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PureVPN vs ExpressVPN: The complete guide for 2023

Last updated: June 20, 2022

Choosing between two great VPN options is always a difficult task that involves a myriad of questions and concerns.

What if you choose the wrong solution? What if the service doesn’t work as expected?

Should you base your decision on pricing or should you focus on the specific features? More importantly, which option offers the best of both worlds?

To be honest, it depends on what you’re looking for.

To help you make a more informed decision, we’ll explore the main differences between ExpressVPN and PureVPN, two leading services in the industry.

But first, let’s answer a crucial question:

What should you look for in a VPN?

There are hundreds of VPN options available, so choosing between them can be a difficult task for anyone.

It helps if you know what to look for.

Any solid VPN should provide, at least, the following features and benefits:

  • Security: Features that help you browse the internet anonymously (i.e., encryption, kill switch, DNS leak protection, a dedicated IP address for each user, and obfuscation technology).
  • Speed: While all VPNs reduce your speed, you should look for a VPN provider that keeps that speed reduction as low as possible.
  • Server diversity: Any solid VPN platform should provide a large and diverse network of servers in multiple locations and countries.
  • No-logs policies: Make sure the VPN you select doesn’t keep any logs of your connection or activities.

Before making a decision, research each platform to make sure it offers these vital functionalities.

That said, let’s get into the actual review.

What is ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN's homepage screenshot

ExpressVPN is a VPN service provider suitable for both entertainment and browsing protection. It offers all the features you’d expect from a premium VPN, plus some extra proprietary tools that make it unique.

This includes:

  • TrustedServer: An innovative approach that ensures your data erases every time a server reboots.
  • Speed testing: A built-in speed test feature that helps you connect to the fastest server for your specific network.
  • A diverse network of servers: ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, making it one of the largest and most diverse networks available.

ExpressVPN is best known for its impressive commitment to security. It’s one of the few VPNs that has hired an external auditing firm to analyze its security controls to ensure its practices match its public privacy policies.

ExpressVPN’s headquarters is in the British Virgin Islands — a country that’s outside major international surveillance alliances. This makes it more difficult for governments and organizations to track your activities.

In short, ExpressVPN is a trustworthy and reliable organization for those looking for a company with a track record of quality experience.

What is PureVPN?

PureVPN's homepage screenshot

PureVPN is a commercial VPN solution for budget-conscious users. It provides decent security features, low prices, P2P compatibility for torrenting, and geo-restriction bypassing.

Other important features include:

  • Military-grade encryption: Obfuscate your confidential information with multiple encryption protocols.
  • Wi-Fi security: Connect PureVPN to your Wi-Fi connections and prevent accidental data breaches.
  • Unlimited bandwidth: Access your favorite content, download files, and browse the internet with no limits.

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, which also is not a part of any international surveillance alliance. This means the company isn’t obligated to provide your information to any government if they request it.

In general, PureVPN is a decent VPN for regular home users who want to protect their digital activity.

What are the differences between ExpressVPN and PureVPN?

Now that you understand the basics of both platforms, the question becomes: what are the main differences between them?

To help you make a more informed decision, we’ll compare ExpressVPN and PureVPN in the following areas:

  • Security and privacy: Is the platform secure and reliable?
  • Speeds: Is the platform fast enough for most online activities?
  • Server network: Does the platform offer a wide range of server locations in a diverse selection of countries?
  • Entertainment: Does the platform work for streaming and torrenting?

Let’s start with ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN’s features and benefits

ExpressVPN is considered one of the best VPN platforms to date.

Let’s explore some of the reasons.

Security and privacy

In terms of security, ExpressVPN provides all of the standard features you need to stay secure in 2023.

This includes:

  • Anonymous browsing: Hide your identity while surfing the internet and add an extra layer of security to your connection.
  • IP address masking: Replace your true IP address with one of ExpressVPN’s servers and keep your data secure at all times.
  • Up to five simultaneous connections: Connect up to five family devices at the same time.
  • Private DNS: Get access to a private DNS address for each server.
  • Automatic kill switch: Automatically disconnect your device whenever your VPN connection fails (this will prevent accidental data leaking).

ExpressVPN also offers VPN split tunneling, which lets you route some of your traffic through a VPN while everything else accesses the internet directly through your ISP.

