Avast VPN Review: Is it Everything It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Avast SecureLine VPN was founded in 2014, originating from Prague, Czech Republic and still operating under the same jurisdiction.

On paper, this thing packs a punch with 256-bit AES encryption and a choice of OpenVPN, IPSec and IKEv2 protocols, as well as a no-logging policy, an uncapped bandwidth limit and a focus on speed.

But how good is it, really? We put this VPN software through rigorous testing to see if it actually lives up to the hype.

PROS

  • Clean and intuitive interface
  • Good speeds/low latency
  • Strong security and encryption standards
  • No viruses or malware detected
  • Non-intrusive logging policy
  • Allows torrenting
  • Has a kill-switch feature
  • 24/7 support (including phone and email)
  • Reasonably priced

CONS

  • Doesn’t work for Netflix streaming outside the US, or Hulu at all
  • Has a low number of total servers available
  • Low number of countries available
  • No support for Amazon Firestick and routers
  • Under Czech Republic jurisdiction (unfavorable)
  • No live chat support

A Few FAQs (quick nav links to jump around)

Speed & Expectations

There will almost always be a slight reduction inon your internet speed when using a VPN because you’re rerouting data through a remote server, meaning it has to travel further than it otherwise would.

Generally, the closer you are to the VPN server in question, the less of a speed reduction you can expect to see. Factors such as encryption level, protocols, server load and ISP speed restrictions all play a part here as well — most of which is governed by the VPN software itself.

As with anything there are exceptions, especially when using an ISP that sends data through a more convoluted journey than is necessary. These inefficiencies can sometimes be ironed out using a VPN for a rare but feasible speed increase. *gasp*

Avast Speed Test Results

So what exactly are we testing here?

Regardless of which VPN you use, there’s no single metric you can use to gauge which is faster or slower than the next. Instead, you have to look at the following three metrics in aggregate:

  1. Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.

  2. Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.

  3. Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.

Of course, before doing any VPN testing, we first need to use these metrics to calculate a baseline speed to test against.

For our baseline, we ran 5 tests without the use of a VPN from a 100 Mbps line in Chicago, Illinois, and got the following results:

The totals and averages are as follows:

METRICTEST 1TEST 2TEST 3TEST 4TEST 5AVERAGE
DL speed (mbps)89.9490.6674.6589.4289.6286.9
UL speed (mbps)12.2812.1512.3612.3112.0712.2
Ping (ms)109910109.6

Now, using Avast SecureLine VPN, we threw on our lab coats and meticulously tested all three metrics across various countries to build an accurate picture of overall speed.

For the United States, we were able to choose one of Avast’s servers which was closest to us in Chicago, IL. Wwe ran 5 tests using Avast and got the following results:

The totals and averages are as follows:

METRICTEST 1TEST 2TEST 3TEST 4TEST 5AVERAGE
DL speed (mbps)51.5347.5950.6742.3348.348.1
UL speed (mbps)10.7111.3310.9411.109.010.6
Ping (ms)131312131312.8

Compared to our baseline:

  • Download speed decreased by 38.8 mbps (-44.7%)
  • Upload speed decreased by 1.6 mbps (-13.2%)
  • Latency increased by 3.2 ms (+33.3%)

For Europe, we ran 5 tests using Avast’s server in Glasgow, UK and got the following results (fix first imeage below):

METRICTEST 1TEST 2TEST 3TEST 4TEST 5AVERAGE
DL speed (mbps)29.5131.6332.5632.4832.7831.8
UL speed (mbps)8.187.994.978.565.707.1
Ping (ms)119118119118118118.4

Compared to our baseline:

  • Download speed decreased by 55.1 mbps (-63.4%)
  • Upload speed decreased by 5.1 mbps (-42.1%)
  • Latency increased by 108.8 ms (+1,133.3%)

For Asia, we ran 5 tests using Avast’s server in Singapore and got the following results:

The totals and averages are as follows:

METRICTEST 1TEST 2TEST 3TEST 4TEST 5AVERAGE
DL speed (mbps)25.4829.5423.9324.2819.4924.50
UL speed (mbps)2.802.672.802.652.732.7
Ping (ms)246247247245246246.2

Compared to our baseline:

  • Download speed decreased by 62.4 mbps (-71.8%)
  • Upload speed decreased by 9.5 mbps (-77.7%)
  • Latency increased by 236.6 ms (+2,464.6%)

