Avast Antivirus Review

Contents

More servers can also help when it comes to unblocking websites. Finally, when an individual VPN server fails or a natural disaster strikes, more servers means more redundancy to the overall network. When it comes to VPNs, more is generally better.

Avast anyone can see

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Avast Antivirus Review

Avast’s antivirus software scans for spoofing, malware, ransomware, viruses, spyware, and other cyber dangers.

Contents: History How It Works Installation Our Experience Performance Pricing App

You’re probably reading this because you’re concerned about malware and viruses. Well, there’s good reason to be concerned: Now more than ever, cybercriminals are using malware to steal people’s data for their personal gain. This could lead to a number of devastating impacts on us, from identity theft to the destruction of our devices.

In our quest to find the best tools to fight malware, we have extensively tested antivirus software from over 40 brands, among which is the popular antivirus brand Avast. This review will detail our experience with Avast from the installation to the company’s customer service. We used a 2011 Macbook Pro for most of our tests; here’s how well Avast worked.

Avast Antivirus - Mac is Protected

Avast Antivirus Features

Blocks viruses, spyware, and more Yes
Blocks ransomware Yes
Detects Wi-Fi vulnerabilities and intruders Yes
Blocks phishing Yes
Annual price $50.28 – $69.48

Editor’s Rating

Overall Rating
  • Free iOS and Android apps
  • Prices for Mac and Windows start at $39.99 a year for one device or $49.99 for 10 devices
  • Cost will increase after first year

A Quick Assessment of Avast

If you’re here for the bottom line, here’s what we have to say about Avast: It stands out as an easy-to-use anti-malware solution, but we have some concerns about its privacy policy. It’s a good option, just not the best, according to our tests. If you want strong malware protection with good privacy practices to match, check out our top three picks below.

Editor’s Rating:

9.5 /10

Editor’s Rating:

9.6 /10

Editor’s Rating:

9.7 /10

Avast: A Brief History

Avast has been around since the late 1980s, but it didn’t become popular until after 2000 when it started offering antivirus software with a freemium model. Unlike other antivirus software at the time that charged a yearly licensing fee, Avast opted to offer customers a more basic version of its software for free with an option to upgrade to a premium plan whenever they so desire. This resulted in a boom in users, reaching the 20 million mark by 2006. 1

Since then, Avast grew its antivirus empire by acquiring other companies. For example, Avast’s mobile antivirus apps were developed following the company’s acquisition of Inmite, a mobile app developer. Avast also merged with other antivirus brands to further cement its position. In 2017, Avast merged with AVG, and in 2022, it merged with NortonLifeLock to form Gen, a portfolio of high-quality cybersecurity tools.

How Does Avast Antivirus Affect Our Devices?

As we said, we tested out Avast Antivirus on a 2011 Macbook Pro. Our laptop has seen better days, but Avast still worked perfectly fine on the device.

As expected, Avast offers protection through malware scanning. It runs in the background to keep malware at bay whenever we open files or do something on our laptop – also known as on-access scanning – but it also lets us scan on-demand through the app’s Smart Scan button. The Smart Scan button, which was also present in the AVG app when we reviewed AVG, scans for a number of cyberthreats, including:

  • Different types of malware
  • Spoofing
  • Ransomware
  • Spyware
  • Dangerous downloads or websites
  • Malicious email attachments
  • Remote access attacks
  • Intruders on our devices (hackers, spy programs, etc.)
  • Phishing
  • Fake websites

That’s more than what most antivirus software we’ve tested scans for. In addition, since we sprang for the Premium version of the software, we also got a firewall, a form of network security that filters out untrustworthy traffic. 2 All in all, it’s a great start for Avast. With its multiple scan options, we knew from the start that it would offer good malware protection, but let’s dig deeper and see what else we can find.

The Installation Process

There are two ways to buy Avast software. You can download the free version and then upgrade once the app is installed – perfect if you want to test out Avast first. You can also buy directly from the website. After paying, you’ll be able to download the full premium version of the software.

Since we wanted to test out the free version first, we opted for the first option. That downloading process only took a few minutes, and from there, the app told us that we had several areas in which ransomware was detected. Anyone would be alarmed, but we’ve been testing antivirus software long enough to know not to panic. First, we know that our Macbook is in tip-top shape. Secondly, we know that freemium antivirus software use this kind of marketing ploy to get users to buy the premium version. There’s no fooling us, Avast!

We don’t appreciate the bait and switch, although these sorts of deceptions aren’t uncommon with antivirus software, unfortunately; Norton, for example, also had a lot of confusing pop-ups meant to get us to sign up for their paid subscription when we tested the free version, which you can read more about in our Norton Antivirus Plus review.

Another confusing thing was that the pricing on the app differed from the pricing displayed on their website, although the former ended up being accurate. All in all, aside from the somewhat misleading setup and inaccurate prices, Avast was really easy to set up, and definitely didn’t require cybersecurity experts like ourselves.

Installing Avast Antivirus

Using Avast Antivirus: Our Experience

Once we were set up with the app and our subscription, the main page was divided into four sections: Core Shields and Virus Chest, which were also part of the free account, and then Wi-Fi Inspector and Ransomware Shield, part of our Premium subscription only.

