PureVPN has been running since 2006 and is the first in hopefully a long list of VPN services we plan to review on VPN Freaks the coming years. From the outset it’s obvious to see that PureVPN is aiming to provide the best possible security while still allowing users who are unfamiliar with using a VPN to unlock websites the ability to learn the software quickly and easily.
So let’s dive in and take a look at PureVPN and what it has to offer!
PureVPN Review: First Impressions…
OK so the first thing we want to take a look at in this PureVPN review is the VPN provider itself and what they are all about.
PureVPN is the perfect example of a VPN which started out life as a personal service which soon blossomed into a highly demanded security tool that offers tonnes of features all brought together and curated by an active VPN user community in the background pulling the strings on the new features they would like to see being added.
The vision of PureVPN is that the tool was built solely for freedom allowing users to unlock the internet and not be greeted by all those nasty ‘This Content is not available in your county’ popups you will often see all over the place, not to mention doing all this while keeping you as protected as possible with 256bit encryption while you browse.
Pricing & Packages (How much is PureVPN?)
Like most other VPN providers you will find us reviewing, PureVPN change their pricing options often to give the users assess to the best deals for using the service.
If you want to be sure your picking up the best price as of today please check out the below deal.
As a standard PureVPN offer a 7 day money back guarantee meaning you can try PureVPN free for 7 days to see if you are satisfied with the service and it also gives you a chance to check out some of the numerous security features. They do however state that you must use no more than 500mb of data within this time frame as part of the refund policy but this should be no issue for anyone browsing while protected or checking the speeds they can reach on some of the 141+ vpn server countries.
PureVPN’s payment methods are some of the most numerous we’ve seen from VPN providers allowing you to use the usual options like standard debit / credit cards as well as Paypal, Bank transfer and even Bitcoin. In total there are over 150+ payment options to choose from so there is some serious flexibility when it comes to suiting the most secure and popular option that suits you.
Once you’ve chosen the subscription package or plan that’s right for you and signed up an email will be promptly sent across to your chosen address giving you a full receipt and login information. From here you then have access to the customer area where you can see all the forms in which PureVPN can be installed on your chosen devices.
PureVPN Installation (Complicated or Easy?)
Looking through the customer area it’s obvious to see there are tonnes of options when it comes to the kind of devices you can install PureVPN upon.
Notably the popular options like Windows,Mac and Linux installation are available alongside Android and iPhone. However they offer seemingly limitless installation ability across the board and even offer help and guidance installing PureVPN on routers, Apple tv and many other devices.
For this PureVPN review it makes sense that you are going to want an idea of how easy it is to install this VPN on your machine so as an example we went ahead an installed it on Windows 8.1.
As you can see it’s the normal installation process you will be use to seeing where you simply hit ‘Next’ and agree to the terms of the service being sure to give them a once over to check for anything you didn’t expect. During this process you may follow help and guidance offered within the customer area if you are unsure along the way.
Once you have it all installed and ready to go you will be greeted by a sleek and user friendly UI that lets you pick your most common VPN usage style. You will have options to pick from like:
- I want to STREAM (This will allow you to enjoy unlimited streaming of services like BBC iPlayer at any time from anywhere)
- I want to UNBLOCK (This will allow you to Unblock country specific websites like Netflix US with a few clicks of the mouse)
- I want SECURITY / PRIVACY (This option will allow you to bolster your security and is great if dealing with sensitive data)
- I want FILE-SHARING (This will give you access to log-free and anonymous file sharing on servers worldwide)
- I want to use for REMOTE / DEDI IP (This option will give you a dedicated IP for added security with your chosen protocol)
PureVPN UI (Let’s test How it works!)
So PureVPN has one of the most streamlined user interfaces we’ve reviewed so far with an easy path to follow from the moment you open the app allowing you to quickly choose the way in which you want to use it to stay protected or unblock content online.
So let’s go ahead and put the VPN to the test by using one of it’s most popular options ‘I want to UNBLOCK’ which will allow us to quickly and easily unblock a streaming service like BBC iPlayer.
As you can see this service is currently blocked in the United States which is our current IP address location. So we are going to need to change our IP Address to something the service is happy to allow access to.
For BBC iPlayer this is normally a location within the United Kingdom so lets go ahead and use the VPN to swap our server location to the UK.
Simply clicking on the drop down will allow us to use PureVPN to pick a specific service we want to unblock and give a list of countries that are allowed access to the content we want to see. On this list we can find BBC iPlayer so let’s go ahead and use the recommended UK server.
