A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, keeps your information protected at home, at your place of business, or when you’re traveling. In a world with an uncertain future of internet privacy, it’s more important than ever to keep sensitive data under wraps with a VPN, which acts as a personal bubble between your information and the vast world of the internet.
Avast SecureLine VPN is a basic VPN service that works with other Avast security products, like its antivirus and internet security tools.
Avast SecureLine VPN is another security tool from Avast Software, a worldwide security company based in the Czech Republic. Since 1988, Avast has been a leader in the development of applications created to keep you, your devices, and your important information safe.
After years of foolishly running my online business via public WiFi, I decided to start using a VPN to secure my communications (and access a bit of out of market sporting events while traveling).
But I found out that – similar to web hosting – there is no such thing as a “best VPN provider”. In fact, it’s like a whole world of confusing information where even trustworthy information is near-useless since it’s so complex. This Avast SecureLine VPN review is my notes from trying them out for my own purposes as a security-aware, traveling, US-based businessperson who needs good usability and good pricing. I am not a political activist or someone who regularly travels to firewalled countries.
Whether you are looking for a VPN for privacy, for website access, for avoiding geotargeting, for protecting communications or all the above, hopefully, this Avast VPN review will be useful.
Here’s my Avast SecureLine VPN review – structured with pros & cons based on my experience as a customer.
Disclosure – I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All opinions and data are based on my experience as a paying customer performing independent research.
Avast Secureline VPN Pros / Advantages
Avast SecureLine VPN does a lot of things right for a VPN. But the general main overall “pro” is in its simplicity. It truly is one of the easiest VPN services to understand and use, making it perfect for beginners to try out. You’ll install it and get it set up within minutes, and you’ll likely forget it’s even running on your computer.
If you travel frequently and don’t have time to mess around with settings, Avast SecureLine VPN can be an excellent option. It won’t slow down your connection to ridiculous speeds, and you’ll like the no-hassle approach to VPN services it provides. But there are other solid advantages to Avast.
Use it on Multiple Devices
Some VPN providers offer only protection for PC or Mac, but Avast makes SecureLine VPN can work seamlessly across your devices. You can download it for your PC or Mac computer or any Android or iOS device.
All VPN providers really should have this option. People are on the go more than ever before, and secure mobile device technology can help protect your information even when you’re in unfamiliar locations.
Avast SecureLine VPN customers who use the mobile apps love how easy they are to use. Their simple interface lets you connect to your chosen server with the click of a button, and you can even have the app try to find the most optimal server location based on your current location.
The SecureLine mobile apps also won’t bog down your mobile device’s performance, which is great if you’re traveling and already experience slower internet speeds.
Geographically Diverse Servers
Avast SecureLine VPN isn’t necessarily known for having a huge number of servers, but it’s great that they have geographically diverse servers over six continents. There are 29 server locations altogether, spread over 21 countries. Seven servers alone are in large cities across the United States, like Seattle and Miami, making it an optimal provider for US users.
The more locations there are to choose from, the better your chances are of having good internet speeds with little lagging. Frequent travelers know how slow hotel Wi-Fi connections can be, so it’s important to have a VPN that won’t weigh down your speeds even further.
Some of the best things Avast SecureLine VPN has going for it is its little interference of anything you’re doing on your computer. The installation, for example, couldn’t be easier. It takes only seconds to download and a couple of minutes to install, and then it seamlessly runs in the background.
The app itself doesn’t take up a lot of space on your computer, and it won’t interfere with existing files. The computer app is just a small window that’s minimized to the system tray when not in use. Open it up to access the features of the app if you need to change anything; otherwise, you don’t even know it’s there.
The major benefit to this is that the apps won’t slow down your computer or mobile devices. There’s no big, bulky program that uses a large amount of memory to keep you protected, so you can do your work on your devices without your VPN holding you back.