Avast Antivirus - Scan Finished

  • Core Shields: The Core Shields were pretty self-explanatory, constantly exploring our Macbook for malware and blocking it as soon as it’s detected. We could turn off specific functions of Core Shield if we wanted to, but we decided to keep them all on for maximum protection. Let’s get a bit more specific.
    • File shield: Since we’ve had this computer for nine years, we have a ton of files on it, all of which Avast scanned for malware. Somehow, none was found!
    • Web shield: This shield would’ve blocked any unsafe downloads from the web as well as web attacks. We download a lot of files onto our Mac for work, so this made us feel more comfortable, especially when it came to torrenting.
    • Email shield: A common method of phishing attacks and malware is through email attachments, so Avast scanned our email to automatically block attachments it deemed dangerous.
    • Real site: Finally, real site made sure that the sites we spend money on, and manage our money on like the Wells Fargo site, are safe and secure. With the pandemic, we’ve been doing more and more shopping online, so this feature is essential for anyone involved with e-commerce or online banking.
  • Virus Chest: If the Avast app had found any viruses, it would’ve stored them in the Virus Chest, where they couldn’t harm the rest of our computer. That was where we put the five viruses we tested with Avast, which you’ll hear about in a second.
  • Wi-Fi Inspector: Since we typically work from a shared co-working space (yes, we live in Brooklyn and drink kombucha and are total cliches), the Wi-Fi Inspector showed us everyone who was connected to the space’s Wi-Fi network, which ended up being over 10 devices. It told us that all of the devices were secure, but if we were on a home network, it would’ve been really useful to see people stealing our Wi-Fi. That’s why it’s important to password protect your Wi-Fi network, folks!
  • Ransomware Shield: Finally, the Ransomware Shield, as you would imagine, monitored our computer for ransomware and made sure that apps couldn’t keep our data hostage, be it our sensitive files or photos. We could decide which folders were protected, manually adding new folders to the main documents and pictures folders that had uploaded automatically.

Those were the four main functions of the app and overall, it was really easy to use and very clear. Again, had we not signed up for Premium, we would’ve only been able to use the Core Shield and Virus Chest; there wouldn’t have been any detection for ransomware, our Wi-Fi network or phishing, the leading cause of cyber attacks.

Smart Scan: Is it Really Smart?

Once we were done clicking on those four services, we ran a Smart Scan on our entire computer. Not to be confused with a full scan, the Smart Scan feature scans just a portion of the device’s files. In our case, it scanned about 2,000 files. However, the “smart” part comes from the fact that it scans the places where malware usually hides, like the Windows Registry for Windows and .plist files for Macs.

Come to find, Avast’s scan time is one of the fastest in the market. Our Smart Scan took less than 10 minutes. We got up to brew ourselves coffee and it was done before we even got back. This was exponentially faster than McAfee, which took about five hours to finish the first full scan during our McAfee review. Then again, Avast’s Smart Scan scans significantly fewer files – 2,080, to be exact – whereas McAfee’s full scan looked at over 12,000 files.

Avast also offers full scans, under the guide Deep Scan. We tried out this feature and fortunately, like the Smart Scan, it didn’t detect anything suspicious. The Deep Scan, in our experience, runs for about 45 minutes to over one hour, depending on whether you’re using the device while the scan is on-going. And remember, we’re using a laptop that’s over 10 years old, so it could run faster if you have a newer device (or if your device isn’t as full of memes as ours).

All in all we found Avast really simple to use and loved the clear interface, but one thing that was annoying was a pop-up trying to get us to buy additional Avast products, like a cookie-blocker. We don’t like ads in general, especially from a service we paid for literally seconds earlier. Being upsold simply never feels great! However, there was only one pop-up, so Avast wasn’t too aggressive about its sales overall.

Also, if we might offer Avast a little interface suggestion, perhaps a button for a Deep Scan on the app’s homepage would make things a bit easier. As it stands, the Deep Scan feature is hidden in the settings, so there’s no way to activate it right from the start. An option to choose between Smart Scan and Deep Scan would be helpful.

Testing Avast for Multiple Viruses

Simply scanning our Macbook as is for viruses wasn’t good enough for our testing. To find out if Avast could really find viruses, as opposed to there just being none on our laptop, we downloaded (but didn’t open!) five different files containing everything from adware to spyware to even Trojan malware. We know viruses come in all different forms, so we wanted to use these files across all of the antivirus software that we tested to see how they performed.

Overall, Avast detected three out of five, while two remained undetected by their software. While 60 percent may not sound great, it’s actually pretty average when it comes to antivirus software; of the roughly 40 top antivirus softwares that we’ve tested, only two detected 100 percent of the viruses, believe it or not. Let’s talk a little more about each.

