Sophos Home Premium is an antivirus program from a leader in the business-grade security solutions realm. Its main goal is to provide consumers with the same high-level antivirus protection that corporate giants enjoy, while providing the user experience they expect.
But how does this enterprise antivirus provider measure up to some of the leading antivirus providers in the industry? To find out, we tested the Sophos Home Premium package, the only consumer option currently available from Sophos. Below is our full Sophos Home review, including its features, security, pricing, ease of use, and more.
Sophos Home Short Review
|High-end, multi-layered malware protection||Limited features|
|30-day premium free trial||Limited results from testing labs|
|Identity and banking protection||Parental controls are easily bypassed|
|User-friendly software||Customer support could be better|
|Quick and easy installation||Subpar performance on Mac|
|Protect up to 10 devices with one account||More expensive than others|
|Cloud-based management dashboard|
|Available for PC and Mac|
For our review of Sophos Home, we looked mainly at four areas: security, privacy, speed and system load, and ease of use. Based on our review of these categories, we gave Sophos an overall score of 7. It is a good service, but there is room for improvement in several areas.
Sophos’s security is pretty decent, with good results, but no official tests from trustworthy platforms like AV-Comparatives yet. It does offer a fast, secure service with some top-notch tools, providing real-time protection, ransomware security, and advanced malware scanning and cleaning, among other options.
Its biggest advantage is that Sophos offers very user-friendly software. Although it works with both an installed app and an online dashboard, available options are very clear and easy to find. The installation process is fast and straightforward, and customer service is easy to reach, making this a good option for beginning antivirus users.
On top of that, Sophos Home has excellent performance. Scans happen quickly and accurately, and you’ll barely even notice them running in the background of your device. Having said that, Sophos doesn’t work so well on Mac, so we’d only recommend it for Windows users.
Sophos offers a 30-day premium free trial and the ability to use one account on up to 10 devices. This means you can use one subscription to protect all your devices and even some of the devices of family members or friends.
Do you want to try out Sophos Home Premium for yourself? Click on the button below to go to the site of this premium antivirus provider.
Sophos Home Specifications and Subscriptions
Unlike other antivirus providers, Sophos does not offer different levels of antivirus protection with increasing features. Instead, Sophos only has two consumer antivirus software options: one for Windows PC and one for Mac, both starting at $44.99 for one year.
Both packages offer real-time scanning, ransomware security, and web protection, as well as the ability to scan your entire computer, a single file, or a specific folder. Below is the full list of Sophos Home features.
|Feature||Sophos Home for PC||Sophos Antivirus for Mac|
|Pricing||From $44.99||From $44.99|
|Malware Scan and Clean||✔||✔|
|Parental Web Filtering||✔||✔|
|AI Threat Detection||✔||✖|
|Safe Online Banking||✔||✔|
|Download Link||Get Sophos Home for PC||Get Sophos Antivirus for Mac|
Security: Can Sophos Antivirus Be Trusted?
Sophos Home Premium offers some impressive features, but can Sophos protect your computer from malware? Here are our findings for the security portion of our Sophos antivirus review:
- An independent security test from Selabs shows Sophos offers 97% overall threat protection coverage, with 0 false positives.
- Sophos Home Premium offers effective, real-time threat protection, as well as several security features including a security management dashboard that is accessible remotely.
We give Sophos Home antivirus a score of 7 for security. This isn’t one of the best scores we’ve given to the antivirus programs that we have reviewed, but it is respectable.
Security testing: How does Sophos Antivirus measure up?
Like we did for other antivirus reviews we’ve completed, we combined third-party tests and our own tests to determine the scoring.
First, we reviewed the AV-Comparatives and AV-Test to review their findings. However, neither have current tests on any consumer Sophos antivirus products. In fact, they have not tested Sophos Home Premium at all according to their websites.
Instead of our usual sources, we then reviewed SE Labs. Their Sophos Home test awarded the antivirus program with an AAA rating for malware protection (Norton Security got an AA, for example). In other words, Sophos performed well. Only three threats managed to get past it.