Streamlined for Ease of Use
If you’re looking for the easiest, download-and-go VPN client, Avast SecureLine VPN gives you that. If there’s one thing Avast is known for, it is simplistic, clean security tools that almost any user can operate. Its VPN apps for computers and mobile devices are no exception. Once you purchase, you simply download and use the emailed code to activate.
Avast SecureLine VPN is an incredibly barebones app, so it will save you time not having to mess around with features or research techie terms to understand what you’re doing. It offers the most basic VPN features, like a simple pull-down menu to choose a server or automatically connect to one and language options. That’s literally it, so Avast couldn’t have made it much easier.
Phone Customer Support
Customer support is incredibly tough to judge. Actually, it’s impossible to judge as an individual since any experience you have may be anecdotal. That said, I think it is useful to try to figure out if a company views customer support as a cost or as an investment.
With Avast, they seem to offload a lot of customer support to their forums, which is not ideal in my opinion. They have a decent, if only Anti-Virus focused, knowledgebase. But the one thing they do have that many competitors do not is phone support.
If you are the type of customer that needs phone support, then Avast gets a big win there. Otherwise, their support seems fine.
Avast Secureline VPN Cons / Disadvantages
If Avast SecureLine VPN’s primary pro is ease of use, then it’s primary cons are speed & security. Ease of use is a great thing for people who are just learning how VPNs work or want the easiest route to provide some extra protection to their home networks. But, for someone looking for a VPN service that’s both simple to use and has several security features to choose from, Avast isn’t it.
Although it does provide security for all your devices, you must pay for a separate license for each device. That’s hardly convenient for someone on-the-go who needs protection on a laptop and tablet, for example.
Additionally, Avast SecureLine VPN, even with its excellent encryption, doesn’t fully keep you safe. Avast’s Acceptable Use Policy clearly states that it can, if necessary, go back through your records if it feels that your internet activity poses an issue to its service. But before looking at security more, there are a couple other disadvantages to touch on.
Avast SecureLine VPN originally started at $79.99 per year for a PC or Mac license, which is much higher than other services. It seems that, after trying out a discounted price of $59.99 for a while, it’s now sticking to that price, which is much more reasonable.
So, why is Avast’s pricing for its VPN service something that could be better? Because it has restricted pricing options and you need to purchase separate licenses for your other devices, which I’ll get into more in a moment.
Avast only offers a monthly license for $7.99 and a year license for $59.99, plus a two and three-year license; there’s nothing in between for a shorter period of protection. The monthly license price is almost double what the one-year license works out to monthly.
You can save significantly on a two or three-year license, $89.99 and $119.99, respectively, but that’s a long commitment for something you haven’t tried yet.
So even though on first glance Avast VPN is cheaper than other providers like ExpressVPN, if judged by modern-day, multi-device Internet usage, Avast can get expensive quickly.
On a positive note, Avast does offer a one-week free trial to make sure it meets your needs.
As I mentioned, you’ll need to pay for more than one license if you want to use this VPN service on more than one device. Most VPN services provide you with multiple-device coverage, if available, from a single license purchase.
This is not only inconvenient, but it makes the not-too-bad pricing turn into very high pricing. If you want to add Avast SecureLine VPN to both your PC and your smartphone, for example, you’ll pay $59.99 per year for your PC, plus $19.99 per year for your smartphone. Monthly, it’s $7.99 for the PC and $2.99 for the smartphone.
This simply doesn’t work for business people and travelers who use multiple devices when they’re away from home. Even at home, if you want to use Avast on multiple computers, you’ll need extra licenses for an additional cost.
Overall Download Speeds
Since VPNs are quite literally a middle-man for your Internet connection, speed & performance are going to inherently suffer some.
That said – it is also an opportunity for a VPN to distinguish itself with fast server and optimal connection locations. A good VPN will minimize “hops” and have a quick turnaround on all Internet requests.
