I love Avast for its antivirus software. It has an amazing collection of security features and tools that allow me to protect my online privacy. But Avast has another security tool that recently caught my attention: Avast SecureLine VPN.
At first glance, the software looks like a secure, easy-to-use VPN available at an affordable price. However, there are mixed reviews on the quality of Avast’s service, with people complaining about its server count, logging policy, and more. Intrigued, I decided to set off and test Avast VPN for myself.
In this Avast VPN review, I’m going to share my experience about every aspect of Avast’s VPN tool. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know the answers questions like:
- How secure is Avast VPN ?
- Whether it can match the speeds of other VPN services
- If it can truly unlock Netflix’s global libraries
- Whether it has a clean reputation in the VPN space
- If it can bypass the Great Firewall of China.
Let’s see how good is Avast VPN and what aspects of it make people cringe.
Avast VPN Quick Overview
Avast SecureLine VPN was introduced in 2014 by the Czech cybersecurity company Avast. The VPN claims to safeguard your online activity, mask your IP address from prying eyes, and help you access geoblocked content. Whether or not it fulfills these promises is what I intend to explore today.
Reviews of Avast SecureLine VPN indicate that it fails on many fronts, but there are some aspects of the service that make it worthy of consideration.
Avast VPN Facts and Features
|Headquarters||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Logging Policy||Keeps connection logs|
|Servers||55 servers in 34 countries|
|Security||256-bit AES encryption, OpenVPN, UDP protocol|
|Streaming||Netflix, BBC iPlayer|
|Customer support||Help desk, FAQs, phone support|
Avast Secureline VPN Pros and Cons
During testing, I learned the following things about Avast Secureline VPN.
|Easy to use||Stores connection logs|
|Impressive connection speeds||Caught selling customer data|
|Good security||Small server network|
|Unlimited bandwidth||No split tunneling|
|Compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, Windows||Can’t be used on a router|
I’ll cover all of these points and more in detail below.
I went deep into the background and various features of this VPN app. Here’s a breakdown of my findings:
Avast is headquartered in the Czech Republic, a member of the European Union that’s more serious about digital privacy than, say, the United States. Laws like GDPR impose various obligations on companies that collect and handle personal data of EU users. In addition, the country isn’t a part of any major intelligent-sharing alliances, though it does have a good relationship with the Five Eyes alliance countries.
I couldn’t find any news or report of Avast sharing data with Five Eyes nations, but I’m not comfortable with the fact that the Czech Republic is willing to cooperate with them. Other VPN providers like ExpressVPN are located in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, so I rate them more highly in terms of location. That being said, an EU country is a much better base for a VPN company than Great Britain or the United States.
Ease of Use
Avast VPN has a simple user interface. It comes with an ON/OFF button that lets you connect to a server. The area below shows your original IP address and indicates whether or not it is hidden. Connecting to a server generates a virtual IP address that acts as your temporary online identity.
There’s also a ‘Change Location’ button in the SecureLine VPN to help you see a list of available servers. You can filter it by different regions, as well as identify the optimal server based on your location. Avast VPN also lets you select dedicated servers for streaming and P2P.
Avast VPN’s settings are where you can check your subscription information, as well as configure the other options present in the app. In ‘General’ for instance, you can decide if you want to receive alerts, get beta updates, and select from different languages.
Then there’s the ‘Network Security’ section that lets you activate the kill switch and decide whether you want the app to automatically run when you connect to the internet.
Lastly, you get access to a ‘Browser Integration’ tab that lets you add Avast VPN’s Chrome and Firefox extensions.
Overall, Avast SecureLine VPN is a beginner-friendly tool that anyone with basic computer knowledge can easily use. The only downsides are that it’s not customizable and there’s no option to pick from different VPN protocols.
Many people judge VPNs by the depth of their server network. That’s because a larger server network is usually an indication of fast speeds and better overall connectivity. Here’s a quick look at Avast VPN’s server portfolio:
Avast VPN Server Info:
|Number of Servers||55|
|Number of Countries||34|
That’s a really low server count compared to other VPN companies. Leading VPN provides, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, both have over 3,000 servers.
