Although Norton Secure VPN doesn’t have the best reputation online, I wanted to know if its performance measured up to its more affordable price. I was curious to see how well it performs compared to its tough competition with low-cost plans and rivaling features.
If you need a VPN to watch shows and movies, Norton Secure VPN isn’t the best choice. During testing, I was only able to access Netflix (US), HBO Max, HBO NOW, and UKTV. Unfortunately, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and the BBC iPlayer had errors or didn’t load at all. If you need access to multiple streaming services, Norton Secure VPN limits your choices. Instead, I highly recommend that you check out ExpressVPN to unblock any popular platform.
While I could quickly unblock Netflix US with Norton Secure VPN, I wasn’t able to access any other content library. When I tried other country servers, I was redirected to Netflix US. This isn’t a big deal since Netflix US has one of the largest content libraries available — I had plenty of shows and movies to watch.
The biggest downside to only being able to watch Netflix US is if you live far away from the server like I do. I’m in Central Europe and the only available server was in Los Angeles — almost 10,000 km away. It took 20 seconds to load and almost 40 seconds for the stream quality to increase to full HD.
If Netflix is your #1 streaming platform, you can check this guide to avoid Netflix’s streaming errors and get access to multiple catalogs around the world.
Both HBO Max and HBO NOW worked well with Norton Secure VPN. I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Max and Long Shot on HBO NOW. Although the streams took roughly 25 seconds to load, I didn’t have any buffering while watching.
I tested UKTV to check if Norton Secure VPN was able to unblock smaller local services, and I was able to watch without any issues. I tried watching Abandoned Engineering and Taskmaster throughout different times, and all streams loaded in under 5 seconds.
I was unable to access any Disney+ library with Norton Secure VPN. Although the service didn’t display any error messages, it loaded indefinitely and failed to display the homepage.
It seems that Norton Secure VPN doesn’t prioritize unblocking streaming sites since it doesn’t regularly update the IP addresses to bypass blocks. While using the service, I noticed that even after frequently disconnecting and reconnecting to the same country, I still had the same IP address. With such a small pool of IP addresses, I’m not surprised that so many services are out of reach.
Fortunately, you can easily unblock Disney+ in high quality with ExpressVPN. I’ve tested ExpressVPN with numerous popular streaming services and was very happy with its high-quality streams.
Although I could open Hulu’s homepage, I had the following error message (code P-EDU101) when I clicked on a stream:
“It looks like you’re using an anonymous proxy or VPN. You’ll need to disable it to watch Hulu.”
This is likely due to Norton Secure VPN’s lack of resources directed at unblocking streaming services. I suggest you try ExpressVPN if you’re looking for a reliable VPN for streaming.
I wasn’t able to access Amazon Prime Video with Norton Secure VPN. After I connected to a UK server and opened the Prime Video homepage, I was shown this error message when I hovered over a show or movie thumbnail:
“Your device is connected to the Internet using a VPN or proxy service. Please disable it and try again. For more help, go to amazon.co.uk/vpn.”
The problem is (just as with the other streaming sites), Norton Secure VPN frequently reuses many of the same IP addresses, which are likely already blocked. Instead, you can try ExpressVPN to get easy access to unblock Prime Video.
Since the BBC blocks many VPNs from accessing the iPlayer, Norton Secure VPN doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer. I only got an error message that said:
“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”
I got mixed speeds with Norton Secure VPN, including fast speeds from servers closer to me and extremely slow speeds from servers farther from me. It’s reasonable for servers 10,000+ km away to perform slower than servers within 2,000 km, but speeds of under 15Mbps are remarkably slow.
Norton Secure VPN wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the 25Mbps needed for 4K streaming. If I wanted to watch Netflix in 4K, I wouldn’t be able to with these servers farther away. As long as you connect to nearby servers, your speeds should be fast enough.
Using a VPN adds extra steps to route your connection, which can result in higher latency (server delay) — the last thing you want during online gaming. During my tests, I wasn’t able to consistently game with Norton Secure VPN.