  • XLSX file: If we had clicked on it, this seemingly innocent Excel spreadsheet would’ve tried to convince us to disable Avast and enable their macros, then steal our sensitive information like our web history and passwords. Only 34 percent of the different antivirus software we tested detected it, and unfortunately, Avast fell into the majority, not detecting it.
  • EXE file: The virus detected by 66 percent of antivirus software was an EXE file that enables debug privileges and tries to steal sensitive data, like the websites we’ve visited and our login credentials. In this case, Avast fell into the majority, detecting the virus during the Smart Scan.
  • DOC file: When a user opens or closes this document, this virus embeds a macro with malware, detected by 36 percent of all antivirus programs we tested out. Avast was part of this minority! Two for three so far, not half bad.
  • XLSM file: Only 35 percent of the antivirus programs detected this XLSM file, and unfortunately, Avast fell into the majority, not detecting this high-reputation virus.
  • XLS file: Finally, when we tested out this Excel sheet virus that 51 percent of the softwares could detect, Avast detected it. That’s good news, because this virus, like the XLSX file, would have tried to convince us to take down Avast before putting malware on our computer. Fortunately, Avast detected this virus so we didn’t have to worry when working in Excel (or in any other desktop app, for that matter).

Here’s an overview of our virus testing with Avast:

Virus File Type Percent of Antivirus Software
That Detected It
Did Avast Detect It?
XLSX 34% No
EXE 66% Yes
DOC 36% Yes
XLSM 35% No
XLS 51% Yes

Overall, we were happy with how Avast performed in our test in general. While no antivirus software is 100 percent effective, Avast certainly met our standards in terms of digital security and virus detection.

That said, we can’t deny the fact that there are antiviruses that could find all five viruses we use for testing. These are Bitdefender and Kaspersky. As far as virus detection goes, they are the gold standard. However, they also have weaknesses, like Bitdefender’s less-than-intuitive app or Kaspersky’s shaky reputation. To learn more if they’re better options for you, check out our Bitdefender review and Kaspersky review.

How Avast Antivirus Performed in Lab Tests

Aside from our own extensive testing, we also looked at independent lab data from AV Test 3 to see their results for Avast. In their latest testing of Avast, the software scored a six out of six score across the board. Those are impressive scores. Additionally, it was able to detect 100-percent of widespread and prevalent malware.

AV-Test’s results show that Avast is capable of staying on top of malware trends. We agree with this; during our tests, Avast would update its malware database every few hours. As new types of malware are discovered, Avast immediately updates its database to ensure that every device under its protection remains protected from the latest threats.

Avast Antivirus Pricing

Now, since Avast’s pricing was different on the app versus the website, we’re going to use the website as our gold standard, but note that these prices are subject to change; to see the most information, read our page specifically on Avast’s pricing.

Choosing Avast Premium Security Plan

Premium Service Pricing

We paid $50.28 for one year of Premium service on our Mac, although we could’ve paid a roughly extra $20 to cover nine more devices. One thing to note is that if you want the antivirus software on your mobile device or tablet, it’s free. Another thing? The prices will go up after the first year for the paid subscriptions, so make sure you keep that in mind.

Speaking of first-year prices, Avast has a subscription called Avast One, which rolls together all of Avast’s digital security tools (antivirus, VPN, device booster, etc.) into one subscription. Weirdly, the first year prices of Avast One are the same as Avast Premium, but the former offers more features and covers more devices than the latter.

To muddle things even further, Avast recently added Avast One Platinum to its list of products for the price of $119.88 for the first year. Platinum offers features similar to the Avast One for families, but it adds in identity protection for up to six family members, making Avast one of the latest to join the antivirus brands that offer identity protection features. This movement was kickstarted by NortonLifeLock, now an Avast partner. You can read our NortonLifeLock identity protection review to learn more about the benefits of antivirus software with identity protections.

Back to Avast. To sum up Avast’s antivirus options, here’s a table that shows Avast’s first-year pricing, along with their current renewal rates. Note that the renewal rates may change anytime, and when it’s your turn to renew, the current rates will apply.

Plans First-year price Renewal price (as of August 2023)
Avast Premium Antivirus for 1 device $50.28 $77.99
Avast Premium Antivirus for 10 devices $69.48 $99.99
Avast One for five devices (individual plan) $50.28 $99.99
Avast One for 30 devices (family plan) $69.48 $139.99
Avast One Platinum (30 devices + identity protection) $119.88 $249.99

Unfortunately, the discounted first-year price is a common practice in the antivirus industry, so you’re going to have to read the fine print before signing up for any service. For their first-year prices, we find Avast’s subscriptions cost-effective. As a point of comparison, we listed below pricing from other antivirus software. And as you’ll see, Avast is on the lower end.

Company First-year price Coverage
Avast $69.48 1-10 devices
Malwarebytes $59.99 1-5 devices
McAfee $89.99 1-10 devices
Trend Micro $69.95 1-10 devices
ESET $149.99 1-10 devices

However, you have to consider the fact that Avast’s pricing for most of its subscriptions almost doubles after the first year. Are they still worth it by then? We’ll leave it for you to decide. The first-year prices are worth it, in our opinion, so if you like Avast, maybe give that a try and then revisit your decision towards the end of the first year. If you cancel 30 days before the end of your subscription, it will not renew automatically and you’ll be free to try out other antivirus software.

You can find more such insights in our Avast pricing page.

Premium vs. Free

Let’s jog back to that free service. While it has blocking for things like viruses and spyware, it lacks protection against ransomware and phishing plus weak Wi-Fi connections. For the whole kit and caboodle, we recommend that you use the Premium service like we did.

