There are dozens of competing VPNs on the market. Knowing which service to choose can be tricky because there is a lot of technical jargon to get your head around. To make things even worse, many VPNs exaggerate their strengths to sell subscriptions. As a result, you must pick carefully.
At Comparitech, we make it our mission to help consumers by reviewing VPNs using a precise VPN testing methodology. We check how each VPN performs and uncover how they differ from their competitors.
IPVanish vs Norton Secure VPN: Highlights
In case you don’t have time to read the whole article, here are the key highlights of each VPN.
IPVanish vs Norton Secure VPN pricing
When it comes to costs, IPVanish is the better option. Admittedly, both services provide cheap enough plans to make them affordable. However, there are a few factors that push IPVanish to the top.
A single-month plan with IPVanish costs $10.99 and will let you connect an unlimited number of devices. This is fairly average (but not particularly cheap) compared to competing services with a 1-month plan.
The same plan with Norton Secure VPN comes to $10.99 if you want to connect 10 devices, $7.99 if you want to connect 5 devices, and just $4.99 if you need a VPN for a single device.
As you can see, the price is pretty similar between the two (with the two most closely comparable plans). While it is true that you can get a single month for less with Norton VPN, bear in mind that this does limit how many devices you can use that VPN on accordingly.
Where IPVanish pulls ahead is when you compare the yearly plans. A one-year subscription with IPVanish will cost you just $3.33 per month. This places it among some of the cheapest VPNs in the world. Again, this is for unlimited use of the VPN on an unlimited number of devices.
An annual subscription to Norton Secure VPN, on the other hand, will cost you $4.99 per month to connect 10 devices (payable in a single installment of $59.99) or $3.33 per month to connect 5 devices, which reduces the cost to $39.96.
As you can see, with Norton VPN, you can only connect 5 devices for $3.33. This makes IPVanish considerably better value for money.
Finally, for those who only own a mobile phone, Norton Secure VPN offers a one-year VPN plan that costs the equivalent of $2.49 per month. This is the cheapest option available from either service, but will not be suitable for individuals or families who want to use their VPN on multiple devices, whether at home or on public wifi.
To let you try their service risk-free, both these VPNs provide a money-back guarantee. With Norton Secure VPN, you get a 60-day money-back guarantee. However, it is only available when you purchase an annual subscription. If you take out a 1-month plan, no refund is available, so you are stuck with it.
With IPVanish, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee with both the single-month and annual plans. This lets you test the VPN no matter which plan you purchase.
You can pay for either of these VPNs using a debit or credit card. You can also choose to pay with PayPal if you want. Note that neither of these VPNs accepts Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency payments.
Best Deal for IPVanish:Get a 69% discount with an annual plan.
Best Deal for Norton VPN:Get 40% off when you subscribe for a year.
IPVanish also has an app for Amazon Firestick and Fire TVs, as well as compatibility with Kodi and Roku boxes, Linux machines, and various brands of routers (including DD-WRT, Tomato, ASUSWRT, and ASUSWRT-Merlin). These apps are not available with Norton VPN.
Neither of these VPNs has a browser extension for Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. However, IPVanish does have an app for Chrome OS (Chromebooks). Again, this feature is not available with Norton VPN.
You can also use either of these VPNs with devices like consoles, smart TVs, set-top boxes (and anything else that won’t let you install a VPN directly) by setting up a VPN-protected virtual wifi hotspot for Windows or Mac. So, as long as you have a desktop or laptop computer, you will be able to use this VPN with any device in your home.
IPVanish provides an unlimited number of connections, no matter whether you get a monthly or annual plan. That means you can install and use the VPN on all your devices. It also means you can share your account with friends and family as much as you like.
With Norton VPN, you can opt for a subscription that covers 1, 5, or 10 devices. Each plan costs more than the last, with the best value coming from the plans with more connections.
Privacy and security features
The privacy and security features provided by a VPN will affect how safe, versatile, and good for preventing online tracking and surveillance it is. So, how do these providers compare?
Both these VPNs provide a kill switch that ensures your internet connection is cut should the VPN drop out. This stops you from leaking any data outside of the VPN tunnel and stops you from accidentally exposing your IP address to the websites, online services, and peers you connect to.
Norton VPN has a kill switch in its Windows, Mac, and Android apps. IPVanish has a kill switch for Windows, Mac, Android, and FireOS.
Both Norton VPN and IPVanish have a split tunneling feature. IPVanish split tunneling is available on Android and FireOS. The split tunneling feature is available in Norton Secure VPN for Windows and Android only.
This feature lets you route some apps through the VPN and others outside of the encrypted tunnel. This is useful if you want to use region-locked services with the VPN while also accessing local services with your home IP.
Additionally, you can whitelist specific URLs to prevent them from using the VPN when you visit them in your browser.
