Avast VPN: The Best VPN for You?
When the hugely popular antivirus company Avast announced they were coming out with a new VPN service, many customers were excited at the prospect that the number one runner in digital security would be pushing into the privacy space.
But for all the hype behind it, not everything is gold and roses in the world of the Avast Secureline VPN. Many customers have complained that the app itself (both on mobile and desktop) is relatively featureless, and only offers a fraction of the security protocols and customization options that hardcore privacy enthusiasts demand from any VPN they subscribe to.
So what are the alternatives to Avast Secureline, and are they any good? Read on in our guide to find out!
Is Avast VPN good?
This is the question on everyone’s mind, and to that I answer...well, sort of. As far as app performance and connection reliability goes it’s at the top of its class, and with an average download speed of over 300Mbps during peak hours, it’s one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested to date.
Not only that, but of the many VPNs we’ve tested for streaming Avast was easily one of the most reliable when it came to getting through the Netflix VPN block. It both seamlessly passed the ban test every time while also keeping speeds fast enough that we could stream any content we wanted either in HD or 4K without hitting the dreaded buffering symbol every couple of seconds. This can be a huge issue when streaming through other VPN services that work with Netflix, so if you’re looking for a stutter-free experience then Avast Secureline VPN is the way to go.
Add to this the fact that you don’t even need to use a credit card or create an account in order to get your connection protected, and you’ve almost got the perfect recipe for success in the VPN space.
That said, for everything that Avast gets right with Secureline there are a couple critical areas where the service comes up woefully short. The first is probably the most obvious to anyone who signs on to the Avast app for the first time: there’s no customization options. This means you can’t set your preferred protocol, choose which server is your default to connect to, or even activate a kill switch.
Similarly, right now Avast only offers one streaming service to unblock -- Netflix -- and they only unblock it for the library contained in the United States. This means if you’re trying to watch a show that’s only available from the UK or Canada-based Netflix libraries, you’re straight up out of luck. Of course this doesn’t even include the fact that Netflix is the only service that gets unblocked; users of Hulu, HBO, or BBC iPlayer won’t find any unblocking capabilities here.
Finally, there’s the pricing. We broke down just how convoluted and confusing the pricing scheme for Avast Secureline VPN got in our full review of the service, but just as a recap: the price you pay for the amount of devices you want to cover depends entirely on what device you’re buying the service on (mobile vs. desktop), mobile is the only place you’ll find an option to purchase a monthly or bi-yearly subscription (desktop is annual only), and after all that you only get two payment options to choose from: credit card or PayPal.
So, even though there’s a lot to love about Avast Secureline, there’s also a lot of areas where the company needs to improve their service in the coming years. Until that happens, we’ve compiled a list of alternative VPNs that offer many of the features, perks, and streaming site unblocks that Avast Secureline VPN just can’t keep up with
Best for Streaming - CyberGhost VPN
There are a lot of VPNs which claim to offer servers that can unblock streaming for you, but only a select few actually work (which admittedly Avast is one of), but even fewer can claim that they work for more than one service in more than one country.
Of this elite group, CyberGhost VPN is undoubtedly one of the best in the business when it comes to offering the most unblocked streaming services in the industry. The company makes it both simple and quick to get connected to streaming portals like HBO, Hulu, Netflix and HBOGo, and will even let you stream different Netflix libraries from countries including the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands.
For right now Avast simply can’t keep up with premium providers like CyberGhost VPN on this side of the coin. That said, speaking of “keeping up” Avast completely smokes CyberGhost when it comes to overall speeds, so if you only want to stream the American Netflix and hate the dreaded buffering icon popping up every few seconds, you should probably just stick with Avast and wait until they add more streaming options in the coming months/years.
Best for Security Customization - IBVPN
While almost any VPN worth its salt will at the bare minimum let you change the protocol you connect over (generally between a selection of OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, and custom options that differ per VPN), IBVPN goes the extra mile when it comes to encryption and overall strong security practice.
IBVPN has dozens of different encryption configurations to choose from which will change depending on what you’re trying to do and where you’re trying to connect. This includes choosing the level that standard encryption protocols protect your connection (128-bit AES up to 512-bit), or going the extra mile and using what’s known as a “double VPN” which will route your line through two separate nodes at once. The benefit of using this option is if someone manages to detect the first IP address in your line and somehow wants to try to use it to tie it back to your real identity somehow, they’ll be greeted with yet another VPN node sitting right behind it.
This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to detect who you are or where you’re connecting from on a network. IBVPN also makes it super easy to get on the Tor network if you really want to go the extra mile on security, with connection options that automatically route your connection through Tor nodes and keep you completely obscured on an Onion-only connection.
Again, Avast doesn’t even let you pick the security protocol you want to use, let alone go this deep and hard into offering a plethora of security options that would make even the top tier providers like ExpressVPN shake a little in their boots.
Best for Extra Features - PureVPN
In this department, Avast is dreadfully under-equipped, offering what essentially amounts to zero extra features on any of its static or mobile products. This is surprising considering the size of the market that the company hopes to penetrate with its first foray into the VPN space, and with so many other services outpacing them on features it’s hard to recommend Avast over anything else on that basis alone.
That preamble out of the way, it’s clear that when it comes to packing in the most extra features so you can get all the bang out of your buck, no one does it quite like PureVPN. In our review of the service we found that not only does PureVPN offer the standard gamut of features you’d expect from a modern VPN (kill switch, DNS protection, IPv6 leak protection, etc), the company really goes above and beyond the call of duty with a slew of its own proprietary features to boot.
These include innovations like Split Tunneling, which lets you customize which apps on your computer route their traffic through your standard network and which connect only through the VPN. This is perfect for anyone who wants to keep the load on their VPN connection as minimal as possible, but still need the flexibility to pick and choose which apps get bandwidth priority from their home network.
You can also turn your desktop or laptop into a VPN-enabled hotspot if you have the right hardware installed, a feature that as far as we can tell is unique to PureVPN alone.
For all these reasons and a few more, it’s obvious that when it comes to extra features providers like Avast still have a long way to go before they’re running in the same race as veterans like PureVPN.
As we mentioned in the intro, there are a few things that Avast gets really, really right: connection reliability, speed/overall zippiness, and US-based Netflix streaming.
This in mind, there are plenty (literally dozens, if not hundreds) of other VPNs who can do what Avast does but do it a whole lot better with just a sprinkle of style layered on top. Secureline is fine for what it is but if you really want a VPN that goes beyond the call of duty when it comes to security, IBVPN is the way to go. PureVPN has got you covered back to front on extra features, and CyberGhost is essentially the one-stop shop for all things streaming around the globe.
With all this taken into consideration, it’s clear that Avast Secureline VPN is going to have to step up its game across the board if it wants to remain competitive over the next few years against some of the biggest names in the business.