- Jurisdiction: Hong Kong
- Advanced Privacy Features: Kill Switch, Split Tunneling, IPv6 Leak Protection, WebRTC Leak Protection
- Number of Servers and Countries: Over 2,000 servers in 140 countries
- Streaming and P2P: Yes, dedicated servers
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have been around for well over twenty years. While they’ve been an essential tool for online privacy since their inception, consumers have only begun adopting VPN services en masse within the last few years.
That’s where services like PureVPN come in. PureVPN is one of the largest and most well-established VPN providers in the world. But, how well do they stack up against the growing competition?
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at everything you need to consider about this popular and effective VPN service. From their jurisdiction to logging policies to exclusive features, pricing, and so much more, you’ll find out everything you should know in our PureVPN review.
PureVPN was first launched in 2007 by founder Uzair Gadit. PureVPN is owned by the parent company GZ Systems Limited. The company has contractors in the U.S., United Kingdom, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Pakistan, and their home base is currently Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
While GZ Systems Ltd. is primarily known for making sports apps for Android devices, its VPN has been one of the most popular choices for well over a decade. PureVPN came from humble beginnings, with only two server locations when they launched commercially in 2008.
By 2010, PureVPN had launched Windows and Mac applications, and in 2012 they expanded their product to cover Android and iOS devices as well. Since then, PureVPN has focused on offering the largest and most comprehensive array of servers around the world. Currently, they boast over 2,000 servers located in 140 countries.
Beyond server locations, PureVPN has also emphasized the number of applications they offer to protect their customers’ devices. While most VPN services offer apps for computers and mobile devices only, PureVPN takes it farther, with apps for Android TV, Amazon Firestick, Kodi, and more.
Since its inception, PureVPN has operated out of Hong Kong, which has long been a haven for privacy-minded individuals concerned by the less favorable privacy laws of other countries.
Hong Kong has long been a favored home base for internet-based businesses, and VPN providers who need to exist in privacy-friendly jurisdictions that won’t compromise the integrity of their security operations. For many years, Hong Kong has acted as an independent territory of China, but recent political and social changes in the area pose a significant threat.
In the late ‘90s, Hong Kong, a British territory at the time, was returned to the Chinese. Since then, Hong Kong has acted as a self-governing territory, and they’ve been able to enact their privacy laws as the government of Hong Kong sees fit. The changing political climate in the region poses significant threats to the laws and autonomy of Hong Kong.
In late June 2020, mainland China passed sweeping new privacy and security laws in Hong Kong. The entire 66 article law was kept secret until it was rectified, and the new law poses significant changes to Hong Kong’s privacy and national security laws.
One provision, in particular, is especially alarming for VPN companies like PureVPN, as it allows Beijing to set up a security office in Hong Kong that falls under the sole jurisdiction of mainland China. Essentially, this means that what was once a privacy haven is now just an extension of mainland China, and Hong Kong is no longer the privacy refuge it once was.
In response to these new laws, PureVPN has shut down all of its Hong Kong-based servers. The company has downplayed the severity of the implications here, suggesting that it poses no threat to their operations, since so much of their business is conducted outside of China.
But, until PureVPN moves its headquarters to a new location, the entire company falls under Hong Kong law jurisdiction. China is far from “safe” from a privacy standpoint, so this is an issue that VPN users will want to keep a close eye on until PureVPN has re-headquartered the business.
PureVPN took a public relations hammering in 2016 when they provided personal user data related to a cyberstalking case that was able to link the customer’s email and two IP addresses associated with that customer based on information investigators received from PureVPN.
Of course, allowing sensitive user data to fall into the wrong hands is a cardinal sin for any VPN provider. Users expect their privacy to be maintained, which is why they invest in a VPN in the first place. Whether it’s a hacker, government entity, or law enforcement agency, your VPN provider should do everything within their power to keep your information private.
In this particular case, the information PureVPN provided helped put a guilty person behind bars. But there’s a fine line between when it’s acceptable to turn over user information, and it’s a line that’s best left uncrossed, especially from a brand integrity standpoint.
Since this incident, PureVPN has gone to great lengths to restore its credibility. In 2018, they announced they’ve transitioned to become a strictly no-log service, with absolutely no identifiable user information stored on its servers. This claim has been verified through an independent third-party audit from trusted security firm Altius IT.
According to their reporting, they “did not find any evidence of system configurations and/or system/service log files that independently, or collectively, could lead to identifying a specific person and/or the person’s activity when using the PureVPN service.”
