In the ever-evolving world of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Private Internet Access and Norton Secure VPN are two prominent names that often surface in conversations. Both offer a plethora of features and benefits, but which one truly stands out? This comprehensive article aims to answer that question by providing an exhaustive comparison of the two services.
Features and Performance
When it comes to features, both Private Internet Access and Norton Secure VPN have a lot to offer. They both support multiple platforms including Windows, Android, and iOS, ensuring that users can secure their online activities regardless of the device they use. They also provide robust security with 256-bit AES encryption, ensuring that your data is secure.
Private Internet Access stands out with its support for P2P sharing and the provision of a SOCKS5 proxy. This makes it an ideal choice for users who engage in torrenting. On the other hand, Norton Secure VPN does not support P2P sharing, which might be a deal-breaker for some users.
In terms of performance, both VPNs provide reliable and fast connections. However, Private Internet Access has a larger server network spread across more countries, which can lead to better performance especially for users located far from Norton Secure VPN’s servers. This extensive server network also reduces the likelihood of server congestion, ensuring optimal performance at all times.
PIA also offers way more features, from protocols to advanced kill switch configurations, and more. PIA offers automation, port forwarding, multi-hop on two servers, and more. Both Norton and Private Internet Access also offer ad blocking, but nothing beyond basic split tunneling and a regular kill switch.
Netflix and Torrenting
For Netflix enthusiasts or avid torrenters, the VPN you choose can make a significant difference. Norton Secure VPN allows access to U.S Netflix. Althoughh Private Internet Access, on the other hand, does not explicitly mention Netflix unblocking as one of its features, I was able to successfully unblock Netflix libraries using it as well.
As for torrenting, Private Internet Access supports it and even offers a SOCKS5 proxy for enhanced torrenting performance. Norton Secure VPN, however, bans BitTorrent and peer-to-peer file sharing on its network unless you carefully take the time to connect to one of their torrent supported server locations.
Here is where it gets even more complicated: Norton 360 Secure VPN does not offer any Torrent friendly servers, so torrents are straight out blocked on that service. Since in this article I am focusing on Norton Secure VPN, it’s only fair to say that torrents are supported but in a very limited fashion. Overall PIA wins for streaming, gaming and P2P torrent file sharing capabilities.
Security and Privacy
Security is a crucial factor when choosing a VPN. Both Private Internet Access and Norton Secure VPN offer top-notch security features, including the latest AES-256 encryption and protocols such as Wireguard, with a no-logs policy. PIA goes a few steps further with features like SSL Obfuscation a layer of SSL encryption to your data to make it look like regular web traffic, hiding the fact that you’re using a VPN from your ISP.
Both Norton Secure VPN and Private Internet Access are based out of the US, and although part of the Five Eyes Alliance, a no long VPN service can still exist within the current legal and privacy laws. Some may see this as a deal breaker for both, and it’s worth noting that PIA was recently sold to a larger conglomerate that is operating more than one VPN service provider.
Norton on the other hand has been a corporate level anti-virus and firewall service provider before memes even existed, and as notoriously famous as the name is, the service has had its’ ups and downs over the last three decades. They are no longer very synonymous with high grade security, and often know for having software that is purposefully annoyingly difficult to remove from your machine. It’s fair to say that they have improved in many regards, but trusting them with my privacy still doesn’t make me feel safe.
Pricing and Support
Private Internet Access offers a clear, straight forward more flexible pricing structure, with plans starting from $2.91/month for a two-year subscription. Norton Secure VPN’s pricing starts from $49.99/year for a one-device on yearly plans and goes up to $99.99/year for a ten-device plan. But the Norton website offers lots of similar services, one of which is called Norton 360 Secure VPN, which is part of a 360 suite of security and anti-virus software. This gets very confusing, so for the sake of clarity, the comparison is really specifically for the standalone Norton Secure VPN and the plans you can purchase on the standalone website.
Both VPNs offer a money-back guarantee, giving you the chance to try their services risk-free. When it comes to customer support, Norton Secure VPN and PIA both offer 24/7 live chat support. This means you can get instant help whenever you encounter issues, which is a huge plus for any VPN service.
The user experience is another important factor to consider. Both Private Internet Access and Norton Secure VPN offer user-friendly apps that are easy to navigate. Private Internet Access, with its minimalist interface, is particularly appealing to users who value simplicity and functionality. Norton Secure VPN, on the other hand, offers a clean and intuitive interface that is easy to navigate even for non-tech savvy users. However, based on the amount of features and configuration possible with Private Internet Access, it is worth giving them the crown in UE when compared to Norton VPN.
Server Count and Locations
The number of servers and their locations can significantly impact a VPN’s performance. Private Internet Access boasts a vast network thousands of servers spread across 84 countries worldwide. This extensive network ensures optimal performance and allows users to bypass geo-restrictions with ease.
On the other hand, Norton Secure VPN has a smaller network of servers. However, they are strategically located in 31 countries and 73 cities, ensuring a decent coverage. The choice between the two would depend on your specific needs and location. But once more PIA takes the win, especially when considering specialized servers for streaming, gaming and file sharing.
Encryption and Security
Both VPNs offer AES-256 encryption, which is the industry standard. This level of encryption ensures that your data is secure from prying eyes. However, it’s worth noting that Norton Secure VPN lacks a kill switch on some devices. A kill switch is a crucial feature that protects your data in case the VPN connection drops.
Private Internet Access, on the other hand, offers a kill switch on all device types, ensuring that your data is not exposed even if the VPN connection drops. This feature, coupled with the provision of a SOCKS5 proxy, makes Private Internet Access a more secure option for torrenting. All the advanced features previously covered also make Private Internet Access a clear winner.
Frequently Asked Questions
To further assist you in your decision-making process, we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about Private Internet Access and Norton Secure VPN:
- Is there a better VPN than Norton? – This depends on your specific needs. If you value P2P sharing and a large server network, Private Internet Access would be the better option. However, if you value ad tracker blocking, access to U.S Netflix, and 24/7 customer support, Norton Secure VPN would be an acceptable choice and remains affordable.
- Is Norton VPN a good idea? – Norton Secure VPN is a good choice if you’re looking for a reliable VPN service from a trusted brand. It offers robust security features, including AES-256 encryption and a no-logs policy. However, it does not support P2P sharing on most server and not at all with Norton 360.
- What is the difference between Norton 360 VPN and secure VPN? – Norton 360 is a comprehensive security suite that includes a VPN service, among other features. On the other hand, Norton Secure VPN is a standalone VPN service.
- Is private Internet access a good VPN? – Yes, Private Internet Access is a good VPN, especially for users who engage in torrenting. It offers robust security features, including a kill switch and a SOCKS5 proxy, and has a large server network. But it did get bought out and now operates out of the US.
While both Private Internet Access and Norton Secure VPN are reliable VPN services, they cater to different user needs. If you value P2P sharing, a large server network, advanced features, additional security, and a flexible pricing structure, Private Internet Access would be the better option. When comparing the two Private Internet Access is better overall. Personally, having used PIA across the years, the service has remained a favorite among many and for good reasons, it works, and it offers everything you could want from a VPN and more.
With that said, both services now feel like they come from very large corporations trying to get their slice of the VPN market. Nothing wrong with that, but it used to be that VPN service providers made it a point not to be based out of the US.