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AVG Secure VPN Review

Rebecca Duff
By Rebecca DuffUpdated
Our Score5.9
User Rating
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Secure enough for public WiFi but not for those with stringent privacy needs.

What we like
  • User-friendly apps great for VPN newbies
  • Easy access to Netflix and iPlayer
  • Optimized servers for P2P activity
  • Connect securely to 36 countries

AVG Secure VPN is marketed primarily as a tool for keeping you safe on public WiFi, and that’s exactly what it does. Performance is on the slow side and very unreliable, however Netflix and BBC iPlayer fans will love the dedicated streaming servers.

The custom apps are only available for major platforms and lack any configurable settings, but the one-click design might appeal to VPN newbies. There are no manual workarounds for routers, so it’s not possible to protect any other devices in your home.

AVG VPN offers strong encryption but falls down when it comes to privacy features – there’s not even a VPN kill switch. The logging policy is one of the more intrusive ones we’ve seen, and your originating IP address could be stored for up to 30 days, or even longer in some circumstances.

Customer support is limited to paying customers and well below the standard we’d expect at this price, with no live chat and non-existent email responses. If you want the security of a well-known brand, AVG VPN has you covered, but there are cheaper options out there providing a much better all-round experience.

Pricing & Deals

Like most providers, AVG offers a few different pricing plans to make your choice easier. You can choose anywhere from a one-year to a three-year subscription – these all offer the same features but the longer plan you sign up to, the less you pay on a monthly basis.

Unlike most providers there isn’t an option to pay on a month-by-month plan. The price for a single year is the most expensive, coming in at $6.66 a month. You can reduce the cost to $6.11 a month on the 3-year plan.

AVG Secure VPN Coupon

AVG Secure VPN Pricing & Deals

Best Value Deal
3 Years
US$6.11/mo
Save 8%
Billed $219.99 every 3 years
2 Years
US$6.24/mo
Save 6%
Billed $149.99 every 2 years
12 Months
US$6.66/mo
Save 26%
Billed $79.99 every 12 months
Get AVG Secure VPN30-day money-back guarantee

AVG offers both a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee. We really like that you don’t have to provide any kind of personal information in order to take advantage of the free trial, simply download it to your chosen device and you’re good to go – they even provide a helpful timer showing you how long you’ve got left. The only catch is that you’re limited to using the VPN on one device during the trial. When your 30 days are up, you won’t be automatically upgraded to a paid plan, you simply won’t be able to access the service anymore.

AVG’s money-back guarantee allows you to request a refund for any reason within the first 30 days of your subscription, but is subject to a 10GB data restriction, meaning if you’ve used more than that amount of bandwidth you won’t be eligible to get your money back. This also applies if you’ve connected to the VPN service more than 100 times in total. This is pretty harsh in comparison to the ‘no questions asked’ guarantees offered by top-tier providers, as most everyday users are likely to go through 10GB in just a few days. If you do qualify for a refund, simply contact the support team – iOS users will have to go direct to the App Store.

Payment Options

It's only possible to purchase AVG Secure VPN via credit card or PayPal, putting it well behind its competitors in terms of variety of payment methods. We'd love to see the option to use cryptocurrencies at some point in the near future, as well as a few international options such as AliPay or WorldPay.

Speed & Reliability

AVG Secure VPN didn’t perform well in our speed tests at all, lagging well behind providers at a similar price point and producing wildly inconsistent results. There wasn’t actually much difference between local and international connections, but don’t expect to be able to do much more than stream in standard definition on a single device. Latency was also unacceptably high, and we’d hesitate to recommend it to torrenters at all, even despite the servers optimized for P2P activity.

Even AVG’s local downloads were far slower than anything we’ve seen in our tests so far, peaking at a disappointing 18Mbps in the Netherlands and 17Mbps in the UK. While this is adequate for everyday users, it won’t be much good if you want to stream in HD or download any large files at speed. Connecting out to the US from Europe you can expect speeds of around 12Mbps, which again is good enough for general browsing but not much else, and don’t expect anything more than around 5Mbps on more long-distance connections, such as to Japan or Australia.

