PureVPN vs Surfshark

PureVPN is one of the world’s most well-known VPNs. It is often compared to Surfshark, which is also very popular. Online security experts universally agree that Surfshark is vastly superior. We'll even say it's the best VPN service right now.

Comparison

Here’s a comparative table showing all the quirks and features each VPN has:

logo purevpn
PureVPN
logo surfshark
Surfshark
Logging Policy No LoggingNo Logging
Jurisdiction Hong KongThe British Virgin Islands
EncryptionAES-256 AES-256
SHA-256 Hash Authentication
4096-bit RSA Key Exchange
ChaCha
Protocols OpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/IKEv2
IPSec/L2TP
PPTP
SSTP
OpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/IKEv2
IPSec/L2TP
Shadowsocks
Ad and malware blockersYesYes
Kill switchYesYes
Leak TestsNo Leaks FoundNo Leaks Found
Speed TestsFastFast
Torrenting & P2PYes (Optimized P2P Servers)Yes (Optimized P2P Servers)
StreamingNetflix
Amazon Prime
BBC iPlayer
Firestick
Roku (Via Router)
Kodi
Apple TV (Via Router)
Android TV
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
BBC iPlayer
Firestick
Roku (Via Router)
Kodi
Apple TV (Via SmartDNS)
Android TV
GamingWindows
Android
iOS
Xbox One (Via Router)
PS4 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via Router)
Windows
Android
iOS
Xbox One (Via DNS or Router)
PS4 (Via DNS or Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via DNS or Router)
CompatibilityWindows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Simultaneous Connections10Unlimited
Servers6500+1700+
ChinaYesYes
Split TunnelingYesYes (As Whitelister)
Additional FeaturesSecure Wi-Fi
Dedicated IP (Add-On Feature)
Port Forwarding (Add-On Feature)
DDoS Protection (Add-On Feature)
CleanWeb
HackLock (Add-On Feature)
BlindSearch (Add-On Feature)
MultiHop
Prices$10.95/Month
$5.82/Month (1-Year)
$3.33/Month (2-Years)

Special Offer: $0.99 for a 7-day trial plus 47% off for a 1-year subscription
$12.95/Month
$6.49/month (6 Months)
$2.49/Month (2 Years)

Special Offer: 81% off for a 2-year subscription; 50% off for a 6-month subscription
Our Rating4.64.9
Websitewww.purevpn.comwww.surfshark.com

As you can see, many things set PureVPN and Surfshark apart from each other. However, the two also have a plethora of similarities. Due to that, it’s necessary to take a closer look at everything each VPN offers to determine what’s best for you to purchase and use.

Privacy & Security

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, while PureVPN operates from Hong Kong. While these two places can’t be more different, they’ve got one thing in common. They don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the world’s surveillance alliances.

Encryption Comparison

Both services utilize military-grade AES-256 encryption. What makes Surfshark unique is that it also uses SHA-256 hash authentication and an RSA-4096 key exchange.

VPN Protocols

The two VPNs maintain support for OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) and IPSec (LT2P & IKEv2). That said, only Surfshark lets you toggle the Shadowsocks proxy. Meanwhile, only PureVPN allows you to employ PPTP and SSTP, which are both quite secure.

Leak Protection

Here’s the result of my leak test while I was paired to PureVPN’s server in Tokyo:

IP Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

IP Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

And this is how Surfshark managed after I connected to its server in Hong Kong:

IP Leak Test – Surfshark Hong Kong

IP Leak Test – Surfshark Hong Kong

Neither service failed to hide my legitimate Philippine IP address. Hence, it’s safe to say that both can be relied upon to keep you 100% anonymous whenever you surf the internet.

Server Security

Surfshark is unique because it’s one of the only VPNs that boasts a RAM-based network. For that reason, all of its servers aren’t capable of storing logs. 

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for PureVPN, which still has not transitioned to a 100% RAM-based network. On the bright side, the service has a zero-logs policy that prevents it from storing its users’ private information.

In Conclusion

My winner for this round of our PureVPN vs Surfshark match is Surfshark. How come? Because it has a RAM-based network and better encryption. In addition, it also supports Shadwosocks, which is drastically superior to PPTP or SSTP.

Speed Test

Reports consistently state that Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs around. In comparison, lots of people say that PureVPN can at times be rather sluggish. I did a couple of speed tests to know the truth. Here’s a screenshot of how PureVPN and its server in Tokyo fared:

Speed Test – PureVPN Tokyo

Speed Test – PureVPN Tokyo

And this is how Surfshark’s HK server changed things:

Speed Test – Surfshark Hong Kong

Speed Test – Surfshark Hong Kong

The difference that both VPN services made to my uploading and downloading speeds was negligible. However, only PureVPN caused my ping to take a significant hit. As such, this round’s winner is Surfshark, as I expected.

Torrenting & P2P

Torrenting is possible on Surfshark and PureVPN. Although both don’t have fully-enabled P2P networks, they’ve got many optimized servers for the job. In addition, the two are also 100% compatible with well-known torrent clients such as uTorrent, Vuze, and qBittorrent. 

I conducted tests to see if either service was safe for torrenting. Here’s how Surfshark and its server in Singapore performed:

Torrenting Leak Test – Surfshark Singapore

Torrenting Leak Test – Surfshark Singapore

Now, this is how things changed after I moved to PureVPN’s server in Japan:

Torrenting Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

Torrenting Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

Quite interestingly, both VPNs were able to hide my IP address. In doing so, they’ve proven that they’re capable of keeping me safeguarded during torrenting sessions. As such, it wouldn’t be right to settle on a definitive winner for this round of our Surfshark vs PureVPN match.