Also, the only places where the company has multiple server locations include Germany, Canada, Spain, Russia, the US, and the UK.
This means Avast has a lot of work to do if it wants people to prefer SecureLine VPN over similar options. Deploying more servers in more servers is key, as a larger server network can help with unblocking websites, reducing network redundancy, and more.
Avast VPN Ookla Speed Tests
For testing Avast VPN’s speeds, I used Ookla as it’s the tool of choice for most VPN testers. Also, I ran tests on a handful of different servers to see how speeds vary between different servers. Essentially, I was interested in seeing how the VPN performs on nearby and long-distance servers.
P.S. I conducted all the tests from my place of residence, i.e. Lahore, Pakistan.
First, I tested the speed of my internet connection without Avast VPN enabled. I did this to see if connecting to a VPN affects my baseline download speed. Here’s what I got:
Next, I tested the ‘Optimal location’ as suggested by Avast VPN. This connected me to a server in Tel Aviv, Israel. Here’s my download speed on this server:
That’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s just a tad bit less than what I got when I tested the Smart Location on ExpressVPN.
Next, I tested a nearby server to see if the connection would remain fast and consistent. Here’s how SecureLine performed on a Malaysian server:
This confirms that Avast VPN offers consistently fast speeds on Optimal location and nearby servers.
I was also curious to know if SecureLine has the same level of performance on long-distance servers, so I connected to one in Canada. Here are the Ookla speed test results:
Even though my download speed on a Canadian server was a little less than what I got on the other two servers, I consider SecureLine to be a decent VPN for connecting to long-distance servers.
Overall, Avast SecureLine VPN offers a fast connection on most servers. While you’ll sacrifice some speed when connected to it (because of throttling), you’d barely notice the difference and gain the ability to access geoblocked websites.
Avast Secureline VPN Privacy and Security
How secure is Avast VPN? Does it keep the logs of its users? In this section, I’m going to highlight everything the company does to safeguard the privacy and security of its users. We’re also going to take a look at where it falls short and whether or not it has been in the news for data-sharing activities.
SecureLine VPN offers AES-256 encryption, which is known to be the most advanced level of encryption provided through modern digital software. This is supported by two of the leading VPN protocols out there: OpenVPN (UDP) and IPSec. While this is in line with the industry standard, I also wished there was support for WireGuard, IKEV2, and some other VPN protocols.
However, I won’t label the lack of protocols as a downside of Avast VPN. The fact that it offers OpenVPN is enough to give me peace of mind that any information I transmit over the internet is shielded by high levels of security.
Avast says that it doesn’t keep any data logs of its VPN users. Here’s a snapshot from its website:
On the plus side, Avast says that it automatically deletes these logs after 30 days, unless it’s necessary for the company to resolve disputes, comply with its legal obligations, or enforce its agreements (including in the court of law).
This is the part where things get bad for the company.
Avast was recently caught selling personal data to third parties. The company seemed to be scanning users’ devices for all kinds of information, repackaging it through its subsidiary Jumpshot, and then selling it to some big-name clients.
While Avast has stopped gathering user information this way, and there’s no evidence that the data it sold contained information of SecureLine users, this news can make anyone skeptical about using its products.
A VPN kill switch works to keep your data safe by turning off your internet connection during any sudden disconnections.
Avast SecureLine VPN offers an optional kill switch, which you can activate through the ‘Network Security’ tab in its Settings menu.
Taking this step is ideal for protecting your online privacy if your VPN connection ever disables.
Important: The kill switch in SecureLine doesn’t offer an option to preselect apps that you want to keep connected to the internet, even if the VPN connection drops. Alternatives like NordVPN allow you to set up ‘kill lists’ where you can prevent apps like email clients from being disabled. This is something to be mindful of when using any VPN to secure your online activity.
DNS Leak Test
Lastly, I put Avast VPN through a series of leak tests to identify potential issues or leaks. The good news is that its connection didn’t suffer from any leaks of crashes. SecureLine protects you from DNS leaks by making your DNS requests go through its own DNS servers via a secure, encrypted tunnel. My IP address, ISP information, and other web data didn’t leak on the websites I visited.
