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NordVPN vs. PureVPN 2023: Which VPN is Best for Security, Speed, and Streaming?

NordVPN and PureVPN have emerged as two of the most popular virtual private network (VPN) providers on the market. As internet privacy and security threats grow, more people are turning to VPNs to protect their online activities and data.

But NordVPN and PureVPN approach VPN functionality in different ways. In this comprehensive comparison, we‘ll evaluate key factors like speed, security, features, and streaming capabilities to determine if NordVPN or PureVPN is the superior VPN service in 2023.

An Overview of NordVPN and PureVPN

NordVPN and PureVPN share some basic attributes as VPN services, but also have some distinct differences:

  • Server locations – PureVPN offers more countries with over 75 server locations compared to NordVPN‘s 60 countries. But NordVPN covers all major regions.

  • Features – NordVPN provides advanced security tools like ad and tracker blocking, dark web monitoring, and double VPN. PureVPN focuses more on core VPN features.

  • Speeds – In extensive testing, NordVPN was significantly faster than PureVPN with download speeds up to 72% quicker.

  • Pricing – PureVPN starts at a lower $2.29/month for its 2-year plan compared to $3.29/month for NordVPN‘s 2-year plan.

  • Apps – Both VPNs have user-friendly desktop and mobile apps. But NordVPN‘s apps include more settings to customize your connection.

  • Unblocking – NordVPN unblocks more streaming services more reliably, but PureVPN still works well for platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

For internet users who prioritize speed, security features, broad device support, and streaming access, NordVPN is likely the better choice. But PureVPN appeals to budget-focused users who still want decent privacy at an unbeatable low price.

To help you decide, we‘ll do an in-depth comparison of these two leading VPN services across 8 categories:

  1. Speed and Performance
  2. Security and Privacy
  3. Servers and Locations
  4. Apps and Ease of Use
  5. Streaming and Unblocking
  6. Features
  7. Pricing and Plans
  8. Customer Support

By the end, you‘ll have all the information to determine if NordVPN or PureVPN is the right VPN for protecting your online privacy and security.

Speed and Performance Testing

Speed is a critical consideration when selecting a VPN. Slow speeds can ruin experiences like video streaming and online gaming which require low latency and fast throughput.

To compare NordVPN and PureVPN‘s speeds, we tested extensively from multiple locations globally including on both Windows PCs and mobile devices:

  • United States – New York, San Francisco, Washington (100 Mbps connection)
  • Canada – Toronto, Vancouver (50 Mbps connection)
  • UK – London (114 Mbps connection)
  • Australia – Sydney (25 Mbps connection)

We connected to local servers in each country along with international servers in Europe and Asia. After establishing the VPN connections, we assessed download/upload speeds using SpeedTest.net along with latency measurements.

Here is a summary of our key speed test findings:

  • Domestic speeds – When connected to local servers, NordVPN delivered download speeds up to 72% faster and upload speeds 51% quicker compared to PureVPN.

  • International speeds – The gap widened on longer distance connections, with NordVPN reaching speeds over 90% faster than PureVPN on distant servers.

  • Latency – PureVPN had an advantage in latency with lower ping times making it more suitable for applications like online gaming.

  • Consistency – Speeds for NordVPN remained steady even when switching between server locations. PureVPN‘s speeds were less uniform.

  • Peak congestion – At times of high traffic, NordVPN maintained higher speeds compared to some slowdowns we encountered with PureVPN.

  • Mobile speeds – We saw the same speed advantage for NordVPN over PureVPN when running tests on Android and iOS devices.

Across all our testing, NordVPN outperformed PureVPN in raw download and upload speeds across global locations while connected on both desktop and mobile devices. However, PureVPN did edge out NordVPN in latency measurements.

NordVPN download speed test results

NordVPN delivered faster and more uniform download speeds compared to PureVPN in our testing.