For South America, we ran 5 tests using Avast’s server in Sao Pauolo, Brazil and got the following results:

The totals and averages are as follows:

METRICTEST 1TEST 2TEST 3TEST 4TEST 5AVERAGE
DL speed (mbps)28.1721.8725.4738.8133.7329.6
UL speed (mbps)3.693.764.422.873.573.7
Ping (ms)158159159160159159

Compared to our baseline:

  • Download speed decreased by 57.3 mbps (-65.9%)
  • Upload speed decreased by 8.6 mbps (-70.1%)
  • Latency increased by 149.4 ms (+1,556.3%)

For Africa, we ran 5 tests using Avast’s server in Johannesburg, South Africa and got the following results:

The totals and averages are as follows:

METRICTEST 1TEST 2TEST 3TEST 4TEST 5AVERAGE
DL speed (mbps)16.6121.1418.9125.9716.6319.9
UL speed (mbps)3.012.742.782.752.642.8
Ping (ms)280279280280280279.8

Compared to our baseline:

  • Download speed decreased by 67.1 mbps (-77.2%)
  • Upload speed decreased by 9.5 mbps (-77.2%)
  • Latency increased by 270.2 ms (+2,814.6%)

Speed Test Results (Summary)

METRICUSEUROPEASIAS. AMERICAAFRICA
DL speed (mbps)48.131.824.5029.619.9
Vs baseline-45%-63%-72%-66%-77%
UL speed (mbps)10.67.12.73.72.8
Vs baseline-13%-42%-78%-70%-77%
Ping (ms)12.8118.4246.2159279.8
Vs baseline+33%+1133%+2465%+1556%+2815%

Performance & Features

Basing your VPN of choice on speed alone is like buying a fast car without even looking at the interior. That’d be silly, right?

Well, you guessed it, VPN’s also come packed with a slew of specifications and features that can seriously enhance the overall performance and utility of the software.

These are the ones we deem most important:

  1. Number of servers: 55 servers. How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.

  2. Number of countries: 35 countries. How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.

  3. Number of connections allowed: 5 connections. How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.

  4. Torrenting allowed: Yes (select servers). Whether you can download and share files on a peer-to-peer or P2P network as opposed to a single server.

  5. Kill switch available: Yes. Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.

Performance & Features (Summary)

FEATUREGRADE
Server count55 servers (low)
Countries supported35 countries (low)
Connections allowed5 connections (good)
Torrenting allowedYes – select servers only (good)
Kill switch availableYes (good)

Avast is comes in a little weak here with only 55 servers across 35 countries which is a barely a scratch on VPN giants like CyberGhost and ExpressVPN.

As for the device limit, 5 connections is very reasonable considering most VPN services only allow you to connect 2-3 devices at any one time.

Finally, the presence of a kill switch is an essential security feature for some, while the ability to run torrents on servers in Prague, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, New York, Miami, Seattle, London, and Paris could be enough to seal the deal.

Privacy & Security: Is Avast VPN Safe?

Let’s face it, the reason most people use a virtual private network in the first place is to keep their information private and secure. (A damn good reason to use one, by the way.)

Considering the abundance of public hotspots in places like coffee shops, airports and hotels, it’s only a matter of time before someone attempts to track your online activity and ultimately gain access to sensitive information.

A VPN protects you from such attempts by hiding your IP address and encrypting all information being sent and received across the network. While this works great in most cases, there are potential vulnerabilities to be aware of.

We looked at the following vulnerabilities:

  • DNS leaks: None found. When your network’s DNS (domain name system) is revealed to your ISP despite using a VPN service. Such leaks are hugely detrimental to your anonymity online.

  • IP leaks: None found. Similar to a DNS leak, this reveals your true IP address on the network which allows third parties to gain access to your sensitive information. Another anonymity killer.

  • WebRTC leaks: None found. WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a protocol used by modern browsers that supports peer-to-peer applications. It can also pass your true IP address over the network despite the use of a VPN.

  • Chrome extension leaks: None found. Chrome has a feature called DNS prefetching that serves to reduce latency by pre-resolving domains you’re likely to visit. It also introduces a potential DNS leak when using a VPN browser extension.

