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NordVPN vs. PureVPN: which VPN is best for you?

PureVPN vs NordVPN

Comparing NordVPN to PureVPN is like comparing a famous pop music artist to a niche indie singer. Both have their fanbases, but the former is known even by those who don’t listen to music at all.

In this NordVPN vs PureVPN article, I’ll compare the two in terms of speed, security, functionality, and compatibility with streaming services. Let’s see if NordVPN truly deserves its popularity, and whether PureVPN should have more fans than it currently has.

NordVPN vs. PureVPN

NordVPNPureVPN
Rating:4.9 ★★★★3.8 ★★★
Country:PanamaHong Kong
Locations:59 countries140+ countries
Pricing:From $3.71/monthFrom $3.33/month
VPN protocols:NordLynx, IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP
Logging:No logsNo activity logs
Netflix:YesYes
Torrenting:YesYes
Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, chatbot, live chatKnowledge base, FAQs, email, live chat
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Website:www.nordvpn.comwww.purevpn.com

Winner: NordVPN

Speed and performance: NordVPN vs PureVPN

In terms of speed, NordVPN doesn’t disappoint. With its in-house NordLynx protocol, your speed will decrease by only 20% or even less, allowing you to enjoy your browsing as if you’re not using a VPN at all.

Unfortunately, PureVPN doesn’t offer a comparable protocol. It hasn’t created anything innovative, nor does it support the super fast WireGuard tunneling protocol.

That’s why I could only do a head-to-head speed comparison of the two VPNs with the IKEv2 protocol, as well as OpenVPN UDP.

Baseline: 1 ms/300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload

IKEv2NordVPNPureVPN
Download average227 Mbps167.7 Mbps
Upload average25 Mbps12.9 Mbps

IKEv2 is a fast tunneling protocol mainly used on mobile devices. It’s faster than any of the versions of OpenVPN, however, it offers less stability. As you can see, NordVPN gave us a much better performance than PureVPN when IKEv2 was in use.

NordVPN lets you choose this protocol with its iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux applications, while PureVPN also makes it conveniently available on its Android app (but excludes it from the Linux application).

OpenVPN UDPNordVPNPureVPN
Download average197.2 Mbps145.4 Mbps
Upload average68.4 Mbps141.2 Mbps

Between the two versions of OpenVPN, the UDP variation is the faster one (and a bit less stable). Yet again, NordVPN triumphed in this VPN speed race.

OpenVPN TCPNordVPNPureVPN
Download average32.5 Mbps36.7 Mbps
Upload average27.5 Mbps14.3 Mbps

Lastly, when it comes to the stable but not as fast OpenVPN TCP protocol, the results of both VPNs are quite disappointing.

Overall, it’s pretty clear that NordVPN rises above PureVPN in terms of speed and the selection of tunneling protocols. 

Winner: NordVPN

Netflix and streaming performance

If you’re not a privacy geek, chances are that you want to get a VPN to access movies and shows not available in your country. However, you probably know that the struggle is real: streaming platforms and VPNs are in a constant cat-and-mouse game, making it a real headache to choose a VPN that won’t get blocked the very next day.

Luckily, NordVPN has quite a long history of unblocking various streaming sites. It didn’t fail our tests, allowing us to watch the US content on Netflix. It also unblocked BBC iPlayer, DAZN UK (but not US), and the geo-restricted videos on Youtube. NordVPN also offers the SmartPlay technology that allows you to watch geo-blocked movies on various devices that don’t support VPNs.

Netflix films

On a similar note, using PureVPN on Netflix was quite a smooth experience: we successfully managed to unblock the US Netflix library. Just like its competitor, PureVPN also unblocked BBC iPlayer, DAZN UK, and Youtube.

However, PureVPN doesn’t offer a SmartDNS feature. Also, some users report that the Netflix page sometimes doesn’t load at all when this VPN is in use. Even though these details are minute, they slightly tip the scales in NordVPN’s favor.

Winner: NordVPN

Torrenting

When it comes to torrenting and P2P, both NordVPN and PureVPN are good choices. However, NordVPN also offers specialized servers for torrenting.

In addition, NordVPN has a free SOCKS5 proxy – you can set it up on your favorite torrenting client. However, keep in mind that when using a proxy, your connection isn’t encrypted (of course, your IP remains hidden). On the other hand, it allows you to torrent at a much higher speed.

Winner: NordVPN

Features overview

While the lack of special features doesn’t deem a VPN unworthy of love, having a lot of freedom to set up your connection can become the main selling point to an advanced user.

In this regard, both VPNs have something to offer. For example, PureVPN supports port forwarding while NordVPN has SmartDNS, special servers, and protection against malware-ridden websites. However, the latter is a bit more feature-rich of the two, and thus becomes the winner in this category.

Winner: NordVPN

Split tunneling

Even though split tunneling might sound like some kind of advanced feature, it actually isn’t. It simply helps you choose the programs and websites that use the VPN if you don’t want all your traffic to be secured.

