Avast is one of the largest companies in the world for producing Antivirus software and other computer related products.
Now they have decided to enter the world of the VPN. While being new to this, their experience in computers should be exemplary, but will this translate over to their Avast Secureline product?
Virtual private networks are very different than writing software for a computing device, they need to make continual connections to servers around the globe, and there are many variables that can go wrong.
We will take an in-depth look during the Avast Secureline VPN review and see if they have made a good start into the world of VPN’s or there are problems with their offering.
At the end of it, there will only be one question to be asked about this company’s service, and that will be how good is Avast VPN?
What is Avast Secureline?
The company is based in the Czech Republic and Avast Secureline was released in 2014. The software supports the usual operating system platforms of PC or Mac, iOS and Android.
When it comes to their network size, they only have 55 servers in 34 countries, this is very small compared to other VPN providers.
There plenty of other providers who cover three times as many countries and the numbers of servers run into the thousands and even some of these lack good network performance.
The only countries which have more than one Avast VPN server location are as follows, all the remaining countries supported will only have one server. When you total this, it shows they only support an additional 8 countries.
- USA – 16 cities
- Canada – 2 cities
- Germany – 2 cities
- Russia – 2 cities
- Spain – 2 cities
- United Kingdom – 2 cities
The service does offer AES-256 bit encryption, a killswitch, and DNS leak protection, so they are off to a good start. With this sort of encryption, they are running the same as other leading VPN’s and most of the world’s government agencies. This shows they do go some way to protecting VPN users while they are conducting their online activities.
DNS protection makes sure no data leaks outside their VPN tunnel, and the killswitch is there to stop your connection should you lose your VPN connection. During writing the review, we tested for leaks using the following test sites.
All these showed up clean, so no DNS, WebRTC leaks were found. This means your IP address will be hidden from view.
Now, we will take a look at more features of Avast Secureline, and see if it has some redeeming features that make it stand out.
Features and Benefits
Installation is very straightforward, and once running, the program sits in the system tray doing its thing behind the scenes. It is nice to see that it doesn’t even consume that many system resources.
One thing to note regarding their encryption is that they use IPSec and OpenVPN on UDP with AES 256-bit which as we saw is military grade, but when you run the service on Apple devices, they opt to use IPSec rather than using OpenVPN which is the most recommended option.
On both desktop and mobile phones or devices, the interface of the app is clean and easy to use, and on mobile, it won’t bog down your device.
Other features that are not offered or supported by some of the different older VPN’s are torrenting. Luckily, Avast supports this on some servers, so all is good in that department.
Servers that support torrenting are Prague – Czech Republic, Frankfurt – Germany, Amsterdam – Netherlands, New York City, Miami – Florida, Seattle – Washington, London – the United Kingdom and Paris – France. As you can see, the majority of these locations fall inside either the 5-eyes or 14-eyes jurisdiction.
However, if there is a need to access US Netflix while being out of the country, you might come unstuck.
The two services have had a love-hate relationship since this VPN started, and it is hard to say if they are working with Netflix, or not.
This appears to change on a weekly basis. For ease, it is better to say they don’t work with Netflix rather than you wasting money.
When using mobile devices, the interface is uncluttered as mentioned. One feature with the Avast VPN is you can set it to start at the same time as your PC or device.
Once running on mobile, it detects your home network and can begin running, or if it sees an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, it will start the VPN also.
Any VPN should have customer privacy at heart, and this includes a strict zero logging policy. Avast states they hold no logs.
However, there is some information that gets logged. Connection time, disconnection time and how long you are connected, along with how much bandwidth you use.
This is comparable to other VPN’s but delving deeper into their policy, you can see user data is offered to the likes of Twitter and Facebook, this is a little more alarming.
Luckily, their customer support ranks highly and is better than many other older VPN providers. The website has a good support section and packed full of information, and this couples with a good user forum.
For direct answers, they offer 24/7 phone support, and you can also use a ticketing system for in-depth queries. Although they are not the fastest at replying, you will get an answer within 24-hours.
Speed tests were quite surprising considering they only have a small network. They ranked quite highly for download speeds for the USA and around Europe, but if there is any connection required outside these regions, then speeds might suffer.
Avast Secureline works out expensive once you include separate mobile devices, this is because you need a separate license for every single device.
Additionally, the Avast cost structure is awkward and can be hard to understand.
PC and Mac
- 1 Month $7.99
- 1 year $59.99
- 2 years $109.99
- 3 Years $159.99
Android and iOS
- 1 Month $2.99
- 1 Year $19.99
All appears normal with the Avast Secureline VPN license, but then they introduce their multi-device package that covers 5 devices.
- 1 Month $8.99
- 1 Year $79.99
- 2 years $149.99
- 3 Years $219.99
The problem here is you can only cover multiple devices of the same type.
The company does offer a 7-day free trial. There is no Avast free VPN option, and like many good VPN’s they offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
However, there are limitations, and an Avast refund will only apply if you buy Avast directly from them, and not from a third party seller.
One other problem is if you have over 100 sessions, or download over 10 GB of data, this will make your money back guarantee null and void.
No cryptocurrencies can be used for payment, but there are a number of other options available.
- Strong encryption levels
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Excellent customer support
- Simple to use apps
- Great security
- Allows P2P sharing and torrenting on some servers
- 7-day free trial, but with limitations
- 30-day money back guarantee with limitations
- No VPN software for routers
- Does keep some logs, and sells information
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies
- Pricing & Restricted Licensing complicated
- Average performance outside the USA and Europe
- No Netflix or unreliable access
- Limited features
- No Ad-blocking features
Is Avast VPN Good?
The company does a lot of things right, and many other VPN providers could learn a thing or two from their operation.
Most of the downsides are not what they offer, it is what they don’t provide. It would be nice to see an ad-blocking feature, but this isn’t the case.
Areas, where they excel such as their customer support and ease of use, don’t make up for the features that are lacking, and the convoluted payment structure.
It is overly complicated and works out very expensive for families with multiple devices, if not too restrictive.
Is the service any good? In a way yes, and in a few ways no.
With all of the above information, it would be nice to see a company with such a background do well in this industry.
Avast has spent years protecting people with their antivirus software, but at present, this doesn’t carry over to their VPN service.
Would they be recommended? Unfortunately, it is hard to recommend them just for their payment structure, the Avast VPN price is high, and the fact they might just sell your information to Facebook.