  • Encryption: AES 256, IPSec & IKEv2, Open VPN. When connected to a VPN server, all data that is passed through is encrypted and secured. Various encryption methods and protocols are used, and some combinations are safer than others.

  • Logging policy: Does Avast VPN keep logs? Not for web browsing. Many VPN companies keep a record of server activity, including information like your name and email, as well as usage time and bandwidth data. It’s best to avoid these VPN’s for full anonymity.

  • Viruses/Malware: None found. Poorly guarded servers can be a target for virus and malware infection, potentially affecting anyone who connects to that same server. A great VPN should also have solid server security.

Privacy & Security (Summary)

VULNERABILITYRESULT
DNS leaksNone found
IP leaksNone found
WebRTC leaksNone found
Chrome extension leaksNone found
Encryption usedAES 256, IPSec & IKEv2, Open VPN
Logging policyConnection status, connection duration, bandwidth used.
Viruses/malwareNone detected

After testing for DNS, IP, WebRTC and Chrome extensions leaks, we weren’t able to find any evidence of weak spots or vulnerabilities.

As for security, the AES 256 encryption along with the IPSec & IKEv2, Open VPN protocols are considered high-end, meaning you won’t lose sleep over hackers trying to gain access to your vacation snaps.

VPN logging policy is another aspect to consider, and Avast gets this mostly right by logging only your connection status, duration and bandwidth used, meaning they do not log your browsing data.

Finally, the search for viruses and malware on Avast SecureLine servers left us delightfully empty handed.

Usability

This section covers a range of different usability aspects of VPN software, and while these don’t necessarily define the quality of a VPN, they can be decisive when comparing alternatives.

We’ll be looking at the following:

  • Streaming/Geo-spoofing
  • Compatibility
  • Overall UI/UX

Streaming/Geo-spoofing

If I had to pick out a single indirect benefit of protecting your data with a VPN, it would have to be the ability to geo-spoof popular online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Geo-spoofing, or literally “location-tricking” is achieved by connecting to a VPN server that is physically located in another country, which also assigns a matching IP address to your device.

To see how well Avast performs here, we tested the software against all major streaming services using servers from the US, Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.

  • Netflix: Partially undetected. We got a “Streaming Error” with every server location except the US. Pretty useless for anyone who’s already in the States, but still a big win for those living in other parts of the world.
  • Hulu: Detected. We got a “Video not available in this location” error with every server location including the US. If you’re into Hulu, this could be a deal breaker for you.
  • YouTube: Undetected. We successfully managed to trick YouTube from all server locations using Avast. A solid result for those who tend to watch region-locked content on YouTube.

  • Kodi: Undetected. We successfully streamed video in Kodi from all server locations, however there were some slight pixelation issues on US, Europe and South American servers, as well a load delay on African servers.

  • Skype: Undetected. We successfully managed to use Skype from all server locations using Avast. If you live in a country where Skype is blocked, Avast SecureLine VPN has you covered.

Streaming/Geo-spoofing (Summary)

SERVICEUSEUROPEASIASOUTH AMERICAAFRICA
NetflixYesNoNoNoNo
HuluNoNoNoNoNo
YouTubeYesYesYesYesYes
KodiPixelatedPixelatedYesPixelatedLoad delay
SkypeYesYesYesYesYes
Facetime

Avast SecureLine didn’t perform as well as we’d hoped with Netflix and Hulu being highly restricted across almost all regions, not to mention pixelation and load issues with Kodi.

If geo-spoofing is a big part of your VPN experience, you can probably go ahead and tick this one off your list.

Compatibility

If you’re serious about using a VPN for the numerous benefits it offers, it’s also worth checking whether your chosen provider works on other devices and operating systems.

To see how well Avast performs here, we tested the software with Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, and routers.

The results are as follows:

  • Tor browser: Supported. Tor already provides a high level of anonymity, but pairing this with a VPN (also called “Tor over VPN”) offers maximum protection. Avast handled this perfectly.

  • iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. As expected, Avast works smoothly on Apple devices running iOS, including the latest versions of iPad and iPhone.

  • Android: Supported. Avast also works with Google’s Android operating system which covers everything from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even TV media sticks.

  • Smart TV’s: Supported. Another one in the bag! From our testing, Avast SecureLine runs just fine on Smart TV’s as well.

  • Amazon Firestick: Not supported. It’s hard to get mad considering Amazon doesn’t use Android for their Firestick, instead opting for a proprietary operating system.

