PureVPN: A Fast VPN
Since 2006, PureVPN’s (GZ Systems) services enjoy a certain seniority compared to other players in the market. In addition, PureVPN offers a wide global coverage and a non-data retention certification.
PureVPN can be considered a fairly old company in the small world of VPN’s compared to the youth of some of its competitors like NordVPN (2012) or Cyberghost (2011). Founded in 2006 by Hong Kong-based GZ Systems, PureVPN had 16 outlets in 2007. Today, the service allows you to connect to over 2,000 servers in 140 countries for 180 exit locations. While the company doesn’t offer the largest number of servers (NordVPN reportedly has more than 5,000 servers), it does offer the largest geographic coverage in number of countries. Currently, PureVPN’s services are used by over 3 million registrants. With PureVPN’s headquarters located in Hong Kong, it is legitimate to fear some restrictions as a Chinese territory. Hong Kong retains some autonomy (VPNs are legal) and censorships do not seem to apply there. However, there are still significant concerns about Chinese data surveillance.
The VPN market is booming and the different providers are engaged in a commercial war, which is intense to say the least, with discounts and special offers every day for subscriptions over one or more years. It is therefore difficult to determine which is the cheapest VPN offer on the market. However, monthly offers are less subject to these vagaries. By this prism, PureVPN’s offer is quite interesting, as it is under the €10 mark.
Note that PureVPN refunds subscriptions up to 31 days after subscription. Moreover, it is possible to pay in cryptocurrency for even more privacy. Finally, there are some paid options such as a dedicated IP address (€1.99/month), port forwarding (€0.99/month) or protection against a denial of service attack or DDos (€2.99/month).
PureVPN is naturally available on the main operating systems Windows, macOS and Linux (beta). Installation is simple and straightforward on Windows and macOS. With the Linux system, the matter gets a little more complicated and you will have to get your hands dirty. It’s a pity that a graphical interface is not offered.
PureVPN offers two extensions for the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Safari, the Apple browser, is simply not considered. Note that a plug-in for Opera is under development. For easy access to streaming services from a TV, PureVPN also offers AndroidTV, Amazon Fire TV, Kodi and Apple TV apps. In addition, the software is available on a wide variety of routers, consoles or boxes.
On mobile, the application is very similar to the computer software and is classically downloaded via stores like Google Play.
Encryption, protocols, DNS
Like most VPN providers, PureVPN offers AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) data encryption with 256-bit keys, which makes the possibility of “breaking” the code very, very low. Good point, each server supports many communication protocols including the most “classic” ones like OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec or IKEv2. You can also use the endangered protocols like PPTP, SSTP to connect.
PureVPN has a Streaming mode for accessing video streams. Note that access to some services like Netflix or Amazon Prime varies over time, as companies are constantly trying to protect their content from unauthorized access. Access to streaming services is therefore not guaranteed and will depend on the means deployed by the brands to flush out VPN use. During our tests, we were able to connect to the main current services without difficulty. The application allows you to browse directly through the most popular streaming sites.
PureVPN’s website is full of tutorials and help in French (and English) to help the user set up the software properly. Live help is also available (and quite responsive), but only in English. The conversation takes place in the application window itself, which unfortunately cannot be resized.
At the first connection, you must choose a mode of use from the fastest (Streaming, File Sharing…) to the most secure (Security/Privacy). However, the explanations and the principle may seem complex and impractical. So what do we understand when the security level is not the highest? What risks are we taking? It is difficult to estimate this point, which is not a matter of detail.
Before choosing an output server, you can perform a ping test to evaluate the responsiveness of the different machines. The interface is not the best (it’s always a matter of taste), and it’s far from the attractive graphics of NordVPN.
The application (Windows/macOS) offers many options to configure the VPN operation (at system startup, protocol used…). PureVPN allows you to activate an “Internet Kill Switch” option which cuts all Internet connections when the VPN encryption is not ensured anymore (application crash, for example).
If you like to test new features, you can also venture to the side of the beta features to enable split tunneling that allows you to select the applications whose data should pass through the VPN. We noted that the feature is only present on the Windows version of PureVPN. The Windows application also contains more options than the macOS version. It’s a pity that the processing between the two platforms is not at the same level.
Throughput measurements are quite difficult to implement, as the performance of an internet line can vary depending on the day and time of use. As we use connections abroad, we must also take into account the time difference, but also the “problems” in these different countries.
The use of a VPN reduces the speed of your connection considerably, and generally the performance decreases with the distance of “exit” of your connection. During our tests, we measure the upload and download speeds with the nPerf online service on a 10 Gbps server (Bouygues Telecom / Paris). We also perform measurements through servers in different countries (France, Sweden, USA and Japan)
To ensure more consistency in our measurements and to limit connection bias, we perform our tests in France over five days at three different times (9am, 1pm and 6pm). With PureVPN, we obtain the following results:
The average speed over 5 days is 244.3 Mb/s for the downstream and 356.1 Mb/s for the upstream with a ping, always average, of 3.8 ms. PureVPN thus obtains the second best score of the moment in download. Upload speeds are also quite high, which makes PureVPN one of the fastest VPNs in our comparison.
For other countries, the speeds are logically degraded and the pings get longer with the distance of the servers. If PureVPN does well in download, upload speeds are relatively slow (except for Japan).
- Good speeds
- Split tunneling (beta).
- 5 simultaneous connections.
- Audit of non retention of connection data.
- Interface lacking in ergonomics
- No more blocking of dangerous URLs or advertising.
- Live help only in English.
- Firefox / Chrome plug-in unusable without subscription.
Conclusion Of PureVPN
PureVPN is an efficient VPN solution, which perfectly fulfills its role of IP address masking and geolocation. If the performance is generally good, the application is not always very practical to use.