PureVPN vs ExpressVPN: which VPN is better?
PureVPN and ExpressVPN are well-established VPNs in the cybersecurity industry. While both options rank high amongst competitors, their strengths and weaknesses are very different. In this comparison, our goal is to evaluate their differences and help find the best VPN for you.
In this comparison, we put PureVPN and ExpressVPN to the test by evaluating their protection, streaming performance, speeds, server locations, torrenting, additional features, customer support, affordability, and ease of use for available apps.
After multiple tests, we were able to determine the winner, which is PureVPN. It offers easy-to-use apps, the most important privacy and security solutions, plus the essential VPN features – all for a very low price.
PureVPN vs ExpressVPN
|🥇 Overall rank:||#5 out of #40||#6 out of #40|
|🖥️ Servers:||6,500+ servers in 78 countries||3,000+ servers in 94 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||No logs|
|💵 Pricing:||From $2.08/month||From $6.67/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||PureVPN coupon 83% OFF||ExpressVPN coupon 49% OFF|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec||Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||10||8|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, tickets, live chat||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat|
In comparison to ExpressVPN, PureVPN has very similar speeds, a bigger server fleet, 10 simultaneous connections against ExpressVPN’s 5, and a lower price – just $2.08/month. ExpressVPN, by contrast, costs $6.67/month, has more security options, broader global coverage with 94 countries, and greater support for streaming. Still, the affordability of PureVPN beats ExpressVPN and its premium features.
Netflix and streaming performance
While both providers are solid options for unblocking streaming platforms, ExpressVPN has the edge over PureVPN. In this comparison, it is a more versatile option that also made our list of best VPNs for streaming.
With Netflix as the focal point of this battle, PureVPN only managed to unblock Japan and the US Streaming libraries successfully. On the other hand, ExpressVPN showed strong results and accessed the localized Netflix for all the main countries: the US, the UK, Japan, and more.
|Netflix||✅ Yes (US and Japan only)||✅ Yes|
|Amazon Prime Video||❌ No||✅ Yes|
|YouTube||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Disney+||❌ No||✅ Yes|
|BBC iPlayer||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|HBO Max||❌ No||✅ Yes|
As we review PureVPN vs ExpressVPN, there is a similar story when it comes to other streaming platforms. Both VPNs can unlock YouTube and BBC iPlayer, but PureVPN struggled with HBO Max, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
However, for the sites they do unblock, PureVPN and ExpressVPN performed well in delivering streaming movies, TV shows, and videos in full HD. Even more, the similar speeds of PureVPN's WireGuard and ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol make both options fast enough to enjoy your favorite shows without buffering, even in remote locations.
Plans and pricing
As we observe subscriptions with different terms, saving money and finding the choice with the best price-performance ratio remain as big priorities. PureVPN is a much cheaper provider that outshines its competitor with 10 simultaneous connections instead of ExpressVPN’s 5.
|Check PureVPN Discounts||Check ExpressVPN Discounts|
ExpressVPN is a lot more expensive option than PureVPN. The shortest monthly subscription shows the smallest gap between providers, and PureVPN costs two bucks less for a very competitive deal. PureVPN may lack some extra features, but its standard suite of tools and lower prices make it a better option than its competitor.
ExpressVPN offers a 6-month deal for $9.99/month, whereas such an option is not available for PureVPN. With more available connections, PureVPN’s 1-year deal only costs $3.24/month, while ExpressVPN offers extra features but asks for a lot more - twice the price of its competitor, $8.32/month.
The provider offers three short-term deals, but PureVPN is better because it offers lower prices for similar subscriptions and rewards long-term partnerships. ExpressVPN is missing a two-year option, but PureVPN lets you save the most with this subscription. It's only $2.08/month.
PureVPN vs ExpressVPN: which is more secure?
|Encryption||AES-256||AES-256 and ChaCha20/Poly1305|
|A member of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance?||No||No|
|No-logs policy||Independently Audited||Independently Audited|
|DNS leak protection||Yes||Yes|
PureVPN and ExpressVPN are no pushovers in the security department. Both providers follow the industry encryption standards, and their base location is outside the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.