Malware filtering and ad blocking
As you might expect from a company primarily known for its antivirus, Norton VPN provides ad blocking and malware filtering. This helps to block malicious websites known to contain malware as well as trackers and ads when you surf the web. Note that this malware filtering is not the same as Norton’s full antivirus, which lets you scan for and remove malware from your devices.
IPVanish does not provide ad blocking or malware filtering in the VPN itself. However, it is offering a subscription to VIPRE antivirus with every year-long subscription. This is an impressive antivirus program that provides complete real-time protection, malware scanning, and malware removal tools.
Both IPVanish and Norton VPN provide an auto-connect feature that will engage the VPN if you connect to an unknown wifi network. This helps to protect you against Evil Twin attacks and surveillance at the hands of wifi providers.
IPVanish subscribers also get XOR obfuscation, a useful feature that conceals VPN traffic as regular HTTPS. It helps you to get around strict firewalls and stops your ISP and government agencies from detecting VPN use. IPVanish also provides a SOCKS5 proxy for its users. These features are not available with Norton VPN.
For anybody wondering, neither of these VPNs provides port forwarding. If this is a feature that you require, you will need to shop elsewhere.
Streaming and unblocking
When it comes to streaming, there is no doubt that IPVanish is superior. First, IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs available on the market. This makes it particularly well suited to streaming HD video.
Furthermore, IPVanish can provide access to Netflix US and Netflix UK. Norton Secure VPN, by contrast, does not currently work with any Netflix regions.
With Norton VPN, it isn’t all bad news, either. It works to stream Prime Video, CBS, NBC, and the UK’s Channel 4 (All 4). However, it does not work with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, ABC, ITV, HBO Max, DAZN, or Disney Plus.
As you can see, both of these VPNs work with some streaming services but not others. So, be sure to check that the VPN works with your favorite services before purchasing a subscription.
If you travel to China, you will discover that the government blocks many Western services for political reasons. As a result, you will not be able to use services like Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, Spotify, and Reddit. Many popular news websites are also blocked, including the BBC and the New York Times.
The solution is to use a VPN to connect to a server in the West, where all those services are freely available. The only caveat is that Chinese ISPs are working hand-in-hand with the government to block as many VPNs as possible. As a result, very few VPNs work there.
Unfortunately, neither IPVanish nor Norton VPN works in China. This means that you will need to shop elsewhere. Check out our dedicated article on the best VPNs for China to get some ideas.
The good news is that there are a number of providers that do currently work to bypass Chinese censorship. These include NordVPN, which is the best overall VPN in 2022; and Surfshark, an impressive VPN that is excellent value for what you get.
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Setup and interface
Both these VPNs make it easy to join. Simply head over to their websites, provide an email address, select a valid payment option, and get the subscription you prefer. You can get the desktop apps for Windows or Mac directly from the website and the mobile apps from Google Play or Apple App store.
Those apps install quickly and do not require much space on your hard drive. They also install using a wizard, which means all the components and drivers you need to establish a secure VPN tunnel are installed automatically.
As soon as you have installed the VPN apps onto your devices, simply log in to each of them using your credentials. From that point on, the VPN apps will remain logged in and ready to use whenever you launch them.
Ease of use
When it comes to ease of use, it is hard to tell these VPNs apart. Admittedly, IPVanish does have some additional features, which will increase the learning curve slightly. However, its menus are clearly laid out, and it is easy to navigate to each feature you might need.
Also, IPVanish comes nicely set up in its default state, so beginners can easily start picking between server locations and changing their IP address – without needing to understand anything more advanced.
The Norton VPN app looks extremely professional, which you would expect from a company of its magnitude. Due to the fact that it only has a few features, it is also very easy to navigate. Even the split tunneling feature makes it easy to select which apps you want to exclude, which is nice.
When it comes to mobile apps, they are both extremely easy to use, and we would recommend either to beginners. As with the desktop versions, you can pick server locations from an alphabetical list, which makes it easy to find the one you need. IPVanish also lets you pick a server from a map, which makes things even easier.
We also like the quick connect feature you get with IPVanish. This will automatically connect you to the fastest server available where you are. Another benefit of IPVanish is that the app shows you ping and server load. This lets you see which servers are more congested and which are performing better for you.
Unusually, compared to most other VPNs, IPVanish lets you pick not only for city-level servers but also between the servers in that location. Melbourne, Australia, for example, has 23 servers, and you can pick any of them!
All things considered, we prefer the information and features available with IPVanish. We also found IPVanish to be perfectly suitable for beginners despite having many more useful features to play with.
It is also worth noting that while Norton looks good, some features, like its split tunneling, receive complaints for not working properly. While it may appear easy to use, it could actually end up causing you a headache.
Servers and performance
A truly useful and versatile VPN will provide plenty of servers for you to switch between. This will allow you to bypass local internet restrictions, get an IP address abroad to access region-locked services, or connect to an IP address back home while on vacation.
