With so many controversies and glitches – is PureVPN Canada really as Pure as its name suggests?
PureVPN is one of the most experienced guys in the VPN industry. Launched in 2006, the company had been put under strict scrutiny over the past years, some criticized them for leaking IP addresses while others praised them for their solid service.
Things went south for them back in 2017 with their data logging scandal. They received a lot of flak from privacy experts and the cybersecurity community. But despite all of that, the company didn’t lose hope. They fought back, made several big changes, moved their headquarters from Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands, turned itself into a completely no-logging VPN, and emerged stronger than ever.
Now that we are here, let’s review PureVPN to see where it stands right now after a major 2017’s setback. In this PureVPN review, we will assess its features, performance, privacy policies, run some leak tests and deduce whether it should be recommended to use in Canada or not:
PureVPN Review – Basics and Specifications
|Business Location||The British Virgin Islands|
|Number of servers||6,500|
|Number of country locations||78+ countries|
|Log policy||Strict no-log policy|
|Protocol||OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPSec|
|Customer Support||Online ticket system|
|Money-back guarantee||31-day money-back guarantee|
|Monthly Price Range||$1.99 – $10.95|
Founded in 2006, PureVPN is one of the earliest entries in the VPN industry. They recently shifted their headquarters from Hong Kong to the British Virgin Island. This means PureVPN is not subjected to any international surveillance alliances, including Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes.
Just so you know, the industry’s leading VPN services such as Surfshark and ExpressVPN are also operating from the same country or, rather say, islands. Why do most VPN companies choose this location as their headquarters? Well, maybe because their government does not enforce any mandatory data retention.
The British Virgin Islands are a group of autonomous islands located in the Caribbean with their own legislatures, laws and have an independent judiciary. The fact that the country is not part of any international surveillance alliance alone makes it suitable for operating a VPN business.
Let’s dig it in further and explore what PureVPN has got for us and whether it falls in our list of best VPN Canada:
|Affordable||High latency on windows|
|Decent speed rate||Unclear where virtual servers are located|
|Great at unblocking Netflix|
|Geographically diverse servers|
PureVPN – Server Network
Since its inception, PureVPN has emerged as one of the popular VPN services, providing access to over 6,500 servers in 140+ locations and in 78+ countries. PureVPN server list is quite impressive and bigger than leading VPNs such as Cyberghost and NordVPN. This kind of broad server coverage is essential for VPNs because the speed of your internet partially depends on the proximity of your chosen server.
In fact, the more geographically diversified servers a VPN has, the more likely you are to find the one close by. With over 2,000 servers worldwide, it should be a piece of cake for you to find a relatively close server to your actual location.
That said, PureVPN has quite a decent coverage of North America with 667 servers. Most of them are located in America, followed by Canada. About 60 PureVPN Canada servers are spread across Montreal, Quebec, and Vancouver.
While most of its servers are physically located in the said regions, PureVPN also offers 20 virtual servers. The difference between physical and virtual servers is that the virtual servers are not exactly located in the country it claims to be.
You’re, in fact, assigned an IP address for your preferred region, but your traffic is routed through a server in another country with a more stable speed and connection.
This practice is not bad, considering that the distance between servers significantly affects the speed, so many VPN providers use virtual servers to enhance the speed while also allowing access to the preferred region.
PureVPN Security, Privacy, and Logging
The fundamental purpose of using a VPN service is to have a limitless and secure internet experience. Let’s see what PureVPN has in store for us to make this happen:
Does PureVPN collect my data?
No, at least what they have communicated in their policy, though. PureVPN categorically denies collecting or monetizing their users’ data. They have a strict no-log policy in place, meaning they don’t keep tabs on your online activity and whatever you do online.
We know damn well; nobody really reads the privacy policies. But guess what? We do! We went through every detail and put flesh on the bones to see what PureVPN stores and what it does not.
Well, back in the days when it was first launched, PureVPN used to log some personal data. In fact, there was an incident where PureVPN helped the FBI to apprehend an individual via the data it had on him. That’s pretty alarming for a VPN service that is made for providing security and privacy to an internet user.
It’s not like we’re using it for any illegal business, but we still don’t like to have someone snooping around and recording whatever we do online. It’s downright spying and juxtaposing to what a VPN is supposed to do.
The report from Altius IT reads,
“We did not find any evidence of system configurations and/or system/service log files that independently, or collectively, could lead to identifying a specific person and/or the person’s activity when using the PureVPN service.”
Moreover, KPMG, one of the Big Four auditing firms, has also audited PureVPN, verifying its no data-log status and affirming that it truly does not log any of its users’ data.
So, to put it simply, PureVPN is safe to use, and it will never log your internet data.
Does PureVPN have a Kill Switch?
Yes, PureVPN does, in fact, have a kill switch. The feature is used to terminate your internet activity as soon as it detects a connection drop. It’s particularly essential for a journalist writing a classified report, or activist working on a sensitive movement, or someone downloading copyrighted content.
