Is a Free Antivirus Good Enough?

You have probably thought about it. Why pay for antivirus when you could get one for free? You’ll get the protection you want and don’t have to spend a dime. To a great extent, a free Internet security solution is a great tool to own. But like all free services, there’s always a catch.

Free Antivirus

Most free antiviruses have fewer features than their paid counterparts. They may be able to neutralize viruses, but they’ll probably struggle to eliminate ransomware. They could eliminate some forms of malware but provide zero protection against phishing scams.

Due to that, it’s not very prudent to rely on a free antivirus for your protection. Even if it’s as good as the latest Windows defender, have a backup program. Otherwise, you risk facing some of the following disadvantages of free anti-malware programs.

1] No Customer or Technical Support

Antivirus companies are in the business of making money. They may give out free plans, but they seldom provide adequate support to non-paying customers. That means if you ever face installation issues or hiccups with their programs, no one will be available to assist you.

By comparison, premium companies have a sense of responsibility to their customers. They know they could lose money by providing substandard services or failing to offer support services at all. With the best antiviruses, you receive customer and technical support round the clock.

Companies like Norton and McAfee even promise to help you eliminate stubborn malware remotely if their software can’t handle the threats. Notably, that is a service the companies charge over $50 to first-time customers.

2] Limited Updates

Although some companies let you access their services free of charge for life, many antiviruses come with renewable licenses. With such companies, their free programs are given out for customers to test them. After a few weeks, the users either must upgrade to a premium edition or quit receiving protection.

If you purchase an antivirus, however, you get updates until you discontinue your payments. This also applies to companies that sell lifetime licenses. Unless you are buying a license from a rogue company, you can be sure of receiving security updates indefinitely.

3] Limited Protection

The most unsettling disadvantage of free antiviruses is that they don’t provide total defense against security threats. It costs a lot of money to do research and write programs that keep computer users shielded. As such, it wouldn’t be in the best interest of antivirus companies to offer extensive protection to non paying customers.

A good example is Avast with its free and premium edition. The company notes that the free version provides “the minimum protection every PC should have.” That means it only shields you from common threats but might fail you when attacked by stronger viruses.

By comparison, Avast Pro can be used for both home and business purposes. It also provides a lot more benefits than the free plan. For instance, you get an extra firewall, anti-spam protection, safety from web spies, and automatic app updates.

When compared to competing antivirus companies, Avast ranks amongst the best antiviruses. For a comprehensive review, read its comparison versus Webroot here,

4] No Accountability from Providers

If a virus bypassed your free antivirus and wreaked havoc to your computer, there’s nothing you can do about it. Many free anti-malware programs emphasize they are not responsible for damages incurred should their software fail to protect you.

If you want total protection and support, you can only get it from paid antiviruses. They feel more accountable for the performances of their software. And like we mentioned earlier on, some offer to give you personalized assistance if their antiviruses fail to protect you.

Considering most of the top-rated antiviruses eliminate over 99% of security threats, your devices will stay safe for long. But should you ever experience issues while using a paid antivirus, you have the right to ask for technical assistance and receive it.

5] Few Compatible Devices

Let’s face it. The average Internet user owns more than one device. You could have two mobile devices or a smartphone, plus a desktop. And that means you need protection for all of your devices. Unfortunately, free antiviruses only give you access to one account.

If you choose to install free protection on your personal computer, you’ll have to find an alternative solution for your mobile devices. You can always find a different free Security solution for your additional devices, but it would mean opting for less effective solutions.

At times, paid antiviruses also limit you to a single license. But if you are willing to shell out an extra ten or $20 per year, they grant you permission to install their software on three, five, ten or an unlimited number of devices.

McAfee is the most famous company that offers unlimited licenses. Avast provides ten licenses while Norton, Bitdefender, and Webroot limit you to three or five multiple licenses. Regardless, you can always find a company willing to protect all your devices even if it means paying $50 per year.

6] No Benefits from Company Research

Antivirus companies spend millions of dollars each year on research and maintenance. They study cybercriminals and how they operate. They invest in new security technologies and continuously improve their services. But guess what? They don’t let the non-paying customer enjoy many of these benefits.

If an anti-malware company invents a new security feature, they promote and give it out to recurring customers. Unsurprisingly, some of the new features can be extremely helpful. In recent years, antivirus providers have features against ransomware, adware, phishing, and scammers.

People who use free programs without protective add-ons certainly can’t benefit from them, making their antiviruses barely helpful.

To Conclude

A free antivirus can help you eliminate certain types of computer threats but not all. If you want comprehensive protection against Internet threats, pay for a quality program.

Many of the top-ranking antiviruses cost less than $60 per year for multiple licenses. That should help you protect your entire family more effectively than any free antivirus could.

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