Avast SecureLine VPN's is good for streaming, but not for privacy. It's fast and it streams US Netflix, but it has basic security features and collects user web logs. In summary, Avast VPN is not a bad choice of VPN, but it’s too expensive for what it offers.
Avast is a big name in the world of internet security, and is mainly known for its antivirus product. But how does its VPN service, Avast SecureLine, hold up under scrutiny?
In this April review of Avast Secureline VPN, you’ll learn that it’s a good VPN for streaming, but not for online privacy.
While Avast VPN unblocks US Netflix, the amount of user logs it collects is a big concern. For that reason, we cannot recommend it for torrenting or other P2P activity.
As for security, Avast VPN is good enough for VPN beginners, but not for more seasoned users. For example, the VPN kill switch is only available on the macOS app, but not on other platforms.
Despite being a very fast VPN on same-country connections, Avast VPN misses the mark in too many areas.
We took apart each Avast VPN app to ensure we didn’t miss anything in our review. Keep reading our Avast VPN review to know all there is about this service.
Before we do that, here is a breakdown of its main benefits and drawbacks.
Avast SecureLine VPN Pros & Cons
Avast SecureLine VPN Key Summary
|Logging Policy||Some User Logs|
|Jurisdiction||Czech Republic (EU Member)|
|Works in China||No|
|Support||Email & Online Resources Only|
|Cheapest Price||$4.88/mo over 36 Months|
Avast VPN logs too much information
Avast VPN collects some web usage data. This, it says, is for “technical purposes and to…prevent and detect fraud…or other illicit activity.”
The information the VPN logs is as follows:
- Your username
- A timestamp when you connect and disconnect to the VPN
- Total amount of data transmitted during your session
This is one of the more intrusive logging policies we’ve seen. The data is stored for 30 days on Avast’s servers and then deleted.
It used to be worse: Avast did once collect full IP addresses, but it has recently amended that to collect just the anonymized sub-network of your IP address. It’s still more than we like to see, but it’s an improvement in the right direction.
It’s possible to run a VPN service without logging this much information. For the highest levels of privacy, consider using a no-logs VPN like Private Internet Access.
Ownership and Jurisdiction
Avast is a Czech cybersecurity founded in 1988 by Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš, two computer scientists who studied together at university.
It started out as an antivirus company, just as computer viruses were being conceived. It has since established itself as a leading tech company.
Headquartered in Prague, Avast is subject to invasive EU data laws and intelligence agreements with countries like the US.
In December 2019, Avast’s antivirus browser extensions, Avast Online Security and Avast-owned AVG Online Security, were removed by Mozilla for breaking its privacy rules.
Both add-ons had been harvesting and sending data back to Avast.
The data included websites visited, search terms, videos watched, links clicked on, and per-device unique ID. This does not bode well for the company’s pro-privacy reputation, at all.
According to Adblock Plus founder Wladimir Palant, who has been monitoring Avast on this, other extensions – Avast SafePrice and AVG SafePrice – also have intrusive permissions and collect data.
Avast defends its data retention as necessary to detect fraudulent websites.
There are no confirmed details about whether Avast’s VPN performs the same data harvesting. Avast did remark that:
“Avast’s Jumpshot division can still collect your browser histories through Avast’s main antivirus applications on desktop and mobile.”
Avast’s statement doesn’t specify its VPN, SecureLine, but as one of the company’s applications, it could well be affected.
We’re not sure we trust Avast to keep your data private. Having said that, we’ve yet to find any evidence that it’s abusing or selling data from VPN usage.
Impressive short-distance speeds
Speed & Reliability
Avast VPN’s speed are mostly impressive.
Local Speed Test Results
Before using Avast SecureLine VPN:
When connected to Avast SecureLine VPN:
Download speed without Avast: 99Mbps
Download speed with Avast: 93Mbps
Our download speed loss when Avast SecureLine is running: 6%
We got very fast speeds on same-country connections, with only a 9% loss in download speed when using SecureLine VPN – that’s really good.
We also picked up consistently good speeds on distant connections, like when connecting to Australia and the USA, for example (we’re based in the UK).
Strangely, European connections were disappointing. German speeds were hit-and-miss, underwhelming in our testing.
More than that, Avast could improve on its ping and latency. We recorded higher-than-average ping scores, particularly on nearby connections.
Connecting to a UK server, where we would expect the lowest ping, clocked in at 14ms. That’s really high, especially for gamers who want to use a VPN – high ping means more lag.
We’ve reviewed VPN providers with much lower ping times, like Private Internet Access.