Without a kill switch, a temporary outage could expose your activity to your ISP, which could get you in trouble. Fortunately, PureVPN has a kill switch for Windows, iOS, Linux, and Android users.
Does PureVPN support Split Tunneling?
Yes, PureVPN offers Split Tunneling to all subscribers, except iOS users. Split Tunneling is a feature that helps enhance your VPN speed by routing some of your traffic to your regular ISP network and the other half through an encrypted VPN tunnel. You get to choose which app’s traffic you want to get routed through VPN and which ones to your regular network.
Why do I want to have this feature?
Well, let’s suppose you’re connected to a dangerous public Wi-Fi. You want to stream Stranger Things on Netflix in HD without any buffering, but you also don’t want to lose your security. In that case, you will split your traffic in half through ‘Split Tunneling’ that allows you to do both things simultaneously.
What protocol does PureVPN use?
PureVPN uses OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2/IPSec VPN protocols for encryption. It also lets you select the VPN protocol you’d like the app to use.
VPN protocols determine how your web traffic will be transmitted across networks, meaning how VPNs receive and transfer requests to and from your devices. Of course, these methods should be secure enough to keep the snoopers at bay. This level of security depends on the protocol a VPN uses since some protocols prioritize speed over security and others vice versa.
PureVPN supports OpenVPN/IKEv2 on Windows, OpenVPN on MacOS, and IPSec/IKEv2 protocols on its Android and iOS clients. All of these protocols are secure and don’t prioritize speed over security. This means you might experience slow speeds when using these protocols.
Talking about my experience, I connected to a UK server with UDP OpenVPN protocol. The connection was slow and kept on dropping. I decided to reach out to their customer support and explained to them my issue. The guy named Steve told me to try switching from UDP to TCP OpenVPN protocol.
I did exactly what they said, and it worked. Guess it’s a tradeoff we inevitably have to make because good security comes at a price – in this case, loss in speed.
Does PureVPN leak DNS?
Based on my testing, PureVPN doesn’t leak DNS on Windows and Mac. DNS, also known as Domain Name System, is an address obtained from converting the domain names from the text (URLs) to numbers (IP addresses). Upon visiting any website, your device automatically connects to that DNS server and shares your IP address.
Being in the VPN industry, I occasionally encounter VPNs that keep using ISP’s DNS addresses instead of the VPN’s. This means that any site you visit can detect your actual IP address even when you’re connected to a VPN.
As you can see above, the test indicates that my IP address is based in Italy, while I am actually in Canada. It’s good to see that PureVPN is DNS leak-protected.
PureVPN WebRTC Leak Test
PureVPN claims to provide full protection against WebRTC leaks. It is another way a VPN could leak your identity. It’s basically real-time communication between web browsers directly without involving any intermediate server. Many websites and apps use WebRTC to improve internet speed during video calls, live streaming, and file transferring.
Okay, but WebRTC is good for me?
The devices communicating via WebRTC need to know your public IP addresses to make communication faster. This means an app/site or any other third party can detect your actual location through WebRTC even when you’re connected to VPN.
These leaks defeat the purpose of encryption, spoofing, and every other thing a VPN does to hide your location. That’s why it’s recommended to go for only those VPNs that provide leak protection against DNS and WebRTC.
Luckily, PureVPN has successfully passed our test and doesn’t leak our location.
Streaming – Does PureVPN work with Netflix?
Yes, it sure does!
With my device connected to PureVPN’s US server, I binge-watched the entire season of Grey’s Anatomy on American Netflix since the series is not available on Canadian Netflix. I didn’t face any buffers. The video quality was also good.
Most importantly, I didn’t come across any of Netflix’s proxy errors throughout my streaming time. I will 10/10 at PureVPN Netflix unblocking!
This is commendable, seeing a VPN bypassing the strongest of all geofences implemented on Netflix. PureVPN has single-handedly beat all the efforts of Netflix who was trying so hard to restrict users from accessing their foreign libraries.
Does PureVPN support Torrenting?
Yes, PureVPN offers P2P-friendly servers for torrenting purposes. This makes it a good option for torrenting, but not the best – let me tell you why.
PureVPN torrent servers score high on encryption, bandwidth allowance, usability, and other features but what it lacks is speed. Honestly, it took like ages for one file to download with PureVPN. And let me tell you, that file wasn’t that big either.
My experience with one of the best torrenting VPNs has always been great. Yeah, I know security and privacy should be there, but nobody would want to wait for thousands of years to download a 30-minute video, right? Now, you feel my pain?
PureVPN Speed Test
PureVPN managed to deliver fairly decent downloading and uploading speed. If I am being completely honest, it wasn’t as great as ExpressVPN – which in my opinion, is the fastest VPN I have ever tested.
