In today’s fast-paced online world, you need a VPN to hide your identity from hackers, and the snooping gaze of your internet service provider. Using a VPN is the safe way of browsing the internet; without it, your computer risks attack from online criminals.
Avast is well-known for its free antivirus software that does an average job of protecting your computer from malware and viruses. The company recently acquired one of the world’s leading VPN firms, “HideMyAss!” As a result, it wasn’t long before Avast decided to launch their VPN product, powered by the proven technology of HideMyAss! systems.
Avast Secureline is a solid VPN product from an established name. If you’re in need of a low-cost VPN than provides solid performance, the Avast SecureLine is a good option to consider for protection while surfing the web.
Typically, VPN providers promise the world and then they don’t deliver, with download speeds being the most significant drawback to running a network, So how does the offering from Avast compare? We decided to unpack the Avast SecureLine VPN to give you a deeper dive into what these piece of software can offer you.
Avast VPN at a Glance
Avast SecureLine Pricing Options and Plans
Let’s get down to the money side of things straight away, and then you can make a judgment call at the end of this review to determine whether purchasing Avast SecureLine is worth your hard-earned cash.
Every other VPN provider charges a flat fee for their subscription service, regardless of what device you’re using. These providers typically offer 1-month, quarterly or annual plans, with a sliding discount scale if you sign up for longer-term contracts.
However, Avast took a different approach with SecureLine, offering the software at price points depending on the type and number of devices you’ll be using with the VPN. The standard pricing model looks like this;
- The best value package on offer for SecureLine is $79.99 per year for access to 5 devices. ($6.67 per month or $16 p/year for each device on the plan.
- Access to Avast SecureLine for Mac or P.C. is $59.99 per year. ($5 per month for access to one computer.)
- Access to SecureLine for iPhone or Android devices is $19.99 per year. ($1.67 per month for access to one device.)
If you’re hesitant about spending your money on an untested product, then we suggest you look into the free “no-strings-attached” 7-day trial for the software. Unlike other providers, you don’t need to enter your credit card details to gain access to the VPN.
If you do decide to get onboard with Avast Secureline, then you can pay through Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal. There is no option for payment with cryptocurrency or alternative payments systems like Perfect Money.
Considering this program has very few features, and average performance, we are surprised to see that Avast prices their product along the lines of other VPNs on offer from Private Internet Access and NordVPN. When it comes down to cost versus functionality, it appears that Avast doesn’t have a winning combination in this case.
If you look through the fine print, you’ll notice that Avast offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for their product. However, closer inspection of the terms and conditions of the promise reveal loopholes that you need to be aware of before you purchase the VPN.
Avast has a clause in their T&C’s that states your refund amount is subject to your usage of the program during the 30 days. Should you connect more than 100-times, or upload or download more than 10GB of data through the VPN, then you forfeit your money-back guarantee.
If you’re a heavy user of bandwidth, you might want to consider this information before starting your trial.
Privacy & Logging
Privacy is the top concern of many people when purchasing a VPN, and it’s the reason why they are looking at VPNs in the first place. Looking at the security and privacy features of the software, we find that there is no kill switch, no control over your protocol settings, and no customizable leak protection technology.
However, Avast does run the highly secure and award-winning OpenVPN protocol, which runs on AES-256-CBC, making it very reliable when it comes to protecting your privacy. While the lack of features may sound disappointing, it’s not as devastating as it seems. Avast covers the basics with SecureLine, preventing WebRTC and DNS leaks which may give hackers or prying eyes some clues about our online escapades.
When it comes to logging, Avast claims that they do not record your browsing history, they do not store the details of any sites you visit or monitor any of your activity. However, further reading into the document uncovers the following policy statement on session logging.
‘We will store a time stamp and I.P. address when you connect and disconnect to our VPN service, the amount of data transmitted (up- and download) during your session together with the I.P. address of the individual VPN server used by you.’ – quoted directly from the source.
While this condition may not matter to you if your only watching YouTube videos and surfing through your favorite blogs, it’s an issue if you download torrents. Anyone looking into I.P.’s of people downloading torrents may end up with them connecting your activity back to your Avast SecureLine account.
We were pleasantly surprised when Avast didn’t prompt us to enter our credit card information to download the free trial – and they didn’t require an email address either. We found the software easy to install and has an excellent interface.
It’s clear that Avast designed their software with the novice in mind. When opening the software for the first time, the system prompts you with arrows to let you become accustomed to connecting and switching servers. The system also provides captions informing you of each of the feature’s functions and how to use them.
