the annual plan and you get that 47 percent discount which actually works out to a still-more pricey than most $5.82 per month.
Payment options are myriad with the likes of Bitcoin, PayPal, credit card and AliPay to name just a few ways to pay and stay anonymous. Be sure to keep an eye out for the best VPN deals as you may be able to get it even cheaper then.
Testing and performance
PureVPN has that Hong Kong base with servers sprawling out across the planet. The result is an ability to tie up lots of connections at a stable, decent speed. There were some odd exceptions to those cases but more on that below.
When it came to performance speeds, we tested in the US using a 600Mbps connection. On the whole results were consistent denoting a reliable performance. Speeds averaged 190-250Mbps, which is faster than a lot of the competition. The lowest speed we got, on an evening test, was an abominable 2-15Mbps. This, we suspect, is due to testing in Coronavirus lockdown. But it's still worth keeping in mind when you're testing this on your trial period.
Over in the UK the line tested was 75Mbps and we got an impressive average of around 65Mbps meaning very little bandwidth was lost due to the VPN.
Server locations affect speeds so if you're after pure performance, a bit of testing various servers could help you perfect your connection for the ultimate speed result.
PureVPN is a great choice if you need to unblock geo restricted content from services like Netflix, Disney+ and more. Unlike some VPNs this actually offers dedicated tools within the apps that allow you to get access to those specific services in the best possible way.
The result is a VPN that will unlock your geo restricted content on the fatest servers based on where you are, so you can enjoy the highest quality video streaming. That said, BBC iPlayer fans will be let down as PureVPN failed to unlock that service in our testing.
Customer support is another feature, with the ability to raise a ticket from within the client and get a response in half an hour, in our experience. Or you can use the website's live chat support right away. In our experience though, enquiring about an OpenVPN issue in Windows, the advice was basic at best.
Split tunneling was a useful feature. This allows you to have the VPN working on certain apps and not on others. This is ideal if you want to appear elsewhere and be secure and anonymous for most tasks but want to remain open, say for your banking app.
Privacy and security
PureVPN offers lots of security for your connection with plenty of protocol options. These include OpenVPN TCP/UDP, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP and IKEv2. While traffic is encrypted we found some issues with the Windows client which suggested PureVPN isn't as secure as you'd hope.
A setting said encryption was "optional" and you'd have to change it to "required" to be sure you were being encrypted. Similarly the kill switch didn't always work meaning the connection could leave you exposed. These glitches were in the Windows client but they make you wonder how tight PureVPN security actually is.
After a man was arrested in 2017 for illegal online activities, it was revealed he'd been tracked from behind PureVPN – once again adding to the concerns about the privacy this service offers.
The company maintains it operates a no logs policy. But in the small print it says that it does record things like the time you logged on and incoming IP address.
Should you sign up?
If you don't mind paying above the average for a service that offers support for lots of devices this is an option. Security may not be as tight as some of the competition but connection speeds were generally very good across the world. Unlocking geo restricted content was done well in most cases and offered a stable and good quality stream.
To save money you're best going for the longer term option but be sure to test the service well in that seven day trial period to be sure this will work well enough for what you need.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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