Pure VPN Review – Scam or not?
What is PureVPN?
PureVPN is a platform focused in VPN solutions, based in Hong Kong and administered by GZ Systems. It was founded back in November, 2006 by serial entrepreneur Uzair Gadit.
The service started operating with just 2 servers, but the number quickly increased to 16 in 2008. Today, there are more than 750 servers spread through 141 countries, with more than 88,000 dedicated IPs available.
Pricing and Plans
There is only one plan, whose cost varies depending on the billing periodicity and chosen duration. Prices start at 10.95 USD for 1 month of access, but can get as low as $3.29 / month with a 2-year subscription.
No free trials are offered because PureVPN states that quality comes at a cost. Users wanting to test their VPNs before investing a significant amount of money are invited to purchase it.
There is a 7-day refund policy for both first-time buyers and renewals, but it can be used only once and is subject to the account being in good standing (no suspensions) and having less than 100 connections or 3 GB of bandwidth used.
Authorized payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, Alipay, PaymentWalls, Cashu, cryptocurrencies and gift cards. The last two are offered as anonymous alternatives, but the money back guarantee does not apply to them (as well as to trials).
A broad range of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and some of the major altcoins (Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash, etc.) are accepted, through a partnership with CoinPayments.
Six protocols are supported: PPtP, L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2, OpenVPN and Stealth. Stealth is configurable only on Windows, unique platform that is currently capable of handling all of them.
The selection of the protocol is left to the user, as a tradeoff between different levels of security, speed and difficulty to set up. A table comparing their features is provided by PureVPN to assist its customers with the decision.
A given account can be used in 5 devices at once, and comes with unlimited bandwidth, anonymous browsing, connection security and P2P sharing. Besides traditional computers and phones, the VPN can also be configured in routers, gaming consoles and TVs, among other devices.
The PureVPN team respects the privacy of their users and does not keep any activity logs. However, for statistical and performance purposes they track connection activity and bandwidth usage.
Some minimal personal data is also retrieved and used to enhance the user experience. No identity verification is required under any circumstances and, conversely, anonymous payment methods are listed.
Being based in Hong Kong might turn out to be an issue in the future, especially if the Chinese government in the Mainland were to intensify its presence in the island.
Their VPNs support AES encryption up-to 256 bits. The only exception is the PPTP protocol which comes with a maximum of 128 bits.
VPN credentials are sent as plain text via email, but the user is advised to change them as soon as he can. Account activity is notified to the registered email, so that the user can take any necessary actions if something unexpected happened.
Corporate users are given as well the chance to enable two-factor authentication as an extra layer of protection to their accounts.
To further enhance the system security and privacy, a NAT firewall service is offered for $1.99 per month (regardless of the billing periodicity).
Their portal is nicely designed, with responsiveness in mind. Font sizes are adequate and easy to read and menus are placed appropriately.
Load speed is just OK, with some room for improvement especially when it comes to caching and imagery.
False data is shamelessly presented. For example, it is easy to verify that the “last sold” time is just a random number within some range by opening the pricing page in different tabs. The pictures used to identify support agents are also generic photos taken from some internet database.
Support material has been carefully organized and compiled in an extensive and informative knowledge base. The support team will also gladly point you in the right direction within their complete documentation, through the live chat.
An incredibly efficient live chat is available, which you won’t have trouble finding since it seems to follow you everywhere. Support agents are nice and will respond to your prompts in almost no time, doing their best to sort your problem out.
Other contact alternatives are the ticket system, email communications and reaching them out through their social networks accounts. Support is available all along, the PureVPN team is always ready to help you with whichever problems you experience (related to their service).
When it comes to requesting a cash back, they will first try to persuade you of sticking with their service, not only by providing technical support but also by offering discounts, but they will honor their word if your decision is final. The whole process takes a few days, so if you are thinking on asking for a refund, do it as soon as you can (remember its 7-day validity).
An account is automatically created for you after purchasing a subscription. First you have to select the length you want to contract the services for, select how you will pay and issue the payment.
Shortly after, you will receive an email with your account and VPN details. When you first visit the member area, you will be presented material of interest describing what to download and how to configure your devices.
The PureVPN Client
Clients are offered for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Linux users need to manually adapt their system to route data through the just-purchased VPN service.
Nothing stops other customers from opting to set up the VPN by themselves too, which in fact gives some added flexibility to the configuration.
Precise instructions are presented in either case. Windows users will mostly follow the download-and-run behavior that characterizes their system, while customers using other OSes and devices will have to do some tweaks.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)
We tested four of the servers, trying to grab them apart from each other, and looked at Speed and ping stats.
Speeds turned out to be fine for servers near our physical location, but those far away displayed poor performances. Pings were never under 150 ms, and raised to almost 350 ms at times.
There is some evidence suggesting DNS leaks and some inconsistencies revealed by the VPN could potentially enable websites to ban us out. Nonetheless, we tested sites exclusive to the geographical locations where our new IPs claimed to be from and we got access with little to no trouble.
PureVPN comes as well as a browser add-on, available for Chrome and Firefox, and a version for Opera currently in development.
Installing the extension on Chrome is easy, since it is listed in the official plugin store. On the other hand, Firefox users are not that lucky and have to follow some instructions to get it running.
As it was mentioned before, there are apps for Android and iOS devices. A preview of the functionality and instructions for getting them running are presented on PureVPN’s website, here and here, respectively.
What are people saying about PureVPN?
Reviews about the site are mixed, with some really good ratings contrasting 1-star scores. Some complaints that can be read here and there involve false IP connections, difficulties to connect, slow speeds and hidden terms.
This thread on Reddit, for example, points some flaws of the service and calls it “low quality”. This other review, questions almost every aspect of the site and exposes the misinformation that plagues PureVPN.
- Affordable subscription.
- Strong security.
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- World-class customer support.
- False and hidden information (fine print).
- They keep logfiles and lied about it (!)
- No free trials.
- Slow speeds.
PureVPN Review Conclusion
PureVPN is a relatively cheap option, especially in the long run, suitable for browsing simple, blocked sites. Speeds are anything but good, so accessing media-streaming sites might not be the best use case for the service.
The site is newbie-friendly, so casual users have also a great alternative in this platform. There are guides for virtually everything and the few things undocumented are gracefully handled by the support team.
The biggest issue with PureVPN is that they lied about their logging policy – and got caught with it. They promised to us personally that they do not keep logfiles of IP addresses – but as this case shows, they did and lied about it. We do not recommend to use PureVPN for anything else than unblocking geo-restrictions, they are totally useless for anonymity.Go to purevpn.com