Are you thinking about using PureVPN? Wait. Go through our hands-on testing to check the results before taking the call.
Digital anonymity is a luxury absent nowadays. You’re tracked everywhere and censored accordingly.
As a result, you miss much on the world wide web that internet freedom feels like a fairy tale.
Ultimately, it takes some effort to experience the internet in its native form.
Welcome aboard the world of VPNs!
What’s a VPN?
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) gives you a mask to roam free over the internet. This cover-up comes in the form of an IP address (the VPN server’s) which conceals your real one.
This way, you see what you aren’t supposed to, all the while disguising your original identity.
And yes, Public WiFi becomes safe again. Your data travels as encrypted packets going undetected from the prying eyes of cybercriminals.
Additionally, a VPN is your best friend if you’re booking tickets to any authoritarian regime like China. Just remember to configure beforehand, as some of these countries will render your VPN application useless the moment you step into their territory.
In short, a VPN is to:
- Unblock the Censored Internet
- Safely Browse over Public Networks
- Get privacy from Governments, ISP, etc.
- Enjoy Internet Freedom in Restrictive Regions
PureVPN started in Hong Kong more than 15 years ago. And in early 2021, they relocated to the British Virgin Islands (BVI). That was an excellent choice given that BVI is not a member of the 5, 9, or 14-eyes alliance.
It helps PureVPN respect their users’ privacy concerns by practicing a strict No-logs policy.
Let’s take a look at some of their prominent features before starting the hands-on testing:
- 6500+ Servers in 78+ Countries
- VPN-Friendly Jurisdiction
- Ten Simultaneous Connections
- Internet Kill Switch
- Split Tunneling
- Bank-Grade AES 256-Bit Encryption
- Auto-WiFi Protection
- Unlimited Bandwidth
Additionally, there are some premium add-ons like:
- DDoS Protection: Blocking unwanted traffic or network attacks.
- Dedicated IP: For privileged anonymous experience.
- Port Forwarding: Allows sharing your VPN server for gaming, file transfer, etc.
- Dedicated IP with Port Forwarding: Best to access remote web servers securely.
On top of this, PureVPN has native applications for just about any device.
Overall, PureVPN seems good on paper.
But stay tuned as I take you through my experience with this VPN with some crucial real-life results.
Notably, these results and this complete review conforms to the PureVPN Windows application.
As of this writing, you can choose a seven-day fully-fledged trial for less than a dollar. Afterward, there is a 31-day money-back guarantee to try it risk-free.
Note the renewal price whenever subscribing, as the renewals are more expensive than the discounted first-year plans. But that’s almost the same with every VPN provider.
PureVPN subscriptions come as a monthly, yearly, or two-year plan. Needless to say, the longest one is the most economical of the three.
After downloading PureVPN to your specific platform, install and sign in to use the VPN services.
The user dashboard is extremely basic. It shows the best server based on the user location and the recent connection.
But don’t get deceived by the looks. There is much to explore beneath the cover.
Internet Kill Switch (IKS) helps you stay concealed in the moments when there is no encrypted connection. This is the first feature I look for whenever trying a new VPN service. There can be multiple reasons behind that, such as a server glitch, missing turning on the VPN, etc.
Anyways, PureVPN doesn’t disappoint. Make sure this is turned on before you go online.
Please note this will only come into effect if there is a server-side issue. It won’t act if you forget to activate the encrypted connection, as in the case of HideMyAss VPN or Namecheap VPN.
VPN Protocol is a set of rules used by VPN providers for a speedy encrypted connection. There are various protocols, and each one suits a specific use case.
- OpenVPN TCP
- OpenVPN UDP
I won’t explain each one because that’s already been done in our article on understanding VPN protocols. But I should mention a welcome addition–WireGuard–in the options.
It’s the most recent protocol, which is perceived as the future best. PureVPN has definitely upped the game with this inclusion.
That said, their support confirmed that it isn’t a rectified version. So, PureVPN uses the protocol in its native state, which isn’t ideal. Conclusively, you should avoid using this protocol for sensitive work.
This is an excellent advanced feature all major VPN providers currently like to include.
In short, Split Tunneling helps to use VPN connections selectively. So you can enjoy other applications normally without the speed throttling that comes with encryption. This also helps in data savings in limited data VPN plans.
