PureVPN for iPhone (The Complete Review)

purevpn

Can PureVPN challenge the likes of NordVPN and IPVanish?

Pros

  • Offers excellent speed test marks
  • Great user interface
  • Diverse VPN servers located in various geographically different regions
  • P2P is allowed
  • BitTorrent is allowed
  • Provides dedicated IP address

Cons

  • No ad-blocking feature
  • Has some problems with US Netflix
  • Lack of quick-start setting.

Bottom Line

Why is PureVPN a good VPN service?

It has an easy-to-use and attractive user interface.

PureVPN offers VPN servers which are located all over the map.

The company’s iPhone application assists users in selecting their VPN servers based on their own preferences.

As far as speed tests ago, PureVPN for the iPhone platform scores some impressive marks.

PureVPN Full Review

Whenever someone buys an iPhone device, there is an automatic expectation of watertight security.

It is true that people who code malware do tend to focus on the lowest hanging fruit.

In this context, that fruit is Android and Windows.

Additionally, iPhone users already know that their operating system, iOS, has a very specific focus.

That focus is security.

Not only that, the iOS platform is built from the ground up focusing on issues such as online security.

All of that means little when the user ventures out to connect to an alien network.

No amount of default device protection can sufficiently protect the user once the user has connected to an unsafe network.

In other words, Apple’s walled garden is great.

But it can’t do much when it comes to protecting the user’s internet traffic.

If the user connects to any random network there is a good chance that the network is pretty much insecure.

Sometimes it could be because of sheer ineptitude.

Other times it is because of the design of the network.

The point is, foreign networks put the user’s data at risk.

This is the primary reason why most online consumers should invest in a VPN or Virtual Private Network.

The operating system doesn’t really matter.

Even if the user is on an iPhone device, there is still room for improvement as far as security is concerned.

PureVPN is one of the good VPN service providers in the market today.

The company’s iPhone app does cost users slightly above the industry average.

However, for the above-average price, users get to experience some really advanced security features.

Not to mention, PureVPN VPN servers are really diverse.

The company’s server collection is spread evenly across the whole map.

What Is a VPN?

The term VPN feels right at home to people who spend most of their time in their offices.

They need a VPN everytime they need to take work to their homes and want to connect to their office computer from their homes.

Of course, modern VPN service providers offer significantly more than just that.

Whenever a user decides to use a VPN service, the user’s online internet traffic travels directly through the VPN service’s encrypted tunnel to its safe and secure VPN server.

Only after that does the user’s traffic heads out into the open and the wider world of the internet.

So one could have some bad guys monitoring his/her network but not get spied on or hacked.

With the help of a VPN service no government spooks, advertisers or hackers would have the option of seeing the user’s internet traffic.

They won’t have the opportunity to trace the user’s online movements straight back to the user himself/herself either.

If at any point, a user wants to connect to the internet via a public WiFi network, the user should use a VPN service.

We’re talking about public Wifi networks such as those that users regularly find in local coffee shops and libraries.

To protect oneself, all that one has to do is to fire up a decent VPN service in order to make sure that no hacker or advertising company can snoop on one’s online movements.

VPN services are very good at protecting user privacy.

But that’s not the only thing they can do.

VPN services are equally effective at unlocking lots of streaming sites that have restricted online content.

Moreover, VPN services can come in really handy in countries that have more or less oppressive online policies.

That is the reason why so many journalists and activists use VPN services in order to sidestep various governments and their control mechanisms.

By doing so, they are able to contact the broader outside world without any obstructions.

Users also have the option of using a VPN service to access content that is region-locked.

Most good VPN service providers have the means to stream content from streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

However, users should understand that doing so may or may not break the streaming site’s terms of service that they had agreed to before using a VPN service.

Sometimes, using a VPN service in this manner may also count towards breaking some kind of local law.

It all depends on where the user and the VPN company itself is located.

The other thing readers need to know is that seeing the success of VPN service, many streaming services have now hired engineers who help these companies fight back against what they call VPN cheats.

We’ll talk about this a bit later in this PureVPN review.

One of the greatest steps that users can take for better security is to use a VPN service.

With that said, users should also have some awareness about the limitations that each VPN service comes with.

VPN services don’t give users a free pass to using the internet as they please.

The important thing users need to understand here is that if they go to a website that does not make use of the HTTPS protocol, then there is a chance that malefactors may find success in intercepting the user’s traffic as it is travelling from the VPN service’s VPN server to the user’s desired website and then, back.

There is, of course, a plus side as well.

With the help of a VPN service, users can secure their online data from the likes of internet service providers and various websites for the fear that they may sell it.

