Let us start this PureVPN review with a look at how the company came into being. In 2006, Hong Kong based GZ Systems Ltd. began experimenting with a VPN to help guard against throttling of bandwidth by local ISPs of local users who stream media or play online games and PureVPN was born. In 2007, they started commercial operation of PureVPN with servers in just two locations. They quickly grew in users and in number of locations, expanding to sixteen in the first year alone. Today they have one of the largest VPN networks with over 500 servers in 180 locations, spread among 141 different countries. Their technology has grown as well. They have developed custom software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. They have a self monitored gigabit network with over 80000 IP addresses available throughout the world for their subscribers.
Pricing and Special Offers
PureVPN used to offer a variety of VPN packages but have now settled on a single one. It is sold in three term length plans. Like many VPN providers, they have increasing discounts on these plans based on term length. These plans are monthly, 6 months, and 1 year. However, for a limited time, they are currently offering a special where you can get two years of their VPN service for the price of one. This means that currently you can get a month PureVPN service for $9.95, 6 months for $7.49 per month, and 2 years for just $2.08 per month. For limited time, you can get 2 years for just $49.95. This means you can save 82% off their regular monthly price if you sign up for their 2 year plan.
So, what do you get for your money with PureVPN. They offer the following benefits to all of their subscribers:
Free one-click custom VPN Software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android
5 Simultaneous connections
Unlimited VPN bandwidth and usage
Worldwide virtual IPs from more than 500 servers in 141 different countries
Shared IP addresses among subscribers for better privacy
Choice of VPN protocols: OpenVPN (TCP-UDP), SSTP, L2TP, IKEv2, and PPTP
Encryption choice based on purpose
The ability to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions
Wi-Fi hotspot protection against hackers and identity theft
VoIP support to save on long distance costs
7-day money back guarantee
PureVPN has a variety of ways to pay for their VPN service. They accept the following credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, VISA Electron, and VISA Delta. If you like to keep all of your online payments in one place, PayPal is also accepted. For those who want a little more anonymity, you can pay by Bitcoin. They also accept payments through Paymentwall, Alipay, CashU, and many others. If you pay by either PayPal or Bitcoin, all that is necessary to establish an account is a username, password, and an email address.
Risk-Free Trial Period
PureVPN knows that you would like to test out their service for yourself before you decide to buy it so they offer new subscribers a 7-day, 100% money back guarantee. This should be enough time for you to completely test out their VPN service and support. You are eligible for this refund if you satisfy the following:
Your refund claim is within 7 days of your order date.
Your account has not been already suspended by PureVPN for any breach of the TOS.
You have not used more than 3GB of bandwidth (total upload and download data transferred).
You have not exceeded 100 sessions (the number of times you connected to PureVPN services.
You have not previously claimed a refund under this policy.
If you are in compliance with all of the above mentioned criteria, and you are not completely satisfied with their service, then they will refund your full purchase price. To claim your refund, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your VPN username and your reason for cancelling the subscription. No refunds will be given later than seven days from purchase date.
PureVPN Network and Server Locations
As we said in the introduction, the PureVPN network started with just 2 server locations but has grown to over 180. They self manage their gigabit network of VPN servers which has grown to over 500 VPN servers in 141 different countries with access to over 80,000 IP addresses. They have servers on nearly every major continent including Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, Oceania, North America, and South America.