Here’s an example of one of the DNS tests I conducted via ipleaks.net:
If you notice on the left, the VPN assigned me a virtual IP address when I connected to one of its servers. And on the right in the ipleak.net window, you will see that it’s the same virtual IP address that’s assigned to me by SecureLine. That means my real IP address didn’t leak.
PS: Avast VPN doesn’t support IPV6, so you’re bound to see an error in front of it during the test.
Overall, Avast SecureLine VPN covers the basics when it comes to privacy and security. However, it may be difficult to neglect the provider’s act of gathering and selling personal data. Even though Avast has now suspended the activities at Jumpshot, you may be better off investing in another VPN with a good repute.
Avast Secureline VPN Media Streaming (Netflix US, Japan, etc.)
If you go through other reviews of Avast SecureLine VPN, you’ll find mixed opinions on whether or not this VPN unblocks global content libraries on Netflix. In many instances, the service prevented people from accessing US Netflix as well as other streaming websites.
But when I connected to Avast VPN, I was able to stream US shows on Netflix without any issue.
I then connected to Netflix Japan to see if SecureLine allows users to access various Netflix catalogs. And I was pleased to learn that the VPN lets you stream in various countries. Streaming was a breeze, and I was able to watch anime without interruptions. Netflix’s VPN ban didn’t block me at any time.
However, I wasn’t able to access BBC iPlayer while being connected to Avast SecureLine VPN. The streaming website was able to detect that I was attempting to bypass its geoblock using a virtual private network.
I also tested Avast VPN for Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Unfortunately, both platforms detected that I was using a VPN.
So, it’s safe to say that Avast VPN is only reliable for unblocking Netflix and websites restricted in other countries. However, it can’t bypass the geo-restrictions of most streaming services. If connecting to Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer or other streaming apps is a priority, we recommend ExpressVPN, which is known to unblock almost every media streaming website.
Apps (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
Avast VPN offers dedicated apps for:
And the usability of its smartphone apps is just as simple and robust as the desktop ones. You can connect to a server in one tap, as well as change locations in a few seconds.
Here’s a screenshot of Avast VPN’s iOS app:
However, the free trial on mobile requires you to hand over your credit card details, unlike the desktop trial. So if you’re just looking to test the waters, you might want to use the SecureLine macOS or Windows app.
Another drawback of using SecureLine is that the VPN doesn’t work on Linux. Even the Avast VPN Chrome and Firefox apps (we’ll look at them shortly) don’t work on the platform, since they require the desktop app to function.
Browser Extensions (Chrome, Firefox)
Avast SecureLine VPN provides dedicated extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers. I tested the Avast VPN Chrome extension and found that it pairs well with the desktop app. You can configure SecureLine from your browser and also enable WebRTC protection to disguise your IP in browser-based chats and video calls.
How to Get Avast VPN Browser Extensions – A Three-Step Guide
- Open the Avast VPN desktop app
- Click “Preferences” and then choose the “Browser Integration” tab.
- Add the extension for Chrome or Firefox
Customer Support (FAQs, Ticketing, etc.)
If you get stuck at any point while using SecureLine VPN, there are a few ways you can get help.
The first step in getting a resolution is to explore Avast’s VPN-specific help section. The webpage provides you with access to several FAQs, which you can rely on for DIY troubleshooting.
There’s also a knowledge base with a series of in-depth articles that you can dive into for help:
If you can’t find the answer to your question in the help section or the knowledge base, you can get in touch with an Avast representative through the Contact us ticketing system.
I tried to submit a ticket just to get a feel of the process, and I didn’t have the best experience because Avast required me to submit the email my SecureLine purchase was linked to and the order number I received when I first purchased the VPN. Only when I submitted these details did the company let me complete the request.
Avast also says that tickets are responded to within two business days, but a rep got back to me within 24 hours, which was the only positive experience I had with Avast’s helpdesk.
Another way you can contact Avast is by dialing its phone line. I didn’t test this option, but you can call and get a free consultation. However, you’ll need to pay a hefty fee if you want a technical specialist from the company to help solve your problem.
