Intrusive logging policy
Logging Policy & Jurisdiction
AVG VPN logs too much data. The VPN collects a part of your IP address and connection timestamps. This data is aggregated, but it could still be used to identify you from your online activity. There are far safer and more private VPNs than AVG Secure VPN.
The information the VPN service collects includes:
- The subnet of your originating IP address (a part of your IP address that 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. The data 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 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, AVG logs more user data than is necessary. It should put off anyone who wants a high level of online privacy.
AVG (including AVG Secure VPN) was acquired by Avast Software s.r.o. in July 2016.
Avast is headquartered in the Czech Republic, which raises a red flag for privacy. In fact, the company is subject to intrusive EU data retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements with other countries.
AVG’s jurisdiction is a problem because of its intrusive VPN logging policy. As we mentioned above, the VPN keeps user connection logs 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 not something you want to hear from your VPN service, 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.
Adequate internet speeds
Speed & Reliability
AVG Secure VPN performed poorly in our speed tests. Our download speeds dropped from 100Mbps to 67Mbps when connected to a nearby server, which is particularly disappointing. Our speeds were sometimes faster connecting to servers further away, which suggests the VPN has a reliability problem.
Here are our full local speed test results when we tested AVG Secure VPN:
Local Speed Test results before using AVG Secure VPN:
- Download Speed: 95Mbps
- Upload Speed: 98Mbps
- Ping: 4ms
Local Speed Test results with AVG Secure VPN:
Download speed loss when AVG Secure VPN is running: 31%
AVG Secure VPN is not even close to being as fast as the fastest VPNs but speeds are sufficient for most web activities.
International Speed Test Results
Here are the full results we recorded when connecting to server locations from London, UK with a 100Mbps internet connection:
- Download: 43Mbps
- Upload: 13Mbps
- Download: 76Mbps
- Upload: 54Mbps
- Download: 23Mbps
- Upload: 4Mbps
- Download: 27Mbps
- Upload: 4Mbps
Upload speeds were particularly disappointing. Clearly, AVG VPN is not an ideal choice if you regularly upload files or torrent.
On the other hand, AVG Secure VPN’s ping times were acceptable. Low latency is crucial for smoother gaming, but ultimately there are better VPNs for online gaming.
Small VPN server network covering 36 countries
AVG Secure VPN’s server network isn’t very big, covering just 36 countries. There's a lack of server choice, with no dedicated IP or obfuscated options. The VPN provider also will not disclose how many of its servers are rented and virtually located.
AVG Secure VPN’s server network isn’t very big, covering just 36 countries.
Sadly, 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 wider range of VPN servers, read our Hotspot Shield review, a VPN that serves over 80 countries.
Streams US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
AVG Secure VPN has dedicated servers for streaming US Netflix and BBC iPlayer. We found these to be reliable, working each time we tested them. We couldn't watch any other streaming services, though, such as Prime Video or HBO Max.
To our surprise, AVG Secure VPN streams US Netflix and BBC iPlayer on its streaming-optimized servers.
In the past, the VPN service didn’t work reliably with American Netflix. However, our recent tests show that AVG VPN has vastly improved its Netflix accessibility.
Connect to the ‘Gotham City’ server to stream US Netflix, and the ‘Wonderland’ server for BBC iPlayer.
Don't use for torrenting
AVG Secure VPN is a bad option for torrenting. In our latest torrenting tests, we recorded a slow bitrate and poor overall performance. The VPN also logs too much information to be trusted with sensitive activity. If you torrent files often, you should use a different VPN.
AVG Secure VPN allows torrenting, and has several servers optimized for P2P traffic. These servers are labeled ‘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 invasive logging policy. The VPN stores way too much user connection data.
AVG VPN won’t work in China
AVG Secure VPN does not work in China, UAE, Turkey, or any other high-censorship country. The VPN 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.
AVG itself openly admits the VPN won’t work in China “due to Chinese government regulation and policies.”
While Chinese web filters block many VPN services, there still are VPNs able to bypass the Great Firewall. See our ExpressVPN review or our Astrill review, the two best anti-censorship VPNs we’ve tested.
Doesn't work on many devices
Platforms & Devices
AVG Secure VPN provides custom VPN apps for four popular platforms: Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. Unfortunately, AVG Secure VPN provides no manual workarounds for other devices and platforms, like Linux.