The best coverage is in United States (14 cities – 90 servers), United Kingdom (5 cities – 60 servers), Canada (3 cities – 20 servers), The Netherlands (1 city – 15 servers), France (2 cities – 16 servers), Italy (2 cities 16 servers), and Germany (3 cities – 42 servers). Here is a list of the number of cities in each region, sorted by country:
Africa – 16 cities (32 servers)
Cape Verde – Praia; Egypt – Cario; Ethiopia – Addis Ababa; Ghana – Kumasi; Kenya – Mombasa; Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek; Madagascar – Antananarivo; Mauritania – Nouakchott; Mauritius – Port Louis; Niger – Niamey; Nigeria – Suleja; Senegal – Dakar; Seychelles – Victoria; South Africa – Gauteng; Tanzania – Dar es Salaam; Tunisia -Tunis
Asia – 32 cities (80 servers)
Azerbaijan – Baku, Baki; Bahrain – Manama; Bangladesh – Dhaka; Brunei – Brunei; Cambodia – Phnom Penh; China – Guangdong; China – Shanghai; Georgia – Tbilisi; Hong Kong – Hong Kong; India – Delhi; Indonesia – Jakarta; Japan – Tokyo; Jordan – Amman; Kazakhstan – Almaty; Malaysia – Johor; Bahru; Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur; Mongolia – Ulaanbaatar; Oman – Salalah; Pakistan – Islamabad; Philippines – Manila; Qatar – Doha; Saudi Arabia – Jeddah; Singapore – Singapore; South Korea – Seoul; Sri Lanka – Colombo; Taiwan – Taipei; Tajikistan – Dushanbe; Thailand – Bangkok; Turkmenistan – Ahal; UAE – Dubai; Uzbekistan – Toshkent Shahri; Vietnam – Hanoi
Europe – 48 cities (249 servers)
UK – Maidenhead; UK – London; UK – Leicester; UK – Gosport; UK – Manchester
Albania – Tirana; Austria – Wien, Vienna; Belgium – Brussels; Bulgaria – Sofia; Croatia – Croatia; Cyprus – Nicosia; Czech Republic – Brno; Denmark – Copenhagen; Estonia – Tallin; Finland – Espoo; France – Paris; France – Roubaix; Germany – Munich; Germany – Berlin; Germany – Hessen; Greece – Thessaloniki; Hungary – Budapest; Iceland – Reykjavik; Ireland – Dublin; Italy – Milan; Italy – Porcia; Latvia – Riga; Liechtenstein – Vaduz; Lithuania – Vilnius; Luxembourg – Luxembourg; Malta – Sliema; Montenegro – Podgorica; Netherlands – Amsterdam; Norway – Oslo; Poland – Warsaw; Portugal – Lisbon; Romania – Bucharest; Russia – Moscow; Serbia – Belgrade; Slovakia – Bratislava; Slovenia – Ljubljana; Spain – Madrid; Sweden – Stockholm; Switzerland – Zurich; Switzerland – Hunenberg; Turkey – Istanbul; Turkey – Ankara
Middle East – 8 cities (8 servers)
Bahrain – Manama; Jordan – Amman; Kuwait – Kuwait; Lebanon – Tripoli; Oman – Salalah; Qatar – Doha; Saudi Arabia – Jeddah; United Arab Emirates – Dubai; Yemem – Aden
North America – 37 cities (158 servers)
Canada – Montreal; Canada – Quebec; Canada – Vancouver
US – Phoenix, AR; US – Los Angeles, CA; US – San Francisco, CA; US – Miami, FL; US – Tempa, FL; US – Atlanta, GA; US – Chicago, IL; US – New Jersey, NJ; US – New York, NY; US – Ohios, OH; US – Houston, TX; US – Dallas, TX; US – Ashburn, VA; US – Seattle, WA
Bahamas – Freeport; Belize – Belmopan; Barbados – Bridgetown; Bermuda – Hamilton; Cayman Islands – George Town; Costa Rica – San José; Dominica – Roseau; Dominican Republic – Santo Domingo; El Salvador – San Savador; Grenada – St. George’s; Guatemala – Guatemala City; Haiti – Port au Prince; Honduras – Tegucigalpa; Jamaica – Kingston; Mexico – Jalisco; Montserrat – Plymouth; Nicaragua – Managua; St Lucia – Castries; Trinidad and Tobago – Port of Spain; Turks and Caicos Island – Balfour Town;
Oceania – 5 cities (34 servers)
Australia – Melbourne; Australia – Perth; Australia – Sydney; New Zealand – Auckland; New Zealand – Wellington;
South America – 9 city (26 servers)
Argentina – Buenos Aires; Bolivia – Sucre; Brazil – Sao Paulo; Chile – Santiago; Colombia – Barranquilla; Ecuador – Quito; Paraguay – Asuncion; Peru – Lima; Suriname – Paramaribo
Looking at this list of cities, it is easy to see that PureVPN has servers all over the world and multiple servers in more popular locations as we mentioned previously. Their network supports most VPN protocols including: OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and PPTP. We will discuss a little more about these protocols when we examine the PureVPN custom software.
PureVPN also implements VPN service data routing, whereby in the interest of network efficiency during peak times you may be routed to a different datacenter that the one you chose. This redirection uses business and commercial logic to route you to a low latency, high speed server at another datacenter within the same country or barring that, the nearest available country. We could see this being an issue if you were connecting to a particular country for a purpose (IP address) and they in the interest of network efficiency redirected you to another country.
