Norton VPN review

TOP rank 8.2 Reviewed by Michael Brown
April 23, 2020

In very unflattering terms, Norton VPN is just another of those average VPN apps. It will perform basic tasks for you such as setting up a relatively fast and secure anonymous connection. But at the same time, it will also deliver below expectation in other areas.

To begin with, the app does create an anonymous connection that most websites including Netflix, and all other streaming services seem to accept as genuine. Even when performing IP and DNS leak tests, everything seems perfect until you do the speed tests on speedtest.net. Only then do you realize that your DNS provider keeps on showing on every one of these tests. It is a damning revelation because some sites are rather good at detecting falsified IP addresses.

Another drawback of Norton VPN is that the app does not support P2P activity. It won’t even launch on a PC where a torrent client such as uTorrent is active. They say that they discourage torrenting as a way to protect their customers from leaking sensitive data.

It is not all bad news with Norton VPN, however, as the app has fast servers in Japan, UK, Australia, and Europe. It is also reasonably priced at $7.99 a month and as earlier implied, you can use it to stream on Netflix and similar sites.

1 year (1 device): $3.34/month
Save 33%

In very unflattering terms, Norton VPN is just another of those average VPN apps. It will perform basic tasks for you such as setting up a relatively fast and secure anonymous connection. But at the same time, it will also deliver below expectation in other areas.

To begin with, the app does create an anonymous connection that most websites including Netflix, and all other streaming services seem to accept as genuine. Even when performing IP and DNS leak tests, everything seems perfect until you do the speed tests on speedtest.net. Only then do you realize that your DNS provider keeps on showing on every one of these tests. It is a damning revelation because some sites are rather good at detecting falsified IP addresses.

Another drawback of Norton VPN is that the app does not support P2P activity. It won’t even launch on a PC where a torrent client such as uTorrent is active. They say that they discourage torrenting as a way to protect their customers from leaking sensitive data.

It is not all bad news with Norton VPN, however, as the app has fast servers in Japan, UK, Australia, and Europe. It is also reasonably priced at $7.99 a month and as earlier implied, you can use it to stream on Netflix and similar sites.

8.8
Speed
8.5
Security
9.1
Compatibility
9.3
Price
8.9
Support
Pros
Relatively fast servers
Adware protection
Error- free streaming on Netflix
Affordably priced at @ $7.99 a month
60-days money-back guarantee
Strong data encryption
Cons
Poor desktop interface
The Android and iOS apps are not available for some regions
Some servers can be slow
DNS leak when performing speed tests
Does not support torrenting
Few servers and server locations to choose from

Summary

Speed drop speedtest We check the speed with and without VPN, then calculate the average in percentage. The smaller the speed drop, the faster the VPN.
-20.5%
Logging
Strict no-log policy
IP, DNS Leaks
Yes
Jurisdiction The 5 Eyes (FVEY), 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes alliances impose laws that force VPN companies to hand over logs to the government upon request. Privacy Havens - These are countries where companies don't have to share their logs to the government and VPN users are completely protected.
USA (5 eyes)
Servers
100+
Countries
28
Netflix Unblock
Yes
Torrenting speed drop
N/ABad
Simultaneous connections
10
Works in China
No
Support
Live chat, email
Kill switch
Yes
Encryption AES-256 is the most secure type of encryption today. Other standards like DES-CBC, AES-128 provide lower levels of security.
AES-256
Protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec are the most popular protocols which provide optimal balance between speed and security.
OpenVPN
Platforms
Android, Linux, macOS, Windows
Applications
Unknown

Norton VPN Speed tests

Ordinary connection
Download: 2.18 Mbps
Ping: 14
Upload: 0.13 Mbps

Everyone wants a VPN service that is fast because that way, they can get stuff done on the internet without having to endure long frustrating hours. When it comes to Norton Secure VPN, our speed tests show that the app is moderately fast. As you shall see, some servers are really fast while others are just slacking away.

For these tests, we used a 2 Mbps connection to test against the speed of various servers across the world.

Checking VPN servers

As you can see, the Japanese server puts a pretty solid performance. Not all servers are as fast, however. You might be confused why the server reads Mombasa and not some Japanese city. Well, it has something to do with the fact that Norton Secure VPN does leak this kind of information. In fact, all servers by Norton VPN have this uncanny characteristic.

Austria
Download: 1.50 Mbps
Ping: 328 Ms
Upload: 0.12 Mbps
Japan
Download: 1.94 Mbps
Ping: 611 Ms
Upload: 0.18 Mbps
USA
Download: 1.08 Mbps
Ping: 573 Ms
Upload: 0.13 Mbps
Australia
Download: 1.90 Mbps
Ping: 842 Ms
Upload: 0 Mbps

Average speed drop: -20.5%Good

Servers

100+ servers
28 countries

Norton VPN has servers in 70 locations across 29 countries. In total, the number of servers reach over a hundred. There is nothing special about these servers because they don’t even support P2P activity or feature stealth technology of any kind.

Norton VPN Security Features

Norton VPN has some above average security and privacy credentials.

Encryption

The app, for instance, uses the military-grade AES-256-bit standard to secure the data sent through their servers. The app also uses the Open VPN protocol to make the VPN connections possible. OpenVPN is one of the safest and fastest VPN protocols currently in existence.

