Choosing a VPN can be difficult. The rise in demand for increased internet privacy has led to many choices, but ultimately, most VPNs have the same fundamental purposes—protecting online privacy and accessing foreign web content.
Not everyone uses them for the same reasons, however, and when choosing a provider, it helps examine the details. To aid you, we have taken two of the top contenders to compare, NordVPN vs PureVPN.
We have previously done an in-depth review of NordVPN. It is a significant player in the VPN scene. Founded in 2012, this company gained traction in 2016 through 2018 as it slowly but steadily added an android app, an iOS app, then a Google Chrome browser extension, and an app for Android TV. It is now extremely popular. We ranked it highly in our list of top VPNs.
Today, we are putting it head to head with PureVPN, a company founded in 2007 by GZ Systems. We hope this makes your decision a little easier.
PureVPN vs NordVPN: quick comparison
|3rd party audit||Yes, by Altius IT||Yes, by PwC|
|Advanced features||Kill Switch|
Onion over VPN
Onion over VPN
|Servers network||2000 servers in|
|5400 servers in|
|Streaming and P2P||Yes,|
|Free trial||Yes, $0.99 7 Days trial||Yes,|
in the mobile app
|invpn.com rating||4.2 / 5.0||4.8 / 5.0|
|Full review||PureVPN Review||NordVPN Review|
|Get PureVPN||Get NordVPN|
Despite the implications of its name, NordVPN operates out of Panama. This is a country without any data retention laws. Unlike jurisdictions in the United States or European Union, they are under no obligation to collect personal data.
PureVPN calls Hong Kong home. Regardless of its proximity and strained relationship to China, Hong Kong also has no legal obligation to collect personal data. Despite this, PureVPN has cast doubt on this practice in at least one legal case, which we will describe shortly.
NordVPN operates on a strict no-log policy. They explain that they couldn’t share information with anyone if they wanted to, as there is simply no data to share. They don’t store session data, timestamps, or anything else beyond necessary information like your email address, payment information, and the timestamp of your last session.
The timestamp data, however, is deleted within fifteen minutes of the session’s end. All of this information is easily found and displayed on their website.
NordVPN boasts results from a third-party auditor. PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, considered one of the ‘Big Four’ auditing firms, confirmed their no-logging claims. They describe this auditing process on their website.
While PureVPN doesn’t have results from a ‘Big Four’ firm, they have had their no-log status confirmed by a third-party auditor as well. Altius IT concluded that they could not find evidence of any system files that could lead to identifying a specific person or activity through the PureVPN service. This happened in 2018, later than the cyberstalking incidents, which took place in 2016 and 2017.
PureVPN has apps for the vast majority of devices:
- Android TV
- DD-WRT Applet
NordVPN offers apps for the following:
- Android TV
Both services’ web pages feature explanations on installation and use for the majority of these native apps.
NordVPN offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. This proxy extension encrypts your traffic to help prevent spying. It also hides your IP address to any website you visit, allows ad blocking, protects from malware, and disables WebRTC policy. Downloading is a simple process that takes less than a minute.
Similarly, PureVPN also features browser extensions for both Chrome and Firefox.
PureVPN claims to be the best VPN for multiple devices. With an impressive ten simultaneous logins available, they might be right. There isn’t a restriction on which devices you can use. If PureVPN supports it at all, it’s available as one of the ten.
NordVPN, however, only supports up to six simultaneous connections. Even with six, there’s a condition. Should you want to connect all six to the same server, you’ll have to choose at least one device to connect with different VPN protocols.
Let’s get into the details. Both service providers offer a variety of advanced features, but PureVPN and NordVPN do differ in some ways.
Both PureVPN and NordVPN feature kill switches, essential tools that cut off access to the internet if the VPN connection is lost. This feature continuously monitors your connection and doesn’t activate unless you are at risk of being switched over to a regular connection. Kill switches are essentially the last line of defense, so they’ve been deemed highly crucial by most VPN users.
NordVPN takes their kill switch a step further, offering a customizable setting in which the user can select which programs they want to be terminated in the event that a kill switch is needed.
Both providers feature ad blocking, but they take somewhat different approaches. NordVPN features CyberSec, which they claim blocks both websites with malware or scams and obnoxious flashy ads. It’s available in the apps for Windows, iOS, macOS, and Linux. However, it is not available to block ads through the app on the Google Play store due to Google’s own policies.
The main task of CyberSec is to block dangerous websites, and ad blocking is a secondary feature. It does block pop-ups and autoplay video ads, but it is not extensive beyond that.
PureVPN uses a content filter feature, which is more thorough. It processes each web page you visit and removes pop-ups, banners, video ads, trackers, and other unwanted advertising elements before they are loaded onto your browser. Since it is a program that goes beyond browser extensions, it will work in any browser you choose.