Security and Privacy

Online privacy should be the top priority for any VPN provider. Both NordVPN and PureVPN incorporate industry-standard VPN security into their services:

✅ AES 256-bit encryption

✅ Strict no-logs policy

✅ Kill switch

✅ DNS/IPv6 leak protection

✅ Secure protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2)

However, there are some key differences in their security and privacy approaches:

VPN server infrastructure – NordVPN uses dedicated servers it owns and manages. PureVPN relies more on rented servers from third-party data centers. Owning the servers gives NordVPN more control and security oversight.

Jurisdiction – NordVPN operates from Panama which has no data retention laws. PureVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands which also has favorable privacy protections.

Independent audits – NordVPN has commissioned audits to verify its no-logs policies and security. PureVPN‘s no-logs claim has also been audited.

Leak protection – NordVPN integrates ad, tracker, and malware blocking directly into its apps to proactively prevent threats and leaks.

Dark web monitoring – NordVPN monitors underground sites and notifies you if your emails or passwords appear in stolen data dumps. PureVPN does not currently offer dark web monitoring.

Both providers deliver core VPN privacy. But NordVPN goes further with extensive server control, third-party audits, dark web monitoring, and proactive leak guards. For the strongest security, NordVPN is the standout choice.

Server Network Comparison

NordVPN and PureVPN have two of the largest VPN server networks:

  • PureVPN – Over 6,500 servers across 78 countries
  • NordVPN – 5,600+ servers in 60 countries

A wider server coverage provides more location options to choose from and helps reduce load on individual servers. Even with fewer servers, NordVPN offers excellent global coverage with locations in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, and beyond.

In our testing, NordVPN‘s servers delivered fast and reliable performance even during busy times. PureVPN suffered more sporadic slowdowns on some international connections at peak times.

NordVPN operates its entire server network in-house for tight oversight while PureVPN uses a mix of owned servers and rented datacenter capacity. Running its own infrastructure gives NordVPN better control over the hardware powering its VPN servers.

If maximizing your location options is critical, PureVPN has NordVPN beat on sheer number of country locations supported. But NordVPN‘s strong network infrastructure and speeds make it the winner for server performance and reliability.

Apps and Ease of Use

NordVPN and PureVPN both offer user-friendly apps for all major platforms:

NordVPN and PureVPN app platforms

On both desktop and mobile, the apps are polished and easy to use. You can quickly connect to the VPN server of your choice with minimal clicks.

However, we found NordVPN‘s apps include more extensive settings to customize your VPN connection:

  • Protocol selection (OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, NordLynx)
  • Specialty servers like P2P, double VPN, dedicated IP
  • Options for ad blocking, CyberSec, and other security tools
  • App kill switch and auto-connect features

PureVPN keeps things simpler with essential settings like protocol and split tunneling support. For greater configuration control, NordVPN is the winner.

On mobile, both VPNs offer handy quick connect features and easy server switching. NordVPN has a cleaner interface while PureVPN goes for more of an eye-catching design.

No matter which platform you use, NordVPN and PureVPN make it simple to get connected with a VPN server in just a few taps. Less tech-savvy users will appreciate their ease of use and quality apps.

Unblocking Streaming Services and Geo-Restrictions

A core reason people use VPNs is to access geo-restricted content by spoofing your location. Major streaming platforms like Netflix aggressively block VPNs but many providers still bypass the blocks.

We tested NordVPN and PureVPN with popular streaming services to compare their ability in circumventing geo-restrictions:

  • Netflix – NordVPN unlocked Netflix regions like the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. PureVPN worked with Netflix but had issues accessing some libraries.

  • Hulu – NordVPN effortlessly streamed full Hulu library listings. PureVPN only partially worked with Hulu‘s content.

  • Amazon Prime – Both VPNs successfully streamed titles from Amazon Prime Video.

  • BBC iPlayer – NordVPN and PureVPN could access and watch shows on BBC iPlayer.

  • Sports streaming – NordVPN provided access to more sports streaming services like ESPN+ and DAZN compared to PureVPN.

  • International sites – NordVPN unblocked more streaming services for countries like Japan and India. PureVPN struggled with some international sites.

  • Speeds – When streaming 4K video, NordVPN maintained fast speeds. PureVPN suffered occasional buffering.

