But, the other benefit to today’s technology is that a lot more is available than before. Some of these new things are tools to protect your privacy.
If you’re looking into personal privacy, it’s hard to not come across VPNs.
And if you’re looking into VPNs, it’s even harder to not come across PureVPN.
Arguably one of the most known Virtual Private Networks, PureVPN has even been talked about in the New York Times—author Quentin Hardy describes how it uses “state of the art technology to encrypt internet traffic.”
Sounds good, right? An easy way to be secure online, hooray!
Of course, it’s never that simple. Let’s take a look at how PureVPN really compares to its hype.
I like to start with the cons first.
First off, I think PureVPN should have a free version. I may be biased, because I like free things, but some other VPNs offer free versions. PureVPN offers so many features that it seems reasonable to offer a free, less-featured service in addition to its paid ones.
Additionally, if it’s going to be paid only, they should at least offer a free trial, but instead they only have a paid trial.
Other than that, I think their website, while overall slick, can be a bit confusing and needs streamlining, and they should offer more browser extensions.
That’s mostly it for me though—though some users have complained of slower desktop experiences after installing, I don’t think the cons are too bad.
Wasn’t that easy? Now it’s time for the fun stuff.
Features are the major plus for PureVPN. You’ll see soon, but there are a ton of tools offered.
The variety of platforms on which PureVPN can operate is also impressive, and the hundreds of servers on 141 countries is something I find remarkable.
I’m ambivalent about their customer support, but their knowledge base is a notable plus.
Finally, it runs really well—at least for me—and it’s very easy to use, so if you’re like me and not super knowledgeable, you won’t have a rough time.
Overall, the pros far outweigh the cons. If this isn’t convincing, just keep reading–I’ve got quite a bit more to say.
Alright, let’s look at the costs.
Coincidentally, at the time of this writing, PureVPN is offering a special deal on its 2 year plan, reducing the normal cost of $10.95 a month to $2.95 a month. That’s a pretty good deal.
But it won’t last forever! The normal pricing is straightforward and has the following three tiers: per month, per 2 years, and per six months.
For both one month of access and for two years, the normal price is $10.95 a month. For six months of PureVPN, you’d pay $6.95 a month.
For Android and iPhone users, you’ll pay $4.99 a month per one month, $39.99 for a year (which is about $3.33 a month), or $23.99 for six months (which is about $3.99 a month).
The dedicated VPN (which lets you reserve an IP in another country) has a unique pricing structure, at $1.99 a month for either one month, six months, or a year (view it here).
There is indeed a refund policy, but it lasts only seven days, and while there is no free trial, there is a paid trial.
There are, as I’ve said no free versions.
The lack of the free option may be a drag to some users, but as we’ll see, there are a lot of features if you pay.
Now, if you’re a bit more settled from learning about the price, let’s go into what you get for the price.
First off—no bandwidth or data limits. One reason this VPN is so popular is that it’s great for people who don’t want to sacrifice their typical browsing experience, which may include downloading things, streaming things from Netflix or watching lengthy YouTube videos.
Speaking of that, PureVPN pushes that entertainment friendly image of itself with features (not just words) such as Smart Purpose Selection, its managed network of hundreds of servers, and its allowance of indefinite server switching.
PureVPN packs in an anti-virus functionality that comes in handy, as well as intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems (IDS/IPS).
And of course, there’s an ad block feature (called Your Shield Against Ads) built in as well, something that not only makes your browsing experience more enjoyable, but also more private.
In addition to this there’s a content filter, which is similar, but blocks ads on sites before your browser downloads them, allowing pages to load more quickly.
There are also some handy filters: app filtering and URL filtering allow you to control what apps run on your device and block bad pages on a regularly updated blacklist.
Note: these are also referred to as the app blocker and web filter, and they are some of the new, “advanced” features being rolled out.
If there’s a drop in your ISP, or a PureVPN server disconnects, your Internet Kill Switch (IKS) will be activated to cut all internet activity. It may be annoying at the time, but it would keep your information private, and for that reason, it’s an indispensable tool.
DNS Leak Protection is another solid feature put in place to make sure none of your info escapes, or “leaks” from the virtual tunnel to be collected by unwanted eyes.
One of my favorite features is Split Tunneling, something that should be a staple tool for any good VPN. It essentially allows users to choose what data will be sent through their ISP and what will be sent through their VPN.
One of the great ways PureVPN ensures its users confidence is its strong encryption mechanism: It uses 256-bit encryption (that’s military grade).
PureVPN also gives you encryption for Gmail, something that I personally really like, as ordinarily a person like me who isn’t the most tech-wise would have to go out of their way to have strongly encrypted emails. This makes it ridiculously easy to secure the mailbox you normally use.
All these lovely specific features aside, it’s also pretty nice to see how many platforms PureVPN offers its services on.
You can get it for your Windows/Mac/Linux desktop, for your mobile devices, for Kodi, for Google Chrome, for your business, or as a dedicated IP in another country. All of these are fairly self-explanatory, but I’ll note that the Chrome extension alone doesn’t have as many features as full desktop software would.
