PureVPN vs NordVPN [Test Results 2020]

Both PureVPN and NordVPN are two of the most popular VPNs in the market today. To begin with, they’re based in VPN-friendly jurisdictions and boast superb privacy protections. Not to mention that both services are reasonably priced, without compromising on performance.

Despite the similarities, the two VPNs have variations in their features and capabilities.

One NordVPN account, for example, covers a maximum of 6 devices at once, while a single PureVPN subscription allows you to connect only up to 5 devices simultaneously.

In view of the differences, users are often at crossroads, trying to choose between the two providers. For this reason, we’ve compared the two VPNs, to help decide which is suitable for the average user.

Before we outrightly declare the best VPN from the two contenders, let’s first look at how we will determine the winner.

How to Choose a VPN

When shopping for a reliable VPN, there are several factors to keep in mind. Generally, most users shun free VPN service since such VPNs tend to offer low-quality privacy protection. While this is a good starting point in choosing a good VPN, there other crucial factors to consider.

In this review, we’ll clash PureVPN and NordVPN against each other, with respect to essential features that should guide your buying decision. For each feature category, we’ll also declare the best performing VPN. The results of both providers will then be tallied to help announce the ultimate VPN powerhouse.

Connection Speeds

Slow connection speeds can be quite annoying, especially when streaming media content. Even when casually browsing the internet, you don’t want web-pages loading for too long. This accentuates the importance of fast connection speeds when choosing a VPN.

Before testing the speeds of the two VPNs, we had (first) to establish speeds delivered by our ISP. This speed served as a reference point for determining which is the fastest VPN provider. Our unsecured connection speed stood at 110.66 Mbps.

We then installed each VPN separately into our device and tested for the connection speeds. For congruency, the tests were run three times at different times of the day, and the results averaged.

Local connection Speeds (US)

When testing for local connection speeds, we connected to the VPNs’ servers located in the US. PureVPN’s US servers gave us an average speed of 96.57 Mbps. On the other hand, NordVPN’s US servers averaged 93.6 Mbps.

There was a slight reduction in ISP’s connection speeds when using both VPNs.This is expected due to the tunneling mechanisms the VPNs use to secure data transmitted over the network.

Nonetheless, PureVPN had the slightest speed reduction making it ideal for fast local connection speeds.

Local Connection Speed Winner: PureVPN

International Connection Speeds (US to the UK)

For the international connection speeds, we connected to each VPN’s UK-based servers. The usual assumption is that connections to international servers are slower since data has to travel a longer distance.  

When connected to PureVPN’s UK servers, our connection speed plummeted to 87.86 Mbps. NordVPN registered 60.1 Mbps on its UK servers.

International Connection Speed Winner: PureVPN

Pricing

While a free VPN is usually frowned upon, you don’t have to break the bank to afford one. As such, a good VPN should be reasonably priced and have well-laid out payment plans.

PureVPN charges $10.95 per month, with its annual plan going for $5.81/month. Currently, the provider is offering a 3 years subscription for just $1.92/month billed $69.00. This translates to more than 60% savings on the month-to-month subscription.

The provider also offers a 31-days money-back guarantee. However, you can still opt for the 3-days trial for as little as $2.50.

NordVPN charges a dollar more than PureVPN, for the month-to-month plan. The yearly plan sets you back $6.99/month billed $83.88. A 2-year plan is also available for $4.99 per month, charged $119.76.

Their best deal is the 3-year plan that comes with an extra 3 months free for just $3.49 per month. All subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is a day less that of PureVPN.

As far as value for money and affordability are concerned, PureVPN takes the crown. Also, the provider accepts more payment forms, including Bitcoin, Paypal, credit cards, AliPay, and gift cards.

Pricing Winner: PureVPN

Privacy

The internet is jam-packed with snoops trying to steal your online data. From hackers, ISPs, and even the government, they are all furtively prying on your online activities.

While almost all VPNs claim to offer privacy protection, some do not live up to their promises. A VPN that’s committed to protecting your privacy will not record any logs of your online activities.

