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Top Best free antivirus 2021[Updated List]

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best antivirus software
best antivirus software

It’s not a revolutionary idea to suggest that buying the best antivirus software available is the apparent first step toward remaining more secure online. The simple-to-install and use software remains the first line of protection against fraudsters who wish to exploit flaws in your online gadgets for financial gain.

What has changed in recent years is how so-called viruses act and what their eventual purpose is – which, as we all know, is usually to steal your money. Malware, ransomware, and Trojans come in numerous kinds and sizes, but they’re all meant to either steal your data or do enough harm to your system that you’ll have to pay a significant fee to undo the damage. There are also plain con artists…

We’re not trying to scare you, and if you’ve arrived at this website, you’re probably aware of why solid virus protection is such an important tool. Fortunately, the Best free antivirus 2021 combines watertight security, extra features to keep you secure from scammers, and is a breeze to install and use.

If you’re looking for free antivirus, we have some excellent options for you as well (as well as some top business antivirus picks). However, given that some of the best antivirus software providers on the market cost less than $10 / £10 / AU$20 a year, we would always advise playing it safe and opting for a premium package.

Today’s top 3 best antivirus software plans

1. Bitdefender – the world’s very best antivirus


You may be more familiar with names like Norton, McAfee, and AVG, but we believe Bitdefender is the Best free antivirus 2021 available right now. It combines watertight security technologies with a slew of other top-notch security features. It’s also quite simple to use and, best of all, provides excellent value for money.

2. Norton – great protection with useful features that won’t slow you down

It’s a name that’s nearly associated with the word ‘antivirus,’ and Norton didn’t let us down in our testing. Aside from the expected virus protection, the supplementary functions included provide a lot of value.

3. Kaspersky – no-nonsense suite with top-notch security


Although it lacks some of the features offered by the other providers, Kaspersky excels at the fundamentals. Its virus defense is impenetrable, and we enjoy that even its entry-level plan provides protection for many devices.

The whole list of the best antivirus software 2021:

Of course, being inexpensive wouldn’t mean much if Bitdefender’s fundamental malware protection was questionable, but that isn’t the case. During our Bitdefender study, we found it to be outstanding at guarding against malware, with a few minor caveats about how it dealt with specific test ransomware attacks. However, nothing jeopardized our security, and this Best free antivirus 2021 obtained a top grade from AV Comparatives for its ability to cope with advanced threats.

The sheer number of functions included with Bitdefender is very astounding. Even the entry-level Bitdefender Antivirus Plus software offers great web protection and top-tier protection against phishing and dangerous URLs in general.

You receive Safepay online banking protection, which is essentially a secure browser that protects you from all perspectives – it’s a huge strength here. There is also a password manager, which is a good effort, and a vulnerability scanner, which has been upgraded in the Bitdefender Best free antivirus 2021. Oh, and a high-quality VPN is included, albeit with a stipulation: a daily traffic cap of 200MB. Still, it could be useful in a pinch on occasion.

Bitdefender is extremely user-friendly, with a polished and well-balanced UI that is excellent for both complete beginners and specialists who wish to adjust things.

Bitdefender Internet Security, for example, includes all of the above as well as a firewall, a high-quality spam filter, and parental controls, as well as privacy features like webcam and microphone hijacking protection.

Bitdefender Total Security, the company’s flagship product, includes a slew of PC maintenance tools, as well as support for Android and iOS devices in addition to Windows and Mac computers.

Whichever edition of Bitdefender you choose, you’re getting a lot for your money, especially if you have a lot of various devices (or a family to protect). Plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re protected by the Best free antivirus 2021 available in 2021.

Not only is this one of the finest bargains available, but it also comes from the world’s best antivirus supplier. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus includes with a VPN and Safepay in addition to multi-layer ransomware protection. This constantly monitors for malware and records the cyberthreat’s pattern in order to keep you safe online.

2. Norton AntiVirus

They feature a very useful intelligent firewall, which is a huge help in terms of policing your system, as well as some extremely complete browser protection measures to keep you secure online.

There are also some features that you won’t find in other best antivirus apps, such as a bundled backup tool with 2GB of online storage (it’s also highly user-friendly, making backup a snap) and some valuable PC maintenance utilities.

The package’s central antiviral defenses are strong, as we discovered in our tests and as confirmed by independent test labs (albeit with slightly mixed results from one of those labs).

The mild letdown here is that in our most recent study, we discovered that Norton is a bit heavy-handed when it comes to consuming system resources. Furthermore, Norton was near the bottom of the pack in AV-Comparatives’ latest performance rankings, which was both surprising and disappointing given that Norton had done quite well in this category in prior years.

Still, in regular usage, you won’t notice much of a performance delay, and you’re getting a lot of features for your money when you get Norton best antivirus Plus.