Both VPNs have a global server network. IPVanish runs on a proprietary network of servers that belong to its parent company. In total, it has around 2000 servers that are located in over 50 countries. Impressively, it has servers in 17 different US cities. This makes it good for accessing state-level services like online casinos or NFL blackout games, for example.
Norton VPN only has servers in 31 countries. The good news is that those servers are placed in plenty of useful locations around the world. The bad is that this is a pretty small network considering the cost of a subscription. To make things worse, Norton VPN doesn’t give you any city-level options. You can only connect to those 31 countries.
This makes IPVanish vastly superior. In fact, it even lets you pick between individual servers in each city, giving you granular control over which server you use in its network.
Most people want a fast VPN that works for videoconferencing, HD streaming, gaming, and torrenting. To this end, we check the performance of each provider by analyzing download speeds on the UK, US, and Hong Kong servers.
Although neither of these VPNs is bad in terms of speeds, there really isn’t much competition between them. IPVanish is currently the second fastest VPN in the world, clocking speeds of 488 Mbps. This makes it an exceptionally good VPN for gaming, torrenting, and 4K streaming.
Norton VPN, by contrast, has download averages of 79 Mbps. While this is still good and will let you perform data-intensive tasks without issues, anybody looking for extra oomph will prefer IPVanish.
Although many people use them to access regional services or bypass network restrictions, VPNs are, first and foremost, designed to give you privacy and online data security. As a result, it is important to carefully consider all the security features provided.
Does the VPN really protect your data against eavesdroppers? Will it stop your ISP from snooping on you? or prevent local networks, websites, and even government agencies from tracking you online?
Norton Secure VPN
Norton VPN gives you two tunneling protocols to pick between; OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec. For security purposes, we recommend sticking to OpenVPN, a protocol that has been thoroughly audited and is trusted industry-wide when implemented to the latest standards.
We did our best to find out how Norton implements the encryption for its OpenVPN protocol. We could find out that it uses AES-256 encryption, however, the VPN provides no information regarding whether it implements Perfect Forward Secrecy or what handshake it uses.
We found some online sources claiming that Norton VPN uses an RSA-1024 handshake. If this is true, the OpenVPN tunnel would need to be considered a little insecure. Unfortunately, we could not verify these claims because Norton VPN does not give users access to its OpenVPN config files.
Ultimately, Norton does not provide enough information about the security of its VPN for it to be considered secure. Also, while we did not experience any IP or DNS leaks, we have seen people complaining that they did online. With this in mind, it’s definitely worth using our leak test tool to check it yourself periodically.
All things considered, if you want a secure VPN, you should probably shop elsewhere.
IPVanish provides access to five tunneling protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, PPTP, and WireGuard. The OpenVPN protocol is secured using AES-256 encryption, an RSA-2048 handshake, and Perfect Forward Secrecy. This is secure.
In addition, the VPN provides access to XOR obfuscation. This is a stealth protocol that helps to disguise OpenVPN traffic as regular HTTPS and allows you to get around strict firewalls in countries like Iran, the UAE, and China.
A kill-switch is available only on Windows, Mac, Android, and FireOS. And it has an auto-connect feature alongside it. This makes it secure for torrenting and other sensitive tasks. We also checked the VPN for IP, WebRTC, and DNS leaks and discovered none.
IPVanish gets a clean bill of health for security, which makes it far better than Norton— and many other VPNs—for protecting your digital footprint and securing you against hackers, tracking, and online surveillance.
Where a VPN is based has a direct impact on how safe that VPN is to use. A VPN company must abide by local regulations, and it will have to comply with any data requests and warrants it is served by the government. The safest VPNs are based in countries where there is little surveillance and where VPN companies are not forced to comply with mandatory data retention directives.
IPVanish and Norton VPN are both based in the US, which raises an eyebrow. The US has some of the most well-funded intelligence agencies in the world, and any company can theoretically be forced with a warrant to secretly provide data about its users (gag order).
To minimize any potential risks for its users, IPVanish maintains a solid no-logging policy. It stores no usage or connection logs. It never maintains logs of what you do while connected. It never logs your IP address, and it never keeps records of the servers you connect to. Even if the authorities were to serve it a warrant, it would have no historical data to hand over.
The policy admits to recording your source IP address in an anonymized state. This is troubling because studies have revealed that anonymized data can easily be re-identified. The policy also details the collection of unique license and installation identifiers and information about how you use its service.
In addition, the policy never mentions connection logs directly. While it advertises itself as no logs VPN, we were unable to find out whether it stores connections logs next to a partial IP address. Presumably, it does. Ultimately, this is too much data for it to be considered a no-logs VPN and is especially concerning when coupled with the fact that it is based in America.