Check out PureVPN speed test results here:
|Server location||Download speed||Upload speed||Pings|
|Australia||76.75 Mbps||86.84 Mbps||131 ms|
|Canada||54.73 Mbps||97.09 Mbps||253 ms|
|Netherlands||86.75 Mbps||81.25 Mbps||160 ms|
|France||90.84 Mbps||78.84 Mbps||128 ms|
|Russia||81 Mbps||63.35 Mbps||163 ms|
|Spain||9.93 Mbps||6.20 Mbps||365 ms|
|UAE||78.5 Mbps||23.17 Mbps||446 ms|
|UK||74.59 Mbps||80.09 Mbps||128 ms|
|US||51.67 Mbps||65.42 Mbps||299 ms|
Please note that speed can be varied depending on several factors such as the device you’re using, location, time of day, your ISP, VPN server distance, and bandwidth capacity.
Is PureVPN good for Gaming?
Truth be told, I cannot stress enough how bad PureVPN was for loading gaming titles like Call of Duty, GTA Vice City, and even PUBG. With its excruciatingly high ping, slower speeds, and ever-increasing latency, my entire gaming experience went worse than I’ve ever had. Honestly, I could hardly play any title for more than 10 minutes.
If you’re a gamer, we recommend you to go for the best gaming VPNs that are fast and produce low ping results.
How many devices is PureVPN compatible with?
PureVPN is compatible with almost all major OS, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more. Here is the complete list of devices that PureVPN supports:
- Amazon Fire Stick
- Android TV
- iOS devices like iPad, iPhone, and more
- Android devices, mobiles, and tablets
- Microsoft Surface
- PureVPN Kodi
- Boxee Box
- Now TV Box
- Raspberry Pi
This means PureVPN is compatible with a variety of devices and comes with a 10-device allowance.
PureVPN Browser Extensions
PureVPN has extensions for the following web browsers:
Please note that the PureVPN Chrome extension doesn’t have the same perks as its full-fledged Windows apps. Moreover, you have to install its application on your device first if you want your extension to work.
How much does PureVPN cost?
PureVPN costs about $1.99/month.
Now that you’ve learned about its features, it’s time to make the purchase. Looking at PureVPN subscriptions, I was shocked – in a good way! It’s way cheaper than the VPNs we have tested recently, such as Windscribe and ProtonVPN.
While PureVPN doesn’t offer any free trial, it has a 31-day money-back guarantee that compensates all those who are indecisive and afraid to make an instant purchase.
Here are the details of PureVPN subscription packages:
|Subscription length||1 month||1 year||2 years|
|Total amount billed||$10.95||$35.88||$47.76|
PureVPN customer Support
PureVPN offers 24/7 customer support in the form of live chat, set up guides, FAQs, and ticket systems.
It’s good to have tech support when a problem arises, especially when you can’t find the solutions on Google. For the sake of testing, I opened a ticket and dropped a message on their chat support and was amazed to see their response time. I got the reply within seconds, so full points on that.
However, if you like the old fashioned-way to reach the support (yes, we mean email), PureVPN doesn’t respond to emails as quickly as they do in chats, so you’re out of luck here.
PureVPN App – Can boomers use it easily?
Well, we guess yes!
PureVPN apps are user-friendly and well-designed. Its easy-to-use interface works effortlessly without any hiccups. Icons, options, and everything are well-defined that even boomers (or non-technical individuals) can easily use.
Its apps are noticeably lightweight and do not take much space. You can search for your preferred servers in the search tab in the server selection screen. I also like how it allows users to switch between modes: Stream, Internet Freedom, Security/Privacy, File sharing, and dedicated IP.
Is PureVPN compatible with my device?
Can PureVPN block ads?
Does PureVPN work in China?
Does PureVPN have a free version?
Does PureVPN keep logs?
Is PureVPN legal?
Is PureVPN Safe?
Its privacy policies are also very transparent and clearly state that they don’t log any online activity. Moreover, PureVPN is regularly audited to see if it meets the standard.
Alternatives to PureVPN
If I recommend any VPN other than PureVPN, I will blindly go for ExpressVPN. Also headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN offers top-notch security and freedom to every internet user.
I have never seen a VPN this much dedicated to providing top-tier security without even compromising speed. Based on our testing, ExpressVPN delivers the fastest speed with 96.5 Mbps downloading and 90.2 uploading speed on a 100 Mbps connection.
As far as accessibility is concerned, ExpressVPN effortlessly bypasses geo-restricted websites, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Here is a comprehensive review of ExpressVPN.
Moreover, it uses 256-bit encryption, kill switch, split tunneling, and other advanced features to ensure maximum online security. You can subscribe to ExpressVPN at $6.67/month that also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Final Verdict – do I recommend PureVPN Canada?
“A VPN with a variety of functionalities but a bit slow!” This is my verdict after PureVPN Review for Canada users. The VPN works great with Netflix and has pretty impressive security features and a wide range of functionalities.
However, inadequate speeds and dubious track record prevent it from competing with the industry’s leading VPN providers like ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN. PureVPN still has a long way to go to become the best VPN for Canada and for us to say it’s PureVPN Canada!
We will conclude this review by giving it an overall rating of 4/5.