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Surfshark vs PureVPN: which VPN is better?


Both Surfshark VPN and PureVPN seem to be one of the best VPNs among users and critics. At this point, we can only agree with the audience and approve these reputable VPNs. However, only one provider has to be chosen to improve your browsing experience.

In this Surfshark and PureVPN comparison, we will review each side's strengths and weaknesses. Judged criteria include security, privacy, performance, pricing, and other crucial aspects that must be considered while choosing your VPN. Not to mention what expectations hide behind your searches for a VPN.

So, read below and find out which VPN is better: Surfshark or PureVPN.

Surfshark vs. PureVPN

From the first impression, PureVPN offers a better monthly price starting from $2.08/month. However, Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections; meanwhile, PureVPN users get only up to 10. Speaking of superiority, Surfshark also offers a wider selection of server locations which is 100 to be exact. In contrast, PureVPN stands out with an impressive number of 6500 servers.

Finally, not only is Surfshark secure, but it also effectively unblocks all major streaming platforms. On the contrary, PureVPN charges its users for additional security features and manages to unblock only a few streaming sites. All in all, Surfshark offers a way better quality and price ratio.

Surfshark VPNPureVPN
⭐ Rating:
4.7
4.4
🥇 Overall rank:#2 out of #34#5 out of #34
🖥️ Servers:3200+ servers in 100 countries6500+ servers in 78 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Pricing:From $2.30/monthFrom $2.08/month
🔥 Coupons:Surfshark VPN coupon 82% OFFPureVPN coupon 81% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols:WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and moreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, FirefoxWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
📥 Simultaneous connections:Unlimited10
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, 24/7 live chat, email supportKnowledge base, tickets, live chat

Features overview

Both VPNs provide all essential features to improve the online experience. However, one offers a more significant improvement than the other.

Wrapping up
Surfshark offers a versatile suite of security features that even includes antivirus protection. By contraries, PureVPN has only a couple of extra features that are available for an additional charge.

Kill switch

Protecting your actual IP address at all times is essential not only in highly-restricted locations but also while using public Wi-Fi, traveling, and in other situations. The kill switch feature must be included in any reputable VPNs security suite. It’s a crucial aspect of protecting yourself from DNS leaks when a VPN connection drops.

PureVPN kill switch feature

The good news is that Surfshark and PureVPN do have the kill switch included. Yet, both of them have strengths and weaknesses.

Surfshark’s kill switch is available in two different modes; it’s the soft kill switch feature and the strict one. With the soft one, your network connection will be disabled once the VPN connection drops. Meanwhile, the strict mode doesn’t allow the internet connection at all until a VPN is enabled. This can either sound too restrictive or very secure. Yet, we didn’t get a single notification regarding the lost connection, so we weren’t aware if anything was wrong.

PureVPN’s kill switch is simpler. It’s enabled automatically once you start using the application. The promised functionality doesn’t seem to differ from what we have already seen on the VPN market. However, during our tests, the feature didn’t perform flawlessly. Even an IP leakage was detected.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is another no less important feature. It allows you to route your VPN traffic in a more precise way, as you can exclude preferred apps and websites from a VPN sight.

Surfshark-Bypasser-Windows

Surfshark offers Bypasser (in-house built split tunneling feature) for Windows, Android, and macOS devices only. Even though it would be lovely to have split tunneling on iOS as well, the overall functionality of the feature is worth your trust.

PureVPN split tunneling features

Well, PureVPN is even more frugal with what platforms get split tunneling. Only Windows and Android users will find it in the app.

Obfuscation

Obfuscation feature or obfuscated servers are excellent in times when you need to hide your VPN connection. With it, it will look as if you’re regularly browsing without leaving a VPN trace.

Either you choose Surfshark or PureVPN – they both have it in their apps. However, PureVPN has put some extras to it by adding a domain fronting feature that uses different domain names from other parts of the website. This way, it looks as if you have come from a different domain, and it becomes easier to bypass content blocks.

