PureVPN review, cheap but dubious about privacy, our experience!

09-Apr-2019

PureVPN is a long-established VPN provider from 2007 that has been substantially renewed in recent years. The company is headquartered in Hong Kong and has over 2000 servers in more than 140 countries. Formerly the service was known to be expensive, but due to the renewal of the company the price has decreased significantly. The software is available on multiple platforms and is also easy to use. In this review you can read in detail what this service offers, what the pros and cons are. If you don't know what you can do with a VPN, you can read our page about what a VPN is. We share our experiences with this affordable VPN service.

PureVPN review, cheap but dubious about privacy, our experience!

PureVPN servers

Since this provider has been around for some time, they have built up a fink extensive server park. At this moment there are more than 2000 servers spread over more than 140 countries. Within these countries there are a total of 180 server locations available. This is really a very extensive network. Everywhere in the world there is a server nearby so you can use a VPN connection relatively quickly.

Dedicated IP-adress

When you want to access a server within your home network from another ip address the most logical solution is a dedicated ip address. PureVPN offers the possibility to use your own ip address for an additional charge. Another situation in which this can be useful is when you can only access certain websites with pre-approved ip addresses, for example access to an ftp server.

Using PureVPN software and apps

Software is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. The software on all platforms is very easy to use. For beginners it is immediately clear what is possible, it is not a complicated interface. For the more demanding user there is also plenty to choose from, all possible settings for a PN connection can be found within the software and apps. The download of the different software can be found on the website itself.

Windows

In our opinion, the Windows app is very intuitive and easy to use. The look of the app is not very modern but it is clear and it does exactly what it is supposed to do. Below you can see some screenshots of PureVPN's Windows software. Each profile is suitable for a special purpose. For example, you can choose "stream", "security privacy", "file sharing" and any other purpose you want to set up the VPN connection for. Once you have chosen a mode, your settings will be adjusted accordingly. For example, for streaming a less secure protocol will be chosen that is faster than OpenVPN. Once you have chosen the right profile you will be taken to a new screen as shown below. Here you can choose a location to connect to. You can also do a ping test in the same interface so you know which VPN server is probably the fastest in your situation. You will also see which servers are allowed to download p2p such as torrents. Choose a country you want to connect to and the software will connect to the chosen VPN server. Once connected you will see the following screen. This is just a status screen and you have the option to disconnect if you want to, of course there is also a settings menu available on the app. Here you can indicate which protocol you want to use. For this review we have carefully looked at all the options and there is really enough to set up if you want to. The settings screen has several chapters under which you can make specific settings. Nothing is as useful and clear as you ask us. There is a settings menu for Our, a kind of antivirus and blocking service from PureVPN. These settings are all difficult to understand and if you already understand them, it's a job that has to be done with surgical precision. Other settings such as "auto boot on Windows startup" and auto connect on PureVPN startup are useful. As well as the kill switch settings, PureVPN also works fine for people who don't want to set anything. The default settings are good and sufficient for the average user of the service, as you can see there are many options to configure in the Windows software. Don't worry, the default options are good for the average user. But when you want to set something extra it's easy to do so with this software. This is always a plus for VPN services when we do a review.

Android

For Android phones and tablets PureVPN has developed that really works fine. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store and of course from the PureVPN website. After the installation you only need to fill in your login name and password and after logging in you can use the servers of PureVPN. The app for Android looks very clear and is easy to use. Below you will find several screenshots to get a good impression of PureVPN's Android app. This will automatically set certain settings for you so you get the best user experience according to your VPN connection goal and it's easy to choose which location you want to connect to. There are actually 2 ways to do this. Simply click on the country you wish to connect to or choose the destination for which you wish to use the VPN connection. For example, you can simply click on Netflix US to connect to the VPN server to receive the American Netflix (although that didn't always work very well). For example, it is possible to set up an automatic connection to a VPN server as soon as you launch the app and you can also choose which VPN protocol you want to use. All in all PureVPN's Android app worked fine during our review period.

iOS app for iPhone and iPad

Also for those who have an iPad or iPhone, an app has been developed with which you can connect to a PureVPN server. If possible, the app works even better than the Android app. There are more options available and this app also looks great. If you are looking for an affordable VPN provider to use on your iPad or iPhone you can use PureVPN and the iOS, for example, you can indicate the purpose of your VPN connection and the app will indicate which server is most suitable for that. For example, you can indicate that you want to stream, the iOS app then indicates which servers are the most suitable. Below is a screenshot with an overview of a number of options you will find in the app. You will also get an impression of how the app works.

Browser extensies Chrome en Firefox

If you only want to browse securely and anonymously you can choose to install only the browser extension or addon in Firefox and Chrome from PureVPN. This allows the browser to easily connect to a VPN server, making sure that all Internet traffic in the browser in question goes through a VPN connection. Please keep in mind that the other traffic is sent unencrypted via messengers or download programs, for example. If you want to encrypt all your data you will need to use the full desktop client of PureVPN. The browser extensions look like this, the screenshots are taken in Chrome but in Firefox it looks like this, the main screen looks like this in the Chrome extension. A big advantage of this extension is that you can set it to prevent WebRTC leak and you can easily visit websites from within the extension that you can unblock with the PureVPN VPN connection.

PureVPN Kodi addon

PureVPN has also made an addon especially for Kodi and Openelec. With this addon you can set up a VPN connection within Kodi in a clear and easy way. The advantage of this is that you can now see geographically blocked streams in Kodi. In addition, many Kodi users want to protect their privacy. A VPN connection is of course also a very suitable option for this.

