Norton Secure VPN review

Norton Secure VPN is an expensive VPN, and its performance doesn’t match the price. 

Its limitation to just five devices and lack of support for a wider range of platforms make it less versatile than other VPNs, and its inconsistent success with overseas streaming services is a significant drawback.

While it offers solid security, it collects more data than some of its rivals, and the overall package falls short of delivering the comprehensive service and value expected in the competitive VPN market.

Pros

  • Secure connection
  • Fast speeds

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low simultaneous connections
  • Collects a lot of information
  • Poor streaming service access
  • Low server count

Price

Norton Secure VPN’s payment scheme is slightly different from other VPNs. Instead of the price changing based on the length of your subscription, it changes based on the number of devices you want to cover. 

Our research shows that the average price per month for a two-year subscription with the 25 best VPNs is $4.67. Also, of the VPNs that limit the number of simultaneous connections they allow (some allow an unlimited amount), the average is eight devices. 

This means Norton Secure VPN is not only incredibly expensive but also doesn’t provide the same amount of coverage as most VPNs. For a 24-month subscription covering five devices, you’ll have to spend $11.66 monthly. This is very expensive. 

As a comparison, NordVPN costs $4.39/month for a two-year subscription and allows simultaneous use with up to eight devices. Surfshark costs $2.69/month for a two-year subscription covering unlimited devices.

The only positives here are it comes with a 30-day free trial and a 60-day money-back guarantee. 

Devices/Availability

As mentioned above, Norton Secure VPN can only be used on up to five devices simultaneously. This is a low amount; of the top 25 VPNs that limit simultaneous usage, the average is eight devices. 

Norton Secure VPN is available only on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. This is a lot less than most other VPNs. As a comparison, ExpressVPN is available on all these devices alongside Amazon Fire, Kindle, Linux, Chromebook, Fire Stick, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

Norton Secure VPN review

Streaming Performance

Major streaming services now use effective measures to restrict VPN access to their services. They do this primarily due to their copyright and licensing agreements with their content producers.

Navigating these restrictions can be challenging for VPNs. However, top-tier VPNs usually manage to bypass these barriers effectively.

We tried to connect to US Netflix, Hulu, MAX, and BBC iPlayer from New Zealand to test Norton Secure VPN’s capabilities for accessing streaming services. This testing was conducted over one week, and the outcomes were not great.

We could access US Netflix and MAX comfortably, but Hulu immediately detected the VPN, blocking access, and BBC iPlayer followed suit.

Switching to alternative VPNs like ExpressVPN or NordVPN quickly resolved these issues, granting us smooth access to all four streaming services. This indicated that the problem was with Norton Secure VPN.

How secure is Norton Secure VPN?

To measure Norton Secure VPN’s security, we conducted several Domain Name Systems (DNS) leak tests.

A DNS leak test is used to check if your internet activity is being exposed through the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS is like an internet phone book that translates website names into IP addresses, which are necessary for your device to connect to websites.

When you use a VPN, all your internet traffic should be routed through the VPN’s secure tunnel, including DNS requests. This means that anyone trying to observe your internet activities, like your internet service provider (ISP), should only see that you are connected to the VPN, not the specific websites you visit.

However, sometimes, due to configuration errors or other issues, your device might bypass the VPN and send DNS requests directly to your ISP’s DNS server. This is called a DNS leak. It exposes the websites you are visiting to your ISP or any other eavesdropper monitoring your DNS requests.

A DNS leak test checks whether the DNS requests are being sent through the VPN tunnel or if they are leaking out. This is important for maintaining privacy and security online, especially if you’re relying on a VPN to keep your internet activities private.

We came across no issues when testing Norton Secure VPN. The tests showed that it is a secure VPN that fully encrypts your data. This means you can surf the web entirely anonymously with Norton Secure VPN.

Norton Secure VPN review

Privacy Policy

Norton claims it does not collect logs, meaning it doesn’t gather information about the user’s online activity. However, unlike other premium VPNs, it hasn’t had this confirmed by third-party review. 

In the privacy policy, it states it does collect this information:

  • Device Data (Processed for delivering product and content):
    • Install Identifier: Active or up to 36 months.
    • Device Name and Type: Active or up to 36 months.
    • OS Version (Mobile Devices Only): Active or up to 36 months.
    • Language: Active or up to 36 months.
  • Security Data (Used for billing, network operations, and support):
    • Aggregate Bandwidth Usage (Bytes Transferred Using Service): Active or up to 36 months.
  • Diagnostic Data (Used for product and service improvement):
    • Error State in App Installation/Usage (Install Identifier): Active or up to 36 months.
    • Data for Debugging Connectivity Problems (Device Identifier): Up to 7 days.
  • VPN Service Data (Used to prevent service abuse and ensure terms of use compliance):
    • Data for Monitoring Compliance (Device Identifier, Abuse Frequency): Up to 7 days.
  • Application Data (Used for product delivery and preventing service abuse):
    • Licence Identifier: Active or up to 36 months.
    • IP Address: Not stored.