PureVPN supports a variety of different VPN protocols, including the open-source OpenVPN protocol, which is favored by security-minded users worldwide. Not only is this protocol the most secure, but it’s open-source, so there’s a level of transparency that you won’t necessarily have if you use other protocols.
While there isn’t a ton of information related to the parent company of PureVPN, the company does do a great job of keeping customers up to date on all things related to PureVPN, including disclosures related to their Hong Kong servers and updated security policies.
It’s difficult for a VPN provider to rally back after breaking consumer trust. Still, PureVPN has done a great job thus far of adjusting their practices since turning over user data related to the 2016 case we discussed above.
The primary job of any VPN is to provide you with a safe and secure tunnel for you to browse the internet without privacy concerns. The best VPNs also offer an array of additional features to provide users with the easiest and safest experience when using their product. Let’s take a closer look at some of PureVPN’s premium features.
A killswitch is one of the most sought after features that high-end VPNs provide their users, and it’s a critical feature for security-minded internet users.
VPNs engage in many complex processes to encrypt and protect your internet traffic and route it through servers that could be located halfway across the world. As you can imagine, your VPN provider can drop your connection at some point in the process on occasion.
Unfortunately, if your VPN loses its connection, your actual IP address is immediately exposed, leaving you vulnerable to prying eyes. No matter which VPN you use, you can expect to lose your connection on rare occasions, so having a killswitch option is critical to your security. Without a killswitch, any VPN can expose your IP address.
The aptly named killswitch will automatically disable your internet connection as soon as the connection between your computer and VPN is compromised. By disabling your connection, your IP address is fully protected from exposure. You’ll then be able to reconnect to your VPN and continue with your browsing without any concern for the security of your true IP address.
Every home network or mobile device has a unique IP address that identifies the administrator of that network or the device’s owner. When you use a VPN, your actual VPN is hidden, and instead, your internet traffic is associated with the IP address of the server you’re connected to, along with all other VPN users who are connected to that server.
While a VPN connection with a shared IP address is sufficient for security, there are many reasons why a dedicated IP address would be preferred.
First, there’s the speed factor. With a dedicated IP, you alone are the sole owner of that IP. Since you won’t be sharing the IP with the other users on the server, you’ll see an uptick in page load, download, and upload speeds.
For businesses that rely on email communication as part of their marketing plan, a dedicated IP address also provides a signal of trust to email providers, and it’s less likely that your marketing emails end up in the spam folder. Suppose you’re using a VPN to protect a web property you own. In that case, a dedicated IP will allow you to serve your website from a location of your choosing, instead of using your genuine IP address or the shared IP of a particular server.
Finally, a static IP address is crucial if you’ll be using your VPN to access sensitive sites, such as banks, creditors, or highly secured corporate websites. These sites may refuse access if you’re trying to login using a shared IP address. With a dedicated IP, you’ll be able to handle these sensitive tasks without worrying about being blocked.
You can add a dedicated IP address to your PureVPN account for an additional $.99 per month. Users can choose from a dedicated IP located in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Malta, Hong Kong, Australia, and Singapore. Your dedicated IP can only be associated with one device. But, if you set up your new IP through your home router, your dedicated IP will apply to any device that’s connected to your network. PureVPN can currently be configured for Windows and Mac computers, Android and iOS devices, and routers.
Port forwarding adds a security layer to your internet connection by transferring information in small packets to its destination. The router in your home uses port forwarding to allow multiple devices to connect to your WIFI network. From there, all of their traffic is directed through the unique IP address that your ISP assigns to you when they enable service.
On the VPN side of things, port forwarding provides an additional security layer by encoding your IP information and keeping it safe from prying eyes. But, it’s an incredibly complex process on the user end, and most internet users don’t have the ability to configure it themselves.
The port forwarding add-on from PureVPN is available for an additional $.25 per month, and it automatically sets up port forwarding for your devices from the server end of things.
Once port forwarding is enabled, all inbound traffic to your IP is discarded unless it’s being sent in response to a request from your system. This process acts as a firewall, protecting you from any potential attacks before they’re able to reach your system. Port forwarding from PureVPN is available for Windows and Mac computers, Android and iOS devices, and routers.
When discussing VPNs, we so often focus on the benefits of using one without considering the drawbacks.
When you’re connected to a VPN server in another corner of the world, you’ll lose access to local content, and you won’t be able to communicate with other devices on your LAN. Plus, even the fastest VPNs suffer from a drop in speed when compared to an unsecured internet connection.
With split tunneling, you’ll be able to choose which traffic is routed through your VPN and which traffic is sent through your true IP address. This feature allows you to complete sensitive tasks such as downloading torrents, streaming restricted content, and more without affecting your ability to access local sites, communicate with your LAN, or browse the internet at the fastest speeds possible.