SecureLine presents you with notifications to let you know when it’s connecting and if it goes offline. While this is an essential tool to help people understand if they are protected or not, we were reasonably annoyed to find that the software does not send notifications through Windows, but rather through its independent pop-up window.
When the notification appears, and you’re in the middle of another task, like writing your shopping list on a note pad, then you won’t be able to continue typing until your check the prompt box in the notification – we can’t tell you enough how irritating this is for our productivity. Fortunately, there’s a setting that allows you to turn off notifications, but then you won’t know if the client is working or offline.
The location picker for SecureLine lets you swap between sever locations by filtering by continent – which is a useful feature. However, there no indication of ping time or server load to help you select the best sever location. SecureLine also has no functionality for speeding up the process of reconnecting to servers.
The settings for SecureLine also yield a similar story. We enjoy the automatic connectivity when you’re accessing unsecured Wi-Fi networks, but there isn’t much else on offer. You have no option to tweak or change the protocol from OpenVPN, as well as no kill switch, and no DNS settings.
The SecureLine access tray also leaves a lot to be desired, with no option to quickly change between servers without opening the client. If you want to use another server other than the default option, then you need to open the client and click multiple times to change to another location.
Some VPN providers only offer their products for use on P.C. or Mac products. However, with Avast SecureLine, you get protection for your iPad and phone as well. SecureLine is available for Android and iPhone or iPad devices.
When we decided to give the Android app a try, we found it had much of the same interface as the desktop client, with no additional features. There is also no option to filter server locations by continent in the app, and no recent server list to help to speed up your reconnections.
One of the features we did enjoy was the way the software connects to a VPN server whenever it detects any other network other than your specified secure list, even when you’re using a mobile device.
Overall, the software works and protects you while browsing, but it lacks any of the additional features available with other clients that cost the same amount of money.
Avast Secureline Performance
Avast SecureLine doesn’t have OpenVPN configuration files available for its users, meaning you’ll need to run manual performance tests to check for connection speeds. We used SpeedTest.net and Fast.com to check our connectivity information.
We found that download speeds in the United Kingdom to be the best performing server group on offer with SecureLine. Our tests show speeds of between 50-60Mbps on our 75Mbps line. Using other server locations throughout Europe in Germany, Netherlands, France, and Sweden all produce similar results in terms of download speed and ping rates.
Speeds in the United States met our expectations, with average speeds of between 35Mbps on the West coast, and the East coast was coming in with faster speeds between 50 to 55Mbps. We found that all other European server locations produced undesirable speeds of between 10 to 25Mbps, with Poland offering a dismal 13Mbps.
However, going international produces interesting results, with Malaysia returning a laughable 1.3Mbps, while Australia offered speeds of between 25 to 40-Mbps.
Overall, we have to say that we are impressed by the download speeds on offer through the SecureLine software. While it lacks feature, frills, bells, and whistles, the software gets the job done, and doesn’t reduce browsing speed unless you’re using sever locations outside of the U.S. or Europe.
Some Drawbacks We Found
Every piece of software has its benefits and drawbacks, and SecureLine is no different. There are a few cons of using this software; here is what we didn’t like about Avast SecureLine.
No Support Chat
We see this as the biggest drawback in the SecureLine after-sales strategy. There is no direct support line where you can chat to a live support consultant. Almost every other VPN provider we looked at offered their customers this basic functionality.
Fortunately, Avast has a forum with dedicated moderators that are always on call to field your questions. Post your problem with SecureLine in the appropriate forum, and you’ll probably get an answer to your issue in a few hours.
Lacking in Features
We have moaned about this problem throughout the duration of this review, but its something that we feel Avast need to work on to improve the product. A few tweaks would be all it takes to make this VPN one of the best available in the marketplace.
The notifications and lack of user-friendly server connection are our primary gripes with this software, and the lack of control also irritates us as well.
We would really like to see Avast add other features to this VPN. Port forwarding, kill-switches, and ad-blocking will all go a long way to enhancing the value and appeal of SecureLine. If you want basic protection, and control is not an issue for you, then Avast is the ideal VPN. However, if you do need control over your settings, then it’s probably better if you go with another service provider instead.
No Router Support
We like setting up our VPN on a router. By adopting this VPN strategy, you protect any device that connects to your Wi-Fi network at home or the office. However, SecureLine does not offer this functionality, and it’s clear that they intend SecureLine to be an independent VPN for desktop and mobile devises only.
The lack of this feature is not a deal-breaker by any means, but it’s a functionality that would significantly improve our impression of the software if it was available.
