Is free antivirus software worthwhile?

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Without virus protection you’re essentially leaving your computer’s front door unlocked for viruses, hackers and scammers to gain access without much effort. Luckily, protecting yourself is easy and doesn’t even have to cost you anything if you can’t afford it.

The difference between free and paid anti-virus software isn’t as big as you might think, as the amount of protection you receive from the software will be the same, regardless of whether or not you’re using the paid version. The difference is usually found in luxury features or an easier to use interface. 

Listed below are three leading market anti-virus programs and their features. All three are available on either a Mac or PC and have a free or paid option.

1. Avast
Avast is a veteran of virus protection, with its first release dating back 25 years, to the early days of the internet. Boasting 200 million users worldwide, it is the most popular option for free virus protection. Avast features a simple user interface, automatic updating, email scanning and many other options.

  • The paid version includes SafeZone, which protects your account information online, making it difficult for your login details to be stolen 
  • Costs between $50 and $70 a year.

Find out more at

2. AVG 
Boasting an easy-to-use, classic-themed control panel, AVG is one of the leading free protection programs on the market. During your use of the free software, AVG may pester you a bit to upgrade to the paid version, but if you can resist the occasional message, AVG is a great tool for protection. One of AVG’s most popular features is an internet toolbar which monitors the websites you use and tells you whether or not they are safe to browse.

  • The paid version includes a firewall, spam blocker, protection from accidentally downloading harmful files and allows you to encrypt and password protect your own files.
  • Costs between $50 and $70 a year.

Find out more at

3. Bitdefender
Bitdefender has been around since 2001 and has been gaining popularity ever since. It’s simple and sticks to the essentials, which is great if you don’t want to clutter up your computer with lots of software. If your Mac or PC is a few years old and running slowly already, Bitdefender may be the right option for you.

  • The paid version includes defence from hackers, spam blocker, a ‘parental filter’ which allows you to block websites, a firewall, a file encypter and more. 
  • Costs between $70 and $80 a year.

Find out more at

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Written by ryanbo


Total Comments: 24
  1. 0

    MSE, (Microsoft Security Essentials) is also a free. Wonder why its not mentioned.?

  2. 0

    I use Microsoft Security Essentials too with Norton Identity Safe, which is also free.

  3. 0

    You’ve got to ask yourself the question. What am I trying to protect and just how much is it worth?

  4. 0

    I use MSE, (Microsoft Security Essentials) is also a free. Also use Malware along side.

  5. 0

    Years ago I used Avast and AVG . Took up a lot of memory slowed things down . Switched to Microsoft Security Essentials some time back .
    Best thing I ever did . Free and works extremely well . Never pay for antivirus, it’s a rip off.

    Definitely stay away from Norton .

  6. 0

    paid versions have to differentiate themselves from the free, so they have all the bells and whistles, the only problem is that unless you have the latest and greatest PC they slow the computer too much.
    As for MSE, try running it on XP, oh that’s right XP no longer exists according to Microsoft, so MSE is not available for XP anymore.

  7. 0

    I tried the AVG official website- and couldn’t find the free download.
    also tried the AVAST website- and got caught using another download- very tricky

  8. 0

    how many of these are owned by norton ??

  9. 0

    Forget about resource hungry Avast, AVG, and Norton in particular. “We’ve been saying Norton and McAfee are wastes of system resources (as well as some other antivirus programs). Now Symantec, the maker of Norton Antivirus admits antivirus software alone is mostly impotent,” as quoted by Cloudeight Information Avenue. MSE used on older operating systems, and Windows Defender, included in Windows 8, both free, deliver the same, if not more, protection. Another excellent program, named Emsisoft, although not free, is both an anti-malware and anti-virus, and performs well. Personally I have used MSE for many years quite satisfactorily, and when moving to Windows 8 I find Windows Defender more than adequate.I

  10. 0

    Trend Micro Security (paid version) has been my choice for year’s now, for my laptop & smartphone. Has Never slowed either one up. Used Norton once & will never go there again.

    • 0

      Been there done that many years ago.
      Got Norton free with a motherboard, installed it, and watched my newly upgraded machine slow to a crawl.
      Then trying to remove Norton was harder than removing a virus.
      Have stuck to Trend Micro ever since.

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