It is never too late to be reading up on Norton VPN reviews. If you’re just deciding now that you need additional security for transacting and surfing on the web, you’ve come to the right place. With my search to maintain the most secure and encrypted connections for work or home, I have tried and tested over a dozen VPN companies. I have also collected the best VPN for gaming reviews here. Also, those who use Windows should look into our VPN for Windows 10 reviews, or can check how it fares against other VPN software for Mac.
While late to the game, Norton’s VPN is still a welcome addition to the current roster available in the market. Plus, this VPN comes from Norton – the same brand with the trusted antivirus product many people have come to love and depend on for decades. However, if you still want to check out other options, look into our ExpressVPN vs Ipvanish comparison, or our Avast vs ExpressVPN debate.
So is Norton VPN worth it? Read on to find out and compare it with AVG VPN, another iconic internet security company, or check out our PIA VPN review, if you want their famous 'no-log policy' feature.
Norton VPN Reviews: Great Antivirus, but Is It a Good VPN?
Norton has come a long way since its DOS-based antivirus program, Symantec Antivirus for Macintosh and Norton AntiVirus™ for PC in 1990. It took over the security of computers, then mobile gadgets (phones, tablets, and so on), while combining various malware protection and antivirus technologies for modern internet use.
If you’ve used Norton AntiVirus in the past, you know that it is one of the more stable antivirus providers in the world. But a VPN is an entirely different issue, so weighing the service of Norton’s antivirus with Norton security VPN is comparing apples to oranges.
Norton Lifelock VPN was launched in 2018 and has continued to provide all-in-one digital protection as new cyber threats evolve. The Lifelock VPN is both a standalone product and an add-on bundled into other Norton plans. In addition, you can check other examples of antivirus and VPN all-in-one solutions.
If we go by what Norton is advertising, here is what the Norton VPN service should provide:
- Connections from 73 servers across 29 countries
- 100% no-log guarantee (this means Norton isn’t supposed to be logging the user’s data and tracking anything the user does online)
- The ability to hide your IP address. This is pretty useful if you’re unblocking geo-restrictions
- Encryption while you use the internet (to keep you safe from hackers even if you use public Wi-Fi connections)
- The ability to access content that was originally unavailable where you live. Because your IP address will be hidden and Norton gives you access to secure servers from different countries, you can watch US Netflix even if you don’t live in the country
- Unlimited data. Norton’s unlimited data on its VPNs is impressive. To compare, Panda only gives 150mb/day, Kaspersky’s 300mb/day and Bitdefender’s 200mb/day
Note that Norton this Norton secure VPN review will only be focused on the VPN service. This is important because Norton offers VPN services as a standalone, and as part of the Norton 360 with LifeLock.
In the world of VPNs, “VPN protocol” refers to the technology that determines the method data gets formatted before being transmitted over a local area network (LAN) or the internet.
Various types of VPN protocols exist, each of them with different speeds and levels of security. Some examples of the protocols are point-to-point tunneling protocol (PPTP), layer 2 tunneling protocol (L2TP), internet key exchange (IKEv2), secure socket tunneling protocol (SSTP), and the most common OpenVPN protocol, among others.
Norton VPN uses two kinds of VPN protocols:
- OpenVPN – Considered as the most secure VPN protocol, OpenVPN is used on Windows, Android and macOS devices. Because OpenVPN is open-sourced, it means the protocol has been examined, corrected, and upgraded over and over to remove or improve security vulnerabilities.
- L2TP/IPSec – Meanwhile, dedicated iOS clients use this protocol. While this is older and less advanced than other protocols, L2TP/IPSec still provides decent security. This is common among all VPNs because Apple requires iOS VPN apps to pass through additional permissions/security steps to be able to use OpenVPN.
Newer VPN protocols are added continuously, such as the WireGuard – a newer, also open-source VPN protocol that is way faster and more secure than OpenVPN. However, not all providers have adapted to this protocol yet. Even Norton VPN hasn’t jumped the bandwagon with WireGuard yet.
Norton's Servers and Server Locations
When reading different Norton VPN Reviews, you might become confused with the mismatched information about Norton VPN’s number of servers and the countries they are located in. Some say they offer VPN servers in 79 locations spread across 30 countries, while others comment that the servers are only within 28 countries.
The only common information available is that Norton’s VPN servers are scattered through 6 continents with at least 2 locations for Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, France, Japan and USA.