AVG Secure VPN is incompatible with games consoles and TV streaming devices. It doesn’t have a Fire TV Stick app, no Smart DNS tool, and you can’t set it up on your home router.
Lacks browser extensions
AVG Secure VPN doesn’t come with any VPN browser extensions.
On the plus side, you can use AVG Secure VPN on up to ten devices simultaneously.
Strong encryption but basic security tools
Security & Features
AVG Secure VPN includes the average amount of encryption and security features, but nothing more. It encrypts traffic using AES-256, uses OpenVPN, and comes with a kill switch. However, it uses a less secure protocol on MacOS and it doesn't include any advanced features, like double hop.
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 protocol that’s secure, very fast, and capable of handling network changes efficiently.
You can’t toggle between VPN protocols as they are enabled by default in the apps.
All VPN apps use AES-256 encryption, which is widely considered unbreakable.
There aren’t any advanced security features (like multi-hop), but at least AVG VPN has a VPN kill switch on its Windows and MacOS clients.
The kill switch protects your real IP address, if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly. The feature blocks all internet traffic and keeps your true IP address hidden.
No VPN leaks
We didn’t experience any DNS, IP, or WebRTC leaks during our tests.
However, AVG Secure VPN still recommends disabling WebRTC in your browser settings, since the VPN doesn’t offer a feature to disable WebRTC in-app.
Simple custom VPN apps with easy setup
Ease of Use
AVG’s VPN desktop apps are simple to download and install. Although the apps are well-laid out and user-friendly, they are far too basic and don't offer enough customization options.
How to Install & Set Up AVG Secure VPN
AVG’s VPN software really falls down when it comes to configurable settings. Bar the recently added VPN kill switch, there are none. Not even split-tunneling, to have specific traffic travel outside of the VPN.
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 and unhelpful email responses
AVG’s customer support is disappointing, and not what we expect from a well-established cybersecurity company. There’s no live chat support, so you'll have to submit a support request form on the website. The online tutorials are below-par, too.
|Email support via an online form||Yes|
AVG’s customer support is disappointing, and not what we expect from a well-established cybersecurity company.
For a start, there’s no live chat support, which all top-tier VPN services provide.
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 received responses to some support queries, after more than 24 hours of waiting, but not to others.
The support section of AVG’s website is poorly laid out and it took us a long time to find relevant resources. That’s because there’s no clearly marked section for AVG Secure VPN.
The FAQ section is basic, but it does include some setup instructions and troubleshooting tips. There are also links to the community forum, with mostly user-generated tips and advice, but little input from AVG’s support team.
Not worth the expensive subscription cost
Price & Value for Money
AVG Secure VPN is very expensive for the level of quality it provides. You can choose from three pricing plans, although there is no option to pay for a single month. All subscription lengths include the same product features.
Subscriptions start from a minimum of $4.99 for 12-months, which drops to $3.99 per month on the two-year and three-year plans.
Here are AVG Secure VPN’s pricing options in full:
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
Simply, there are far cheaper, better, and safer VPN services available for less.
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.
Seven-day free trial
AVG Secure VPN isn’t free, but you can trial the software for seven days without paying a cent. No personal or payment information is needed for the free trial.
Simply download the VPN on your chosen device and you’re good to go. You can only use the VPN on one device during the free trial, though.
30-day refund guarantee
AVG Secure VPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, but it does come with some restrictions.
You are only eligible for a refund if you’ve used less than 10GB of data during the 30 days, 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 do this via the App Store.
AVG Secure VPN is not a good service
The Bottom Line
AVG Secure VPN isn’t a bad VPN, but it’s not a very good one either.
The VPN service streams US Netflix, but it collects too much user data, isn’t particularly fast, and offers no live support.
In short, there are far better VPN services available for the same price, or less.
Alternatives to AVG Secure VPN
Private Internet Access
Looking for super-fast speeds and top-level privacy? Private Internet Access provides both. It unlocks Netflix, too. Read Private Internet Access review
If it's access to global content you need, CyberGhost is a great choice. With VPN servers in 90 countries, the world's content is at your fingertips. It's safe, secure, and cheap, too! Read CyberGhost review