Next, we attempted to access multiple malicious sites or files. These were immediately blocked and we were notified.
Sophos definitely seems to do its job well when it comes to blocking threats.
Sophos protection features
Sophos protects against various types of security threats, including the following:
- General: Real-time protection, malicious traffic detection, artificial intelligence (for enhanced scans), AMSI protection, and scheduled scans. Here, you can also exempt drives, files, and folders from protection. If you’re not tech-savvy, we don’t recommend changing anything in this tab.
- Exploits: Exploit mitigation, risk reduction, protected applications (you can make exceptions), dynamic shellcode protection (prevents system takeovers), AMSI registration protection, and CTF Guard.
- Ransomware protection: Prevents ransomware from encrypting your files.
- Web: Web protection (blocks sites infected with malware), download reputation (generates reputation scores for sites), and safe online banking (in-browser protection). You can also create exceptions for trusted sites in this tab.
Real-time threat protection
Sophos Antivirus offers the option for a full system scan or a separate file scan:
- Full scan: The full scan will go through your entire system to check it for malware. This is a cloud-based scan, so you can’t check offline devices. If the device is offline, it’ll be scanned automatically when it comes back online.
- File scan: This scan allows you to check a specific file or folder by right-clicking it and choosing “Scan with Sophos Home.” If you’re worried about a downloaded file or want to check a USB stick before opening the documents on it, this option is particularly useful.
Sophos uses several different tactics to keep up its real-time malware protection. They use Artificial Intelligence learning, for example, as well as malicious traffic detection (to detect programs that are trying to connect to malicious remote servers) and AMSI protection (to support integrated scanning of compatible applications on the device).
To do a full scan, you can either go through the online dashboard or directly through the installed antivirus software. On your online dashboard, click “clean” to start. The only indicator that a scan is running, can be found under the “status” tab on the web dashboard.
To start through the Sophos client, click the “scan” button. Here, Sophos will show the following screen to provide you with the status of the scan. This can be minimized to allow you to continue working on other tasks.
For us, the scan was completed without any annoying prompts or unexpected stops. When we scanned from the application (and not remotely), we did receive a few pop-ups when the program located threats, but this did not require us to do anything for the scan to continue.
After the scan, you’ll receive a full in-client report with the appropriate action buttons next to the detected items.
Aside from an instant full scan, Sophos also offers the ability to schedule a full scan for a later time. This is only available through the web dashboard, under the “protection” tab.
The specific kinds of security that Sophos offers will be discussed below.
Sophos exploit security
Sophos offers several exploit security options to help mitigate your risks. You can easily toggle these options on or off in the Sophos software by going to the tab “Exploits” under “Protection.” Exploit mitigation includes:
- Protection of installed web browsers and plugins, Java applications, office applications, and media applications
- Credential security, so only approved applications can access their credentials
- Prevention of privilege escalation (when attackers impersonate other users), modifications of legitimate software by cybercriminals to gain access to the system, and the use of Application Procedure Calls (APC) to run malicious code
Another exploit security feature Sophos Home Premium offers is “Risk Reduction.” This protects against common attacks, including:
- Sandbox-aware malware
- Backdoor attacks
- Process hollowing (the removal and replacement of executable file code with malicious code)
- DLLs loading (from untrusted folders)
- Malicious USB drives and devices
In short, Sophos’s antivirus software will protect you against various kinds of attacks that attempt to exploit your system.
Sophos ransomware protection
Ransomware protection is an important aspect of any antivirus program, especially with the rise in ransomware attacks over the past few years. If your device is infected with ransomware, your files will be encrypted so they can be held for ransom: a hacker will demand that you pay up before they’ll give you access again. With Sophos, you don’t have to worry about this.
