Norton Secure VPN review

A very basic VPN from a very big security name

Norton Secure VPN Hero
(Image: © NortonLifeLock)

TechRadar Verdict

Norton Secure VPN is incredibly fast and works well enough as a simple add-on to the Norton 360 security suite. It doesn't have the features, unblocking, or privacy-protecting abilities to match the top VPN competition but it's good value when bundled with other Norton services.


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    Very fast

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    Very fast

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    Easy to use

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    Unblocks US/ Australia Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer

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    P2P supported with some locations

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    Effective blocking of malicious domains

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    Good value when bundled with Norton 360 security suite


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    Windows kill switch failed our tests

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    Some logging

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    No audit

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    Didn't unblock Netflix UK, Canada, Japan, Disney Plus

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    WireGuard only

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    Only 29 locations

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    Few settings

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    Above-average annual prices after first-year discount

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It seems like all the big security companies offer a VPN these days, but Norton Secure VPN is better than most. It's easy to use, has more features than you might expect, and is still surprisingly affordable.

Norton's network is a little small, with only 29 countries available and no city-level selections. Most are in Europe and North America, although there are servers in Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa.

There are apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. You can connect one, five, or 10 devices simultaneously, depending on your plan. Sounds reasonable, but beware, these have to be specific devices. If you buy a five-device plan and install the app on two laptops, two phones, and a tablet, you can't install it anywhere else until it's removed from one of your other devices.

P2P is supported, though not with all locations. Choose the ‘Torrent-Optimized Region' option in Norton's app and it'll connect to the nearest torrent-friendly location.

Norton Secure VPN Torrent Support

It's easy to hook up with the nearest torrent-friendly location (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

The service uses the speedy and secure WireGuard protocol but doesn't provide any way to get it working manually on other devices. 

Checking the Windows app Settings box reveals some welcome features including a kill switch that protects your connection if the VPN drops, split tunneling which enables you to choose which app traffic should be routed through the VPN and which uses your regular connection, and built-in ad, tracker, and malware blocking, too.

Norton Secure VPN Plans and Pricing

Both monthly and annual plans are available (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

Plans and pricing

Norton Secure VPN prices start at just $4.99 billed monthly for a single device license. Most providers ask $10-$13 for monthly plans, so if you only need to protect that one device, Norton looks like a very good deal.

Norton's five-device plan starts cheap at $3.33 a month billed annually, although that doubles to $6.66 on renewal.

The 10-device plan is priced at $5 a month on the annual subscription, rising to $8.33 on renewal. That looks a little costly to us but when bought in a bundle it can be more cost effective.

Buy Norton Secure VPN as a bundle with Norton 360 Deluxe and you'll also get an excellent antivirus for up to five PCs, Macs, mobiles and tablets, a firewall for PC and Mac, parental controls, a password manager, 50GB cloud backup space, and more. It's only fractionally more expensive at $4.17 a month for the first year of the annual plan, and still reasonable at $9.58 on renewal ($114.99 a year). If you're in the market for a new antivirus or security suite, that could be the best option.

Whatever your product preferences, Norton protects you with a 14-day money-back guarantee for monthly-billed subscriptions and a generous 60-days with annual plans.

Norton Secure VPN Privacy

Norton Secure VPN can block trackers and more, but the service does keep some logs on its users (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

Privacy and logging

The website claims that “unlike some other VPNs, we don't track, log, or save your browsing activities.” Sounds promising, but there's no more detail on the front page.

A 'What is a no-log VPN?' blog post vaguely states that although “Norton Secure VPN does not log information about where you browse on the Internet”, it does collect “other limited data in accordance with the NortonLifeLock Global Privacy Statement and the Product Privacy Notice.”

The Norton Secure VPN privacy policy says the service collects or accesses your device name, type, and identifier, OS version (for mobile devices), license identifier, a running total of bandwidth used, usage data, and some very basic diagnostic information to help solve any issues (an error state code, for instance).

One unusual clause says “if suspicious behavior is detected or blocked” Norton might collect your IP address, license identifier, device identifier, and frequency of abuse of services for up to 7 days.

