nordvpn vs purevpn

Highlights

NordVPN

  • Fast, stable connections
  • More servers than most other VPNs
  • Highly customizable security
  • Able to unblock major streaming services abroad

PureVPN

  • Servers in over 140 countries
  • Unblocks most popular streaming services
  • Lots of advanced security options
  • Designed with novices in mind

Pricing and discounts

NordVPNPureVPN
Subscription periodsOne monthOne month
One yearThree months
Two yearsOne year
Three years
Special offer75% off a three-year plan73% discount on annual plan
Highest price per month$11.95$10.95
Lowest price per month$2.99$2.95
One-year price$83.88$35.40
Money-back guarantee30 days31 days

Most of NordVPN’s plans last longer than a year. A monthly subscription is available, but this service’s pricing structure is clearly designed to get users to commit to long-term subscriptions. In contrast, PureVPN offers two plans lasting less than a year, albeit with steep discounts for those who choose the annual plan.

These services are fairly evenly priced, with just a dollar’s difference between them on their respective month-to-month plans. Between one and two years, however, PureVPN pulls ahead by a considerable margin; NordVPN just can’t compete with PureVPN’s medium-term discounts. That said, those looking for long-term coverage will notice that over three years, the price gap closes again, with NordVPN charging $107.55 and PureVPN, $106.20.

Both of these VPNs offer a lengthy money-back guarantee. PureVPN’s is one day longer than NordVPN’s but the value of this is questionable since after 30 days, you should have a good idea as to whether or not you’d like to continue using the service.

Best Deal for NordVPN: Sign up for a three year deal and get 75% off.

Best Deal for PureVPN: Save 73% on an annual plan.

Features

NordVPNPureVPN
Simultaneous connections65
Operating system appsWindows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, MacOS, Android, Amazon Fire (iOS app currently unavailable)
Manual install devicesRouters, set-top boxesLinux, routers, set-top boxes
Split tunnelingNoYes
Free extrasAd-blocker, malware-protection, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, automatic wifi protectionAd-blocker, malware-protection, Kodi addon, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox

When it comes to multi-platform support, NordVPN has the advantage. Not only does it have apps for the most popular operating systems, it also includes a simple, two-line installer for Linux systems. Meanwhile, PureVPN supports Windows, MacOS, and Android devices, but its iOS app is currently unavailable and there’s no indication as to when, or if, it will return.

PureVPN does have a couple of attractive features that NordVPN doesn’t, though. For instance, it has an official Kodi addon that enables you to stream safely on “just-enough-OS” systems like LibreELEC and OpenELEC, without the need for third-party workarounds. Users can also take advantage of its split-tunneling functionality to dictate which applications (if any) can pass through the VPN unencrypted. NordVPN, meanwhile, offers automatic wifi protection which connects to the VPN whenever you use a wifi network.

Otherwise, in this regard at least, both services are relatively similar. Both offer automatic ad-blocking and malware-scanning, for instance. Each also includes extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers. However, it’s important to understand the difference between a browser extension and a VPN app: the latter encrypts all of your traffic while the former only encrypts browser traffic and will not enable you to safely use P2P networks, dedicated messaging apps, or any other internet-facing programs on your device.

Unblocking capabilities

NordVPNPureVPN
Streaming service
NetflixUS, UK, Canada,
Australia, Japan, Netherlands
US, UK
HuluUS, JapanUS, Japan
Sky GoYesYes
Amazon Prime VideoYesYes
BBC iPlayerYesNo
ABCNoNo
CBSYesYes
NBCYesYes
ITVYesYes
Channel 4YesYes

Both of these services are capable of unblocking a wide range of streaming platforms. That said, NordVPN can reliably unblock notoriously stubborn services including the BBC iPlayer. It also allows users to access a greater number of country-specific Netflix libraries, which can only be considered a plus. Neither is able to unblock ABC, but this channel has far stronger geo-restriction measures in place than most other regional platforms and continues to be a problem for most VPNs on the market.

China

PureVPN’s website claims that it works in China, but this isn’t actually true anymore. The likely reason is that the Chinese government has been putting considerable effort into blocking access to VPN sites and software. This also means that users are unable to contact support or download updates to the software that could potentially resolve the issue.

NordVPN, on the other hand, works perfectly well in China. You will have to configure it to use obfuscated servers beforehand, but afterwards, you’ll be able to browse the internet freely. NordVPN’s main website is unavailable in China. That said, you can contact customer support to find a working alternate site to use. Given the difficulty of installing a VPN in China, we strongly advise setting up NordVPN before you arrive in the country.