Now let’s move on to the testing to check some essential parameters.
Speed is a valuable asset that can’t be ignored.
Agreed, no VPN can function without affecting speeds because of factors like encryption and distance between the servers.
However, too much toll on the network speed can ruin your entire online experience. With PureVPN, the download speeds were mostly good.
Here are the results obtained with PureVPN IKEv2 protocol:
|Server||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Approx. Distance (km)|
The recommended server is usually the nearest one. The ping value of this server was under 50ms, which is definitely good if not great for gaming.
These results are important but can change dramatically depending on instantaneous server conditions.
Again, this is a standard test for VPNs that we do here at Geekflare. While there is no easy way to tell about the type of encryption, you can easily determine its presence.
We use Wireshark, a capable network analysis utility, to check data packets and verify the encryption.
This was from a single packet without the PureVPN turned on:
These packets give away information like the websites you visit, operating system, browsers, IP address, connecting ports, etc.
And with just a handful of apps and three web pages, the total number of packets was precisely 11,829 in under one minute.
That’s a lot of information for a bad actor to cause trouble.
So, encryption is necessary, especially if you aren’t just playing video games on your computer.
With PureVPN tuned on, the encrypted results look like this:
Simply put, this isn’t encrypted if you can make anything out of it. But, if you see some rubbish that seems like an impossible puzzle, you should rest assured that it’s indeed encrypted.
And again, if you can tell about the type of encryption, it wouldn’t be as good as it should be because the process of breaking through any encryption starts with detecting its type.
DNS Leak Test
Unfortunately, many VPN users get fooled by inefficient VPNs with just a masked IP address. These users naively trust the false anonymity while their VPN quietly leaks DNS requests exposing their actual whereabouts.
Conclusively, in a DNS leak, your ISP handles your DNS requests knowing everything about your online activity while you’re still VPN connected.
They can also sell your data and tell about your physical location to third parties without your consent. Finally, trusting your ISP with that kind of information is equivalent to using no VPN at all.
So, a random anonymous IP address isn’t enough; who is serving your DNS requests also matters.
For a DNS leak test, I connected to the PureVPN Singapore server to run the leak test. This ended up as a thumbs up for PureVPN as there wasn’t any DNS leak.
Getting the users to access land-locked content sits atop any VPNs’ agenda. So, it was crucial to feature this segment in this PureVPN review.
I tried to unblock Netflix (US), BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime US. So far, PureVPN has easily spoofed all those streaming platforms with ease.
Bear in mind there are no marked streaming optimized servers. So, you can just connect to the respective location and try accessing your preferred content.
PureVPN unlocks the US-only Cliffhanger on Netflix.
One more thing, this is a perennial struggle between the streaming platforms and the VPN providers. Streaming companies detect and block VPN servers, and the VPN providers keep adding new IP addresses.
So, a server performing well at the moment can fail on the very next. That said, a good VPN will never disappoint and should let its users watch controlled content at all times.
IP & WebRTC Leaks
There are a few more things that can spill about your real identity. One of them is the IPv6 leak. Since IPv6 is yet to be implemented in totality, some VPN providers end up giving out the subscriber’s IPv6 address if it exists in the first place.
You can check yours at IPv6-test. There is nothing to worry about it if you don’t have an IPv6 address like me:
But it’s time to check about this problem if you have one. Visit BrowserLeaks, and check for the IPv6 address to see if that matches yours.
Right beneath the IPv6 address, there is a WebRTC leak section, which also gets many mentions among privacy advocates.
So, there is a WebRTC leak if you can see a public IP address (like in the preceding image).
You can install the PureVPN browser extension to enable WebRTC leak protection. It works even without an active VPN connection.
However, that’s a browser vulnerability that has nothing to do with a VPN, although some VPN companies address it.
Refer to this guide to fix WebRTC leaks based on your web browser.
I haven’t found any major issues with PureVPN.
However, a modified WireGuard, an improved kill switch, and a dark mode in the user interface can further help PureVPN sit among the top players.
That said, it still is an excellent choice, especially if you’re just starting out.
On a side note, don’t forget to check the features to consider before subscribing to any VPN.