NordVPN split tunneling

NordVPN offers split tunneling on its Windows and Android devices, while only the Android app of PureVPN lets you use this feature.

Port forwarding

Port forwarding is a feature offered only by PureVPN. However, it’s not included in the main subscription: you have to buy it for a dollar a month. This is not a feature for beginners, as configuring it requires some technical knowledge.

However, it can be quite useful because it allows you to remotely access a device connected to your network, be it a computer or a security camera. Port forwarding also comes in handy when you want to host a website or set up a gaming server.

Port forwarding PureVPN

SmartPlay

NordVPN’s SmartPlay is a feature that allows you to watch Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and other streaming services on devices that don’t support VPNs. You may encounter this feature on some other VPN services – it’s usually called SmartDNS. Keep in mind that SmartPlay will not encrypt your traffic, as it allows you to access geo-blocked content in a different way to VPN.

Specialty servers

NordVPN offers a few categories of specialty servers for particular uses:

  • Double VPN servers that offer the protection of two VPN connections
  • Onion over VPN servers that reroute your connection through the Tor network
  • Obfuscated servers that make the VPN traffic look like regular traffic, which can be useful in countries with a high level of censorship (like China)
  • P2P servers that are best used for torrenting

You can also buy a dedicated IP so that your spoofed IP address would always remain the same.

Now, while PureVPN doesn’t have a selection of specialty servers like NordVPN, it offers four modes with different levels of security and speed: Stream, Internet Freedom, Security/Privacy, and File Sharing.

CyberSec

This is a feature that you would expect to find on your antivirus program. It prevents you from accessing blacklisted malware-infected websites. Once you try to access such a page, NordVPN will notify you and prevent you from opening it. It also works as an ad blocker.

You can disable this feature whenever you want.

CyberSec feature

Security and privacy

While some of the security aspects of NordVPN and PureVPN are the same (like the choice of encryption and tunneling protocols), NordVPN is a better choice for those who value security and privacy over everything else.

Among other reasons, that’s because its privacy policy was audited twice and it offers one of the best tunneling protocols, NordLynx.

Winner: NordVPN

Encryption and protocols

In terms of encryption, NordVPN and PureVPN are equal. Both programs use AES-256, a.k.a. military-grade encryption that can’t possibly be taken down by brute force.

However, there’s a difference when it comes to tunneling protocols, and NordVPN has a slight edge on PureVPN here. That’s because it offers NordLynx, a fast and secure custom modification of WireGuard that offers a combination of speed and security. Aside from NordLynx, NordVPN also has OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) and IKEv2/IPsec.

When it comes to PureVPN, the selection of protocols is even wider, however, some of the protocols themselves are not that great. So, the program allows you to choose fromOpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2/IPsec, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.

While SSTP is great as it might be able to bypass China’s restriction, the last two protocols are outdated, especially PPTP.

Jurisdiction

When comparing NordVPN vs PureVPN, it’s quite clear that the former chose a better country to base their business in. That’s because NordVPN is based in Panama, a privacy-friendly country that doesn’t have any data retention laws and doesn’t belong to the infamous 14-Eyes intelligence alliance.

At the same time, PureVPN is based in Hong Kong. While this region is privacy-friendly and has different digital privacy laws from China, its tense relationship with this country might change that in the future (let’s hope it doesn’t, though).

Logging

In its privacy policy, NordVPN states that it doesn’t keep logs on its users. The VPN has also been independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in 2018 and 2020. NordVPN only collects crash reports and application diagnostics data, but you can easily opt-out from this.

It’s also worthwhile to mention that most of NordVPN’s regular servers are run on RAM, which means that the info they store gets wiped out every time a server is rebooted.

PureVPN also claims to not collect any personal information or logs. Also, its privacy policy has been audited by Altius IT in 2019. However, in 2017, PureVPN was involved with the FBI, providing the logs (email accounts and the real IP address) of an alleged cyberstalker. This might be the reason for the subsequent auditing, which was probably done to regain users’ trust.

Kill switch

Kill switch

Every decent VPN should have a good kill switch. This feature prevents your real IP address from being exposed, because it shuts down your internet as soon as the VPN connection gets compromised.

Luckily, both NordVPN and PureVPN have a kill switch that you can choose to enable or disable (it’s enabled by default). NordVPN also lets you enable it for specific applications.

Servers and locations

NordVPN map

In terms of country selection, PureVPN’s offering is much more impressive than the one of NordVPN. With PureVPN, you can connect to more than 140 different countries and you get such rare server choices like Morocco or Kyrgyzstan. With that said, a large chunk of these servers are virtual (i.e. based in locations other than the country on the label, but spoofing an IP address of said location).

NordVPNPureVPN
Countries59140+
Servers5,500+6,500+

Winner: PureVPN

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

NordVPNPureVPN
Supported OSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devicesKodi, Android TV, Amazon Fire devicesKodi, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, etc.
Browser extensionsChrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Edge
Simultaneous connections610

Even though PureVPN allows for more simultaneous connections, its main applications are a bit lacking in features and functionality. For this reason, NordVPN is the winner for the time being.

