Antivirus software is a necessity for staying safe online, but is the price tag as well?
Many of us believe, more or less, that the more you pay for something the better it will be. And to some extent, this is true. But when it comes to free or paid antivirus protection, the differences might not be as big as you believe.
When it comes down to the bare-bone function of antivirus software, that is protecting your computer from malware, the free and paid versions of a piece of software will perform nearly exactly the same.
Antivirus companies are not going to intentionally allow their free users to become infected, as its not beneficial for anybody. But what they typically do to convince you to upgrade is offer you some luxury features. These are great for some additional security and easier operation, but on some older computers, these features can slow down the antivirus software and your computer in general.
Most antivirus websites have a comparison table showing which features you’ll get if you buy the paid version. Try taking a look at all the additional features and ask yourself whether or not you actually need them.
A common additional feature is email scanning, but do you really need this? Your email provider may scan attachments for viruses automatically, but the more checks you do, the better.
Perhaps the most important area in which paid protection excels is customer support. Using free antivirus software means you’ll probably be on your own when it comes to solving problems, but you can always check to see if the company has a forum or FAQ (frequently asked questions), that you can consult. Check what customer support is available with a paid version of antivirus software before you purchase it.
The most important tool for staying safe from viruses is your cautiousness. Don’t click on links in suspicious emails and never install software that you are advised to over the phone from a stranger.
PCWorld has reviews of dozens of different antivirus products. You might be surprised to see a few of the free versions ranking higher than some paid versions.
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