Last update: 09.03.2018
When you seek a cure and find placebo, you may believe you’re safe, but only your belief is your security. Read our Avast SecureLine VPN Review to learn how safe it really makes you!
We praise the Lord of Cybersecurity that we don’t work for the Avast sales team trying to promote the SecureLine VPN software; it would be too challenging since we would have to turn a blind eye to apparent Avast VPN problems. Even if this renowned IT company has given us such great and reliable tools as Avast Internet Security, Avast Antivirus, Avast Passwords, and Avast AntiTrack, we must tell our more online privacy sensitive readers that they should probably spend their precious dollars elsewhere – and our Avast SecureLine VPN review will tell you why.
With that said, we also need to add that for a total newbie in the VPN field, SecureLine could be exactly what they need. So, is Avast SecureLine VPN safe or any good after all?
This VPN provider offers a “simple as ABC” (or whatever is below elementary) client with almost no feature at all and just enough online security for those wanting to get acquainted with privacy on the web while surfing some tougher waves, i.e., geo-blocked contents. There’s certainly a lot to improve and we’re sure that Avast is working hard behind the curtains to come up with more high-tech security features and a more solid no logs policy; well, if they want to attract more customers that is.
Traveler of the Virtual Kingdom, let our Avast SecureLine VPN review guide you out of the meandering maze of the VPN world. So be it!
Security & Privacy: Is Avast VPN safe to use?
No wonder why this topic is at the top of our Avast SecureLine VPN review; online security and privacy are the most important areas if you are thinking about buying a VPN plan to protect your anonymity online and secure your internet traffic. Otherwise, why would you need one, let alone one that you cannot trust? So what makes Avast VPN safe to use, or what doesn’t?
When we talk about VPN security and privacy, we also need to mention from time to time that no VPN can provide you with maximum protection. Even if service providers like to claim so. Yet, for your own good, it’s advisable to look for the possibly best VPN for all your needs. Does our Avast SecureLine VPN review disqualify this provider as a top choice?
Let’s see what Avast SecureLine has for you:
- IPsec and OpenVPN on UDP protocols (which is quite a poor variety, though these VPN protocols are the best for security and speed as well)
- Internet traffic is encrypted with AES-256 military-grade encryption
- All ports are encrypted (not only browser ports) to keep all your online activities private and secure
- DNS leak protection
Well, to be frank, that’s about it. Not very convincing for someone who knows a bit about VPNs in general. Still, even these features can make Avast VPN safe to use depending on what you want to use it for.
Again, if you are a beginner in this online privacy field, you may be fully satisfied with the ease of use this provider and its clients offer. Until, of course, you ask the following question:
Does Avast VPN keep logs?
Let’s look at this service from a different angle. What do you think of a VPN provider that keeps personally identifiable information about you, such as your full name, your Zip code, your email address as well as connection logs? We did some digging for this Avast SecureLine VPN review and have no doubt that they keep logs, so the question is only whether they allow themselves to share these under any circumstances or not.
Log disclosure warning
Avast comes clean about its logging practices. In fact, so much so that they have a Transparency Report on their website about how many data disclosure requests they get. Last year there were 28 requests from authorities in different countries, including France, Germany, the US, and, of course, the Czech Republic.
Avast proved to be helpful in one case regarding a Czech investigation, where personally identifiable information was provided for the police. To be precise, a user’s true IP address was linked to an email account.
You may be also interested to know that Avast is behind another VPN service called HideMyAss! (HMA!). In connection with that VPN, Avast received over 100 data disclosure requests and they complied with them in 40 cases.
That’s quite a terrible record, making sure that our Avast SecureLine VPN review will have a negative score.
In all fairness, the WebRTC leaks are actually addressed by this VPN service provider on their support page and they are also browser-related. WebRTC basically means, Web Real-Time Communication, which is a built-in browser feature enabled by default in some of the major browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera. In other words, this is not a direct Avast VPN problem. Yet, it can cause serious privacy and security issues.
The solution to this major leak issue offered by this provider – until they can come up with a workaround – is to “protect your privacy in the meantime by blocking or disabling WebRTC.”
Please note that certain applications depending on the WebRTC feature, such as file sharing and video chatting, may not work when this feature is disabled.