Features Free Premium
Blocks viruses, spyware, etc. Yes Yes
Ransomware protection No Yes
WiFi weakness and intruder alerts No Yes
Phishing protection No Yes

Note: Aside from the one-year plan, Avast also offers plans for two and three years, but they are only available for purchase in the app itself, available for macOS, iOS, Android or PC.

What Information Does Avast Antivirus Collect?

If you’re concerned about privacy, namely what data Avast Antivirus collects, we checked out their privacy policy to find out. It turns out that they keep a decent amount of information not only about us but also about our Macbook Pro. Here’s some of what they keep:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Username
  • Password
  • Card number
  • IP address
  • Billing data
  • Subscription information
  • Operating system
  • City or country of device
  • Browser type
  • Network
  • Service data like malware samples and detections
  • URLs and referrers
  • Usage statistics.

This is all pretty standard for antivirus software, believe it or not. Seeing what websites we visit is necessary to block viruses and potential malware, a feature we’ve seen in most antivirus softwares’ privacy policies. However, this privacy policy only applies to Macs and Windows computers; there are different policies for Androids and iOS devices, to make sure you check out Avast’s privacy policy 4 before purchasing or downloading their software.

We would say that the most concerning is the fact that Avast tracks the URLs we visit, which they say is for “protection, detection, blocking, quarantine and deleting of malicious software”. While this information is necessary for the software to function, we were wondering how the data is stored, so we did a little more digging to find out.

In 2019, it was revealed that Avast uses its customers’ web activity to create targeted advertisements, a practice commonly done by social media companies like Facebook and Twitter. However, because this information is anonymized and is never linked with any customer’s specific personal information, we don’t consider it a dealbreaker, not to mention the fact that it’s so commonplace in the tech industry.

Also, there is a way to opt-out of this data collection if you use the paid version of Avast’s software; request your opt-out by emailing [email protected] using the subject line “PRIVACY REQUEST”, or send physical mail to AVAST Software “Attention: PRIVACY” s.r.o., Pikrtova 1737/1a, 140 00 Prague 4, Czech Republic.

Pro Tip: To use the Avast Antivirus macOS app, you’ll need macOS 10.10 or higher along with at least 500 MB of hard disk space.

Avast Antivirus Customer Support

We were also curious as to how Avast treats its customers, so we went over to Avast’s website to “ask around.” Unfortunately, we found no way to contact a real human to talk to, besides email support. This was before we signed up for a premium subscription. All we could find were the FAQ page and the user forum.

Interestingly, we also found that Avast offers “Premium Tech Support” for non-Avast products. Don’t be confused; this is another premium product that Avast is trying to sell. Basically, if you’re having problems with, let’s say, a Windows device, you can sign up for the service and someone from Avast will help you sort things out over the phone. It’s in no way related to Avast’s actual tech support for its products.

After a bit of digging (and no thanks to Avast), we found the answers to our questions in the FAQ page. Then again, it was all our own effort.

Fortunately, once we signed up for a premium subscription, we were able to reach real-life humans from Avast’s customer care department via live chat. Email support was also an option, but we much better prefer instant help, so we went with the chat option.

Avast Antivirus App

Avast Antivirus - No Viruses or Malware Found

While we downloaded Avast’s Mac app, they also have apps for Windows, iOS and Android devices, as we mentioned before. On Google Play, the app is called Avast Antivirus- Scan & Remove Virus Cleaner, while the iOS version is named Avast Security & Privacy. Both apps have 4.7-star ratings, which is pretty high. Although we only tested the macOS app, we’re glad that iPhone and Android users had good experiences.

Recap

Overall, we found Avast to be a good antivirus for internet-users who want malware protection from an autonomous piece of software. It didn’t need much input from us in order to protect our devices. It ran in the background quietly until it was needed.

Clearly, though, we had some issues with Avast. First, its privacy policy shares customer data with third parties. Avast’s pricing can also be confusing, and the pop-ups were a little bit annoying, given that we paid for a premium subscription. If you can live with those inconveniences, however, Avast has the potential to be the right antivirus software for you. In fact, it landed a spot on our list of the best antivirus software of 2023.

All-in-all, we like Avast. And if you’re looking to safeguard your entire digital life, you should definitely look into getting a VPN. Antivirus software alone isn’t going to protect you completely. Digital security requires a concerted effort from you and from the digital safety tools available like a VPN, password manager, and encrypted cloud backup. And one of the great things about Avast is that you can bundle those protections into one subscription. If you want to see if Avast is the right all-in digital security solution, you can read our review of other Avast products, starting with our Avast Secureline VPN review.

Avast SecureLine VPN Review 2023: The Good and Bad

Avast SecureLine VPN Review 2022

Avast is a big name in online security and SecureLine is their entry into the VPN space. For this Avast VPN review we conducted extensive testing that allows us to see how the VPN performs relative to competitors in the industry.

The Avast SecureLine VPN offers decent performance, along with solid security and ease of use. However, there are some issues that you will want to know about before giving this VPN a try.

In this Avast VPN review, we dig into both the software side of things (performance, security, privacy, and more) along with the external factors (pricing, logs, and so on) that gave us pause. We hope you will find the information useful as you search for the best VPN for your unique circumstances.