ExpressVPN offers premium VPN server technology called TrustedServer security. The service runs on RAM-only servers, which deletes the client’s data after each reboot. For maximum security, the server software gets reinstalled on every startup, keeping the servers safe and consistent.
PureVPN does not have RAM-only servers, which is a solid drawback, as they are safer against physical security threats.
For tunneling options, ExpressVPN supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, and its custom Lightway protocol. PureVPN Is better because it offers more: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and most importantly – the WireGuard protocol.
PureVPN and ExpressVPN are based in a perfect location for user privacy – the British Virgin Islands, a territory outside major intelligence-sharing alliances. On top of that, each provider has a kill switch – an essential security feature that prevents your privacy exposure when the connection with a VPN server is cut.
For private VPN connections, PureVPN encrypts traffic with the high-regarded AES-256 encryption protocol. ExpressVPN follows the same standards but also adds a lighter ChaCha20/Poly1305 encryption for connections via Lightway protocol.
Our online sessions are never truly private if the VPN provider logs user activity; therefore, ExpressVPN and PureVPN follow independently audited no-logs policies. Not only do our contenders strictly avoid logging user data, but they also invite third parties to prove their hands-off approach.
Last but not least, our pair of providers have the same options for leak protection: DNS, IPV6, and WebRTC. It is clear that both VPNs understand the client’s demand for a private user experience and provide the necessary tools to support online anonymity.
PureVPN is one of the first VPNs to adopt a no-log, always-on audit policy. With two independent audits concluded by KPMG, one of the four leading accounting organizations, their results have proven the provider’s dedication to the complete privacy of the client.
However, in 2017, PureVPN admitted to helping law enforcement by handing over logs to assist investigators with a cyberstalking case. Since then, independent audits in 2020 and 2021 have shown that the provider remains consistent with its no-log policy.
ExpressVPN also follows a no-logs policy, which was court-proven and independently audited by PwC in 2017. For extra security, its Windows, macOS, and Linux apps were tested for vulnerabilities by F-Secure and Cure53 in 2022.
For top anonymous VPN solutions check our list of Best no-log VPNs.
Speed comparison: PureVPN vs ExpressVPN
Here we compare the average results of both providers from in-house tests using the same baseline speeds, with the main focus oriented at the fastest protocols: WireGuard vs Lightway, and then proceed to shared options – OpenVPN and IKEv2.
After combining the average speeds from 10 locations, we see that PureVPN has a slight edge over ExpressVPN in their comparison of the fastest protocols. While the download speeds of Lightway are slightly faster, PureVPN is a clear winner with a much wider gap in uploads.
- Baseline: 300 Mbps download/ 300 Mbps upload
|Download average:||200 Mbps||203.5 Mbps|
|Upload average:||210 Mbps||146.4 Mbps|
Regarding OpenVPN, ExpressVPN shows better speeds for both TCP and UDP protocols. The gap is smaller for uploads, but download speeds are better for this provider.
- Baseline: 300 Mbps download/ 300 Mbps upload
|Download average:||88 Mbps||138.9 Mbps|
|Upload average:||77.5 Mbps||91 Mbps|
For IKEv2, ExpressVPN shows higher download speeds but is slightly behind with uploads. It is a great, lightweight alternative to WireGuard for mobile devices, and ExpressVPN's average download speed for this protocol managed to outperform Lightway.
- Baseline: 300 Mbps download/ 300 Mbps upload
|Download average:||167 Mbps||211.2 Mbps|
|Upload average:||12 Mbps||91 Mbps|
Even after reviewing all the options and test results, choosing a better provider is challenging. PureVPN’s WireGuard protocol is slightly better due to a smaller loss of upload speed. Other options show ExpressVPN as a faster choice, but its connections experience unexpected drops and lack consistency in some locations.