If you are accessing Norton’s servers from any of these locations, you’re all good, but you may experience downtimes if you’re in South America. It would be awesome if Norton added servers in locations with restrictive internet laws, such as Vietnam.
Norton doesn’t publish the exact amount of VPN servers, but it is estimated that the company has around 2,800 to 3,000 total around the world. When compared to the number of servers of other VPN companies, this amount is on the higher-end.
What may be off-putting to some is that Norton uses virtual servers (almost 2000 of its total servers are virtual servers). This means that two or more virtual servers are running on a single physical machine.
The pro (and con) of virtual servers is that Norton has the power to make them appear to be located in a specific country even if their physical location is somewhere else. If your goal is to hide your IP address and actual location, this means the VPN would serve the purpose you need it for. But if you’re concerned about which locations your data travels, virtual servers may be an issue for you.
Is Norton Secure VPN Safe?
The VPN Norton offers is without a doubt safe. Norton is one of the leaders of cybersecurity for decades, which is why I was excited for the VPN add-ons (and standalone) made available by the company. Choosing Norton VPN over a newer and still-unknown VPN provider is the secure choice.
However, since the very nature of VPNs means you are willingly giving the VPN provider permission to “look at” your online activities, one of the biggest considerations you should weigh is how secure your connection will be when using a particular VPN.
Does Norton Secure VPN Have an Ad Blocker?
The Norton secure VPN blocks most of the ad trackers that are prone to gather your data. Unfortunately, Norton’s technology simply cannot outsmart ALL ads that users may face, so provide some leeway with your expectations.
Add to the fact that ad-tracking technology gets updated almost daily – it is incorporated into every digital thing we do whether we’re on mobile or not. For now, while sophisticated ad-tracking technology cannot be beaten, it is still good that Norton VPN offers this feature and gives you the option to enable or disable.
Does Norton Secure VPN Keep Logs?
If you ask Norton, they will say either the Norton VPN for pc or the Norton VPN app does not collect any personally-identifiable information about a user’s web activity traffic. The company has a 100% no-log policy, so anything the user does online shouldn’t be recorded or tracked.
Norton publishes a list of data its VPN service collects, if you want to get into the nitty gritty of the product. But simply put, Norton admits to collecting user IP addresses, but they make sure the information is anonymized. This way, the company is able to address weaknesses of Norton VPN’s own features, while securing the privacy of its clients.
A major plus point goes to Norton VPN because the company doesn’t earn money from anything else, except for the client subscription. So you don’t need to worry about your personal information being sold to third-party companies, as what smaller, sketchier companies have been known to do for extra profit.
Like other US-based VPN providers, NortonLifeLock isn’t subjected to mandatory data retention laws. The company is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, so if local law enforcement demands Norton to collect or “hand over” a user’s information or activity history online, the company isn’t legally required to break customer privacy and just follow such demands.
Norton Secure VPN Speeds
Unfortunately, it is inevitable that using a VPN server will slow your connection down. No additional technology or workaround can prevent this from happening. But there are differences between VPN speeds for each company, so your best bet to avoiding headache-inducing lags is by choosing the fastest VPN you can find.
Here are several reasons why you should consider Norton VPN if you’re worried about speed:
- Fast out-of-the-box VPN: All VPNs will eventually affect the speed of your connection. It is the downside of encrypting everything that passes through the VPN server. But choosing to go with a VPN provider renowned for speed already makes a whole lot of difference. About 60 to 80 Mbps is a good speed for VPNs. Norton VPN is in the higher end when it comes to VPN speeds.
- Norton VPN location: A VPN with a server location near you means the data wouldn’t have to travel so long. Norton VPN does have their almost 3000 servers scattered through 6 of the continents, so your chances of finding a VPN server location near you is high. You might think that this isn’t a big deal, but once you’re already choosing servers and pick any location since you there is no server near your physical location, you’ll feel the sudden drop in speed.
- Number of Norton VPN servers: Having a significant number of server options is always a good thing. With Norton’s VPN service that is continuously being updated with new locations, you’re bound to find a server fast enough for your needs.
If you wish to compare this Norton VPN with others, test your base connection by using the speed test of Ookla. From there, you’ll be given three results: download speed, upload speed and ping/latency, all of which are important for continuously-fast connection speeds.
Once you have your base connection, you can now test it with your Norton VPN and see how much the speed decreases. Spoiler alert, it will decrease no matter what anybody tells you. But “by how much” is the important thing here and hopefully, it shouldn’t go lower than 10% in both the download and upload speed.