Setup and interface

NordVPNPureVPN
Automatic setup wizardWindows, Linux, MacOS, Android, iOSWindows, MacOS, Android, Amazon Fire (iOS currently  unavailable)
Main location selectionMap-based/ List-basedList-based
Extra settings pagesYesYes
Mobile friendlyYesYes

NordVPN’s desktop app is as clear and uncluttered as they come. There’s a list of available countries on the left-hand side and a map-based display on the right, as well as a tab at the top that allows you to access the settings menu. You’ll also see a warning before you can change any advanced settings. This reduces the risk of you accidentally changing something important.

NordVPN desktop screenshot

Its mobile app is even simpler. It eschews the list-based country selector entirely in favor of a wholly map-based approach. There’s also a large connect button and quick access to specialized servers (designed for P2P networks, dual VPN usage, and dedicated IP addresses) right on the home screen. The settings menu has been pared down somewhat, and the kill switch functionality is no longer present, but you can still choose to use obfuscated servers, automatically connect to the VPN, and block ads and malware.

PureVPN’s desktop app is slightly more complex. There’s a list of countries on the home screen (and a search bar in case you’d like a less popular location), but you can also change to a different mode (internet freedom, dedicated IP, security/privacy, or file-sharing) by going into the settings menu. The sheer number of options available could be a tad overwhelming for novices but is something experienced users will likely appreciate.

PureVPN screenshot

PureVPN’s mobile app is easier to use. From the home screen, you can connect to the best server, choose a country (or city) to connect to, or choose a server optimized for a particular task. The menu lacks some of the more advanced configuration options, but otherwise, there are minimal functional differences between the desktop and mobile versions of this software.

Servers and performance

NordVPNPureVPN
Server countries62141
Total number of servers5,1792,100+

NordVPN and PureVPN take different approaches when it comes to their network. For example, PureVPN tries to cover as many countries as possible, whereas NordVPN focuses on providing as many servers in each location as it can. With such a large network (more than twice the size of PureVPN’s), NordVPN makes it more likely that users in high-traffic areas will get a low-latency connection, even at peak times.

You should note that 82 of PureVPN’s locations run via virtual servers. This means that instead of having servers in these countries, your traffic is routed through another server elsewhere in the world and made to look like it originates in your desired region. Virtual servers aren’t uncommon; they’re often used when providing access to countries where the cost or infrastructure make maintaining physical servers unfeasible.

Both VPNs enable you to choose which city you’d like a server in. That said, as NordVPN has so many servers worldwide, it usually has more cities to choose from (at least in larger countries). For instance, NordVPN currently enables users to connect to 20 US cities while PureVPN offers just 12.

Take a look below to see every country where these VPNs have servers:

 NordVPNPureVPN
Afghanistan
Albania
Angola
Algeria
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Chile
China
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Estonia
Ethiopia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Italy
Ireland
Isle of Man
Israel
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kyrgyzstan
Kuwait
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lichtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macau
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malta
Mauritania
Mauritius
Malaysia
Mexico
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norway
Oman
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Pakistan
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Suriname
St Lucia
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Tajikistan
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Turks and Caicos Island
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Ukraine
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands
Yemen

Security

NordVPNPureVPN
VPN protocolsOpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, IKEv2OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2
OpenVPN data encryptionAES-256AES-256
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-4096RSA-2048
Cloaking technologyObfsproxyNone
App securityKill switchKill switch
DNS statusPrivate DNSPrivate DNS

Both of these VPNs enable you to use the OpenVPN (TCP or UDP), L2TP, PPTP, and IKEv3 protocols. PureVPN also allows you to connect via SSTP. This inclusion isn’t particularly useful, however, since OpenVPN is just as fast and secure, and works with a greater range of operating systems. NordVPN and PureVPN each use 256-bit AES encryption, which is effectively uncrackable at the time of writing, but NordVPN’s RSA keys are twice the length of PureVPN’s and as such, harder to crack.

These services both include a kill switch. This automatically blocks all web traffic if you’re suddenly disconnected from the VPN. Additionally, they each use their own DNS servers. This prevents a third-party host from having access to your traffic and allows each VPN to maintain control over your privacy at all times.

PureVPN settings page

NordVPN even offers specialized servers for use in countries where the internet is restricted or censored. These obfuscated servers don’t just let you bypass regional restrictions; they also reshape your traffic to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN at all.

NordVPN settings menu

Privacy

NordVPNPureVPN
HQ basePanamaHong Kong
Connection logsNoneNone
Activity logsNoneNone
User details for sign upEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment optionsBitcoin, Dash, Etherium, Litecoin, Monero, ZcashVarious cryptocurrencies and gift cards

NordVPN operates out of Panama, while PureVPN is based in Hong Kong. Panama has no data-retention laws, which is ideal for a VPN company. Technically, neither does Hong Kong, but it is still technically part of China, which has some of the most wide-reaching internet censorship in the world. These VPNs both allow you to sign up anonymously (using a throwaway email address and paying in cryptocurrency), meaning your activities can’t be tied to you.

