Norton stands as a major player in cybersecurity, and many Norton 360 packages offer a VPN. Given the popularity of its antivirus software, you might assume you don’t need to explore other options for added protection. But can Norton truly compete with the top VPNs?
After trying all its features, it’s recommended that you try Norton VPN if it’s part of your 360 package. It can indeed keep you safe, yet it isn’t the best choice for gaming or torrenting. Also, it’s not the quickest VPN you’ve at any point attempted. To get more extensive help, it is proposed that you attempt one of the most outstanding VPNs accessible today.
- You might find it decent for streaming, as you could try to unblock a few of the most popular platforms.
- You might notice solid security features; Norton VPN tries to pass all of your leak tests.
- You may encounter a small server network, limiting connections to only 29 countries.
- You might need better torrenting support; you can only try torrenting on one location.
- You might find many slow locations, as some servers consistently reduce your speeds substantially.
- Accessing support can be tough; it’s a hassle trying to contact its 24/7 live chat.
2023 Update Features Of Norton VPN
Streaming — Decent at Unblocking and Playing Videos
Norton VPN might only try to unblock half of the major streaming platforms you’re trying to access. There might be better choices if you want to watch all of your subscriptions. You won’t find streaming-optimized servers, and its small number of locations means you have fewer choices when looking for a server that isn’t blocked.
When you try to unblock a service, the video quality might be good. You might not encounter major issues with buffering or low resolutions. However, I’d recommend choosing a different VPN if streaming is your main reason for wanting a VPN.
Unblocked: Netflix, (HBO) Max, and Amazon Prime Video
You can access a few full Netflix libraries with Norton VPN.
I was also able to unblock full libraries in France and Australia
Each server you try lets you load videos quickly and watch without buffering. However, the servers from Canada, the UK, and Japan can only unblock Originals. This is a version of the site that only has the content Netflix owns, so you lose many region-specific movies and shows.
The US server also lets you access (HBO) Max. It’s not always an easy service to unblock, so you’ll be happy about that. The streaming quality is great, too. You can also access one more platform with some pretty tough geo-blocks.
I could load videos nearly instantly, and I didn’t experience any buffering issues
Unfortunately, that’s the last popular streaming service Norton lets you watch.
Blocked By: Disney+, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer
You tried several different browsers and reconnecting, but you need help with your troubleshooting tricks with these platforms.
Hulu is only available in the United States, so I couldn’t test other servers
You also used the US server to try to access Disney+. With that platform, you don’t even get an error screen. The webpage loads indefinitely. BBC iPlayer also blocks you, which is surprising.
You’ve even found several free VPNs that can unblock BBC iPlayer.
If streaming is your priority, many other VPNs may perform better.
Speed — Average Speeds on Most Servers
Norton VPN provides okay speeds most of the time. However, you may find several servers that are much slower than expected. Additionally, there isn’t a fastest server feature or any indications within the app about how crowded the servers are. So, you may need to troubleshoot to find the best server for you.
It would help if you always tried all the speeds from the same location with the same connection to ensure easy comparison of results. Testing each server at least 10 times provides the most accurate rates.
I lost 41% of my speed on nearby servers and 51% on distant ones
All the tests are done with the WireGuard protocol, which is the only protocol Norton VPN offers on its desktop apps. Fortunately, it’s generally the fastest.
As seen from the charts, the distance didn’t make as much of a difference as you might expect. Sometimes, a distant server, like the one in Australia, was faster than a closer server (Canada). It’s challenging to explain why, and support couldn’t provide any answers. All that’s known is that a few of Norton’s servers are very slow.
Israel is only about 5,500 km away, but it lowered our speeds by 92%
Moreover, the fastest Norton VPN server found was in Norway. It lowered speeds by 13%, which is good, but some VPNs only dropped rates by 5%, or even less, at that distance. You might find a VPN that’s faster overall and has much more consistent servers by checking out a list of the fastest VPNs.