This is a lot of information. As a comparison, NordVPN only collects encrypted login credentials (used for connecting to a VPN and troubleshooting purposes) and billing information and has had its no-logs policy audited by a third party three times.

Speed

To test Norton Secure VPN’s speeds, we connected to a US and UK server from within New Zealand and conducted speed tests using speedtest.net.

Of course, VPN speed can be affected by many variables, like distance from the server and your internet connection speed. So, to accommodate this, we compared the speeds achieved with Norton Secure VPN to our base internet speeds with the VPN turned off:

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off946.87530.6
Norton Secure VPN US server812.47.12
Norton Secure VPN UK server662.643.62

For these tests we were using a PC with a wired internet connection

These results are pretty good. They come close to what we think is the fastest VPN on the market, ExpressVPN’s, speeds:

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70

Servers

Norton Secure VPN offers just over 1,000 servers. This is very low. In comparison, Private Internet Access boasts over 35,000 servers, and PureVPN has over 6,500. This means there are fewer servers for you to use, meaning if one gets blocked, there is less chance of you being given one that works. 

While this isn’t great, we don’t believe this is the best way to measure a VPN’s potential. We think the number of countries the VPN has servers in better reflects how good a VPN is. Norton Secure VPN has servers in 29 countries. This is low. From our findings of the top 25 best VPNs, the average is 73 countries. Norton Secure VPN is well below average in this regard, meaning there are not as many countries to make it look like you’re connecting to the internet from within.

It’s unclear how many of Norton’s servers are virtual servers as opposed to physical ones.

Virtual and dedicated VPN servers are two types of servers used by VPN providers, and they differ in their setup and performance.

Virtual VPN Servers: These servers are not physical servers located in a specific location. Instead, they are software-defined servers that can be set up anywhere in the world. They emulate the presence in a particular country or location while actually being located elsewhere. Virtual servers are often used to provide VPN services in areas where it’s difficult to have physical hardware.

Dedicated VPN Servers: These are physical servers located in the specific country or location they represent. They are dedicated solely to providing VPN services and are not shared with other services or applications.

We believe dedicated servers are the gold standard. They typically deliver better and more consistent speeds and performance as they are specifically optimised for VPN traffic. They also offer a higher level of security and privacy since these servers are exclusively used for VPN purposes, reducing the risk of exposure or misuse. 

Moreover, dedicated servers are physically situated in their represented locations, ensuring they provide more accurate local IP addresses, a crucial feature for users who need to access geo-specific content or services. Additionally, these servers are less prone to overcrowding, leading to improved bandwidth and faster connections, enhancing the overall user experience.

Norton Secure VPN review

Addons

Norton Secure VPN includes a few additional features that help bolster its appeal. It offers split tunneling, allowing users to choose which apps go through the VPN and which use a direct internet connection. Additionally, it features a kill switch, which automatically disconnects the internet if the VPN drops, ensuring continuous privacy protection. And it boasts an ad tracker blocker, helping to keep users’ online activities more private by blocking unwanted tracking from websites.

Moreover, Norton Secure VPN can be bundled with Norton’s well-known antivirus software in a cost-effective deal, at a subsidised price.

Customer support

Norton claims it has a 24/7 chat support service, but from within New Zealand, it was very difficult to find this option. 

Also, to initiate support, you have to input a lot of details, like your email address and your phone number. Not ideal. 

There are other options, like starting a ticket and emailing them, but it’s a bit behind the best VPNs who often answer chat support questions within minutes.

Verdict

Norton Secure VPN falls short in several key areas despite its solid security performance. 

It’s notably more expensive than competitors, charging $11.66 per month for a 24-month plan covering five devices, with limited device compatibility and a smaller server network. 

While it performs well in security tests, its privacy policy is less reassuring, collecting more data than some peers like NordVPN. 

Streaming capabilities are inconsistent, and customer support is lacking, especially in responsiveness and accessibility. 

Overall, Norton Secure VPN doesn’t offer enough value or performance to stand out in the competitive VPN market.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Security
Speed
Streaming
Servers
Addons
Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.
norton-secure-vpn-review Norton Secure VPN is an expensive VPN, and its performance doesn't match the price.  Its limitation to just five devices and lack of support for a wider range of platforms make it less versatile than other VPNs, and its inconsistent success with overseas streaming services...

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