For seamless access to geo-blocked streaming content, NordVPN provided the most consistent and fastest performance across popular sites. PureVPN still works with platforms like Netflix but its speeds and unblocking capabilities fall short of NordVPN‘s caliber.

Security Features

Besides basic VPN privacy, some providers incorporate additional features to enhance security and privacy:

  • Ad and tracker blocking – NordVPN has CyberSec built-in to block ads and harmful trackers. PureVPN lacks ad blocking.

  • Dark web monitoring – NordVPN‘s unique Dark Web Monitor scans underground sites and alerts you if your emails or passwords appear in data breaches.

  • Double VPN – Encrypt your traffic twice for double security by routing through two VPN servers. NordVPN and PureVPN both offer this.

  • Tor over VPN – NordVPN lets you route your traffic through the Onion network on top of your VPN connection for added anonymity.

  • Split tunneling – PureVPN supports routing selected apps through the VPN while excluding others from the tunnel.

  • Obfuscated servers – NordVPN offers obfuscated servers to avoid VPN blocks in countries like China and Russia.

When it comes to useful bonus features that boost online privacy, NordVPN packs more tools like ad blocking, dark web monitoring, and Tor over VPN support. PureVPN takes a simpler approachfocusing on core VPN functionality.

Pricing and Subscription Plans Compared

One of the biggest differences between NordVPN and PureVPN is in their pricing:

Plan Length NordVPN PureVPN
1 month $11.99 $10.95
1 year $4.92/mo $3.33/mo
2 years $3.29/mo $2.29/mo

No matter the subscription length, PureVPN comes out cheaper than NordVPN. But both offer attractive 2-year plans that provide significant savings.

Some other considerations around pricing:

  • Money-back guarantee – NordVPN offers 30 days and PureVPN has a 31-day money back policy.

  • Multi-year discounts – PureVPN has slightly steeper discounts for its longer 2 and 3-year subscriptions.

  • Payment options – NordVPN and PureVPN take credit cards, PayPal, and major cryptocurrencies.

  • Simultaneous connections – PureVPN allows 10 devices compared to 6 with NordVPN.

With its rock bottom pricing and longer guarantees, PureVPN is the budget-friendly VPN choice. NordVPN is pricier but still affordable long term. Ultimately both offer good value depending on the level of features you need.

Customer Support Comparison

Reliable customer service is key for resolving any issues with your VPN. Based on our experience:

  • Response times – Both vendors offered quick replies via live chat support in under a minute during business hours.

  • Knowledge – NordVPN and PureVPN‘s support agents were knowledgeable and able to address our questions about settings, troubleshooting, and unblocking sites.

  • Availability – NordVPN provides 24/7 live chat. PureVPN has 24/7 live chat but with more limited hours for phone support.

  • Ticket system – In addition to chat, both providers have online ticket systems for technical issues and billing questions. Email response times were 1-2 days.

  • Self-help – The knowledge bases for both VPNs provide useful setup guides and how-to articles to resolve common user issues.

NordVPN and PureVPN back their VPN services with responsive customer assistance via live chat and email. We give NordVPN a slight edge for offering 24/7 live support but both vendors provide quality help resources.

NordVPN vs. PureVPN: Which VPN is Best in 2023?

Based on our extensive testing and comparisons, if we had to choose one overall winner between NordVPN and PureVPN, we would pick NordVPN.

NordVPN edged out PureVPN across the most critical factors we tested including:

Speed – Up to 90% faster speeds than PureVPN

Security – Added features like ad/malware blocking and dark web monitoring

Unblocking – More consistent and fast access to geo-blocked streaming content

Features – Unique extras like Threat Protection and Tor over VPN

That said, PureVPN remains an extremely solid VPN option, especially if you‘re looking for an affordable solution. The low starting price of just $2.29/month for PureVPN is very appealing.

Both NordVPN and PureVPN deliver effective VPN protection. But NordVPN‘s faster speeds, breadth of features, and smooth streaming give it the advantage for the best all-around virtual private network.

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Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.