AVG is an antivirus program from AVG Technologies, a Czech antivirus provider that was acquired in 2016 by yet another Czech antivirus company, AVAST Software. AVAST Software also offers its own antivirus program, Avast Antivirus. AVG became well known by provided its antivirus scanner for free as part of the Windows Vista Security Center. As a result, many people formerly used AVG’s free antivirus program. However, how well is AVG doing today compared to antivirus providers such as Kaspersky, Avira, or Bitdefender?
Packages and Prices
AVG has a free version called AVG Antivirus FREE. It also has AVG Internet Security, which contains most of the true antivirus functionality. In addition, there is AVG Ultimate, which as the name suggests, is an ultimate package. However, the extra functions in this package mainly consist of PC cleaners and the like, more useful tools than true security features.
Before going into details, we have provided you with an overview of the three versions’ features in the table below. For each subsequent version we provide the extra features the previous version(s) did not have.
|AVG AntiVirus FREE
|AVG Internet Security
|Realtime malware protection||Advance firewall||PC cleaning|
|Basic firewall||Added layer of protection against ransomware||Startup optimization|
|Virus scanning||Encryption of folders to combat snooping||AVG Secure VPN|
|Protection of your webcam against access from external parties||Battery profiles|
|Protection against system takeover by untrusted apps||Antitheft features|
|Phishing and spam filters|
|Protection against fake websites (prevents DNS leaks)|
The packages offered by AVG (see below) include a free version, as well as paid AVG Internet Security and AVG Ultimate versions. The latter includes a PC cleaner and a VPN. Since these last two features are not standard in antivirus packages, we opted to review AVG Internet Security instead of AVG Ultimate. What’s more, when it comes to VPNs, we find that it is better to choose specialized VPN providers such as ExpressVPN or CyberGhost.
There is one feature that some virus scanners have, but AVG does not. This is the vulnerability scanner, which allows you to recognize the weak points in your system. This feature is useful as it provides extra protection against hackers. Being able to identify for yourself where vulnerabilities lie is an added benefit.
AVG Internet Security costs $ 89.99 for a one-year subscription. If you need to protect multiple devices, a subscription for a maximum of 10 devices is available at a cost of $ 119.99 per year. There is no subscription available for less devices, but of course you do not have to use all ten devices.
Refer to the table below for an overview of features contained within each package and their associated prices:
Note: It appears that for marketing reasons, AVG charges a different price if you upgrade from the free software, compared to when you buy the software directly from the website. Also, during discount promotions prices can be significantly lower, as you can see in the above screenshot.
Do you want to subscribe to one of AVG’s packages right away? Click on the button below to go to the AVG website.
Security: quality of the antimalware and antivirus features
VPNOverview uses a quality index to assess the security features of antivirus programs. The index is based on averages that take into account research results from AV-Comparatives, an independent testing agency for antivirus software.
Our calculations show that AVG scores above average when it comes to blocking malware. Only 0.3% of attacks used in the test managed to bypass protection, while the average for all the tested providers is 0.5%.
Nonetheless, 8 false positives were noted, which means that certain harmless files were identified as harmful by AVG. This is just below the average of 8.3. Consequently, thanks to a good security score combined with an average number of false positives, AVG gets an overall security score of 9.0.
AV-Comparatives’ score for the free version’s security features is the same as for the paid version. The difference in the two versions lies in the greater protection the paid version provides against fake websites and in the extra security features it offers. In the case of ransomware, for example, this means that a malicious file would need to overcome an extra hurdle to gain access to your files.
Unfortunately, at the end of 2019, it became clear that an Avast subsidiary had resold millions of users’ data to third parties. This subsidiary has since been disbanded and Avast has made several promises that it would no longer collect or sell non-essential data.
Ease of Use
AVG is available in English, as well as 23 other languages. It supports the Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS operating systems.
Website and Software
The AVG website is user-friendly. On reaching the website, you immediately see a button for downloading the free antivirus program. It is a bit more complicated to find the paid versions, which can be accessed via the menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen. This seems to suggest that, in the first instance at least, AVG wants to primarily attract users with their free version.
After downloading the installer, the AVG installation is self-explanatory. You download the installer from www.avg.com, click on the installer and the installation will complete by itself. If you have installed the free version, upgrading to the paid version can be done in just one click.
Once the installation is complete, using the software is very intuitive. The program’s functions are accessible from the start screen, which works as a kind of central dashboard. From here you can run scans and click on AVG’s various components, including web and email protection.
As for the free version, due to commercial considerations, it has some irritating features. For example, messages often appear about files on your computer that might be at risk. If you then click the message, a pop-up appears from which you can download the paid version:
This is probably also the reason why paid AVG products are not shown on the website straight-away. However, while using the free version, you will get plenty of opportunities to switch to a paid subscription.
AVG’s free version provides you with real-time malware protection for your PC, along with the ability to run manual scans. Also included are a firewall for your browser and your internet connection. The free version’s dashboard looks like this:
Lots of Freedom for Users
As can be seen by the greyed-out sections in the image above, the paid version has an extra layer of ransomware protection, as well as an enhanced firewall for wireless networks. Furthermore, the paid version has a feature that protects you from apps that take over control of your camera and/or microphone.