Avast SecureLine VPN Overview

Here’s what we learned about Avast’s SecureLine VPN during our testing and research. We’ll cover each item in these lists in detail later in the review:

+ Pros

  • Easy to use
  • No leaky apps
  • Strong privacy and security features
  • Support for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
  • P2P support
  • WireGuard support on Windows and Android

– Cons

  • Avast caught selling user data collected through their antivirus products
  • Avast keeps connection logs
  • Small server network
  • No support for Linux
  • No anonymous payment options
  • High prices and difficult refund policy
  • No router support

Additional interesting FACTS:

  1. Owned by Avast Software s.r.o., which is based in Prague, Czech Republic.
  2. Speed test results – Mediocre connection speeds
  3. Mixed results with Netflix
  4. Okay support

Avast Secureline PROs

Here are some great things you should know about Avast Secureline VPN:

Easy to use Avast VPN apps

Avast SecureLine VPN is about as easy to use as you can ask for a VPN to be. Launch it and you will have no problem figuring out how to turn it on.

Avast SecureLine VPN test

You also won’t need to worry about complicated lists of VPN protocols or server types and locations. Avast calculates the optimal server to connect you to. Once it connects you, the location of the server you are connected to is displayed in the bottom of the VPN client. You can see this in our screenshot below.

avast vpn app location

As you can see in the image above, the optimal location the VPN selected was the Miami, USA server location from among 57 possible locations. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

No VPN leaks found in our tests

We ran the SecureLine VPN through our standard set of VPN tests, looking for things that didn’t work right. The Avast SecureLine VPN apps didn’t show any problems: no leaks, no crashes.

The VPN protects against DNS leaks by forcing DNS requests to go to the VPN’s own DNS servers through the encrypted VPN tunnel.

The following image shows the Windows VPN in action. If you look closely on the left (circled in red), you can see my Virtual IP address (at the time I was writing this). Look on the right and you will see that my virtual IP address is the one that ipleak.net is seeing.

Avast VPN test

Don’t worry about the IPv6 “error” in the preceding image. The Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t support IPv6, so of course that test will fail.

Note: You might have noticed something odd in the image above. Although you can see in the VPN window on the left that I am connected to a server in Miami, USA, ipleak.net on the right is claiming the IP address if the server I am connected to is in Italy. It turns out that the database that ipleak.net uses to map an IP address to a physical location, is not 100% accurate. The Virtual IP address shown in the VPN window does indeed correspond to Miami, FL.

We also tested the Android VPN app. It too passed the leak tests with no problems. See the best VPNs for Android here.

Strong privacy and security features

Avast SecureLine VPN uses strong, industry-standard privacy and security features.

In keeping with this VPN’s ease-of-use approach, there are no real options to adjust when it comes to privacy and security features. When you use it, your configuration is:

  • OpenVPN protocol
  • UDP messaging protocol
  • AES-256 data encryption

There is currently no support for the WireGuard VPN protocol, IKEv2, or any other protocols. If you want to use WireGuard, two great options for this are NordVPN and Surfshark.

Support for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android operating systems

A subscription to Avast SecureLine VPN allows you to install the product on devices running the following operating systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. SecureLine can even protect your Smart TV if it runs Android TV. You can also use a VPN on Apple TV, but this will usually require using a router.

Subscriptions are currently available for 10 simultaneous devices. This is above average for the industry, and better than what we see with most other VPNs.

Your subscription also includes browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. These extensions add WebRTC leak protection to the VPN’s capabilities, but other than that simply serve as a way to control the VPN from within the browser window.

Avast VPN Browser extension

While it may add some convenience, there is not much else that VPN browser extensions offer, as we explained in our guide on the best VPNs for Chrome.

Note: In comparison to other leading VPNs, the Avast SecureLine VPN does not offer much support for less-popular devices and operating systems. For example, they do not have a dedicated app in the Amazon store if you want to use a VPN for Firestick. You also will not be able to use Avast VPN on Linux devices, gaming systems, routers, and more.

Avast VPN allows P2P torrents

SecureLine does support P2P file sharing (torrenting) in its network, but only on a limited number of servers. At the time of this Avast VPN review, this was the list of P2P-capable server locations:

  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • New York City, New York
  • Miami, Florida
  • Seattle, Washington
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France

See our list of the best torrent VPNs if you want to consider other options with better P2P support.

WireGuard support on Windows and Android

The WireGuard VPN protocol is the hot new thing in the world of VPN protocols. WireGuard is super secure, and faster than the previous #1 VPN protocol: OpenVPN. Avast has integrated WireGuard support into the Windows and Android apps, which should make those apps much faster and more secure than previously.

Avast SecureLine CONs

Here are some not-so-great things you should know about Avast Secureline VPN:

Avast caught selling user data collected through their antivirus products

In 2019, privacy experts discovered that Avast was harvesting user data through their antivirus products, then selling that data to third parties. According to the company,

The data is fully de-identified and aggregated and cannot be used to personally identify or target you.

The data that was collected did not include the user’s name, email address, or IP address. While we really don’t like the idea of anyone selling user data like this, it doesn’t sound like the data can be used to personally identify anyone.

