What is avast secure-line

Contents

OpenVPN is the favorite protocol of many VPN users for several reasons: it’s open-source, widely supported, and provides an excellent balance of security and speed.

Avast SecureLine VPN Review: The Untold Story!

We seem to take the Internet for granted these days. As it’s so common, we don’t think twice of using it to manage every aspect of our lives, from pet images and memes to health records and financial information.

You might notice or not, however, our news feeds fill up with cautionary tales every day: a phishing attack here, government surveillance there, and hackers everywhere. Assuming these things don’t scare you off the Internet, you will need to do more than just cross your fingers and make a wish to ward them off.

That’s where a VPN service comes in handy, which encrypts all data you send and receive all over the Internet.

In our VPN review series, we’ve tested and evaluated some of the best VPN providers with excellent selling points. In this blog post, we’ll explore Avast SecureLine VPN – a prospective candidate for your online privacy and security.

Without any further ado, let’s get started!

Table of contents

  • What is Avast SecureLine VPN?
  • Avast SecureLine VPN usability
    • Official website
    • Supported devices
    • Apps
    • Servers and locations
    • Speed
    • Streaming
    • VPN protocols
    • Encryption
    • Jurisdiction
    • Logging Policy
    • Torrent Policy
    • Pricing plans
    • Payment methods
    • AVG Secure VPN
    • NordVPN
    • Windscribe VPN

    What is Avast SecureLine VPN?

    Located in Prague, Czech Republic, Avast is one of the world’s largest security companies applying next-gen technologies to fight cyber attacks in real-time. The company offers an extensive collection of products, including antivirus software, a secure web browser, password manager tool, and PC cleanup tool. The Avast SecureLine VPN was launched in 2013, making it one of the latest additions to the company’s lineup.

    What is Avast SecureLine VPN?

    Avast also runs a nonprofit foundation that supports causes that align with its values of freedom, education, and innovation. Projects include developing palliative care systems for hospitals, providing STEM scholarships, and assisting Czechs with disabilities.

    Avast SecureLine VPN usability

    Official website

    Avast SecureLine VPN shares a website with other Avast’s products , so it’s more of a page than a full site. There are not any subpages for different features, nor any in-depth VPN articles like you’d find on other VPN websites – everything from a VPN’s definition to potential uses is all on one page.

    It’s not to say that the information is poor quality, just that there isn’t much of it. If you’re new to the VPN world or simply don’t care about the technical details, it should be perfectly sufficient for you. However, if you’re expecting the depth and breadth of content, you may be underwhelmed.

    A similar story happens in the support base, which also covers all of Avast’s products, not just SecureLine VPN. The SecureLine category contains 15 articles, most of which are basic in nature and pertain more to troubleshooting than to VPN education. By any means, it’s not bad, but not likely to hold much appeal for non-newbies.

    Supported devices

    Avast SecureLine VPN supports Windows (7 and up), macOS/ Mac OS X (10.10 Yosemite and up), Android (5 and up), and iOS (9 and up). A legacy version of the SecureLine app is available for Vista and Windows XP, but it doesn’t receive updates and may not support any features that have been added since its initial release.

    You can also use Avast SecureLine VPN on your Android Smart TV, Nvidia Shield TV, or Mi Box. No other operating systems are supported, and no manual configuration files or guides are provided. That means you can’t use this VPN on your router or NAS system.

    Apps

    The Avast SecureLine apps are minimal and classy, which should hold a lot of appeal for those who’re lovers of clean design and already familiar with Avast’s other programs.

    On the main screen, you are shown an on/ off switch, your chosen server, connection time, and IP addresses (both real and tunneled). Everything is described on-screen to be as beginner-friendly as possible. When you turn the VPN on, you’ll be told that “your connection is encrypted and your location is disguised,” and “your location now appears to others as [your chosen server].”

    The location picker lets you browse the servers by continent or function (streaming or P2P), and its layout is efficient: countries and their flags are displayed in two columns, and countries with servers in more than one city can be expanded to show all your options. Nevertheless, there is no way to view a server’s ping or load stats or compile a list of favorites.

    The mobile apps are almost the same as the desktop apps, though they get a couple of additional connection options, such as automatically connecting on mobile data or reconnecting when the network is interrupted.