Gaming — Too Much Lag for Online Gaming
Norton VPN’s ping results are too high for smooth gaming. Ping is the most important aspect of your speed while gaming. It tells you how quickly your inputs can be registered. You want it to be under 85 ms so your character can instantly respond to your commands.
I couldn’t play competitively, and the game froze up completely several times
You can try Norton Secure VPNs closest server to you (US) with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The game may stutter constantly while you’re looking for a match and picking teams. When the game begins, you’ll encounter serious slack. It requires a second or longer for your personality to move each time you press a button. It’s anything but a tomfoolery match. These outcomes additionally show that you will need the option to utilize it with cloud gaming.
Numerous VPNs turn out perfect for web-based games.
Many VPNs work great for online games.
Server Network — Small With Few Locations
Norton VPN only has servers in 29 countries. While there are some solid VPNs with fewer servers, they usually offer far more countries, sometimes two or three times as many. Most of the locations are in Europe, covering 19 countries, while every other continent gets three locations or less.
Moreover, it doesn’t offer city-level locations. So, when you connect to a country, you won’t know the exact location of your connection. In a large country like the US, that means you could be connected to a server much farther away than you anticipated.
There is no search function, but it’s not really needed with Norton’s small network
Although it was challenging to get answers from support, an agent mentioned that Norton VPN owns its servers. This is positive because many VPNs rent their infrastructure, introducing another potential access point to your data. However, it doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses or private DNS servers.
It also needs to be clarified whether Norton VPN uses virtual or physically-located servers. The need for more information about its server network and other features can be frustrating. Additionally, there were a few connection issues. For instance, one day, the Turkey server was fine, but the next day, it wouldn’t connect, no matter what you may have tried.
This is an area where Norton VPN needs to catch up to the competition. Top VPNs offer much more with their servers.
Security — Safe but Missing a Few Features
Norton does a commendable job of hiding your location, and you’ll find that it includes some extra features. You can try more than 10 leak tests, and at no point will your real IP address be revealed. Use different servers to conduct these tests. Norton figures out how to do this by using AES-256 cycle encryption, a standard utilized by banks and militaries, making it extraordinarily testing to interpret.
Nonetheless, please switch between various conventions.
There is only one available for each app. The choices aren’t bad, as you get WireGuard for desktop apps and IKEv2 for mobile devices. But the top VPNs let you choose between several. It’s also disappointing that OpenVPN isn’t offered since it’s considered the safest protocol.
In addition, there’s no double VPN feature, custom DNS servers, or obfuscation. However, you may appreciate that it has the most essential security features. Overall, this is one of Norton’s strongest areas, but it’s still imperfect.
You can use this feature to exempt certain apps from the VPN’s tunnel. It works and can be convenient. For instance, it’s much easier to access your banking app without a VPN, so you can add it to the split tunneling list while keeping everything else encrypted. You might wish you could exempt websites as well.
This is a necessary feature that every VPN needs, so you’ll be glad Norton VPN has added it. It blocks your internet connection if the VPN ever disconnects. Try it by keeping a browser open while you switch servers. This shows that it always blocks your network, so it works as advertised. Just remember to switch it on, as it’s optional.
Ad Tracker Blocking
You might find the VPN’s ad blocker to be a nice feature, although it’s not flawless. It’s really direct – you can turn it on and off. You could see the value in the fact that it is so natural to utilize. However, other VPNs could give more customization choices. With it enabled, you might still see a few banner ads and pop-ups. However, it’s more than what most VPNs offer since this feature is somewhat rare in the VPN landscape.
Privacy — Good Policy, but It’s in a 5 Eyes Country
Norton VPN does not retain any of your confidential data. It only stores anonymous details that are essential for the VPN’s operation, and these cannot be linked to your browsing activities. This privacy approach is reassuring. However, it would be preferable if the service were based in a jurisdiction more favorable to privacy. Moreover, a future audit of its policy to validate its claims would be a welcome addition.
Does Norton VPN Keep Logs? No
Norton VPN ensures it doesn’t log your IP address or browsing history. It will store details such as your device type, OS, bandwidth usage, the language you choose for the app, and some other minor things. This kind of information is nothing to be concerned about because it’s anonymized. That means it’s never connected to any of your personal information.