I first tested Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but was shown the error “Unable to connect to online services.” This warning disappeared when I was disconnected from the VPN. I had the same issue when trying to play Apex Legends. I was able to connect to Rocket League, although the game constantly showed me a “Packet Loss” icon. This made my game lag and it was too slow to play. Fortunately, I managed to play a round of Hell Let Loose without any noticeable issues.
Out of 4 games, only 1 worked — you’re better off using a VPN with less server delays. You can try ExpressVPN’s fast speeds for gaming — with a large, fast server network and low ping it’s a much better option for gamers.
Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.
Norton Secure VPN has 30 server locations around the world. Compared to some of my top VPN picks with thousands of servers to choose from, this is a small network. Unfortunately, its website doesn’t say how many total servers it has, and customer support claimed they didn’t know. Depending on where you live, this means you might not always have a nearby server to choose from.
I was disappointed that there was no option to choose a specific city. Every time I connected to the US, it was with a Los Angeles server even if I selected a closer East Coast location to try to get faster speeds.
Luckily, the performance of the servers was fine and it only took 7 seconds on average to connect to a server. I also never had unexpected drops during the 2 weeks I tested the VPN.
While Norton is well-known for its security software, I expected Norton Secure VPN to have extensive security options, but it fell short.
You only get L2TP/IPsec encryption with no option to change the protocol within the app. While this isn’t a bad protocol to use, the option to choose between multiple protocols is already standard with many other VPNs. If you want more details about how VPNs work, you can check out this basic guide to VPNs.
Norton has recently added a couple of new features to its VPN clients that I would consider basic must-haves for any top VPN. All its apps now include a kill switch when previously it was only available for Android users. A kill switch is an important element of a VPN, preventing any of your real information from leaking if your VPN connection drops. You now also have an option of split tunneling which allows you to choose which traffic you want to encrypt while allowing other traffic to go through your normal IP address.
I ran some DNS tests and was glad to see Norton Secure VPN passed them all.
Norton Secure VPN also has a built-in ad tracking blocker, which helps prevent advertisers from collecting information about what websites you visit so they can display targeted ads. Since I’ve only seen ad blockers provided by many VPNs, a tracking blocker is a new and useful feature.
Although I mainly use a VPN to encrypt my internet traffic — which Norton does — Norton Secure VPN is missing several of the security features that I expect from a VPN.
The first point is the most worrying, giving Norton the ability to collect information on the websites its users visit. Although it claims this isn’t related to any personally identifiable information, it would be preferable if it didn’t track this type of data at all. The second point is also very vague — “other information” covers a lot of possibilities.
Additionally, in the VPN section of the NortonLifeLock Product and Services Privacy Notices document, the company states that it collects:
Although it claims it’s anonymized, I’m still not happy with how much user data is being gathered. For a company that claims to be “no-log”, this is still a substantial amount of information collected. Additionally, it states, “NortonLifeLock may disclose the collected information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official as required or permitted by law or in response to a subpoena or other legal process.”
While plenty of no-log providers exist on the market, I see no reason to subscribe to a VPN that can potentially collect such a large amount of user data.
Norton Secure VPN actively blocks all torrent traffic on its network. When I asked Norton’s support team why the service doesn’t support torrenting, they told me that torrenting “leaves your computer vulnerable to security threats and attacks,” which could mean a potential “loss of your personal information and data.” In reality, torrenting doesn’t make you more vulnerable to threats than downloading from any other online source. I didn’t think this was a good excuse for the provider to prohibit torrenting.
Instead, I recommend ExpressVPN for downloading P2P files and torrenting for its high speeds, tough security, and no torrenting restrictions. With its large server network, you also always have a nearby server connection and 3 times as many country servers available compared to Norton Secure VPN.
No, Norton Secure VPN doesn’t work in China. The Chinese government censors the internet and monitors online activity, making it more difficult for VPNs to work in the country. Very few premium VPNs have enough resources to frequently update their servers and apply cutting-edge technology to bypass these cyber blocks.
You can read up on the best VPNs for unrestricted internet access in China if you plan to travel there.
