Pure VPN Review 2014
Update 23 March 2015:- Star Sports compatibility
Recently I have been checking out PureVPN, I heard good things about them and they had a couple of features I was particularly interested in so I gave them a spin.
with that, welcome to the PureVPN Review 2014.
Firstly, a bit about PureVPN first and the services they offer as standard.
- 5 simultaneous logins
- An internet kill switch
- 256 bit encryption (optional)
- No data caps
- Unlimited server switches
The Kill switch was a feature they emailed me about when it was in beta some time ago and I loved the sound of it. I don’t know about you, but every time I use the net these days I get just a little more uncomfortable with what is being collected, who I trust or don’t trust (the former being a handful of sites/companies only).
Essentially the kill switch is a fail safe which makes sure that if the VPN server goes down or you need to disconnect or reconnect because of internet failure your real ID isn’t exposed as it ordinarily would be.
If it sounds impractical it isn’t. What it means is that only when both the following conditions occur can you continue
- When your internet reconnects
- When the VPN connects
To be ultra clear that is an AND statement. I actually did get to test this element and it did work as stated and I am at a loss why this isn’t an absolutely essential feature for all providers.
PureVPN Speed Tests and Practical Usage
I test my VPN providers against services I personally use, and I also try and fit the tests around the audience UnlockWorldTV attracts. I find this way the reviews are a bit more practical, it isn’t possible for me as a review to “make anything up” so I feel it adds integrity to the reviews and also, whats the point in hypotheticals!
So lets get to it and look at the speed tests and practical usage of PureVPN.
I live in the UK, so I always test UK servers. I chose a server at random from their list and ended up choosing a server in Maidenhead. The speedtest.net result is below.
UK, Maiden Head
The speed actually was the same as my ISP speed. The above is one screen grab but I did 3 tests on each. This was the middle one.
Needless to say a PureVPN UK server is capable of even the most demanding stream / download requirements. If you are outside ther UK and are trying to access the BBC for example, you should be pretty damn safe with speeds of 60MB/s
Sweden server test below
Next the obligatory US server test. The random choice landed on…..
USA, Atlanta, Georgia
See above the ping is 108ms, which you would expect, given the sheer distance between the server and me. If you want to check, the screen grabs below are taken from the Millennium Trilogy (extended versions), which are only on the USA Netflix. I chose the screen grabs below to show the clarity (picture 1) and detail (picture 2)
The playback was flawless. Actually in my experience, Netflix will play back flawless around 5 or 6 MB/s but you can see below, clearly HD content and a very very high quality stream.
I did further USA tests but will cover them later in the review when I look at the PureVPN software.
For the football (soccer) aficionados amongst the readership, its only right I tested PureVPN with the BeIN Sport website.
This gave some mixed results. On one hand, as you can see with the speeds below, they were not mind blowing for either of the servers in Cairo (of which there were 2). Having said that, the stream actually worked perfectly which I did not expect since I did the speed test before the screen grabs.
Cairo (server 1), Egypt
Cairo (server 2), Egypt
As you can see the screenshots are perfectly clear, there was no buffering or stuttering over a period of a morning. I was surprised at the success of the stream given the speed results but that’s the point of reviews isn’t it. What was it like to actually use!
Only, once I’d tested Egyptian servers did I notice that there was a server in Oman. I tested that without much confidence but just look at the results!!
This was two of 3 results, I omitted the middle one which was about 39 (I forgot to write it down). BeIN Sports is available in Oman so if you have or need a subscription from the UK then the PureVPN Oman server is the one for you!!
StarSports.com (Section updated 23 March 2015)
I recently posted an update specific to Star Sports with VPN
PureVPN has really excelled itself with the server updates for the Cricket World Cup 2015 with additional servers in Pakistan and India. They originally provided a manual workaround to connect prior to updating the app. However, as mentioned elsewhere in this review, PureVPN’s software allows you to connect ” Via Purpose” as well as simply selecting a country.
They have now added a StarSports option which automatically connects you to the Islamabad Server in Pakistan.
The quality of connection is good enough to pick up the new HD capability of Star Sports. It was like night and day from he original review I did back in November 2014. See the screenshot below.
Next I tested the India server for Star Sports, the cheapest legal EPL subscription on the planet (probably!) Once I got those speeds I was well excited to see the results as reliable Indian servers are hard to come by. Sadly, whilst there was a server in India, which I did connect to, I was unable to stream anything successfully on Star Sports. I did contact PureVPN via live chat and tried a workaround without success and then someone got back to me with another workaround. Unfortunately by the time I read their response and got round to trying it my trial expired and I could not access it. So if anyone from PureVPN is reading this, you know what to do 🙂
The flip side of this is that I got to test out their support team and can happily report that they were very friendly and helpful.