According to some surveys, it has come to our attention that a great number of online consumers don’t make use of a VPN service.

For people who have never laid their hands on any given VPN service before, we say this:

Change this bad habit.

Of course, there is nothing to worry about.

Not yet at least.

But in case you are one of those users who has never used a VPN service, then keep tuning in to Security Gladiators because we’ll be coming up with a comprehensive tutorial on how to use and set up a VPN service very soon.

Price

PureVPN, pretty much like all elite VPN service providers, does not offer users any kind of free trial or free edition of its premium VPN service.

They think their product has enough about it for them to not offer it for free.

With that said, we would like to inform users that with each subscription package, PureVPN gives users the opportunity to take advantage of a seven-day official money-back guarantee.

Of course, there are some users who want to try out how a VPN works without plunking down cold hard cash for it.

For them, there are many free VPN services.

Not all of them are great.

But some free VPN services are excellent security options.

Click here to take a look at some of those.

The one thing that most reviewers have found very commendable on part of PureVPN is that the company shuns the practice of locking advanced features away behind various other price tiers.

It offers a single VPN service that offers the same features regardless of the package the user subscribes to.

Now, even though their capabilities are the same, they do have different billing cycles.

That’s how PureVPN offers users different subscription packages.

On a standard rate, PureVPN costs users around $10.95 per month.

If the user is lucky enough and catches a discount season then the user can sign up for PureVPN for even less.

Users who want to get a discount without those discount coupons can get one by opting for a subscription package that lasts one year.

If the user does decide to purchase a one-year subscription package, then PureVPN brings the cost down to just $59.04 for the full year.

If the user signs up for a two-year subscription package then the user only has to pay $69.12.

What about payment methods?

Currently, PureVPN offers a multiple number of payment methods for user subscription.

The PureVPN payment options include,

  • PayPal
  • PaymentWall
  • Cashu
  • Bitcoin
  • AliPay
  • Credit Card

As the reader can probably see, PureVPN offers a ton of payment options.

Moreover, PureVPN doesn’t just accept Bitcoin.

It accepts more than a dozen other online cryptocurrencies just like Bitcoin.

Potential customers even have the option of paying PureVPN with the help of nothing but gift cards from various popular online stores.

So for people who want to know what it feels like when one uses a Starbucks gift card to purchase a VPN subscription package, PureVPN is your destination.

As mentioned before as well, PureVPN is slightly expensive.

It’s monthly package costs just a bit above what we consider as the industry average.

The current VPN industry average cost for a monthly package is around $10.50.

While we are on the topic of what VPN services cost, we would like to let users know that other good VPN service providers such as NordVPN costs users a full dollar per month more than what PureVPN costs.

Despite that, NordVPN consistently ranks high among Security Gladiators list of top VPN service providers.

The reason for that is simple enough too.

For the increased price, NordVPN offers users specialized VPN servers for various particular needs.

There is also KeepSolid VPN Unlimited which has a dedicated app for the iOS platform and costs just under $6.99 per month.

If users are willing to pay PureVPN just an additional amount of $1.99 each month, then that gets them full access to a simple but working NAT (Network Address Translation) firewall.

This Network Address Translation firewall is pretty similar to the one that users get access to for free with VPN service providers such as VyprVPN from Golden Grog.

How do you control the NAT firewall from PureVPN?

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The user may control it by simply logging into his/her official PureVPN account.

The NAT Firewall will affect all of the user’ devices.

If the user is willing to pay PureVPN another $1.99 per month then that gets the user a dedicated IP address.

Our research shows that dedicated IP addresses offer more benefit to desktop users than mobile users.

So the user has to make the decision if he/she wants to use a dedicated IP address on his/her mobile or desktop device.

Users should also note that PureVPN regularly comes up with promotional prices.

These are what we have quoted here.

In other words, these prices are definitely subject to change.

No matter which PureVPN subscription package the user signs up for, PureVPN offers its users to connect up to five simultaneous devices with just one PureVPN account.

In other words, the user gets five licenses.

The user is free to consume those five licenses on any of his/her devices.

Additionally, since this is a review for the iPhone version of PureVPN service, perhaps this is a good time to mention that PureVPN also has dedicated apps for platforms and operating systems such as,

  • Android
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • macOS

Moreover, PureVPN, as a VPN service also offers various other kinds of software applications for streaming devices and routers.

That is just like TorGuard VPN that has previously sold Apple TVs and routers which are preinstalled with the company’s software application.

This is also what other VPN service providers such as Private Internet Access and others have done in the past.