As was to be expected, latency was unacceptably high, even on same-city connections, with London coming in at 17ms. This means that keen gamers will probably want to look elsewhere, especially considering the fact that some of our top-tier providers offer ping of as low as 1-2ms for a similar monthly cost.

Another downside was the inconsistency in speeds from one test to the next – one minute a server was performing at 10Mbps, the next it had dropped to less than 3Mbps, which is basically unusable. Thankfully we didn’t experience any connection drops at all, as especially with the lack of killswitch this would be a major issue.

Uploads were actually quicker than downloads, peaking at an acceptable 30Mbps in the Netherlands and 28Mbps in France. Despite this, we’d still advise P2P users to look into other options, mainly due to the unreliability of these speeds. There are servers optimized for torrenting, however, which is a bonus.

Overall we wouldn’t really recommend AVG Secure VPN to anyone looking to do anything more than just general browsing or maybe streaming on one device. Local speeds aren’t very quick at all and even worse they’re just downright unreliable, making it an unsuitable choice for gamers or torrenters too. Some improvement is definitely needed in this area.

To find out about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.

Features

Server Locations

36Countries36Countries
55+Cities55+Cities
55+IP Addresses55+IP Addresses

AVG Secure VPN’s server network is below-average in size, with just 36 countries in total. While this may well be enough choice for most everyday users, those seeking coverage in more exotic locations might have to look elsewhere. Unfortunately there’s no server list anywhere on AVG’s website, making it difficult to quickly check whether or not your needs are going to be met.

There is no way of knowing how many individual servers or IP addresses AVG maintains, however we can be pretty sure that it’s not a high number. It does disclose that it uses shared IP addresses, however, meaning every time you connect you’ll be using the same IP address as several other users. While this is great for privacy, as it makes it far more difficult to identify you as an individual, it could lead to congested servers and reduced performance.

Coverage is best in North America and Europe, so users in these continents needn’t worry too much. We were pleasantly surprised to see a choice of 15 different cities across the US, putting AVG up there with some of our top-tier providers in terms of choice in this country. There’s also city-level server choice in a handful of other countries, including Germany, Russia, Spain and the UK.

There are eight countries to choose from in the Asia Pacific region, from Australia and New Zealand to Malaysia and Taiwan, and unusually a server in mainland China. South America is limited to just Brazil and Venezuela, and users in Africa will be disappointed to hear that there’s currently only one option on the entire continent, in South Africa.

Those outside of these countries might want to opt for a provider with a more diverse server network – with over 190 countries on offer we would recommend HideMyAss!.

Platforms & Devices

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid

AVG offers custom VPN apps for Microsoft Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices and you can use the VPN on up to five devices simultaneously.

Unfortunately there are no manual workarounds for those devices lacking native VPN apps, such as Linux, so if you need to use a VPN on anything outside of the four main platforms, AVG VPN isn’t the right provider for you. It’s also not possible to configurable the VPN at router level, nor can you buy routers with the software pre-installed, so there’s no way of protecting all of your devices without having to purchase and install individual apps onto each one.

Browser Extensions

AVG doesn’t offer any sort of browser extensions for Google Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox users. This probably won’t be a big deal for the majority, however if you’re only interested in protecting your browser traffic and don’t mind sacrificing a layer of privacy for increased performance, you may want to look elsewhere.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

Due to the fact that AVG Secure VPN can’t be installed at router level and doesn’t have any custom apps outside of the four main platforms, it’s not compatible with any kinds of games consoles or streaming devices. This includes devices such as Apple or Android TV, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Chromecast and loads more.

Considering AVG’s primary focus has always been AntiVirus, it’s hardly surprising that they’re not going out of their way to provide convenient solutions for gamers and streamers.

If the main reason you’re getting a VPN is to use it on your games consoles or streaming devices, there are plenty of providers on the current market offering dedicated, one-click solutions to make your life easy, such as ExpressVPN or IPVanish.

The lack of setup guides for these devices on AVG’s website suggests that they are by no means a priority for them, and it doesn’t seem like they will be at any point in the future.