That is, until you learn that every data record also includes a unique device ID, which persists until the user uninstalls the Avast antivirus from that device. The data that was being collected was extremely detailed, right down to every click the user made, and the exact millisecond that they clicked.

With that level of detail, it wouldn’t be too hard to attach a person’s identity to a device ID. For example, imagine that you have a website that offers a free newsletter. Imagine also that you are a buyer of Avast’s data. You know that I, Heinrich Long, signed up for your newsletter on September 11, 2019, at 9:32:01.

Next, you go look at your Avast data, and see that exactly one person, using a computer with device ID 123abc, clicked the signup button for your newsletter on September 11, 2019, at 9:32:01.

You have just discovered that device ID abc123 is a computer used by me, Heinrich Long. Now you can go through your Avast data and see everywhere I go on the Internet, and everything I do there. And surely, there are algorithms that make identifying people from such data all the more easier.

avast VPN privacy data

While we do not know who bought this kind of data from Avast, they have reportedly stopped collecting user data in this way.

We haven’t seen any evidence that Avast is, or has, done anything similar with the SecureLine VPN or other products. But this episode alone would make me nervous about using any of their products.

Avast keeps connection logs

When you visit the Avast SecureLine VPN webpages, you’ll notice that they state the VPN, “Doesn’t log websites visited or app usage.” A thorough review of the VPN’s Privacy Policy seems to confirm this. Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t keep usage logs. That’s great.

However, while they don’t keep usage logs, they do keep connection logs. These connection VPN logs record when you log onto and off of the VPN. But that isn’t all they log. According to the VPN privacy policy, they actually record:

  • Timestamps of your VPN connections (when you log on and off).
  • The subnet of your originating IP address. An IP address is composed of 4 octets of data. Each octet consists of 8 bits of data, with a range from 0 to 255. The first three octets collectively identify a subnet. The final octet identifies the device. According to Avast, they anonymize the final octet of the address, meaning they don’t identify you directly. But there are a maximum of 255 devices that could be identified by that final octet.
  • IP address of the VPN server you are using.
  • The amount of data transferred while you are logged on.

While the VPN policy explains the reasons Avast records each of these types of data, these logs make us uncomfortable. Of course, there are many VPNs that keep some basic logs, which we showed in the CyberGhost VPN review, so you really want to read the fine print.

On the positive side, the company states that these logs are automatically deleted after 30 days, unless, “…it is necessary for us to comply with our legal obligations or legal orders, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements, including in the court of law.”

If this leaves you feeling uncomfortable, check out these VPNs that keep no logs.

Avast VPN server network is small

At the time of this Avast VPN review, the SecureLine server network consisted of 58 server locations in 34 countries. While this isn’t the smallest VPN server network out there, consider that ExpressVPN has 160 server locations in 94 countries, and NordVPN has over 5,200 servers in 60 countries, as we covered in the NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison.

Avast VPN servers

Avast has done a good job of locating servers in key countries around the world. Even so, the SecureLine VPN has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the size of their network. There are several reasons having a large server network is beneficial. More servers in more locations can give your overall network more bandwidth, reducing the risk of slowdowns.

More servers can also help when it comes to unblocking websites. Finally, when an individual VPN server fails or a natural disaster strikes, more servers means more redundancy to the overall network. When it comes to VPNs, more is generally better.

No support for Linux

One important thing that is not on Avast SecureLine’s list of supported platforms is Linux. Even the browser apps will not work on Linux, since they require the desktop app to be installed.

This means that Linux users are left out in the dark. And while most VPN services do not provide a dedicated Linux GUI app, they will still offer basic support for Linux. Sadly, that is not the case with Avast SecureLine VPN.

No anonymous payment options

While more and more VPN services are supporting “anonymous” payment options such as Bitcoin, Avast has stuck with the classics, credit or debit card, along with PayPal.

Considering the way their products are designed to make things simple for users, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the payment options should be simple too. However, if you want to pay with Bitcoin, both NordVPN and CyberGhost support this option.

High prices and difficult refund policy

Avast SecureLine VPN has gone to a more standard VPN pricing scheme. The feature set stays the same while the price varies depending on the length of your subscription. In their current model, you can choose between 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year subscription, all of which support 10 simultaneous connections.

Avast VPN price

While the initial pricing on the SecureLine VPN is decent, that is because of the steep discounts given for an initial subscription. Let’s use the 3-year subscription plan.

The initial price for this plan is $158.04. That’s a decent price. But things are very different at renewal time. And this is the same whether you use a VPN coupon or not. If you look carefully at the image above you will see some confusing text.

First see that the 3 Years plan price is $4.39/month. But right below that you can see an underlined price of $8.19. That second price is the full monthly price of the 3 Years plan without the initial discount.

Similarly below that there is an underlined price of $294.99, followed by a price of $158.04. The underlined price is the full price, and the other price is the discounted price for the initial subscription.

Aside from the confusing way the prices are described, I have mixed emotions about this. I dislike that the presentation of the prices is incomprehensibly unclear. But I like the fact that Avast was willing to show the renewal price instead of hiding it in the fine print somewhere on their site.