So, what exactly do you have to do to protect your device from WebRTC leaks?
No action is required if you use Safari, Microsoft Edge, or Microsoft Internet Explorer since these browsers don’t enable WebRTC by default. However, you need to install a third-party browser extension to disable WebRTC in the case of Mozilla Firefox (Disable WebRTC), Google Chrome (WebRTC Network Limiter), and Opera (WebRTC Leak Prevent).
For best protection against WebRTC leaks, we suggest that you use a VPN, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or any other premium service that has proven not to leak anywhere and anything. In addition, you may also want to read our post on What is WebRTC leak? for more information.
No kill switch
Just as you thought this Avast SecureLine VPN review couldn’t get any more depressing, well, it strikes again: the VPN has no kill switch. Although a user popped the question last year in the Avast forum about the kill switch, the latest reply from the support team was that they were analyzing this issue and they would see. Well, it seems that we still don’t see a kill switch.
Why is it such a big issue? Well, without a kill switch, a VPN service is practically useless. Oops, that must’ve hurt. But it’s true.
Imagine that your internet connection to a VPN server drops all of a sudden. This would mean that any application, including your browser, that needs web access will do so automatically by rerouting via your default connection, i.e., your ISP.
This would mean that in a second you could be totally exposed. Your true IP address could be intercepted by prying eyes, which might end catastrophically if you are a political activist, investigative journalist, hacker, or a simple BitTorrent user.
Therefore, if anonymity is a must, our Avast SecureLine VPN review can’t advise you to use this service. However, if you simply plan to use this VPN software to spoof your IP to access geo-blocked websites with an easy-to-use client, you may well be totally fine.
Speed: Lightning fast speeds claimed
It’s always hard to talk about VPN speeds because they are rather relative. For example, you could have totally different results and experience when testing speeds compared to our claims in this Avast SecureLine VPN review.
This service has the lowest number of servers for the time being when compared to the top 10 VPN providers, which can have thousands of VPN servers in 50-100 countries. Avast SecureLine has only 54 servers in 34 countries, such as the Netherlands, Hungary, Canada, China, Russia, Malaysia, and South Africa.
Although this list is quite short, this service still has a good coverage of the main locations across the globe, which should give you fine speeds depending on your physical location, of course. The good news is that this provider is constantly expanding its VPN server network to be able to stay in the game.
Only a few months ago they still had as few as 27 servers in 19 countries. This should tell you about some future prospects given the expansion rate of their network, which is also related to VPN download and upload speeds.
This provider claims that these VPN servers can theoretically do up to 2 Gbits/s traffic as well as that they do regular stress tests and get average speeds of 450-600 Mbits/sec, which are all quite tempting numbers, almost unbelievably so. Most users seem to be fine with the speeds (but certainly not astonished) while using SecureLine for P2P and Netflix as well. (The latter may not always be true as you will soon read.)
Nevertheless, there are issues with the servers themselves. When we tested the network for our Avast SecureLine VPN review, we found that some servers are impossible to connect to while some others were unstable or sluggish. As you can imagine, this can be quite annoying.
Yet, if you want to browse the web or stream videos with a spoofed IP address, everything should be just fine most of the time and these Avast VPN problems may never bother you.
How to download and install it
If you would like to use this VPN service before investing your money, you’ll be glad to hear that Avast SecureLine offers a free trial version (7-day). But, if seven days are not enough for you or you are hesitating, the 30-day money-back guarantee is always an option to change your mind without possibly losing your money.
Why “possibly”? Before purchasing, make sure that you are wary of the refund policy. If you buy this VPN from Google Play or iTunes, for instance, this 30-day money-back guarantee could be void.
Anyway, for our Avast SecureLine VPN review, we went through the whole download and installation process and found it very simple. You can download the standalone installer for the supported platforms by selecting the For home menu in the top left corner of the official site and then, choose the platform. On the client download screen, you can choose to download the free trial version, or you can click Buy Now for the PC and Mac versions. The Avast VPN Android and iOS clients can only be downloaded as trials.
We have to warn you that there have been several user reports about this trial period being somehow abused as people got charged by Google for a yearly subscription before their trial actually expired.
If you choose to buy any of the clients, first, you have to choose a plan, enter some personally identifiable data and select a payment method.