    Avast SecureLine VPN performance

    Servers and locations

    Avast SecureLine’s servers cover 55 cities in 34 countries, but the exact server count hasn’t been stated.

    16 US cities have servers, including cities like Jacksonville and Honolulu, which are rarely seen on VPN server lists. The other countries with more than one server location include the UK (3 cities), Russia (2 cities), Spain (2 cities), Germany (2 cities), and Canada (2 cities).

    The rest of North America and Europe are well-covered, with Asia taking third place: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Africa is served by South Africa, South America by Brazil, the Middle East by Israel, and Oceania by New Zealand and Australia.

    Avast SecureLine’s servers and locations

    The company doesn’t mention clearly its use of virtual servers. Virtual servers aren’t inherently bad, but we believe that VPN providers should label them, and state the physical hardware the server is running on. Avast SecureLine doesn’t do either of these things, so if you need transparency regarding virtual servers, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

    Speed

    Avast SecureLine states that its servers run on 2Gbps connections, and the speeds of 400-600Mbps are often achieved on the company’s speed tests. However, these tests are likely performed under ideal conditions with a matching 2Gbps base connection.

    In reality, you can get a good idea of what to expect by looking at VPN speeds relative to base speeds. For instance, most top VPN providers deliver speeds within 80% of the baseline when using a local server. This percentage generally drops to no less than 50% when connected to a more distant server in North America or Europe.

    For the most part, Avast SecureLine meets these benchmarks. Local speeds seem to be slightly lower than expected, sometimes falling to 70% of baseline, but it’s made up for strong long-distance performance.

    Overall, Avast SecureLine’s speeds are not the fastest, but they are extremely consistent regardless of distance, which we’d say is more important than hitting the highest figures anyway.

    Streaming

    In the location picker section, you can find a tab containing all the servers it recommends for use with streaming sites.

    However, many users report difficulty connecting to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and even Youtube with Avast SecureLine. Perhaps the most successful server seems to be the New York server, which is able to get past Netflix and YouTube’s detection systems scot-free. It’s actually a bit disappointing!

    Avast SecureLine VPN security features

    VPN protocols

    Avast SecureLine offers two protocols: OpenVPN and IPSec. Unfortunately, you can’t change your protocol as you can with other providers. Instead, the one you use is determined by your operating system.

    OpenVPN

    OpenVPN is the favorite protocol of many VPN users for several reasons: it’s open-source, widely supported, and provides an excellent balance of security and speed.

    Avast SecureLine’s Windows and Android app use OpenVPN as their protocol. While OpenVPN is capable of using either TCP (for reliability) or UDP (for speed), Avast SecureLine doesn’t offer users the option to choose. Only UDP is used, so you may run into some issues with port blocking and dropped packets.

    IPSec

    IPSec protocol was developed by Cisco and championed by Apple. It is about as speedy as OpenVPN, though it’s got the notable downside of being closed-source.

    Avast SecureLine’s iOS and macOS apps use IPSec as their protocol. Support for IPSec protocol is built into Apple’s operating systems, while OpenVPN must use their-party software and jump through many licensing hoops to work on Apple products. Therefore, it is an understandable choice from the developer’s perspective.

    Encryption

    Avast SecureLine VPN uses AES-256 encryption, which it describes as “bank-grade” but is often considered “military-grade” as well. Actually, the number 256 refers to the length of the encryption key in bits, and it would take billions of years to brute-force. For all practical purposes, it is unbreakable.

    Avast SecureLine VPN privacy and policies

    Jurisdiction

    Avast SecureLine VPN is located in the Czech Republic, which has no mandatory data retention laws. This means Avast is not legally obligated to store any type of user data for any length of time.

    The Czech Republic is also subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU’s personal privacy initiative giving citizens greater control over how organizations use their personal data, such as name, email address, location, and IP address. The GDPR requires companies to report data breaches to users and give them the right to know how their data is used, as well as to have it deleted upon request.

    The Czech Republic is not a part of any surveillance alliances like Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes. Nevertheless, Privacy International includes the country on its list of nations that engage in “engaged cooperation” on computer network exploitation with Five Eyes. Though we should emphasize that the degree of this association is unknown, this point may be a dealbreaker for the most security-conscious users.

