Which one would you choose between PureVPN and ExpressVPN? A large population opts to use PureVPN due to its expanding network of servers and affordability.
The provider’s connection speeds aren’t bad either, as they can be relied on for downloading torrent files faster and smooth streaming. On the security front, PureVPN uses military-grade encryption to protect users’ privacy.
ExpressVPN also has a massive following thanks to its ultra-fast connection speeds and neat features. The provider doesn’t cut any corners in offering reliable online security, as evident from the robust encryption on the VPN’s protocols.
In essence, you wouldn’t be wrong with choosing one of the two providers. But, as in any competition, there’s always one contender who’s the better. As such, we’ll pit these two providers against each other to determine which one is more reliable.
How to Choose a VPN
The plethora of VPN providers in the market is nothing short of overwhelming. While the choice overload may offer the freedom of shopping according to personal preferences, most VPNs seem to have similar functionalities. For this reason, it demands scrutiny of the VPNs to determine which one you should invest in.
In this review, we’ve made the evaluation process easier for you by listing the core functionalities which a good VPN should serve. In a similar vein, both PureVPN and ExpressVPN will be weighed based on these functionalities.
In doing so, the blurred line of difference between the two providers will become more distinct. Consequently, the ultimate VPN champion will be declared depending on the providers’ performance in each of the stipulated functionality.
Connection speed is a major consideration when choosing a VPN. Although it’s common for VPNs to slow down your connection, the reduction in speed should be negligible. This way, you can stream and browse without the annoying buffering and extended page-loading time.
Both PureVPN and ExpressVPN boldly claim to offer fast connection speeds. Then again, we can’t just take their word for it. So, we ran a few speed tests to establish their claims.
Having in mind that VPNs reduce connection speeds, we first tested the speed of our unprotected connection. The speed was 67.20 Mbps. With this as our initial speed, we then compared the differences in speed reduction when connected to the providers’ servers.
Local Connection Speeds (US)
First on the test was PureVPN, which reduced our initial speed to 31.64 Mbps; on its US-based servers. Similarly, we connected to ExpressVPN’s US servers that gave us an average speed of 44.73 Mbps.
Local Connection Speeds Winner: ExpressVPN
International Connection Speeds (US to the UK)
We expected a significant loss of speed when connected to both providers’ UK-based servers, due to high latency associated with international connections.
Fortunately, only ExpressVPN that defied our expectations by recording a speed of 52.95 Mbps, which isn’t severely off from our initial connection speed. PureVPN lived up to our expectations by giving us a speed of 19.14 Mbps.
International Connection Speeds Winner: ExpressVPN
The price of a VPN isn’t necessarily about how much you are willing to pay. Instead, it is more about getting value for what you pay for. But keep in mind that a premium-priced VPNs often offer high-quality services than free VPNs or cheap options.
Our head-to-head contestants both tip towards the high-price bracket, which can be an indication of their reliability and exceptional service.
PureVPN charges $10.95 a month, which is slightly above the industry-standard price of about $10.00/month. Of course, you’ll save more if you opt for the extended subscriptions, notably the 5-years plan that goes for 1.32/month, billed $79.20.
The provider also offers an annual plan for $5.81/month, charged $69.72. But before subscribing to these plans, we recommend taking advantage of the 31-day money-back guarantee. This way, you’ll have enough time to test as well as learn to use the service before committing to any plan.
In as much as we advocate going for premium-priced VPNs, ExpressVPN is considerably expensive. The provider charges $12.95 for a monthly subscription and $99.99/month for a six months plan. Their most extended plan is the annual subscription, which goes for $8.32/month.
Arguably, the VPN’s high performance may be a justification for the hefty pricing. But, PureVPN offers a perfect blend of reasonable pricing and competitive performance. Besides, users save more with PureVPN’s most extended plan than that of ExpressVPN.
Pricing Winner: PureVPN
Privacy protection is one of the most fundamental purposes of any VPN. More so, with the increasing cyber-security threats, providers ought to show commitment in keeping users’ data under wraps.
Generally speaking, a VPN provider’s privacy protection policies are determined by its jurisdiction. The provider must also go the extra mile in assuring users that none of their online activities are recorded. PureVPN and ExpressVPN both meet these conditions, which is why their growing number of users feel confident using the services.