Number of Server Locations
Avast maintains servers in 34 countries around the world. However, the geographically diverse server locations do not offer much in the way of server or country choices to the user. While this is not bad, it’s not outstanding either, and we are surprised that Avast can maintain such decent levels of connectivity and download speed, considering their dearth of servers.
Therefore, if you reside in the United States of the U.K., we think that SecureLine will cover your needs. However, if you live outside of these countries, or frequently travel to other regions of the world, then your speed may slow significantly.
Encrypted & Secure
Avast SecureLine runs an OpenVPN AES-256 encryption. This level of encryption is considered military grade, and Avast offers two protocols to users, IPSec and OpenVPN. 256 is the leading level of encryption trusted by governments and business around the world.
Avast SecureLine also offers DNS leak protection for their clients. This functionality prevents leaks of your personal data from the network into the public domain where hackers might gain access to your details.
Torrenting Is Allowed
Unlike many other VPN providers, Avast SecureLine allows torrent downloads. According to information in the terms and conditions, Avast state that they allow peer-to-peer connectivity through their server locations listed below.
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- New York City, New York
- Seattle, Washington
- Miami, Florida
- Paris, France
- London, United Kingdom
SecureLine Netflix & Streaming Support
The Avast VPN terms of service state that it only operates 4-servers that are “optimized for streaming.” As a result, you can only watch streamed content by accessing their U.K., Miami, New York, and “Gotham City.”
We decided to put SecureLine to the test and try to watch geoblocked content on our favorite platforms. Starting with accessing U.S. YouTube, we were surprised to find that the service only offered full functionality through the New York server, and we had no issue streaming YouTube clips.
We remained logged into the New York server and tried to access Netflix. We experienced no difficulty streaming Netflix content, which can be a concern with some providers since Netflix often blocks new I.P.’s
If it’s one thing Avast does not do very well, its run a support desk for their customers. The Avast support site is an indispensable resource for anything to do with internet security and privacy. The site has plenty of troubleshooting guides, as well as articles and guides on setting up and usage.
However, most of the support information on the site is related to Avast’s other products, with only basic information available about SecureLine. We think this may be because SecureLine is new and they are still developing the product – or maybe there is not enough material to dedicate an entire section to SecureLine.
Avast offers only 15-articles on SecureLine, in three categories – Purchase and subscription, basic usage, and technical issues. Many of these articles contain information unrelated to your use of SecureLine, such as creating an account or GDPR Compliance. The site does offer a useful FAQ segment with topics relevant to running SecureLine.
If you can’t find what you want on the site, then you can fill out a support request ticket, and someone on the support team will get back to you within 48-hours. Alternatively, you can visit the Avast security forum in the SecureLine section. Most of these threads have useful information that may help in your troubleshooting.
No Adware or Malware Found in Trial Software
We’re sure you had prior experience of downloading a free software package that ended up installing malware on your computer. Many free offerings by companies are nothing more than data-collection tools designed to hijack your browser and redirect your navigation.
We can’t stand these types of software offerings, and that why we ran SecureLine through VirusTotal.com to check for any malicious code before we executed the installation on pour machine and mobile devices.
A VPN is supposed to keep you safe from downloading malicious files, not install them on your machine. Fortunately, Avast SecureLine contains no hidden malware or adware code that we could find in our search.
Wrapping Up – The Verdict
After exhaustively testing and reviewing Avast SecureLine, we reach our conclusion on this software. Before we bring you our verdict, we want to run down a brief look at the pros and cons of this VPN.
- SecureLine offers an easy-to-use service.
- Easy set-up, navigation, and use.
- Excellent performance when compared to other competing products.
- Low-cost license for people with one device.
- Trustworthy provider – Avast Free Antivirus is well-known as one of the best free antivirus software for your desktop, laptop, or phone
- Minimal features.
- It works with official apps only.
- Limited access to support.
We would like to see more features added to SecureLine before we hand over our money for a subscription. However, if you’re in the market for a VPN, and you care about functionality more than features, then we think Avast SecureLine will work well for you.
There are other options available to you, and we think it’s worth your while to check out what other competitors are offering before you commit to purchasing Avast SecureLine. However, if you only have one P.C. or laptop, then it may be worth considering using Avast SecureLine due to the savings on offer.
The speed and connectivity of the software is outstanding when compared to other VPN operators, but the lack of features may put some people off. So if you are in market for basic, but fast, connectivity then Avast Secureline is worth taking a look at.