Sophos offers ransomware security features that help keep your personal files safe. Like with other protections, you can easily toggle these options on and off under the tab “Protection” by going to “Ransomware.” There are two features here:
- Ransomware Protection: blocks ransomware from being run remotely and can even roll back any affected files to ensure you don’t lose your data
- Master Boot Record Protection: provides users the extra protection from having their storage configurations changed by ransomware
Sophos Home online protection
Under the tab “Web,” Sophos offers several features geared at keeping users safe while shopping and banking online. For example, the Safe Online Banking option protects the user from things like keyloggers and phishing websites. The Web Protection feature blocks untrusted websites, including sites known for malware and phishing sites. Additionally, it automatically scans your web downloads.
Sophos Home’s additional security options
Unfortunately, Sophos Home Premium offers none of those. Instead, it provides free separate tools that we would much rather see incorporated into its antivirus program. These tools include:
- Sophos Firewall Home Edition
- Sophos Scan & Clean (a second-opinion scanner)
- Public Cloud Security via Cloud Optix
- HitmanPro (a second-opinion scanner)
- Intercept X for Mobile (detects jailbreaking, encryption status, rooting, suspicious network activity, etc.)
At first glance, this looks like a pretty generous offer. We never scoff at free tools. However, if you want complete protection, you have to install four or five apps instead of having just one with the same utility.
Privacy: How Does Sophos Handle Your Data?
- Sophos Home Premium offers only a few privacy features, like private browsing and webcam and microphone protection.
- Most of the information collected by Sophos is necessary to make the program effective. However, they do collect a lot of data.
- Despite having only one data breach on record, Sophos shares users’ personal information with several external and internal parties.
Since Sophos isn’t one of the most privacy-conscious antivirus programs, we gave the Home Premium antivirus program a 5.5 for privacy.
Sophos Home Premium privacy protection features
Unlike other antivirus programs reviewed, Sophos Home Premium does not offer a lot of privacy-specific features like a VPN. Sophos does offer the following:
- Privacy protection secures the user’s webcam and microphone by protecting them from hackers and malware. The protection alerts you when an application connects to your webcam.
- The private browsing feature finds and removes tracking codes to improve your privacy online while browsing. This is useful for shopping, banking, or simply surfing the web to help keep your online activities more private. Unfortunately, this cannot keep your online activities completely private, since Sophos does track and record data used for identification, like your IP address. Using a VPN is a better option to keep your identity safe online.
Speaking of VPNs, we recommend never going online without one. Top providers like NordVPN and Surfshark will keep you anonymous and protect you from the government, other service providers, and even your ISP.
- The info you provide: Your name, postal address, telephone/mobile/fax number, email address, payment details, age, gender, username, and password
- Data collected automatically: IP address, device type, OS details, unique device ID numbers, browser type and language, geographic location, and other technical info
- “Incidental” personal data: Usernames, machine IDs, IP addresses, domain names, and file names & paths
- Cookies and tracking technologies: Information gathered through cookies, Flash technologies, Web beacons, and pixel tags
We’re always uneasy with this type of data logging. If Sophos’s servers get hacked, your personal info can be used to mount all sorts of attacks against you. Furthermore, Sophos is obligated to hand over your data to the government when asked to do so. Let’s not forget that Sophos is located in the UK, which is a 5 Eyes country.
The company does offer the possibility to remove, opt out, or change the information they collect. If you’d like to make use of this, you can do one of the following:
- Fill out this form to access, delete, or request portability of your data, unsubscribe to emails, make a complaint about data being collected, or request the status of your request.
- Send an email to Sophos if you’d like to correct or update data, file a complaint about processing your personal information, or request to opt out of data collection or marketing communications.
Sophos states that it uses all physical, administrative, technical, and organizational measures to keep your data safe. They don’t disclose what those measures are, however, and admit that “no data transmission or storage can be guaranteed as 100% safe.”
Sophos privacy breaches
Sophos does not have a large history of privacy breaches. In fact, the only breach that we confirmed during our review was the cloud storage breach in 2020. This breach involved the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of those who had contacted the company’s support team and happened due to a misconfigured tool. The breach was promptly corrected. Even so, this isn’t a great look for Sophos.
Usability: How User-Friendly Is Sophos Home Premium?
