NordVPN vs Norton Secure VPN

If you’re shopping for a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you’ll probably start to notice a pattern pretty quickly. The same words and phrases appear all over the place, with providers bragging about their “military-grade encryption”, “no-logs policy”, and “leak prevention”. The problem is that they rarely explain what exactly any of this means or, more importantly, why you should care.

We don’t think that you should have to spend hours researching computer networking just to understand what you’re paying for. That’s why we’ve put two leading VPNs, NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN, to the test. After extensive research, we’ve created an at-a-glance comparison of these services. Not only that, but we’ll be explaining what each feature does and what popular pieces of jargon mean as we go. Which is better: NordVPN or Norton Secure VPN? Read on to find out.

NordVPN

  • Thousands of fast, reliable servers
  • Ideal for secure streaming
  • Proven no-logs policy
  • Supports a wide range of devices

Norton Secure VPN

  • Extremely high speeds
  • Works with most streaming services
  • Low monthly price
  • Makes it easy to get help

NordVPN vs Norton Secure VPN pricing

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Subscription periodsOne monthOne month
One yearOne year
Two years
Special offerClaim a 70% discount with NordVPN’s two-year planSave 40% by choosing an annual plan
Highest price per month$11.99$9.99
Lowest price per month$3.99$2.50
One-year price$59.88Depends on the number of devices covered. Between $29.99 and $59.99
Money-back guarantee30 days60 days

NordVPN’s monthly plan costs a flat fee of $11.99 USD (GBP £9.17), which is a little above average. Norton Secure VPN, however, has three different price points depending on whether you’d like to secure one, five, or 10 devices. These cost $4.99 (£3.81), $7.99 (£6.11), and $9.99 (£7.63) per month, respectively.

Norton remains cheaper over longer periods of time, but only if you want to protect five devices or fewer. Its two cheapest plans cost $29.99 (£22.92) and $39.99 (£30.57), while its 10-device annual plan is $59.99 (£45.86). NordVPN just manages to squeeze in underneath this price point. It offers one year of coverage for $59.88, a whole 11 cents cheaper. You could also sign up for two years of coverage for $95.76 (£73.19), which will score you a 66 percent discount and reduce the average monthly price to just $3.99 (£3.05).

These services both come with a money-back guarantee. This is great because it means that once you’ve signed up, you can try the VPN out and cancel for a full refund if it’s not a good fit. NordVPN offers a 30-day guarantee while Norton Secure VPN has a 60-day guarantee. What’s more, Norton’s VPN is included in a package called Norton 360 which includes various other tools such as a password manager and antivirus. Norton 360 has a 14-day free trial and while you have to provide payment info to use it, you can easily cancel online.

BEST DEAL FOR NORDVPN:Get up to 70 percent off with NordVPN’s two-year subscription.

BEST DEAL FOR NORTON SECURE VPN:Cover your devices from $2.50 (GBP £1.92) per month with Norton Secure VPN’s one-year plan.

NordVPN vs Norton Secure VPN features

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Simultaneous connections6Between one and 10, depending on plan
Operating system appsWindows, Linux, MacOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Firestick/Fire TVWindows, MacOS, Android, iOS
Manual install devicesRoutersNone
Split tunnelingWindows, Android, and browser extensionsWindows and Android
Free extrasSmart DNS service, dark web monitor.
Automatic wi-fi protection, ad-blocking and
malware-scanning. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
None

Regardless of your chosen subscription, NordVPN lets you secure six devices at once. Norton Secure VPN can protect up to 10 (on its most expensive plan), but doesn’t work with as many different operating systems. You’ll be able to install Norton’s VPN on iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows devices, but there’s no support for Linux systems or wireless routers.

NordVPN actually excels in this area. It has apps for all major platforms and can be manually installed on many others. You can even install it on your router, which lets you secure every device on your home network while still only counting as one connection. Further, this VPN has extensions that can secure traffic from several major browsers. Remember, though: these only encrypt your browser traffic and not data from any of your other apps.

Both providers support split tunneling, which allows you to say which apps can pass through the VPN. You might use this to access local and foreign services simultaneously, or to maximize the download speeds of certain apps. NordVPN also offers a huge range of additional features including ad-blocking, tracker-blocking, and a tool that lets you know if your data has been leaked on the dark web. There’s also a Smart DNS feature that can help you access US-only services on devices that don’t normally support VPN apps, like Smart TVs.