Winner: NordVPN

Desktop apps

When it comes to NordVPN, its Windows app lets you experience it in full glory thanks to an abundance of features that include a highly-customizable implementation of split tunneling and auto-connect. It also supports the fast and secure NordLynx protocol.

NordVPN macOS

Now, there are two Mac apps for NordVPN. One is available on the App Store (it’s the only macOS version that supports NordLynx), while you can download the other from the official site of NordVPN.

Both the Windows and Mac versions of the VPN have a really nice design with a huge map that helps you choose a desired location. There’s also a Linux app but it doesn’t have a graphic interface.

It’s quite interesting that currently, you can only download the new beta version of PureVPN. In turn, its design seems a bit lacking: the whiteness of the window is livened only by the lonely connect button. Right now, the Windows and Mac versions of PureVPN lack certain features available on the previous, non-beta version, but this should be fixed in the future.

Just like NordVPN, PureVPN doesn’t have a graphically-designed app for Linux – it simply functions through the Command Line Interface.

PureVPN desktop

Mobile apps

Design-wise, the Android and iOS applications of NordVPN are identical. However, there are a few differences in terms of features. For example, the Android app offers split tunneling and a configurable kill switch, while the iOS version has dark web monitoring and a favorites tab.

As for PureVPN, its iOS app is nearly identical to the Windows one, while its Android application offers the most features, including split tunneling and the choice between NAT and non-NAT networks.

Plans & pricing

PlanNordVPNPureVPN
Monthly$11.95$10.95
1-year$4.92/month$5.83/month
2-years$3.71/month$3.33/month
Check PricingCheck Pricing

Interestingly, both NordVPN and PureVPN have identical plan duration options (one month, one year, and two years). In this way, it’s really easy to compare the prices, and you can clearly see that PureVPN is the (slightly) more budget-friendly VPN from the two.

In addition, PureVPN allows you to have 10 simultaneous connections while NordVPN offers only six. Sorry, NordVPN – you’re the loser in this category.

Winner: PureVPN

Pricing of NordVPN

The pricing system of NordVPN is very simplistic. You get three subscription plans that differ only in duration and price, as all the users get the same set of features. It’s cheapest to buy a two-year plan: you will only spend $3.71 a month.

There’s no shortage of payment methods NordVPN offers.You can pay with credit cards, e-wallets (like PayPal), cryptocurrencies, and even options like prepaid cards, Google Pay, or iTunes. There’s also the 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.

Pricing of PureVPN

When you visit the official page of PureVPN, the way the prices are displayed might confuse you a bit. That’s because there’s a huge $0.99 price tag at the very center of the screen.

However, that’s not a monthly price. This is the price for a 7-day trial period that you get when you buy a one-year subscription.

You can pay with a credit card or PayPal. PureVPN also offers a 31-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the service.

Customer support

Both PureVPN and NordVPN have similar customer support options. If you’re at least a bit tech-savvy, you can check out their extensive support bases (which include FAQs, setup guides, troubleshooting, etc.).

When it comes to more advanced support options, NordVPN doesn’t disappoint. It offers a chatbot, live 24/7 chat, and email support. It’s especially helpful that you can use their live chat even without registration.

Now, the support options of PureVPN are similar: you can either use the 24/7 live chat or send an email ticket (there’s no support chatbot available, though). Also, you have to enter your username and email address if you want to use the chat.

All in all, the customer support options of both programs are pretty similar, so I declare a tie.

Winner: Draw

Which is better: NordVPN or PureVPN?

CategoryNordVPNPureVPN
Speed
Features
Privacy
Streaming
Torrenting
Price
Server locations
Ease of use
Customer support

Winner: NordVPN

After writing this article, I can clearly see why NordVPN is miles above PureVPN in terms of popularity. Better speeds, a bigger selection of features, and better streaming support makes NordVPN the superior service.

However, we shouldn’t look down on PureVPN too much, as it offers better prices and supports port forwarding. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to fairly compete with such an industry giant as NordVPN.


More VPN comparisons

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN: is there a winner?

NordVPN vs PIA: which VPN is better?

IPVanish vs. NordVPN: which VPN will suit you better?

FAQ

Is NordVPN worth the money?

Yes. NordVPN is not only inexpensive (starting at $3.71 a month), but it’s also well worth the price by providing great speeds and a wide selection of features.

Is PureVPN good for Netflix?

Yes. PureVPN can unblock the US Netflix library without trouble.

Can NordVPN be tracked?

No. NordVPN uses military-grade encryption and the secure NordLynx tunneling protocol. In addition, its no-logs policy was audited twice. Thus, nobody will be able to see your real IP address. It’s also worth mentioning that NordVPN uses RAM-only servers that are physically incapable to store information long-term.

Is PureVPN fast?

PureVPN can offer decent speeds when the IKEv2 protocol is in use. However, if you struggle with your connection in the first place, it’s better to use NordVPN thanks to its speed-friendly NordLynx protocol.

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