PureVPN is one of the few remaining VPNs that’s still fighting (and winning) Netflix’s VPN ban. In this PureVPN review, we explain how it’s winning that battle; using a combination of Cat and Mouse tactics, while also giving users the ability to buy their own dedicated IP. We’ve also carried out several speed tests to give you an idea of the performance you can expect from PureVPN.
How is PureVPN beating Netflix & BBC iPlayer’s VPN ban?
As you’ve probably experienced by now Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon (and every other major broadcaster with live online streaming or catchup TV features) have been cracking down on the use of VPNs.
The way these broadcasters police this is simple. All VPNs, including PureVPN, funnel a large number of customers through a much smaller number of servers. And each server only has one IP address. So when a large number of Netflix of BBC iPlayer users connect from the same VPN server (and IP address), it’s easy for Netflix and BBC iPlayer to detect and blacklist the offending IP.
There are two ways to fight this as a VPN provider.
The most effective way is to give your customers their own dedicated IP and let them connect via that, but this is expensive and VPNs need to charge extra (see below).
The cheapest and most popular way to beat the VPN ban is to play a game of Cat and Mouse with broadcasters: when one of its servers gets blacklisted, a new one is created.
This game has been going on since 2016. And PureVPN is one of the few VPNs that seems to be winning. There’s one difference in the way it plays the game though. PureVPN uses a dedicated section of its app for different broadcasters (US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video, HBO, Hulu, et al). In this section, PureVPN acts as a 24/7 usher, and only directs its customers to servers that are open… to the websites they want to use. This lets users get a fast connection to Netflix, for example. But more importantly, it gives PureVPN the ability to spread its users and keep the number of connections from one server at a level that won’t get its IPs blacklisted for abnormal use.
PureVPN review: Pricing
PureVPN is competitively priced. Like all VPNs, the monthly cost is cheaper if you commit to longer contracts.
- 24-months: $2.88/month ($69 upfront fee).
- 12-month: $4.92/month ($59 upfront fee).
- 1-month: $10.95 (rolling monthly contract).
If you choose to buy PureVPN with a dedicated IP, you will be billed $1.99/month extra.
Note: If you opt for the one-month rolling contract. You will need to Cancel PureVPN via the support section of the website.
PureVPN review: Speed
Testing a VPNs speed is difficult to get right. The speed is ultimately relative to your internet connection speed and distance to where you’re downloading from.
As server locations have a big impact on speed-test results, we took extra care to select natural servers when performing the VPN tests. The way we did this was simple. When connected to our VPN’s specific servers we then speedtest.net in Chrome’s Incognito mode. This ensured no cookies affected the server location choice. We then ran the test at the location with a VPN server switched on and off. You can see the results below.
Note: The organic (local to NZ) internet connection speed at the time of these tests was between 28mbps and 36mbps. The three servers we tested were PureVPN’s recommended connections for; BBC iPlayer, US Netflix and our own Dedicated IP. Tests were performed on a standard 40mbps internet connection coming from Auckland, New Zealand.
BBC iPlayer Speed Test
(Download 80%; Upload 77%)
Netflix Speed Test
(Download 78%; Upload 51%)
Dedicated IP Speed Test
(Download 89%; Upload 89%)
PureVPN Review: Security
PureVPN takes security seriously, supporting IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP, OpenVPN and SSTP protocols. Each standard provides military-grade 256-bit encryption. Apart from PPTP which has 128-bit encryption.
The suite also offers other now-standardised VPN security features such as; Split Tunneling, Internet Kill Switch, DDoS protection, Web RTC Leak Protection and a NAT firewall.
While these privacy credentials are good, they’re not the best you can buy. PureVPN supports VPN usage on the Tor network, for example. If you’re looking for complete anonymity online, using a Tor browser with a VPN is the way to go.
However, for the average web user who wants to use a VPN to location spoof, the level of security offered by PureVPN is more than enough.
PureVPN Review: Apps
Mac, Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, Android TV, Firestick, Kodi, Router? PureVPN has a dedicated app for them all.
The app – on all the devices – is really easy to use too. Just download it from the website or from your device’s app store and then enter your login details. That’s it.
The PureVPN app is unique. VPN apps normally only let you choose your server based on Country and the City. This app does that too. But what different here is that you can filter your server choices in a number of different ways. A popular filter is by ‘Purpose’, here you can select what you plan to use the VPN for and let PureVPN select the right server based on your choice. Selecting US Netflix, for example, will automatically connect you to a Netflix in America (that’s not been blacklisted by Netflix. Likewise, choosing BBC iPlayer will connect you to a working server in the UK. Other modes include; Internet Freedom, Security/Privacy, File-sharing, and Dedicated IP (on desktop apps only).
At present, dedicated IPs are only supported by the desktop apps. If you’re using PureVPN on your Android, iPhone or another device you need to enter your settings to your native VPN settings menu. This can be a little complicated if you’re not familiar with the process. Take a look at how PureVPN dedicated IP Android tutorial if you’re an Android user. If you want to use your dedicated IP on another device, just get in touch with the support team via the Live Chat box on the PureVPN website. I did this to find out how to connect to my dedicated IP on an Android device and was connected within a few minutes.
PureVPN Review: Dedicated IP
This is the feature that really separates from rest. If you’ve been using a VPN to location spoof and watch US Netflix or BBC iPlayer from another country, you will have noticed the crackdown on VPNs.
The reason for this is because too many users are connecting to these services from a shared VPN IP. This makes it easy for BBC iPlayer and Netflix, et al, to detect and block VPNs. A VPN with a dedicated IP connection is the best way to fight back. For an extra $1.99/month you can location spoof to a country of your choice and not share your IP with anyone.
Which means (in theory) your connection will never get blacklisted from Netflix or BBC. Ever.
I’ve been using PureVPN since December 2017 as my primary VPN and there’s a lot to like. The main reason I use a VPN is to location spoof my internet connection so I can watch the catchup TV I want. PureVPN is a cheap, fast and versatile solution for me. It’s dedicated IP feature is the mode I use the most and has provided me with a UK-based connection with zero downtime on my favourite websites. There are VPNs out there that offer greater levels of security, but if streaming live and catch-up TV is your primary VPN use. PureVPN is a great choice.