Why would someone want to run a VPN service on his/her router?

Well, our research shows that it’s a pretty smart way of extending the VPN protection to one’s entire home network.

If a router has VPN installed on it, then the user can protect an unlimited number of devices in his house/office without having to pay a single extra dollar.

Of course, any type of VPN protection on the user’s home network (via the VPN enabled router) does the user little good if the user decides to move and leaves the home network for another network outside the home that doesn’t have VPN protection.

PureVPN for the iPhone has many other benefits which some iPhone users may not find all that useful to begin with.

For example, PureVPN does not ban P2P file transfers and BitTorrent.

Users are free to access as much content via the company’s VPN service as they want.

The company has over 200 VPN servers for such purposes.

But the problem is that most studies reveal that it is actually the desktop users who make use of technologies such as BitTorrent and P2P file-sharing.

Potential PureVPN customers should also know that PureVPN’s split tunneling feature is only available on the desktop platform.

So iPhone users will have to look elsewhere if they want to use this feature.

Protocols

PureVPN offers the new IKEv2 and IPSec protocol for its iPhone application.

For those who want their VPN connection to use another protocol, there is also the option of using L2TP.

However, to use this protocol, the user will have to go through some installation process manually.

Users who want to change their VPN servers with the ones using L2TP protocol will first have to go to the official PureVPN server list.

It is available on the official PureVPN website.

After that, they will have to manually edit their VPN connection settings.

In our experience, this is something that not many users would feel comfortable doing.

It is surprising that PureVPN offers more options on other platforms.

For example, the OpenVPN protocol (the strongest one in terms of security) is only absent from the iOS platform.

So if the OpenVPN protocol is the most reliable and fastest (not to mention that it is also open-source) then why VPN service providers such as PureVPN NOT offer this protocol?

The problem is Apple.

Yes.

The technology giant forces VPN services that want to use the OpenVPN protocol to jump through various additional hoops.

In other words, they have to acquire some sort of approval before they can start offering their services to iPhone users.

As mentioned earlier as well, VPN Unlimited actually represents one of the view few VPN applications that offer the secure OpenVPN protocol.

What About Privacy?

PureVPN, just like all other VPN service providers, has serious intentions of providing users with the absolute maximum level of online privacy.

Of course, all companies want to do that.

But the equation only works if the VPN service provider takes concrete steps in order to ensure that the user’s information is not only private but also secure.

If a VPN service breaks this promise and keeps tabs on its customers then the VPN service is actually no better than an internet service provider or maybe even a spy agency that the user pays to spy on him/her.

Similar to all other online companies, PureVPN came out with an updated Privacy Policy document so that it complied with GDPR.

You can read more about it here.

It is a simple and fairly readable document.

Essentially, it informs the user what type of data does PureVPN does not record or retain about the user.

To take an example, PureVPN specifically mentions that it does not log any of its user’s IP address.

It has no record of the VPN server that the user used in any given session.

Moreover, the company has no information on the user’s browsing habits or online activities.

It doesn’t even keep a record on the DNS requests made by the user.

With that said, the company does keep a record of the user’s payment and contact information.

But this is natural.

Otherwise, the user would not be able to pay the company and the company would not be able to provide the user with his/her preferred package.

PureVPN, as a VPN company, has to watch its network for any abnormal bandwidth usage and other anomalies in order to prevent any abuse of its services.

In the past, we would have had no trouble giving PureVPN a definite A on privacy protection.

But PureVPN has in reality come under (probably deserved) fire for not taking care of user privacy and actually disclosing some of its users’ information to law enforcement agencies and the federal government.

Why did it do that?

To help the government with a criminal investigation.

Now, Security Gladiators reviews security products.

Hence, we aren’t the world’s foremost authority on law enforcement and legal issues.

But our research indicates that PureVPN’s disclosure of user information did not oppose the company’s recently upgraded privacy policy document.

Readers who are concerned about what information the company keeps should definitely think about reading that document carefully.

If the reader goes to a PureVPN representative regarding the issue, the representative would have no hesitation in telling that the company’s only source of revenue is from the sale of its subscription packages.

Since we have researched a lot of VPN services, we know that this is a good sign that a VPN service takes care of the user’s data.

We also know of many VPN service providers who intercept the user’s internet traffic and then show the users targeted advertisements.

Then there are those VPN service providers who sell their customers’ anonymized user information.

This is exactly what people want to avoid and hence sign up for a VPN service in the first place.

If a VPN service is going to act like an internet service provider and sell user data then there is no point in signing up for such a VPN service.

PureVPN, as a VPN company, operates out of Hong Kong.