This leaves us with more questions than answers. What does Norton regard as suspicious behavior, for instance? Surely this must mean it's monitoring at least some user actions. In which case, will this data be shared with others? Norton's Global Privacy Statement does say that it will disclose personal data in response to a subpoena, warrant, discovery request, or a request with the purpose of identifying and/or preventing credit card fraud, identity theft, and other crimes.

This is all just too vague for us, and we'd like more detail on how the company handles your data. A Transparency Report giving some specifics on what Norton has disclosed to the authorities might be interesting. It's hard to see why a name as big as Norton can't join the likes ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and TunnelBear in putting itself through a public audit, to give potential customers real information on how it's looking after their privacy.

Norton Secure VPN Windows App

Norton Secure VPN's Windows app is very simple and straightforward (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)


Norton Secure VPN's Windows app has a simple and straightforward interface which even the greenest of VPN newbies will figure out immediately.

Click the On button and the app connects to your nearest server. Alternatively, make your own choice from 29 countries in the location list. This is as basic as it gets – no ping times, server load stats, Favorites system, filters, or anything else.

Norton Secure VPN Windows App Locations

You can pick a server from a very basic location list (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

Both the desktop and mobile apps have optional ad, tracker, and malware blocking. Many VPNs now offer some kind of content filtering, but can you be sure it's doing anything useful? To get an idea, we turned the feature on and tried a few tests.

Norton scored below 40% on our ad-blocking test (most VPNs average 70-90%.) It blocked a very respectable 69% of our test trackers, though, and (maybe unsurprisingly for a security company) protected us against 100% of our malicious test URLs.

Norton Secure VPN Split Tunneling

Split tunneling lets you specify apps that don't use the VPN tunnel (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

The app doesn't include many settings, but what you get is worthwhile. These include settings to select whether to launch the app and automatically connect when Windows starts, enable the Kill Switch, and to set up split tunneling.

The main omission is any way to change protocol or customize how the VPN connects –  it's WireGuard-only. 

Oddly, the app doesn't provide any way to close it down entirely. There's no Exit, Quit, or similar button. Closing the app window simply minimizes it to an icon in the system tray and there's no right-click, Exit option there either.

Norton Secure VPN Windows App Settings

The kill switch did not impress us (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

We ran some extreme tests on the kill switch by ceasing Secure VPN's WireGuard processes and stopping its services. The connection dropped, but the app didn't warn us, the kill switch didn't block our internet, and our device used its regular unprotected internet connection as usual. Not good.

Maybe we were unlucky? We tried turning our router off and on to simulate a dropped network. A good kill switch should block everything apart from the VPN app until it can reconnect. Secure VPN didn't block our internet, didn't reconnect, and told us to try connecting again later.

Put this all together and it looks like the Windows kill switch is unreliable in the extreme. There's no way to be sure it will kick in and block your internet if the VPN drops, and that could mean your device traffic is unprotected for at least a few seconds, and possibly until you notice there's a problem. That may not matter much if you're just unblocking Netflix, but it's a disaster if you're doing anything more privacy-critical.

Keep in mind that this test was for the Windows kill switch only. It can't tell us what might happen with other apps. If you're only running Norton Secure VPN on Android, for instance, you won't be relying on Norton's app; you'll be using the very well-tested and reliable Android system kill switch.

Norton Secure VPN Android App

This is the user interface of Norton Secure VPN's Android app (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

Mac and mobile apps

The Mac app looks more appealing than Norton's Windows offering, with a colorful map highlighting your current location. It has the ad, malware, and tracker blocker, but is missing some of the more advanced features seen in the Windows app, namely WireGuard support, split tunneling, and the kill switch.

It's much the same with Secure VPN Android and iOS apps. Norton has tweaked the interface a little to suit portrait mode and smaller screens, but it follows the same minimalist approach. There is just the big ‘Connect' button, a plain location list, and a few tiny icons. Very simple and straightforward.

There are a handful of useful bonus features in the background. The iOS app has the ad blocker, and a ‘Wi-Fi Security' feature which can make the VPN automatically connect when you access an unsecured or compromised network.

Android has the ad blocker, split tunneling, and the kill switch, but its version of ‘Wi-Fi Security' is more basic.  It'll warn you when accessing an unsecured network, but won't automatically connect. You're left to do that yourself.

Overall, Norton Secure VPN's apps are easy to use, and the Windows app has a few useful features. The other apps are distinctly short on functionality, and the Windows kill switch looks unreliable in the extreme, so there's plenty of work for the company to do yet.