    Logging policy

    Avast SecureLine’s privacy policy is massive, as it pertains to all of Avast’s products. Most of it is irrelevant to SecureLine VPN, so if you’d like to see the relevant sections, you’ll want to read the “VPN Products Privacy Policy” section, which is all the way at the bottom.

    Avast SecureLine VPN’s logging policy

    Avast claims not to store your full IP address, DNS queries, or any of your browsing history. However, be aware that Avast collects some pieces of information when you create your account, including: email address, username, license key, subscription renewal date, and your trial status (in case you’re using the free trial). The information will be saved for as long as your account remains open.

    Besides, the company also stores some service data from your VPN usage, including your total bandwidth usage, connection timestamps, your chosen server’s IP address, and the subnet of your real IP address. This information is used for troubleshooting and server management purposes. It will be deleted on a rolling basis after 30 days.

    Torrent policy

    Avast SecureLine VPN allows torrenting on some of its servers, which can be found in the P2P tab of the app’s location picker. These locations are Miami and Seattle (the US), London (the UK), Paris (France), Prague (the Czech Republic), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), and Frankfurt (Germany).

    Due to Avast SecureLine’s lack of port forwarding support, some users may face up with slow torrent speeds and limited peer connections. Therefore, if you are a heavy torrenter, you may wish to find a more torrent-oriented VPN.

    Avast SecureLine VPN customer support

    Avast SecureLine VPN offers customer support via three venues: a phone line, a support forum, and a support ticket.

    The support forum is an excellent place for questions that don’t necessarily need answering by an Avast employee, as anyone can post and reply to threads in it.

    If you need faster assistance, you can fill out the support ticket form with a description of your problem and any attachments you’d like to include. Avast states to expect a response within two days, a more extended period than most other VPN providers, but understandable given how many different products the company has to support.

    Lastly, if you need urgent help, you can call the Avast Premium Tech Support line for assistance. Calls start at $79 each, though, so it should be the last resort for the most serious issues.

    Avast SecureLine VPN pricing plans and payment methods

    Pricing plans

    Avast SecureLine’s pricing structure is different from other VPN providers. Instead of offering month-to-month pricing options, SecureLine only has one, two, and three-year commitments billed upfront.

    Moreover, the company offers plans for an individual device or up to five at the same time. Let’s take a quick look at how its prices break down.

    Term Length Maximum Number of Devices Monthly Cost Total Amount Billed
    1 year 1 $3.99 $47.88
    5 $4.99 $59.88
    2 years 1 $2.99 $71.76
    5 $3.99 $95.76
    3 years 1 $2.99 $107.64
    5 $3.99 $143.64

    One nice point of SecureLine’s pricing plans is that we could try it for seven days completely risk-free. So, we don’t need to provide them with our payment information to test it out.

    Payment methods

    Avast SecureLine accepts payments via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, PayPal, or Discover. However, no anonymous payment options, such as gift cards or Bitcoin, are accepted.

    Pros and cons of using Avast SecureLine VPN

    Pros:

    • Easy to download and install
    • Unlimited bandwidth and server switching
    • P2P support
    • Consistent speeds
    • Up to 5 simultaneous connections
    • 7-day free trial
    • 30-day money-back guarantee

    Cons:

    • Limited servers and locations
    • No router support
    • Limited streaming services
    • Inflexible subscription plans
    • No anonymous payment options

    Alternatives to Avast SecureLine VPN

    AVG Secure VPN

    AVG is one of the biggest names in the antivirus market, which has extended its reach towards security on the Internet. The company offers a simple and straightforward setup process, with multiple outstanding features.

    Why choose AVG Secure VPN instead of Avast SecureLine VPN?

    • User-friendly and easy-to-use
    • Capable of unblocking Netflix and BBC iPlayer

    Why choose Avast SecureLine VPN instead of AVG Secure VPN?

    • Industry-leading encryption (AES-256)
    • Consistent connection speed
    • Good pick for torrenting

    NordVPN

    Based in Panama, NordVPN has powered more than 14 million internet users all around the world. It now becomes one of the most trustworthy security service providers, well-known for thought-out features and strongly-held values.