A spam and phishing blocker are also included, in addition to protection against DNS hijacking. The latter prevents users from falling victim to fake websites when shopping online. An image of the paid version’s dashboard is provided below:
AVG’s anti-ransomware feature works by individually shielding folders from outside attacks. What is handy about this feature, is that this protection is enabled by default for all folders. In this way, you will not accidentally miss a folder. However, you can also opt to determine for yourself whether a folder should be protected or not. So, it is still possible for you to do whatever you like with your files. If this were not the case, the feature would have overshot its goal by limiting your freedom.
Other than stopping ransomware from accessing your folders, the program also has an anti-snooping feature, which protects confidential data from snoopers. There is also a handy feature for granting specific applications access to certain files. With this feature you can choose which programs can or cannot make changes to your files. So, if you only want to be able to open identity data with Office applications, you can specify this. Other apps will then automatically be denied access.
In general, AVG’s customer service is reasonably easy to reach. However, how easy this really is, depends on whether you have a subscription or not. You also need to enter several details before you are forwarded to the chat, which does not come across as very customer friendly. Once you are forwarded to the chat, however, your questions are answered within minutes.
Thanks to the combination of a good solution combined with a few hassles, we give AVG a 6.5 for customer service.
Final Assessment on Ease of Use
Speed and System Load
In the free version, a smart scan takes less than a minute to run. In our case, a thorough scan took 11 minutes and 40 seconds. However, the speed of a thorough scan normally also depends on the amount of data on your hard drive. After all, the more files you have on your hard drive the more files that need to be scanned. The downside is that there is no progress bar for the scan, a feature that is often present in other virus scanners.
Besides security, user experience is of course also important. We have already discussed the software’s ease of use, but the amount of PC resources the software uses is also relevant. It would be very annoying if your antivirus program slows down your computer to such an extent that it is no longer useable.
When AVG is only running in the background, the software uses very few system resources. The processor usage is rounded to 0%, ditto for the hard disk. The maximum RAM usage is around 180 MB, which is reasonable. Consequently, when AVG is idle (passive use), you hardly notice its presence in the background.
During a scan, processor usage goes up to about 10%, with some peaks as high as 14%. RAM usage remains more or less the same, but disk usage skyrockets. This makes sense, of course, as the files on the hard drive are being scanned for viruses.
In summary, AVG has combined excellent scan times with minimal issues when running in the background. However, it is somewhat unclear what exactly is being scanned. This results in a score of 8 points for AVG’s speed and performance.
Differences and Similarities in Performance Between Versions
The use of resources was somewhat higher in the paid version than the free version, which makes sense, as there are some additional functions running in the background in the paid version. The scan times for AVG’s paid version were comparable to those of the free version.
The free version’s software and ease of use is basically the same as the paid version. The only difference being that certain features are simply not available in the free version as you need to pay for these. In short, the difference between the free version and the paid version is not great. Even the popups for upgrades are still there when using the paid version, as there are plenty of other extra features that you can buy.
AVG has a number of clear advantages, but also some clear disadvantages. See the table below for an overview:
|AVG’s full package offers complete protection with many different features||The constant pop-ups can be very annoying at times|
|The free version also provides excellent protection||AVG sold user data to other parties|
|AVG’s software is very user-friendly||Getting customer service can take a lot of effort|
For our overall assessment, we combined together the scores for security (weighting 0.5), speed and system load (weighting 0.2), privacy (weighting 0.1), ease of use (weighting 0.1) and customer service (weighting 0.1). If the privacy score had been better at Avast and AVG, the score would have been well above 8, but in the end, it became a respectable 7.8. A summary of the scores is provided below:
- Security: 9
- Speed and system load: 8
- Privacy: 3
- Ease of use: 7
- Customer service: 6.5
- Overall: 7.8
Are you impressed with AVG’s features and quality, and would like to take out a subscription right away? Click on the button below to go to the AVG website.
Do you have a question you want a quick and clear answer to? Check the FAQs below and your problem may be solved in no time at all.
AVG is available in three different packages, AVG AntiVirus FREE, AVG Internet Security for $89.99 per year and AVG Ultimate for $119.99 per year.
Note: For marketing reasons and to encourage you to upgrade, AVG seems to apply different prices if upgrading from the free version compared to the prices available from the website. There are also often discounts for first time buyers, for the first year only, as can be seen from the screenshot in the article.
In Windows 10, AVG can be removed as follows:
- Right-click the “Start” button in the bottom left hand corner of your screen to open the context menu
- Select “Apps and Features”
- The “Apps and Features” screen opens
- Select AVG Antivirus FREE or AVG Internet Security or AVG Ultimate
- Right-click “Uninstall”
For Mac, AVG can be removed by taking the following steps:
- Open AVG
- In the menu bar at the top of your screen, click on AVG Antivirus or AVG Internet Security
- Click “Uninstall AVG Antivirus” or “Uninstall AVG Internet Security”
- Click “Uninstall”
- Enter your account details
- AVG is removed
Yes, AVG Antivirus FREE is this provider’s free version. The package provides basic protection against viruses and malware. You can also upgrade from the free version to the paid version, called AVG Internet Security.