PureVPN is committed to the freedom of the Internet and allows file sharing in the following locations:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominicia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Gernada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Madagascar, Mauritiania, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montserrat, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Limiting file sharing to these locations helps them to maintain the overall performance of their network. Also these locations are generally more friendly to file sharing and P2P software usage.
Privacy and Security
We Do Not monitor user activity nor do we keep any logs. We therefore have no record of your activities such as which software you used, which websites you visited, what content you downloaded, which apps you used, etc. after you connected to any of our servers. Our servers automatically record the time at which you connect to any of our servers. From here on forward, we do not keep any records of anything that could associate any specific activity to a specific user. The time when a successful connection is made with our servers is counted as a “connection” and the total bandwidth used during this connection is called “bandwidth”. Connection and bandwidth are kept in record to maintain the quality of our service. This helps us understand the flow of traffic to specific servers so we could optimize them better.
From this excerpt, you can see that PureVPN only logs the connection time and bandwidth used for their users. They do not log any specific activity such as sites visited, content downloaded, or software or apps used while connected to their VPN network. They are located in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Hong Kong has no mandatory data retention laws. That being said, they will comply with proper judicial channels with clear proof of violation of TOS in accordance with the best interests of their customers and the company and turn over any specific information they may have about said activity if it exists.
What kind of encryption does PureVPN offer to users of their network? Their implement OpenVPN as their primary default protocol on their Android clients. By default, all data is encrypted and decrypted using a AES-128-CBC cipher initialized with a 128 bit key. If you are the more paranoid type, you can manually choose a higher encryption strength. Their Mac OS X software supports SSTP which is considered as secure as OpenVPN. Their iOS app uses the IKEv2 protocol which is considered to be just as secure as OpenVPN but is good for mobile devices because it reconnects easily and maintains the VPN session when the connection is lost or changes. This is due to its support of MOBIKE. This means that regardless of your operating system of choice, you can always be assured that Internet traffic is securely encrypted with a reliable connection when accessing a PureVPN server.
PureVPN is one of the few services that has a 24/7 live chat to answer any light technical, sales, or billing questions you might have. We tested their live chat and I’m happy to say that they seem to always be there. They respond almost immediately and will redirect you to another agent if the one that answers your call cannot assist you. Sometimes they would direct us to FAQs and support pages to help with our questions. For more technical problems, they provide a 365/24/7 email ticket support system with a very fast response time. They will usually get back to you within an hour. The response we received from our question was fast, professional, and concisely answered.
They do not seem to have any form to fill out for their email tickets. Just email your query to email@example.com with your question or a description of the problem you may be having.
Hands-On Testing of the PureVPN Network
PureVPN has custom software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. You can download these custom clients from the PureVPN setup page of their website which can be accessed by logging into the member area of their website. The login button can be found just above their website main menu as shown in the image below.
Once you have logged into the member area of their website, you will see a navigation menu down the right-hand side of the page. A partial view of this menu is shown below. When you click on download apps as is shown below, you will be redirected to a page where you can see a page with various icons representing different operating systems.
Hovering the mouse over your the icon for your operating system will display a dropdown list. Select your software version from this list and click on it to begin the download process for Windows and Mac OS X. Hovering over the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices will direct you to the appropriate store (iTunes or Google Play) when you can then download and install the app to your device.
They also have manual setups guide here to configure their VPN to use Linux. They also have links to guides to configure their service to work with Blackberry, Boxee, Roku, PS3, Apple TV, routers, and many other devices. Once you sign up for an account, they will send you a welcoming email with all of the information that you need to connect to their VPN network of servers.
Connecting with the Windows PureVPN Client
As we said before, you can download the PureVPN Windows software from the membership area of their website by logging into it and then clicking on “Download Apps” under the Navigation menu. Once you get on this page, hover your mouse over the Windows icon (shown inset left). This will bring up a dropdown list. Select the software version you want to install from this list and click on it. The Windows list has three choices: PureVPN Windows; PureVPN Windows Old ; and a Comparison (this will let you look at a table comparison of the two Windows clients and then choose the one you want to install. The new client has modes that have been preset to simplify the VPN connection process to allow you to begin using the PureVPN service immediately. This review will examine this new Windows client.
