Norton Secure VPN Review 2020 - DON'T BUY IT BEFORE YOU READ THIS

What do we look at?

Norton Secure VPN Overview September 2020

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.

To find out, I tested its streaming capabilities, server speeds, security and privacy features, gaming and torrenting abilities, as well as overall user experience. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the stream quality and speeds, and concerned by the privacy policy. To find out more, check out my in-depth test results below. If you’d like to test Norton Secure VPN out yourself, you can try it for free for up to 60 days with its money-back guarantee. For a more secure option with better prices and streaming speeds, you can try Surfshark.

Try Norton Secure VPN for free for 60 days!

Don’t Have Time? Here’s a Short Summary (1-Minute Read)

Try Norton Secure VPN today!

Norton Secure VPN Unblocks Netflix, HBO Max, and HBO NOW, But Can’t Access, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or BBC iPlayer

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 NordVPN to unblock any popular platform.

Netflix: Unblocked

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.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN unblocking Netflix US and streaming Schitt's Creek.
I watched Schitt’s Creek on Netflix US with Norton Secure VPN

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.

Watch Netflix with Norton Secure VPN

HBO Max and HBO NOW: Unblocked

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.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN unblocking HBO Max and streaming Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I didn’t have any issues watching HBO Max and HBO NOW with Norton Secure VPN

Watch HBO with Norton Secure VPN

UKTV: Unblocked

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.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN unblocking UKTV and streaming Abandoned Engineering.
I was happy that Norton Secure VPN gave me access to local UK content

Watch UKTV with Norton Secure VPN

Disney+: Blocked

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.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN unable to unblock Disney+ with infinite loading on a blank screen
Disney+ doesn’t work with Norton Secure VPN

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 NordVPN. I’ve tested NordVPN with numerous popular streaming services and was very happy with its high-quality streams.

Watch Disney+ with NordVPN

Hulu: Blocked

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 NordVPN if you’re looking for a reliable VPN for streaming.

Watch Hulu with NordVPN

Amazon Prime Video: Blocked

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 NordVPN to get easy access to unblock Prime Video.

Watch Prime Video with NordVPN

BBC iPlayer: Blocked

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.”

You can try NordVPN to unblock all major streaming sites.

Watch BBC iPlayer with NordVPN

Important to know

2007
No
1
60 days guaranteed
windows mac android ios

Contact Details

www.us.norton.com/wifi-privacy

Speed7.6

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.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN speed tests while connected to German, UK, US, and Australian servers.
I had fast speeds Norton Secure VPN servers close to me, but they were very slow farther away

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.

Is Norton Secure VPN Fast Enough for Gaming? (Barely)

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.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN causing connectivity issues in online games.
When connected to Norton Secure VPN, most games failed to load or had connection issues

Out of 4 games, only 1 worked — you’re better off using a VPN with less server delays. You can try NordVPN’s fast speeds for gaming — with a large, fast server network and low ping it’s a much better option for gamers.

Game lag-free with NordVPN

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

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.

Servers7.4

Servers — A Small Network but Decent Performance

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.

Security — Few Options Leave a Lot to Be Desired

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.

I was disappointed that a kill switch was only available on the Android version of the app. This feature is an important element of a VPN, preventing any of your real information from leaking if your VPN connection drops.

On the plus side, I ran some DNS tests and was glad to see Norton Secure VPN passed them all.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN passing a DNS leak test.
I was pleased that Norton Secure VPN successfully hid my real IP address on the leak tests

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.

Privacy — Privacy Policy Creates Uncertainty

Norton’s VPN-specific privacy policy is concerning, since it states that sometimes the software may collect:

  • “Information on potential security risks as well as URLs of websites visited that the Software deems potentially fraudulent… This information is not correlated with any personally identifiable information.”
  • “The other information that is used for purposes of analyzing and improving the functionality of Norton products. This information is not correlated with any personally identifiable information.”

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:

  • Subscriber information including:
    • IP Address/Geolocation (anonymized)
    • Device ID Serial Number
  • Provisioning information including:
    • Device Name and Type
    • OS version (for mobile devices only)
    • Language
  • Security information including:
    • Aggregate Bandwidth Usage (limited to the number of bytes transferred using the service)

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.

Torrenting — Not Supported

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 NordVPN 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.

Torrent securely with NordVPN!

Does Norton Secure VPN Work in China? No (But Other VPNs Do)

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.

Server Locations

Australia
Austria
Belgium
Brazil
Canada
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Mexico
See all supported locations...

User Experience8.2

Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 5 Devices at Once

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.

Device Compatibility — Works With Major Operating Systems

You can use Norton Secure VPN on the following devices:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Android
  • iOS

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.

Screenshots of Norton Secure VPN Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS apps.
Norton Secure VPN has apps for the top 4 operating systems

If Windows is your main operating system, you can read more about the best VPNs for Windows.

Set-Up & Installation — Installed in Under 5 Minutes

  1. Go to norton.com/products/norton-secure-vpn. Sign up or click “Sign In” at the top-right if you already have an account.
    Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN's purchase page.
  2. Once on the My Norton page, you should see “Secure VPN” with a “Download” button. Click on it to be taken to the download page. On the next page, click “Agree & download.”
    Screenshots of Norton Secure VPNs My Norton and download pages.
  3. Open the file (named NortonSecureVPN.exe on Windows) and go through the installation process.
    Screenshot of first step of Norton Secure VPN's Windows install process.
  4. Launch Norton Secure VPN. Click “Virtual Location” and double-click a country to connect!
    Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN connected to a server in the Czech Republic.

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!

Uninstall Norton Secure VPN Easily

To uninstall Norton Secure VPN:

  • Windows – You can visit “Programs and Features” in the Windows Control Panel and click uninstall.
  • MacOS – Simply drag the Norton Secure VPN app from Applications to the Trash.
  • Android – Hold down the app and drag it to “Uninstall”.
  • iOS – You just need to hold down the app and click the X.

Support8.4

You can get support from Norton in 3 ways:

  • Live chat (24/7)
  • Phone (24/7)
  • FAQ/knowledge base

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.

Screenshot of a live chat conversation with Norton Secure VPN support.
You can get your questions answered quickly through Norton Secure VPN’s live chat

Try Norton Secure VPN today

How We Test Customer Support and Why Should You Care

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.

Pricing7.8

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.

Payment Options

You can pay for Norton Secure VPN with:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal

Try Norton Secure VPN for Free for 60 Days With Its Money-Back Guarantee

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.

Screenshot of requesting a refund through Norton Secure VPN's 24/7 live chat
You can get a fast refund with Norton’s live chat

If you’re searching for a free VPN, you can also take a look at this list of the best free VPNs currently available.

Try Norton Secure VPN for free for 60 days 

Norton Secure VPN offers the following plans

Final Verdict

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.

Try Norton Secure VPN for yourself

Common FAQs

🤑 Can I try Norton Secure VPN for free?

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!

😇 Is Norton Secure VPN worth getting?

No, there are much better VPNs on the market at a lower price and with many more features. Norton Secure VPN didn’t convince me with its limited streaming services, delays while gaming, basic security features, vague privacy policy, and no torrenting support. It only works as a decent basic VPN if you get it bundled with a Norton 360 security subscription. However, it doesn’t provide enough features overall to make it worth recommending.

For a VPN that excels in all of the categories I tested for, you can check out NordVPN. 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 NordVPN for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee!

🙃 Will Norton Secure VPN protect me online?

Norton Secure VPN has basic security features that will keep you safe online. However, it only has limited encryption protocols, lacks a kill switch for most devices, 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.

Try Norton Secure VPN now

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