A hint: one fun purpose of a dedicated IP address? You can access another country’s Netflix (or whatever else is geo-locked).
All in all, PureVPN packs a punch with its features. There are more than what I just described here and you should check it out for yourself, but even from this it should be pretty evident that PureVPN offers a lot of bang for the buck.
I only wish they offered extensions for more browsers.
Supposedly, PureVPN is known to have good customer support. Personally, I’m not so sure, but that’s just based on one bad experience I had.
The first contact most people will have with PureVPN’s customer support is their live chat function, which presents itself immediately as a little popup on their website. It’s 24/7 and responsive, so that’s useful.
When I used it, I was trying to distinguish between two features that sounded fairly similar to me. The representative responded to me quickly, but did a poor job answering my question, and I had to repeat myself in multiple ways to get a (still unclear) answer out.
That aside, overall I suppose their customer support is fine. They offer a knowledge base, chock full of good FAQs and manuals.
As a matter of fact, I was impressed with this knowledge base because it seemed to offer a wealth of knowledge on less mainstream uses and niche uses of PureVPN, such as applying it to Smart TVs, gaming consoles, old versions of OS’s, and so on.
In addition to the knowledge base, there’s a support ticket system and a member area on the site. To my knowledge, there is no phone support and this may present some difficulties for visually impaired users or at least something of a nuisance to those who prefer verbal communication.
I think their website could be streamlined, however. Many features are described vaguely, and some of the same features have different names on other pages.
Plus, there’s no mention of an iOS or Blackberry app or Linux software on the main pages, but if you go to the support site you’ll finally find the first mentions of them.
In fact, the way things are set up, a lot of PureVPN’s functions get cut out of the picture unless you either stumble upon it or search specifically for it.
I’ll say that overall, customer support is solid despite my bad experience with a rep and the lack of phone support—the knowledge base seems very informative and live chat should do the trick for most users most of the time, or they wouldn’t make it so available.
Ease of Use:
I can’t speak for how easy every product is to use, but I found the Windows software to be pretty easy to install. Setting up the software on my computer (for the record, 64-bit Windows 7) was an overall painless process.
Downloading for your phone is about as easy as downloading any other app.
Frankly, there’s not much to say here. Being easy to use is an important point for a lot of today’s technology, and this holds true for PureVPN as much as any other software—though it may be aimed a bit more at a tech-wise user base.
All the buttons, tools, and functions of the service were pretty intuitive, and I don’t think anyone will have much issue toggling options and getting to their secure browsing experience.
VPNs aren’t videogames—you don’t want something that’s taking up all your attention, you want to be able to toggle some important options and otherwise have an un-harassed, normal browsing experience.
PureVPN gets this, and has designed everything to be slick and easy, so it doesn’t burden your experience.
Ah, the performance. Most people, when considering VPNs, have to resign themselves to the probability of experiencing slower speeds. It’s a general fact based on the nature of VPNs themselves—all the routing and rerouting is bound to slow something down.
Well, as much as PureVPN tries to advertise its service as operating at “lightning speed,” I didn’t find this to be very true. Yes, online activities took a longer time. I did find it better for streaming and downloading than other VPNs I’ve used (if my memory holds, that is).
Some users report that their speeds are fairly average or unremarkable, whereas others find it surprisingly fast, so go figure. My general two cents is that if you’re pretty set on using a VPN, you’re going to have to make some compromises where speed is concerned.
I’ve read a few reviews in which users claim their desktop seemed to be more sluggish after installing the software. I’m running Windows 7 on a three year old laptop, and I didn’t find my desktop experience slowed by the software.
Then again, maybe the jury’s still out.
Aside from all that, I’ve found overall my PureVPN performs very smoothly.
I’ll talk a bit about their policies here too, as I consider that part of company performance. From what I can gather,
PureVPN does a really solid job of respecting its users’ privacy.
No logs are recorded at all, and one click look at their payment page will show a ridiculous amount of acceptable payment modes (including a variety of accepted coins) ensuring everyone can pay securely.
It’s important to mention here that VPN owns a global network of hundreds of servers in 141 countries, none of which are provided by third parties, and this added layer of security feels almost tangible at times.
Overall, I think that PureVPN functions just fine—maybe a bit faster than other VPNs, but mostly the same stable, if slower, internet experience.
Alright, now let’s take a look at what we have so far!
Pricing is very simple and not unreasonable, though the lack of a free version or even a free trial is annoying.
There are a ton of features, and good features too, and they’re available on a lot of platforms so it’s very comprehensive—though there should be more browser extensions.
Customer support is a bit mixed—no phone support and a confusing website, but the responsive live chat and a detailed knowledge base kind of make up for it.
Otherwise, it’s very easy to use and runs pretty well, but if you’re new to VPNs, you may have to get used to speeds lower than your typical online experience.
There are definitely some flaws, but at least to me, they seem mostly minor, especially considering how good PureVPN is in the features department.
If you really want a VPN, I’d definitely recommend it—unless you’re extremely nitpicky, it won’t let you down.
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