Meanwhile, Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode is a regular but functional obfuscation feature that’s great for those who live in a highly-censored location where VPN usage is forbidden.

Port forwarding

If torrenting or gaming is one of the reasons a VPN is hanging on your mind, then port forwarding should be at the center of your attention. This feature allows remote gadgets and servers to access the devices that are behind a firewall and backward.

Port forwarding is only available with PureVPN. However, to have it, you would have to pay additional pennies ($0.49/month) next to the subscription.

Keep in mind that this feature requires some technical knowledge as it has to be properly configured to be beneficial. Yet, once you set it up, it comes as quite a handy feature that helps you to access your computer, tablet, or whatever device remotely. With it, you can also host game servers, permit file transfers, use torrent applications, and more.

Antivirus

As the VPN market is constantly improving, some providers are thinking of new ways to boost their services. One of them is Surfshark which has added an antivirus system to its application.

surfshark av on mac 2

Even though it’s not as extensive as some market-leading antivirus programs, the security suite is still comprehensive enough to ensure robust protection. There’s a customizable device scanning feature for detecting threats, real-time protection, data breach monitoring, and more.

On the contrary, PureVPN offers an additional ID protection bundle called PurePrivacy. It scans your social media accounts, monitors for data breaches, and overall enhances your online privacy.

Plans & pricing

Even though pricing seems easy to compare because it’s only numbers, we have a different approach here. Whenever choosing a VPN, it’s crucial to evaluate the quality and price ratio. Therefore, a smaller price can’t really determine whether the deal is actually better.

One of the main aspects of our approach can be seen between Surfshark and PureVPN. By choosing Surfshark, you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously, whereas PureVPN allows only up to 10 simultaneous connections.

PlanSurfsharkPureVPN
Monthly$12.95/month10.95/month
One year$3.99/month$3.24/month
Two years$2.30/month$2.08/month
Check Latest Discounts
Check Latest Discounts

Starting with the shortest-term subscription, we can see that PureVPN offers a smaller price of $2.08/month; meanwhile, Surfshark asks for two bucks more. However, remember that the longer the subscription term is, the cheaper it gets, not to mention the money-back guarantee on the side.

If you’re considering a monthly subscription, we can guess that you’re still not sure whether to stay with the service for longer. Nevertheless, fewer boundaries around a VPN mean more online freedom. So, having unlimited connections and a versatile suite of security (a VPN + antivirus) that Surfshark offers can eventually cost you less.

Moving further, we can see that Surfshark offers a bigger variety of subscription plans. You can choose between a monthly, one-year, or two-year plan. Having the opportunity to choose between the length of subscriptions will definitely cause less commitment. Meanwhile, with PureVPN, you can choose between a month-long subscription, a one-year plan, or a two-year subscription.

As for payment, Surfshark offers quite an extensive list of payment options; you can choose between credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and cryptocurrencies. PureVPN is more restrictive than its competitor, offering only credit cards and PayPal payment methods. Fortunately, both VPNs offer a money-back guarantee; just PureVPN makes it one day longer (a 31-day money-back guarantee).

Wrapping up
After summing everything up, Surfshark is a leader regarding plans and pricing. Even though PureVPN is cheaper, Surfshark offers a mind-blowing quality and price ratio.

Surfshark vs PureVPN: which is more secure?

SurfsharkPureVPN
EncryptionAES-256-GCM and Chacha20Poly1305AES-256-GCM
HashSHA-512SHA-384
RAM serversYesNo
A member of the 5-Eyes, 9-Eyes Alliance?YesNo
No-logs policyAuditedAudited
Kill switchYesYes
Ad blockerYesYes (for additional charge)
DNS leak protectionYesYes (for additional charge)

Both Surfshark and PureVPN fall into the most secure VPNs category. It’s undeniable that these providers are very security-focused. Advanced features, audited applications, and complete privacy is what you get by choosing each of them. Some of their security decisions are the same, like the choice of encryption and tunneling protocols.