    Why choose NordVPN instead of Avast SecureLine VPN?

    • NordVPN offers a more extensive range of servers and locations (5,400 servers in 59 countries)
    • It allows six simultaneous connections (while Avast SecureLine allows five)
    • It provides more reliable streaming content
    • It offers cryptocurrency payment methods

    Why choose Avast SecureLine VPN instead of NordVPN?

    • Avast SecureLine is a good pick for torrenting
    • It offers a free-of-charge 7-day trial period
    • Its connection speed is consistent

    Windscribe VPN

    Windscribe VPN is actually a good choice for those looking to start using a VPN or migrate from an existing service. Many users believe that Windscribe offers good value for their money.

    Why choose Windscribe instead of Avast SecureLine VPN?

    • Windscribe supports unlimited devices connection per one license
    • It can unblock streaming sites
    • It offers a free version with high speed and quite a lot of servers
    • Its privacy policy is transparent

    Why choose Avast SecureLine VPN instead of Windscribe?

    • Avast SecureLine offers industry-leading encryption (AES-256)
    • It offers a 7-day trial period
    • It’s good for torrenting

    The bottom line

    Perhaps Avast SecureLine is the best VPN we’ve reviewed; there’s something to be said for those who want a trusted name in the antivirus and security industry.

    We hope this Avast SecureLine review helped you make an informed decision among many VPN choices. If you have any concerns or want to share your thoughts, just let us know. We’re always happy to hear from you!

    Read more:

    • Express VPN Review
    • NordVPN Review
    • ProtonVPN Review
    • Touch VPN Review
    • Cyberghost VPN Review
    • Turbo VPN Review
    • Windscribe vpn review
    • AVG Secure VPN Review

    What is avast secure-line

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    Avast SecureLine VPN review 2023

    Avast SecureLine VPN is a one of the smaller players in the commercial VPN space. We put it to the test to see if it can stand up to the big boys in the industry in areas such as pricing, streaming speed and advanced security features.

    Marc Dahan Specialist in online privacy
    UPDATED: September 19, 2021 Read user reviews

    Avast is a company based in the Czech Republic that you’ve probably heard of before. But you’re likely thinking about antivirus products. Yes, we’re talking about the same company. In late 2017, Avast launched Avast SecureLine VPN (and subsequently purchased AVG and launched AVG Secure VPN as well). In this Avast SecureLine VPN review, we’ll show how it ticks many of the right boxes, such as streaming speeds, strong encryption, no-logging policy and DNS leak protection.

    But there’s a caveat, in January 2020, it was reported that the Avast Antivirus and AVG AntiVirus programs were collecting user data and transferring that data to the Avast subsidiary Jumpshot, which would repackage and sell the data. On January 30, 2020, Avast announced it would discontinue the practice.

    While this was about their antivirus products, covert collection and sale of users’ personal info really isn’t the kind of business practice you want to see from a VPN provider.

    As we did when we reviewed AVG SecureLine VPN, let’s keep an open mind and see where we are at the end of this review.

    In this review, we’re going to answer the following questions, and more:

    • What is Avast’s privacy policy like?
    • What are Avast’s data collection practices?
    • Does Avast allow torrenting?
    • Does Avast work with Netflix and other treaming services?
    • How fast is Avast SecureLine VPN?
    • Should you choose Avast over competitors like NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Surfshark?

    Avast SecureLine VPN Summary

    Avast started offering VPN services in 2017 – the same year it purchased AVG, which also now provides VPN services. It’s important to know that AVG Secure VPN and Avast SecureLine VPN share the same infrastructure (so the same VPN servers) and they share the same privacy policy. I’ve reviewed AVG Secure VPN recently and the result wasn’t great. So I sort of know in advance what Avast’s service will look like: OK speeds and prices, with fewer features and a lot more data collection than most of its competitors.

    Avast SecureLine VPN Key Data

    * Average speed over multiple global locations based across multiple speed tests per day.

    How does Avast SecureLine VPN compare to other popular VPNs?

    Here’s a comparison between Avast SecureLine VPN and two of the most well-known and highly rated VPN providers, ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access.