The bigger the difference from your base connection to the one you’re connected to a VPN server, the slower you’ll be able to download a file, the longer you have to wait a web page load, and the more low-quality your streaming videos will look.
If the speed isn’t enough, you can always switch between Norton’s VPN servers, test the speed and pick the one with the best speeds.
Ease of Use
Download and Installation
Downloading and installing Norton VPN is pretty straightforward.
On a Windows or Mac computer – Open your browser, sign-in by logging onto https://norton.com/wifi-privacy. Find “My Norton” page, look for “Secure VPN,” and click download.
- For Windows users, just follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation
- For Mac users, you just have to drag the icon of Norton’s Secure VPN into your computer’s Applications folder
Launch the Norton Secure VPN app and just use. Mac users might need to enter their admin password for the app to launch.
On an Android or iOs phone or tablet – The steps will vary slightly, but your goal remains the same.
- For Android, visit Play Store and search for “Norton Secure VPN” in the library. Install, Accept the Terms of Service, download and install.
- For iOs devices, go to the App Store, look for Norton VPN, tap “GET” and install. Enter your Apple password.
Once the pop-up tells you that “Norton Secure VPN Would Like to Add VPN Configurations,” click “allow” and follow the rest of the on-screen instructions.
Create an Account with Norton
Installation is just like any other computer program or app, which I’m sure everyone will appreciate. You do have to register for Norton Secure VPN, where you’ll be choosing a package, and then going through a typical checkout process.
Note that when you register, you’ll also be creating an account that would require your real name and cell phone number. This can be problematic to some who are actually looking into VPN to hide their personal information. But if this isn’t an issue for you, then all you need is to open the Norton client app/program.
Once you’ve downloaded the program on your PC or phone, and registered through Norton’s official site, you can now open the Norton Client. If you’ve installed it on your computer, you’ll notice that it uses the same My Norton interface as the security suite Norton antivirus users have been using.
There are very little buttons “to press” on the client. Just switch “on” the Secure VPN, and that’s it. There will be a default server, but you can choose your preferred servers from the settings. They are labeled clearly, so it is pretty easy to navigate and control. Don’t expect much feature-wise, since you can’t add servers into your “favorites” nor check server load details before choosing one.
That said, the simplicity of the Norton client makes it user-friendly for those who just need a quick, easy VPN. You just have 3 areas to familiarize with:
- Secure VPN – Displays your current IP address and a tiny map that shows your location. There’s also a button for one-click connect/disconnect from the VPN
- Virtual location – Displays the list of countries with VPN servers. From here, you can choose from which country you want to connect to. Unfortunately, you can’t filter by city
- Ad tracking – Provides users with an option to use the ad tracking blocker. Aside from the enable/disable buttons, users are also able to view the ad trackers Norton has blocked whenever it is enabled
You can connect to Norton VPN even without tinkering the settings because the default auto-launches the Norton client and auto-connects you to a VPN server once you start your computer.
Trying it Out with Netflix
One of the most common reasons people get VPN is to unblock restrictions from activities like accessing Netflix. If you’re from the US, you can perfectly watch US Netflix even without VPN. But if you want to explore Netflix Asia, UK, or other regions, then using VPN could potentially help you.
Unfortunately, you have two problems with this.
- First, Norton isn’t really prioritizing unblocking 190 other countries where Netflix is available (beyond the US), so your chance of accessing Netflix from other countries is 50/50. Generally, you won’t have a problem accessing US Netflix.
- The second issue you might face is that since 2016, Netflix has been blocking subscribers from using proxy servers in order to enforce its licensing agreements.
Norton Secure VPN Customer Service
The Norton brand, as well as the company behind it (Symantec/NortonLifeLock) has been around for decades, so expect an already existing customer support system in place with its VPN product.
- Knowledgebase and User forum – Some answers to common issues can be found within the readily-available documents available on the Norton help and FAQs section.
- 24/7 Live Chat – The live chat is really available 24/7, but like most chat support programs, you’ll have to wait a couple of minutes during peak hours. The “line” isn’t too long and the support team usually answers comprehensively (unless they aren’t allowed to answer what you’re looking for, such as what macOS protocols are used). What I like about Norton’s live chat is that they’re pretty knowledgeable and could use remote access if you need them to “take a look” of what’s going on with your VPN.