IPv6 Leak Protection
For many years, internet-connected devices ran on the IPv4 protocol, which stands for Internet Protocol Version 4. With this protocol, 32-bit combinations of numbers and periods make up each IP address. Since there’s a finite number of 32-bit combinations and the internet continues to grow, we require a new protocol.
Enter the IPv6 protocol, which uses addresses composed of 128-bit combinations. The IPv6 protocol allows for end-to-end encryption. While end-to-end encryption was later built into the existing IPv4 protocol, it’s been the standard since the inception of IPv6. IPv6 can also virtually eliminate “man in the middle” style attacks, which are one of the most popular ways for intruders to observe your online activity.
Today, virtually all the devices we use to access the internet are configured for IPv6, but the vast majority of websites aren’t. Many VPNs run on the dated IPv4 protocol as well, which can present a significant security vulnerability.
While most websites aren’t configured for IPv6, some are. If your VPN isn’t protecting against IPv6 leaks, your computer will bypass the IPv4 VPN connection, instead connecting to the site using your real IP address. Users feel a false sense of security, thinking their activity is protected. Meanwhile, their information is leaking for all to see whenever the IPv6 protocol is in place.
WebRTC Leak Protection
WebRTC is an important technology that’s widely used for peer to peer communication tasks. WebRTC is a fundamental component of everything from VoIP to video chatting and downloading torrents.
Certain browsers may have WebRTC vulnerabilities that could expose your IP address and online activity whenever you’re engaging in online activity that requires WebRTC. PureVPN offers protection against WebRTC leaks to ensure that your traffic is encrypted and protected during activities that require WebRTC.
PureVPN supports various security protocols, and depending on the activity you’re engaging in online, you’ll find that some are better than others for specific tasks. Each protocol has its strengths and weaknesses. Some are more secure, while others prioritize speed. Selecting the correct protocol is critical to enjoying the best browsing experience.
One of the excellent features of PureVPN is that they don’t require you to be an expert in different protocols. They’ll automatically select the best protocol option for you based on the type of activity you’ll be engaging in online at that moment. Or, if you’re a bit more experienced, you can also manually select the protocol you prefer. PureVPN supports the following protocols:
- PPTP – Point to point tunneling protocol
- L2TP – Layer 2 tunneling protocol
- SSTP – Secure socket tunneling protocol
- OpenVPN – Open source protocol
- IKEv2 – Internet Key Exchange
The average household has more connected devices between computers, phones, tablets, televisions, and smart home accessories than they can count. So, the number of simultaneous connections your VPN allows becomes essential, especially in large households with many devices.
PureVPN allows users to connect up to ten different devices simultaneously, which is a generous number that’s usually sufficient for most users. But, if you need more simultaneous connections, there are a few options to help you stretch your VPN further.
The best thing to do is to ensure your router is connected to your VPN. Doing so will only use one of your ten simultaneous connections while allowing you to protect every WIFI enabled device that’s connected to your network.
If you don’t have a VPN-enabled router, you can also turn your PC or Mac into a virtual router, using it as a hotspot. Once your computer is functioning as a hotspot, you’ll be able to connect other devices to it and have them protected by your VPN.
PureVPN for China
China has some of the strictest and most comprehensive laws concerning internet privacy. For internet users within the Republic of China, accessing a free internet is basically a pipe dream. Most VPNs don’t have the sophisticated protocols necessary to get them through the Great Firewall of China, so there are very few choices for Chinese users.
Fortunately for Chinese users, PureVPN can help them to bypass the GFW, allowing them access to the internet at large. With PureVPN, Chinese users should be able to avoid the firewall and access content from the western world, including streaming media, torrents, news and reports, and much more.
Many users from other countries report issues when trying to connect to a Chinese server from elsewhere globally, but Chinese users seem to have little trouble connecting to servers outside of China so they can bypass the GFW.
Once connected through PureVPN, Chinese users can stream content, download torrents, and access web content typically blocked in China.
Keep in mind that China’s policies concerning the western internet can change at any time, and what works for Chinese users today might not work tomorrow. But as it stands now, PureVPN is one of the best and most reliable options for VPN users in mainland China.
PureVPN supports various devices with native apps that make it incredibly easy for users to set up their VPN service. Beyond those native apps, you can also manually setup PureVPN service for other, less popular platforms.
Currently, these devices are supported through the PureVPN app and allow for automatic setup.