Based on our review, Sophos is one of the more user-friendly antivirus options on the market. Below are our main conclusions on Sophos’s usability:
- The Sophos website focuses on user experience with a simple-to-navigate design and extensive knowledge base.
- The app is easy to install and the setup is straightforward and fast.
- Users can run and schedule scans, as well as review findings easily with the online dashboard.
- Customer service is fast via chat and request form (email).
- The free 30-day trial doesn’t require a payment method and the cancellation process is easy and straightforward.
- Parents can easily filter inappropriate content with a few clicks.
- Marketing pop-ups do occur, but only at startup and only towards the end of your trial.
We give Sophos Home Premium Antivirus a score of 8.5 out of 10 for user-friendliness.
Installing Sophos Home Premium
The installation of Sophos Home was quick and effortless. The whole process takes only a few minutes. Installing Sophos on macOS requires an extra step, since you’ll have to grant it access to your system with an admin password.
Below, we’ll guide you through the entire setup process for both the free trial and the premium version. There used to be a fully free version, but that has since been discontinued. We advise you to get the free trial first, so you can save some money.
Starting your free trial with Sophos Home
As a new user, you can either purchase Sophos Home right away or activate its 30-day free trial. We recommend going with the latter and testing the software before buying.
Here’s how to set up a free trial on your Windows computer:
- Click on “Products” on the Sophos homepage and choose “Sophos Home.”
- Click “Free Trial.”
- Run the downloaded file to start the installer.
- Click “Let’s Start” on the pop-up window.
- Click “Install” below the terms and conditions. Keep in mind that this means you consent to their terms of service and privacy notice. You can give those a look yourself before installing the program if you wish.
- Click “New User” to begin the installation.
- Create an account with your chosen username and password.
- Enter the verification code sent to your email.
- Click “Restart” to reboot your computer and complete the process.
The installation of Sophos for Mac just adds the step to provide your administrator account password (not your chosen Sophos Home password).
How do I get Sophos Home Premium antivirus?
You can purchase the premium license any time during your free trial, giving you full access to Sophos beyond your thirty days. Here’s how to do that:
- Click the “Buy Premium” button in your Sophos Home client.
- Select the duration of your subscription.
- Provide your data and payment details.
- Click “Continue” and finalize the purchase.
You can always check your subscription under the “Status” tab on your dashboard.
Sophos Home Premium software
Sophos Home Premium offers two simple ways to manage the application: an application installed on the device and a web-based dashboard. The design of both is easy on the eyes due to their color scheme of blues and white. The navigation is simple and laid out well, making it ideal for beginners.
The only downside of the application is that it doesn’t seem to add much value. You’ll have to use the online dashboard for configuring the antivirus or adding additional devices to the account. The application only offers a few options. You can run a full scan by clicking on “Scan.” All the other options (Dashboard, Add Device, Buy Premium (just for the trial version), and Help) will send you to the web-based dashboard.
The online Sophos Central Dashboard gives you a lot more options, including the following:
- Run a scan remotely.
- Check the status of a scan or the history of scans.
- Edit your protection settings.
- Update web filtering and parental control settings.
- Turn on privacy features.
Web filtering and parental controls
We really like the options provided for web filtering, especially for parents of younger children. Sophos Home Premium allows you to block 28 different categories presented in three groups:
- General interest: Entertainment, fashion & beauty, gambling, games, religion, shopping, and sports.
- Social networking & computing: Blogs & forums, chat, downloads, peer-to-peer, personal & dating, photo searches, ringtones/mobile phone downloads, streaming media, and web-based email.
- Adult & potentially inappropriate: Adult/sexually explicit, alcohol & tobacco, criminal activity, hacking, illegal drugs, intimate apparel & swimwear, intolerance & hate, proxies & translators, sex education, tasteless & offensive, violence, and weapons.
This is a rather simple parental control system that gets the job done for younger children. We configured it to block gaming sites, and it successfully did so.
Of course, your tech-savvy teen can still get around this system if they want. You can block the “Proxies & Translations” category to take anonymizing proxies out of their arsenal. On top of that, we wholeheartedly recommend talking to your kid about the parental controls you use and the reasons why. This way, they are less likely to try to get around them.