Streaming & Torrenting

AVG Secure VPN is a great choice for streaming fans, with optimized servers that unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer. We were able to access both services first time using ‘Gotham City’ in the US and ‘Wonderland’ in the UK, and we found video quality to be good on both.

Servers optimized for P2P activity should make AVG a solid choice for torrenters, however we’d hesitate to recommend it due to inconsistent levels of performance. Local speeds of around 30Mbps mean you’re likely to struggle with larger files – there are far more reliable options out there if torrenting is your priority, such as CyberGhost.

Encryption & Security

AVG Secure VPN is a secure enough product for protecting yourself on unsafe public WiFi networks but we wouldn’t really recommend it to anybody with stringent privacy needs. The apps run on the OpenVPN protocol, which offers the best balance between security and performance – not that you’d know this was the case without contacting the support team to find out. Encryption is via top cipher AES-256, which is favored by the US federal government and considered totally ‘unbreakable’.

AVG really falls down when it comes to any sort of advanced features, as there just aren’t any to speak of at all. We were shocked to discover that there’s not even any sort of VPN kill switch on the apps, meaning that if the connection were to drop for any reason without you noticing, your true IP address would be exposed to any potential snoopers or hackers. Thankfully, we experienced no DNS or IP leaks during our tests.

While the apps will do a perfectly good job of keeping you safe connecting to WiFi hotspots when you’re out and about, they simply don’t offer anywhere near the same level of protection as most other providers we’ve seen.

Protocol
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
Encryption
  • AES-256
Security
    Advanced features

      Bypassing Censorship

      If you need a VPN to provide reliable internet access connecting out from high-censorship countries such as China, you should definitely not consider AVG. They are the first ones to admit that it “is completely blocked in China” and will not work for any users, therefore it’s not even worth trying as you simply won’t be able to connect to any servers. This is due to the fact that the apps run on the widely-used OpenVPN protocol, which is very easy for censors to detect and block.

      In order to bypass the Great Firewall and access restricted content, you’ll need to look for a provider that offers some sort of ‘stealth’ protocol to mask your VPN connection, making you appear as normal browser traffic.

      We also wouldn’t recommend AVG Secure VPN to users in other countries with high levels of internet censorship, such as Iran, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, as that just isn’t what the software is designed for. The product is marketed primarily as a tool to protect you on unsecured public WiFi networks, and while it does that very well, it simply won’t do the job when it comes to more aggressive censorship blocks. If you need a VPN in one of these locations, we’d suggest looking at providers such as ExpressVPN or Astrill.

      Privacy

      Logging Policy

      AVG’s Privacy Policy is extremely long and pretty complicated, and it took us ages to actually find the relevant information for users of their VPN service. Once we knew where we needed to look, the VPN section is fairly simple in comparison to the rest. Information they collect includes:

      • A time stamp when you connect to and disconnect from the VPN
      • The total amount of data transmitted during your session
      • Your originating IP address
      • The IP address of the individual VPN server used by you

      This seems like an unnecessary amount of data to collect purely for troubleshooting purposes, especially considering your originating IP address can be used to personally identify you if needed. What’s even worse, this is stored on AVG’s servers for up to 30 days, or even longer if they suspect you of breaching the Acceptable Use Policy.

      Thankfully they don’t monitor any of the websites you visit when connected to the VPN, however this is one of the more intrusive logging policies we’ve seen, and will probably put off those users seeking the highest levels of privacy.

      Jurisdiction

      AVG Secure VPN is owned by Avast, which has its headquarters in the Czech Republic. This is somewhat of a red flag for privacy, as it makes them subject to intrusive EU data retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements with other countries.

      This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if not for their detailed logging policy, which means they keep personally identifiable details on each of their users for a minimum of 30 days before they’re deleted.

      Even more concerning is the fact that in the privacy policy, AVG states that they will disclose your personal data to a “unrelated third parties” in a few different circumstances, the main ones being:

      • To satisfy a legitimate government request or order
      • In compliance with a legal requirement by a court of law or in the public interest
      • In response to a third-party subpoena

      This is definitely not something you want to hear from your VPN provider, especially considering they collect your originating IP address. We appreciate the level of transparency demonstrated here by AVG, however this attitude towards customer data just isn’t ideal at all.