That’s it! Using PureVPN the streaming service is now unblocked and allowing us to watch our favourite shows and access further features.
PureVPN Performance (Is the VPN reliable?)
While reviewing PureVPN we’ve tested numerous features and options and had no issues in terms of lag whether we are watching videos on Youtube, listening to music on Pandora or downloading large files. It’s really easy to track PureVPN’s performance while connected to a chosen server as seen below:
As you can see the VPN comes equipped with a bandwidth chart to help you keep track of your current connection and enables you to quickly get an idea of your data usage along with providing you information about the duration of the current connection and location you will currently appear to be browsing from.
We also tested PureVPN by going out into town and connecting to many of the public wifi hotspots located in coffee shops and the public library. While using a program called Wireshark to keep track of all network activity we proceeded to login accounts on popular forums, Amazon and even Online Banking with no issues or unwanted activity flowing across the network.
In terms of reviewing the speed of PureVPN we performed numerous tests using SpeedTest.net. These tests are designed to give you an idea of the download and upload speeds of any current connection from your computer or device.
Each time we ran a speed check we connected to a server on the VPN then found a location on SpeedTest which was closest to that location to give a good example of the speeds that could be reached and so far we’ve had some really good results with some nearly matching our basic internet connection without using the VPN service.
However for this PureVPN review we wanted to do something a bit different so as a good test of how high the speeds could go we thought why not connect from the United Kigdom to the United States under 256bit ecryption and see the results that could be returned using SpeedTest.net. Below we’ve left the full connection settings we used:
- Original Location – London, United Kigdom
- Base Connection Speed- 100mbps
- Chosen Server Location – New York, United States
- Connection Protocol & Encryption – L2TP + 256bit Encryption
- PureVPN Mode – I want SECURITY / PRIVACY
As you can see even over the chosen distance there was still a solid and reliable connection even under the level of security PureVPN had placed upon the network.
PureVPN Security (How secure is the service?)
The great thing about PureVPN when it comes to security is the level of customisation you can place on each and every connection you make using the service. As a default straight after install PureVPN do not initially add the 256 bit encryption to your connections as most users simply want the fastest connection possible in order to stream services like Netflix. However using the drop-down shown below you are able to easily swap out to your preferred level of encryption.
Using any of the PureVPN mode’s previously mentioned under ‘installation’ you will have the ability to also apply different protocols such as L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) among many others to choose from.
You may also want to apply the ‘Kill Switch’ feature which allows you to instantly cut of any connection to the outside world in the unlikely event one of the servers you are currently connected to experiences downtime. This ensures your real IP address or any information is not leaked to the service or website you may be using at the current time.
As a service in general PureVPN states it will never release any information about your account and its usage unless required to do so by law enforcement under specific circumstances. So on this standpoint PureVPN can’t be classed as a solely ‘Zero Logging’ VPN service and those of you with the requirement for a 100% no logging service may want to look elsewhere for a more confidential provider.
PureVPN Features (What else can this VPN do?)
This VPN is simply packed to the rafters with features but one of note that we really enjoyed was ‘Split tunnelling’
This feature allows you to specificity pick which app or programmes you want to connect through a VPN server allowing full flexibility and privacy at your finger tips. We tested this by applying the feature to our Browser (Chrome) and making transactions on an e-commerce website and monitoring the network actions using Wireshark once again.
We found no VPN or DNS leak’s and the connection was fully encrypted (256bit) for the duration proving this is a top feature especially when dealing with sensitive data or things like online banking where you want to stay as secure as possible.
Throughout this PureVPN review we’ve been more than impressed with not only the UI and ability to customise your VPN usage style, but the level of features that are packed into a tool that you can purchase at a price point that comes in less than a few cup’s of coffee per month.
While using the VPN you really do get the feeling throughout that you have full control and flexibility using the service whether you are transferring sensitive data over an encrypted connection or simply going with the faster options available to stream Netflix or listen to music on Pandora.
The only downside we can talk about is the server numbers (140+) as compared to some larger services like HideMyAss which are more established and currently has servers in over 221+ countries for some people this may also be a deciding factor when it comes to server choice but for us this was no real issue and in fact means that there was less strain on the service as a whole with less people trying to connect at any given time.
So if your looking for a VPN service that can offer you full protection and security, or even just a work around to unblock sites like Netflix, Pandora or BBC iPlayer then PureVPN really does tick all the boxes for security and reliability.