Avast VPN Review & Tests (2020)
Avast SecureLine VPN is an exciting VPN that has been generating a lot of buzz recently.
Although it has been around for almost a decade, over the last few years, the VPN has undergone a massive overhaul prompting me to give it another look.
On the surface, the service seems to be the real deal.
It’s backed by an online security giant in Avast, and if their slogan is anything to go, the VPN can provide you with “true privacy” at a click of a button.
And that’s not all. Avast also promises “lightning fast” server speeds and access to “any content” online. While these claims are very pleasing, it’s not unusual for VPN providers to overstate their capabilities.
So, how does the service perform in practice? Is it worth your time and money?
Well, keep reading this Avast SecureLine VPN review to find out.
|Name:||Avast SecureLine VPN|
|Servers:||57 (36 Countries)|
General Info & Features
|Logging||Zero Active Logs|
|Locations & Servers||36 countries, 57 Servers|
|Payment Methods||Credit Card, PayPal|
|Free Trial||7 Days|
|Refund Policy||30-Day Money-Back Guarantee|
|Simultaneous Connections||1, 5 device(s)|
|Live Chat||No Live Chat|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android|
|Better alternative:||Find it here|
What Is Avast Secureline VPN?
Avast SecureLine is a VPN service owned and operated by Avast Software s.r.o, a Czech multinational cybersecurity company.
Established in Prague, in 2013, the provider has been a main staple in the VPN industry for several years, and over that time, they’ve built an impressive network with servers in 36 different countries around the world.
Avast SecureLine uses robust encryption standards and does not log websites visited or app usage. It’s always pleasing to see a provider that values privacy.
In regards to compatibility, Avast SecureLine supports a vast majority of the primary computing devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
While it’s not the cheapest option on the market, Avast SecureLine is reasonably priced and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Is Avast SecureLine Good?
If you are looking for a short answer, Avast SecureLine is a solid VPN.
But while the service does have some great benefits, it also has its fair share of shortcomings. Speed and usability are decent, but the VPN lags behind its top competitors in terms of features.
No single VPN is perfect.
So, the real question here should be whether Avast SecureLine is a good fit for your needs. Is it safe? Or any good for streaming?
How about torrenting?
Let’s start with privacy.
Privacy & Jurisdiction
One of the main reasons I use a VPN is to preserve my anonymity when online.
However, I know too well that the wrong VPN can end up doing more damage than good. Not every provider takes your privacy seriously, and many have been caught advertising a no-logging policy while hoarding user data.
Does Avast Keep Logs?
Avast SecureLine maintains that they do not track, monitor, or log your browsing activities.
“If someone asks, we just can’t answer.” I like that!
Without data logs, they would be nothing to provide.
That said, Avast does admit to collecting some connection data.
This may range from the amount of bandwidth used to the time and network location from which the VPN connection was made.
If your provider logs your network location, it means they have access to your originating IP. Unfortunately, Avast SecureLine does that.
However, this shouldn’t be too concerning since this VPN does not keep any usage logs. Besides, Avast uses information for diagnostic purposes only, and the data is routinely deleted after 30 days.
As of March 1st, Avast Software s.r.o was under investigation by the Czech Republic’s Office for Personal Data Protection (PDA) following reports that the company was selling the data collected via its free antivirus to third parties.
While this has nothing to do with SecureLine VPN, it does raise some concerns.
Avast has since shut down Jumpshot, the subsidiary responsible.
They’ve also taken significant steps to improve transparency, and the company is now GDPR compliant.
Avast SecureLine maintains that they do not track, monitor, or log your browsing activities.
Jurisdiction – Is It Privacy-Friendly?
Avast SecureLine has a warrant canary that’s published quarterly (March 1, June 1, September 1, December 1).
A warrant canary is a declaration that the company is not under investigation or has not received a secret subpoena.
If you can’t find the statement online, you should take it as an indication that something not good is going on.
As of 2020, Avast SecureLine gets top marks for transparency.
The company releases yearly transparency reports, detailing the number of disclosures of user information.
According to their latest report, out of 79 requests, Avast complied with only one request, which amounts to a disclosure rate of 1.27%.
Ideally, you want to see zero disclosures, but since Avast does not store activity logs, it remains safe.
Still, I would like to see the provider commission an independent audit into their operations and infrastructure.
How Secure Is AvastVPN?
In addition to anonymizing your internet connection, a VPN should also encrypt your data and hide it from prying eyes.
Different VPNs use different encryption standards, but how secure is Avast SecureLine VPN?
Tunneling Protocols & Encryption
Avast SecureLine describes its encryption as bank-grade.
It uses AES 256-bit with OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.
AES 256 is the gold standard in VPN encryption. The cipher is virtually impossible to crack and offers robust protection against both brute force attacks and man-in-the-middle attacks.
While all Avast SecureLine clients support AES 256, they differ in terms of protocols.
Mac and iOS use IKEv2/IPsec. On the other hand, Windows and Android use OpenVPN.