      Ease of Use

      AVG’s desktop apps are well-laid out and very user-friendly, but streamlined to a fault. The main screen is extremely stripped back and displays just your chosen VPN server location and an on/off toggle that lights up in green to let you know you’re connected – we’d usually expect to see some more connection information here, such as your new IP address or maybe even some basic speed stats. The interface also seems unnecessarily large, taking up a large portion of the screen with loads of chunks of empty space.

      You can access the server list by clicking the ‘change location’ button in the center of the app, and this opens in a separate window. We really like the way it’s organized by continent, saving you from scrolling through the entire server list, and there are even specific tabs for those servers optimized for streaming or P2P activity. A minor complaint here is that there’s no way of saving your favorite servers so you can easily access them at a later date, however this won’t be a dealbreaker for most.

      AVG’s software really falls down when it comes to configurable settings – there are absolutely none to speak of. Clicking on the cog in the top right-hand corner will take you to the general settings list, but this is limited to turning on WiFi security and deciding whether or not you want the VPN to automatically connect on startup. This might appeal to VPN beginners who simply want to click and connect, however more experienced users looking to fiddle with lots of features to optimize their connection will definitely need to look elsewhere.

      Getting Started

      Getting started with AVG Secure VPN is pretty simple and doesn’t require a lot of work on your part. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a confirmation email with all the details you need – this even includes a helpful link to download the software without having to go to the website. After you’ve chosen your setup language, the installation wizard will guide you through the process, it’s mostly just a case of clicking the ‘next’ button.

      The one annoying thing about AVG is that in order to complete the setup, you’ll have to restart your device, so make sure you’ve saved everything important before you begin. Once this is done, simply log in with your email and password and you’re good to go.

      • Installing software
      • How to use the app

      Customer Support

      AVG’s customer support is of a far lower standard than we’d usually expect from such a well-established company. The support section of the website is incredibly badly laid out and we had to search for ages to find the relevant resources, as there’s no dedicated section specifically regarding the VPN service.

      Even when we knew where to look, the information was limited to just basic FAQs and links to the community forum, which is widely user-based with little input from the company. These will probably be enough to solve the majority of straightforward questions and any minor troubleshooting queries, however for anything more complex than this you’ll have to contact the support team.

      There’s no live chat feature or contact email address, so the only way to get in touch with a support agent is via a support request form on the website. You’ll only get a response from a human being if you have a free or paid subscription, otherwise you’ll just be redirected to the FAQs, which is really irritating.

      We sent a few questions and never actually received a response at all, so don’t expect to have any problems resolved within a matter of minutes like you would with top-tier providers. Overall a disappointing experience that needs a great deal of improvement, especially considering the monthly cost of the VPN.

      The Bottom Line

      What we like
      • User-friendly apps great for VPN newbies
      • Currently working with Netflix and iPlayer
      • Optimized servers for P2P activity
      • Connect securely to 36 countries
      What we like less
      • Slow, unreliable server speeds
      • Terrible customer support, limited to paid customers
      • Originating IP address stored for 30 days
      • Lacks VPN kill switch & other security features
      • Very few individual servers

      AVG Secure VPN works perfectly well to protect you on public WiFi but we wouldn’t recommend it for much more than that- even on local connections, speeds are well below average. Fans of Netflix and BBC iPlayer will be pleased to hear that dedicated streaming servers work to access the services. P2P activity is permitted in a handful of locations but inconsistent performance means that there are better options out there for torrenters.

      AVG offers strong encryption and operates on our preferred protocol, OpenVPN, but falls down when it comes to advanced privacy features. There’s no kill switch to speak of and the logging policy is very intrusive, collecting and storing personally identifiable data (including your true IP address) for a minimum of 30 days, and the software won’t work in high-censorship countries such as China.

      The software is very attractive and more importantly user-friendly, however there are no advanced settings at all and there are currently only custom apps available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. Customer support could do with some love – there’s no livechat feature, we never received a response to our email and the resources are very badly organized. Could be a good option for first-time VPN users looking to click and forget, however if you really value your privacy, AVG isn’t the provider for you.


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