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PureVPN review Australia
PureVPN has come a long way in the last couple of years and is now a viable VPN contender able to compete with the big guns.
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With so many virtual private network (VPN) services out there to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to picking the best VPN service for you. Sure, there are the popular picks like household-VPN-name NordVPN or big-name competitor ExpressVPN, but there are other contenders like PureVPN that have their own unique features to consider.
Admittedly, PureVPN has some pretty loud hiccups, but there are still some shiny pros for those seeking a VPN contender.
We primarily test VPNs on Windows devices but also test on Android mobile and, where available, Android TV apps.
PureVPN basic pricing
|One-month PureVPN plan||US$10.95||US$10.95||Learn more|
|One-year PureVPN plan||US$3.24||US$38.95||Learn more|
|Two-year PureVPN plan||US$2.08||US$53.95||Learn more|
PureVPN plan pricing effective as of publishing date. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
PureVPN has transformed itself from a middling VPN service to one that’s ready to take on the big names in the biz. It offers 10 simultaneous connections across a healthy range of locations, plus it boasts fast connection speeds and excellent streaming. While the Windows version is the best, there are some bugs, and you still need to use peer-to-peer servers for torrenting.
PureVPN prices and plans compared
If you’re after a month-to-month VPN subscription, there are cheaper options out there with better service offerings, like Proton VPN, VPN Unlimited and Windscribe VPN. Still, at the time of updating this review, PureVPN offered competitive annual and multi-year pricing. Like a lot of VPNs, PureVPN charges in US dollars and unless you stick to the more expensive monthly plan, you’ll be paying either an annual or multi-year subscription upfront.
PureVPN occasionally offers short-term sales beyond its typical two-year plan, but even when it’s back to two years, PureVPN ranks in the top three for multi-year pricing of the VPNs we’ve reviewed. The annual subscription is second behind Atlas VPN for cheapest pricing.
PureVPN also offers a 31-day money-back guarantee for all its subscriptions, which is what you can use in lieu of a dedicated free trial. That said, there was a seven-day trial for PureVPN on Android at the time of writing.
|PureVPN||From US$2.08/mth||77/95||Straightforward server switching||View plans|
|Proton VPN||From US$4.99/mth||67/90||Swiss-based anonymity||View plans|
|NordVPN||From US$3.69/mth||60/83||Best VPN||View plans|
|ExpressVPN||From US$8.32/mth||113/151||Very user-friendly||View plans|
|Hotspot Shield||From AU$11.99/mth||82/112||Fast speeds||View plans|
|Surfshark||From AU$3.60/mth||99/142||Unlimited connections||View plans|
|CyberGhost||From AU$3.04/mth||91/117||"Balance of servers, locations"||View plans|
|Windscribe||From US$5.75/mth||69/112||Lifetime subscription||View plans|
|VPN Unlimited||From US$5.00/mth||57/69||Lifetime subscription||View plans|
|Private Internet Access||From AU$2.79/mth||84/145||Stacks of servers||View plans|
|PrivadoVPN||From US$4.99/mth||44/59||Cheap monthly pricing||View plans|
PureVPN plan pricing effective as of publishing date. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
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PureVPN connectivity and user experience
If you’re new to VPNs, PureVPN has a fantastic guided onboarding process, which tells you everything you need to know to get connected. When installing the software on a Windows computer, there’s even a pre-ticked option to install a PureVPN Chrome extension, and it’s great to see that PureVPN supports Windows versions right back to Windows XP.
Once the PureVPN software is installed, it does take a breath to load up, unlike other VPNs we’ve revied that start instantly. When it is open, simply tap the giant circle button in the middle of the screen to connect, then hit it again to disconnect. It takes around two to four seconds to connect to a server and, unlike other VPNs, you don’t usually have to wait extra time for your internet connection to catch up. Because disconnection also feels close to instantaneous, it means real-time online services like music streaming weren’t interrupted during our tests.