If you require more, NortonLifeLock provides a number of higher-level suites. Norton 360 Standard includes some useful added features, such as an integrated complete VPN service, larger backup capacity (10GB), and dark web surveillance (for some countries, including the US and UK). There are also powerful mobile apps available for Android and iOS.

If you need protection for more than one device, you’ll need to upgrade to Norton 360 Deluxe, which provides protection for up to five devices as well as extra backup space (50GB) and an in-depth parental control system.

3. Kaspersky Anti-Virus

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is the company’s entry-level service for Windows PCs, with coverage for up to ten computers. It doesn’t have as many functions as some of the other solutions on this list, but Kaspersky focuses on the essentials and performs them quite effectively.

Its fundamental Kaspersky Free antivirus capabilities are quite excellent, with Kaspersky scoring at or near the top in all of the most recent independent test lab evaluations. That’s fantastic news, and our own testing confirmed it, with Kaspersky Anti-Virus functioning well against ransomware, destroying even unknown threats relatively instantly and recovering the very few files impacted by the attack. Kaspersky also has some handy self-protection programs. Kaspersky hasn’t released anything new in the last year or two, so one disadvantage is that, as we noted at the outset, there weren’t a lot of extras to begin with.

Some of those extra capabilities aren’t that useful either. For example, Kaspersky’s many ‘wizards’ leave a lot to be desired, and the browser configuration one only supports Internet Explorer (not even Edge, let alone Chrome which is the most popular browser by far). There is a bundled VPN, but it is fairly limited (no location selection and a daily allowance of 200MB), but it could still be handy in a pinch.

The good news is that when it comes to extras, larger suites provide more intriguing capabilities. Kaspersky Internet Security includes an intelligent firewall (which rarely hassles you with questions), a secure browser, and support for Macs, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices.

On top of that, Kaspersky Total Security includes smart parental controls, a full-fledged password manager, and automated local (or Dropbox) backups. Those are some valuable bonuses, and given that Total Security is usually not much more expensive than Internet Security (with discounts), it’s probably worth grabbing unless you truly don’t need those other perks.

Trend Micro best antivirus + Security provides straightforward yet effective protection, with a user-friendly interface that explains its different settings in plain English rather than employing complicated jargon.

The app’s antivirus engine is highly rated by the major independent test labs and has achieved some fantastic results in recent evaluations – with the minor caveat that some testing revealed that it raised a few more false positives than the top competition. In our Trend Micro review, we didn’t find this to be a problem, and we also noticed that Antivirus+ Security’s anti-ransomware protection was a particular strength.

Another plus is that this best free antivirus for pc is now the best at blocking phishing sites (according to AV-Comparatives), and it offers excellent web browsing safety, including Pay Guard as a secure environment for online banking.

Weaknesses? Well, system speed is impacted more than in some competitors, and there aren’t as many options or features as in some competitors — this is an app aimed at beginners rather than specialists. Trend Micro’s higher-level security suites, on the other hand, provide more capabilities.

Trend Micro Internet Security, the next tier offering, has some intriguing features such as parental controls and social media protection capabilities. However, for most people, Trend Micro Maximum Security, which protects Mac and mobile devices as well as Windows, will be worth the extra money (plus it adds a password manager and secure file vault).

There’s also a new Premium Security Suite, which covers up to ten devices (up from five with Maximum Security) and includes a free VPN as well as complete tech support.

In reality, Avira is arguably best known for its Avira best free antivirus for pc option (which is among the best available – see lower down this page), but its premium packages are not to be overlooked – especially given the great price you can currently pay for its Avira Antivirus Pro package.

That’s the name of Avira’s entry-level antivirus, and it includes everything you’d expect from a modern security app: real-time malware scanning, dedicated ransomware defenses, a software updater feature that works very well to keep all your apps secure, and a variety of privacy tools, including a file shredder for added confidentiality.

The interface has been given a sharper and more modern new appearance for 2021, which is encouraging, and the different services – including the free (but restricted to 1GB monthly) VPN – are now more seamlessly incorporated into the overall UI.

The catch here is that the antivirus engine’s ratings from independent test laboratories are merely mediocre at best – but the program does provide enough security.

Upgrading to the Internet Security or Prime plan unlocks additional features such as a full password manager and the Pro version of Software Updater (which offers automated software updates), plus Prime unlocks the VPN’s unlimited usage version and mobile app support.

However, for the incredibly low price that you can now acquire Antivirus Plus, this undoubtedly represents the best value proposition – indeed, you’re barely paying more than for the free version, making this a seriously appealing decision.

Almost every best free antivirus for pc application claims to be ‘lightweight,’ but WebrootSecureAnywhere AntiVirus genuinely delivers in this regard. Installation takes seconds and takes up very little disk space; additionally, the app’s memory footprint is similarly small, with virus definitions kept in the cloud.