    Avast SecureLine VPN pros and cons

    Pros:

    • OK speeds
    • Prices within the average
    • Native Applications
    • Works with some Netflix libraries
    • VPN kill switch

    Cons:

    • 2020 antivirus logging controversy
    • Uninformative website
    • No router support
    • Privacy practices are lacking
    • Fewer features on offer than its competitors

    Speed: Is Avast SecureLine VPN fast?

    Avast-SpeedTest

    I performed some speed tests over Avast’s VPN servers. The results were similar to what we got over AVG. However, testing UK servers with Avast yielded significantly slower results. This could come down to many factors and I would assume this is not the norm. I was expecting better speeds out of the UK, but as long as your home internet runs at 100Mbps or below and you connect to a server that’s pretty close to your actual physical location, you shouldn’t feel the speed dip that much. But if you start doing things that are bandwidth-intensive, you won’t be able to ignore the slowdown.

    Testing was done using OpenVPN over UDP. Here are the average values per region:

    Global average: 34.7 Mbps

    Whenever I want to test a VPN’s performance with online gaming, I usually configure the VPN client on my router (pfSense). That allows my PS4 to be automatically routed through the VPN just by connecting to my router. But again, as was the case with AVG Secure VPN, Avast doesn’t support routers. So this was not possible. And it’s too bad. Online gaming tends to be smoother when connected via ethernet.

    So as I had done when testing AVG, I set up internet sharing from my Mac and was able to share my VPN with my PS4 that way.

    Online gaming performance was OK. But actually not as good as when I tested AVG. I had more lag and freeze-ups. One game outright disconnected and failed. But these are the same servers as AVG, shouldn’t the performance be the same? Technically, yes. But everyone has good days and bad days, including VPN servers. What I mean is that the difference probably comes down to network congestion, the number of users on the server, and the bandwidth they’re pulling. I would assume that most of the time the performance of AVG and Avast would be very similar.

    Supported Platforms

    Avast SecureLine provides native applications for the following platforms:

    Avast SecureLine VPN Pricing

    Avast’s pricing is decent. The monthly price varies between $4.99 and $3.99, which is well within the average price for a commercial VPN service. However, Avast only offers one, two, or three-year subscriptions. No monthly plans.

    Avast offers plans for 1 device or 5 devices (simultaneous connections).

    Here’s the breakdown of Avast SecureLine VPN pricing:

    5 devices

    Avast-Price-5Devices

    • 59.88 USD for one year of service (works out to 4.99 USD per month)
    • 95.76 USD for two years of service (works out to 3.99 USD per month)
    • 143.64 USD for three years of service (works out to 3.99 USD per month)

    1 device

    Avast-Price-1Device

    • 47.88 USD for one year of service (works out to 3.99 USD per month)
    • 71.76 USD for two years of service (works out to 2.99 USD per month)
    • 107.64 USD for three years of service (works out to 2.99 USD per month)

    These prices are good even though the 2-year plan and the 3-year plan offer the same monthly rate

    In regards to payment methods, Avast only accepts credit cards, a debit card, and PayPal. That’s it. No cash. No cryptocurrency.

    That’s too bad. I always prefer seeing a VPN provider accept anonymous payment methods, like cash or cryptocurrencies.

    Avast also offers a 7-day free trial, which doesn’t require a credit card.

    Avast SecureLine VPN Apps

    While Avast provides an app for AndroidTV, it needs to be activated by pairing your AndroidTV device with another device already running Avast SecureLine VPN. More on that below.

    Avast also provides a browser extension for Chrome. Though I had to download the VPN client app to find out. From the app, you can install the browser extensions. Although it’s better to use the VPN system-wide than only use a browser extension to protect your web browser.

    Nothing for Linux and nothing for routers. These are missed opportunities, in my book.

    The native Windows app is uncluttered and fairly easy to navigate but also has very few options. I mentioned earlier that Avast and AVG share the same VPN infrastructure. And while their apps are very similar in style, they’re actually different apps.

    When you first launch Avast’s app, you must either sign in, if you purchased an account, or you can start your 7-day free trial (without handing over your credit card number). Offering a free trial without requiring a credit card is pretty cool.