Even so, it might worry you that PureVPN is located in Hong Kong, which is part of China. Thankfully, Hong Kong itself lacks mandatory data retention laws, and it’s not subject to China’s cyber laws. PureVPN also honors users’ privacy by recording none of their online activities.
ExpressVPN is a British Virgin Islands-based provider. BVI is a privacy-friendly country. The provider also follows a strict no-logs policy, making the service a safe option for users seeking online anonymity.
To further enhance users’ privacy, ExpressVPN accepts Bitcoin. While PureVPN doesn’t accept cryptocurrencies, it accepts gift cards, which is also a private way to pay for the service.
Privacy Winner: Tie
Features in a VPN may not be regarded as highly as privacy or connection speeds. But, it’s undeniable that they help enhance the functionality of a VPN. On the same note, keep in mind that features aren’t appealing to all kinds of users.
Novice users will be more inclined to a VPN with minimal features, considering the user-friendliness. Experienced users, on the other hand, might want a VPN that provides a collection of features, which can be tweaked to suit what they want in a VPN.
PureVPN is appropriate for beginners since it doesn’t pack any sophisticated features. It also has a pretty straightforward interface for seamless navigation. From the dashboard, you can select a mode, for instance, ‘Streaming’ or ‘Internet Freedom.’ Selecting any of the modes prompts the software to provide a better experience with respect to the chosen mode.
Most of PureVPN’s features are geared towards improving users’ privacy and security. These features include a kill switch that helps protect your privacy in case your connection is lost. The provider also offers a split-tunneling feature that allows you to select which data goes through the encryption tunnel and which one goes unprotected.
Likewise, ExpressVPN also manages to keep the features balanced by offering a kill switch and split-tunneling feature, just like its competitor. The most significant difference we noted between the two is the quality of the extra features they offer. PureVPN has a ‘VPN Hotspot’ tool that turns your device into a hotspot where you can connect other devices.
ExpressVPN comes with a built-in ‘server speed test,’ allowing you to choose the fastest server easily, instead of testing all servers on the roster. You won’t find this feature in most VPNs. Moreover, as much as PureVPN’s ‘hotspot’ feature is nice, fewer people are likely to use it compared ExpressVPN’s ‘server speed test,’ which is handier.
Features Winner: ExpressVPN
Essentially, the encryption of a VPN is the strength of the cipher code used to secure users’ connections. The standard cipher code in most premium VPNs is AES 256-bit keys, which is so far uncrackable.
PureVPN and ExpressVPN both use 256-bit encryption on their OpenVPN protocols. In addition to the two supporting L2TP/IPSec and PPTP protocols, PureVPN also adds IKEv2 and SSTP protocols into its catalog.
Note that IKEv2 is most useful on mobile devices. It provides decent online speeds and allows you to auto-connect after your connection is lost. The SSTP protocol is relatively old and works mostly on Windows devices only.
Although the two providers use about the same encryptions, ExpressVPN is more secure. The provider utilizes RSA-4096 keys, which is theoretically twice as safe as PureVPN’s RSA-2048 keys. Additionally, ExpressVPN uses a unique technology referred to as ‘cipher blocking chaining,’ which makes your traffic untraceable.
Encryption Winner: ExpressVPN
The number of concurrent connections a VPN supports isn’t much of a big deal to some users. For others, their intended place of use makes it mandatory for them to pay a little more attention to the number of simultaneous connections a VPN can support.
A large family will undoubtedly need a VPN that supports more simultaneous connections than a small-sized family. Also, with the increasing trend of the remote workforce, business owners need to ensure all employees’ devices are secured; as they access the company’s servers remotely. Such business owners need a VPN that supports a high number of simultaneous connections.
Both PureVPN and ExpressVPN allow users to connect up to 5 devices to a single account. If this number is not enough, you can increase it to infinity by pairing the VPN with a router.
In fact, ExpressVPN has partnered with a router brand to make it even easier to pair the service. Nonetheless, both providers are compatible with the majority of the routers available in the market.
Simultaneous Connections Winner: Tie
The privacy and security standards upheld by a VPN provider helps to determine if it’s safe to share P2P files, and torrent. Plus, it also determines whether to worry about ISP blocking or throttling.
Besides security, you need fast connection speeds to download large P2P files faster. As such, a good VPN for torrenting should be a blend of robust security standards and fast connection speeds.
While some torrentors use VPNs to share copyrighted content (music videos, movies, etc.) anonymously, torrents can be used legally for sharing files, especially among co-workers. This can help improve collaboration, thus getting the work done faster.
PureVPN supports P2P file sharing only on some of its servers; about 200 serves. PureVPN makes it easy to identify servers optimized for torrenting by labeling them ‘P2P’.
The providers P2P servers are well-distributed, making it easy to find a nearby server for a fantastic torrenting experience. But first, you’ll have to activate the ‘File-Sharing Mode’ to see the optimized servers. Remember to also enable the DNS and IPv6 leak protection before downloading torrents.
In addition to its fast connection speeds, ExpressVPN allows torrenting in all of its 160 server locations. The provider further offers tips on how to improve your torrenting experience. The VPN service passed our DNS and IPv6 leak protection tests, which solidifies the software’s torrent support.
Torrent Support Winner: ExpressVPN
Global Server Coverage
When shopping for a VPN, it’s advised that you consider the provider’s server coverage. A vast network of servers ensures you have access to close-by servers, thus guaranteeing consistent connection speeds. Moreover, the server distribution has to be spread out in more countries to make it easy to access much more region-blocked content.
PureVPN has more than 2,000 servers stationed in over 140 countries. Given such a large number of server locations, PureVPN users have the freedom not only to choose a server country but also narrow down to a specific city in the selected country.
ExpressVPN boasts an extensive collection of servers than its counterpart. It has over 3,000 servers spread across more than 90 countries.
In this category, it’s hard to choose between the two providers since each performs well in server count and number of server stations. This means that users are assured of consistent speeds when using any of the two VPNs.
But, PureVPN has more virtual server locations (twice, or more) than ExpressVPN. With this in mind, it’s safe to crown ExpressVPN as a winner in this category.
It is common to find several internet-enabled devices in a single household or office. From a smart TV, Windows PC, MacBook, Android devices to iPhones. All of which you can secure using a VPN.
As such, an ideal VPN should be compatible with your devices, lest you will be forced to buy a different service for each of your devices. Considering the expense of owning a single VPN account, you certainly don’t want to spend more on securing every single device.
PureVPN and ExpressVPN compete favorably well in this category. They both offer native apps for the macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android devices, and Amazon Fire TV.
Also, the two providers are compatible with DD-WRT routers and offer setup instructions for other popular routers. Chrome and Firefox browser add-ons are also available.
Arguably, the ideal way to judge these providers’ multi-platform support is by evaluating the interface organization across various devices.
PureVPN’s desktop interface appears cluttered, especially on tapping the menu button. The provider’s mobile version is well organized, though, allowing users to navigate easily across menu options. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, maintains a consistent interface across all platforms. Its layout is intuitive and uncluttered.
Multi-Platform Winner: ExpressVPN
Although most providers offer easy-to-use software, users may sometimes need help using or troubleshooting the VPN. As such, reliable customer support is an integral part of any VPN.
Given that VPNs offer service to users across the globe, providing 24/7 customer support makes sense. This stems from the fact that users are in different time zones and may need urgent help re-establishing their connections.
Luckily, both PureVPN and ExpressVPN offer responsive customer support that is available 24/7. Users can also browse the providers’ searchable support library or contact email support if the issue isn’t much urgent or complicated.
However, we were delighted at how fast ExpressVPN responded to our queries through the live chat support option. Besides, the response felt more personal compared to that of PureVPN’s support, who answered back with links to articles.
Customer Support Winner: ExpressVPN
The Winner: ExpressVPN!
While both VPNs put up a good fight, ExpressVPN won this battle. PureVPN is the most affordable VPN of the two, making it a worthy option for users looking for a top-notch VPN on a budget. The service also delivers decent speeds and superb privacy protection.
Both VPNs have an expansive network of servers, but ExpressVPN wins on server count. And more, PureVPN lacks in servers optimized for torrenting.
ExpressVPN stands out as the ultimate VPN powerhouse. The VPN clearly wins in all key categories, including security, connection speeds, and customer support.