Most Commonly Asked Questions About Antivirus Software
In this day and age, stories of viruses, malware, ransomware, and hackings abound. It seems you can’t go for more than a week without hearing about some type of cybercrime on the news or in your news feed. That’s why you need to keep yourself protected online, so that your privacy, safety, and security aren’t compromised.
And the best way to do that is with the best antivirus software packages. In this guide, we’ll look at the best 5 antiviruses out there today, and discuss some of the things you should consider when trying to find the best antivirus solution for your computer, smartphone, and other electronics.
What Should You Look For in the Best Antiviruses?
Some of the most common things that you should look for when comparing the best antiviruses are a bit technical. Obviously, all of them fall under “antivirus software,” but that’s a pretty broad criterion.
Things like how, and how well, they detect infected downloads, prevent malicious code execution on websites and through apps, how well they work in the background to prevent suspicious connections, and so on are all just as important as finding and eliminating viruses and malware. It also doesn’t hurt to see their reputation in terms of hogging (or not) system resources, and what kind of interface, settings, and technical knowledge is required to use the program.
Why Do You Need an Antivirus?
It’s pretty much universally understood that you need an antivirus with full protection in this day and age. Windows and Mac computers come with onboard tools to help prevent malicious code and infections, but it’s nothing compared to the kind of security you can get from the best antivirus programs.
What’s more, many of these core features are not meant to adapt and prevent the latest threats like ransomware, malware, adware, etc. Those are specifically created to bypass all of the default, built-in protections on common operating systems. Don’t get your identity stolen, your files locked or deleted, your system damaged, or your browser filled with pop-ups and junk. The best antiviruses can prevent all of that.
What are the Best Antivirus Solutions?
Below are our picks for the best 5 antivirus programs in 2019. We’ve made these selections on the basis of their functionality, company reputation/effectiveness of the product, features offered, support, price, and value of the subscription or purchase, among other factors. These are all things that you should keep in mind – as well as looking at customer reviews and feedback – when shopping for the best antivirus for your system.
Norton, by Symantec, is one of the most trusted names in antivirus programs and has been among the best antiviruses for many years now. They offer a wide range of security and safety products, including their signature antivirus program.
It comes with real-time threat protection, on-demand scan functionality, password manager, smart software firewall, 2GB of cloud backup storage, full virus, spyware, malware, and ransomware protection, and more. It’s available for PC or Mac for $39 per device, with higher-tier software packages and plans for more devices, including smartphones, available for higher prices.
BullGuard isn’t as well-known as Norton or McAfee on our list, but they put up a strong set of products, including a formidable antivirus program that’s worthy of inclusion in our list of the best 5 antiviruses for 2019. It performs exceptionally well, with an easy-to-use interface and excellent mechanics “under the hood” – it’s not surprising that it’s won numerous awards for best antivirus program.
BullGuard includes a full antivirus suite with both on-demand and real-time scanning, anti-malware algorithms, a vulnerability scanner, and a system optimizer that not only doesn’t hog system resources but frees them up for better performance. All these specifications are available for $29 per device. Higher tier plans with more devices supported, including smartphones and other features, are also available.
Like Norton, McAfee is one of the most well-established players among the best antivirus software market. Their core product, the Total Protection Antivirus, comes with cloud-based threat detection, a robust antivirus with on-demand and real-time scanning modes, ransomware protection, software firewall and network monitoring, mobile security, a password manager, file encryption tools, PC performance optimizer, and safe delete/file shredder software. For 1 device, protection starts at $55, with additional features and device counts available at higher price points.
Where some of the bigger names in the best antivirus category have a bit of a reputation for software that hogs system resources, Bitdefender is almost the polar opposite. They’ve won numerous awards for their lean yet comprehensive antivirus client, which performs well (outperforms all others in several tests) yet keeps your system resources free.
They have a Windows and Mac version of their antivirus, in addition to many other safety and security software programs. The antivirus comes with standard on-demand and real-time virus scanning, a multi-layered ransomware protection system, the Bitdefender VPN, and SafePay. There’s a lot more to it than that, with the full list of features containing nearly 2 dozen line items. Protection for 1 device starts at $39.
Rounding out our list of the best 5 antiviruses is Avast. Of all the contenders on this list, this is perhaps the best choice for those with a limited budget. Avast has a fully functional free version of their antivirus, as well as 3 paid tiers with varying features. But for basic protection, their free offering is quite impressive, and if you can’t afford the other paid options, it’s absolutely a great choice.
The entry-level paid subscription includes on-demand and real-time antivirus scanning, malware and ransomware protection, spoof website filter, sandbox mode to run suspicious apps, a software firewall, and spam and phishing email protection. The two higher tiers have additional features, at a higher cost. The entry-level paid option is $59 for one device.
Is it worth paying for an Antivirus?
Most of the above providers of the best antivirus software offer free trial versions of their products, usually for 30 days or less, and then require you to buy a paid subscription as we indicated. Only Avast offers a fully functional, free forever virus scanner that’s worthwhile.
In general, free options – outside of Avast – that don’t have a time limit/aren’t a “free trial” – are not that great. Most free virus scanners don’t have the same level of protection, because threats are constantly evolving. Paid subscription services use a good chunk of the subscription price for a team of experts, support, R&D, and threat analysis that is always ongoing.
Free offerings don’t usually have that. And the features offered in paid virus scan programs are usually far superior to those in free packages. In short, the best antivirus options are those that require you to pay a little bit of cash – but this is NOT an area where you want to be excessively stingy with your money. A good virus protection program can save you hundreds or thousands in the long run.
In this guide, we’ve listed out the top contenders for the best 5 antivirus programs around today. Any of them would be an excellent choice for your desktop, laptop, or other similar devices. One or the other may pique your fancy more, due to the features, interface, and other aspects of the program. But all of the above options will work well to keep you safe and secure.