Just as important, your ideal provider should be located in a country where the law doesn’t require them to record users’ data.

Fortunately, PureVPN operates from Hong Kong, where the local government lacks data retention laws. NordVPN is based in Panama, a country that doesn’t require VPN providers to retain user logs. Plus, you can sign up for the service using a disposable email address and pay for the service anonymously using Bitcoin.

Although the two seem to offer equally good privacy protection, one can’t help but be a bit skeptical about PureVPN. Considering the provider’s location, you can tell their no logs-policy isn’t as strong as NordVPN’s.

Hong Kong is technically part of China, where the government monitors users’ internet access. Being based in Hong Kong means that PureVPN can be instructed by the Chinese government to provide users’ data.

Privacy Winner: Tie

Features

Handy features shape a VPN’s unique selling point while improving its functionality. For new users, a VPN with few but essential features is ideal—for ease of use.

Even so, advanced users are more inclined to a VPN with unique features, as well, offering them customization freedom is something VPNs should consider.

PureVPN does an excellent job of covering the basic features. To start with, it has a kill switch to protect your privacy when the network connection drops.

The split-tunneling feature allows you to choose which traffic will be encrypted and which one goes unprotected.

The provider also offers several features that are somewhat unusual yet useful. For instance, the service provides an official Kodi add-on that lets you use the VPN on exclusive OSes like LibreELEC and OpenElec. Besides, PureVPN is router-compatible, allowing you to connect numerous devices.

NordVPN equally delivers compelling features to its users. The service stands out for its rock-solid security and privacy protections.

In addition to the kill switch feature, NordVPN also features auto-connect abilities. This way, it securely terminates your internet traffic when the connection drops and restarts automatically when the internet is up.

Features Winner: NordVPN

Encryption

The encryption standards of a VPN are related to its privacy protection abilities. And the two warranty well-secured connections.

The AES 256-bit is the industry-standard encryption used in most VPNs. It’s the same encryption used by governments to secure confidential information. As such, the encryption is uncrackable, ensuring data is transmitted securely.

Both PureVPN and NordVPN use AES 256-bit encryption, with OpenVPN, IKev2, SSTP, and L2TP protocols. While you can switch to any of these protocols, OpenVPN is faster and more secure.

NordVPN is equipped with a more secure OpenVPN control channel encryption compared to PureVPN. The provider uses RSA-4096 keys, which are twice the length of PureVPN’s, RSA-2048 keys. By encrypting your data twice, the VPN boosts your online security.

The VPN also features an Obfsproxy tool, ideal for OpenVPN and Tor traffic. If you live in a country with strong internet censorship, the tool will help hide your connection.

Encryption Winner: NordVPN                                                                                                   

Simultaneous Connections

If you own several devices, you want to secure all their connections. This is particularly the case for business owners who need to ensure employees connect company servers securely. As well, those with large families, the idea of securing your household’s connection isn’t far-fetched.

A VPN offering a large number of simultaneous connections is (according to many VPN users) undoubtedly the best choice. The higher the number of simultaneous connections, the fewer subscriptions you will need. As a result, you’d, more often than not, end up saving money, and getting the most bang for your bucks.

NordVPN allows you to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously to a single account. The best thing is that you can use a VPN router to secure an unlimited number of devices in your office or home.

PureVPN follows closely, supporting up to 5 simultaneous connections. The VPN can also be set up with a router to enable the service to accommodate additional devices.

Simultaneous Connections Winner: NordVPN

Torrent Support

Torrent support is arguably one of the most important metrics for determining a VPN’s worth. It brings to light a provider’s connection speeds, security standards, and privacy protection. Besides, these are the essential aspects that make a VPN suitable for downloading torrents.

Although PureVPN allows torrenting on some of their servers, their questionable privacy protection is something to be mindful of. Notwithstanding, the VPN supports shared IP addresses, making it hard for copyright holders to track you.

One unusual feature that caught our attention is the port forwarding abilities of PureVPN. This speeds up the data you send to and from your device. For a reason, PureVPN may not be a bad torrenting option after all.