Most of the leading VPN services offer 24/7 live chat where their reps are willing to help at no additional cost, so I’m not sure if people would be content with paying extra for technical assistance.
Overall, I was satisfied with the information present in Avast’s help center, but found its ticketing system and direct support options to be confusing and expensive.
Update: Avast’s helpdesk now includes an option for live chat. By submitting your name, email, and order ID, you can chat with an Avast representative for assistance.
Pricing (1-year, 2-year, and 3-year plan)
Unlike other VPN services, Avast doesn’t offer a monthly plan for SecureLine. Instead, it gives you the option to choose between one-year, two-year and three-year plans. For one device, the costs are as follows:
|1-year license||$47.88 (renews at $59.99)|
|2-year license||$71.76 (renews at $109.99)|
|3-year license||$107.64 (renews at $159.99)|
For up to five devices, the cost changes to the following:
|1-year license||$59.58 (renews at $89.99)|
|2-year license||$95.76 (renews at $179.99)|
|3-year license||$143.64 (renews at $269.99)|
As you can see, Avast SecureLine has a different pricing structure than most other VPN services.
One of the best things about Avast VPN is that it offers a 7-day free trial that doesn’t require you to make an upfront commitment. In other words, you don’t need to enter your credit card information to get full access to decide if you want to use Avast’s service.
Plus, the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can get a full refund as long as you request it within 30 days of paying for a subscription. To request a refund, you just need to fill out a basic form on Avast’s website, which only takes a few minutes of your time.
The only catch with Avast’s refund policy is that you should have uploaded/downloaded less than 10GB of data to be eligible.
If you’re interested in signing up, you can pay Avast through your credit card or PayPal account. Much like pricing, Avast’s payment options are lacking when compared to other VPN providers who offer several additional to pay, such as through Bitcoin, AliPay, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
While testing, I also found answers to some popular Avast VPN FAQs. Here they are:
Question: Is Avast SecureLine VPN Safe?
Answer: VPNs often protect you from unknowingly downloading malicious software. However, any VPN provider could get attacked by an adversary who inserts the payload into their service. This means a VPN app could have its own malicious injection. The good news is that there’s no such thing in Avast VPN. I say this with confidence because I ran its installation files on VirusTotal (a site that detects software-based viruses) and found them to be clean. As a result, you can be worry-free while using Avast VPN on your Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android device.
Question: Can Avast VPN Be Installed on Routers?
Answer: Unfortunately, Avast VPN doesn’t provide router support. Provided that Avast built this VPN for regular people, rather than tech buffs, this makes good sense. But if installing a VPN on a router is crucial to you (because you’re looking to run more than five simultaneous connections), then you might want to try ExpressVPN.
Question: Do I Need Avast SecureLine VPN for Torrenting?
Answer: Most VPNs allow you to download torrents anonymously, but Avast has some dedicated servers that make P2P file sharing a breeze. These servers are clearly marked on the server selection window, so you can easily identify the appropriate P2P server. If you plan on downloading movies, TV shows, or software, you can count on these servers to overcome any throttling and make sure your downloads complete as soon as possible.
Question: How Good Is Avast VPN For Unblocking Websites in China?
Answer: It’s not good at all. While Avast VPN has a server in Hong Kong, it doesn’t let you bypass the Great Chinese Firewall. The reason for this is that when SecureLine was working in China, the authorities blocked all communications to the Avast infrastructure on the Great Firewall. Right now, Avast can’t even provide users with antivirus protection in China. If you’re traveling to the mainland and want to continue watching Netflix, Disney+, etc., make sure to invest in a reliable VPN for China.
My Verdict on Avast SecureLine VPN
I think Avast SecureLine VPN is a decent offering with good security and lightning-fast speeds. But overall, it has too many issues to overlook. The privacy is mediocre, the server network is small, and you can’t set it up on a router.
Now add in that you’d need to buy a 1-year, 2-year, or 3-year subscription for accessing its servers, and it doesn’t make the most appealing of services. You can get much better privacy and features without paying as much, and it’s easy to find a VPN that offers monthly subscriptions.
So while SecureLine works just fine, it’s certainly not the best option for a VPN service.
But if you still want to experience it, install it using the link below: