A VPN From Tech Giant
- Jurisdiction: USA
- Advanced Privacy Features: -
- Number of Servers and Countries: Servers in 31 Countries
- Streaming and P2P: No
Norton is one of the largest, and perhaps most controversial, names in tech. Although mainly known for virus protection, they also offer a VPN for private browsing. But does it deliver in terms of price and privacy, or is the company attempting to coast by on their famous name?
Your complete Norton VPN review covers the good, bad, and everything in-between:
What is Norton VPN?
Norton VPN is a fairly bare-bones VPN. It delivers a reasonably robust selection of servers, especially throughout the US and UK. Plus, it’s fairly easy-to-use. But the Norton name carries a bit of baggage that you’ll need to consider.
Norton is known for antivirus software, and their VPN is often packaged as part of larger software packages. Many critics say Norton neglects their VPN, using it mainly as an enticement for their antiviral software.
While it’s true Norton doesn’t devote nearly as much attention to their VPN as their antivirus tech, their VPN still does have some benefits, especially if you’re looking for something simple and easy.
Norton is a California-based company – and that’s not great for privacy. The US has invasive privacy laws that typically don’t favor the user.
On the plus side, their logging policy is reassuring. They don’t store any identifiable data long-term. When you’re using the VPN, they do collect some data, including device type and aggregate bandwidth data, but it’s used to improve performance and can’t track you individually.
How Transparent is Norton VPN?
Norton VPN isn’t very transparent. While they offer a variety of performance guarantees, mainly related to virus protection, they’re not particularly forthcoming about their internal processes regarding logging and tracking.
At the same time, Norton is a giant, US-based company. We trust they’re not collecting logs or storing any info aside from the anonymous info described above. Unfortunately, the details are buried in pages of legalese.
What Devices Does Norton VPN Support?
Norton VPN supports the four most common platforms:
Unfortunately, that’s all they support. You can’t use this VPN with Linux. Even stranger, it doesn’t support any type of direct router connection, so you can’t use it with gaming consoles or Amazon Fire TV. Likewise, it comes up short with browser extensions, offering none whatsoever.
It supports the use of one, five, or ten devices at once, depending on which plan you choose.
Norton VPN Features
Now in our Norton VPN review, we’ll take a look at the platform’s special features. Unfortunately, Norton VPN is fairly sparse in that regard, but they do have a few:
Public WiFi Protection
You can use your phone or laptop on any unsecured, public WiFi spot without worry. Norton VPN’s WiFi protection activates automatically.
You can avoid targeting advertisements and browse anonymously.
Unfortunately, they don’t provide much detail about their level of encryption beyond the description of “bank grade.”
Is Norton VPN Fast?
Speed is definitely a major benefit with Norton VPN. The typical slowdown when using their VPN is under 10%, which is pretty incredible compared to most of the competition. You can use the VPN with no significant impact on streaming, browsing, torrenting, or gaming.
However, there is one major caveat. You’ll only get great speeds if you’re located near one of their servers. Typically, that means you’ll need to be in the US or UK.
Servers and Locations
Norton VPN’s server locations are a bit too mysterious for our liking. They have servers in 31 countries, but that’s all the detail they provide. They don’t list how many individual servers they have, whether or not they own those servers, or even if those servers are real or virtual.
The only information we know for sure is they provide more options for US servers than anywhere else. If you’re in South America, Africa, or Asia, you’ll want a VPN that provides coverage closer to home.
Does Norton VPN Unblock Streaming Services Such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu?
You’ll want to pass on Norton VPN if accessing streaming services is your main goal. Unfortunately, this VPN simply isn’t up to the job.
At best, you might access Netflix through a US location. However, the streaming frequently cracks down on VPN addresses, so there’s no guarantee your Netflix access will last.
As far as other streaming services, you won’t get far. Disney+, Hulu, BBC, and many others are blocked. It’s not the right VPN for skirting regional locks.
Does Norton VPN Support Torrenting and P2P File Sharing?
Unfortunately, their torrenting support is worse than their streaming support. Actually, we shouldn’t say “torrenting support” because they don’t permit torrenting at all. They’ll disconnect your connection at the first sign of P2P traffic.
You probably wouldn’t want to torrent with this VPN anyway. Of the many VPNs we review, Norton is one of the few without a Kill Switch. Normally, your IP address is automatically prevented from exposure if your VPN connection drops, but that’s not the case here.
What is the Price of Norton VPN?
Norton’s prices aren’t outrageous, but they’re also a bit on the high side, especially considering the overall lack of features. They offer three pricing tiers based on how many devices you want to connect.
- One Device – $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year
- Five Devices – $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year
- Ten Devices – $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year
For most people, the Five Device plan makes the most sense. The One Device plan doesn’t save you anything in a year, and the Ten Device plan is probably more than the average person needs.
Let’s wrap up our Norton VPN review with a recommendation.
Generally, most users will find better VPN options at similar or better prices. Norton VPN does the basics, but you don’t get much more. They’re also not transparent about their encryption or servers.
If you wound up with Norton VPN as part of a Norton suite of products, it’s a solid enough product for general browsing on your computer. However, if you’re looking for a standalone VPN to purchase, you’ll likely find better value elsewhere.