Wrapping up
Surfshark VPN is what you call an all-around provider that establishes the next-gen suite of protection. Therefore, it’s a better choice to ensure robust online security.

Encryption and protocols

At this point, Surfshark’s and PureVPN’s road crosses. With either competitor, your online traffic is encrypted using industry-leading AES-256 encryption. It would either take ages or wouldn’t work out at all for an intruder to decrypt your data.

A similar situation can also be seen in terms of tunneling protocols. Both VPNs have a few options to choose from, but most importantly, the WireGuard tunnel is included. This tunneling protocol is somewhat vital for the VPN market today. It ensures that your internet speed remains rather unaffected without compromising your safety as well.

Surfshark has three additional tunneling protocols to offer. It’s OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) that’s one of the most popular protocols among users due to stable but fast network connection. And IKEv2 that’s easily compatible with mobile devices and works well with a wobbly internet connection.

Meanwhile, PureVPN has two more to add to the listed tunnels above. Overall, with it, you get the WireGuard, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), IKEv2, SSTP, and L2TP/IPSec. Even though visually the list seems more impressive, SSTP is only great for bypassing China’s restrictions, and L2TP/IPSec is a noticeably outdated protocol.

Infrastructure

Most VPNs, including PureVPN, store your activity logs on a hard drive. Meaning, your data can still be accessed for quite some time. No need to panic here, as PureVPN is truly a privacy-focused VPN, but a better situation can be seen on Surfshark’s deck.

Only several VPNs on the market have upgraded their servers to run only on RAM. Luckily, Surfshark is one of them. This way, a VPN guarantees that there’s no hard drive where your logs settle down.

Plus, RAM-only servers are less likely to become breached. Whenever servers reload, your data gets wiped out!

Privacy

Surfshark is a Netherlands-based VPN. Unfortunately, the Netherlands belongs to the Nine Eyes intelligence alliance, meaning it will share sensitive information with other alliance members in emergency situations. On the other hand, the company isn’t required to collect your data, so it doesn’t, and there would be nothing to share.

And yet, PureVPN seems like a more privacy-friendly option in terms of location. Even though previously it was located in Hong Kong, where online surveillance is very common, now it’s the British Virgin Islands-based company. So, neither your activity logs will be collected or shared with a third party.

Logging

Although PureVPN’s country of jurisdiction is a more privacy-friendly place, the provider’s past isn’t crystal clear. Back in 2017, the company provided information to the FBI to help arrest a cyberstalker. Even though the act could be respected, a VPN is all about privacy, and any type of information leak isn’t tolerable.

Nevertheless, now, PureVPN is one of the few VPNs that have an always-on-audit. This means the company can be audited at any time without prior notice. Consequently, no security or privacy gap can be covered, and your privacy remains always protected.

Now, Surfshark has a spotless history with no security breaches or privacy violations. It follows a strict no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t collect any activity logs. The company has also undergone two independent security audits performed by Cure53 penetration testers. After testing browser extensions, the application, and the infrastructure, there were no flaws, and the overall result was splendid.

So, perhaps PureVPN’s location is better, but Surfshark is still a more reliable option to stay fully anonymous online.

Speed comparison: Surfshark vs PureVPN

Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs on the market, and this arises as no surprise as it uses the WireGuard tunneling protocol. Nonetheless, the WireGuard tunnel is also a part of PureVPN’s equipment, meaning the speed capabilities should be somewhat equal.

However, to find out which VPN is truly faster under any given circumstances, we have tested and compared the speeds of the WireGuard and Open VPN UDP/TCP tunneling protocols across three different locations having the European IP as a native one.

Data period: 01.20 - 02.03
 
United States United States
Download 409 Mbit/s 142 Mbit/s
Upload 352 Mbit/s 223 Mbit/s
Canada Canada
Download 476 Mbit/s 267 Mbit/s
Upload 440 Mbit/s 388 Mbit/s
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Download 605 Mbit/s 160 Mbit/s
Upload 567 Mbit/s 350 Mbit/s
See live VPN provider data on our VPN speed test tool

Without having to analyze thoroughly, we can clearly see that with the WireGuard protocol, Surfshark is way ahead of PureVPN in all three locations.