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Streaming service
NetflixMultiple libraries including US, UK, Japan, Canada, and IndiaNo
HuluYesYes
HBO MaxYesYes
Amazon Prime VideoYes (eight confirmed libraries)Yes (UK and US)
BBC iPlayerYesYes
ABCYesNo
CBSNoYes
NBCYesYes
ITVYesNo
Channel 4YesYes

Most major streaming services are regionally restricted. This means that they either display different content from one region to another or that you can only use the service in a specific country. However, our team was able to securely access just about every service we tested using NordVPN, including several Netflix libraries. The only exception was CBS, but this platform causes problems for a lot of providers.

Norton Secure VPN put in a strong performance here too. While it wasn’t able to stream Netflix, ITV, or ABC, it could access CBS, which is certainly unusual. Of course, as shown above, it worked with plenty of other services too. You can even use it to stream the British and American Prime Video catalogs (though you’ll need an account linked to a local address first).

Which of these VPNs work in China?

If you’re visiting China, you’ll likely notice that some of your favorite websites are inaccessible. That’s because the government blocks access to all kinds of content using a collection of web-filtering tools known as the Great Firewall. However, you can access sites that are blocked in China using the right VPN. This is easier said than done; most VPN websites are themselves inaccessible and the Great Firewall blocks uncloaked VPN traffic.

Norton Secure VPN, for instance, simply won’t work in China. NordVPN users can browse the web as normal, though. While any server should work, NordVPN operates obfuscated servers designed to keep you browsing freely, even if the Great Firewall is updated during your stay.  Just be sure to install the app ahead of time, and to make a copy of its manual setup instructions just in case you run into any problems.

Setup and interface

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Automatic setup wizardWindows, Android, MacOS, Linux, iOSWindows, MacOS, Android, iOS
Main location selectionList-based/Map-basedList-based
Extra settings pagesYesYes
Mobile-friendlyYesYes

NordVPN’s mobile and desktop apps are actually fairly similar, so no matter which platform you prefer, you’ll have a consistent experience. The home screen features a one-click connection button, plus a list of servers, including some designed for torrenting and bypassing censorship. The menus are well-organized, with settings broken up into different tabs. Best of all, each option comes with a short description of what it does. Desktop versions have one significant difference, though: they include a security score page that explains how to better protect your system (for instance, by enabling the built-in kill switch).

Nordvpn mobile

Norton Secure VPN has a pretty simplistic design. That said, its actual appearance will be different depending on whether you have the standalone desktop app, the mobile app, or the version included with Norton 360. No matter which you’re using, you can connect in a single click, and settings are only ever a menu away. We liked that all versions included a way to check your IP address, since the user often has to rely on third-party tools for this.

Norton Secure VPN's mobile app

Servers and performance

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Server countries6030+
Total number of servers5,400+1,500+

NordVPN has more than three times the number of servers that Norton Secure VPN does. Not only that, it has twice the number of supported locations. Norton covers all of the highest-traffic countries, but normally, you’d expect a paid service to offer at least 40 or so. Notably, each provider has P2P-optimized servers, with NordVPN also offering obfuscated and Tor over VPN servers for added privacy, and Norton offering streaming-friendly servers as well.

To its credit, Norton Secure VPN provides some of the highest speeds we’ve seen, averaging 317 Mbps on a 5 Gbps connection. However, NordVPN just manages to beat it, with an average speed of 369 Mbps. Given that 4K streaming only requires a 25 Mbps connection, these services should be fast enough for whatever you have in mind, even if multiple people are sharing your connection.

Take a look below to see where NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN have servers:

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Albania
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Mexico
Moldova
Netherlands
New Zealand
North Macedonia
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Serbia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Ukraine
Vietnam

NordVPN covers a good number of locations, including a few less common ones (such as the UAE and Moldova). Notably, it has servers everywhere Norton does. This theoretically means that travelers from more places can use this service to access content from back home. Norton Secure VPN has servers in the most in-demand locations such as the US and Australia. Really, though, we’d have preferred to see a few more included.

Security

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
VPN protocolsOpenVPN, NordLynxOpenVPN (IPsec on iOS)
OpenVPN data encryptionAES-256AES-256
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-4096Undisclosed
Cloaking technologyObfuscated serversNone
App securityKill switch, automatic wi-fi protection, malware-scanning, ad and tracker blocking, local traffic blockerKill switch, automatic wi-fi protection, ad and tracker blocking
DNS statusPrivate DNSPrivate DNS

Both of these providers use 256-bit AES encryption and private DNS servers to hide your activities from snoopers. This is currently considered uncrackable, so there’s nothing to worry about from a privacy perspective.

