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, tap the giant circle button in the middle of the screen to connect, then hit it again to disconnect. It takes about 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, and 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 favorites 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.
In terms of locations, PureVPN has the most of our current top five VPNs with more than 140 countries covered. Well, that’s the number that PureVPN claims; it was 118 by my count at the time of updating this review. That’s still a lot – the most out of our top five VPNs – but it’s not quite the “140+” claim.
As for servers, PureVPN is second only to CyberGhost for total number of servers as far as our current top five VPNs are concerned: PureVPN has 6,500+ and CyberGhost has 7,000+ (albeit only in 91+ countries). Even though PureVPN plays second fiddle to CyberGhost for server count, PureVPN is ahead for both the number of servers and countries compared to the other three VPNs in our top five. You can see the full PureVPN server list here. It is a shame that you have to disconnect from a server before connecting to another one on the PureVPN software (not the app), which involves unnecessary clicks.
That’s basically all great news so far, but what’s infinitely less great – particularly because this is meant to be a background companion designed to protect what you normally do online – is how PureVPN doesn’t always play nice with particular sites and services.
Further testing and research suggest that this is likely related to PureVPN’s heavy-handed treatment of peer-to-peer (P2P) services, which includes Slack but also is more commonly connected to torrenting. This PureVPN P2P support page flags US, UK, Canada, and Australia. While this could be seen as an admirable overextension to respect local anti-piracy laws, it does undermine the practicality of treating PureVPN as a background protector that doesn’t get in the way of your usual internet goings-on, including the abundance of legal P2P uses.
After the $0.99 trial period, the cost is equivalent to a more common $6.49 per month (1 year charged upfront at $77.88) —about what you would expect from other powerful VPN services but not as low as the annual plan for Private Internet Access (PIA), which works out to only $2.85 per month.