Once you have your VPN client downloaded, it is only a matter of a few clicks in the “OK-Next-I accept…-Next-Next-Install-Finish” combo to get it up and running.
To be able to use the application:
- you need to open your order confirmation email and save the License.avastvpn attachment,
- launch the VPN (double-click the shortcut icon on your desktop),
- click that link that says, “Insert it here” next to “Already have a license?”,
- browse to the saved attachment and click Open,
- click OK to confirm.
Avast VPN free trial
As we have already mentioned, it is possible for you to start with a free trial before signing up for the paid service. The Avast VPN free trial version appears to be fully functional and without any seeming limitations. Of course, you are reminded to make a choice between the free or paid versions once you try to connect to a server location for the first time after launch.
But this provider doesn’t just give you a 7-day free trial; as a matter of fact, there are further options as well: a 30-day free trial and a 60-day free trial.
Since we haven’t found any useful information on the web about these free trials for our Avast SecureLine VPN review, we are here to share with you just that.
Of course, there are only a few differences between these three versions, including the displayed trial period and whether you have to enter your payment details. After clicking the green Start Trial button (and finishing the payment details when asked), you can change your location either by clicking the red OFF button or the Change Location button at the bottom.
If you select the OFF button, you will connect automatically to an optimal VPN server, most likely to the closest physically. If you select the Change Location button, a screen comes up with all the servers categorized by regions and functions (P2P or Streaming).
7-day free trial
This is the easiest one to download because all you need to do is visit the official website, choose SecureLine VPN and your platform, and then, click the orange download button that says “Free 7-day trial” instead of the transparent Buy Now button.
Once installed, you can start using your SecureLine software for free, but first, you have to choose again by clicking either the green Start 7-day Trial or the white Buy Now button; just in case you’ve changed your mind.
30-day free trial
Since the 30-day free trial option is not really promoted and cannot be downloaded directly, let’s see how you can manage to have it anyway. This trial version is part of the SecureLine marketing strategy to hook more users. While researching for our Avast SecureLine VPN review, we learned that you can only get this version if you have already installed and activated the 7-day free trial and have uninstalled/tried to reinstall it.
Even if you try to clean your Windows Registry completely of all the leftover entries (and we did, too) after uninstalling this app, Avast will still know that you have already installed this trial. Therefore, if you download the installer again (or simply reinstall it), you will not be able to have the 7-day trial again; you will be offered a 30-day free trial option when you first try to connect to a VPN server after installation. However, this comes with a “price.”
Now, you have a green Start Free Trial button and below it says, “Pay $0.00 for the first 30 days.”
If you click this green button, instead of directly connecting to a VPN server, you will be redirected to a screen where you have to review your order. In this case, your default order is a 1-year plan and you can’t change that. It is offered for you for $0.00 as a 30-day free trial after which you will be charged $79.99 automatically unless you cancel your order.
When you click the Agree & Continue button, you are offered to pay by the usual Credit/Debit Cards or PayPal options. This VPN is not too privacy-friendly on the payment front since no anonymous payment option (e.g., cryptocurrency) is available.
So, remember, you can try Avast for free for as long as 30 days as long as you provide your payment credentials. Keep in mind that you must cancel your subscription in time unless you want to be charged for a whole year.
60-day free trial
And, when you thought you can finally get rid of this provider, it strikes back hard with its 2-month, i.e., 60-day free trial. If a week or a month wouldn’t have been enough for you to test this service thoroughly enough, after you cancel your 30-day free trial, a 60-day trial is offered. Well, just in case you need another month to decide.
Essentially, this version is the same as the 30-day trial, but now, your default order will contain 60 days use for free. No one likes desperation – this Avast SecureLine VPN review certainly doesn’t.
How to use Avast VPN
This is possibly the simplest ever VPN application we’ve seen so far. You may not even realize that Avast SecureLine is running in the background, it uses so minimum resources. If you open the app window, you can either connect to a preferred server (you can choose from a drop-down list in the standalone app) by clicking the Change Location button or connect to the nearest (optimal) location with a single click. Can it get any easier to run a VPN program? We don’t think so.
Another setting you can change is to automatically connect to a VPN server when connecting to a public WiFi, which is always risky to use without a VPN since you can be too vulnerable and exposed to hackers, for example.