Just to be sure that we are describing this correctly, we dug into the support pages at Avast, and found this,

When you purchase an Avast subscription, we may offer you an initial discounted price. This offer applies only to the first subscription cycle, after which you are charged full price. The full subscription price is provided during purchase, and you are informed in advance by email before payment is taken. If you are unhappy with the renewal price, cancel your subscription before the end of the current subscription cycle and you will not be charged.

If you sign up for the Avast VPN expecting to get the same good price after renewal, you will be disappointed. If you already signed up for the service, you might want to take their advice and cancel your subscription before the end of the current subscription cycle.

SecureLine VPN free trial

Avast gives you a nice 7-day free trial of the SecureLine VPN. You don’t need to enter a credit card for this trial, and they give you full access to their VPN server network and all the features, so it would definitely be the way to go to test this VPN service.

If you want to go this route, there are also other free trial VPNs to consider.

Avast refund policy

Avast offers a 30-day money back guarantee, on the SecureLine VPN, which is great. However, like the subscription pricing, you need to be a bit careful. Avast makes you jump through some hoops. Here is the basic process, as described on the Avast website:

avast refund policy

To find out if you are eligible for a refund, you must follow a convoluted process with numerous exceptions and clauses.

Then you need to go to a different page to determine if you meet all the refund criteria stated in the Avast Cancellation and Refund Policy, and on and on. We’re sure you could eventually get to the end of all this, but we gave up at this point. This is a difficult refund policy.

For comparison, most leading VPN services offer a 30 day hassle-free money back guarantee, such as we saw in the ExpressVPN review. Avast SecureLine VPN, however, makes you jump through hoops to get the refund.

No router support

Avast SecureLine doesn’t offer router support. This is a drawback we have noted with other VPNs recently as well. For example, see our NordVPN vs PIA VPN comparison.

Given that this VPN seems aimed at the regular person, rather than techies, this is a logical choice. So if installing a VPN on a router is important to you, then Avast VPN isn’t a good choice.

Additional interesting FACTs

Here are additional interesting facts you should know about Avast SecureLine VPN:

SecureLine VPN and Avast Software s.r.o. (background info)

The SecureLine VPN is a product of Avast Software s.r.o. Avast Software is based in the Czech Republic. The country is not part of any of the major international intelligence gathering organizations such as FVEY (Five Eyes), but it does reportedly cooperate with them to some extent.

We would rate this an average location for a security and privacy company to be based. Better than say the United States or Great Britain, and worse than places like Panama, Switzerland, or the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Note: The parent company, Avast, also owns and operates AVG Secure VPN. Check out our AVG VPN review for more info.

Avast VPN speed test results (not fast)

For this Avast VPN review, I ran speed tests on a handful of different servers in the US, Canada, and Europe. All tests were done using the Windows client and the OpenVPN protocol and AES-256 encryption on a 100 Mbps (baseline) VPN connection.

First I tested the “Optimal location” server, which happened to be in Seattle: 76 Mbps.

avast vpn speed review

Not too bad, but also not amazing.

Next up was a server in Los Angeles: 90 Mbps.

avast vpn speeds

Then I tested a New York server. The speeds were not very good at 45 Mbps.

secureline vpn speeds

Next up was a server in Montreal, Canada. Download speeds were 55 Mbps, again not great.

secureline vpn speeds

While these aren’t horrible speeds, Avast SecureLine is not what I’d consider to be the best VPN for Canada.

Lastly, I tested a server in the UK.

avast vpn server speeds

Again, not great, but also not horrible.

The Avast SecureLine speed test results were about average, not good enough to be in the Pro category, but also not bad enough to be a Con. It is not the fastest VPN we have tested, but also not the slowest.

Mixed Netflix results, not great for streaming

Netflix is in a continual war with VPN services. Netflix tries to keep people from connecting to their service using a VPN, while the VPNs are continually coming up with new ways to get around the Netflix defenses. SecureLine isn’t particularly known for success in this war. We did some basic testing and found that on this particular day, some Avast servers were able to get through, while others were not.

If connecting to Netflix or other streaming services is a priority, we suggest NordVPN or Surfshark, which our testing shows to be the best Netflix VPN services. These two VPNs give you access to 15+ Netflix libraries. And with this level of access, they make it easy to change your Netflix region.

But what about streaming in general?

Well, unlike many other VPNs, it does not appear that Avast VPN caters much to the streaming crowd. And the service did not do well with accessing streaming sites in our tests.

Average technical support

Support for many Avast products is available from the same page. So the first step in getting support is to find your way to the SecureLine VPN – specific help page here. You’ll have access to a number of help topics and FAQs for do-it-yourself troubleshooting. If that isn’t enough to get the job done you can also click your way through the Contact us help ticket system, where you will have the option to chat with a rep or exchange email messages.

Once again, things get complicated quickly. To complete a help ticket, you will need to find the confirmation letter email you received when you bought the product. Then you need to find your Avast order number, the exact location of which depends on which service fulfilled your order originally. Once you have that, you will be able to complete the contact form and wait for someone from Avast to contact you. Like we said, it’s complicated.

According to the Avast website,

Avast Support usually responds within 2 business days, however, response times can vary depending on the support workload, language, and category of your issue.