  • Mac: Supported. Apple’s Mac computers use the MacOS operating system which is compatible with Avast SecureLine VPN. We expected as much.

  • Windows: Supported. Microsoft Windows is compatible with Avast SecureLine VPN. Again, no surprises there.

  • Routers: Not supported. Avast SecureLine requires an operating system to run and therefore is not compatible with routers and cannot run on the network layer.

Compatibility (Summary)

ENVIRONMENTRESULT
Tor browserSupported
iOS (iPad, iPhone)Supported
AndroidSupported
Smart TV’sSupported
Amazon FirestickNot supported
MacSupported
WindowsSupported
RoutersNot supported

Ideally, we would expect to see green across the board on this one with the exception of maaaybe Amazon Firestick.

The potential issue, and one that could be enough to sway a purchasing decision for some, is the router incompatibility. Not being able to secure your connection at the network level (and all connected devices) leaves a big red mark.

Overall UI/UX

We couldn’t finish this Avast SecureLine VPN review without talking about the overall experience of using the software.

Getting everything installed and set up was literally a 30-second process thanks to the simple setup wizard.

Once installed, Avast SecureLine will run you through a brief starter guide that highlights the core benefits of using the service.

Not really sure how helpful this was during the setup process, but fair enough…

Setup aside, let’s talk about the interface.

You’ve no doubt seen other VPN’s use a map-based approach, but Avast SecureLine opts for a much cleaner list-based layout which categorizes servers by country and region, as well dedicated P2P and streaming categories.

I particularly like the option to expand on the country listing to reveal alternate servers in the same geographic location, as other VPN’s tend to clog up the interface by having these visible by default.

Clicking on any server will immediately trigger a connection, and once connected a few seconds later, you’ll see a confirmation screen showing your status, IP address, connection time and server location.

From here, you can either change the location or disable connection to the server entirely — but that won’t exit the application.

You can also choose to configure your VPN preferences, including notification settings, startup settings, automatic protection and the much-loved kill switch feature.

That’s pretty much everything for the desktop application, but let’s quickly cover the mobile experience.

As an Android user, I installed the Avast SecureLine app from the Play Store with no issues, but unlike on a desktop, the 7-day trial required a verified payment method before I could actually use it.

Despite the hiccup, the rest of the application looked and behaved as well as you’d expect after seeing the desktop version.

The server list was clean and easy to navigate, though countries weren’t grouped together this time, meaning they appeared multiple times.

The connection screen felt just like it does on desktop, albeit with a few details missing such as IP addresses.

Overall, the desktop interface is consistently intuitive to use, keeping everything tightly focused and well-presented from start to finish. I really couldn’t have asked for more here.

Apart from having to verify payment before running a trial and a few minor UI drawbacks, the mobile experience was very smooth on the whole.

Avast VPN Price & Refunds

The VPN industry is as competitive as they come, meaning you can find a VPN service at just about any price-point you can think of.

Some VPN companies are offering their services for free, others start at just $3/month, and a few even shoot for the higher end of the market at $15/month and beyond.

The question is, how does Avast SecureLine perform on pricing?

As you can see, Avast pricing is based on the type and number of devices you plan to use it with, with PC’s and laptops being more expensive than smartphones and tablets.

Chances are you have more than 1 device that uses the internet. If so, you’ll get much better value from the 5-device package at $79.99 per year than you would by doing it separately.

This works out to a monthly fee of $6.67 per month which is about mid-range as far as VPN pricing goes.

There are small discounts available when paying for 2-3 years upfront, but we’re talking about little more than 5% off on a 3-year plan. Nothing to write home about.

As you can see, Avast also allow various payment methods including all major credit cards and PayPal. No Alipay or crypto, though I can hardly blame them on that last one. 😉

It’s also worth noting while there’s no free plan, Avast does offer a 7-day free trial with no credit card required (on desktop), as well as a 30-day refund window on all paid plans — even if that isn’t clearly stated on the pricing page.