Still, it’s not the end of the world. Avast will perform most other tasks easily, including Full HD streaming and speedy downloads.
We put all of our VPN services through a scientific speed testing process to get the best indication of what speeds you can expect. These are the average speeds you can expect to pick up from these locations:
- USA: 46Mbps (download) & 19Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 69Mbps (download) & 45Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 37Mbps (download) & 7Mbps (upload)
- Australia: 25Mbps (upload) & 4Mbps (upload)
Small server network with Euro-centric focus
Avast’s VPN server network is small. It has just 34 countries and 54 cities available.
That’s a below average amount.
The global coverage isn’t bad, with VPN server networks in Australia, Singapore and Taiwan. Asia is served rather well.
The problem is Avast only has one city for the entirety of Australia (Melbourne), one city for the entirety of South America (São Paulo, Brazil), one for the Middle East (Petah Tikva, Israel) and one city for Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa).
What does this mean? It means that if you’re living in or connecting to these areas, there’s likely to be a congestion of users and, therefore, slower VPN speeds.
Like most VPNs, coverage is condensed to Europe and North America, with plenty of city-level options in these countries. The US has 16 city-level servers, for example, covering both east and west coast.
In Europe, Germany, Russia, Spain, and the UK also have city-level servers.
There’s no information about the number of individual IP addresses that Avast maintains.
All servers offer a single shared IP address which can lead to server congestion and slower speeds as Avast VPN’s customer base increases.
Avast VPN works with US Netflix
Streaming & Torrenting
Avast VPN streams US Netflix well. We tested access connecting to Miami, New York, and Gotham City, and they all worked. Content streamed quickly with little to no buffering.
Won’t Work with BBC iPlayer
We can’t say the same about streaming BBC iPlayer, though. Avast has a dedicated streaming server in the UK called ‘Wonderland’, but it actually didn’t work. Nor did the London or Glasgow servers.
To BBC viewers located outside the UK, we advise you to opt for VPNs verified to stream iPlayer
Not Recommended for Torrenting
Avast helpfully marks the servers that are optimized for P2P. These include:
- Czech Republic
- New York
Eight of 54 servers isn’t a big number, but that’s because P2P activity is limited to Avast’s data centers for extra security.
So P2P is permitted, but we don’t recommend it.
Windows users especially should not torrent with Avast. Its Windows app doesn’t have a kill switch, meaning that if your VPN connection drops for any reason, your true IP address will be exposed.
Won’t beat censorship
Avast SecureLine won’t work in China – the litmus test for a VPN’s effectiveness at bypassing censorship.
But how about the other high-censorship countries?
Avast won’t be much good to you if you’re in Turkey, UAE, Iran or any other country that restricts internet freedom, as it lacks the necessary obfuscation tools to hide the use of OpenVPN protocol.
It’s important that you have a VPN that has a proven track record in thwarting the censors. We recommend using VyprVPN or ExpressVPN – our highest scoring VPN overall.
We also have definitive lists for the best VPNs that undercut censorship in these countries:
Covers popular devices, but no manual workarounds or router support
Platforms & Devices
Avast VPN provides custom VPN apps for:
- Microsoft Windows
It’s good to see custom apps for these popular platforms.
Unfortunately, there are no manual workarounds for other platforms such as Linux.
Nor are you able to configure your router to work with the SecureLine VPN software and automatically secure all internet-connected home devices.
You can use Avast on up to five devices simultaneously (when subscribing to the multi-platform pricing plan).
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
Perhaps you want to use a VPN while gaming, keeping your internet safe as you enjoy your downtime.
Bad news – Avast VPN is useless when it comes to gaming consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation.
This is also the case with streaming devices, because you cannot install Avast SecureLine on your router and there are no manual configurations.
You could connect your console or streaming device to one of your other devices already running the VPN, such as your laptop or smartphone.
However we don’t recommend doing this with Avast.
Avast VPN doesn’t come with any VPN extensions.
Most top-tier VPN providers at least provide a proxy extension for Chrome or Firefox – they make for lightweight web browsing experiences that protect your IP.
If that sounds like something you need then you should check out our review of Private Internet Access.
Good security, but no advanced features
Encryption & Security
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
Avast VPN is secure enough for beginners.
For those seeking the highest level of privacy, though, it’s not the best option out there.
The Windows and Android apps operate exclusively on OpenVPN, which is one of the most secure VPN protocols, and there’s no way you can connect to a VPN server using another (less secure) protocol.
MacOS and iOS apps use IPsec, which still offers a good level of security. Encryption is via AES-256, a top cipher used by the US federal government – so you can trust it to be robust.
So what’s the problem with Avast SecureLine?