    Once you’re set-up, you can select a VPN server to connect to from the app’s main window.

    Avast - App - Connected

    With AVG, the supported VPN protocols varied by platform (OpenVPN for Windows & Android and IKEv2 for macOS & iOS), so I was expecting the same thing from Avast. But no, Avast is more consistent in that all of their apps only support OpenVPN. While it would be nice if Avast supported more than a single VPN protocol, it’s a secure protocol and the experience will be more consistent across different platforms.

    Avast’s app includes four Preferences pages:

    • VPN Mode
    • General
    • Pair New Device
    • Browser Integration

    We’ll discuss the VPN Mode page a bit later in the Security section, as there are security-related parameters there.

    The General settings page in Avast’s app is extremely similar to its AVG counterpart. From the General settings page, you can enable or disable notifications, select whether to start Avast SecureLine VPN when you boot-up your computer and select the display language.

    Below that is an option to receive beta updates of the app.

    Avast App-Settings-General

    The Pair New Device page is used to activate Avast SecureLine VPN on your Android TV. So you need to download the app onto your Android TV device and then pair it to your Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android device to get it to work. Avast provides detailed instructions on how to pair your Android TV device.

    An obvious question that comes to mind is, why is this required? I don’t have an answer for you…

    And finally, the Browser Integration page allows you to download Avast’s Chrome extension, as well as its secure browser.

    Avast SecureLine VPN and routers

    As was the case with AVG, it’s not possible to set up Avast SecureLine VPN on your router. Avast simply does not support that feature. This is an opportunity for improvement, as setting up a VPN client on a router has many benefits, like bypassing the VPN provider’s limit on simultaneous connections, for example.

    Streaming… and Netflix

    It’s getting more and more difficult to access Netflix and other streaming services over VPN. But some VPN providers do amange to grant access to its users. Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t make a huge deal about streaming services in its marketing. But it is mentioned. And Avast’s app has a category for streaming servers. There are five dedicated streaming servers and they are exactly the same ones that AVG uses in its app:

    • Berlin, Germany
    • Wonderland, UK
    • Gotham, US
    • Miami, US
    • New York, US

    Avast App - Streaming Servers

    I tested them all. And they all successfully granted me secure access to Netflix, except for the UK server. Exactly as was the case with AVG.

    So four servers out of Avast’s five dedicated streaming servers worked with Netflix. That’s actually pretty good. The downside, however, is that even if all five servers worked, that still only gives you access to three Netflix libraries. If you want to access a different Netflix library, you’ll need to turn to a better VPN for Netflix.

    I was able to access Amazon Prime Video from a US server and ITVHub from the UK server but not All4. And no luck with Disney+, or BBC iPlayer. Again, pretty much as with AVG.

    So, like AVG, streaming is a bit of a mixed bag with Avast. It works well with Netflix, but only for three libraries and doesn’t seem to play well with other streaming services.

    Does Avast allow torrenting?

    Avast SecureLine VPN allows P2P file-sharing on the same subset of servers as AVG. These are:

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

    Avast App - P2P Servers

    As was the case with AVG, torrenting over Avast’s VPN network was fast and smooth. No issues whatsoever.

    Does Avast SecureLine VPN support Split Tunneling?

    Split tunneling or selective routing enables you to select whether or not an app’s traffic goes through the VPN. So with split tunneling, you can choose to send your Netflix traffic through your ISP connection, while sending the rest out through the VPN. Or only send your P2P traffic through the VPN and send the rest out through your ISP connection. With split tunneling, it’s all up to you. It can handle pretty much any scenario.

    Avast SecureLine VPN does not support split tunneling at this time.

    Security, privacy, and logs

    Avast App - Manual Mode

    Turning our attention to security, let’s go back to Avast’s app and look at the VPN Mode settings menu, we mentioned above. So, from this page, you can determine the app’s behavior relative to enabling and disabling the VPN. You can choose to automatically turn on the VPN whenever you’re connected to the internet. Alternatively, you can choose to have the app ask you if you want to enable the VPN when you’re connected to the internet. Disabling both options will require you to manually connect the VPN whenever you want to use it.