I’m also glad that it has clarified its policy. In the past, there was only one document for all of its products, but now it’s more specific about the data it collects through its VPN.
Was Norton VPN Audited? No
Norton VPN still needs to undergo an independent audit of its infrastructure or policies. This lack of examination means it could be storing additional information. As of now, all you can do is rely on its claims. The leading VPNs typically engage reputable third parties to assure users that they adhere to their stated policies.
Based in the US
Norton is headquartered in the US, a country that has been identified for monitoring its citizens. Additionally, being part of the 5 Eyes Alliance involves governments agreeing to share intelligence collected about their populations. This situation raises concerns as it implies that Norton might be compelled to modify its policies in the future.
Does Norton VPN Work in China? No
You won’t have the option to utilize Norton Secure VPN in China. Fortunately, in this case, it was relatively simple to obtain a clear response from their support.
Features like double VPN or obfuscated servers help some VPNs work in China
While many VPNs have faced bans from the Chinese government, it typically doesn’t aggressively pursue individuals for their usage. Nevertheless, we strongly advise you to familiarize yourself with the local laws before using a VPN in that region.
Torrenting — Couldn’t Get P2P to Work
You can’t manage to torrent using Norton VPN. This is because Norton VPN restricts torrenting to its optimized server, which is situated in the Netherlands. The limitation to a single location is frustrating, and if you’re located at a considerable distance, slower speeds are likely. Additionally, connection problems with Norton VPN prevent you from ever accessing this specific server.
Norton VPN also doesn’t include port forwarding or the Shadowsocks protocol, which can improve torrenting speeds. Torrenting is legal in most countries, but it’s never legal to download copyrighted materials. You should only access torrents in the public domain so you don’t break any laws.
Installation & Apps
customization options. Connecting, selecting a server, and accessing settings is straightforward and self-explanatory.
You can access the settings menu by clicking the cog above the connect button
You’ll find the VPN region drop-down list for choosing a server. Within the settings menu, there are only four tabs: General, Ad Tracker, Split Tunnel, and About. In the General tab, you can set preferences for launching at startup, connecting upon launch, toggling the kill switch, and enabling automatic updates.
That’s the extent of its interface. Its simplicity streamlines the user experience. However, suppose you’re seeking a VPN with extensive customization options to tailor it precisely to your preferences. In that case, there may be better fits for you than Norton VPN.
Setup & Installation
The VPN is easy to install. On the desktop, you can try to subscribe and access the download page from your account on Norton’s website. When you download the installation document, you must adhere to the directions.
You can finish the arrangement in under 3 minutes. It’s actually a little easier for mobile. You go to the proper store (Google Play or App Store) and install it like any other app.
Norton VPN offers apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, which is great because you need to cover the main devices where your vital information is likely stored – your laptop, desktop, or phone.
However, you might find it unfortunate that there are no apps for Linux devices or routers. Additionally, it doesn’t offer smart DNS, a feature allowing you to try changing locations on any device with DNS settings.
You might hope that it adds router support in the future (and browser extensions would be nice). Connecting a VPN to your router lets you encrypt your connection on any smart TV or game console.
Desktop — Apps for Windows and Mac
These apps are almost indistinguishable. Both exclusively support the WireGuard protocol. Furthermore, you’ll find the kill switch included in both, which is a valuable feature as not all VPNs offer it for macOS desktops. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that split tunneling is not an option in the Mac apps.
Android and iPhone (iOS)
These apps only allow you to connect using the IKEv2 protocol. Both apps have a kill switch, but, as usual, Apple users are without the split tunneling feature. Aside from some minor changes in appearance, the mobile apps are quite similar to their desktop counterparts.
Simultaneous Device Connections
Different subscription tiers offer you a varying device limit. You can choose between 1, 5, or 10. Having five connections is the standard number many VPNs provide, and ten is quite generous. However, with most VPNs, you won’t have to pay significantly more for additional connections. The tier with 10 connections costs twice as much as the plan with 1.
