Review of Avast SecureLine VPN

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Published date: 2 December 2022
11 December 2022 on 8:04 am

With the reputation of a top antivirus provider behind it, Avast SecureLine VPN provides basic VPN protection, astounding download speeds (within reason), and a particularly broad selection of server locations. However, it lacks the monthly subscription option and the privacy tools that we’ve come to expect from the finest VPNs. Additionally, the business compiles a rather large amount of data on its clients.

A VPN establishes an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the server of the VPN provider when you are connected to one. No one, not even someone on the same network as you, even your Internet Service Provider (ISP), who has extensive knowledge of what you do online, cannot see what you are doing. Your genuine IP address is concealed behind the VPN server, making it more difficult for spies and advertising to follow your online activities.

What is the price of Avast SecureLine VPN?
We concentrate on the price of a monthly subscription when we evaluate VPNs. We believe it’s a better approach to compare the prices of products because it forms the basis of pricing for the majority of businesses. Avast prevents us from doing that, though. Only one-, two-, and three-year subscription terms are available from SecureLine VPN. This is a concern because we suggest our readers to sign up for the shortest, most affordable subscription first so they may test the VPN at home rather than starting with a long-term one. Avast does provide a seven-day, credit card-free trial, but it’s still not ideal.

You’ll have to pay $55.08 for that SecureLine VPN service for a full year. That is a competitive price that is significantly less than the $66.07 average we have observed among the VPN services we monitor. The two-year plan costs $105.36, and the three-year plan costs $158.04, respectively. However, keep in mind that you’ll be switched to an annual plan when the two- and three-year contracts expire.

The VPN can be turned on and off using a green toggle in the center of a purple window.
With Avast, you may pay with most popular credit cards or PayPal. Cryptocurrency is now widely accepted as a semi-anonymous payment method by VPNs. Winners selected by editors For a totally anonymous experience, Mullvad VPN and IVPN both accept cash payments sent to their respective headquarters.

Even so, it can be challenging to justify such a high upfront fee, especially considering that the VPNs we monitor price, on average, $9.89 per month. Additionally, several VPN providers charge less while providing more services than SecureLine VPN. For instance, Mullvad VPN is only 5 euros ($4.97 at the time of writing) a month. If you’re feeling a little tight on cash, think about using one of the inexpensive VPNs we’ve recommended.

There are some free VPNs that are worthwhile of consideration, and nothing is cheaper than free. Given that there is no bandwidth restriction, ProtonVPN offers the finest free subscription we have ever seen. It is also our top-rated VPN overall.

What Does Your Money Buy You?
You can link up to ten devices at once with a SecureLine VPN subscription. Given that it is double the industry average, Avast has a compelling case for its worth. A family or a home with lots of gadgets should be readily covered. However, it is important to keep in mind that more and more VPN service providers are abandoning these restrictions. No simultaneous connections are restricted with Atlas VPN, Avira Phantom VPN, IPVanish VPN, Editors’ Choice winner Surfshark VPN, or Windscribe VPN.

Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t offer much beyond the most basic VPN security. Split tunneling is a feature included in many VPNs that enables you to direct some website and app traffic outside the secure VPN connection. It is especially helpful for low-security but high-bandwidth requirements, such as video streaming or gaming, as well as for secure websites that prevent VPN connections, like online banking. This feature is exclusive to the SecureLine VPN Android app from Avast. It should also be available on other platforms, in our opinion.

Multi-hop connections are not supported by SecureLine VPN either. You can ensure that your connection isn’t being spied on by using this option, which enables you to transit your online traffic over two VPN servers. Among the providers that provide it are Hotspot Shield VPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost VPN.

The free Tor anonymization network is directly accessible through a very, very small number of VPNs. Tor makes it significantly more difficult to be tracked online by rerouting your traffic over a number of volunteer nodes. You can even access off-limits Dark Web sites with it. Although a VPN is not required to connect to Tor, it is nevertheless a valuable function. This feature is not present in Avast SecureLine VPN. Few VPNs, including ProtonVPN and NordVPN, offer split tunneling, multi-hop, and VPN access to Tor.