Yet, let’s zoom in on the results a little bit. The most outstanding difference can be seen in the UK. While testing the download speeds, Surfshark performs seven times better than PureVPN. A similar case happens with the upload speed, where Surfshark is nearly three times faster. Surprisingly enough, PureVPN performs worse in the UK than in Canada which is even further from where we’re based.

Moving to other tunneling protocols, it seems that the scenario changes quite drastically as the strength of VPNs rather equals out:

OpenVPN UDPSurfsharkPureVPN
Download average 120.2 Mbps145 Mbps
Upload average 140.3 Mbps141 Mbps

It’s interesting how changing a tunneling protocol can change the game all the way around. In this case, PureVPN offers better download speeds while the upload speeds remain somewhat the same.

OpenVPN TCPSurfsharkPureVPN
Download average 25.8 Mbps37 Mbps
Upload average 28 Mbps14 Mbps

With OpenVPN TCP, both competitors plunge down. Considering that this protocol is more for stability rather than speed compared to OpenVPN UDP, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Wrapping up
Overall, no VPN comes out without impacting the connection speed at least a bit. On the other hand, the WireGuard tunneling protocol is the newest protocol on the market, and even with it Surfshark proves its advantage.

Netflix and streaming performance

PlatformSurfsharkPureVPN
Netflix✅ Yes✅ Yes
Amazon Prime Video✅ Yes ❌ No
YouTube✅ Yes✅ Yes
HBO Max✅ Yes ❌ No
BBC iPlayer✅ Yes✅ Yes

You could guess that unblocking Netflix makes a VPN one of the best VPNs for streaming. Well, not entirely, but it’s a truly essential aspect. Fortunately, both Surfshark and PureVPN do unblock Netflix.

However, within the unblocking point, their ways separate. Surfshark shows zero signs of a struggle; it unblocks multiple global libraries, such as Netflix US, UK, Australia, or Germany, and streams videos in full HD. On the other hand, PureVPN offers quite limited possibilities. During our tests, only two libraries were successfully unblocked – US and Japan. Yet, we can’t complain about the quality of the videos; there were no significant speed drops or buffering.

Moving the contest to other streaming sites only reveals similar results. Yes, PureVPN does unblock BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and more; nonetheless, Surfshark does it even better. Not only it unblocks mentioned streaming platforms without a flaw, but it also offers even more streaming sites to enjoy, such as Disney+, HBO Max, and more.

Luckily, both VPNs have implemented the WireGuard tunneling protocol. So, if you have a good internet connection, slow speeds should be seen once in a blue moon, as well as lags during your movie session.

Wrapping up
Putting it all together, only with Surfshark you get the highest chances of streaming all your favorite movies without exception. On the contrary, the limited list of Netflix libraries that come with PureVPN doesn’t promise the richest selection of TV shows and movies to enjoy.

Server locations

SurfsharkPureVPN
Servers3200+6500+
Countries (total)10078
Virtual locationsYesYes
Specialty serversYesYes

It’s self-evident that both VPNs offer insanely good server location coverage. PureVPN has over 6500 servers in 78 countries. While Surfshark has expanded its server locations number to 100 and has 3200 servers across them. So, with one provider, you receive a larger fleet of servers, whereas another has better location coverage.

However, both providers also have virtual servers. Meaning, their actual location is different from the IP address. Consequently, the connection speed might be slower than what you get with choosing a physical server.

Wrapping up
Whether you choose Surfshark or PureVPN, you receive an extensive server fleet distributed all around the world. So, you can expect to have a good connection or unblocked global content wherever with either of them. Therefore, we can only announce a draw.