Despite this, there is no compromise on features, which makes Webroot even more outstanding. You get incredibly fast virus scans, as well as a clever ‘firewall’ monitoring system, precise real-time anti-phishing protection, identity theft prevention, and much more.

SecureAnywhere best free antivirus for pc isn’t graded by the big-name testing labs, with the exception of SE Labs, which rated Webroot as solid in terms of malware protection in its most recent Home Anti-Malware report – albeit not quite up there with the top competition.

SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus, a step up in the Webroot lineup, extends coverage beyond Windows and Mac PCs to mobile devices, as well as giving a password manager (courtesy of LastPass) and covering up to five devices (rather than three).

Internet Security Complete, at the top of the tree, adds an automatic backup tool (with 25GB of safe cloud storage) as well as extra online privacy features. A Family Pack version of the flagship suite is now available, which expands device coverage to ten pieces of gear and includes 100GB of cloud storage.

SecureAnywhere best free antivirus for pc provides everything you need, while Internet Security Plus is our top recommendation for the most comprehensive package. Another benefit worth noting is Webroot’s confidence-instilling 70-day money-back guarantee.

There are privacy-related solutions available, such as a Sensitive Data Shield, which aids in the discovery and protection of files containing sensitive personal information.
In addition, a software update feature is available to ensure that your apps are patched up to date (and therefore secure).

Premium Security is also quite smart in terms of configurability, giving you a great level of control over the installation process, which is really welcome.

On the other hand, Avast has a somewhat greater impact on system performance than many rival anti virus programs, and its malware scan times are also a little slower than some. Anti-phishing countermeasures aren’t as effective as the top competitors, but the fundamental virus protection provided here is adequate, and Avast performed admirably in the most recent round of independent lab testing.

Another alternative is Avast Ultimate, which includes Premium Security as well as Avast’s SecureLine VPN and various PC cleanup tools. Avast’s VPN isn’t the finest out there, but it’s a good service, and if you require it as well as an anti-virus programs suite, the Ultimate bundle may make sense in terms of value for money (depending on exactly what you need from your virtual private network).

Sophos Home Premium protects (up to) ten devices (Windows and Mac computers).
It’s designed with beginners in mind, which isn’t a negative thing, but specialists may find the interface simple and be dissatisfied by the lack of features or low-level tweaks.

The user interface is also awkward in some ways – but the web management console could be ideal for individuals who want to take control and manage their non-tech-savvy family members’ gadgets.

Sophos provides capable virus protection and performed admirably in our anti-ransomware testing. For the protection provided – and given the device limit of ten – Sophos Home Premium might be an excellent value proposition for anyone looking to secure numerous computers.

While ESET Antivirus and, in particular, its NOD32 plan may not have a plethora of capabilities, they are very customizable. In some aspects, beginners will find it a difficult program to deal with, while professionals will appreciate the level of control offered here.

Furthermore, the simplified program’s small system footprint is a key bonus. It also has some of the greatest heuristic detection and URL filtering available.

However, keep in mind that some independent testing labs have issued slightly concerning reports indicating that ESET’s protection is a little fragile, while others have arrived to more favourable conclusions.

ESET has higher-end products in the form of ESET Internet Security and Smart Security Premium, which add a solid mix of capabilities, but some of those extras are underpowered – and on balance, NOD32 anti virus programs is the best of the group.

10. McAfee antivirus

The good news is that McAfee has a commendably small system footprint, which means it won’t consume a lot of your PC’s resources. There are also a plethora of features available, especially for a basic product, and while not all of them are of the greatest quality, you get a lot for your money. This features an intelligent firewall, a built-in (TunnelBear-powered) VPN with unlimited data, a high-quality spam filter, a secure file vault, and various PC-speed-up tools.

The primary stumbling problem here is that the best free antivirus for windows 10 engine itself is not the finest available – although some results from independent test laboratories come out better than others – but this has to be a cause for concern. There’s also the problem that the basic package only protects a single device.

If you need coverage for more than one piece of hardware, you must purchase the Multi-Device package, which supports up to five devices, including mobile phones (plus it provides identity theft protection, at least for US users). Then there’s McAfee Total Protection Family, which ups the ante to ten devices and adds a full-fledged parental control system.

The latter may be a tempting option for those looking to keep their children safe online, but given McAfee’s typical pricing – with Multi-Device and Family subscriptions not costing much more than the entry-level product after discounts – you’re probably better off going for one of these higher-tier plans.

Are you an Apple user?

  • Then you can proceed to our specialized best Mac antivirus guide.
  • We’ve also examined the top encrypted texting apps.
  • Examine the top Android antivirus apps for your device.

 

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