Linux

PureVPN has developed an application for the Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS distributions. This application is console based, you have to use the software bus in the terminal. This is all very easy but the options are more limited than the options in the Windows and MacOS software.

Other operating systems

Because PureVPN supports the well-known OpenVPN protocol it is easy to connect to other devices and operating systems. For example, you can use this service with Ubuntu or other Linux devices. Also if you have a DD-WRT or Tomato router you can use PureVPN. An advantage of installing PureVPN connections on your router is that it is possible to connect devices that normally do not support VPN to the internet via a VPN. Think for example of a Chromecast and Apple TV. This makes it possible to watch geographically blocked content with these devices. For example to the NPO and RTL XL app from abroad.

Privacy and security PureVPN

PureVPN also has as one of the few options to use SSTP, this is the most secure method but it slows down your internet traffic noticeably. The technical security of PureVPN is therefore good, but the privacy policy of PureVPN is inadequate. We are not a fan of logs and PureVPN says to keep limited logs. Within the privacy policy of PureVPN we have found that it does not log which sites you visit, which requests you send to the DNS server, which mails you send and so on. What is logged are the attempts to connect to the VPN server. According to PureVPN, this is only done for security reasons and to keep track of the technical performance of the service, but a recent event has taught us that partial logging of information can cause you to lose your privacy. Or the following means that PureVPN is secretly logging. The FBI was able to pick up a person using PureVPN's logs. This shows that your privacy at PureVPN is not completely safe.

Automatic connection and kill switch

If you want to be sure that you only connect to the Internet when a VPN connection has been established it is important that your VPN software automatically connects and blocks the Internet when there is no connection to the VPN server. The automatic connection option and the kill switch option are responsible for this

. This is essential when a constant VPN is needed, in this review we will look at how PureVPN does this, PureVPN has automatic startup and automatic connection option built into the software for Windows and Mac (OS X) users. The apps for iOS (Iphone, Ipad) and Android do not have this option. For these apps the option is also much less important because these devices are constantly on, so you only need to connect to the Purevpn server once to stay connected to Android and iOS. Having a connection is nice, but keeping a connection is at least as important. Then a kill switch comes in the picture. This is an option that turns off all internet traffic when the connection to a VPN server is lost. This option is only available on Windows systems, on the website it says that work is being done to get the functionality working on other platforms as well, it is not yet known when that will be the case.

PureVPN speed

PureVPN charges some stitches in the speed. It looks like PureVPN's VPN servers are often overloaded or just squeezing your connection speed a little at a certain load. Our internet speed halved after we enabled the VPN connection to PureVPN. Of course you can always switch servers, but that doesn't solve the slow connection in all cases. When you are looking for speed in a VPN connection PureVPN doesn't serve you well. If speed is important, IPVanish or ExpressVPN is much better. The slow connection to the VPN servers is really a drawback in this PureVPN review.

Bittorrent and PureVPN

PureVPN allows the use of the bittorrent protocol over its network, there is a small note to this policy. You are required to use a server that is located in a country where PureVPN allows bittorrent downloads. Fortunately, these are a lot of countries, even if you are connected to PureVPN's Dutch VPN server, it is allowed to download torrents. This is a good way to download anonymously and you will not be punished if you try to download torrents if you use the server in the United States, downloading torrents will simply not work.

Price of PureVPN

PureVPN has a price structure as you often see with VPN providers. The longer the subscription you take in one go, the lower the monthly charges will be. If you immediately take out and pay for 2 years, the subscription will cost $2.88 per month. If you compare that with the most expensive VPN service in our review overview: ExpressVPN, that saves about $3,00 per month. If you don't want to pay one year in advance, then PureVPN will become a lot more expensive. For example, if you want to pay per month, you will lose $10.95 per month, which is quite high. Another option is to purchase a 1 year subscription, which will cost you $4,08 per month. In our opinion, the only attractive option is an annual subscription. The other 2 subscriptions are really too expensive for what you get. For example, if you only need a VPN for 1 month, it is better to go to Private Internet Access. Below you can see a screenshot of the price table that comes from the PureVPN website. All in all, the price of a PureVPN 2 year subscription compared to other VPN providers is average. The service works fine in itself, as far as that goes, the price/quality ratio is fine. But as indicated earlier, we are very shocked by the way PureVPN apparently handles customer data. A cheaper VPN with better quality and privacy is CyberGhost.

Not good money back guarantee period of 31 days

It is possible to test the service for the first 31 days. If you do not like the test period it is possible to ask for a refund within 31 days. PureVPN itself indicates that this is easy to do. To get your money back from PureVPN send an email. This mail contains your username and the reason why you do not want to continue with PureVPN. Then they will stop your subscription.

Netflix watching with PureVPN

PureVPN claims that you can watch the French, British and American Netflix with a connection to one of these countries. However, we tested it and streaming Netflix didn't work at all. We understand that not all servers work with Netflix, as Netflix is actively trying to block the VPN connections. But if you claim that Netflix does work we at least expect PureVPN to do everything possible to get Netflix working again over the VPN connections.

Conclusion, our experience with PureVPN

PureVPN is very cheap and offers more than sufficient quality in return. The software we used during the review is clear, the Windows software is a bit more extensive than for the other platforms. The encryption used for the connections is basically good in NordVPN. However when you are looking for a VPN to protect your privacy it seems that you should choose another VPN service. There is a known case that PureVPN has consulted client data with government agencies. The customer service and support leaves much to be desired. Our experience with PureVPN during this review is fairly positive, especially if a low price is important to you. But the way PureVPN deals with customer data turns out not to be good. In our opinion, this is a big disadvantage of this service and therefore we do not recommend this VPN service.

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