Once the client installation file has been downloaded to your computer, right-click on the file and choose “Run as Administrator”. This will bring up a welcoming screenshot like the one shown on the left in the image below. On the next screen you will need to accept the terms of their TOS and click the Next button. This will be followed by a few more informational setup screens for the installation location, startup menu folder, and other tasks which includes creating a desktop icon like that shown on the right. Fill these in and click the “Next” button till you see install screen.
Click the “Install” button on this screen and the client installation will begin. A small window will open showing the PureVPN client configuration, and then you will see a screen like the one shown on the right in the image above. Click the “Finish” button on this screen to complete the installation. Normally to run the PureVPN windows client, you right click on the its desktop icon and click “Run as Administrator” but, since the “Launch VPN” box was checked, it will launch when you click the “Finish” button.
The first time you open the client, you will see a verification and login page similar to the one shown on the left below. There are options to create an account or reset your password if you have forgotten it. It you have the information from your welcoming email, enter in your “VPN username” and “VPN password” from it. These have been entered and redacted from the image on the right below.
Once you have correctly entered your credentials, click on the “Login” button to finish launching the client. The PureVPN Windows software will automatically remember this information for future logins. This will bring up a mode screen which is shown on the left in the image below. This screen will let you choose your purpose for using the PureVPN service and preset the software to so that you can easily connect to the appropriate VPN servers to accomplish your goal. This mode can be changed later if you desire.
The modes that they have pre-installed are as follows:
I want to stream – This will set the client to make it easier for you to stream media while maintaining your Internet security.
I want Internet freedom – This will allow you to access the content of your choice without without compromising your security, privacy or anonymity.
I want security/privacy – This mode increases your Internet security to avert monitoring by third parties which includes; governments, ISPs, and hackers.
I want file-sharing – This mode will allow you to share files using your favorite P2P platform with less threat to your Internet privacy.
I want to use for remote/dedicated IP – This mode helps dedicated IP users configure and use their IPs without hassle. It can also be used to have the client manually connect to PureVPN network servers which can be useful in some cases.
Learn how to use is not a mode and will merely redirect you to the PureVPN website support page concerning the Windows client usage. To choose a mode to start the client in, mouse over the mode and then click on the “Select” button as is shown in the screenshot on the right in the image above. This will place a green circle with a white check in it in the upper right corner of the mode, indicating that it has been selected and activate the “Next” button so that you can click on it. Once you have chosen a mode, then click on the “Next” button to open the client in that mode.
Select the “I want to stream mode” and click on the “Next” button. This will bring up a screenshot like the one shown on the left in the image below. This is the client dashboard in its initial state. The left-hand side of the screen has the following static components:
The PureVPN shield logo – This is for branding purposes.
The Client Menu – This contains three items.
Dashboard – This is the menu item in the image shown and it has two ways (select location and select purpose) to select the VPN server that you want to connect to.
Global Map – This menu item has two tabs: server lists and map.
Latest and greatest – This contains some overviews of the latest happenings in the VPN industry and some of the new developments and special offers from the PureVPN blog. Clicking on one of these will redirect you to the blog in question.
Link icons – Links to PureVPN on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
We will discuss some of these components in greater detail later in the section.
The other two-thirds of the dashboard has a comment as to the mode of the Windows software (stream content from anywhere). Radial buttons to choose the VPN server (select location and select purpose) followed by a combination search/dropdown list for locations or purposes. The bottom right of the dashboard shows a location icon, your current location as seen by other Internet users, and an icon representing the current state of the connection.
The first screenshot above shows the initial dashboard without a location selected. The second screenshot shows the dashboard once a connection location has been made. This causes the dashboard to display a green “Connect” button. In the screenshots above the location shown is your true location and the solid red circle indicates that you are not protected by the VPN network. Clicking on the “Connect” button will then display the dashboard in its connecting state which is shown in the screenshot on the left in the image below. The dashboard in its connecting state displays “Connecting”, flags representing your real country and the country of the VPN server you are connecting to, and a grey “Cancel” button. The “Cancel” button allows you to stop the connection if an error occurs or you change your mind.
The screenshot on the right in the image above shows the client dashboard in its connected state. In this state the dashboard displays a graph that will allow you to look at the upload and download speeds (by means of checkboxes). The speed is also shown digitally in mbps. The second section show the session duration, the virtual (public) IP assigned by the Manchester VPN server, and the location that you are connected to, Manchester, United Kingdom. There is now a red “Disconnect” button. Finally the location shown at the bottom right is the location of the VPN server you are connected too and the icon is now a green circle indicating that you are now protected by the PureVPN service. Clicking on the “Disconnect” button will return to the dashboard in its unconnected state. Once there you can choose another location or purpose and connect to another VPN server.
