PureVPN vs. ExpressVPN

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jun 18, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Jun 18, 2021

ExpressVPN

  • Based in British Virgin Islands, so not subject to international surveillance alliances’ jurisdiction
  • Over 2,000 servers in 148 locations
  • Split tunneling available
Editor's Rating
9.5
/10

PureVPN

  • Based in Hong Kong, non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes
  • Over 6,500 servers in more than 180 locations around the world
  • Doesn’t log IP address or websites visited
Editor's Rating
9.3
/10

When it comes to VPNs, we don’t want to take our chances with a service that will log our web activity and IP addresses, significantly slow down our browsing speeds and cost a fortune, and we assume you’re on the same page. Here, we’re putting the popular VPNs PureVPN and ExpressVPN head to head. Which performed better in terms of speed and security, and which one is right for you? We have the answers, straight from our dozens of tests.

What You’ll Get with PureVPN and ExpressVPN

Let us make one thing clear: no matter if you choose ExpressVPN or PureVPN, they’re both really solid options with strict logging policies, ideal privacy jurisdictions and tons of servers all across the world. Here’s more of what they have in common:

  • Non-member: Based in the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong, respectively, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost will never give the government customer data because they can’t be forced to, legally. Neither country is a member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes, surveillance alliances that countries like the U.S are in, so that’s a win in both of their books.
  • Number of servers: Both VPNs are expansive with over 2,000 servers each.
  • Kill switch: We don’t expect our VPNs to fail but if they did, both ExpressVPN and PureVPN would’ve also shut down our web browsers so our activity would remain hidden from our ISP.
PureVPN Kill Switch
PureVPN Kill Switch
  • Split tunneling: In order to decrease our bandwidth and increase our browsing speeds, we routed some traffic through ExpressVPN or PureVPN and some directly to the public Wi-Fi network. After all, there’s nothing we need to hide about reading articles from The New York Times!
  • Netflix: Now, we can’t say this will always be the case, as Netflix often blocks VPN servers, but we were able to watch Netflix on both ExpressVPN and PureVPN without a hitch.

Bored?: Connect to a server in another country with PureVPN or ExpressVPN. When you go on Netflix, you’ll see that country’s entertainment options, which differ country by country. Your binge just got exponentially longer.

  • AES-256: Our web activity and IP addresses were encrypted using the most trusted method, AES-256, with both VPNs.
  • Unlimited server switches: We didn’t have to worry about hitting a ceiling as far as the number of servers we connected to with neither CyberGhost nor ExpressVPN.

How PureVPN Is Better

Comparing VPNs isn’t a zero-sum game. Rather, VPNs have their individual pros and cons, so we wanted to break down the ways in which PureVPN is better, with ExpressVPN to follow.

  • More countries: Both VPNs have pretty extensive reaches, but PureVPN has servers in 180 countries compared to 148 with ExpressVPN.
  • Cheaper: If you’ve read our list of the best cheap VPNs, then you know that money is always a factor in our decision-making; we’re living in a material world, after all. While neither PureVPN nor ExpressVPN made this list, when comparing the two, PureVPN is cheaper regardless of the time length you sign up for.
ExpressVPN PureVPN
Cost per Week n/a $0.99
Cost per Month $12.95 $10.95
Monthly Cost per 6 Months $9.99 $8.33
Monthly Cost per 1 Year 8.32 (plus 3 free months) $6.49

Try It Out: While neither VPN has a free trial period, PureVPN has a week-long subscription available for only $0.99, which isn’t a lot of money to test it out for yourself.

  • Twice as many simultaneous connections: We rarely find ourselves using 10 devices at once, and if we do, you may want to call someone. That being said, if multiple people are sharing one PureVPN subscription, they’ll be able to connect up to 10 devices at the same time, compared to only five with ExpressVPN.

If you want to do a deeper dive, read our PureVPN review, which highlights the entire testing process in detail.

PureVPN Mac App
PureVPN Mac App

How ExpressVPN Is Better

Okay, now let’s flip the switch. Here are the ways that ExpressVPN knocked the socks off of PureVPN.