We should mention that because the app does not have stealth servers or something like that, you cannot trust it to secure your communications in a place such as China where the government closely monitors internet traffic.

Ad Tracking

The Ad Tracking feature by Norton VPN will prevent annoying ads from popping up every time you try to use the service. It is very handy.

 

IP and DNS Leaks

The main goal of a VPN app is to create an anonymous connection for its users. If it cannot do that, then there is no need in purchasing it. On this VPN review site, we try to test every app for IP and DNS leaks by going to Ipleak.org, a site that displays a user’s IP address and DNS information.
For Norton Secure VPN, we got the following results:

IP Leak test result:

 

The IP address that you see here was assigned to us by the VPN provider. It creates the impression that the connection is anonymous, but that is hardly the case as the speed tests show that the original DNS provider is exposed. Here is a screenshot from the speed tests showing the same IP address, but with an entirely different physical location:

 

As you can see, the DNS provider here is Canadian as would be expected, but it is different on the speed tests. All this means that the VPN connection provided by Norton VPN is not that anonymous as some sites can still reveal it.

IP leak results:
Failure
DNS leak results:
No leaks

Logs policy

A logs policy will tell you what a VPN service provider does with your data. Do they store information about you? Do they process the same and pass it to authorities or do they use it for advertisement? It is all explained to you in the privacy statement by the service provider.

Logs polices have only come to matter after the Snowden revelations showed Western governments, especially the US, aggressively gather signals intelligence and share it widely with other members of the Five and Fourteen coalition of spying nations.

While based in the US, Norton VPN swears that they do not collect or store user’s logs. They also state that they do not pass any information to the US or allied governments.
Here is a quote from the company on the matter:

“Does the Norton VPN keep logs? No, Norton Secure VPN does not keep logs.
Some VPN providers do collect a minimal amount of user information, such as your email, but these exceptions to the rule should be available in their privacy policy.
As stated in the Norton Privacy Notice, Norton Secure VPN collects subscriber information for communication purposes, mobile device data, and aggregate bandwidth usage. Norton Secure VPN does not log information about where you go on the internet.”

Norton VPN for Netflix

Norton Secure VPN is actually very good at unblocking Netflix and similar sites. You can trust their connection to access geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world.

To make this possible, you need to clear the cookies on your browser before attempting to establish an anonymous connection. Otherwise, your attempts will lead to a proxy detected error. Also, try sticking to a single IP address as constantly changing between IP address convinces Netflix that something is up.

Netflix
Netflix unblock status:
Success

Torrenting

You won’t be torrenting any time soon with Norton Secure VPN, given that the app does not support torrents. It won’t even launch if a tor client such as uTorrent is active on your PC.

Torrenting without VPN:
221 kb/sec
Torrenting with VPN:
N/A
Speed deduction: N/A
Bad

When asked why they don’t support torrents, here is what they had to say:
“An active torrent traffic leaves your computer vulnerable to security threats and attacks. It may also result to the loss of your personal information and data.”

Tor Check

The Tor browser is the world’s most secure browser for establishing anonymous connections. When combined with a VPN app, it gets even more secure, but not all VPN apps are up to the task of working seamlessly with the Tor network. In other words, you have to test for compatibility.

It appears that Norton VPN is one of those apps that works well with the Tor browser. As you can see, we were able to visit The Pulitzer-winning ProPublica.

Tor
Compatibility status:
Success

Platforms

Android
Linux
macOS
Windows
Simultaneous connections:
10 devices

On what platforms can you install the Norton Secure VPN app? You can install Norton VPN on the following platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. With a single subscription, you can run the app on up to 5 devices simultaneously.

For this review, we installed the app on a desktop computer and on an Android phone. The app on the desktop has a very poor interface.You cannot move it from the toolbar, which makes it darn hard to even take snapshots.

At the same time, the app lacks some basic VPN features such as a kill switch and IPv6 leak protection. You will also have to deal with the fact that the app is clumped and will have you squinting while navigating around.

Here is how the app looks on an Android phone:

Customer Support

Customer care at Norton Secure VPN is excellent, but there is still room for improvement. When looking for help, you will be bounced from one support system to another depending on the product that you purchased.

This may be daunting at first, but once you get used to it, it is no big deal. You can contact the customer care team by mail, live chat, or phone.

Here is a screenshot of our conversation with the team.

Support channels:
Email
Live chat
Help center
Phone line

Pricing

Norton VPN has a subscription plan that is based on how many devices you want to install the app on and for what duration. For a single device, you can subscribe for $49.99 a year, 5 devices $79.99 and 10 devices for $99.99. All the plans are heavily discounted such that they can cost $39.99, $39.99, and $59.99 respectively.

You can also purchase the app for as low as $4.99 a month, which is what we did for this review.

1 month (1 device)
$ 4.99
per month
 
$4.99 billed every month
1 year (1 device)
$ 3.34
per month
Save 33%
$39.99 billed every 12 months

The payment process is straightforward and you will experience no problems at all when making the purchase. The payment options are also widely varied, although you won’t be paying for the app with cryptocurrency any time soon.

Norton VPN has one of the best money-back guarantees in the industry at 60-days. This applies to any of their products, not just the VPN.