Sure, NordVPN doesn’t match up to PureVPN’s speeds, but it’s a safer choice. For starters, NordVPN offers optimized servers for torrenting. The VPN further suggests to users the nearest server for P2P file sharing.

Their Socks5 proxy ensures that your torrent traffic is separated from the rest of your internet traffic. This helps alleviate traffic overload on servers, thereby improving connection speeds. On top of it all, the provider offers reliable DNS leak protection and adheres to a proven no logs policy.

Torrent Support Winner: NordVPN

Global Server Coverage

There is a relatively close relationship between VPN server coverage and its connection speeds. While this isn’t always the case, a VPN with more servers is often less crowded with servers.

Less traffic on servers results in consistent bandwidth, thus improving connection speeds. A good example of this analogy is shown by NordVPN.

The service has more than 5,000 servers stationed in over 59 countries. As such, users have the freedom to choose the less crowded servers from the long list. What’s more, with such a high number of server locations, it’s easy to find a server close to your physical location for even faster connection speeds.

PureVPN has over 2,000 servers located in more than 140 countries across over 180 locations. Note over 80 of these locations run via virtual servers. This means that your traffic is routed through another server elsewhere; when using the VPN in one of the locations.

For those who’re more concerned about security, the idea of using virtual servers might not be that appealing. Well, your worries are justified considering that there are security threats exclusive to virtual servers.

As far as the number of servers is concerned, NordVPN wins. When you factor in the security of the servers, NordVPN takes the cake. PureVPN is located in more countries; so it wins here. Then again, NordVPN provides more cities to choose from, particularly in larger countries.

Global Server Coverage Winner: Both VPNs use diverse approaches when it comes to their network

Multi-platform Support

It’s common for users to have a wide array of devices whose connection they need to secure. Often, these devices have different operating systems. That’s where a VPN compatible with numerous platforms comes in.

Also, a VPN that works seamlessly with almost any OS often saves you money (in terms of subscription fees), unlike one with limited compatibility.

PureVPN has an impressive portfolio of operating systems and devices it supports. The service works smoothly on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS platforms.

It’s also compatible with devices, like Xbox, PlayStation, Blackberry, Roku, Google T.V., Apple T.V., Amazon Fire T.V., and DD-WRT routers. Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers are as well available.

NordVPN also boasts compatibility with all major operating systems and devices. In addition to offering app support for these operating systems, the VPN is also compatible with routers. This includes Tomato, DD-WRT flashed routers as well as NAS, and Linux devices.

For the experienced users, both providers offer tutorials on how to use the service on Kodi and Raspberry Pi.

Multi-platform Support Winner: NordVPN

Customer Support

Customer support is essential in resolving users’ queries related to issues encountered when using a VPN service.

Some VPN facets, such as installation or troubleshooting, can be intimidating, especially to new users. As such, providing user-friendly and extensive customer support is an indispensable aspect of a good VPN.

Both PureVPN and NordVPN offer live chat support. However, NordVPN responded to all queries almost instantly. Furthermore, their searchable knowledge base is reliable enough to resolve commonly-encountered issues.

There are also instructional videos on either provider’s YouTube channel. We recommend using these support channels since both VPNs’ email support is slow to respond (according to our test).

Even though PureVPN also features a responsive 24/7 live chat and email support, most of its comprehensive support is obtained through a series of relevant articles. The articles may carry the answer you need, but might be time-consuming.

Plus, the materials feel a bit impersonal. But, the provider offers tutorials and a searchable knowledgebase, if you hit a snag while using the service.

Customer Support Winner: NordVPN

Final Verdict

The two providers performed equally well, offering advanced features and multi-platform support. PureVPN gave NordVPN a run for its money, winning in connection speeds, and pricing. And more, the two VPNs tied in privacy.

Well, we didn’t point out a clear winner in global server coverage as both providers use diverse approaches when it comes to their network

Even so, NordVPN won in most categories, making it our top pick for the average user. The provider won 6 categories out of the possible 10. These included heavy-weight features such as encryption standards, number of simultaneous connections, torrent, and customer support.

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