Red toggle on a purple window indicates that the VPN is unplugged.
There are no more subscription add-ons available for Avast SecureLine. One the one hand, that makes shopping simpler. It’s important to note, however, that other businesses, like as TorGuard, provide far more with their subscription add-ons. Static IP addresses, which are allegedly less likely to be blocked by websites, are among the extras that company offers.

Full-featured antivirus software additions are one recent VPN trend. With its VPN service, NordVPN now includes malware protection, and Surfshark One now offers antivirus for an additional cost. We put both of these to the test to see how well they would handle malware and weren’t impressed. On the other hand, despite being delivered independently from the VPN, Avast is our top pick for the finest free antivirus software.

Strangely, a lot of antivirus providers that provide VPN services do not combine them with their other services. The SecureLine VPN is a part of Avast’s product suites, including Avast One, defying the trend. This offers five Windows machines with antivirus, a VPN, and other features for $99.99 per year. The $139.99 family edition, which expands coverage to 30 devices, is an alternative.

A VPN does not completely protect you from risks. Your computer can still be harmed by malicious adverts, malware, and other network attacks, which can even steal your personal data. We strongly advise using antivirus software to safeguard your computer from any possible threats, turning on two-factor authentication to thwart account takeovers, and creating strong passwords with a password manager for every website and service you use.

What VPN protocols are supported by Avast SecureLine VPN?
There are various methods for establishing a VPN connection, albeit not all of them are equivalent. OpenVPN, which is open-source and regularly checked for flaws, has long been our favourite choice. The open-source heir apparent and rising star in the VPN sector is WireGuard.

WireGuard was a beta feature with SecureLine VPN at the time we conducted our in-depth testing. The business informs us that WireGuard is about to receive macOS support and that it is currently fully supported—indeed, it is the default option—for its Android and Windows apps. We’re eager to test these apps again shortly.

Avast uses IKEv2 for its macOS and iOS apps and OpenVPN for its Windows and Android apps at the time of our most recent examination. All platforms supported the company’s exclusive Mimic protocol. According to a company official, Mimic employs well-known cryptographic technology and is made to disguise VPN traffic as simple HTTPS traffic in order to bypass firewalls.

A purple window displaying a list of VPN protocols is offered
How Many Servers and Where Are the Servers for Avast SecureLine?
In general, we favor VPNs with a wide variety of server locations. Geographic diversity increases the likelihood that you will always be able to find a server nearby when you are traveling and provides additional options for location spoofing.

Avast SecureLine allows users access to servers in 36 countries, which is decent but less than the average of 52 countries. However, the most of them are in Europe. Avast has SecureLine VPN servers in Brazil and South Africa, unlike the majority of VPN providers who overlook these regions. Although we would want to see even more server locations added, that’s great. In contrast, ExpressVPN provides servers in 94 nations.

In some cases, having VPN servers in areas with restrictive internet regulations can be beneficial. Russia and China no longer have Avast VPN servers, but Turkey does. In particular, it has had a presence in Ukraine.

Avast provides roughly 500 servers with SecureLine VPN in a purple window with a list of nations and flag icons next to each. With more than 7,000 servers, CyberGhost VPN takes the lead among the services we monitor. However, a higher server count does not always equate to better performance. Actually, it’s more likely a result of what customers want.

Virtual servers are a common feature of VPNs. These servers are software-defined, therefore they may support a large number of virtual servers on a single hardware server. Sharing servers with other customers could jeopardize the security of the servers, albeit this is not always a concern. Avast SecureLine VPN does not have these problems. Only “bare metal” servers that are not shared are used by the business.

Virtual locations are another thing to think about. These VPN servers have been set up to appear somewhere other than their actual location. Although that may not always be a negative thing, we prefer VPNs that make it apparent which locations are virtual. Since SecureLine VPN doesn’t employ virtual locations, this is also unimportant.

Although the company claims that its VPN infrastructure has never been compromised, it adds that it would swiftly make the public aware of the incident. The business informs us that full-disk encryption is used on all of its servers, along with a number of other industry-standard security measures, to protect its infrastructure. Some businesses, like ExpressVPN, take things a step further by switching to RAM-only servers that are quickly erased as the power goes out.