  • Doesn’t log bandwidth: Both VPNs had pretty strict privacy policies, not logging our IP addresses or web activity, but unlike PureVPN, ExpressVPN didn’t keep track of the total amount of bandwidth we used while connected, increasing our overall privacy.
  • Dynamic IP addresses: Every time we connected to ExpressVPN, we got a new IP address, but with PureVPN, we got the same one each time. That made us easier to trace online, which is obviously a bad thing for a VPN to do. Considering the fact that nearly three-quarters of Internet users in the U.S are concerned about their online privacy,1 this is a huge win in favor of ExpressVPN.
  • Unlimited devices: Sure, we could only connect five devices at a single time to ExpressVPN, but we could connect as many devices as we wanted overall, unlike PureVPN which capped this number at 10.
  • Compatible with more devices and browsers: This is an area where personal preference reigns supreme. While both VPNs cover the most popular types of devices like Macs, Windows, iOS and Android devices, ExpressVPN worked with more types of devices and browsers compared to PureVPN.
  • Compatible with gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox: ExpressVPN is a better option for gamers, while PureVPN works with streaming services like Roku and Fire TV Stick. For more options, check out our lists of the best VPNs for gamers and the best VPNs for Fire TV Stick.
ExpressVPN App
ExpressVPN App
ExpressVPN PureVPN
Windows Yes Yes
Mac Yes Yes
iOS Yes Yes
Android Yes Yes
Linux Yes Yes
Blackberry Yes No
Routers Yes Yes
Kindle Yes No
Roku No Yes
Fire TV Stick No Yes
Raspberry Pi No No
Apple TV Yes No
PlayStation 3 and 4 Yes No
Xbox One Yes No
Chrome Yes Yes
Firefox Yes Yes
Safari Yes No
  • Higher app ratings: Whether we were connected to ExpressVPN on our iOS or Android devices, the apps worked better than those of PureVPN, and other customers seemed to agree with us.
  • Speed on Windows and Macs: We tested ExpressVPN and PureVPN from our private Optimum network in Brooklyn. Now, although we pay around $80 a month for speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps,2 but we rarely get those speeds, if ever. That being said, we didn’t want to know our Internet’s speed so much as the difference in speed when we connected to ExpressVPN and PureVPN. And what we found is that ExpressVPN affected our speed much less than PureVPN, which proved to be slower on both Mac and Windows computers.
ExpressVPN PureVPN
Mac download speed difference 38.73% 25.80%
Windows download speed difference 26.75% 42.90%
Mac upload speed difference 14.32% 47.55%
Windows upload speed difference 23.79% 11%
Mac ping difference 43% 118.18%
Windows ping difference 35.70% 380%
Total speed differences for Mac 96.05% 191.53%
Total speed differences for Windows 86.24% 433.90%
Total speed differences 155.54% 625.43%

To learn more, read our ExpressVPN review.

Note: For our speed tests, we used the speed test tool on Ooka’s website. You can perform your own speed tests to find out how either VPN will affect your ping, download and upload speeds. Normally, we prefer VPNs that slow our speed down by no more than 40 percent in any of these categories.

ExpressVPN DNS Leak Test
ExpressVPN DNS Leak Test

Which VPN Is Right For You?

PureVPN may be cheaper and allows for more simultaneous connections but if we had to choose one, we’d pick ExpressVPN over PureVPN. That’s because it logged less of our data, worked on more of our devices, and had more user-friendly apps. However, if you’re looking to save money or want more simultaneous connections, PureVPN might make more sense. If you’re still not sure, let’s break it down here and now.

Get PureVPN if you want:
  • Lower prices: You can pay less than $7 a month with PureVPN, while ExpressVPN starts at above $8. To explore their pricing in greater detail, read our PureVPN pricing page.
  • More server locations: If you’re a frequent traveler like us, you’ll appreciate PureVPN’s presence in 180 countries, which has got to be a record.
  • 10 simultaneous connections: PureVPN gives even more bang for its buck when you consider the fact that you can connect up to 10 devices at the same time.
But don’t get it if you want to avoid:
  • Slow speeds: We recommend you test out PureVPN for a week, but in our experience, it was much slower than ExpressVPN on macOS and Windows.
  • Static IP addresses: Some people might prefer getting the same IP address every time they connect to their VPN, but we are not those people.
  • Bandwidth logged: We’d rather keep the amount of bandwidth we used in a session private, but PureVPN keeps this information, unlike ExpressVPN.
Get ExpressVPN if you want:
  • Dynamic IP addresses: Better for privacy, dynamic IP addresses made us less susceptible to tracking and hacking.
  • Faster speeds: Slow Internet is one of our biggest pet peeves, but with ExpressVPN, we didn’t see much of a difference in our download speeds, upload speeds and latency, otherwise known as ping.
  • Unlimited devices per subscription: Just make sure you aren’t using more than five at the same time!
However, steer clear if you don’t want:
  • Only five connections simultaneously: We wish that ExpressVPN would let us connect more than five devices at a time, as PureVPN allows for a maximum of 10.
  • No support for Roku or the Fire TV Stick: For those that stream through Roku or the Fire TV Stick, ExpressVPN can encrypt their entertainment.
  • Higher prices: ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs out there, most likely because it’s one of the most recognizable VPN brands. Comparing ExpressVPN to NordVPN, although NordVPN has the most market share and brand recognition, ExpressVPN’s website has twice as monthly visitors per month.3 We’re not saying that just because something is popular means it’s a good choice, but ExpressVPN just happens to be both. Want to explore their pricing in greater detail and find out how you can save? Check out our page on ExpressVPN’s costs.