In the meantime f you are looking for a VPN for Star Sports specifically I can currently only recommend Astrill and IPVanish (in OpenVPN(UDP)) mode as I have had little or no success with others for streaming for any duration. I will stream 100 minutes on a Saturday afternoon full screen with Astrill no drama! And I am all about reducing drama in your lives. If you were looking at a Star Sports subscription and PureVPN I’m afraid this is not a marriage made in heaven. Please see my Astrill Review to see an alternative provider. I use it on mobile and tablet too.
I tested a New Zealand server. I managed to access the PremierLeaguePass website but unfortunately do not have an account to test the stream! Its hard to get a good connection to NZ from the UK given they are over 20,000 miles away, I’m surprised the results were as good as they are. If you are on the West Coast of America or in Australia maybe you could test this out and get back to me in the comments?
The site itself loaded quickly enough, but the PLP streams are very high bandwidth. Perhaps if you are not in the vicinity of NZ a DNS service such as Overplay or UnblockUs would be better! If you aren’t sure about the differences between DNS and VPN then check out my blog post here.
As with all VPN providers, you get a nifty little bit of software to install on your computer, in my case a Mac, to make connecting easier. The software varies a fair bit from provider to provider but they all share some very basic characteristics, for example
- Choosing which server to connect to
- Choosing a connection protocol
- Displaying your connection data
- Requiring a sign in
PureVPN’s software is no different. It is simple and intuitive enough for a total novice to use. Having said that, buried under the hood are some extra options to make sure you get the most out of your connection.
You can see in the screenshot below that as well as choosing to connect via a country, you can select via a purpose. Its fair to say the list in the screen grab below covers almost every eventuality, albeit being a little messy looking.
One of the first tests with PureVPN was go to hulu.com and press play on a random show. I don’t remember what it was, but it didn’t matter because this was the message I got.
So I chose the “connect by purpose“ option “Online Streaming – Hulu”. That worked just fine, I was a bit worried for a minute. Panic over.
I watched some Scrubs and the stream was perfect, similarly I put the Simpsons on and that was when I remembered to take a screen grab of the quality!
In PureVPN’s defence Hulu are constantly trying to block VPN and Proxies. PureVPN is a big player in the VPN marketplace so blocking them gives them a lot of kudos with the TV studios who license their content. A simple Google of “PureVPN Hulu” provides workarounds just fine direct from PureVPN should they ever be needed.
One thing I noticed, and this may be coincidence or by design, was that the speeds were lower for streaming only selections. I don’t mean slower with any detriment, just slower. So for example I tested one server at 29MB/s
and the same server for Hulu only and it was 20MB/s.
Which is way more than you need for HD streaming anyway. I thought perhaps they might have some load balancing to ensure everyone gets good streaming service. If that’s the case then that’s a great idea.
For me the software was fine. Which isn’t really a complement I know, but it was just fine, I have used better, but PureVPNs offering was certainly not bad.
I do have one gripe with it though. It would not remember my password even though I checked the box about 50 times. It remembered it once or maybe twice maybe where I did server switches in a short space of time but that’s it. It may not have been so annoying had I actually remembered my password but I kept having to copy and paste with the tight click button disabled!
Below I have put some screen shots of the software so you can see what It looks like. Mine was on a Mac.
- Speed of servers for Europe, East Coast USA, India. Even West Cost USA regularly was 7MB/s and up
- The Kill Switch, it is a very effective security mechanism. A must have feature IMHO
- The software is very simple to use and you can access support directly from it.
- I needed to use support twice (live chat and support desk) and both times the people were polite and helpful
- There were two servers I couldn’t use during my random selection
- The Software would not remember password
- The support response via the support desk did seem a little slow
Would I recommend PureVPN.
Yes I would. The value of Support is underestimated sometimes and although I said it was a little slow to respond I had a couple of online chats and the people were really friendly. I have high standards for people getting back to me and outside 24 hours for me is always just a bug bear. I realize not everyone expects that rate of response!! It was just a couple of days.
I’m at the point now where I am looking for always on VPN because I am at the stage where I just want to not be followed on the net all the time. And the kill switch functionality has me seriously contemplating a move to them.
PureVPN supports DD-Wrt but if they make a DDwrt applet to install on my router like Astrill does then I would sign up full time in a heartbeat.
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