You can try out four devices simultaneously, and there won’t be any change in the VPN’s performance. Even when streaming with each one, you won’t notice any significant difference in speeds. So, the simultaneous connections work without issues, but the 10-device plan can be relatively expensive.
2023 Updated Prices Of Norton VPN
For the best savings, it’s recommended that you purchase the VPN with one of Norton’s security packages. Several Norton 360 plans come with the VPN. So, if you’re interested in its antivirus products, you can try out Norton VPN that way.
Be that as it may, paying for the VPN all alone isn’t prudent. You have the choice of picking either month-to-month or yearly plans. The annual plan with 1 device is the most cost-effective, especially for that term length. Some VPNs, like PIA, offer lower prices and provide unlimited simultaneous connections under one account.
The annual plans also offer a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is twice as long as what most VPNs provide. However, with monthly plans, you only get 14 days. On the off chance that you choose to look for a discount, you’ll view the cycle as proficient. You may like to say, you got all the cash back in my record following 6 days.
I wish I knew you could cancel through your account page before I contacted support
Unfortunately, there’s no way to pay with cryptocurrency. You can only purchase Norton VPN with Paypal or Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards.
Reliability & Support
Norton makes it a hassle for you to get in touch with support. While there is a 24/7 live chat available, you have to answer several questions asked by its bot before being connected to a live agent. Then, you’ll need to navigate through multiple pages on its website to find the live chat option. It feels like they don’t make it easy to reach out for support.
There are additional steps after that. What’s more terrible is that you need to give your complete name, email address, and telephone number to begin the visit. In addition to the fact that it is a problem, however, it could be more security cordial. You might not feel comfortable giving any VPN your phone number, especially when most don’t require it.
Even after completing all those steps, you may have to wait several minutes before a representative begins the conversation. You’ll also need an account to get your questions answered. Another issue is that support agents might aim to close your chat window quickly. Sometimes, they close the window even if you step away for less than a minute, making you repeat the entire annoying process again.
Many times the answers I got made no sense and weren’t related to my questions
There’s no email support, but you can contact them by telephone. Compared to live chats, you might find this inconvenient, but it’s an option if you’re interested. Additionally, several FAQs are on the website, often containing outdated information.
The Bottom Line
Final Verdict — It's not a bad choice if you have Norton 360
Norton Secure VPN comes with several advantages. It can unlock many major streaming platforms and offers robust security. The VPN also excels in passing all leak tests, and its kill switch is reliable. However, there’s room for improvement in some areas. Torrenting support is lacking, and the server network is relatively small.
Additionally, it’s not the fastest VPN, and contacting support can be cumbersome. You can use Norton VPN if it’s part of your 360 package, but remember that better options are available. While it’s a good VPN, it is recommended to explore the top VPNs to discover what unique features they offer that Norton doesn’t. Try one of the best VPNs, which typically come with risk-free money-back guarantees.
Frequently Asked Questions (Norton VPN)-
Is Norton VPN secure?
Yes, Norton Secure VPN is highly secure. It uses AES 256-bit encryption, a standard employed by banks and military organizations globally. Moreover, it includes a kill switch feature, blocking your connection if the VPN unexpectedly disconnects, ensuring constant online protection.
Is Norton VPN free?
No, Norton VPN isn’t entirely free. It comes included with certain Norton security packages. You can access a 7-day free trial if you sign up using an iOS or Android device. Additionally, there are 14-day money-back guarantees for monthly plans and 60-day policies for yearly plans. Should you opt for a refund, trying it out, you may receive a full refund within 6 days
What's the difference between Norton 360 and Norton Secure VPN?
Norton 360 is an extensive security package with various security products. At the same time, Norton VPN is included with specific tiers of the Norton 360 package. The basic plan, AntiVirus Plus, includes Norton’s antivirus software, cloud backup, and a password manager. The Standard plan and higher tiers incorporate Norton VPN. While the VPN can be purchased separately, it’s generally a better deal when bundled with Norton 360.