The PureVPN software shows the location you’re connected to, your current VPN IP address, as well as your upload and download speeds in relation to the online tasks you’re currently performing. If you were to just click connect, it’d find the best nearest server, but you can also click on the globe icon to find recommended servers, recent locations, and any favourites that you’ve manually starred. This screen also lets you browse locations by popularity or search for them. There’s also a handy support button for quick access to FAQs and live chat (it launches a browser), which is a nice in-app touch.
At the time of updating this review, PureVPN said it had servers in 78+ countries and 96+ locations. The location count is more useful as it’s a collective number of countries and cities, with most countries only effectively offering a single location. By my count of thePureVPN server list, there were 77 countries on offer from 95 locations. For context, that’s around the middle for number of countries and locations compared to the 17 other VPNs we’ve reviewed. The 6,500+ global server count is among the highest, too.
Mercifully, the Windows experience has improved a lot since my initial review. Back then, I had issues loading websites and everyday services had issues. Fast-forward to more recent times and, outside of the occasional Google reCAPTCHA request because of busy servers, it’s a very smooth background experience. I forgot to turn it off before a gaming session—word to the wise, no VPN plays nice with Call of Duty Modern Warfare II—because of how seamlessly everything worked.
Admittedly, PureVPN still has some peer-to-peer (P2P) issues. Most other VPNs I’ve tested let you use torrenting software on regular servers, but torrents refuse to work unless you’re connected to a specialist P2P server in PureVPN. While the location choices aren’t flash, the speeds were still great.
I had the best experience with the Windows app, though there were occasionally bugs that meant I couldn’t access countries or particular cities. Restarting the app fixed these issues, though it didn’t help the blocked access to my network-attached storage (NAS) drive.
PureVPN supported devices
One of PureVPN’s best selling points is that it supports up to 10 simultaneous connections per account. That’s plenty of PureVPN logins to use across all supported devices in the average home. In terms of supported devices, you’ll find apps for the following platforms:
- DD-WRT routers
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
PureVPN also supports manual installation on a range of devices:
- Most major router brands
- Boxee box
- Google Chromebook
- Microsoft Surface
- Synology NAS
- Blu-ray players
- Asus DSL
- Airport E
- Raspberry Pi
- PlayStation 3 and 4
- Xbox consoles
- Uroad Home
- Nvidia Shield
- Apple TV
- Apple Time Capsule
- Major smart TVs
As you can likely tell from all the scrolling it took to reach this bit of text, that’s a lot of supported devices. Thankfully, there are configuration guides for a lot of these devices on this PureVPN support blog.
PureVPN speeds and streaming
Because of how a VPN works, there’s no getting around the reality that your total connection speed will be slowed when using one. Depending on the VPN service, download and/or upload speeds will be partially or greatly impacted, while latency – the overall responsiveness of your connection – tends to take the most noticeable hit. The table below is reflective of speeds achieved with a Superloop NBN 100/40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) connection when I tested PureVPN during the middle of the day (using Speedtest.net; you can test your internet speed here).
|AU VPN (auto, fastest)||74.87Mbps (~4% slower)||36.03Mbps (~5% slower)||6ms (no change)|
|US VPN (auto, fastest)||72.14Mbps (~8% slower)||31.34Mbps (~17% slower)||156ms (150ms slower)|
|UK VPN (auto, fastest)||33.62Mbps (~57% slower)||32.97Mbps (~13% slower)||253ms (247ms slower)|
Across the board, PureVPN is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested in terms of a minimal percentage speed change to download and upload speeds. Outside of noticeably slower download speeds when connected to a UK VPN server, all other download speed, upload speed and latency results are very impressive.
One of the use cases for a VPN is stepping around geoblocked content, which is handy if you don’t mind running the risk of having your account banned (read the Ts and Cs) for a chance at streaming content from the US or other regions. Similarly, if you’re abroad and want to access Australian content, a global VPN can be used to connect to an Australian server and stream content from services back home.
|Stan (including Stan Sport)||Yes||Fast|
When I tested PureVPN in 2021, it had mixed results for streaming. In 2023, the results are actually impressive, albeit with a caveat. When connecting to an automatically selected server in Australia, neither Kayo nor Stan worked: Kayo wouldn’t load past the library and Stan offered a VPN error. But the ace up PureVPN’s sleeve is its one-click ‘Change Server’ button.