You can see how easy it is to connect to a VPN server using the PureVPN Windows client, simply select a location directly or a purpose (the software will choose the fastest VPN server from your location to accomplish your goal), and click on the “Connect” button. The appropriate server, VPN protocol, encryption, and etc. are chosen by the client (based on mode) without any input from you.
As we previously said their are two ways that you can have the software choose a VPN server: by location and by purpose. The first way is by location. There are three ways to select a location: by choosing one directly from the dashboard, by clicking Global map on the menu and the choosing one from the servers tab, or by clicking Global map on the menu and selecting one from the map tab. These are independent of the mode you are in.
The first way that you can choose a location is to select it directly from the dashboard. Locations selected from the Dashboard at made at the country level. To select a location from the dashboard, you must first choose the “Select location” radial button, then hover the mouse over the search icon (magnifying glass) in the dropdown list. The search icon will become a down arrow as is shown in the first image below. Clicking on this arrow will open up the location selection screen as is shown in the second screenshot in the image below.
Locations on this screen can be listed using three different views: countries, region, and favorites. The screenshot on the right below shows location list viewed by country. Since Albania was already selected, it is shown highlighted in grey in this list. This view shows a list of all the countries organized in alphabetical order. The list also shows icons for P2P and VoIP beside the country if it is supported there. These icons are shown in all dashboard location views. To the far right of each country is a hollow yellow star. If you hover the mouse over this star, you will see a message to add the country to your favorites list as is shown below. To add the country to your favorites, simply click on the star which will then turn solid like the one for Aruba in the image. Click on the star beside Albania now to favorite it. To remove a country from your favorites list click on the solid star beside it in any of the views.
Now that we have seen the countries view for locations, let us take a look at the other two views. These are shown in the image below. The first screenshot shows the regions view. This view list the locations by region. The regions are as follows: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Oceania, Europe, and the Middle East. Each region can be expanded to show the countries or compacted to hide them by clicking on the up/down arrow to the far right of it as was done for Oceania and Europe in the image below. A country within a region must be selected to connect to a server on the PureVPN network. Notice Albania is still shown as the selected country and it is now a favorite. Selecting a country to connect to highlights that country in all list views.
The second screen above shows the last location view, Favorites. Notice that Albania show up as the first country in the list. The favorites list is organized alphabetically by country. Notice Albania still shows as the selected country in this view. Clicking on it or another country will return you to the unconnected dashboard. You can then click on the “Connect” button to connect to a new VPN server.
The other two ways that you can select a location use the Global map menu which is shown in the images below. The first is by accessing the Server list tab which has two views as shown below. This will let you choose a server at city or state level. The first screenshot in the image below shows the “Servers” view of the tab. In this view, the servers are organized alphabetically by country. You will see a number in parentheses to the right of each country. This is the number of cities within that country which have PureVPN severs. The country list can be expanded to state or city level as Australia is below or contracted by clicking on the down/up arrow to the right of the cities number. In this view, location selections must be made at the city or state level. Note also that Melbourne and Perth have been selected as favorites by clicking on the open yellow star to the right of them. Once selected a solid yellow star will be shown beside the city location.
The screenshot on the right in the image above shows the “Favorites view” of the Server list tab. In this view your favored countries are arranged alphabetically and the number of favored cities within that country is shown in parentheses. The countries in this list can also be expanded into their cities as is Australia and Canada above or compacted using the down/up arrow, similarly to the servers view. Regardless of your chosen view, all that is necessary to connect to a VPN server location using the server list is to choose a city and the click on the green “Connect” button.
Using the responsive search function for the Dashboard location or the Global map server list will make it even easier to find and select the location you want to connect to. This is illustrated in the image below. Suppose you wanted to quickly find the United Kingdom and connect to it using the dashboard. By using the responsive search feature and typing “un” without the quotes you can filter the country list as shown in the screenshot on the left in the image below. All that you then need do to click on the United Kingdom and then the “Connect” button. The software will then connect you to the fastest VPN server in the United Kingdom from your current location.