With Avast SecureLine VPN, Your Privacy
A VPN would have extensive knowledge of everything you do and see online if it wanted to act inappropriately. It’s crucial to comprehend what data a VPN gathers and how it safeguards that data for this reason.

Avast does a wonderful job of making it simple to locate and comprehend the corporate policy that pertains to VPNs. For such, the company deserves praise. The company explicitly declares that it does not keep track of DNS requests, browsing history, or the contents of sent data. That is how it ought to be.

The document continues by outlining the data that the business does collect. Although they are not always the ideal privacy standards, Avast is quite open about these operations, and nothing about them seems malevolent. Avast does record the timestamp of each connection, as it claims to be required to prevent abuse. Avast claims that it logs the amount of data delivered (but not the content) and a portion of your IP address in order to monitor its service and make improvements. Additionally, the business records the IP address of the VPN server you utilize, which, according to the business, aids in determining when services are unavailable. According to a corporate spokesman, this data is removed after a rolling 35-day period.

Many VPN providers collect much less data. Notably, Mullvad does not even have an account system or a database to handle subscriptions. Instead, a long ID number is given to you, making it incredibly challenging to link VPN activities to a specific person. Avast should work to collect and store even less data.

According to the business, subscription sales are the only source of income. This is advantageous because you don’t want a VPN to sell your user data.

Sadly, Avast has already made money off the information of its users. The business was discovered selling collected online usage data from Avast’s browser plug-in that had been anonymised. While Avast maintained that this information had been anonymised, a soft360 investigation discovered that it could still be used to identify specific Avast users. Notably, the company’s antivirus program rather than the VPN was utilised in this method. Since then, Avast has stopped using this data collection method. That’s great, but the event has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Considerably though its VPN was not involved, it is already challenging to trust any VPN provider; it is even more challenging to do so since it so recently engaged in such blatant activity.

The organization that created Avast SecureLine, Avast SRO, has its headquarters in the Czech Republic and is governed by Czech law. According to the business, in the past, in response to legal inquiries, it has given law enforcement only a small amount of data. The company’s Transparency Report, which we only found after contacting a corporate representative, acknowledges the revelation. We’re pleased to notice that this page is updated much more frequently and that the volume of responses to requests for legal data has significantly decreased. Although none would be preferable, that’s not too awful.

Keep in mind that the same business owns HMA! VPN, AVG Secure VPN, and Avast SecureLine VPN. When compared to Avast and AVG-branded VPNs, HMA! VPN uses its own infrastructure while the latter two use a common back end.

Additionally, Avast maintains a warrant canary that makes the noteworthy claim that the business has not incorporated a backdoor into its system that would enable access to encrypted data. That’s fantastic, and I hope other businesses will offer comparable guarantees.

In order to prove their security credentials, many VPN providers have started issuing independent third-party audits of their services. Even if not all audits are beneficial, the general tendency is positive. For several years, TunnelBear has made annual audits available. A public audit of Avast SecureLine has not yet taken place. It ought to comply.

Avast SecureLine VPN for Windows in-depth review
Apps for SecureLine VPN are available from Avast for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Although it doesn’t provide programs for Linux, it does offer installation support for various streaming devices. Soon, we’ll add user testing for those platforms to this evaluation.

On a PC running the most recent version of Windows 11 and an Intel NUC 11 (NUC11PHKi7C, “Phantom Canyon”), we tested the Windows client. It was odd that the software required us to log in with an activation key that we could find on our Avast account page. We avoided having to input the username and password, which was a hassle.

The app opened with a brief introduction before initial use that highlighted SecureLine VPN’s primary controls. The software is designed around a single window that has a large toggle switch in the middle that can be used to start a VPN connection. We appreciate the clear, uncomplicated interface. We also like the app’s stylish purple color scheme. Nevertheless, it can’t compete with the Editors’ Choice winner TunnelBear VPN’s seamless fusion of friendliness and simplicity.

You can browse a list of the nations that Avast SecureLine VPN serves to change servers. There are clearly designated server locations for streaming and P2P traffic. The number of cities in the region is indicated by a number next to the location. You can filter the server list by continent or function using a list on the side. It is quite simple, which we enjoy. Nevertheless, unlike NordVPN and other services, you are unable to choose specific servers.