That’s where its headquarters are.

Some tend to think of it as ironic since Hong Kong, administratively speaking, comes under the Chinese government.

And we all know how repressive Chinese policies are over the free access of the internet.

But here is the thing.

China does have strict internet regulations.

But Hong Kong doesn’t need to cater to any kind of mandatory data retention rules and regulations.

In other words, there is no reason for PureVPN to store any kind of data on the company’s users.

The same goes for user behavior.

Of course, there is no guarantee if PureVPN will survive the latest effort from the Chinese government to ban all non-approved VPN services.

PureVPN representatives have answered reporter questions explaining the way the company makes efforts in order to make sure it is able to protect user data all the while existing as a company in China.

According to PureVPN, since it is based in Hong Kong, it doesn’t come under pure Chinese laws.

Hong Kong is unlike the rest of the regions that make up China in the sense that its legal relationship with China is special.

And it is true that Hong Kong has the status of an autonomous territory that is within China.

PureVPN representative would tell you that because of this special legal relationship, Hong Kong represents the best place for anybody to keep any type of information hidden.

No one can deny the fact that Hong Kong indeed has a semi-independent city status.

But the Chinese online censorship measures are extensive and extraordinary.

Under such extraordinary, PureVPN has to come up with an extraordinary explanation on how it circumvents all the censorship tools.

This is where PureVPN doesn’t entertain questions.

Our research shows that there is no fixed rule on how good or bad a VPN company is if its headquarters are located in a region that isn’t as independent as some of the western regions.

Since PureVPN won’t offer details of how it manages to break free from the clutches of the Chinese government, it is safe to assume that PureVPN does a pretty good job.

Besides, one can’t just label a VPN service “bad” because it is based in such and such country.

If one does that regularly, then it could lead to xenophobia at the very least.

Of course, that should not take us away from the fact that PureVPN must provide more explanation on how it protects user data when it comes under Chinese rules and regulations.

User Interface

If you have a device like Apple iPhone SE or something newer, then installing PureVPN on it will probably take a few minutes.

This is what iPhone users have come to expect from all iPhone VPN apps.

Most of the time, the installation process is simple and quick.

Our research tells us that users might face some problems in the beginning while trying to log in to the VPN app.

Such users should know that their login credentials for managing their PureVPN VPN account are entirely different from their VPN app credentials.

Does that sound confusing?

No problem.

Let’s explain the logic behind two login credentials.

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PureVPN says it helps the company separate the user’s payment and user’s identity.

Thus, it allows the company to offer the user a greater amount of anonymity.

And that probably makes sense.

Of course, in the beginning, having two login credentials for the same VPN service are enough to confuse anyone.

So we have to assume here that new users will definitely get confused by the whole situation.

This is where we think PureVPN can improve.

It doesn’t have to do away with the two login credential system.

But the company does need to handle the two login credentials situation a bit more elegantly.

Users who want to protect themselves with a VPN service don’t require the VPN service to communicate to them tons of information regarding their status.

That is why most good VPN service providers avoid showing the user too much information.

Most of the time, the VPN service should show the user,

  • If the user is connected to a VPN server.
  • The location of the VPN server
  • The current IP address of the user.

If a VPN shows more then users should consider that as gravy and nothing else.

This is something that even the most elite VPN service providers don’t pay enough attention too.

For example, IPVanish has this habit of filling the leftover space on the screen with a small graph of the user’s traffic.

Then there are the likes of NordVPN, VPN Unlimited, and TunnelBear that all display the full world map.

In the past, PureVPN filled that space with interesting pictures that it had collected from different places around the world.

The current edition is different though.

Now users only see a huge Connect button.

PureVPN also shows the user’s selected VPN mode.

What are modes?

PureVPN operates via five different modes.

These modes are as follows,

  • Dedicated
  • File-Sharing
  • Security and/or Privacy
  • Internet Freedom
  • Stream

Users are free to tap any of the shown mode buttons in order to switch PureVPN modes according to how they are feeling on a given day.

Of course, PureVPN’s performance will vary depending on the mode the user has selected.

This is where PureVPN is a bit different from other run-of-the-mill VPN service providers.

PureVPN gives users a truly customized experience.

There is no doubt about the fact that offering such modes gives a sense of smart organization to the whole app.

But one has to wonder if a new user who only wants to connect to the online world would draw any benefit from these modes.

One other VPN service provider, Hide My Ass VPN, tries to do a pretty similar trick.

But it makes sure that the approach it takes with its apps is slightly more simple and straightforward.

Users who want to immediately connect to the VPN service have to tap the Connect button.

