Should I Go With a Free or Paid Antivirus?

Posted 2 years ago

Self PortraitCody Helscel
Blog writer & Web developer

Many people will say paying for antivirus software is a total rip-off, but I disagree at some level. It wasn’t until the past few years free antivirus software even existed to the wide market. Both sides have valid points. If you like some people, a free antivirus is all you need. On the other hand, a free antivirus won’t protect you from much, except viruses. You might need more protection.

As you purchase additional security protection software, you should look at buying the suite that antivirus company is offering. Four basic levels of antivirus products exist: free, paid antivirus, suites and premium. If you need identify theft protection or advanced firewall utilities, look into the suites or premium versions. You may also get parental controls and system performance tools.

As I mentioned above, free antivirus software normally only provides a bare-minimum level of protection, but at least its protection. One of the setbacks to using a free antivirus solution is the lack of tech support with that company. But you’re getting the software free, right? Most companies will, however, offer phone support for paying customers. Avast offers email support for its freebie users, and many companies provide a forum or knowledge base for help.

In addition, many free antivirus products have ads. Avast, for example, has an upgrade link in the upper right corner its main window. If you decide to go free, you have other free options for Malware to help further your protection. Three common security software programs are MalwareBytes, SpywareBlaster and Spybot Search & Destroy. They have their disadvantages being free, but they have their advantage: FREE (not trials).

As far as detecting new viruses, both free and paid antivirus products are about the same really. But note that a company ran real-world tests and found that free antiviruses missed about 15% of samples given.

The speed of a free antivirus is naturally faster than paid versions. They generally are stripped-down versions (minus the ads). The difference in speed should not be your deciding factor, however, as there is only around a 10% difference. Both free and paid antivirus software increases boot time. But that does not mean you should not have antivirus protection. Having an antivirus solution is critical today, mostly in Windows computers but also others.

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