OpenVPN is wildly popular in VPN circles. The protocol strikes a perfect balance between speed and security, and over TCP, it is great for avoiding internet restrictions.
Avast SecureLine offers the protocol over UDP, which is faster than TCP, and great for streaming and online gaming.
However, what you gain in speed, you lose in reliability.
Unlike OpenVPN TCP, both IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN UDP are easily blocked by network admins and censorships like the Great Firewall of China (more on this later).
Does Avast SecureLine VPN Have DDoS Protection?
DDoS attacks can be annoying and disruptive.
A DDoS or distributed denial of service attack is a malicious attempt to overwhelm a network or server by flooding it with traffic.
Online gamers are often targeted with DDoS attacks by opponents looking to gain a competitive advantage. The attacks can cause your gameplay to suddenly lag, preventing you from winning or even finishing the game.
Luckily, Avast SecureLine does have DDoS protection.
The VPN hides your IP and encrypts your traffic, significantly reducing your odds of being targeted.
Other Great Security Features
Besides robust encryption and protocols, Avast SecureLine does offer additional security features. These include:
In addition to encrypting and protecting your online traffic, a good VPN should keep your browsing private. Unfortunately, due to connection leaks, not many VPNs achieve that.
A VPN leak occurs when the VPN communicates or sends packets of data outside the encrypted tunnel. When that happens, your ISP and other third parties can sniff out your IP and physical location.
It’s, therefore, important to test your VPN service and ensure it’s not exposing your identity to anyone looking.
In all, there are three types of VPN connection leaks you should watch out for:
Testing for leaks is quite easy and can be done using the following websites and tools.
So, is Avast SecureLine free from connection leaks?
The VPN comes with both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, which work to ensure your traffic stays in the encrypted tunnel at all times.
To see if Avast SecureLine was indeed protecting my traffic, I connected to the New York, US server, and ran a couple of leak tests.
Here is a snapshot of the results.
IPv4/IPv6 Leak Test – IPLeak.Org
DNS Leak Test – Ip8.Com
WebRTC Leak Test – WebRTC Tool
A Complete Picture – IP, DNS, & WebRTC Test
Malware Test – VirusTotal.Com
A VPN can protect you from phishing domains, adware, and other types of malware. But just like any installation file, VPN clients can be used to inject malicious programs into your device.
So, before installing the Avast SecureLine, I ran the installation file through VirusTotal.com to see if it was safe.
Speed and Performance
Generally, a VPN will slow down your internet speed.
That would be, of course, unless your ISP is throttling your connection, to begin with, in which case, then the VPN can actually improve your speeds.
With Avast SecureLine, the impact isn’t very pronounced.
To give a clear picture of the VPN’s performance, I connected to 8 different Avast SecureLine locations and tested both the download and upload speeds.
Note: When conducting the speed tests, I was using a 100 Mbps internet connection.
|UK – London||54||74.94||38.52|
|UK - Glasgow||46||70.18||32.14|
|US – New York||71||69.33||22.76|
|US – Atlanta||132||67.24||31.92|
|US – Miami||179||65.35||28.34|
The European servers delivered the best results, with the London, UK servers recording a minimal 23% percent speed reduction. While not as fast, the North American servers weren’t bad either. On average, they delivered 67 Mbps.
As always, you should take speed test results with a grain of salt.
That’s because VPN speeds tend to fluctuate depending on your choice of protocol, encryption cipher, and the distance to the server.
Avast SecureLine’s encryption and protocols are etched in stone, so that shouldn’t be much of a factor here. Your server choice, however, can significantly impact your Avast SecureLine speeds.
For instance, if you are connecting to the US server from the UK, you will experience slower speeds than someone connecting from the US.
Optimal Location Feature: Best Server
Avast SecureLine offers an optimal location functionality, which automatically connects you to the best server in your location.
However, the feature is only useful for general browsing. If you are looking to download torrents, you will need to connect to a P2P compatible server manually.
Streaming Support (Netflix, Kodi, BBC)
Does Avast SecureLine Work with Netflix?
Netflix and VPN are locked in a cat and mouse game.
The streaming service is continuously updating its security measure to detect and blacklist VPN IPs. As such, not many VPNs work with Netflix. And those that work today may not do so tomorrow.
So, how does Avast fare?
Avast SecureLine VPN does reliably access US Netflix. I tested several US servers, including Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and all worked.
To be honest with you, I didn’t expect Avast to work this well with the streaming service.
Below I was streaming Dexter, a US exclusive TV show while connected to the Chicago server.
Does Avast SecureLine Unblock BBC iPlayer?
While I was able to access Netflix with Avast, the VPN could not unblock iPlayer.
I tried all the three available UK servers, and all I got was the following message:
Is AvastVPN Good for Torrenting?
While torrenting is illegal, downloading or streaming copyrighted material is, and can land you in legal trouble. ISPs track P2P traffic, so don’t be surprised if you get a DMCA notice for torrenting without a VPN.
Copyright trolls are increasingly infiltrating torrent swarms to hunt down torrenters. Since you can’t always differentiate between legal and illegal content online, it makes sense to use a VPN.