The Connect button is green in color and pulsates from time to time.

When the user presses the Connect button it goes to work and connects the user straight away to that VPN server which the user has selected.

Based on the settings, it may also connect to a random VPN server on its own.

Once the PureVPN VPN app has connected to the internet, the user should have no problems in seeing the Disconnect button.

The Disconnect button is red in color.

When it is red, the app shows the location of the VPN server right below the Disconnect button.

Users have the option of tapping the location icon in order to choose all available VPN servers filtered by country and/or city.

There is also an option to start running a Ping test.

After that, the app can rearrange the VPN servers based on speed with the fastest server at the top.

There is also a Purpose icon.

Users can tap that button in order to choose the best VPN servers for around 20 different purposes.

What are these purposes?

They include activities such as,

  • Watching content via BBC iPlayer
  • VOIP
  • Social Media

Previous editions of PureVPN filtered the above-mentioned purpose entries based on the user’s pre-selected mode.

However, the latest version does not have that feature.

Of course, a VPN user who is dedicated to his/her privacy and is aiming for a perfect VPN service experience, PureVPN provides some amazing choices.

However, when it comes to the average internet user, we don’t think these choices are as spectacular as PureVPN wants user to believe.

Servers

PureVPN offers a total of 750 plus VPN servers.

These servers are spread across the map covering more than 140 countries and 180 locations (all of which are different).

Let’s take a look at some of the regions where PureVPN has placed its VPN servers.

  • South America
  • North America
  • Europe
  • Central America
  • Australia
  • Asia
  • Africa

Needless to say, PureVPN covers the whole globe.

We have already noted the fact that PureVPN is one of the handfuls of VPN service providers who have VPN servers in countries such as Turkey, Russia, and China.

The selection of servers alone should be enough to place PureVPN right at the top of the list of best VPN services in the world.

In other words, PureVPN’s VPN network is both large in number and diverse in nature.

With that said, how can we not mention that other VPN service providers such as NordVPN and Private Internet Access VPN along with TorGuard VPN all offer over 3000 VPN servers?

Why should people give consideration to the number of servers?

Shouldn’t quality alone matter?

No.

Quality is important.

But a large number of VPN servers means that no matter where the user is located there is a good chance that he/she will find a VPN server close to him/her.

PureVPN desktop application offers users to select their VPN servers by clicking on a medium size world map.

PureVPN for iPhone doesn’t have the map.

It has a list.

Users can view the list via country or city.

They can also filter the list of VPN servers according to the VPN servers that they have previously marked as their favorite VPN servers.

The other thing to note here is that the PureVPN iPhone application does not have the capability to report bandwidth usage and/or session duration to the company.

The Windows version of the PureVPN application does both of these things.

PureVPN tries to copy IPVanish in the sense that it too allows the user to enter a specific list of URLs or website domains where the VPN app should always force an encrypted VPN connection.

The obvious question that arises from this is why bother with that?

Unlike some premium VPN service providers, PureVPN doesn’t put any kind of bandwidth limits on user data.

So, the best option for the user is to simply leave the PureVPN app ON all the time or on all sites when it is needed.

What About Streaming?

We already noted at the top that streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu don’t really appreciate the fact that people use VPN services in order to access premium content that is region-locked.

Sometimes, users access content that they have never paid for using VPN services.

Out of all the streaming services, Netflix sets itself apart by cracking down hard on all types of rogue access.

With that said, VPN services also want to survive.

Hence, they are always working hard in order to evade Netflix’s crackdown measures.

Our research can confirm that if the user tried to stream content from Netflix, PureVPN will respond and play the content.

We don’t know of any consistent streaming problems with PureVPN and Netflix.

Previously though, PureVPN did not put in enough work in its ability to play US Netflix and hence sometimes gave users the dreaded network error message.

But users should keep in mind that it has become fairly common for a VPN service to work with US Netflix on one day and not work at all the very next.

Ozone And Gravity

No.

No science lessons in this PureVPN review.

The Ozone and Gravity only refer to a couple of add-on features that PureVPN offers to its users.

They aren’t entirely distinct though.

Some of their functions do overlap.

The Ozone feature is the more complex one.

The gravity feature simply handles all the Domain Name System or DNS requests on the user’s device.

What does a DNS do?

It primarily translates the usual human-readable website addresses, or URLs, like securitygladiators.com into its corresponding numeric IP addresses.

PureVPN’s Gravity feature goes one step further and blocks all access to dangerous and/or unwanted URLs.

The default settings ensure that Gravity is able to block URLs and/or websites that may potentially put the user’s data at risk.