- Windows PC
- DD-WRT Router
- Android TV
- Amazon Kindle
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- PureVPN Chrome extension
- PureVPN Firefox extension
These devices can all be connected right through the PureVPN app, and they allow for fully automatic setup. The average user will be able to connect their device to a secure VPN connection within seconds. You’ll also find a PureVPN extension for most popular browsers, including Chrome and Firefox.
Beyond these devices, PureVPN supports countless others as well. However, these devices must be set up manually. Yes, manual setup is a bit more time consuming, but it’s still relatively easy to do, and PureVPN provides some great resources to help you get your VPN connected, even if it’s your first time doing so.
Here are some of the most popular devices that you can connect to your VPN manually. Beyond these devices, there are several more that you’ll be able to manually connect to your VPN. You can see the full list here.
- VPN-enabled routers (Linksys, Asus, Belkin, D-Link, and more)
- Nintendo Switch
- Microsoft Surface
- Raspberry Pi
- Smart TVs (LG, Samsung, Toshiba, and more)
One of the most essential features for any VPN provider is the availability of server locations. Top VPN providers offer tons of different servers worldwide to provide customers with the flexibility they need to access the internet securely and at high speeds.
While there are a few outliers that offer even more servers than PureVPN does, most VPN’s can’t come close to competing with PureVPN’s collection of over 2,000 servers in over 180 locations worldwide.
Here’s how PureVPN’s extensive server network breaks down:
- North America – 656 servers
- Central America – 12 servers
- South America – 81 servers
- Europe – 769 servers
- Oceania – 93 servers
- Asia – 273 servers
- Africa – 150 servers
Each server in the network, including the many available virtual servers, is optimized to provide users with the best user experience possible. PureVPN’s vast server network offers various protocols, and each server is optimized for a different function.
Whether you need the most secure connection possible, a server that provides lightning-fast speeds for streaming and downloading, or crystal clear VoIP call quality, you’ll have tons of servers to choose from that fit your purpose.
PureVPN offers countless servers optimized to provide users with the most reliable experience possible for all their digital content needs. You’ll find plenty of PureVPN Netflix servers that are optimized to provide fast and reliable streaming. More advanced users also have the option to configure their connection to their liking for optimized streaming.
Just as users will find tons of servers worldwide that are optimized for streaming, there are also hundreds of P2P enabled servers that can provide you with fast download speeds while keeping your activity safe and private. All you need to do is connect to one of their P2P enabled servers and download as much as you like.
Reddit about PureVPN
If you’re searching for an unbiased PureVPN review, Reddit is an ideal place to look. Reddit is home to some honest and highly polarized opinions on practically every subject, and it’s no different when it comes to VPNs.
PureVPN has its fair share of supporters on Reddit and just as many detractors. Most of the negative PureVPN reviews on Reddit center around the 2016 case in which PureVPN cooperated with authorities to reveal a PureVPN user’s identity.
Since that incident, PureVPN has gone to great lengths to repair its image and move to a strict no-log policy. Since their no-log claims have been independently verified by a 3rd party investigator, it may be time for users to stop holding them to the fire for this controversy.
PureVPN offers a variety of different pricing options to fit the needs of varying VPN users. Whether you’re looking to try out your VPN options, secure a VPN for a business trip, or find a long-term VPN partner that keeps you safe while maintaining an affordable price, there’s something for everyone with PureVPN.
You’ll regularly find special deals and promotions for PureVPN, so there are times of the year where you may be able to score an even better deal than what they’re advertising at the moment.
Currently, PureVPN has three plans available; month-to-month, six months, and one year. Here’s how these pricing plans break down:
- Month-to-month – $10.95 per month
- 6-Months – $8.33 per month (24% off)
- One Year – $5.83 per month (47% off)
While the month to month plan bills on the anniversary of your plan each month, the 6-month and one-year plans are billed upfront for the full term.
PureVPN offers a 7-day free trial for users who sign up for their yearly plan. If you select the annual plan, you’ll have 7-days to test drive the service and decide if it’s right for you before you’re billed.
When it comes to VPNs, longer terms are always preferable. Longer terms always feature deep discounts, which can dramatically reduce what you’re paying for your VPN each month. So, if you know you’re going to need a VPN, your best bet is to take advantage of a free trial, and if you like the service, lock in for the longest term possible as it will save you a nice chunk of money.
PureVPN for Business
VPNs are essential tools for businesses of all sizes, especially with more employees working remotely and from home than ever before.
While torrents and streaming probably aren’t priorities in a business environment, security is of paramount importance. A business VPN ensures that all of the traffic associated with your company is kept secure and private.