Torrenting

Both competitors are suitable for torrenting as they support P2P connections making their services optimized for faster downloading. With Surfshark, you can use a P2P connection on any of its servers, and choosing a closer server location to you can result in better download speed. While PureVPN is a bit more limited, it allows a P2P connection only on those servers that are located in countries where P2P is legal.

Wrapping up
Overall, both Surfshark and PureVPN are good VPNs for torrenting. However, by allowing P2P connection on all of the servers, Surfshark outrivals PureVPN.

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

SurfsharkPureVPN
Supported OSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, FirefoxWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devicesAndroid TVs, Fire devices, etc.Kodi, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, etc.
Browser extensionsChrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Edge
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited10
Usability levelEasyEasy
Wrapping up
Whether you choose Surfshark or PureVPN, the device coverage remains similar. They have apps for all major operating systems. However, PureVPN stays way behind Surfshark as the latter offers unlimited simultaneous connections and overall better application functionality.

Desktop apps

Usually, desktop applications are the most feature-rich and nice-looking. Consequently, both Surfshark’s and PureVPN’s Windows apps are the best among what other devices get.

Nevertheless, even here, Surfshark strikes again and offers a splendid application that’s nice to look at and easy to use. Meanwhile, PureVPN offers a more simplistic-looking application, but the functionality doesn’t disappoint either.

Surfshark-Windows-newer-interface

Moving to macOS, Surfshark comes with a different approach and has two different macOS versions. One can be downloaded from Surfshark’s own website, and another from Apple’s App Store. However, both apps lack some features, including split tunneling.

PureVPN’s case with the macOS app is a bit better. It’s almost identical to the Windows application, except for the part where there’s no ping displayed next to each server.

Mac interface PureVPN

Yet, rather than always, Linux users are left alone with the Command Line Interface, which can also be seen in PureVPN. On the other hand, Surfshark has decided to shake the VPN market and introduce it with a dedicated Linux application with a nice graphical interface and a full list of features.

Surfshark new Linux GUI

Clearly, a dedicated Surfshark app for Linux devices should be a motivational kick for the whole VPN market.

Mobile apps

Surfshark has literally transferred its Windows app straight to the Android application. It includes all the available features, the design remains smooth, and it’s also user-friendly. Likewise, PureVPN offers a somewhat excellent Android application with even additional features, such as different server modes or the possibility to choose the network type.

surfshark-android-version 4

In terms of iOS applications, Surfshark remains quite similar compared to the Android app. However, there are still some excluded features (no GPS spoofing and Whitelister feature).

PureVPN’s iOS app is more similar to the Windows version rather than the Android application. It’s intuitive and user-friendly, but doesn’t have those extra features that Android users get.

Customer support

Surfshark
PureVPN
24/7 live chat

Email

Phone line
Guides or articles

FAQs

For those having only peanuts of technical knowledge, the best solution is to go straight for live chat support. Both Surfshark’s and PureVPN’s chatboxes work 24/7, meaning your issue can be solved in a matter of a minute at all times.

Email tickets are also found in both VPNs, and it’s another effective way to get an answer regarding your case. Sure, it will take longer compared to live chat; however, it’s even possible to inspect the case more thoroughly this way.

Finally, both VPNs have customer support pages, extensive guides, and FAQs that are the fastest way to learn and find the answer you need. Yet, this option is friendlier for tech-savvy users.

Wrapping up
Whether you’re an advanced user or only a beginner, coming across an issue with PureVPN or Surfshark shouldn’t worry you. With both of these VPNs, you receive a rich list of customer support options. Hence, we declare a draw.

Surfshark vs PureVPN – which one wins?

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

Even though sometimes it seemed that both competitors could go hand in hand, Surfshark finished the competition with a well-deserved win.

Whilst both competitors can benefit you well in terms of a better browsing experience, streaming, or torrenting, it’s undeniable that Surfshark is way more advanced than PureVPN. Its suite of features is stepping to the next generation offering versatile protection. Meanwhile, PureVPN seems to only begin with becoming something more than a regular VPN service.


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