Norton Antivirus maker Symantec’s virtual private network service is sold as a means of ensuring that your traffic isn’t snooped on when you go online via poorly secured public Wi-Fi networks, hence the WiFi Privacy moniker. However, its features are the same as any other VPN service, with endpoints in 29 countries.
Features and usability
Norton WiFi Privacy shares its backend infrastructure with SurfEasy, a Canadian VPN provider, previously owned by Opera, but acquired by Symantec in 2017. This creates a slightly ambiguous situation when it comes to legal jurisdiction, but it’s best to assume that the service is answerable to both US and Canadian law.
Wi-Fi Privacy is a no-logging service, which means that no connection information at all should be stored when you use it. It also has a built-in blocking feature for ad trackers, for a bit of extra privacy.
By default, the Norton WiFi Privacy client starts at boot time and automatically connects to a VPN endpoint with the best connection speed available to you. At the time of review, it wasn’t possible to disable to the client’s auto-connection feature; Symantec is aware of this issue and working to correct it.
The client is accessible as a docked pop-up from the notification area, so you can’t move it around the screen. Its main screen shows your connection status, endpoint IP address and apparent location. A Virtual Locations tab allows you to select an endpoint in any of the 29 countries on offer.
WiFi Privacy uses the OpenVPN protocol for its connections, with clients available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. However, Symantec does not provide the information required to use the service on devices such as Linux PCs, NAS boxes or routers.
Norton WiFi Privacy did well in our speed tests, particularly when it came to European endpoints: we saw transfer speeds of 8.68MB/s in the UK and 9.54MB/s in the Netherlands. Its US endpoints were a little slower, but throughput of 2.5MB/s was respectable.
We were able to watch US Netflix and region-locked YouTube content, as well as BBC iPlayer when connected to a UK endpoint.
Why buy Norton Wi-Fi Privacy
One of the most compelling arguments for using Norton WiFi Protection is its price. A one-year subscription – albeit for only one connection at a time – costs just £14.99 for the first year, and a 5-connection account costs £38.99 per year. However, the price jumps steeply after the first year, to £39.99 for 1 device and £59.99 for 5 devices.
You’ll want to avoid setting an automatic renewal and – if you don’t get a renewal discount of any kind, switch to another service after your first year.
Norton Wi-Fi Privacy | 1 Device | 1 Year |PC/Mac/Android | Download £14.99
Symantec’s home VPN offering won’t be of use to anyone who wants to use it on anything but the most common platforms. However its connection speeds are fast and it’s useful for streaming.
We’re not fans of its high renewal costs, though, and we prefer to be able to connect a wider range of devices. If streaming is important, NordVPN is a better option for most users – if not, Private Internet Access is a better bet.