AVG is one of the biggest antivirus brands in the world, but how good is its AVG Secure VPN service?
AVG Secure VPN doesn’t make any big claims about it being the best or fastest VPN around, but it does promise to secure your WiFi with “military-grade encryption” and enable private browsing anywhere.
We’ve thoroughly tested AVG Secure VPN to see whether those claims are true – and to answer these questions:
- Does AVG Secure VPN work with Netflix?
- Is AVG Secure VPN fast?
- How safe is AVG Secure VPN?
- Does AVG Secure VPN allow torrenting?
- Is AVG Secure VPN worth the money?
We’ll go into more depth in the review but in the meantime here’s a sneak peek of what to expect from AVG Secure VPN, both the good and the bad:
AVG Secure VPN Pros & Cons
AVG Secure VPN Key Summary
|Logging Policy||Intrusive Logging|
|Jurisdiction||Czech Republic (EU Member)|
|IP Addresses||Not disclosed|
|Works in China||No|
|Support||Email & Online Resources Only|
|Cheapest Price||$6.11/mo over 36 Months|
In our AVG Secure VPN review we cover all aspects of the service, but we’ll start by letting you know about the company behind the VPN and what it logs.
Who is AVG Secure VPN?
About & Logging
Avast has its headquarters in the Czech Republic, which something of a red flag for privacy, as it makes the company subject to intrusive EU data retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements with other countries.
AVG’s jurisdiction is a problem because of its detailed logging policy, which means it keeps VPN connection details of each of its users for a minimum of 30 days.
- 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, even if AVG Secure VPN doesn’t log your true IP address in full. This attitude towards customer data and consumer privacy is not good.
Information it collects includes:
- The subnet of your originating IP address (this is just a part of your IP address and can be used to identify your ISP, but not you personally)
- The IP address of the individual VPN server used by you
- A timestamp when you connect to and disconnect from the VPN
- The total amount of data transmitted during your session
This is an unnecessary amount of data to collect for troubleshooting purposes, and all of 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.
At least AVG clearly states that it does not monitor:
- Your full originating IP address
- DNS queries while connected
- Activity logs: the apps/services/websites you use when connected
Regardless, this is one of the more intrusive logging policies we’ve seen and should put off users seeking the highest levels of privacy.
Fairly quick speeds, as long as you’re near a VPN server
Speed & Reliability
AVG Secure VPN is not even close to being as fast as our quickest VPNs but speeds are adequate for casual users.
If you’re close to one of AVG Secure VPN’s 36 server locations speeds will be fast enough for general browsing and Full HD streaming on one or two devices at once, with a download speed percentage drop of around 20-30%.
Just make sure to test out a couple of nearby servers in order to see which gives you the fastest speeds. For example, we test from the UK, but found the Netherlands server (76Mbps) a fair bit quicker than the one located in our own country (67Mbps).
Local Speed Test Results
Before using AVG Secure VPN:
When connected to AVG Secure VPN:
Download speed without AVG Secure VPN: 95Mbps
Download speed with AVG Secure VPN: 76Mbps
Our download speed loss when AVG Secure VPN is running: 20%
AVG Secure VPN’s download speeds drop off significantly over longer distances – a 55% decrease to the US.
Take a look at our speed test results connecting from the UK to various AVG Secure VPN servers:
- UK: 67Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
- USA: 43Mbps (download) & 13Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 23Mbps (download) & 4Mbps (upload)
- Australia: 27Mbps (download) & 4Mbps (upload)
AVG Secure VPN’s upload speeds aren’t quick at all, so it’s not a great choice for torrenters – check out our top recommendations for torrenting/P2P here.
AVG Secure VPN’s ping times are acceptable, but gamers can do better with other VPN services.
If you would like to know more about how we test VPN speeds take a look at our How We Review VPNs page.
Very small VPN server network covering 36 countries
AVG Secure VPN’s server network isn’t very big, covering just 36 countries.
Unfortunately AVG’s website doesn’t list its server network, making it difficult to check whether or not the country you need is available before you purchase.
Thankfully, AVG Secure VPN’s servers cover the most popular locations such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and many countries in Western Europe.
There are also eight countries available in Asia Pacific, three in South and Central America, two in the Middle East, and one in Africa (South Africa).
AVG Secure VPN allows users to drill down to city level in six countries:
- Canada (2)
- Germany (2)
- Russia (2)
- Spain (2)
- UK (2)
- US (15)
City-level server choice is great for optimizing speeds and for accessing geo-specific content. AVG Secure VPN’s selection of 15 cities in the US alone is impressive for a server network of this size.
AVG does not disclose how many individual VPN servers (or IP addresses) it provides, nor does it specify whether they are virtual or physical servers.
If you need a greater selection of VPN servers, Hotspot Shield serves over 80 countries.
Unlocks Netflix & BBC iPlayer with servers optimized for streaming
Streaming & Torrenting
AVG Secure VPN reliably unlocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer with servers optimized for streaming.
In the past AVG Secure didn’t work reliably with Netflix – in fact, one customer support agent wrote on the Support Community forum saying: “This is an issue on provider’s side and we cannot influence it.”
However, our recent tests show that AVG Secure VPN has since improved its Netflix accessibility, and we can now stream shows instantly and with little buffering. Be sure to use the ‘Gotham City’ server.
The ‘Wonderland’ VPN server, which is located in the UK, works to unlock BBC iPlayer effectively too – a rarity and a real bonus.