Additional features greatly enhance the use of a VPN and improve the privacy of your connections. ExpressVPN has more available features, which is not surprising considering its premium price. PureVPN offers a basic suite of VPN tools with some extra options requiring additional payments.
As we can see, both PureVPN and ExpressVPN have split tunneling solutions to separate connections for better control and only use a VPN where needed.
PureVPN supports split tunneling for its apps on Windows and Android devices. It offers a simple whitelisting option where we can choose which apps will work with a VPN connection. Alas, the lack of support for Mac and iOS devices keeps the feature unavailable for many users, and we hope to see its implementation in future updates.
However, ExpressVPN shares the same issues. It's split tunneling is not available on macOS 11 and newer versions. You can get it on Windows and Android as well, plus the ExpressVPN router app.
ExpressVPN’s split tunneling is more flexible than its PureVPN counterpart. In one window, you have three options: all apps use VPN (the default option), do not allow selected apps, or whitelist chosen processes.
Simple and straight to the point, ExpressVPN's split tunneling is versatile and works with your browsers, apps, clients, and other processes.
Because we may encounter networks that try to identify and block VPN connections, server obfuscation has become a valuable addition to the suite of extra features.
PureVPN provides automated obfuscation to its servers once you log in to the app and start using the service. With these stealth VPN connections, even your internet service provider does not know you are using a VPN.
ExpressVPN does not advertise its obfuscation feature, but this option gets activated if someone tries to take a closer look at your connections. This way, the provider stops third parties and keeps your data safe, essential in regions with unfair internet control.
Smart DNS is another important feature for the average user that PureVPN lacks. ExpressVPN satisfied the demand with the MediaStreamer tool, which lets you access remote streaming libraries on devices that do not support VPN apps.
While not as secure or private as a VPN, Smart DNS features like MediaStreamer helps you have the best streaming experience. Because many smart TVs and other streaming devices cannot connect via VPN, having this tool is a clear advantage for ExpressVPN.
PureVPN and ExpressVPN have other convenient features, but ExpressVPN includes everything in one package, while PureVPN separates some tools and charges an extra fee.
Besides the tools discussed above, PureVPN has a web and social media protection tool called PurePrivacy. With it, you can adjust the settings of your accounts to minimize digital footprints and stop ad tracking for $1.66/month. Additionally, we get protected cloud storage called PureEncrypt, and purchased subscriptions include a free password manager called PureKeep. For more options, PureVPN has DDoS attack protection and Wi-Fi security tools.
Similarly to PurePrivacy, ExpressVPN has a Threat manager to block trackers and malware, but this tool does not block ads, so you would also need to take care of a robust ad blocker. The provider also has its designated password manager called ExpressVPN Keys and TrustedServer technology for managing RAM-only servers.
As we look at server locations for ExpressVPN and PureVPN, choosing a better provider is no easy feat. ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 94 countries. PureVPN’s server fleet is bigger, with 6,500+ servers, but the global coverage is not as wide, with 78 countries.
Both providers have virtual locations to hide the physical location of their servers, but PureVPN also sells dedicated IPs – unique servers that only you can access, for $0.99/month.
As we compare these VPNs for torrenting, ExpressVPN seems a better choice, with fast speeds and more available locations for P2P communication.
Still, PureVPN is a solid option, but it blocks P2P on servers in countries that forbid file sharing, like the US, UK, Canada, and more. However, with a big server fleet, it remains a solid choice for an occasional download or two.
Platforms, interface, and ease of use
|Supported OS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Other software and devices||Android TV, Fire devices, Kodi||Android TV, Fire devices, routers|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||Chrome, Firefox|
|Usability level||Easy to set up||Easy to set up|
While both providers work on the same operating systems and browsers, PureVPN is better than ExpressVPN because of the greater support of simultaneous connections. Both apps are easy to use, but the low price of PureVPN makes it a clear favorite in this comparison.