As it stands, Sophos Web Filter is a nice bonus feature, but far from a serious content blocker. For better options, have a look at our Top 7 Best Parental Control Apps.
How easy is it to cancel Sophos?
If you’re still within your 30-day trial period, canceling Sophos is incredibly easy. Simply let the account lapse and then delete the software. You can also delete your account from Sophos by following the steps below:
- Log in on the online Sophos dashboard.
- Click on your name and choose “My Account.”
- Enter your password to unlock the account settings.
- Click on “Delete this Sophos Home account” and follow the prompts.
Canceling an account after the free trial period has ended (or one you purchased) is a little harder, but still not that difficult. You can cancel by using one of the methods below:
- Follow the link to the payment processor (Cleverbridge.com) in the original confirmation email you received or use the purchase lookup tool to resend the email. Simply log into the account and choose to cancel the subscription.
- Contact customer service through email.
Sophos’s customer support
Sophos provides a number of customer service options for private users:
- On-site knowledge base: This includes general FAQs and pretty much anything else you can think of. The knowledge base is extensive and will answer all your questions and then some.
- AI-powered chatbot Sophia: This tool will save you some time sifting through the knowledge base. It can’t answer any case-specific questions unless they’re already covered in one of the on-site guides or FAQs.
- Live chat: This service is available from Monday to Friday (8 AM – 8 PM EST). To contact the live chat, click “Chat With an Expert” on the “Support” page. When we first reviewed Sophos, the customer service via chat wasn’t great, with a long hold time and less than great support. However, this time, it connected in no time and the agents we spoke to were knowledgeable and professional.
- Email Support: From the support page, you can email support your question by providing your email address and name. Our email was answered in a little over an hour.
- Twitter support: Sophos also has a Twitter support account (@SophosSupport) where you can ask for help simply by mentioning them in your tweet. It’s a nifty way of building their presence on Twitter, but not many people seem to use it.
- Phone support: Unfortunately, there is no phone support available for Sophos at the moment. Sophos used to have a phone support option for the US and Canada. When calling, you were asked what type of subscription you have and then are connected to an appropriate agent. We called around 3 pm EST in the middle of the week and had a hold time of just two minutes. The representative verified the account with our email address and name and then proceeded to answer our questions.
Sophos offers decent customer support, but there’s definitely room for improvement. We would suggest a 24/7 live chat and the return of phone support for more countries. As it stands, you will get your answers eventually, but the process might take a while, especially if you’re outside of North America.
Speed and Performance: Will Sophos Home Slow Down My System?
In terms of speed and performance, Sophos does well compared to the competition. Below are our findings:
- Sophos’s quick scan took less than a minute, while the full scan took longer. These times were still respectable when compared to other antivirus programs.
- Scans run through the online dashboard won’t disturb the user, as Sophos works with no intrusive notifications.
- Sophos did not impact our CPU much at all: it has the lowest CPU and memory use (while actively scanning) of any of the antivirus programs we’ve tested thus far.
- Unfortunately, Sophos Home does not work well on Mac. The scans slowed down our systems and a full reboot was needed to get the software working again.
With the low system use and decent speeds, we gave Sophos a score of 8 for performance and speed. We did subtract 0.5 points for the time the full scan took (23 minutes), since that is relatively long compared to other antivirus scans we’ve tested.
How long does a scan take?
Sophos Home Premium offers users two main scanning options: a quick scan and a full scan. It should be noted that the “quick scan” isn’t comparable to the quick scans offered by competitors. While other antivirus programs provide a “quick scan” that goes through the most important files on a device, with Sophos Home you have to choose the files to scan yourself.
Here are the results of our speed tests:
- The quick scan took approximately 30 seconds for a folder with over 100 files in it and took approximately one minute to scan a file with over 1100 files in it (5.11 GB).
- The full scan took approximately 23 minutes. This is impressive considering how many folders and files are currently stored on the computer used.