The following AVG Secure VPN servers worked for unlocking Netflix US:
- Gotham City
The following AVG Secure VPN servers worked for unlocking BBC iPlayer:
AVG Secure VPN does allow torrenting and has several servers optimized for P2P use. They are marked with a ‘P2P’ in the server list and are located in:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- The UK
- The US (Miami, New York, & Seattle)
Despite that, we don’t recommend AVG Secure VPN for torrenting due to its logging policy – it stores connection data – and slow upload speeds.
Won’t work in China
AVG Secure VPN’s apps don’t come with any obfuscation tools or stealth protocols, making OpenVPN – the only VPN protocol included – very easy for censors to detect and block.
Support agents from Avast (AVG’s parent company) outwardly admit that the VPN will not work in China “due to Chinese government regulation and policies.”
While the Chinese government does block many VPN services there are still some VPNs that are able to bypass the Great Firewall, allowing you to access a free and uncensored internet.
Only compatible with the most popular platforms
Platforms & Devices
AVG Secure VPN provides custom VPN apps for four popular platforms:
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple MacOS
Unfortunately AVG Secure VPN provides no manual workarounds for other devices and platforms, like Linux.
You can use AVG Secure VPN on up to five devices simultaneously.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
AVG Secure VPN is incompatible with games consoles and streaming devices, as it can’t be installed on your router and it doesn’t have any custom VPN apps outside of the four listed above.
Basic security tools & strong encryption
Encryption & Security
VPN Kill Switch
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
AVG Secure VPN is a decent VPN choice for protecting your data on public WiFi networks, but we can’t recommend it to anybody with stringent privacy needs due to its logging policy.
AVG Secure VPN uses different VPN protocols for each of its custom apps:
- Windows and Android – OpenVPN (UDP), our preferred protocol for its balance between privacy and performance.
- MacOS – L2TP/IPSec, an older protocol but still considered secure.
- iOS – IKEv2/IPSec, a fairly new VPN protocol that’s secure, very fast, and capable of handling network changes efficiently.
You can’t toggle between VPN protocols as they are baked into the AVG Secure VPN apps.
AVG Secure VPN’s encryption is via the strong AES-256 cipher, which is widely considered unbreakable.
There aren’t any advanced security features (like split tunneling or multi-hop) but AVG’s recent addition of a VPN kill switch for Windows and MacOS is very welcome.
The kill switch feature protects your data if the VPN connection drops by blocking internet traffic and keeping your true IP address hidden.
We didn’t experience any DNS, IP, or WebRTC leaks during our tests, but AVG Secure VPN recommends disabling WebRTC from within your browser settings as it doesn’t currently offer a feature to disable WebRTC in-app.
Simple custom VPN apps with easy setup
Ease of Use
How to Install & Set Up AVG Secure VPN
AVG’s VPN desktop apps are simple to download and install. There are basic setup guides within AVG Secure VPN’s FAQs if you need extra help.
The custom apps are well-laid out and very user-friendly, but far too basic. AVG’s VPN software really falls down when it comes to configurable settings – bar the newly added VPN kill switch, there are none.
There are specific tabs for servers optimized for streaming or torrenting, but there’s no way of saving your favorite servers though to easily access them at a later date.
The “Optimal Location” is available for those who want to connect to the fastest server, which is likely the one closest to your physical location.
No live chat, inadequate responses to email support
|Email support via an online form||Yes|
AVG’s customer support is disappointing, and not at all what we’d expect from such a well-established cybersecurity company. For a start, there’s no live chat support.
The support section of AVG’s website is awfully laid out and it took us a long time to find the relevant resources, since there’s no clearly marked section for its VPN service.
There are some basic FAQs for AVG Secure VPN’s apps, which include some setup help and troubleshooting tips, and links to the community forum, which is mostly user-generated with little input from AVG’s support team.
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 paid AVG VPN subscription, otherwise you’ll just be redirected to the FAQs.
We did receive a response on some occasions but not on others, and when we did the wait time was long.
Not worth the costly monthly price
AVG Secure VPN Pricing Plan
AVG offers different pricing plans to make your choice easier, the longer your subscription the less you will pay on a monthly basis – although there is no option to pay for a single month.
You can choose from a 12-month plan through to a three-year subscription, and they all include the same features.
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 three-year plan.
Is AVG Secure VPN worth the money? We don’t think so.
It’s very expensive for what it provides, and there are far cheaper, far better, and far safer VPN services available.
US$4.99/moBilled $59.88 every 12 months
US$3.99/moBilled $95.76 every 2 years
US$3.99/moBilled $143.64 every 3 years
All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee
Payment & Refund Options
It’s only possible to purchase AVG Secure VPN using a credit/debit card or PayPal. This limitation puts it well behind its competitors in terms of variety of payment methods.
There is no option to pay with cryptocurrencies for greater levels of privacy, nor are there any international options like AliPay or WorldPay.
AVG Secure VPN isn’t free, but you can test out the software for seven days without paying a cent. No personal information – including your credit card – is needed to participate.
Simply download the VPN to your chosen device and you’re good to go. You can only use the VPN on one device during the trial, though.
AVG Secure VPN also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee but it comes with some restrictions. You are only eligible for a refund if you’ve used less than 10GB of data and you’ve not connected to the VPN service more than 100 times in total.
If you do qualify for a refund, simply contact the AVG support team – iOS users will have to go direct to the App Store.
Do We Recommend AVG Secure VPN?
The Bottom Line
Not really. AVG Secure VPN isn’t an awful VPN, but it’s not a very good one either.
Alternatives to AVG Secure VPN
Looking for super fast speeds and top-level privacy? Private Internet Access provides both. It unlocks Netflix, too. Read Private Internet Access review
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