However, ExpressVPN stays competitive with the configuration of routers and a SmartDNS feature. Both the desktop and mobile apps for PureVPN are easy to use and do not overload the client with unnecessary information.
PureVPN and ExpressVPN both have functional desktop apps. While the main focus falls on the Windows version, their macOS alternatives are very similar to the Windows client.
With PureVPN, we get an intuitive app that lays all the relevant information at the center of your app. On the left is a simple sidebar with self-explanatory icons that lead to extra tools and settings to adjust your VPN connection and tunneling protocols. When the link with the server is established, we can see the exact location and IP address, plus monitor used data for downloads and uploads.
The macOS version is very similar to the Windows app, except it presents less information about your connection. While the slight downgrade is a bit upsetting, we still get a comfortable sidebar to navigate available settings and options.
As per usual, Linux applications always make things interesting. First, we have an option for tech-savvy users to control the service through the command line interface. Most VPNs for Linux stop here, but PureVPN also has a graphical user interface for Linux. On it, you can find the basic essential features: a kill switch, auto connection, and support for main protocols – WireGuard and OpenVPN.
ExpressVPN uses a minimalistic approach with a small but informative interface and near-identical apps for Windows and macOS. While the layout feels a bit clogged, it presents accurate information on the general features, available protocols, and customizable shortcuts for quick connections to previous servers.
While the interface displays a split tunneling feature, sadly, it became unavailable on macOS 11 and newer versions. The lack of this helpful tool can discourage users from choosing ExpressVPN as their go-to VPN provider.
ExpressVPN offers apps for major Linux distributions, which let you use its custom Lightway protocol. However, the lack of a GUI hinders its ease of use, making the service less intuitive for inexperienced Linux users.
PureVPN starts strong with a robust Android app full of valuable and intuitive features. On top of its extensive set of tools, you can choose different server modes and network types for your VPN connections.
For iOS, we lose the split tunneling and options for different server modes. What remains is a basic app with the main tunneling protocols, which is not surprising, as most VPN providers skimp out on apps for Apple products.
ExpressVPN’s Android app is not that much different from the desktop versions. The same design elements are restructured to better fit a mobile screen. With simple and responsive navigation, it is a solid choice for Android devices.
In the iOS version, we lose a kill switch, split tunneling options, and customizable shortcuts. Again, the quality of an iOS app takes a dip, which is not surprising, but for an expensive premium VPN, we expected more.
As we look at customer support, we are relieved that both providers have 24/7 live chat options. On top of the crucial method of communication, PureVPN and ExpressVPN also consult clients via email for more detailed questions.
While both providers do not have a support option via phone line, this method is often omitted by VPN providers and replaced with live chat.
But the necessity for direct communication is often avoided with informative tutorials, guides, or articles, and both providers provide an extensive knowledge base to help us take care of frequently encountered problems and questions.
PureVPN vs ExpressVPN – which one wins?
|Ease of use||✅||❌|
While ExpressVPN has its strengths, we believe that PureVPN does the little things better for a much lower price. Its competitor has additional features like MediaStreamer and TrustedServer, but PureVPN is our winner with an excellent quality-to-price ratio.
However, if the price is not a problem for you, ExpressVPN is a feature-rich premium VPN with great global coverage.
If you want to test both features and decide for yourself, PureVPN and ExpressVPN offer a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Once you are ready for a purchase, make sure to use our PureVPN coupons or ExpressVPN discount codes.
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More VPN comparisons
Is PureVPN better than ExpressVPN?
Yes, PureVPN is better than ExpressVPN. It does little things better or well enough to create a much better quality-to-price ratio, whereas its competitor needs to offer more to justify such a high price.
Is ExpressVPN or PureVPN better for gaming?
Which is better for torrenting: ExpressVPN or PureVPN?
ExpressVPN is a better VPN for torrenting. While it has a smaller fleet of servers, its global coverage of 94 countries and P2P communication support on all servers. However, PureVPN is a more affordable option for torrent downloads.