Additionally, NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN both block ads, trackers, and malware automatically. They can both be configured to connect automatically whenever you use an unsecured network. They also include a kill switch that stops sending data the moment your connection to the VPN drops, although NordVPN’s lets you stop sending data from specific apps.

There are a couple of significant differences too, though. For instance, Norton users can’t choose their protocol: they’ll use IPsec on iOS devices and OpenVPN on everything else. NordVPN, however, lets you swap between OpenVPN and NordLynx, its own custom protocol built on the fast, easily-audited WireGuard protocol. You can also prevent other resources on the network (such as printers) from communicating with your device, which closes down one avenue of attack entirely. Finally, NordVPN has special obfuscated servers that are designed to beat VPN-detection systems for free browsing and improved privacy.

Privacy

 NordVPN
HQ basePanamaUnited States
Connection logsNoIP address, license identifier, device information, assorted analytical data
Activity logsNoneNone
User details for signupEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment optionsBitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, gift cardsNone

NordVPN follows a strict no-logging policy. This means that it can’t reveal any information about what you do online, since this simply isn’t recorded. It’s based in Panama too, so there’s not even any legal requirement to store user data. If you’re concerned about privacy, there are plenty of ways to pay anonymously. In fact, gift cards readily available in several major US stores.

This VPN does store the timestamp of your most recent connection and your username but this information is deleted 15 minutes after you disconnect. On mobile, NordVPN stores device identifiers for analytics and marketing purposes. These could be used to identify you over a long enough time. On the other hand, it’s easy to clear these (and NordVPN even explains how in its privacy policy).

Norton Secure VPN could drastically improve its privacy policy. To begin with, it collects quite a bit more data than we’d like. This includes your source IP address, unique license and installation identifiers, and information about how you use the service. This is more than enough to identify you personally, even if the sites you visited aren’t logged. Further, Norton is based in the US, which is a member of the Fourteen Eyes surveillance alliance. In short, the data Norton keeps could be shared with authorities from all 14 countries, without your knowledge.

Configuration

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Address allocationSharedShared
Dedicated IP address possibleYes: users can choose from an address
in Germany, the UK, France,
the US, or the Netherlands
No

NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN both use shared address allocation. In other words, everyone who connects to a specific server will share one IP address. This provides an extra layer of privacy, since it becomes extremely difficult to tell who accessed what. In fact, every additional person who connects complicates the process even further. Neither of these VPNs actually stores details of the sites you visit, but it’s always nice to have a backup plan, especially where your privacy is concerned.

NordVPN allows you to pay an extra $79 (£60.65) per year for a dedicated IP address. This address will never change, and you’ll have exclusive access, making it much less likely to be blacklisted by region-locked services or online banking systems. However, since your activities aren’t obscured by other users, it’s theoretically easier to track you across the web. Norton Secure VPN does not currently offer this option at the time of writing.

Customer service

 NordVPNNorton Secure VPN
Live chatYes (in-house)Yes
Ticket supportYesCombined with live chat system
Email supportYesNo
Phone supportNoYes
Searchable knowledge baseYesYes
Video guidesYesYes

The less time you spend talking to customer support, the better. Luckily, both of these VPNs make it easy to get help. Usually, your best bet will be the 24/7 live chat service. However, you can submit a ticket for more technical problems instead if you’d prefer. NordVPN has a dedicated support email address and will even answer general queries from non-subscribers.

Norton Secure VPN’s ticket system is built into its live chat. While it doesn’t have email support, it does let you call an agent on the phone. Notably, there are local phone numbers for a large number of countries, so you won’t have to contend with international call charges.

NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN both offer a searchable knowledge base full of answers to common questions. Further, they each have their own YouTube channel with short video guides. That said, it’s a little difficult to find relevant videos on Norton’s channel because so many videos cater to other Norton products.

The winner: NordVPN

Norton Secure VPN is a solid general-purpose service, and its speeds truly are exceptional. However, while it does a decent job with most tasks, it struggles to do any especially well. Its network is a decent size, for instance, but smaller than many of its rivals. It’s fine for streaming, but doesn’t work at all with Netflix. Not only that, but its pricing scheme appears increasingly dated now that more providers are doing away with connection limits entirely.

For these reasons, NordVPN is the better option for most people. This service is similarly-priced, yet faster, better for streaming, and significantly more privacy-focused. Further, unlike Norton Secure VPN, NordVPN works even in places with extreme online censorship and allows you to sign up anonymously. Whether you’re looking for something to keep you safe during day-to-day browsing or hoping to access the dark web securely, NordVPN is up to the task.