PureVPN vs. NordVPN
- Torrenting available through uTorrent
- Based in Panama, which has no mandatory data retention law
- One of the most popular VPNs with over eight million users
- 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
Choosing a VPN isn’t like choosing a sweater. You may not be able to see or feel the important differences that will determine your buying decision, and without free trials, there’s often no “fitting room” to try it out. Well, consider us the knowledgeable sales associates at your favorite department store. We’ve tested out PureVPN and NordVPN and today, we’ll tell you which one is best. Let’s get started!
The Case for NordVPN
In terms of brand recognition, NordVPN is to PureVPN as Bloomingdales is to Filene’s Basement. While the NordVPN site has been viewed over 10 million times,1 PureVPN’s site has only been viewed about one and a half million times.2 But we don’t equate popularity with quality; rather, there were a few key areas that NordVPN outshined PureVPN in.
- More servers: With more than twice as many servers as PureVPN, we didn’t have to worry about overloading a server with NordVPN.
Support for Proxy and NAS: Unlike PureVPN, NordVPN works with proxy servers and NAS, allowing users more security online.
- Lowest monthly price: If we had signed up for two years with NordVPN, we would’ve only paid $3.71 a month, while PureVPN’s lowest price is $6.49 for an annual plan. Commitment pays, apparently!
- Faster on Macs: When we compared the two VPNs on our Macbook Pro, we found that NordVPN slowed us down over three times less than PureVPN, which wasn’t too fast on Mac. For more fast options for Mac, read our list of the best VPNs for Mac.
|Total Mac speed difference||54%||192%|
FYI: Much to our dismay, neither NordVPN or PureVPN has a free trial period but instead, 30 and 31-day money-back guarantees, close seconds in our hearts.
The Case for PureVPN
There’s no doubt that compared to NordVPN, PureVPN is the underdog, but we love an underdog story (Little Giants is one of our favorite movies, in fact). Here’s how PureVPN tipped NordVPN on its head.
- More locations: Given the fact that they have over 3,000 fewer servers than NordVPN, we were surprised to find out that PureVPN is actually available in about twice as many countries as NordVPN, over 180 total.
- Split tunneling: To increase our speeds, we routed some of our web traffic directly to the public network we were on in a coffee shop, while only routing our sensitive traffic to PureVPN. NordVPN, on the other hand, told us “all or nothing” with their lack of split tunneling.
- More devices: Although we only tested it out on macOS and Windows, PureVPN works with a ton of different devices and browsers compared to NordVPN.
|Fire TV Stick||X||✓|
If you’re looking for a VPN for the Fire TV Stick, for example, PureVPN makes much more sense than NordVPN.
- Less data logged: Overall, we were happy with how little data either VPN logged; for example, neither logged the websites we visited or the IP addresses of our devices we connected to the VPN. However, NordVPN logged more data than PureVPN, including our device identifiers and the timestamps of our last session, although this information was deleted after 15 minutes. While they were pretty close, NordVPN definitely collected more data in terms of pure numbers, and when it comes to logging policies, less is more.
|Anonymous telemetry data about in-app events||✓* but can opt-out||✓|
|App version used||X||X|
|Application diagnostics like crash error reports||✓* but can opt-out||✓|
|A country where a user registered||✓||X|
|Day connected to specific VPN location||✓||✓|
|Device model||✓* non-identifying||X|
|Internet Service Provider||X||✓|
|IP address during payment||✓||X|
|IP address while connected to VPN||X||X|
|Length of time connected||X||✓* no timestamps|
|Operating system version||✓* non-identifying||X|
|Server load information||✓||X|
|Sum of data transferred||X||✓|
|The timestamp of last session status||✓* deleted within 15 minutes of the session ending||X|
|Total number of connections||✓||✓|
|Whether the user has used the service in the last 30 days||✓||✓|
- Support for Roku, Fire TV Stick, and Raspberry Pi: We’re streaming freaks, and it’s not every day that you find a VPN that can work not only with Netflix but also with Roku and the Fire TV Stick (Marvelous Miss Maisel on Prime Video, anyone?). PureVPN ticked those boxes, plus, it had support for Raspberry Pi,3 which we haven’t seen before.
- Longer money-back guarantee: Okay, so it’s only longer by a day, as NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. But if you want 31 days to cancel your VPN subscription for a full refund, PureVPN is for you.