On my tests, Avast does ok, but not nearly as good as other VPNs I’ve used like ExpressVPN. Here’s my traceroute to nateshivar.com with Avast turned on –
And here is without Avast –
Note how Avast adds only 2 extra “hops” but a whopping 26 extras milliseconds to each request. That’s a good bit of latency. But latency is not the only consideration – what about bandwidth (ie, the amount of information that can be sent each trip)?
Here’ my internet speeds with no VPN.
Here’s my bandwidth with Avast turned on –
Avast runs at 22% of my standard internet speed. That’s not too good. For comparison, my ExpressVPN tests hovered around 82% of my internet speed.
Avast’s speed is fine for general Internet browsing, but not good overall.
Lacking in Features
Another drawback of Avast SecureLine VPN is for anyone who wants the most control over how they stay protected. This VPN doesn’t give you any control, really. There’s simply no features for you to control, other than what server you want to connect to.
Of course, that comes in handy if you want to remain as inconspicuous as possible by connecting to a non-local server, but that’s an option most VPNs provide. Avast SecureLine VPN totally misses the mark when it comes to providing extra features, like port forwarding, ad-blocking, or kill switches, that further help you maintain your privacy and protection.
If you want only protection with a basic VPN bubble, Avast is a good choice. If you want any type of control over how you stay protected, you should look elsewhere.
In fact, you can download free VPN plugins for most browsers that provide similar services, and you won’t have to pay a monthly or annual fee. The Opera browser even has its own built-in VPN that you can activate if needed.
Number of Server Locations
Avast maintains a geographically diverse set of server locations. However, it does not have a particularly high number of server choices or country choices. At this writing, they maintain server locations in ~19 countries.
That’s not bad, but it’s not especially great either. If you are trying to use a country-specific internet for research and/or entertainment, this point can be an issue. If you are traveling a lot, it can be an issue.
Traffic Logging & Monitoring
To preface – not everyone who uses a VPN is committing some illegal or even unethical activity. Still, the whole point of a VPN is to provide you anonymity and security, so your identity and data aren’t compromised in any way. This includes anonymity from your VPN provider and anyone asking for access to your identity or information.
You should be able to expect the same from Avast, but Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t provide this. It claims not to keep any logs of your identity or activity, but its Acceptable Use Policy contradicts this: “If we receive a complaint about misuse (for instance, from a copyright owner), we will investigate and take action if the complaint is correct.”
Imagine you’re traveling on business and find out that Avast needs to investigate your internet activity for some reason. Per its Acceptable Use Policy, Avast can, and will, do so if needed. This is not a hassle you need, and it shouldn’t be an issue you need to face from your VPN provider, especially when it claims not to hang on to your information.
Note that no VPN is 100% secure. Your traffic is still routing through a company. Any company can go out of business or go rogue. If you are trying to avoid your American ISP – then you are simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter with the trust of your VPN, which, if it is Avast, still explicitly holding those investigative powers over you. If you are a political activist where trust is a life or death situation, you need to be using something like Tor in addition to a VPN. But the point remains using a VPN does not instantly create security/privacy. That is something you do via aligning company incentives (ie, paying for companies who maintain security) & being proactive. In the case of Avast, you are not really paying for privacy – you are paying for access and privacy from people that you trust less than Avast.
Quick aside – it’s also noteworthy from a privacy standpoint that Avast does not accept any form of anonymous payments. Only major credit cards.
It’s safe to say that, if you want the simple VPN app for your computer or mobile devices, Avast SecureLine VPN can give that to you. It provides a safe way to browse the internet without the bells and whistles of other VPN providers. Unfortunately, that also means you’ll have no control over your protection, other than choosing a server location.
If that’s your thing, you can sign up for Avast SecureLine VPN here.
The service is a good choice for the newest VPN users, but for someone with VPN experience who wants to keep personal and business data and internet usage safe, Avast SecureLine VPN simply won’t compare to other all-around premium providers – like ExpressVPN (review).
If you are looking for a provider that meets a specific privacy requirement, then you’d likely find this chart useful.