NordVPN keeps no logs. Nothing, including your source IP address, timestamps, data volume, or sites visited is recorded. PureVPN claims to log no personally identifiable information, but in 2017, it provided a user’s IP address and timestamps during an FBI investigation. PureVPN’s new privacy policy says that this information is no longer recorded but with its users’ trust breached once already, potential subscribers have every right to remain skeptical.

Configuration

NordVPNPureVPN
Address allocationSharedDedicated
Static IP address possibleYes, in Germany, the Netherlands,
UK, and US (Buffalo, Dallas,
Matawan, Los Angeles)
Yes
DDoS protectionNoYes (additional fee)
NAT firewallYesYes

Address allocation works differently for each of these VPNs. NordVPN uses the shared method, wherein everyone connected to a given server shares the same IP address. This is better for privacy since there’s no way to tell which user accessed which website at a specific time. NordVPN does allow you to obtain a static IP address, but this costs extra.

In contrast, PureVPN gives every user their own dedicated IP address. This means it’s easier to trace your activities across the internet but it also reduces the risk of you accidentally triggering fraud prevention systems (like those used by your bank) when logging in using a VPN. Neither VPN keeps traffic logs so this isn’t really a concern.

NordVPN no longer offers specific anti-DDoS servers, but only because all their servers protect against this kind of attack. With PureVPN, you can pay extra each month on PureVPN allows users to pay extra each month for DDoS filtering. Without this, you’re protected until 3TB of requests has been received.

To be fair, any VPN will mitigate DDoS attacks to some degree since the attacker will be flooding the VPN’s network with requests instead of your router. Even in the event of a massive DDoS attack, all your VPN has to do is switch the server’s IP address.

Customer service

NordVPNPureVPN
Live chatYes (in-house)Yes (in-house)
Ticket supportYesYes
Email supportYesYes
Average email response time14 hours, 6 minutes2 hours, 42 minutes
Phone supportNoNo
Searchable knowledge baseYesYes
Video guidesYesYes

Both NordVPN and PureVPN boast 24/7 support from an in-house team over live chat. We’ve messaged each at several different times of day and found that a reply was always received promptly, usually in just a few seconds. However, PureVPN staff seem to rely mostly on pre-prepared responses, and occasionally need pressing to give more specific answers.

Each service offers ticket-based support, a searchable knowledge base, and video guides to resolving commonly-encountered issues. These videos aren’t available directly on the site, however (site-based tutorials use screenshots instead); they’re hosted on NordVPN and PureVPN’s respective YouTube channels.

Although in most cases, your best option is to use live chat, we also sent three queries over email to each of these services. This allowed us to see how quickly users could get help with more technical problems. Below, you’ll find the questions we asked, and the results of these tests.

NordVPN
QuestionInitial response timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Will NordVPN protect me from DDoS attacks?11 hours, 44 minutes1Yes
Will NordVPN reduce my internet speeds?12 hours, 38 minutes1Yes
Can I use NordVPN in countries with strict internet censorship?17 hours, 58 minutes1Yes
PureVPN
QuestionInitial response timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Will PureVPN protect me from DDoS attacks?4 hours, 43 minutes1Yes
Will PureVPN reduce my internet speeds?3 hours, 10 minutes1Yes
Can I use PureVPN in countries with strict internet censorship?15 minutes2Yes

PureVPN responded to email enquiries significantly faster than NordVPN did, but its replies were often single-line links to help pages or directions to the service’s live chat support. In contrast, NordVPN took longer to reply, but usually included more relevant information in their answers, for instance, providing a rule of thumb for estimating the service’s impact on your network speeds.

The winner: NordVPN

NordVPN homepage.

Let’s be clear: NordVPN and PureVPN are both high-quality VPNs with a lot to offer. That said, we believe NordVPN is the better choice for the average user.

NordVPN gives you the freedom to do whatever you’d like online. It’s fast, able to unblock the most popular streaming platforms from abroad, and even works in countries like China, where it’s extremely difficult to access the wider internet. There’s also the sheer network size. Although PureVPN covers a large portion of the world, NordVPN doesn’t use virtual servers and usually has more servers in high-traffic locations.

Security is one of NordVPN’s strongest points. It has a selection of unique features, including the option to connect to Tor over VPN or use two VPNs simultaneously. When you consider it also offers strong encryption, an app-specific kill switch, and protection from DNS, IPv6, and port forwarding leaks, it’s clear that NordVPN values your privacy. Best of all, this VPN allows you to sign up anonymously and does not log any information that could identify you.

Best Deal for NordVPN: Sign up for a three year deal and get 75% off.

Best Deal for PureVPN: Save 73% on an annual plan.