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BSN’s Avast VPN Review: The Mimic

Dominik

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Avast VPN Review

In this day and age, the name Avast is basically synonymous with antivirus software and related solutions, so when the company decided to get into virtual private networks in 2014, it already had a headstart over many of its rivals, at least among casual Internet users. Then again, the casual crowd isn’t exactly big on VPNs even today, so let’s take a long and careful look at what Avast SecureLine VPN truly offers and how that package compares to some other high-profile names in the space.


Avast VPN Review Summary
3.44 BSN Score
Pros
Friendly toward absolute beginners. Large node selection with specialized servers for torrenting, video streaming, etc. A somewhat regularly updated warrant canary.
Cons
Privacy policies are so leaky they resemble Swiss cheese. Pretty barebones functionality. The best servers are often overcrowded/under heavy load.
Summary
It’s quite possible we simply caught Avast SecureLine VPN on a bad week but the fact remains that we saw better speeds with its subsidiary, even as the two appear to share some infrastructure, to put it mildly.
Performance3.5
Privacy & Security2.5
Ease of Use5
Pricing3

Avast SecureLine VPN Performance

As far as Avast’s concerned, the one factor no product must compromise on is mainstream appeal. As a result, the SecureLine VPN network boasts hundreds of servers across every populated continent to choose from, with select nodes being specialized for activities like on-demand video streaming and peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing, i.e. torrenting.

While the end result is a pretty versatile platform, this is a classical example of that “jack of all trades, master of none” adage seeing how your average Avast SecureLine VPN server offers underwhelming performance. That’s not always due to old or otherwise inadequate tech – in fact, stumbling into such an issue is quite rare. Avast SecureLine VPN instead suffers of server congestion across the board, and while it’s often expanding its ecosystem, the speed at which it’s doing so is less than optimal.

In effect, looking at performance degradation north of 50% after you start encrypting and hiding your traffic isn’t out of the ordinary with Avast SecureLine VPN, which is something few will find acceptable. Granted, you may simply care about non-video content unblocking and don’t need to share or access large quantities of data over your VPN, but if that’s the case, you probably shouldn’t be looking at Avast SecureLine in the first place. Frankly, you may not even need a VPN at all, so do read up on whether a much more accessible proxy or two could adequately address your needs.

Avast SecureLine VPN Privacy & Security

From a feature set’s perspective, Avast SecureLine VPN is mostly AVG Secure VPN with a different coat of paint. And by “different”, we mean “identical”. If only we were kidding, just take a look at this:

Avast SecureLine VPN vs AVG Secure VPN Joke Interface Comparison 2

Ok, we were wrong, they’re totally different things, folks.

There’s little point in debating who copied whose homework here, the point is that regardless of which one you choose, you’re mostly getting the same experience with a similar look at an identical price point with like-for-like benefits, near-indistinguishable flaws, and – you get the idea.

Speaking of shared problems, Avast SecureLine VPN falls under the company’s General Privacy Policy which is… not great from a consumer point of view. It’s so alarmingly full of intentional holes and troubling revelations about tracking and logging that it even contaminates Avast’s relatively autonomous subsidiaries such as AVG Secure VPN.

Before even delving into the VPN side of things, the sole act of ordering anything from Avast means giving up your online identity as cryptocurrency payments aren’t an option. Then, there’s the information collected by their actual products, which includes a variety of your hardware, software, and location details. From service data, OS error logs, certain types of browser requests, to real-time info on background processes, usage patterns, and phone numbers – Avast’s suite certainly seems to be as data-hungry as those malicious online entities it’s supposedly protecting you from. That’s way less than ideal, especially since we kind of doubt “fighting fire with fire” is applicable in this scenario.

Avast SecureLine VPN Warrant Canary

Given the aforementioned issues with Avast’s privacy policy, it’s surprising that the company actually does keep a warrant canary which it updates on a quarterly basis. Granted, the Avast warrant canary is a general-purpose communication, not one specific to the SecureLine VPN service, but it still applies to it. It perhaps also bears repeating that industry-standard solutions of this sort are updated at least three times as often but given Avast at least gets points for trying here, which is more than we had honestly expected to say.

Avast SecureLine VPN Ease of Use

Much like its subsidiary counterpart, Avast SecureLine VPN is a decent option for newcomers to the world of virtual private networks and related services. Its interface is so user-friendly that even the loading animations spell out the gist of what the VPN client is doing, being both informative and easy on the eyes.

Of course, the drawback to that design approach is that you’re getting a pretty rudimentary VPN that you may find lacking sooner rather than later. Then again, if Avast SecureLine VPN helps you get your foot through the door and promptly helps you graduate to something more advanced, all the more power to you… or it… erm, it’s simple to use, full stop, let’s move on.

Avast SecureLine VPN Pricing

Avast has a decently inclusive pricing structure that amounts to solid value for money, even with all of the aforementioned flaws taken into account. The main differentiating line is whether you want to secure just one or a handful of devices.

Avast also gets some bonus pricing points for not requiring your credit card or any other payment info during the process of registering for its week-long free trial, which makes getting started with this VPN a true breeze.

Avast SecureLine VPN Review Summary

If it looks and acts like AVG Secure VPN, and also fails to provide sufficient privacy guarantees like it, it’s obviously Avast SecureLine VPN seeing how it launched first, duh.

Joking aside, differentiating between these two solutions is really an exercise in splitting hair, with one notable exception being performance consistency. Even in that regard, it’s quite possible we simply caught Avast SecureLine VPN on a bad week but the fact remains that we saw better speeds with its subsidiary, even as the two appear to share some infrastructure, to put it mildly.


Editor’s Note

BSN’s Avast VPN Review has been written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.

If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.

The overall score doesn’t represent an average of all individual ratings but a weighted average which values Performance as 33%, Privacy & Security as 33%, Ease of Use as 12%, and Pricing as 22% of the final figure. It’s meant to standardize our reviews by giving more weight to the attributes we value the most in VPNs (speed, privacy, and security) without completely disregarding the rest. Naturally, much like any other review out there, the starting points/ratings are still inherently subjective to a particular reviewer’s experience.

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