Many VPNs base their server selector on a map, which is both more aesthetically pleasing and practical when trying to locate a server close to a particular area. This feature is absent from Avast SecureLine VPN.

Purple window displaying a menu of settings available
The Settings are where you may access the limited capabilities that SecureLine VPN offers. From this point, you can turn on the Kill Switch, which cuts off your internet access if the VPN unintentionally disconnects. Additionally, you can choose a VPN protocol and make your device accessible to local network devices. WireGuard was displayed as a beta option in the version of the software we used, but it should now be the default choice, as was already mentioned.

You should make sure the VPN service is appropriately obscuring your data before using it. We verified that SecureLine VPN was not leaking DNS requests and that our IP address had changed by using the online DNS Leak Test Tool. The fact that we only tested one server means that additional servers might not be configured correctly.

Netflix restricts VPNs to stop users from impersonating another user and accessing content that isn’t available where they actually are. We were able to access a limited amount of Netflix’s collection when connected to US-based SecureLine VPN servers, despite being able to view Netflix material. The problem persisted even after we tested many of the servers that Avast recommended for streaming. However, anything could happen at any time to alter that.

violet window displaying a list of streaming-specific servers
Speed and effectiveness
Your internet connection will slow down if you use a VPN since the traffic has to travel through additional devices and fiber to get to its destination. We utilize an automated version of Ookla’s Speedtest tool and calculate the % difference between results obtained with and without the VPN operating to get a feel of the impact a VPN has. For additional information on soft360’s testing methods and their limitations, see How We Test VPNs.

(Editors’ note: Ziff Davis, the parent company of soft360, owns Ookla.)

Results from Avast SecureLine VPN were very puzzling. In our tests, the download Speedtest scores revealed a 6% improvement. That indicates that downloading was a little quicker with a VPN than without one. Real figures show that the median download speed using the VPN was 865.49 Mbps, compared to a baseline median speed of 816.38 Mbps.

The download findings, which appeared to be miraculous, weren’t repeated in the rest of our testing. Avast SecureLine VPN was discovered to have a 68.7% upload Speedtest result slowdown, which is significantly more than the average we’ve observed across products. Additionally, Avast SecureLine VPN dramatically increased latency by 2,774.9%.

These results startled us so significantly that we repeated the baseline and VPN tests four more times. Confusion arises from the outcomes being consistently consistent. We’re convinced that using SecureLine VPN won’t significantly slow down your downloads. You won’t likely achieve the same outcomes as we did, though. Networks are unpredictable, and performance depends on the product, the time of day you connect, and even where you connect from. Avast SecureLine VPN does not necessarily look excellent based on these findings, given the rest of its scores were at best middling.

Out of the approximately 40 VPNs we’ve evaluated so far, the chart below shows how Avast SecureLine stacks up against the top VPNs in terms of speed.

But you probably shouldn’t be too concerned with speed. When picking a VPN, we advise readers to think about cost, value, and privacy protections rather than something as unreliable as speed.

Quick, But Uneven
Because the market is so young, users frequently claim that they don’t know who to trust while using VPNs. Because so many customers are familiar with and confident in the Avast brand, SecureLine VPN doesn’t experience this issue. There is also a lot to be claimed for the SecureLine VPN app’s simplicity, which allows you to get up and running quickly and provides servers in areas that most of the competition ignores. Although we regret that Avast does not provide a monthly subscription for SecureLine VPN, the price is fairly reasonable on an annual basis.

The download Speedtest results for SecureLine VPN are likely to draw the most attention. That’s something Avast should be commended for, and it’s safe to claim that using this VPN won’t likely significantly slow down your downloads. However, networks can be picky, so you shouldn’t anticipate the unexpected outcomes we observed. It’s also important to note that the remaining SecureLine VPN Speedtest results didn’t appear to be as promising.

The main issue we have with Avast SecureLine VPN is the same issue we have with AVG Secure VPN, which is a sibling product and shares infrastructure with it: neither product has made a third-party audit of its rules and architecture available. Although we don’t think Avast is trying to hide anything, publishing an audit is consistent with the company’s previous transparency initiatives and will support customer confidence in a sector that is undergoing fast change.

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