To ensure the maximum amount of privacy for their users, these VPNs provide dynamic shared IPs. You will get a different IP address each time you select a server location from the list. Your data is mixed with the traffic of many other users each session. Mixing traffic like this makes it harder to track what any single user is doing in real time.
Both these VPNs handle all your DNS requests using their own servers. These DNS requests are handled on the VPN server in the location where you connect and are always proxied securely inside the VPN tunnel. In our tests, neither VPN suffered from IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks.
IPVanish implements a NAT firewall on its servers, which is why the VPN does not allow port forwarding. A NAT firewall adds an extra layer of security by blocking unwanted inbound traffic. This helps secure you against hackers and malware attacks. We couldn’t ascertain whether Norton VPN uses a NAT firewall.
For those wondering, neither of these VPNs provides access to dedicated static IPs. If this is something that you want, you will have to shop elsewhere.
A VPN that is suitable for online gaming must have three important features:
- Apps for Windows, Android, and iOS so that you can play games on mobile devices or PC.
- A global server network. This will let you play on international game servers, find easier opponents by avoiding skill-based matchmaking, play with others who speak your language (if you are abroad), and purchase games for cheaper in foreign game stores.
- Fast connection speeds to let you play games without lag.
Both these VPNs have apps for Windows, iOS, and Android. These are the primary systems used to play games other than on consoles.
IPVanish also provides router compatibility, which allows you to set up your VPN connection and provide it to every device on your home network. This will automatically put your PlayStation, Xbox, Steam Deck – or any other gaming device – behind the VPN.
In addition, either of these VPNs can be set up with a VPN-protected virtual hotspot for Windows or Mac. This allows you to share your VPN connection from any desktop or laptop computer to a console, Quest 2, or any other gaming device you own.
When it comes to speeds, IPVanish packs a hell of a punch for gaming. It has average download speeds of 488 Mbps, which blows Norton VPN’s average speed of 79 Mbps right out of the water.
When it comes to customer service, IPVanish is by far the better of the two VPNs. It has 24/7 live chat support on its website. And, while it may appear to be manned by a bot at first, all you need to do is persevere, and you will eventually get through to a real agent.
To get through to an agent with IPVanish:
- Head to the help page
- Click on the live chat box in the bottom left and ask your question
- Next, ask again, and then click Get in touch
- Finally, choose Live chat
- Now fill in the form, and you will be able to speak to an agent.
To get through to an agent with Norton VPN:
With Norton VPN, finding the live chat is a bit of a headache. We suggest searching for Norton live chat on Google search. Having located it, you will have to complete a detailed request form to launch the chat window. When you finally get through to the agents, you will speak to someone who is trained to help with all of Norton’s services. These agents are accustomed to primarily dealing with issues relating to Norton Antivirus, Norton 360, and Norton LifeLock. As a result, they aren’t too hot when it comes to VPN questions.
My personal experience of Norton’s live chat was lackluster. They often lead you around in circles and provide info that has little to do with the question you actually asked. On one occasion, the live chat agent even provided false information, telling me: “Please be assured the VPN would not impact the speed of the Internet.”
Both VPNs have well-designed websites with plenty of resources. However, the IPVanish website caters exclusively for its VPN, with FAQs, guides, and a blog that is specific to online privacy issues and VPN use.
This level of VPN-related help is simply not available in the Norton help center. Needless to say that the VPN still feels like an afterthought. Below, we have provided the average response times for each provider:
|Question||Initial response time||Number of emails||Question answered|
|Is this VPN fast enough to watch 4K videos?||32 mins||2||No|
|Am I allowed to share my account details with family?||2 hours||1||Yes|
|Does this service work in the UAE?||1 hour 40mins||1||Yes|
|Question||Initial response time||Number of emails||Question answered|
|Can I install IPVanish on a Raspberry Pi?||1 hour, 19 minutes||1||Yes|
|Does IPVanish encrypt traffic from other applications or just my browser?||11 hours, 6 minutes||1||Yes|
|Does IPVanish log my source IP address?||1 hour, 16 minutes||1||Yes|
In this VS article, we put Norton Secure VPN and IPVanish to the test to see which would be better for the average user. The results were decisive.
IPVanish was found to be better in every single category: Features, Configuration, Privacy, Security, Customer support, Streaming and Unblocking, China, Pricing and Discounts, Setup and interface, Gaming, and Servers and Performance.
The results of this VS battle reveal that IPVanish is a much better option that represents much better value for money, whether you are looking for online privacy, security, or increased accessibility.
Of course, being based in the US is not ideal and might make some users run a mile. However, it is worth noting that the VPN has an excellent track record of providing privacy for its users and will provide adequate privacy for anyone but those with the very highest threat models.
The VPN has a lot of features. However, you do not get ad blocking or malware filtering built in. The VPN is also lacking a few things, such as multi-hop connections, port forwarding, and Tor over VPN.
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