Basically, that’s all. Surprised? Well, not exactly a well-equipped VPN service we must admit. It certainly doesn’t give you too many choices of technical settings to be overwhelmed with. No wonder why this software could be a good start for a beginner user: It is really that easy to use. This is the only area, though, where our Avast SecureLine VPN review can give this VPN service five stars.
Avast SecureLine VPN for Netflix
This VPN service provider used to have issues with Netflix, but which one didn’t? As a matter of fact, there is a constant and endless battle between VPN providers and Netflix. Some get busted and some can still avert detection. It’s like a cat-and-mouse game indeed, and this service may not always win, if at all. But, you will, of course, find users who claim to use Avast SecureLine VPN for Netflix HD video streaming without any issues.
On the other hand, you may get luckier with Avast SecureLine VPN for Kodi, which is one of the most-used video streaming platforms nowadays. But is this any consolation? It depends, what your “poison” is: Kodi or Netflix, right?
To be frank, we don’t believe that this is the Avast SecureLine forte per se, which is most likely its simplicity. Don’t be too disappointed, though, because you can always find a premium VPN service provider as a perfect choice for Netflix or any other media streaming seasoned with the best possible online privacy.
Avast SecureLine VPN for Kodi
While Kodi is a legal media streamer application that supports lots of platforms, it may be banned in a few countries. The reason is that its add-ons can enable you to use Kodi for torrenting, for instance. Now, that is a big no-no in a number of countries. When you use any privacy tools like Avast SecureLine VPN for Kodi, there are a few basic features this tool needs to offer if you want to stay secure and anonymous.
For example, your VPN needs to have proper encryption (AES-256), secure and fast protocols (OpenVPN), fast servers for at least HD streaming, and, of course, no logs policy. The latter is probably the most important since if your VPN provider keeps any connection or, what’s worse, usage logs as well as personal information, you could be persecuted for whatever copyright infringement or other questionable activities you might use Kodi for.
Of course, you may only use Kodi to access geo-restricted TV shows, but, if you think again, even that can be “frowned upon” by your government or media streamers (Netflix and Hulu) because the geo-blocks are there for a reason, right? So, it is best to protect your anonymity by using the best possible VPN choice.
In theory, you could use Avast VPN for Kodi since it may have the good speeds, the support for Kodi, and the encryption; however, you should think again when it comes to one of the biggest Avast VPN problems: its logging policy.
Avast SecureLine VPN for Torrenting
Although P2P file sharing is not only about torrenting, you may want to make sure that any file transfer you do over the internet is secured properly from the prying eyes, i.e., your ISP, cybercriminals, and your government. While this provider supports P2P file-sharing and torrenting on a limited number of servers, its small VPN server network isn’t really the best for P2P. So, is Avast VPN good for torrenting at all?
Well, its connection speeds could be just fine for file-sharing, but the possibly unavailable servers and blocked IP addresses may present an obstacle for you to use Avast SecureLine VPN for torrenting. And, we haven’t even brought up our privacy concerns.
As we have stated earlier in this Avast SecureLine VPN review, they have a knack for sharing information with authorities. We consider that information disqualifying for a torrenting VPN service.
Using the wrong VPN software for torrenting could end with a nasty copyright notice or worse. Find out more about Avast VPN and torrenting here.
Live chat support
Unfortunately, yet another field where Avast may fail you. You can access the online Support Center by clicking the Support menu. You can search the FAQ database here, choose from a certain category (Product Activation, Sales & Billing, and Refund Request), use the forums for solutions, or, call 088-085-4825 toll-free number 24/7 free consultation. But, live chat support? Nope, sorry; another item for the to-do list.
The available knowledge base provides you with a very basic level of support. Many users complain about the clunky customer support since even after contacting the Avast support team you may not be better off. In fact, you cannot even directly send an email. It is possible to submit a support ticket by clicking the Contact Us button at the bottom of FAQ pages. Then, you have to go through several multiple-choice questions and provide some requested data to finally send your support request.
The only “live” way for you to be connected to a human is to call the given phone number. Again, there’s some improvement to do here.
Apps and extensions
Would you be surprised if we told you that we are not really impressed by the platform coverage, either? Well, you have quite basic choices when it comes to Avast SecureLine clients: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
“So, where is the support for routers, Amazon Firestick TV, and the others?” – you may ask, and so may we. This is quite weak for a premium VPN wannabe (if that is their secret desire).