    From here, you can also exclude trusted networks. A trusted network is a network over which you don’t want to connect to the VPN. For example, you could want the VPN to be enabled at a coffee shop but not when using your own WiFi network at home. To do that, simply add your home network to the Trusted Networks list and the VPN will automatically disconnect when you’re on that network.

    Under that, you can enable the VPN kill switch, which will automatically block any packets from exiting your device in the event that your VPN connection should ever drop. It’s disabled by default. I would recommend you enable it and I feel that this should be enabled by default.

    The above applies to what Avast refers to as Manual Mode, the default mode. But the app also provides Smart Mode, which you can enable from here. Smart Mode enables automatic connection of the VPN in three circumstances:

    • When you connect to unknown networks
    • When you torrent
    • When you browse the web

    And you can enable or disable each of them individually.

    Avast App - Smart VPN

    So this is a convenient way to make sure your VPN is always on in these circumstances.

    Let’s look at Avast’s policies now.

    Avast, like AVG, is based in the Czech Republic, outside of the 14 Eyes nations. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe the logging policy to be much more important than jurisdiction. This is because if your VPN provider does not log and sets up its infrastructure for no-logging, then it would have nothing to share with law enforcement if Avast were ever served a request. For example, when the Feds went to U.S.-based VPN provider Private Internet Access requesting user data, PIA successfully made the case that it had nothing to share because it simply does not log.

    So what’s Avast’s privacy policy like?

    Well, remember when I told you that Avast and AVG share the same VPN infrastructure? Well, they also share the same privacy policy. And if you read my AVG Secure VPN review, then you know that it wasn’t very good. This section, by force of necessity, will be very similar to the corresponding section from the AVG review. The privacy policies are identical – verbatim.

    So, the privacy policy has the benefit of transparency, but it’s essentially just a list of what Avast collects. As was the case with AVG, there’s a small little section that lists what it doesn’t collect. One could miss it if they didn’t pay attention…

    AVG - Privacy Policy - No Collection

    The rest of the policy simply goes into what Avast collects. And it collects quite a bit.

    AVG - Privacy Policy - Collection

    Here’s a screenshot from its VPN privacy policy that lists all of the third-party trackers the company uses in its VPN apps:

    AVG - Third-Party Trackers

    As was the case with AVG, I feel all this is way too much data collection for a “privacy” product…

    Turning to encryption, Avast uses the AES-256 cipher for all of its apps.

    Our IP and DNS leak tests show that Avast SecureLine VPN isn’t leaking.

    Avast - IPTest - OFF

    Avast - IPTest - ON

    As do our DNS leak tests.

    Avast - DNSTest - OFF

    Avast - DNSTest - ON

    Like most other VPN providers, Avast provides in-tunnel, no-logging VPN servers. Using your VPN provider’s internal DNS servers is the best way to avoid DNS leaks. You should use them.

    Does Avast provide a warrant canary?

    A warrant canary is a document that is frequently published by a service provider stating that it has not received a secret warrant or a gag order from law enforcement.

    If the provider ever does receive a warrant or a gag order, it can take down the warrant canary, to indirectly signal to their user base that the service has been compromised, without violating the gag order.

    Avast - Warrant Canary

    Avast publishes a monthly warrant canary, pictured above.

    Avast also claims to produce a transparency report, but it simply links back to its privacy policy. Transparency reports are usually about data requests.

    Avast - Transparency Report

    Multihop servers?

    Avast SecureLine VPN does not support multi-hop servers at this time.

    Multihop servers add a second layer of encryption to your traffic, by routing your connection through a second VPN server. The extra hop, in Multihop or cascaded VPNs, makes you significantly more difficult to track and identify.

    Server Locations

    Avast provides access to 55 servers, in 34 countries. Many providers offer many more servers and locations. But this is more than enough, I believe.

    Does Avast SecureLine VPN work in China?

    The answer to that one is going to have to be no. Initially, I wasn’t sure, because AVG’s customer service reps claimed that it works. And AVG and Avast share the same infrastructure. But it appears that Avast doesn’t work in China.

    First off, in early October, we tested a large number of commercial VPNs to see if they worked in China. Avast was among the providers tested and Avast did not work from China, during those tests (see the complete lists at the bottom).

