It is perhaps childish to admit, but I still can’t help but feel giddy when I go through a well-designed website. PureVPN’s site is bright and smooth, bordering on bubbly, but does that carefree veneer stop at the surface?
It does seem to be the case. The cheerful attitude takes nothing away from PureVPN, whose desktop app interface is arguably the most impressive I’ve seen. Reminiscent of CyberGhost’s mobile app interface, PureVPN comes with preset modes:
- Stream, optimized for online streaming
- Internet Freedom, which specialized in unblocking geo-restricted services and penetrating government firewalls
- Security/Privacy, which is optimized to protect your data
- File Sharing for P2P transfers
- Dedicated IP, which requires an add-on purchase
Both the Stream and Internet Freedom modes allow for types of searches, by Location of by Purpose. In Stream mode, you can search for servers best suited for different streaming services, whereas in the Internet Freedom mode, you can filter servers that are optimized for China, social media, or a few major broadcasting networks.
Servers & Locations
PureVPN’s 750 servers might not sound very impressive, but its global server network covers countries I did not know existed.
- North America: United States, Canada, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica, Barbados, St Lucia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caico Island, Bermuda, Montserrat, and the Virgin Islands
- Central America: Belize and San José
- South America: Aruba, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Bolivia, Paraguay, Suriname, Guyana, and Venezuela.
- Europe: UK, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea
- Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Jordan, South Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Macau, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Vietnam
- Africa: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritania, Kenya, Niger, Mauritius, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Seychelles, South Africa, Cape Verde, Morocco, Angola, Algeria, South Africa
Platforms & Simultaneous Connections
PureVPN supports all major platforms: Windows, MacOS, Android, and iPhone, in addition to Chrome and Firefox extensions, DD-WRT Applet, Router VPN, Firestick, and Kodi. Not the most impressive range, but enough for the vast majority of users.
Pure VPN allows for each account to be used on 5 devices at the same time. It does not keep count of your server switches nor how much data you consume. The service also includes an Internet Kill Switch that cuts off the connection when the VPN connection drops.
PureVPN’s servers are all owned and managed by the company. Unlike companies that use shared servers from third-party providers, PureVPN’s model reduces the chances of decreased speed, increases dependability and the privacy of your data. What’s more, PureVPN is able to guarantee that all protocols are supported no matter the router you choose. By contrast, third-party servers do not necessarily support all protocols on all servers.
Gravity is PureVPN’s online security suite, so to speak. Packaged inside gravity are ads and explicit results blockers. Both functions are disabled by default but can be turned on from the gravity dashboard. Gravity also allows users to blacklist or whitelist specific websites; it also offers them the option to block websites based on a very wide range of categories. Categories include websites that contain security threats – phishing, botnets, malware, and so on – advertising pop-ups, content from cults, the tobacco and alcohol industry, and so on.
There are also add-ons that you can purchase, such as a dedicated IP, DDoS protection, and such. Check the list below.
Each and every VPN server of PureVPN supports the following security protocols.
- OpenVPN: your go-to protocol when it comes to the best combination of security and performance. The open source software is generally the most recommended and most used protocol and for good reason. It supports a great number of strong encryption algorithms and performs well when it comes to speed.
- L2TP/IPSec: Your best option if OpenVPN isn’t available. The protocol is also a good choice for countries where it is difficult to penetrate government and ISP firewalls.
- PPTP: Unless speed is your only priority, stay away from PPTP. It is old and known to have many security flaws.
- SSTP: A good choice for machines running the Windows operating system. SSTP is integrated into the system, making it more stable than other protocols when it comes to Windows machines.
- IKEv2: Mostly used for iOS and Mac OS; it employs very strong cryptographic algorithms and keys.
Location & Logs
PureVPN falls under “the consumer privacy-friendly, non-spying jurisdiction” of Hong Kong. The company however made headlines last year in connection with an FBI investigation when a PureVPN customer was identified and arrested using connection logs supplied by PureVPN.
There are two concerns here. Prior to the incident, PureVPN boasted a no logs policy on its website, which it has since removed. Two, while it is a commendable act to help identify a criminal, merely having the ability to do so is problematic in itself. Should VPNs have that power? And what guarantees do we have that it will always act diligently?
There were no flaws in PureVPN’s support feature. Answers were prompt and satisfactory. There is really little to mention here, which is a good thing.
I tested the impact of rerouting my data through PureVPN’s servers in the US (New York), England (London), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam). It is not the fastest service, but the results were satisfactory overall.
- US: Download was 34.2% slower upload was 30.8% slower
- UK: Servers suffered a 14% drop in download speed and 22.5% in upload
- Netherlands: Download dropped 42.5% but upload dropped 16.4%
Price & Verdict
As seen above, PureVPN’s can cost anywhere between 11 and 2.5 dollars a month, depending on the length of your subscription. Is the service worth it, perhaps only if you are willing to invest in a year’s worth or more; the monthly subscription is a bit costly. But overall PureVPN proved to be a solid service, one that anyone looking for a VPN should seriously consider. We should also note that right now there is a 3 months World Cup package which retails for 6.65 dollars a month.
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