Visual description of split tunneling

(Image Source)

This feature allows you to get the fastest speed without compromising your security, especially when performing low-risk activities (e.g., watching Netflix or streaming a Youtube video).

In the context of encryption, ExpressVPN offers AES-256 encryption — one of the most secure VPN protocols available — and gives you the ability to use different protocols, including PPTP, IKEv2, OpenVPN, among others.

Illustration explaining data encryption

(Image Source)

ExpressVPN uses RAM-only servers and offers a strict no-logs policy, which means it doesn’t keep any of your connection logs.

ExpressVPN also accepts multiple payment options, including the totally anonymous Bitcoin, keeping your payment information outside the reach of cybercriminals.


In general terms, any VPN will reduce your connection speed to some extent. So, what is a good benchmark to look for?

We suggest you look for VPN solutions that don’t slow down your internet connection by more than 20%.

For instance, if your initial speed is 60 Mbps for download, your download speed with a VPN should be no less than 48 Mbps.

When we tested ExpressVPN, our initial speed was a 64.4 Mbps download speed.

Speed connection before using ExpressVPN

With ExpressVPN on, we hit a 60.9 Mbps download speed, which is a loss of just 5.4%.

Connection speed with ExpressVPN on

Your experience may vary depending on your country, internet service provider, and many other factors. That said, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN platforms we’ve tested so far.

Server network

ExpressVPN offers 3,000+ servers in 160 VPN locations across 94 countries, including:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • China

This network diversity helps you find a fast location wherever you are and get the stability you need to enjoy the benefits of a VPN.


ExpressVPN provides dedicated servers for streaming and offers P2P file-sharing for torrenting.

It also unblocks the major entertainment platforms in most of its server locations, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, CrunchyRoll, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu, to name a few.

Our tests showed that ExpressVPN bypasses geo-restrictions effectively and defeats ISP throttling. This will help you watch your favorite shows and movies with no problems.

PureVPN’s features and benefits

Now that you understand what ExpressVPN offers, how does that compare to PureVPN’s features?

Let’s break it down.


PureVPN offers decent security features, diverse encryption protocols, and multiple simultaneous connections for your family devices.

PureVPN also offers a no-logs policy, stating that it doesn’t keep any logs of your information.

Unlike ExpressVPN, though, PureVPN hasn’t hired an external auditing firm to issue a report on its security controls.

Besides, PureVPN’s privacy policy lost a bit of credibility when it got involved in a criminal investigation back in 2016.

After that incident, PureVPN updated its privacy policy, but it’ll take some time before we can trust it again.

If anonymity is a must-have for you, then PureVPN is probably not the best choice. You can read our extensive VPN reviews to find a solution that fits your privacy needs.


Even though PureVPN provides good enough speeds for streaming and most online activities, it’s not the fastest VPN solution out there.

In our test, our initial download speed was 57 Mbps.

After connecting to PureVPN, we managed 49.07 Mbps download speed — a 13.9% speed reduction.

While this is a good speed, ExpressVPN is still faster.

Server network

PureVPN offers 6,500 servers in 180+ locations across more than 140 countries, including countries with restrictive internet access.

For example:

  • Vietnam
  • Pakistan
  • Afghanistan
  • Singapore

PureVPN's server network

This large server network is one of the strengths of PureVPN.


PureVPN offers P2P-dedicated servers for torrenting and provides you with geo-restriction bypassing.

PureVPN also provides specialized servers for specific sites. They have a server selection page where you can type the URL of a website and get a list of servers that unblock that particular site.

What about pricing?

At this point, you already understand the strengths and weaknesses of both ExpressVPN and PureVPN. But which of them provides the most value for the money?

ExpressVPN pricing and plans

Like most VPN solutions, ExpressVPN breaks down pricing plans depending on the time you want to use the service.

  • 1 month: $12.95 per month, billed monthly
  • 6 months: $9.99 per month, billed at $59.95 every six months
  • 12 months: $8.32 per month, billed at $9.95 every year

ExpressVPN pricing plans

If you’re ready to start using ExpressVPN, we suggest you choose a 12-month plan, as it gives you the biggest savings.

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can try the service risk-free.