The only positive thing to mention here is that these clients are very easy to use (when they work).
Avast VPN for Android
Well, not so fast. It is one thing that a provider offers a client for all the main platforms, but are they all the same safe and private? As a matter of fact, you need to remember the logging practices and combine that with the permissions you have to give this Avast VPN Android client during installation.
By clicking the Accept button, you confirm your agreement to all the required permissions. So, how about giving this VPN app access to your Device ID and call information? Does this mean that your Avast VPN Android client can eavesdrop on your phone calls? It’s certainly quite vague what this permission means. Of course, you can call us paranoid; however, we do believe in the “better safe than sorry” slogan when it comes to online security and privacy with the Avast VPN Android app. In all fairness, this is not the only Android client that asks for all kinds of permissions for access.
With that said, this is an as-easy-to-use-as-it-can-get type of client. If you are a beginner VPN user, you may find it all fine and simple. But, if your anonymity is vital to you, it may be better to look for another VPN for Android.
Avast SecureLine Price: The weirdest pricing plans revealed
In all fairness, this provider is trying hard even if our Avast SecureLine VPN review may not exactly reflect that at first sight. They seem to expand the VPN server network at a high speed and keep changing the pricing plans, too, so that they can offer something better than before.
While a lot of users would prefer to have such a service for free, it’s important to be wary of the rather high costs included. Not all premium VPN providers can afford low prices that wouldn’t cover all the costs of a VPN network. This is what this service proposed at the time of writing this Avast SecureLine VPN review:
- 1-year plan for multiple devices (up to 5): $79.99 ($6.66 per month)
- 2-year plan for multiple devices (up to 5): $149.99 ($6.24 per month)
- 3-year plan for multiple devices (up to 5): $219.99 ($6.11 per month)
- 1-year plan for 1 PC or Mac: $59.99 ($4.99 per month)
- 2-year plan for 1 PC or Mac: $109.99 ($4.58 per month)
- 3-year plan for 1 PC or Mac: $159.99 ($4.44 per month)
- 1-year plan for 1 Android or iPhone/iPad: $19.99 ($1.66 per month)
As you can see above, basically, there are two choices: You either buy a multiple-device plan for 1, 2, or 3 years (mind you, these have to be of the same platform), or you can have a license for 1 device. Of course, you can go crazy and add different platforms to your plan and thus increase your yearly price. In this case, the extra platforms are available at a discounted price tag.
As a comparison, the 3-year plan can be around 3 times as much as that of top-notch VPN providers. Even though the $4.xx monthly amounts may sound fair and quite low, let’s not forget that these are for 1 device only while other competitors offer 5 or 6 multiple devices for similar prices. So, you do the math.
Payment methods are also quite limited. Yet another minus. You can pay for your Avast plan with a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover), or via PayPal. No Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, i.e., anonymous payment is offered or accepted.
Also, another concern here is that you have to enter your country, your full name, Zip code, and email address to register. So much for privacy, right? In the end, it may cost you more than you think.
Our Avast SecureLine VPN review needs to warn you again about the 30-day money-back guarantee, which could be void when purchasing your subscription via Google Play or iTunes. Make sure you read all the related legal documents before making a costly move.
Bottom line of our Avast SecureLine VPN review: When you seek a cure and find placebo
So, our Avast SecureLine VPN review journey has come to an end; time to draw some final conclusions. Well, we can say that this VPN is by far the easiest to use for anyone who is not really into IT or cybersecurity. However, if you are a frequent traveler, a hacker, a journalist, an activist, or a geo-restricted material fanatic, you may find SecureLine to be poorly equipped regarding features.
In other words, we wouldn’t trust our privacy or life on this VPN when there is a bunch of way better and more secure choices out there. If you have nothing to lose really, you can give it a chance and ask for a refund within 30 days if it fails to charm you.
But, you know what? You can simply use the free trial for 7 days instead. Or, better yet, protect yourself with the best possible VPN software for real peace of mind.
Let us learn from your experience
Have you ever tried to use Avast VPN any other VPN services before? What are your impressions? Remember, sharing is caring! Please feel free to leave your comment below.