However, if you want to connect to United Kingdom – London, then you will first have to select global map from the menu. Then type “un” without the quotes in the responsive search and you will see a screenshot like that shown on the right above. Expand the United Kingdom as is shown above. All that you then need do is to click on London and then the “Connect” button. The software will then connect you to the fastest VPN server in London – UK from your current location.
The last way that you can select a location to connect to is to select Global map from the side menu and open the Map tab. The map tab is shown in the first screenshot in the image below. Each region of the PureVPN server network is shown as a separate pin on this map with the region name and number of servers shown below it. Zooming in on this map by clicking on one of the regions like Europe as was done in the second screenshot below will allow you to select one country (The Netherlands) from it. The selected country will be represented by a blue pin. Clicking the “Connect” button will complete your connection to a Netherlands VPN server.
Now that we have examined the different ways that you can select a location using the PureVPN windows client, let us look at how the software selects servers based on the mode and your chosen purpose. The first mode that we will examine the purposes for is the streaming mode. The purposes list are reachable directly from the dashboard. Click the radio button beside “Select purpose”. Hover the mouse hover the mouse over the dropdown box (you will notice the magnifying glass change to a down arrow) and click on dropdown box as shown in the first screenshot . The second screenshot below shows some of the purposes for the streaming media mode.
Expanding the Watch Netflix purpose will display a list of countries that you can connect to watch Netflix as is shown in the first screenshot below. Clicking on one of the countries will return you to the dashboard where you can then click on the “Connect” button to complete your connection to that country. You can also create favorites for purposes as is shown for Australia and Canada in the first screenshot. Favorites are created the same way for purposes as they are for locations (by clicking on the open yellow star to the right of the country). This will turn the star solid yellow indicating that it is a favorite. The second image below shows the favorites for two VPN purposes.
The procedure to select a purpose is the same regardless of the mode chosen.
The complete list of purposes for the different modes follows:
I want to stream mode
Optimized for China (recommended); Optimized for China (alternative); Watch Netflix (faster streaming); Watch Amazon Prime (faster streaming); Entertainment channels (faster streaming); Watch sports channels (faster streaming); Watch Zattoo (faster streaming); BBC iPlayer (faster streaming); CW TV (faster streaming); HBO Now (faster streaming); Hulu (faster streaming); ITV (faster streaming); RTE (faster streaming); Watch BeIN Sports (faster streaming); Sky TV (faster streaming); TVCatchup (faster streaming); ESPN (faster streaming); Sport1 (faster streaming); WWE (faster streaming)
I want Internet freedom mode
The complete list from the I want to stream mode; + VoIP; Social media; Online gaming; Poker
I want Internet security/privacy mode
This mode has no server selection by purpose, only location
You can also select the connection protocol. The choices that you can choose are as follows: Auto, PPTP, TCP, UDP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and IKEV2 (see the settings section in this review for a description of each).
I want file-sharing
Optimized for China (recommended); File-sharing
I want to use for remote/dedicated IP – This is primarily to help setup and use a dedicated IP address from the country of your choice.
Selecting IP will also let you manually connect to PureVPN servers by putting the server name
The purposes you can select from it include the complete list of I want Internet freedom without Online gaming; + Higher Security and Anonymity; Data retention Security
It also allows you to select the VPN protocol from the same list as I want Internet security/privacy.
The last thing we want to look at for the PureVPN Windows client is the menu at the top-right of the client near the minimize Window icon that can be accessed by clicking on the menu icon (three horizontal bars). This menu is shown in the screenshot in the image below. It is composed of the following components:
Settings – This contain the general settings that you can manually set for the client and a link to more advanced settings. We will take a look at these in a moment.
Modes – This will display the modes for the client so you can see which one it is currently set for and change it if your wish. (shown below image on the right).
Check for updates – This will always make sure that you have the latest client available.
Restart as administrator – Some features can only be changed with administrative rights. This will restart the client with those rights.
General – This will take you to various web pages on the PureVPN website.
Terms of Service – This will open the TOS for you to review.
Feedback – This will take you to a page that will let you provide real-time feedback on the Windows client to help them improve it.
About PureVPN – This will take you to a short history of the company.
Help – This will take you to their main support page for their knowledgebase.
Getting started – This will open a getting started guide to show you how to use the client software.
Exit – Clicking this will completely shut down the PureVPN Windows client. Other methods used to close it will just send it the system tray where it will continue to run.