In addition to this, the content filter also allows users to customize what ads they’d like to see, whitelisting desired ads and blacklisting intrusive ads. As a secondary feature, it also helps protect from malware-ridden web pages.
While PureVPN features a greater number of server countries, NordVPN has a larger total sum of servers. The differences are striking, with PureVPN featuring 2,100+ servers in 140+ countries, while NordVPN features 5,000+ servers in just 59 countries.
NordVPN’s approach focuses on making high-traffic areas get high-quality connections at all times, while PureVPN’s method casts a broader but thinner net. The approach most beneficial to you depends on your circumstances. Both VPNs also allow you to choose a specific city for your server, but NordVPN offers more choices.
IP Address Configuration
NordVPN and PureVPN both use shared IP addresses, meaning that everyone connected to one server is given the same IP address. Alternatively, both can provide each user with their own individual IP address.
From a security standpoint, shared IP is a better method. There’s no way to tell which user specifically accessed a website at a given time. Depending on the number of users under one server, this allows for a higher degree of anonymity.
Dedicated IP approach does have one advantage. Despite not being as secure, it does make it less likely for a user to trigger a web page’s fraud prevention system.
Onion Over VPN
If you’re particularly concerned about in-depth security, NordVPN offers a service called Onion Over VPN. When you use this feature, your encrypted traffic information is sent through the Tor network.
The process anonymizes your information by sending it through a series of nodes, which each hide the data separately. It makes it extremely difficult to trace, as each node doesn’t track the source of information, only the next step. The layers of nodes are where this concept gets its name.
With NordVPN, your internet service provider will have no way of knowing that you’re even accessing the Tor network.
For users who stream frequently or want to share P2P files without privacy risks, the split tunneling feature allows the user to customize what information goes where.
Split tunneling is supported by PureVPN, but not NordVPN.
Essentially, users are allowed the best of both worlds. You can access overseas content and local content simultaneously. For instance, using split tunneling, you can watch foreign streaming content while using your local IP address.
Split Tunneling is especially helpful for users who frequently travel abroad. While in a foreign country, you’re able to access local content through the internet. For home country content, you’re able to route traffic through the VPN network.
Unsurprisingly, both service providers claim to be the best VPN for P2P networking.
NordVPN boasts no bandwidth limits while sharing. They also do not throttle your connection, and nothing affects their top speeds thanks to their Nordlynx technology based around the WireGuard tunneling protocol. Wireguard is a relatively new protocol designed to be extremely fast and lean, outshining the majority of other leading protocols.
It’s lean in that it consists of only 4,000 lines of code compared to, for example, OpenVPN’s 400,000 lines of code for their protocol. Essentially, it does more with less room for error, allowing file sharing to happen as quickly and efficiently as possible.
PureVPN features dedicated servers just for P2P activities. They also feature efficient downloading speeds that are secured with AES 256-bit encryption. Their claim to be the best VPN for P2P is heavily based on safety, with self-engineered and optimized servers designed with P2P traffic in mind.
Not only does PureVPN mask your IP address, but they also assign you a virtual IP for use on P2P servers. This allows you to share files without revealing your identity. It also contributes to preventing bandwidth throttling, a common issue among P2P users.
Dedicated Servers for Streaming and Torrenting
Both service providers claim to eliminate the issue of throttling, where your internet service provider slows down your connection. This commonly happens when your provider detects erratic changes in download speeds. Naturally, this makes both streaming and torrenting issues, as users don’t want to wait through buffering to enjoy downloaded or streamed content.
PureVPN, however, boasts servers dedicated solely to streaming.
Neither service has an interface that’s particularly difficult to use. Since VPNs essentially exist in the background while you surf the web, the only real factor is getting them started.
NordVPN’s desktop app has a sleek and simple look. It features a map with available countries on the right side, while a list makes up the left. You can change the settings at the top. The mobile app is similar but features only a map and no list.
PureVPN’s desktop app features a list of countries as well as a search bar. The settings are much more involved, which may not be a factor for a user with simple needs, but the added customization could be an asset to some. The mobile app is also pared down. Users can choose a country to connect to the best server available, or a server for a specialized task.
Both PureVPN and NordVPN allow the user to automatically connect when logging on, but PureVPN even offers a setting to reconnect automatically if the connection is lost.
NordVPN’s interface is easier on the eyes overall, but the interface isn’t likely to be a major decision-making factor.
The Great Firewall of China
Functionality in China makes for an excellent test of a VPN’s widespread abilities. Not only is the country notorious for its censorship and surveillance, but it’s also a massive hub for international business and tourism.
In June 2017, a new cybersecurity law came into effect, requiring internet companies and VPN providers to register with their government. Many VPN users either live in China or will travel there at some point, so in the NordVPN vs PureVPN debate, it is an important question.
PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, so their relationship with China is complicated. Some users have reported issues with it working well during recent tensions between the two entities, but the good news is that PureVPN does still work there. Servers are offered in several major cities, including Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanghai. Many users throughout the country use the service without problems.
If you want to use NordVPN in China, it’ll be a bit complicated, but it is still possible. NordVPN does its best to keep away from the Chinese government’s notice. Not a single server is available in China. However, users in China can utilize NordVPN’s obfuscated servers. These disguise your VPN traffic as regular traffic. However, it is a bit tricky to set up.
While neither service offers a truly free trial, PureVPN does offer a seven-day trial at a negligible price of $0.99. Users should be wary of this, though, as it automatically enrolls you a one-year plan if you forget to cancel it.
NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, while PureVPN offers a negligibly better 31-day money-back guarantee.
PureVPN offers a monthly plan for $10.95 per month, a six-month plan at $8.33 per month, or a one-year plan at $6.49 per month. The six-month plan bills you semi-annually at $49.98, and the one-year plan bills you annually at $77.88 after a seven day free trial for $0.99.
NordVPN offers a “basic” one-month plan at $11.95 per month, a “plus” one-year plan at $4.92 per month, and a “premium” two-year plan at $3.71 per month.
If you are willing to make the commitment, NordVPN will ultimately save you money. Less certain users might prefer PureVPN’s short term savings.
Some Reddit users report a negative experience using PureVPN. Citing their low price tag and split tunneling feature as reasons to try it, reviewers note that there are some caveats. Low speeds, failure to download a torrent, and unhelpful customer support contributed to the user requesting a refund.
Another user in the comments claimed to have to jump through many hoops in order to cancel their annual subscription, including tedious forms and multiple customer service agents. Readers should note that the most critical review is over a year old, and PureVPN might have improved since then.
On the other hand, another user reported an overall good experience using PureVPN. They found the iOS app to work exceptionally well. They did, however, also report unimpressive speeds that change frequently. They cited the price tag as a reason why they were satisfied. Other users in the comments expressed distaste for the server.
One self-declared VPN newbie recommended NordVPN highly. They had issues installing the service but claimed customer service was helpful, and they soon were able to install it for both Windows 10 and iPhone 6. This user lived in a hotel and needed a VPN for streaming and online gaming. They were impressed by the speed. The only deterrent was infrequent disconnection issues.
A few commenters reported suspected unscrupulous business practices from NordVPN. One claimed that the company was known for purchasing positive reviews and apparently lied about being based out of Panama. Another claimed NordVPN removed their unsubscribe button when the user was a few days away from automatic renewal. It should be noted that there is no way to confirm or deny these allegations.
In a negative review of NordVPN, another Reddit user claimed to have been a customer of the service for over three years. They closed their account due to poor service. They were unable to stream from a number of major services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, claiming that they had all banned NordVPN.
The former customer claimed an inability to make purchases through Amazon or Paypal for the same reasons. Lastly, they cited a drop in speed quality throughout their subscription.
Ultimately, there are yeasayers and naysayers of both services, but Reddit users generally prefer NordVPN to PureVPN.
It’s decision time. What’s the best choice in the PureVPN vs NordVPN debate?
When it comes to speed, NordVPN is the clear winner. The massive number of servers makes it unbeatable. Repeated tests have shown it to be faster, and user feedback supports this idea. If you’re a streamer or a gamer, this might be reason enough to choose NordVPN.
If your goal is affordability, NordVPN wins again, especially if you are willing to commit to either one or two years. NordVPN’s $3.71 per month two-year plan is unbeatable. However, if you only wish to give the service a quick try, PureVPN is the only one of the two which offers an essentially free trial.
Privacy and security are likely to be major motivating factors in choosing a service. NordVPN’s WireGuard and Onion Over VPN features play prominent roles in its advantage. While both services claim a no-log policy, the court case mentioned above is enough to cast some doubt on PureVPN’s honesty in the matter.
It may look like NordVPN is the runaway winner here, but there are a few exceptions in which you should consider PureVPN. If you have a variety of devices and need multiple, simultaneous connections, their allowance of ten blows way NordVPN’s six. Dedicated streaming servers also might make PureVPN a more reliable service for streamers.
The support of split tunneling also might make some users prefer PureVPN, especially if they are frequent travelers. It is also more friendly to users in China and is more effective at blocking ads.
PureVPN also offers more customization in its interface, and tech savvy users might prefer the detail oriented approach.
Ultimately, it’s up to each user to decide which is better for their needs. We hope this list helps you make a decision. Stay safe out there, web surfers.
Jump back to PureVPN vs NordVPN comparison table.