One big surprise we found is that Norton’s website doesn’t go into any real effort to tell us about all the features of Norton Secure VPN, in fact it has very little information about it at all. Regardless, there are some interesting features if you dig deep enough.
For example, all of Norton Secure VPN’s apps come with a handy ad tracking blocker. This stops advertisers from using cookies to deliver those annoying personalized adverts. We found it worked well the majority of the time and in fact it even blocked some adverts completely. By its own admission, Norton’s tracking blocker isn’t perfect and adverts can occasionally slip through the net, but if used alongside an adblocker extension on your browser then you’ll be comfortably covered from intrusive advertisements.
Live streaming accessibility with Norton Secure VPN is mixed; we found its U.S. servers work well with Netflix and other streaming services, but we had no such luck watching BBC iPlayer on its UK connections, despite multiple attempts on different servers. Unfortunately, unlike other VPN services, Norton Secure VPN offers absolutely no support for P2P sharing so torrenting is out of the question.
Frustratingly, Norton Secure VPN doesn’t actually reveal how many servers or IP addresses it has available, but it does have a network of 30 countries to choose form. Besides having plenty of server locations in North America and Western Europe, the VPN also includes some less frequently supported places like South Africa and Turkey.
One thing we did experience when connecting to servers with Norton Secure VPN is that it can take a long time to connect compared to other VPN services. When you eventually do connect then you’ll find overall speeds are consistent but not outstanding, although they are good enough that you’ll have no problems streaming videos online.
With a company as renowned for its security as Norton, you would expect the same from its VPN offering. Norton Secure VPN features industry-standard AES-256 encryption, DNS leak protection, and uses the ever-reliable OpenVPN protocol. In that respect it’s in line with the competition but one glaring omission is that lack of a kill switch on any of its platforms.
Norton does claim that its VPN has a no-logs policy but just like with any other VPN service it’s worth reading the fine print first. Although Norton doesn’t keep any logs about your connections, it does keep “mobile device data” and “aggregate bandwidth usage” but it doesn’t expand on exactly what that data is or for what purpose it’s stored. It would be reassuring to have more transparency from Norton about this practice in the future.
Users who are concerned about their anonymity will raise their eyebrows at Norton being in the U.S., a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. Although being based in California, it does have more user-friendly data retention laws than some other states. When signing up for a Norton account you are required to give your email, address, and a phone number so this can’t be done anonymously, however one benefit of a Norton account is that you can set up two-factor authentication to add extra security.
OS, Device Support
Norton Secure VPN is only available for Windows 7 and higher, macOS, iOS, and Android. Users can’t manually configure their VPN connections to work with any other systems so unfortunately, this means there’s no support for Linux users or for video games consoles.
The apps are simplistic and ideal for first time users of VPNs. After you get started, Norton Secure VPN will try and find the closest available server to have you connected straight away. There are very few customizable options available on the various apps and ultimately it works more like an on/off switch. You can select which country you want to connect to, although unlike other VPNs you can’t select a particular area of the country you’d like to connect to, which can be an annoyance for anyone who needs localized internet. The Ad Tracker tab gives you the option to turn it off in case it interferes with a website you’re using as well as showing you the number of blocks it’s performed so far – it’s a number that builds up surprisingly quickly.
More experienced VPN users will want a lot more from their apps, however if your main concern is connecting and going on your way then the Norton Secure VPN app is more than sufficient.
Norton Secure VPN’s pricing structure is determined by the number of devices you wish to use it with, giving you the choice of having one, five, or ten devices. Pricing also depends on how long you want the VPN for, you can either choose to pay monthly or select an annual subscription. Like other services, selecting a full year will give you a discounted rate. The cheapest option available is an annual payment of $39.99 for either one or five devices, which works out at a very reasonable $3.33 a month in total.
One benefit is that, since Norton offers a plethora of online protection products, Norton Secure VPN can be included as part of a deal with Norton’s 360 Deluxe package. This means by paying just $59.99 a year, users can also get a firewall, parental controls, a password manager, virus protection, backup storage, and more. This bundle is available for use with up to five devices, but Mac users should note that not all of these add-ons are compatible with macOS.
Unfortunately, Norton doesn’t offer a free trial for its VPN, but you can get a 60-day money-back guarantee when you subscribe to one of the annual packages. However, as a warning, you should give its return policy a read first as it offers some exceptions that you might not see from other companies. Payment can be made with all the major credit card companies as well as through PayPal.
A company as big as Norton is always going to have some of the best customer service. With Norton Secure VPN you’ll get a 24/7 live chat, although it’s no guarantee you will get in touch with a VPN specialist. You can also call for support; the website offers you the time of the day when it’s best to call for support but since those hours are in the middle of the night it’s not entirely helpful. You can also get support on social media through Facebook and Twitter. Besides speaking with Norton directly you can also read the forums which are more helpful than the sparse FAQ page for the VPN on Norton’s website.
From a company as big and experienced in online security as Norton you might expect from their VPN service. In truth, there is little that makes it stand out from the crowd and there is plenty of room for improvement and for adding more features.
However, what it does do it does very well, with some consistent speeds and a reliable ad tracking blocker. The apps are simple and easy-to-use as well as provide some great customer support. It’s a good choice for users who are new to VPNs and who want to stake their safety on a reputable company they know they can trust.
- Top customer service
- Consistent speeds
- Handy ad tracking blocker
- Works with Netflix
- Good for first-timers
- Lack of features
- No P2P function
- Limited device support