Now let us examine the manual settings that you can change for the software. These are contained under the settings menu which in shown in the images below. The basic settings for the client connection are shown in the first screenshot. It is divided in the following sections:
Login info – This has your saved login credentials (username, password) and a link to reset the password if you need to
Protocols – This lets you change the VPN connection protocols.
Auto – This is supposed to be both secure and fast.
PPTP – This protocol is fast but not as secure as others.
TCP – This is a secure OpenVPN protocol that guarantees packet delivery. It is slower than OpenVPN (UDP) but more reliable. This makes it good for connections over long distances and in rural areas.
UDP – This is a faster secure OpenVPN protocol which is good for most VPN uses.
L2TP/IPsec – This is an alternative secure protocol but due to the ports it needs, it could have problems with some firewalls.
SSTP – This is a secure fast protocol that can use TCP port 443 which allows it bypass most firewalls, even the “Great Firewall of China”.
IKEV2 – This is another fast and secure protocol but also supports MOBIKE which makes it good for mobile devices.
Settings – This contains settings that you can activate that control the general behavior of the client .
Redial automatically if the connection drops – This will attempt to limit the time you are off the VPN network.
Launch on system startup – This will start the client when Windows starts up.
Auto-connect after launch – This and the previous two settings are an attempt by the software to always keep you connected to the VPN network.
Sync favorites – This will sync favorites between your windows and other devices when you log into the client.
Disable tips – Setting this will stop the popup tips from PureVPN.
The last thing on the basic settings page is a link to more advanced setting which when clicked will bring up a settings page like that shown in the screenshot on the right in the image above. The top of this page will let you set the scale of the bandwidth graph settings to either mbps or kbps. It is laid out in two sections:
Security – This will let you set some advanced features for the client to increase your security while using the PureVPN service.
Encryption – This has three settings.
No encryption – We recommend that you do not use this setting because it negates the reason you chose to use a VPN.
128 bit – This provides a medium level of security balanced against the speed of the connection and is good for streaming and some other purposes.
256 bit – This gives you the greatest level of security while using the PureVPN servers and should be used in more secure situations like online banking.
Switch to secure DNS – Setting this will ensure that all DNS queries pass through the VPN to secure servers making it harder to track your online searches.
IPv6 leak protection – Turning off IPv6 will help ensure that your true IP is not leaked.
VPN not connected reminders – This can remind you if the VPN connection drops. It can be set for 1 minute, 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour.
Activate the Internet VPN kill switch – Activating this will ensure that you are never connected to the Internet unless you are connected to the PureVPN network. If the server connection drops, access to the Internet will be disabled from your computer.
Split-tunneling – This will allow you to chose which applications will be tunneled through the VPN. The rest will go through your ISP using your true IP address. Do not activate this unless you need to because it will compromise your privacy.
Link to manage split-tunneling – This will open a page where you can turn split tunneling on/off and add apps to be tunneled through the VPN. The client will offer to scan your system for apps like browsers to tunnel or you can add your own.
Make it permanent – This will enable/disable split-tunneling each time the client is launched.
Add to menu – This will add a menu item for split-tunneling to the menu shown previously.
Select language – This will allow you to change the language of the client to English, Dutch, French or German.
The page ends with a link to return to the basic settings.
The PureVPN Windows software makes it easy to you to connect to VPN servers in their network. They have modes setup to choose the encryption algorithm, protocol used to connect, and other connection criteria. All that you have to do to connect to a VPN server on their network is choose a location, either country, state, or city, and click on the “Connect” button. Once connected you will see a graph of your bandwidth and the new virtual IP assigned by the network server. It has some advanced features that the more tech savvy can appreciate like a VPN kill switch, secure DNS, IPv6 leak protection, and split-tunneling. So no matter your technical prowess, you will appreciate the ease of use of the PureVPN Windows client.
Connecting with the Mac OS X PureVPN App
As we said before, you can download the PureVPN Mac OS X software from the membership area of their website by logging into it and then clicking on “Download Apps” under the Navigation menu. Once you get on this page, hover your mouse over the Mac icon (shown inset left). This will bring up a dropdown list. Select the software version you want to install from this list and click on it. The Windows list has four choices for Mac versions: 10.5-10.7; 10.8-10.95; 10.6.8 users; and 10.10.0 and above. The new Mac OS X client has modes that have been preset to help make it easier to connect to the VPN servers on the PureVPN network. This review will examine the latest Mac OS X app that is for Mac OS X Yosemite and above.