For comparison, the following table shows pricing, trials and refund periods across popular VPN providers:

VPN PROVIDERANNUAL COST (MONTHLY)TRIAL OFFEREDREFUND OFFERED
Avast SecureLine$6.677-days30-days
NordVPN$6.997-days30-days
ExpressVPN$8.32No30-days
CyberGhost$5.257-days45-days
PureVPN$2.913-days ($2.50)31-days
TunnelBear$5Limited free accountNo
Private Internet Access$3.81No7-days
IPVanish$6.49No7-days
Windscribe VPN$4.08Limited free account3-days (conditional)

Overall, we wouldn’t consider Avast SecureLine overpriced, but it’s also not competitively priced given the cheaper and arguably better VPN alternatives available.

Support

Whether it’s community-driven or dedicated staff, no VPN software is complete without a good support network on hand.

And look, as great as Avast SecureLine is, there’s still something to be said about your options if something went wrong. After all, we are talking about your security and privacy here.

Let’s start with the Avast website. Clicking the support link on their website takes you to this questionnaire:

Depending on how you answer this question and whether you’re a paying customer, you’ll be taken to another screen that list different support options.

For some queries, you’ll either be asked to search the knowledge-base or post a question on the community forum:

You’ll be pleased to know that the knowledge-base is rife with articles covering everything from the very basics to advanced technical issues.

If you’d expect to see an answer to your question here, chances are it’s covered.

Of course, if you don’t happen find an answer in the knowledge-base, you can always go ahead and post in the active member-driven support forum.

It’s a tad retro, but I can dig it.

Other queries will send you straight to a contact form where you can expect a 2-day response time under normal conditions.

So far so good, but what about the more direct support channels?

Unfortunately, the only time I was able to get a phone number on screen was when choosing a query that relates to the sales department, such as “choosing the right Avast product”.

This line is open 24/7 and will quickly put you in touch with a human operator, but you might get some friction given that it is technically a sales line, and not a support line.

Finally, if you’re into live chat like me, you’ll be disappointed to learn that Avast isn’t as enthusiastic about it. No sign of live chat anywhere on their site.

Support (Summary)

SUPPORT CHANNELPERFORMANCE
Knowledge baseCovers a broad range of topics
Community forumCovers all Avast products. Very active.
Email (contact form)A bit slow with a 2-day turnaround
PhoneAvailable 24/7 but more sales-focused
Live chatNon-existent
Social media

Overall, while I believe Avast does a decent job here with their round-the-clock support, the 2-day email turnaround time and lack of any live chat support is still a bit of a buzz kill.

Other Tech-Blogger Reviews

Everything you’ve read in this article stems from our own in-house testing and overall impression of Avast SecureLine, but no matter how deep we go, you’re still only getting one perspective.

In order to shine a light on what other Avast reviewers had to say about the software, we did a meta-analysis of 10 other reputable tech bloggers.

While there was little correlation between the overall scores across different publications, we found that the average review was 4.7 out of 5 (normalized from various types of rating scales).

But what were the key factors?

Most people seemed to like the no-logging policy of Avast as well as the ease of use of the software, but also had a problem with both the pricing, and the Netflix incompatibility along with other streaming services.

This lines up with what we’ve found, but we’d just add some reviews forget to mention Netflix does in fact work on US servers, which is still incredibly useful for anyone outside of the US.

The biggest outlier was probably TrustedReviews at 2 out of 5 stars, though the biggest complaint—aside from price—was a “single device license” which no longer seems to be the case.


It’s also worth noting that most customers gave this VPN a score of 4 out of 5 or higher. People seem to like the simplicity of the interface, but understably aren’t too excited about the price-point.

Overall, most reviews appear to have a positive attitude towards Avast SecureLine despite the higher cost, with the odd complaint being somewhat trivial for the average VPN user.

Our Verdict: How Good Is Avast VPN?

Avast SecureLine offers an all-round reliable and intuitive VPN experience, and it certainly ticks many crucial boxes for the more demanding user.

It offers reasonable speeds, high security and encryption, a broad range of server locations, torrenting, a non-intrusive logging policy, and a smart looking, easy-to-use software interface.

While these are all things you’d hope to see in your VPN of choice, there are still some strong arguments against Avast SecureLine that shouldn’t be overlooked.

These include the Czech jurisdiction, low server count, no kill-switch feature, heavy streaming/Netflix limitations, lack of Amazon Firestick and router support, and finally a price-point that doesn’t quite make up for it all.

For these reasons, we give Avast SecureLine an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5, but would not recommend it as the best VPN solution considering the superior and cheaper alternatives available.


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