Norton Secure VPN did fairly well in our unblocking tests

Norton Secure VPN did fairly well in our unblocking tests (Image credit: Shutterstock / sitthiphong)

Netflix and streaming

Norton Secure VPN is mostly sold on its ability to protect your details from cybercriminals when you're using Wi-Fi, and the website doesn't make any big claims (or even small ones) about unblocking big-name streaming platforms.

Our unblocking tests found some notable successes, with Secure VPN getting us into US and Australian Netflix, but failing in the UK, Canada, and Japan.

It was a similar story with other US platforms, as Secure VPN unblocked Amazon Prime, but didn't get us access to the Disney Plus site.

The mixed picture continued in Australia, with Secure VPN getting us into 9Now but failing with 10 Play.

Norton finished strongly in the UK, though, unblocking BBC iPlayer, ITV and, Channel 4.

That's far from a perfect performance, but Secure VPN clearly has some unblocking skills, and there's a chance it'll help you access other platforms we didn't test.

If you're looking to unblock just about anything, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Private Internet Access, ProtonVPN, PureVPN, and Surfshark each got us into every test site we tried in our latest reviews.

New Speedtest Image

We use a number of different speed tests to gauge the performance of each VPN we review (Image credit: Ookla)


We measured Norton Secure VPN's performance by accessing its nearest server from a UK data center with a 1Gbps connection. We then checked download speeds using benchmarking sites and services including (website and the command line app), Measurement Lab, Cloudflare, and others. 

The results were amazing, with Norton Secure VPN reaching a median 950Mbps+ across its best sessions. That puts the service alongside big names like NordVPN and Surshark on the performance front.

If your internet connection or Wi-Fi barely reaches 95Mbps, let alone 950Mbps, this won't in itself bring you a lot of benefit. 16 out of our top 20 VPNs reach at least 500Mbps, and it's likely that any of those will have all the speed you'll be able to use.

However, the ability to reach such an exceptional peak performance does suggest Norton Secure VPN has capable servers with high-speed connections, which aren't overloaded by other users. That's good news for everyone, regardless of personal connection speeds.

Norton Secure VPN Support

NortonLifeLock offers 24/7 support via live chat and phone (Image credit: NortonLifeLock)


Run into problems with Norton Secure VPN and you could head off to the support site, but be prepared for disappointment. Although there’s plenty of content, most of it is on Norton’s core security products. There are a few FAQs, setup and usage guides, but nothing that begins to compete with the specialist VPN providers.

This makes sense for Norton’s core consumer market, and the site does a fair job of explaining the service basics to VPN newcomers. But there’s not much here for more technical users. We went searching for protocols, for instance, to see if we could find any advanced articles, but there were no hits for ‘WireGuard’, and ‘IKEv2’ had only three.

You can contact the support team direct via live chat and phone. We had quick responses to our test questions, the agents were friendly and helpful, and went above and beyond to help. When a previously lengthy chat couldn’t solve our issue, for instance, an agent remotely accessed our device (with permission) to try to fix the problem.

Overall, the support team doesn’t appear to have the level of specialist VPN knowledge we see with the top providers. But that’s no great surprise, considering it has to cover the full Norton range, not just Secure VPN. And the reality is if, like most people, you just want to ask a straightforward product question – what does this mean, where do I find that, is my local server down right now? – then Norton’s support should generally deliver what you need.

Norton Secure VPN review: Final verdict

Norton Secure VPN is simple and very fast, and if that's all you need – or, maybe, you're looking for a VPN and a security suite – then its back-to-basics approach might appeal. Experts will be frustrated by the lack of features, though, plus the Windows kill switch is a big concern, and there are many more capable and better value VPNs around.

Mike Williams
Lead security reviewer

Mike is a lead security reviewer at Future, where he stress-tests VPNs, antivirus and more to find out which services are sure to keep you safe, and which are best avoided. Mike began his career as a lead software developer in the engineering world, where his creations were used by big-name companies from Rolls Royce to British Nuclear Fuels and British Aerospace. The early PC viruses caught Mike's attention, and he developed an interest in analyzing malware, and learning the low-level technical details of how Windows and network security work under the hood.