Note: Nord’s money-back guarantee doesn’t apply if you bought the subscription in Apple’s App Store. To get this offer, buy NordVPN from their website directly.
- Faster on Windows: NordVPN did not perform well at all on Windows, and while PureVPN didn’t exactly blow us away with their fast speeds, they beat Nord by a landslide.
|Total Windows speed difference||3175%||434%|
- Lower prices for weekly, monthly and six month plans: Even though NordVPN had the lowest monthly price available overall, PureVPN is cheaper if you sign up for a month or six months. They also offer a week-long pass for only $0.99, unlike NordVPN which starts at $11.95 a month.
|6 Months Monthly Cost||$9.00||$8.33|
|1 Year Monthly Cost||n/a||$6.49|
|2 Year Monthly Cost||$3.71||n/a|
Get Down To Business: PureVPN is the only VPN of the two to offer plans for teams, both with dedicated IP addresses and dedicated servers, if you prefer. The monthly prices per user range from $8.45 to $9.99, if you’re not on a dedicated server.
What You’ll Get With Either VPN
The truth is that, as much as we love comparing and contrasting, NordVPN and PureVPN have a lot in common.
- No government surveillance: Since NordVPN is based in Panama and PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, our data was safe in their hands and wouldn’t be shared with the government by legal force. While that may sound essential, it’s not always the case; VPNs like TunnelBear are based in the U.S, a founding member of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance that could legally force companies to hand over their customer’s data. To learn more, read our TunnelBear review.
- Kill switch: Both VPNs shut our web browsers in case they failed so that our Internet Service Providers wouldn’t see our activity…not that we were doing anything bad, of course.
- Netflix access: Like anyone with a pulse and an Internet connection, we can binge on Netflix for hours on end without stopping. Fortunately, the servers we connected to on PureVPN and NordVPN weren’t blocked when we logged onto the streaming giant so we could enjoy content from other countries outside of the U.S.
- 256-bit encryption: Both VPNs employed the industry standard, AES-256. If you’re unsure, it’s the same encryption method that banks use, the highest available.
- Static IP addresses: We got the same IP addresses every time we logged onto PureVPN or NordVPN, which wasn’t ideal; hey, we didn’t say all their commonalities were positive. We actually prefer dynamic IP addresses as they make us harder to trace online. If that’s important to you, check out our ExpressVPN review, as the VPN rotated IP addresses every time we logged on.
- No DNS or WebRTC leaks: Don’t feel like reading our full PureVPN review or NordVPN review, in which we perform full security tests? Just know that we didn’t see any leaks of our domain names or private IP addresses with either VPN.
- Compatibility with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux and routers: Both VPNs worked with the devices we use the most, which was expected.
- Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox: PureVPN and NordVPN also had browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, if you prefer an extension to an app.
So, Which VPN Do We Recommend?
It’s rare that we can’t say which VPN is better overall, mainly because of PureVPN and NordVPN’s vast differences. So instead, we’re breaking down exactly who we think each VPN would be good for, starting with NordVPN.
Buy NordVPN if you want…
- Lowest price overall: Sure, you’ll have to make a two-year-long commitment, but you’ll save money compared to PureVPN at this term length.
- VPN for NAS or Proxy servers: PureVPN may work with more types of devices, but only NordVPN works with NAS as well as proxy servers.
- Faster speeds on Mac: We’re Mac-users primarily, and we were pleased with how fast our computer was even with NordVPN connected.
But NordVPN probably isn’t for you if you want split tunneling, dynamic IP addresses or fast speeds on Windows.
But go with PureVPN if you are looking for…
- Week-long pass: This is a great way to test out the VPN for yourself without investing a ton of money (read: less than a dollar).
- Split tunneling: If you want to access a public and private server simultaneously, PureVPN takes the cake.
- Large global reach: While they have fewer servers than NordVPN, the servers are available in twice as many countries; we recommend checking out each VPN’s list of servers and countries before making your final decision.
However, steer clear of PureVPN if you want a super affordable two-year plan, fast speeds on Mac or support for proxy servers and NAS (and no, we’re not talking about the rapper). Are you wondering about things like free trials, cancellation and refund policies, and money-back guarantees? Dive into our NordVPN pricing and our PureVPN pricing pages, which go over all of the ins and outs when it comes to money. Another option is to check out our best VPN pages if neither sounds appealing. From the best VPNs for Android to the best VPNs for iPhone and everything in between, you’re sure to find one VPN you like that we’ve tested out.