- Email support – As you’d expect for most email support, you’ll get two replies: first is the auto-send, scripted reply that they received your inquiry/concern (this arrives right after you send the email). The second email, which usually arrives within 24 hours, is actually the response you’re looking for.
- 24/7 Phone support – While it is true that you can call Norton via phone 24/7, there is a big chance that the support agent who answers you is only knowledgeable about basic Norton VPN details, installation, set-up, and so on. Once you get deeper into complicated VPN issues, you’ll soon realize that the frontliner can’t help and you’d need to escalate to a manager or tech support to talk to a VPN specialist.
Overall, I’d choose live chat over all the support methods, especially if you’re in a hurry.
Norton VPN cost is one of the biggest considerations when deciding to choose Norton or not. What stands out with Norton’s VPN plans is you can get it as a stand-alone product (VPN only), or subscribe to a complete Norton 360 security suite. The available plans also have varying contract lengths, so the longer you subscribe to the Norton VPN, the more you’ll be able to get value for money. On the other hand, you can look into no cost Firefox VPN, as well.
The VPN bundled with Norton 360 Deluxe includes 50GB cloud backup space, antivirus for your devices, parental controls, password manager, PC/Mac firewall, and VPN, among others.
For standalone Norton VPN, you’ll pay around $40 ($3.34/month) during your first year. But you have to take note of the renewal price, since the introductory rate (your first year plan is usually 50% discounted). As such, expect a double in price (about $80/year) for the second year.
For the complete suite with Norton antivirus VPN, and other security tools, the plans begin at around $70/year (plus taxes) for a single-device plan, then up to $95/year for a ten-device plan.
For standalone Norton VPN, you can get the plan for $4.99/month if you only need it on one device. You’d shell out $7.99/month if you’re going to use it on up to five devices (including iOs/Android devices, Macs or PCs).
Norton also offers a family plan, which allows you to connect up to 10 smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers into one account and it starts with $9.99/month plus taxes.
Norton Secure VPN's Refund Policy
Norton has a very generous money-back guarantee that is unmatched in this industry.
If you decided to pay an annual subscription (1 year or more) and decided Norton’s VPN isn’t for you, you are eligible for a 60-day, money-back guarantee. But you have to refund your money within 60 days of the day of your subscription purchase. This also goes to bundle plans and annual renewals (only eligible if refunded within 60-days of being charged).
For those who opt for monthly plans, you can get a refund if you requested within 14 days from your purchase. Your subscription should stop renewing the next month, but your VPN privileges or antivirus protection continues for the remaining days of your paid-for, existing term.
Norton has different promos and refund eligibility if you purchased its products from a third-party such as from app stores, resellers/retailers, other vendors, and so on. As such, the best advice is to read the small print, and if you’re still unsure, contact support first to clear up your concerns.
Norton accepts PayPal and most credit cards, such as Visa, JCB, American Express, MasterCard, and Discover. If you’re undecided and want to try first, you can sign up for a free trial from your mobile device.
Conclusion: A Reasonable VPN Choice
In this Norton VPN review, there are a few takeaways. As a VPN service, Norton’s offering has no bells and whistles, which makes it user-friendly for those who chose Norton for their first VPN.
Here’s what I like about Norton VPN:
- The ad tracking blocker comes with both standalone and bundled plans
- Option to include the Norton 360 security suite since the Norton VPN is already integrated into the Norton ecosystem
- Flexible pricing with options for 1, 5 and 10 devices included in a specific plan
- Allows you to switch virtual locations, if you need access to geo-restricted content online
- Keeps your data and devices safe when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks
- Uses the same VPN client as the one you’ve been using for your Norton antivirus, which means there isn’t any training needed to access VPN servers
- Very generous 60-day money-back guarantee for annual payments
- No technical jargon and no learning curve to use the easy-to-understand, user-friendly VPN client
That said, Norton is missing a sought-after VPN feature: the kill switch, which auto-disconnects your computer, phone or tablet from the Internet until the VPN connection is restored. There are also no P2P/BitTorrent support, and no advanced features available on Norton’s VPN. It isn’t promoting itself as a streaming or torrenting VPN either, so if this is your reason to get extra privacy/security online, Norton’s VPN might not be for you.
But if you already use Norton for antivirus, malware protection and other security tools, the VPN is a good add-on to make your digital experience a lot more secure. It is also a perfect choice if you only need a trusted VPN to encrypt private data when going online.