Avast SecureLine does allow torrenting. However, they only do so on a few servers
Out of a total of 57 servers, only 9 servers support P2P traffic.
That’s quite a small number. In comparison, NordVPN supports torrents on over 4700 servers.
The available P2P compatible servers include:
Countries and Servers
Avast SecureLine’s entire server network is comprised of only 57 servers.
However, despite having such a limited number of servers, the provider has done a nice job of distributing them across the globe.
The VPN has server locations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific.
Avast Specialty Servers
Avast SecureLine is not known for its specialty servers.
Sure, they do have P2P and streaming optimized servers, but they lack SmartDNS, Dedicated IP, Multi-Hop (double encryption), and Tor-compatible servers.
Does Avast SecureLine Work in China?
Avast does not work in China, and the provider is transparent about it.
China cracks down on VPN users and, through its Great Firewall, blocks VPN traffic.
But that does not mean that there aren’t any VPNs that work in China.
Provides like NordVPN now offer obfuscated servers, which mask your VPN traffic, making it appear as regular http traffic.
Avast also comes with browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, which can be installed directly from the Windows and Mac apps.
Additionally, Avast offers a secure browser that you can use to surf the internet safely.
Does Avast SecureLine Support Routers?
Avast SecureLine does not officially support routers. However, you can still set up the VPN on your router if it supports OpenVPN or IPsec.
Other than Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, Avast does not support any other platforms. This includes game consoles, Firestick, and Linux.
How Many Simultaneous Connections Does Avast SecureLine Support?
Avast SecureLine supports either one or five simultaneous connections, depending on your subscription plan.
Reliability & Customer Support
Avast offers the following support options:
Avast has a 24/7 call center where you can phone in for free consultation and technical assistance.
Avast also has a knowledgebase section where you can find FAQs, installation guides, billing information, and other useful articles.
Quite noticeably, the provider does not provide a live chat. Personally, I find live chat support to be quicker and more convenient.
User Experience & Usability
What Avast SecureLine lacks incompatibility; it makes up for in usability.
The provider offers simple to use native clients for all supported devices.
Avast SecureLine shares the same website with several other Avast products, and you can easily access its product page from the privacy tab.
I like how Avast has designed the SecureLine VPN product page.
The colors alone are impressive, but what really caught my eye was the site’s minimalist design.
Each section, be it privacy, streaming, or encryption, has hidden tabs that you can expand to reveal additional in-depth information about the VPN.
This allows Avast to consolidate everything on a single page and eliminate the need to hop from page to page.
The entire website is with SSL, which ensures your interactions, including logins and credit card transactions, are protected.
Avast SecureLine VPN clients require minimal customizations.
Most of the settings are preset, and the only things you can tinker with are the smart connection rules and the kill switch. All these can be done with a single click of a button.
If you are a seasoned user, you may find Avast SecureLine somewhat confining.
However, if you are looking for a VPN that is easy to set up and use, then Avast SecureLine is a good choice.
Pricing Plans & Payment Methods
Avast SecureLine pricing is a bit complex. The prices differ based on the device you want to use it on.
On Windows and Mac, the minimum subscription you can get is one year.
Other available pricing plans are 2 years and 3 years.
Avast also throws in the option to choose the number of simultaneous connections, which again affects the pricing.
- $47.88 billed now for the first year
- No logs policy
- $71.76 billed now for the frist 2 years
- No logs policy
- $107.64. billed now for the first 3 years
- No logs policy
If you are using an Android or iOS app on the multi-device plans are available, and you can opt to pay monthly, biannually, or yearly.
Overall, I like Avast’s pricing. Its yearly plan is competitively priced and you can pay even less with their long-term plans.
Avast SecureLine VPN accepts only two payment methods:
I was disappointed to find out the provider does not support cryptocurrency.
If you want a more anonymous payment, then this may not be the right VPN for you.
Does Avast SecureLine Have a Free Trial Version?
Avast SecureLine offers a 7-day free trial across all its VPN apps.
On the Mac and PC apps, the trial can be activated in a matter of seconds, no credit card needed.
However, to get the free trial on your Android or iOS app, you will need to enter your payment details.
Money-Back Guarantee & Refund Policy
On top of the 7-day free trial, Avast also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
According to their refund policy, the money-back guarantee covers only covers purchases made through Avast online stores and Google Play.
It excludes purchases made via the iTunes app store and resellers.
My Final Verdict
Avast has a lot going for it. The VPN delivers decent speeds, and I was impressed by its “bank-grade” encryption and leak-free connections.
Again, I was pleased to see the VPN effortlessly unblock Netflix, which is never easy these days.
Do I recommend it?
It’s impossible to overlook that Avast has collected users’ browsing data and sold it to companies like Google, Microsoft and Yelp. This was a gigantic breach of trust that is going to haunt Avast for some time
Its server network is small, and we can’t ignore its limited security features either.
If you are looking for an all-around VPN that ticks all the right boxes, I recommend checking out NordVPN.