To put it another way, the Gravity feature protects users against security risks such as,

  • Compromised websites
  • Botnets
  • Phishing sites

Users are free to select other categories as well which will expand the range of sites Gravity can block or prevent access to.

To take an example, Gravity includes a Legal Liability category.

This category takes care of websites that may include objectionable material such as,

  • Illegal software
  • Images of child abuse
  • Nudity

It also tackles many other types of websites.

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Gravity also offers an option where it would block all sites that consume a huge amount of bandwidth.

It can also block sites that reduce the user’s productivity.

There are many other options and types of categories available for the user.

The other thing we should point out here is that all blocking is based on a blacklist as far as PureVPN Gravity is concerned.

So don’t think PureVPN comes with the same blocking function as some of the best antivirus products come with which block sites based on real-time analysis.

PureVPN Gravity function also has the ability to block downloaded advertisements on various downloaded web pages.

The tool takes the trouble of explaining to the user that such a function can definitely change the speed regarding page-load time.

PureVPN Gravity function can also reduce user bandwidth usage.

Among the few other VPN service providers that offer ad-blockers are VPN Unlimited and Private Internet Access VPN.

The Gravity function also has a Safe Search option.

Enable this option and Gravity will block all explicit search results that appear on the pages of all major online search engines.

Users should keep it in their heads that Gravity settings will affect all of their devices.

The Ozone

Ozone is slightly different from Gravity.

Let’s start with the fact that the Ozone icon only makes an appearance in two of the provided five PureVPN modes.

Let say the user has chosen to operate PureVPN on the file-sharing mode.

If the user taps on the Ozon icon located right next to it, then PureVPN would turn on Content Filtering and P2P protection.

The P2P protection function has one aim.

That aim is to protect the user from malware that sometimes comes packed with torrent files.

The Content Filtering feature filters out all unwanted web content.

It doesn’t really define what it “unwanted web content”.

The Content Filtering function also does not offer any configuration options.

Where Ozone really shines is the Privacy and Security mode.

This is where users can turn on the previously-mentioned Content Filtering feature and also enable the Antivirus protection that PureVPN offers.

There is also the IPS/IDS setting.

This setting makes an attempt to first detect and then prevent all hacker attempts to introduce into the user’s device.

Ozone also has a URL Filtering feature.

It filters content (as the name suggests).

And in effect, it is pretty similar to what the user’s get from the above-mentioned Gravity feature.

It has similar categories and goes about blocking sites in the same manner.

There is one difference though.

Gravity performs its duties at the DNS level.

While, Ozone does its thing by first examining the internet traffic that is moving through the company’s VPN server and then decides to do something about it.

There is also the App Filter option.

Our research shows that users will get confused by this feature.

If users go to the main interface of PureVPN app, they can find an explanation for this feature.

According to PureVPN, this feature has the ability to control (allow or disallow) applications and whether they run on the user’s device or not.

However, if the user goes to the online interface in order to configure the App Filter feature, the explanation there tells the user that the App Filter controls which of the user’s apps gets to access the internet.

So which explanation is correct?

Our research shows, the App Filter control which apps on the user’s device can access the internet.

Moving Beyond Ozone

Some of our more discerning readers would have already guessed that with the number of features PureVPN offers, it might as well come up with an antivirus product.

And they would be correct.

PureVPN does have many security features.

And that basically enables PureVPN to take on a few aspects of a decent antivirus application.

But one can’t just assume they work as efficiently as that of a good antivirus product.

One has to test them before giving a ruling on such features.

Our research shows that if the user sets the Gravity function to block all types of websites that fall within the scope of its Legal Liability category (which by the way also includes porn), PureVPN doesn’t give the expected results.

As just mentioned, the Legal Liability not only includes porn websites but also nudity and some tasteless websites as well.

Our research shows that even if the user terminates the PureVPN application and then re-launches it in order to make sure that PureVPN catches all the new settings, PureVPN doesn’t block those sites.

If the user tries to visit porn sites, they will not observe any content filtering of any type whatsoever.

Users should expect all problematic sites to load without any problems and/or interference from all the PureVPN features.

It doesn’t even block sites like PornHub.

On a side note, PornHub has now launched its own proprietary VPN product which some have found to be quite ironic.

Our research also indicates that if the user ads some URLs to the PureVPN use-define website blacklist,  its Gravity feature still would not block those sites.

Explain these problems to PureVPN representatives and they will tell the user that the developers of PureVPN app didn’t design the Gravity function to work alongside the VPN.

In other words, users first have to turn off the VPN in order to use the Gravity function.