Perhaps more importantly, it allows the members of your company to connect with company assets, whether they’re in the office, working from home, or 3,000 miles away. With a business VPN, employees will be able to connect to your server, and you can also whitelist certain users and IPs to grant access to sensitive assets housed on your server. A business VPN will also make your VoIP system available to your employees from anywhere.
PureVPN’s business services are available, starting at $8.45 per month per user. PureVPN also offers custom packages with dedicated servers for enterprise-level businesses. Some of the world’s premier companies rely on PureVPN’s business services, including Apple, Sony, Samsung, and SpaceX.
While PureVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market, there are a few other top-tier VPNs that are worthy of your consideration. In particular, three options seem to make it to the top of everyone’s “best of” lists each year.
NordVPN is perhaps the largest and most popular VPN in the world, boasting over 5,200 servers in 62 different locations. NordVPN is more expensive than competitors for shorter plan terms, but if you’re willing to sign up for a two-year term, they offer a deep 68% discount for an exceptionally low monthly rate.
NordVPN has long been an expert-preferred VPN option, but a small data breach that NordVPN self-disclosed in 2019 has users considering other options, such as Surfshark, PureVPN, and ExpressVPN.
To their credit, NordVPN has since made significant investments in user security, undergoing multiple audits and setting up a bug bounty program, which provides generous rewards to anybody who can identify a vulnerability in their server architecture.
Surfshark is an up-and-coming VPN provider that offers over 1,700 servers throughout 63 locations. What they lack in server volume, they make up for with excellent service at a fantastic price. Plus, they offer unlimited connections with a single plan. They offer a generous 30-day trial, and they’ve been independently audited to confirm their privacy practices’ safety and security.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs available, and they boast an impressive array of servers and locations, with more than 3,000 servers throughout 160 locations. They offer TrustedServer technology, which is an exclusive RAM-only server platform that eliminates the security risks to users that are inherent with hard-drive-based servers.
This independently audited company has been around since 2009, and they offer incredible service at a price that’s only slightly more than PureVPN. However, with ExpressVPN, you’re limited to only five simultaneous connections, which could present an issue for some users.
PureVPN review: summary
Since 2007, PureVPN has been building a reputation as one of the most extensive, fastest, and most secure VPN services for security-minded internet users. While it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for PureVPN, they’ve done a fantastic job of bouncing back after a privacy scandal relating to a 2016 case rocked the company.
Since the scandal, PureVPN has been putting their money where their mouth is by delivering fast and reliable VPN servers across well over a hundred countries. They maintain a strict no-log policy that’s been independently verified through a third-party audit.
While there are a few VPN services that may rival or exceed the service you’ll receive from PureVPN, they’re still one of the strongest VPN providers in the world, and our PureVPN review is a positive one. If you’re looking for an affordable and secure VPN with tons of servers located throughout the world, take a closer look at PureVPN.
PureVPN is a VPN provider that can provide users with secure and private access to the internet, eliminating concern for prying eyes, intruders, or other third-parties that are trying to access your sensitive information online.
PureVPN works by providing users with a fully encrypted tunnel for their internet traffic to travel through. Once a user connects to PureVPN, their data is encrypted and routed through one of the VPN’s servers, which may be located anywhere in the world. This process effectively hides your sensitive personal information and browsing activity, attributing all activity to the VPN server instead of your unique IP address.
For most devices, setting up PureVPN is very easy and intuitive. All you need to do is download the PureVPN app for your particular device, open the app, and follow the prompts. Within a few seconds, you’ll be connected to the VPN server of your choice.
PureVPN also supports tons of other devices that must be set up manually. The setup process differs depending on which device you’re connecting, but it’s still reasonably easy to do yourself. Check PureVPN’s setup guide for more info on how to manually set up devices.
Using PureVPN is as simple as turning on your device, opening the PureVPN device, and selecting the server you wish to connect. From there, simply connect to the server and enjoy the internet privately and securely.
Users of this popular multi-platform media player can also enjoy the benefits of PureVPN. Since Kodi doesn’t have it’s own dedicated PureVPN app, setup is a bit more complicated. Thankfully, PureVPN provides detailed information on using PureVPN with Kodi on practically any device in their detailed PureVPN for Kodi setup guide.
Fortunately for Firestick users, you can download the PureVPN app right from the Amazon App store. All you’ll need to do is open the PureVPN app, select a server to connect to, and enjoy whatever you’re watching without any privacy concerns.
PureVPN is one of the top VPNs available today. This service provides users with over 2,000 servers to choose from, many of which are optimized for streaming and peer to peer downloads, and they’ve recently become a strictly no-log VPN with an independent audit in their corner to back up their claims.