Y’see, streaming services tend to manage VPN workarounds by blocking the common, shared IP addresses used. On one hand, it makes it straightforward for VPN providers to update server IP addresses once they’re blocked. On the other, if you try to stream geoblocked content during an IP address ban, it won’t work. The solution, generally, is to switch servers, but VPNs tend to not offer manual server selection or an easy way to switch servers in the same region.
That’s where PureVPN’s ‘Change Server’ button is a game-changer. I only had to click it once to get Kayo and Stan streaming in seconds. For US streaming services, HBO Max had some loading issues, but a few seconds later after a server switch, it was ready for fast streaming. While Netflix US and BBC iPlayer had moderate buffering speeds, this still makes PureVPN a viable streaming contender.
While that’s great news for Windows users, it’s less great for others. I also tested PureVPN on the Android mobile and Android TV versions of the app, and neither had that convenient ‘Change Server’ button. That won’t matter if you do most of your streaming via PC but it’s a missed opportunity on the convenience front for other devices that are better suited to streaming.
NBN speed tier
Max NBN TEDS
Netflix US 4K (25Mbps)
Hulu 4K (16Mbps)
BBC iPlayer (24Mbps)
|NBN 12||12Mbps||11.04Mbps (US), 5.16Mbps (UK)||Too slow||Too slow||Too slow|
|NBN 25||25Mbps||23Mbps (US), 10.75Mbps (UK)||Too slow||1 stream||Too slow|
|NBN 50||50Mbps||46Mbps (US), 21.5Mbps (UK)||1 stream||2 streams||Too slow|
|NBN 100||100Mbps||92Mbps (US), 43Mbps (UK)||3 streams||5 streams||1 stream|
|NBN 250||250Mbps||230Mbps (US), 107.5Mbps (UK)||4+ streams||14 streams||4 streams|
|NBN 500||500Mbps||460Mbps (US), 215Mbps (UK)||4+ streams||28 streams||8 streams|
|NBN 1000||600Mbps||552Mbps (US), 258Mbps (UK)||4+ streams||34 streams||10 streams|
One of the bigger selling points of PureVPN is its commitment to its zero-logging policy, which effectively means the company’s dedication to your anonymity is aligned with the protective purposes of VPN software. PureVPN backs its zero-log policy so much that it’s established an always-on audit policy, meaning it can be audited at any time.
There’s a wealth of information and options inside your PureVPN login. This member’s area has typical account information, but it also has easy access to port forwarding, the help desk, as well as apps and PureVPN browser extensions. Clicking on ‘Other Devices’ provides blog guides for connecting specific devices, even if some of these are just a blanket guide for connecting via a router.
PureVPN used to advertise inbuilt protection against viruses and malware but that isn’t an obvious part of the service anymore. What is here for more advanced users is an internet kill switch, protocol selection (automatic from IKEv2, TCP, UDP or WireGuard), and split tunnelling for managing VPN protection on a per-app basis.
Should I buy PureVPN?
Respect where it’s due, PureVPN has come a long way since I first reviewed it two years ago. While the VPN-level antivirus and anti-malware doesn’t appear to be around anymore, there have been improvements to connection speeds and, more importantly, how PureVPN handles peer-to-peer apps.
These days, PureVPN is way more of an invisible background protector, one that offers 10 simultaneous connections and actually has a shot at coaxing people away from big names like NordVPN and ExpressVPN with cheaper prices, plenty of locations and lots of servers.
PureVPN works in Australia, with servers in Sydney, Melbourne Perth and Brisbane. In our tests, it also works well with streaming content on Kayo and Stan (though this is easier on a Windows device than others because of the convenient ‘switch server’ button).
PureVPN has improved to the point where it’s a better contender with NordVPN these days. Still, NordVPN is the better pick thanks to better security (4096-bit channel encryption) and anonymity (RAM servers). If you want to save money and have access to more simultaneous connections, though (five for Nord, 10 for Pure) go with PureVPN.