It is important to note that scans might take longer depending on several things, including:
- The amount of data stored on your computer
- Your computer’s RAM
- Type of hard drive installed on your system
For our tests, we used a system with the following specifications:
- CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8250U CPU @ 1.60GHz 1.80 GHz
- RAM: 32.0 GB
- Operating system: Windows 11 64-bit operating system
- Processing speed: x64-based processor
- Files: 175 GB of data
How does Sophos impact my CPU?
Sophos is one of the better options for antivirus programs when it comes to CPU impact.
On Windows, Sophos Home’s real-time protection won’t leave a mark on your CPU. You won’t even notice it. During the scan on Windows, Sophos only took 12.8 MB of our memory and between 0.4% and 0.9% of CPU usage. While the background processes took up between 0.5% and 4.1% of CPU usage and 700 MB of our memory. This goes for both quick and full scans. The scans did not slow down the system, and we were able to continue working on other things while they ran in the background.
On Mac, however, we experienced a major slowdown paired with multiple crashes. After a crash, we couldn’t get it back up without a system restart. On top of that, we couldn’t measure the CPU impact on Mac since our device slowed down to a crawl.
With all that in mind, Sophos is a pretty good choice for Windows devices. Many famous antivirus programs sit between 20% and 50% while scanning, and Sophos stays well below that. We can’t recommend Sophos Home to Mac users when it comes to speed and performance, however.
Final Verdict: Is Sophos a Good Virus Scanner?
Sophos Home comes with a lot of interesting features and some powerful tech. It offers basic security, fast speeds, and low-performance impact. The app is pretty easy to use; we would even call it beginner-friendly. We like the cloud-based dashboard and the whole remote management approach. The clients are easy to install, and you’ll enjoy the wealth of options that come with Sophos.
Where the antivirus program falls short during our Sophos antivirus review, is in the areas of privacy and security options. It also doesn’t work as well with Mac, so we would advise Mac users to pick a different solution, like Bitdefender or Norton 360.
With all that in mind, our final score for Sophos Home Premium is 7, which is a pretty good final rating. Check out Sophos Home by clicking the button below.
To review the other antivirus programs, including our top picks, check out our other antivirus reviews. Want to know how Sophos holds up against its direct competitors? Check out these comparison reviews:
- Sophos vs Avast: Which Antivirus Will Keep You Safer in 2022?
- Sophos vs Bitdefender: Which is the Better Antivirus in 2022?
- McAfee vs Avast: Which Antivirus Takes the Crown in 2022?
Do you have more questions about Sophos Home? We’ve covered some of the most frequent ones in our FAQs below.
No. Sophos discontinued its free version at the end of 2021. The company now offers a free 30-day trial of their premium software, after which you have to make a purchase. If you’re looking for solid protection on a budget, we recommend checking our list of the best free antivirus programs.
Sophos Home offers many more security features than Windows Defender, including AI threat detection. It’s also much easier to use when you’re a complete beginner. When it comes to malware detection, though, the edge goes to Windows Defender. Read our exhaustive Sophos Home review for more information on this feature-rich antivirus program.
Sophos Home is a perfectly safe piece of advanced security software. The company’s logging policy, though, leaves something to be desired. They collect a lot of personal data that could end up in the wrong hands in case of a security breach.
At the moment, we would say that Norton is the superior product overall. This is especially true now that Sophos has discontinued its free version. Aside from that, however, Norton offers more complete protection and also seems to be more privacy-minded. So, as it stands, we recommend going with Norton.
Sophos doesn’t operate very efficiently on Mac. The macOS version hasn’t been updated in quite a while and has amassed a substantial number of bugs and glitches (from not starting at all to crashing the system or causing major slowdowns). If you’re a Mac user, you’ll find better options on our list of the best antivirus programs for Mac.
Yes! Sophos Home is an antivirus program, which means its main purpose is to remove existing infections from your device and protect you from new threats. We don’t have a lot of test results when it comes to its performance, but the ones we do have show decent malware-hunting potential.