PureVPN pricing and plans

PureVPN offers three time-based paid plans:

  • Monthly: $10.95 per month, billed every month
  • Yearly: $4.16 per month, billed at $49.95 every year
  • Bi-yearly: $2.91 per month, billed at $69.95 every two years

PureVPN pricing plans

All plans come with a 31-day money-back guarantee.

The verdict

ExpressVPN and PureVPN are both great services, but which one offers the best features?

To be honest, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Here’s the verdict:

Security and privacy

In terms of security, both platforms seem to offer solid security features, encryption protocols, and privacy policies. Whichever VPN you choose, you can have the peace of mind it will protect the integrity of your information.

That said, ExpressVPN has not only never been involved in a criminal investigation, but also hired a third-party auditing firm to demonstrate their security compliance.

For that reason, we believe that ExpressVPN is the winner in this section.


While PureVPN offers great speeds for high-quality streaming and most digital activities, ExpressVPN provides faster and more reliable speeds across a wider range of server locations.

Server network

PureVPN offers a more diverse server network than ExpressVPN. With servers available in over 140 countries, PureVPN has one of the largest (if not the largest) server networks in the market.


Having more servers doesn’t equal a better service.

Even though PureVPN provides a higher number of server locations, our tests showed that many of them don’t unlock international streaming libraries like Netflix and Amazon Prime (something ExpressVPN excels at).

ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth, lightning-fast speed connection in most servers, and solid ISP-throttling, making it the best choice for entertainment purposes.


PureVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN.

When you choose a 24-month plan, you get 73% off, being one of the best deals we’ve seen.

If price is a deal breaker for you, then PureVPN might be an option.

That said, if you’re looking for a more complete VPN solution in all aspects, then ExpressVPN is probably a better fit.

Overall, ExpressVPN proves to offer a more secure platform, faster speeds, and better entertainment capabilities than PureVPN.

If you want to get a further overview of ExpressVPN, we suggest reading our up-to-date ExpressVPN review.

Still not sure about what VPN platform to choose?

Let’s quickly cover a few alternative solutions that might be a better fit for your needs.

1. SurfShark

SurfShark's homepage screenshot

SurfShark is a popular and budget-friendly VPN solution suitable for both entertainment and privacy. It offers over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, a private DNS on each server, and a solid no-logs policy.

SurfShark is also compatible with all your devices and offers a downloadable app and browser extension for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux.

SurfShark provides three different pricing plans:

  • Monthly: $12.95 per month
  • 6 months: $38.94 every six months
  • 24 months: $59.76 every 24 months

Read our comprehensive SurfShark review to get a complete understanding of all SurfShark’s features.

2. CyberGhost

CyberGhost's homepage screenshot

CyberGhost is a Romania-based VPN company with over 10 years of experience in the industry. It offers industry-leading speeds, competitive pricing plans, and most of the security features you need to browse the internet anonymously.

This service provides 6,900 servers in 90 strategic countries, which gives you the flexibility you need to stay protected on the go.

CyberGhost offers four pricing options:

  • 1 month: $12.99 per month
  • Yearly: $47.88 per year
  • 2 years: $83.76 every two years
  • 3 years: $87.75 every three years

To learn more about CyberGhost and what it offers, please check out our 2023 CyberGhost review.

3. Private Internet Access

PIA's homepage screenshot

PIA (Private Internet Access) is a commercial VPN solution owned by cybersecurity company Kape Technologies. It offers fast and secure servers in over 84+ countries, unlimited bandwidth on all plans, and a dedicated IP address for each user.

This VPN has over 15 million active users, which is a clear sign of its popularity and great customer service.

PIA offers three paid plans:

  • One month: $11.99 per month
  • 6 months: $7.50 per month ($45 total)
  • Two years: $2.19 per month ($56.94 total)

To learn everything you need to know about Private Internet Access, we suggest reading our extensive PIA review.

The bottom line?

Both ExpressVPN and PureVPN seem to offer great features and pricing.

That said, we’re partial to ExpressVPN, as it offers a more reliable and stable connection, plus some extra features for entertainment.

ExpressVPN also provides clearer security policies and faster speeds.

We suggest you read our complete ExpressVPN review. It’ll give you a more complete overview of the platform.

And, if you still want to explore more options, you can always read our VPN reviews page.

Published on: January 3, 2022