That is, at the very least, odd.

Further investigation indicated that even if the user turned off the PureVPN iPhone app VPN connection and then tried to do the same, it still would not block unwanted sites.

PureVPN agents would tell you that if you turn on the PureVPN Gravity feature it should have no problems in changing the DNS address of the user’s device.

Our analysis shows it didn’t change the DNS address.

PureVPN also gives further advice such as manually adding the correct IP addresses.

Our research shows even if users do that, the Gravity function would still not do anything in order to prevent access to unwanted sites.

Further exploration (just to ensure sanity) dictates that one should try to turn on all of PureVPN Ozone security features and then try to navigate to the featured problematic test pages present on the official website of Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization or AMTSO.

Our research shows that even if the user goes through this ordeal, PureVPN would not prevent the user’s access to the various antiphishing test URLs on the AMTSO site.

One could excuse this mistake because the anti-phishing test page doesn’t really represent an actual fraudulent website.

However, PureVPN’s Ozone and Gravity features did not even prevent the download of the EICAR antivirus file (which is a test file, not an actual virus).

Reviewers usually use the EICAR antivirus file because it is actually a non-malicious file.

Now, even though it is a harmless file, all antivirus vendors agree that their products should detect the EICAR antivirus test file as a malicious file.

What purpose does it serve?

Well, it is just a simple and economical method to make sure that the user’s antivirus product is not only installed but also active.

Some More Digging

 

Of course, one can’t leave a product that offers phishing protection at just testing it with a single antiphishing test page.

The proper way is to first capture a long list of suspected fraudulent websites and then launch all of those websites in a web browser.

That web browser must have the protection of a good anti-phishing product to compare with PureVPN.

The best anti-phishing protection is, without a doubt, offered by Norton Security.

One has to launch the URL turn by turn on the web browser with Norton protection and then launch the same site on an iPhone that PureVPN is protecting.

Our investigation shows that if the user launches a total of 10 of these phishing sites, PureVPN would only detect one.

So if the user wants to protect himself/herself from fake banking sites then perhaps he/she should try another product.

The other thing readers need to know is that whenever PureVPN Ozone blocks a site, it shows a notification and not only a network error.

Test For Malware Protection

The best way to test for malicious URLs is to again test the product with a list of malicious URLs.

These are easily available via some public feeds and are only a few months old most of the time.

MRG-Effitas provides fresh ones as well.

So why not use the new feed instead of the old one?

Well, sometimes for a product like PureVPN, one has to give every chance of a successful detection.

The process is simple enough.

Take a dozen verified malicious URLs and then launch them on a device that has PureVPN on it.

Our research shows that if the user does that, the PureVPN-protected iPhone would not detect any.

Testing The App Filtering Feature

For App Filtering testing, the simplest method is to first set the App Filter to block all types of business-related apps (just for testing purposes. Not that these apps should be blocked).

And then see if it works.

Our research shows that if the user blocks Gmail via the App Filtering feature, PureVPN will make sure that the Gmail message never arrives in the inbox even if Gmail makes the trademark whooshing sound when it received or sends a message.

Sometimes it is difficult to know if the test device actually receives the text message or not.

However, in the case of PureVPN, once the user turns the App Filter off, he/she would find that the messages the App Filter blocked earlier would start coming through to the inbox.

To sum up, Ozone and Gravity features represent those kinds of features which sound extremely beneficial.

But when one sees them in action, they look pathetically weak.

PureVPN Gravity and Ozone features did not manage to block explicit online search results.

They also did not block the user from visiting unwanted and porn sites.

Both features also did not work when it came to fending off malicious and fraudulent URLs.

Speed

It doesn’t matter which VPN a user signs up for.

The fact is, all VPN services will hit the user’s internet connection performance.

That is part of the deal.

VPN services employ security measures to protect the user and the user loses some of his/her internet connection’s speed.

For the majority of the cases, our research shows this speed reduction as a mild annoyance more than anything else.

Even the worst of VPN services don’t slow down a connection so much that the days of dial-up performance and modem screeches seem like golden ones.

Testing mobile VPN services is a slightly different process than testing desktop VPN services.

For iOS and Android, it is best to first turn off the cellular internet connection because of its volatile nature.

After that, one should strictly rely on a Wi-Fi connection.

If the user has an iPhone device, then this process is pretty easy.

All that the user has to do is to enable the iPhone’s airplane mode.

After that, just turn on the Wi-Fi.

The best way to test for speeds is to use an internet speed testing tool.

Currently, the best one is Ookla.

For best results, one has to run the speed test multiple times.