Once the file has finished downloading to your Mac, open it and it will begin installing to your machine. Drag and drop the PureVPN app into your applications folder and it will then appear on your home screen. When you first open the app, you will see a login screen. Enter your PureVPN username and password and then click on the “Login” button. This will open up a screen that will let you select the mode you want to app to run. Select the “I want Security/Privacy mode and click on the “Next” button. This will bring up the app dashboard which is shown image below.
This is the app dashboard using the Security/Privacy Mode. There are two things you can change on this dashboard. You can click on the link to L2TP and change the VPN connection protocol but the Mac app only supports L2TP and PPTP and L2TP is the stronger of the encryption algorithms so just leave it. The dashboard also shows the location that others Internet users see for you in lower right corner, along with an icon that represents your current connection state. Notice the red circle indicating that you are not currently connected to the PureVPN network. So let us see how easy it is to change that.
The only other thing you can change on the dashboard is your location. Make sure “Select Location” is set as it is above. Now click on the “Search location” dropdown box. This will open the locations that you can connect to in country mode. The image below shows what this screen looks like. This screen will provide you a list of the countries that you connect to using the PureVPN service in alphabetical order. Each row of the list displays a flag for the country, the country name, and icons for P2P and VoIP (if it is supported by VPN servers in that country).
Scroll down the list till you see a screen similar to the one shown in the image below with the United Kingdom and the Unted States in it. Notice that each row also has a yellow outline of a star on the far right. Clicking on this star will allow you to select that country as a favorite connection location. Once you click on the star, it will become solid yellow indicating that it is now a favorite. Once selected, favorites are seen in all views. Click on the stars beside the United Kingdom and the United states. Your sceen should now look similar to the one below.
Be careful not to click on a country itself. It you do, the app will begin the process of connecting to a VPN server in that country and you will have to cancel it so that you can make your favorite. Once you see a screen similar to the one above, click on the “Favorites” column heading to change to the favorites view. Your screen will look similar to the one shown below.
You can also see that both the United Kingdom and the United States VPN servers allow VoIP but that neither allows P2P traffic. This is probably a good thing since most legal copyright challenges come from these two countries. The PureVPN network has many servers that are much better suited for P2P traffic so you should have no trouble finding one to suit you. They even have a mode specifically setup to help you do just that.
You will notice one other column in the dashboard location list, the “Region” one. Click on this column now. You should see a screen like the one shown below. The regions that you can select between are as follows: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Oceania, Europe, and the Middle East.
You will also notice that to the far right of each region is a down arrow. Clicking on this arrow will expand the region and show the countries that have VPN servers that you can then choose to connect to. This is illustrated in the image below where the North American region has been expanded into its component countries.
Regions can be a useful way to find servers for those of us who may not be geography experts and know where every country in the world is located. We wish this were the case and our trivia team results would be better. For example you know you want to connect to the Middle East region but have know idea which countries are found in the Middle East. Country selection by region should be your choice to help you find a VPN server to connect to. Another case might be you want to P2P and find the closest country to your location that has VPN servers that allow P2P.
One other way that you can filter the location results is if you know where you want to connect to, you can start entering the country name or region in the responsive search field. For example, if you wanted to connect to The Netherlands, start typing “neth” without the quotes and you will see a screen like the one shown below.
Ok, you have seen how easy it is to select a country to connect to using the PureVPN Mac OS X Windows app. Now try connecting to a VPN server on their network. Click on the favorites column in the image above which will bring up your favorites screen when we saw earlier and is repeated below.
You will see the solid yellow stars beside your two favorites. All that is necessary to remove a country from the favorites list is to click on the solid yellow star beside it. Now that we have that taken care of, connect to a VPN server in the United States. Click on the United States under country. That is all there is to it. As soon as you click on the US location the connection process starts and you will see a screen like that shown below.
The screen above tells you that the connection process has begun. It tells you that you are connecting from your true location to a VPN server in the United States. The image also shows a flag representing your country with animated dots going to the flag of the country your are connecting to. Finally, there is a “Cancel” button that will allow you to stop the process if an error occurs or you change your mind. After some time and technical housekeeping by the Mac app, you will see a screen like the one shown below.
<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-14943" src="http://www.vpnfan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/purevpn-connected-us.png" alt="PureVPN Mac OS X App Connected" wi