You can connect Norton Secure VPN on up to 5 devices at once. I tested this by connecting 2 Windows PCs, a Mac, an Android phone, and an iPad. There was no noticeable difference in speed and all devices maintained reliable connectivity for the hour I was connected.
You can use Norton Secure VPN on the following devices:
I tested Norton Secure VPN on all of these devices with no issues. Unfortunately, consoles, routers, and Fire Stick devices aren’t supported, but I was happy that I could connect all of my main devices.
If Windows is your main operating system, you can read more about the best VPNs for Windows.
I should warn you: Although I completed the installation process in under 5 minutes, I immediately had technical issues. No matter how often I tried to log in for 2 days, the VPN wouldn’t work. After I had a long chat with customer service, they couldn’t fix the issue and promised that a technician would contact me in 7-10 days to help (they didn’t). I was able to log in after 8 days without needing further assistance, but it was an extremely frustrating start!
To uninstall Norton Secure VPN:
You can get support from Norton in 3 ways:
I tested its 24/7 live chat support and was impressed that I was connected to an agent in just 20 seconds. They were fast to reply and gave me helpful answers to the questions I asked, such as how to change the encryption protocol and access different Netflix libraries.
The biggest challenge was that I had a technical issue right after I finished installation and was told I’d get a call from a support technician within 7-10 days. Almost 2 weeks later, I still hadn’t received a call. I also checked the FAQ section that had guidance on the most common issues, including installation help, error messages, and account problems. Although the FAQs seemed well-written and even covered the issue I encountered, I wasn’t able to fix the issue with these articles.
While I somehow was able to log in more than a week later, others might not be so lucky to have their issues resolved. Since its phone support let me down, I recommend live chat for faster assistance.
We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.
Norton Secure VPN has different prices depending on how many device connections you need with your subscription. Its annual plans are roughly half the price as those of many other cheap VPNs. If all you need is basic online security and access to a small selection of streaming services, it’s a decent option.
You can pay for Norton Secure VPN with:
Norton Secure VPN offers a 60-day money-back guarantee with its annual plan and a 14-day money-back guarantee with its monthly plan. If you change your mind, you can simply contact Norton through live chat to request your money back.
To check this guarantee to see if it actually works, I signed up for an annual plan and used the service for a couple of weeks. Then I contacted customer support through the live chat and requested a refund. The agent tried to get me to stay by offering me 3 months for free then immediately approved the refund after I turned the offer down. I had the money returned to my account 5 days later.
If you’re searching for a free VPN, you can also take a look at this list of the best free VPNs currently available.
With lacking security features, some user data logging, no torrent support, few streaming options, and an outdated interface, Norton has a lot of catching up to do.
If you’re getting the Norton 360 security package anyway, Norton Secure VPN at least gives you access to a basic VPN service. Otherwise, if you need a VPN with premium features, there are many more promising providers on the market.
Of course, you can try Norton Secure VPN for free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee if you choose the annual subscription. If you sign up through Google Play on Android, you also get a 7-day free trial for 1 device to try the service with no risk. If you get the monthly plan, you can test Norton Secure VPN’s features for up to 14 days for free.
I tested the money-back guarantee myself and it was a stress-free process. After I signed up for an annual plan for 5 devices, I requested to cancel through Norton’s live chat after trying Norton Secure VPN’s features for 2 weeks. An agent approved my refund in under 5 minutes and the money was back in my account in 5 days.
Fortunately yes, using Norton Secure VPN is legal in most countries. Very few countries criminalize VPN use (North Korea and Iran) and some countries ban VPNs or make it harder to access them. Just be sure you don’t engage in criminal activities while connected to a VPN and you won’t get in trouble!
For a VPN that excels in all of the categories I tested for, you can check out ExpressVPN. It can unblock many popular streaming services, has high speeds, reliable security features, support for torrenting, and easy-to-use apps across multiple devices. Even better – you can try ExpressVPN risk-free with its money-back guarantee!
Norton Secure VPN has basic security features that will keep you safe online. However, it only has limited encryption protocols and logs some user data. These are necessary security features that protect you from getting hacked, stop IP and DNS leaks, and prevent your personal information from being sold to third-parties.