Then one has to average out the results.

The tester also has to make sure to repeat the process two separate times.
Once with the VPN.

And once without the VPN service.

After averaging the results and one should compare the test results from the two sets.

And then record the change percentage.

Users need to bear in mind that almost all networks are pretty much volatile.

So, if a reviewer performs the same experiment on a different day or in a different location, the results may differ.

But that’s just life.

One has to make the best of what is available.

servers

And the test that we have mentioned above grants us more information than required to gauge a VPN service’s performance.

The Ookla Tool

Ookla’s speed test tool produces a report that has three main figures.

  • Latency
  • Upload speed
  • Download speed

But what is latency?

Latency is simply the time that a user’s device takes in order to ping a given external server and then receive the server’s response.

Our research shows that PureVPN offers users a low latency score which is good.

Users should expect PureVPN to increase their latency rates by not more than 6 percent.

CyberGhost VPN is the best VPN service as far as latency results are concerned.

On the iPhone platform, CyberGhost VPN only affects latency rates by a mere 3 percent.

What about download speeds?

Expect PureVPN to slow down your download speeds by about 16 percent.

This result isn’t bad either.

It is actually the absolute average of current VPN services.

VPN services such as TunnelBear do much worse than PureVPN.

Our research shows that TunnelBear decreases download speeds by 30 percent.

There is also AnchorFree Hotspot Shield Elite which is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

It actually increases download speed.

Sometimes, by as much as, 70 percent.

But how does it do that?

Hotspot Shield representatives would tell you that the company uses proprietary VPN connection protocol.

Using that, they are able to tweak the user’s actual download speed.

Some of those measures include utilizing multiple channels.

The company also takes advantage of the fact that it controls both ends of the user’s VPN connection.

People related to Ookla have previously confirmed the fact that the researchers working with Ookla know that some VPN services use such techniques to increase the user’s download speed.

Why is High Latency a Problem?

It isn’t a problem for everybody.

Just for people who want to engage in lag-sensitive online activities.

These activities include gaming.

Of course, a slow download speed will affect other users who want to stream content as well.

For the majority of the online users, the upload speed doesn’t really matter.

No one gives this statistic any important.

But for completeness sake, there are very few VPN services that slow down the upload speed of a given user’s internet connection on an iPhone device.

We would like to mention here again that VPN services such as Hotspot Shield actually increase the upload speed by a small margin.

As for PureVPN, it slows down the upload speed by a measly 2 percent.

The worst VPN services in this regard are Private Internet Access and TorGuard, both of which slow down upload speeds by 8 percent.

Needless to say, as far as the iPhone platform is concerned, PureVPN manages to score some pretty good marks.

On some points, it is an excellent VPN for the iPhone in terms of speed.

However, on other points, it is just an acceptable alternative to Hotspot.

With that said, it is true that the average user is unlikely to notice any kind of drag on his/her internet connection.

Conclusion

PureVPN may provide an excellent VPN service for users who want to use a VPN service that provides performance on the iPhone.

In other words, PureVPN is almost perfectly tailored for users who use the iPhone as their primary mobile device.

Of course, users will have to fiddle with some of its advanced settings in order to achieve that “perfect” performance on the iPhone.

PureVPN offers a total of five different modes.

Users are free to choose any one from the five depending on the purpose of the user.

Our recommendation is that users should let the PureVPN application select the best VPN server for them.

Our research shows that PureVPN doesn’t decrease the performance of an internet connection by any appreciable margin.

Apart from that, PureVPN can boast some really impressive sounding security features as bonus add-ons.

There is also an updated and attractive user interface.

However, PureVPN security add-ons aren’t something we recommend for users who are serious about their privacy and security.

PureVPN definitely has its advantages.

But there are other better VPN services for the iPhone platform such as KeepSolid VPN Unlimited and NordVPN.

PureVPN Review
5.7 Overall Rating
0 Users (0 votes)
Highlighted Pros
  • good speed results
  • good user interface
  • huge VPN network
  • P2P
  • BitTorrent
  • Dedicated IP address
  • Highlighted Cons
  • lack of quick-start feature
  • US Netflix can give errors
  • no ad-blocker
  • some features don't work as advertised
  • Review Summary
    PureVPN has VPN servers located all over the globe. The iPhone application that the company offers helps users to select servers based on the type of activity the user wants to indulge in. PureVPN scores good marks in various speed tests. With that said, some of its security features simply don't work.
    Price5.5
    Features5.5
    Security5.5
    Help & Support5.5
    Trustworthiness6.5
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    Zohair

    Zohair

    Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
    Zohair

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