Winner: Tie

Streaming

Streaming restricted content is possible using Surfshark and PureVPN. The two are completely capable of bypassing the geoblocks of popular sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney +, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer. Moreover, they’re able to achieve this with amazing consistency.

Netflix

Netflix is #1 when it comes to streaming services. Therefore, it was only natural that I used it to test the streaming capabilities of both VPNs. Below is a screenshot of my attempt to watch Spotlight while connected to Surfshark and its New York server:

Netflix US – Surfshark

Netflix US – Surfshark

And here’s how PureVPN and its corresponding server did:

Netflix US – PureVPN

Netflix US – PureVPN

To my surprise, both VPNs were able to grant me access to the movie I wanted to watch. Aside from that, they were also able to stream in top-quality without buffering. Because of that, I again cannot settle on a winner of this round of our Surfshark vs PureVPN battle.

Winner: Tie

Gaming

I’ve played several games on desktop, console, and mobile while connected to PureVPN and Surfshark. To put things simply, both services performed spectacularly. Neither caused issues with lagging and drops in FPS. If anything, I often forgot that I was using a VPN while gaming.

Since both services are great for gamers, there’ll again be no winner in this round of our PureVPN vs Surfshark match.

Winner: Tie

Compatibility

The developers of PureVPN and Surfshark have made sure to make their VPNs compatible with many browsers and operating systems. Please refer to the table below to see every platform each service functions on:

PureVPNSurfshark
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected routers

As seen above, the winner of this category is Surfshark. It has a native Chromebook OS, whereas its competitor does not. Hence, users of that platform won’t be left out.

Simultaneous Connections

Surfshark is one of a handful of VPNs that allows for unlimited simultaneous connections under one account. In comparison, PureVPN lets you connect a maximum of 10 devices at the same time per subscription. Due to that, it’s the loser of this round of our match between the two.

Servers

The network of PureVPN consists of more than 6500 servers across the globe. It’s significantly larger than that of Surfshark’s, which only operates 1700+ servers. The main reason why Surfshark doesn’t have many servers is that it was established very recently.

China

PureVPN, despite being headquartered in Hong Kong, can bypass the Great Firewall of China quite easily. Our testers in the country have all consistently found success when using it. For that reason, it’s a recommendable VPN service to have for anyone who travels frequently.

Like its rival, Surfshark can also bypass China’s draconian internet censorship measures with decent consistency. However, because it has fewer servers, the service doesn’t provide as many options for connectivity. Thus, it’s the loser for this round.

Interface & Usability

Each of Surfshark’s many applications has a minimalistic vibe to them. After opening them, all you need to access shall already be on the home screen. You’ll not have to go through the trouble of fidgeting with the apps to get to wherever you need to.

Surfshark Interface

Surfshark Interface

The apps of PureVPN are a bit more complicated. People who aren’t tech-savvy will certainly need time to master them. Besides that, they’re rather clunky and somewhat unresponsive, especially when compared to Surfshark’s apps. On the bright side, they all look good.

PureVPN Interface

PureVPN Interface

Surfshark is the VPN provider with better applications in general. Because of that, it is without a doubt the winner of this round. Nonetheless, the apps of PureVPN are nowhere near being bad.

Additional Features

All of Surfshark’s unique features aren’t free to use. The first is called Blindsearch, which is a proprietary search engine. Meanwhile, the second is an alert system known as HackLock. It informs you if your data has been involved in any sort of security breach.

PureVPN has three paid add-on features. For a minimal fee, you can establish a dedicated IP address. Also, you may increase your security using port forwarding and DDoS protection. Furthermore, there’s Secure Wi-Fi, which keeps you safe when pairing to public hotspots.

Since it has more useful features, the winner of this round is PureVPN. After all, everything that’s offered by Surfshark is useless to most individuals.

Customer Support

Check out the table below to see what each service offers in regards to customer service:

PureVPNSurfshark
Live ChatYesYes
Email SupportYesYes
Phone SupportNoNo
Ticket SupportYesYes
Video Tutorials NoNo
Online Knowledge BaseYesYes
Average Response Time1 Hour4 Minutes

As you can see, Surfshark has a faster average response time. Moreover, reports consistently state that it has better live chat support. Lots of people have said that PureVPN’s agents deliver vague answers and seem like robots when communicated with.

Prices

Here’s a table showing the pricing schemes of each VPN service:

PureVPNSurfshark
Subscription Lengths$10.95/Month$12.95/Month
1 Year ($5.82/Month)$6.49/month (6-Months)
2 Years ($3.33/Month)$2.49/Month (2-Years)
Highest Price Per Month$10.95$12.95
Lowest Price Per Month$3.33$2.49
Two Year Price$69.95$2.49 
Money-Back Guarantee 31 Days30 Days
Special Offer$0.99 for a trial plus 47% off for a 1-year subscription81% off for a 2-year subscription; 50% off for a 6-month subscription

The prices of the VPN services are very similar. However, PureVPN is cheaper by a slight margin. Furthermore, it also has a better money-back guarantee policy and a 7-day trial that costs less than a dollar. As such, it’s the winner for this final round of our match.

Verdict

Is PureVPN better than Surfshark?

Nope. Surfshark is superior to PureVPN in many aspects. For starters, it has better security and compatibility. Moreover, it allows for unlimited simultaneous connections and excellent apps that anyone can use. Finally, it has superb customer support and is way faster than its competitor.

Don’t get me wrong, though. PureVPN is by no means a bad service. In fact, it’s definitely worthy of consideration because of everything it has going for it.

About the author 

Kris Soliongco

Kris has two passions in life: writing and tech. He’s been building computers since he was eight years old and is very knowledgeable about online security. The first time he was exposed to VPNs was in 2016. Since then, he’s used a plethora of services and has gained much experience.

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