    Then, on Avast’s user forums, an Avast staff member wrote the following:

    Avast Forum - No China

    But, recently (January 2020) and Avast user wrote this on the forum:

    Avast Forum - Yes China

    So while Avast’s macOS installer may have had installation issues back in January, apparently that user has been successfully connecting to Avast’s VPN network from China. So I decided to write to Avast’s customer service department to try and get a straight answer – and that answer was no (see below).

    How good is Avast SecureLine VPN’s customer support?

    Just like with AVG, I couldn’t simply email Avast’s customer service department. In order to do that, you need to have purchased a subscription. I’m running on the 7-day free trial for this review. However, I believe that prospective clients should be able to communicate with the company prior to signing up. Just like you can ask questions to a salesperson in a shop before making a purchase, not only after. So to me, that fact makes Avast lose points on customer service.

    But, again, as with AVG, I saw that their support reps answer user questions posted on the user forum. So I signed up and posted a question about whether or not Avast works in China. And I got an answer the next day:

    Avast Forum - Support Question

    And the link Avast provided took me to this:

    Avast - Official China Policy

    So again, the answer is no.

    Glad I was able to get a straight answer. But I still feel I should have been able to simply send the support department an email, without needing to register an account on Avast’s forum.

    Do I recommend Avast SecureLine VPN?

    No. I don’t. And for the same reasons that I didn’t recommend AVG Secure VPN, either.

    First, there’s the data collection for Avast subsidiary, Jumpshot. That’s not something you want to see coming from a company providing privacy products. And while Avast has committed to discontinuing that practice, its privacy policy tells us that Avast still collects a lot more information on its users than competing VPN providers. I also don’t believe that a VPN client should incorporate third-party trackers, as Avast’s and AVG’s apps both do.

    Then there’s the fact that Avast supports fewer features than most of its competitors. And it only supports one VPN protocol (albeit a good one).

    And while Avast offers two subscription tiers (1 device and 5 devices), there’s no monthly pricing, as is the case with AVG. So you have no choice but to buy a one, two, or three-year subscription. Not everyone wants to commit to a one-year term (or more).

    On top of that, in order to gain direct access to Avast’s customer service department, you would need to buy a one-year subscription. You can’t contact them without a subscription and you can’t purchase less than one year.

    The positives will also be similar to AVG. Avast, like AVG, does work with Netflix on four out of five of its dedicated streaming servers (in my tests). And that’s not bad. But it only supports Netflix libraries from three countries: Germany, the UK, and the US. And if you compare that to larger players in the VPN space, like NordVPN or Surfshark, you quickly see that you can get more for less.

    Avast’s speeds were OK – not great. And they weren’t as good as when I tested AVG (many factors can explain that and it may not be on Avast’s end). But the point is that if you have a speedy internet connection, you’re going to feel the slowdown a lot when using Avast.

    The big thing AVG had going for it is that it appeared to work in China and AVG seemed dedicated to making sure that keeps working. So I was surprised when I confirmed that Avast doesn’t work in China.

    I find myself in the same predicament as I was when reviewing AVG: Avast isn’t terrible, but it never gets the edge over the competition on anything, except price, in some cases. But then again, you’re going to have to purchase at least a year of Avast to save those few bucks. And with so many competitors offering more, it’s difficult to recommend Avast over its competitors.

    Avast SecureLine VPN alternatives

    ExpressVPN is a big player in the VPN space and it has managed to build an excellent reputation for itself. Its privacy and security practices are extremely good. ExpressVPN commits to a strong no-logging policy, provides many convenience features, runs all of its servers from volatile memory (RAM), works with most streaming sites, and works in China as well. It’s a little more expensive than most but an ExpressVPN subscription remains a good investment.

    NordVPN is another excellent provider, based in Panama. NordVPN’s privacy and security practices are stringent and its prices are extremely reasonable. NordVPN provides an ads & tracker blocker, Tor over VPN servers, and WireGuard support. It also allows torrenting, can securely access many streaming sites, and works in China too. It’s hard to go wrong with NordVPN.

    How does Avast SecureLine VPN compare to other VPNs?

    Here’s a table comparing iVPN to two popular and highly rated VPN providers, ExpressVPN and NordVPN