Avast VPN FAQ

Here are several questions we ran into while researching the Avast SecureLine VPN:


Does Avast VPN work in China?

Using a VPN in China is a tricky endeavor simply because most VPNs are blocked. However, there are a few VPNs that get around these blocks. For example, VyprVPN utilizes a technique that hides VPN traffic to make it appear like regular HTTPS encryption. This is called obfuscation.

It does not appear that Avast VPN offers any kind of obfuscation features. Therefore it is not a good VPN for China.

The same can be said for other regions that are blocked, such as using a VPN in UAE and Dubai.


Does Avast SecureLine VPN work for gaming?

A good VPN for gaming needs to have the following:

1. A large server network
2. Fast speeds
3. Low ping to minimize gaming playback issues

Avast does not do well here because we have already seen that it has a smaller server network and mediocre speeds. There are many variables with ping, such as your ISP and proximity to a VPN server. Nonetheless, it’s clear that Avast VPN is not the best VPN for gaming that we’ve seen.


Is Avast VPN trustworthy?

If by trustworthy you mean will the Avast SecureLine VPN protect you while you use the internet, then yes it is trustworthy.

Unfortunately, they do log a lot of information about when, where, and how you connect to their service. This is more information than we feel comfortable with. Whether this is an issue for you depends on your specific circumstances.


Is Avast SecureLine VPN good for Netflix?

Avast VPN is not a particularly good VPN for Netflix. During our testing we got very mixed results, with some VPN servers being able to connect to Netflix properly and others failing to do so. If streaming Netflix is a priority, this VPN is not a good choice.

Avast SecureLine VPN review conclusion

The Avast SecureLine VPN is a decent product that is hampered by a lot of externals. The VPN itself is user-friendly and provides strong security without any data leaks that we could find. But there is nothing here that makes it stand out from the crowd. The performance is mediocre, access to Netflix is marginal, and the server network is on the small side.

Now add in that the price is on the high side after the initial discount wears off, the 30-day refund would be a headache, the company keeps fairly extensive VPN connection logs, and Avast was caught selling user data gathered by their antivirus apps.

While VPN itself works just fine, and Avast is a well-known name in the Internet security world, we can’t really recommend this product.

Alternatives to Avast SecureLine VPN

Click the VPN name below to read our full review – or grab the discount for the best savings. All three of these VPNs have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  1. NordVPN review (with 68% discount coupon)
  2. Surfshark review
  3. ExpressVPN review
  4. VyprVPN review

See also our guide on the Best VPN Services for more info on our top recommendations.

This Avast VPN review was last updated on January 3, 2023.

About Heinrich Long

Heinrich is an associate editor for RestorePrivacy and veteran expert in the digital privacy field. He was born in a small town in the Midwest (USA) before setting sail for offshore destinations. Although he long chafed at the global loss of online privacy, after Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, Heinrich realized it was time to join the good fight for digital privacy rights. Heinrich enjoys traveling the world, while also keeping his location and digital tracks covered.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Customer May 24, 2023

Avast SecureLine VPN is a crap – slow, disconnecting, many pages don’t load.

Bzigzhnev October 21, 2022

Avast AntiTrack – android app, says:
“Avast AntiTrack warns you when snoopers try to follow you and stops them.
Avast AntiTrack stops web trackers from collecting your personal data, and prevents websites and ad networks from creating a profile on you”… But..
Avast AntiTrack that would protect us from trackers and data collectors, COLLECTS data himself + is tracking your internet activites: �� Data shared by Avast AntiTrack with other companies or organizations: 1. Your Location and Your Personal info:
– Approximate location.
– User IDs. 2. App activity, App info and performance:
– App interactions and Other actions.
– Crash logs, Diagnostics, and Other app performance data.
– Device or other IDs. Data shared and for what purpose:
– info.
– App interactions.
– Analytics.
– Crash logs.
– Diagnostics. ——————–
Data Avast AntiTrack app may collect: – Location: Approximate location.
– Personal info: Name, Email address, and User IDs.
– Financial info: Purchase history.
– App activity: App interactions and Other actions.
– Device or other IDs. – “Your data is transferred to their servers over a secure connection” says Avast AntiTrack ))))
but “You can request that data be deleted” ))) Thank you for your service Avast. (Source: Google Play: “The developer has provided this information about how this app collects, shares, and handles your data”)

Vondra Vondrachkova September 25, 2022

Avast Online Security & Privacy collects the following: 1. Location
– For example: region, IP address, GPS coordinates, or information about things near the user’s device
2. Web history
– The list of web pages a user has visited, as well as associated data such as page title and time of visit
3. User activity
For example: network monitoring, clicks, mouse position, scroll, or keystroke logging
4. Website content
For example: text, images, sounds, videos, or hyperlinks Avast Online Security & “Privacy” collects, collects and coleeects :)))))))))))))))

Melek April 15, 2022

Hello, well I bought Avast Ultimate that contains Avast SecureLine VPN
from their Avast listed partner avast-tn.com. I think the Mimic protocole of Avast SecureLine VPN makes a good job. When I used other VPN products some sites sometimes were blocked or sometimes even the internet connection was blocked; So for me it is good product that does not even slows down my Internet connection.