The good news is that both VPNs have money-back guarantees of about a month each, so there’s no risk to trying out either one and seeing which you like best. Happy privacy!

FAQ

To end our PureVPN versus ExpressVPN comparison, let's tackle some frequently asked questions about the two.

  • Which is better for privacy, PureVPN or ExpressVPN?

    ExpressVPN is better than PureVPN for privacy, but only by a hair. Both VPNs have headquarters outside the jurisdiction of international surveillance alliances, which means the government can’t legally force them to share customer data. They also have kill switches, a vital privacy feature in case the VPN connection gets cut out. Plus, they use high-quality AES 256-bit encryption. ExpressVPN wins because it uses dynamic IP addresses, which are harder to track than static IP addresses. ExpressVPN also logged less data about us. Unlike PureVPN, ExpressVPN didn’t log our bandwidth usage. Other than that, though, what ExpressVPN and PureVPN logged and didn’t log were mostly similar. They didn’t keep track of IP addresses and web activities, but they kept some personal information including our email address, payment information, device information such as operating system versions, and crash reports and diagnostics.

    PureVPN ExpressVPN
    Headquarters Hong Kong British Virgin Islands
    International surveillance alliance jurisdiction No No
    Encryption AES 256-bit AES 256-bit
    Kill switch Yes Yes
    What it logs Name, payment information, email address, date and server of your VPN sessions, connection length, number of connections, bandwidth Name, email address, payment information, app diagnostic data and crash reports, app version, device OS version, date of VPN sessions
  • Which is cheaper, PureVPN or ExpressVPN?

    PureVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN no matter the length of your subscription. Check the table below for a side-by-side comparison of PureVPN and ExpressVPN subscriptions.

    Subscription length ExpressVPN total bill PureVPN total amount billed
    Seven days n/a $0.99
    One month $12.95 $10.95
    Six months $59.95 n/a
    One year $99.95 $69.95
    Two years n/a $80
  • Can you watch Netflix with PureVPN and ExpressVPN?

    Yes, you can watch Netflix with PureVPN and ExpressVPN. Both VPNs have a great number of servers that have access to Netflix, not just in the U.S. but also in other locations. That means you can watch shows from other Netflix libraries, including the U.K., Australia, and Japan libraries.

  • Is ExpressVPN faster than PureVPN?

    Yes, ExpressVPN is faster than PureVPN on both Macs and Windows based on our independent speed test results. Keep in mind that when we performed these tests, our goal was to see which VPN affected our internet connection less. In almost all areas, except the Mac download speed difference and Windows upload speed difference, ExpressVPN was the winner.

    Speed ExpressVPN on Mac PureVPN on Mac ExpressVPN on Windows PureVPN on Windows
    Ping without VPN (in ms) 14 11 14 10
    Ping with VPN (in ms) 20 24 19 48
    Ping difference 43% 118.80% 35.70% 380%
    Download speed without VPN (in Mbps) 37.05 418.99 62.88 107.44
    Download speed with VPN (in Mbps) 22.7 310.88 39.77 60.27
    Download speed difference -38.73% -25.80% -36.75% -43.90%
    Upload speed without VPN (in Mbps) 25.9 28.6 40.61 28.89
    Upload speed with VPN (in Mbps) 22.19 15 30.95 25.7
    Upload speed difference -14.32% -47.55% -23.79% -11%
Citations
  1. Statista. (2020). Online privacy in the United States – Statistics & Facts.
    statista.com/topics/2476/online-privacy/

  2. Broadband Now. (2020). Optimum by Altice.
    broadbandnow.com/Optimum-by-Altice

  3. Frasor Valley Website Design. (2020). Top 10 VPN Market Share Overview in 2020.
    fvwebsite.design/fraser-valley-website-design/top-10-vpn-market-share-overview-in-2020/