Well, Avast VPN doesn’t provide any advanced privacy features at all. What you see is what you get.
That’s got positives, but plenty of negatives.
For example, there is no VPN kill switch on the Windows app (it’s available only on MacOS), meaning that if your VPN connection drops for any reason, your true IP address will be exposed.
Avast is a VPN service that will do just fine if you’re looking to protect yourself on public WiFi.
But more privacy-focused users should look into VPN services with advanced security settings such as ProtonVPN – our review is a good place to start.
Nice apps, but would be improved by configurable settings
Ease of Use
How to Install & Set Up Avast SecureLine VPN
Avast VPN’s custom apps are modern and user friendly – they will appeal to VPN newbies, especially.
Take the main screen: it’s clear and simple, displaying a big on/off toggle along with your chosen server location, new IP address and duration of connection. It’s informative and easy to navigate.
The server list is well laid out, with the option to display all available countries or filter by continent.
It’s super easy to see which countries have city-level server choice, and which servers are optimized for torrenting or streaming. If you don’t need to connect to a specific country, you can just click/tap on ‘Optimal Location’ and the VPN app will connect you to the best nearest server.
The major downside of Avast VPN’s apps is the total lack of configurable settings. There’s no option to manually select a VPN protocol, and there is no kill switch for Windows. The only thing you can enable/disable is auto-protection wh
Frustrating experience with no live chat
|Email support via an online form||Yes|
Avast’s customer support really frustrated us at times.
It simply doesn’t measure up to the top-class service offered by the best VPN providers.
The resources on the website are limited to setup guides and basic FAQs and are incredibly difficult to navigate, but there is a search feature at least.
The FAQs will only cover basic troubleshooting issues, but for anything beyond that you’ll need to contact the support team and be prepared to be patient.
There is no live chat feature, and the fact that there’s no contact email address is also disappointing. Avast encourages customers to call them for support over the phone, but this seems a bit unnecessary if you just have a quick query.
The other contact option is via an online form and wait for a reply via email, but response times were unacceptably slow.
Confusing and expensive pricing plans
Avast SecureLine VPN Pricing Plan
Avast SecureLine VPN has different pricing plans, mixed in among the many other products that Avast sells.
The most expensive price plan is the multi-platform one, which costs $79.99 per year. This plan covers up to five simultaneous connections across all platforms.
A single month is pricey at $8.99, but this drops to $5.33 per month if you opt for a 12-month subscription.
You can also sign up for two years, which comes to $4.99 per month. There’s even a three-year plan at $4.88 per month.
Alternatively, you can also buy Avast VPN exclusively for your PC or Mac. This costs $59.99 every year for one device, or $99.99 for up to 10 devices.
If you’re looking to protect just an Android or iOS device, then the VPN subscription will cost you either $2.99 per month, or $19.99 per year.
For a VPN that’s good for newbies, it’s strange that Avast have so many confusing plans. Most VPNs usually vary the price based on the simple duration of a subscription.
US$8.99/moBilled $8.99 every month
US$5.33/moBilled $63.99 every 12 months
US$4.99/moBilled $119.99 every 2 years
US$4.88/moBilled $175.99 every 3 years
All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee
Payment & Refund Options
Avast’s accepted payment methods are limited. You can only pay using a credit/debit card or PayPal.
Many VPNs also include cryptocurrency or international methods of payment, such as AliPay. Some, like Mullvad, even allow cash payments.
The most privacy-conscious among us usually choose those options, and so they will likely turn away from Avast.
Avast also runs a genuine seven-day free trial. It doesn’t require any personal details, and there are no restrictions on data usage or access to servers.
We used the free trial ourselves before upgrading to the paid version, and found little to no difference in speed and access.
You won’t be eligible for a refund if you exceed 10GB of bandwidth usage, or if you connect to the VPN more than 100 times during the 30-day window.
Do We Recommend Avast SecureLine VPN?
The Bottom Line
Avast is a big company, so we wish its VPN service was stronger. It collects data and comes with a small server network.
The speeds are mostly good, and its a great service for Netflix if that’s what you’re looking for, but we need to see some advanced features and customization options before we can fully recommend it.
It’s also too expensive when compared to other, better VPNs, so there’s really no reason to choose it.
Alternatives to Avast SecureLine VPN
Surfshark does everything Avast does but better and it's much cheaper too. If you're new to VPNs or looking to stream, we suggest you check this out. Read Surfshark review
If you simply want the best, we recommend ExpressVPN. It'll cost a tiny bit more than Avast, but it comes with so much more and you won't be left wanting. Read ExpressVPN review