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AVG is well-known for its free antivirus software. In terms of brand recognition, it has an edge. In terms of online privacy? Absolutely not.
As a brand with a long-standing reputation for security, it might seem only natural for AVG to enter the VPN industry. It’s not hard to imagine our disappointment, then, as we discovered that the tool that’s supposed to protect you online is in fact collecting your data and selling it to third parties.
AVG Secure VPN’s bare minimum of security features and the lack any meaningful customization options only serve to add insult to injury. On the other hand, its affordable price tag, ease of use, and good streaming capabilities could convince some casual users to opt in.
Before we give our final verdict, however, we’ll take a closer look at the many critical elements that might make or break this VPN.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Security and privacy
AVG Secure VPN offer similar security features to its sister product, Avast SecureLine VPN:
- 256-bit AES encryption
- OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2 tunneling protocols
- DNS leak protection
The big red flag is the fact that there’s no kill-switch to protect your information in case you lose connection to the VPN server. This means that if your VPN connection drops, your IP address and traffic data will be left completely exposed to the prying eyes of attackers or surveillance, rendering AVG Secure VPN completely useless privacy-wise.
But wait, it gets worse…
Does AVG Secure VPN log your data?
Short answer: yes.
While your devices will probably be safe from nasty viruses, your personal data will not be as secure as you would like.
AVG logs your username, IP addresses, data transfer amounts, and session duration. This information is kept for 30-day blocks.
They state that they don’t monitor what you’re sharing and searching, but they’ll investigate if they receive complaints.
AVG Secure VPN also has strict rules against piracy, but that’s not unheard of in the VPN industry.
The company actually has the right to collect loads of your personal data and to use it as it sees fit – this includes your email address, SIM card number, phone number, location and your IP address. They also state that they are allowed to share your personal information with third parties.
Your personal data can also be handed over to the authorities/government or when it is necessary for them to comply with legal processes that are valid. This means that as far as privacy goes, AVG Secure VPN is one of the worst offenders out there.
Does it leak?
Remember that there’s always a small chance of a DNS leak, but there are many platforms that will give you the opportunity to test this.
If your VPN does not encrypt the DNS queries on your device, a DNS leak occurs. If this should happen, your VPN immediately becomes useless because this will result in your ISP being able to view your browsing history.
At the time of testing, AVG Secure VPN did not appear to have DNS leaks.
Speed and performance
After security and privacy, speed can be the second most important characteristic when it comes to VPN usage. After all, a large proportion of VPN subscribers use these tools for P2P file sharing and streaming blocked content.
Let’s take a look at how AVG Secure VPN fares in terms of performance.
Unfortunately, AVG Secure VPN severely lags behind the competition when it comes to the amount of server locations. With 50+ servers in 36 countries, it’s quite a scarce offering compared to the big players of the VPN industry.
Now, let’s see if AVG’s low server count will severely influence the actual speeds when using a VPN.
Speed test results
Before running the tests with AVG Secure VPN, these were our baseline download and upload speeds from Europe:
Here are the speeds we experienced after connecting to AVG Secure servers on different continents.
- Download: 64 Mbps (25% of baseline)
- Upload: 28 Mbps (14% of baseline)
- Download: 49 Mbps (19% of baseline)
- Upload: 11 Mbps (4% of baseline)
- Download: 25 Mbps (9% of baseline)
- Upload: 2 Mbps (1% of baseline)
Speed-wise, AVG Secure VPN is not too bad, depending on where you are in the world. In Europe and North America, the speeds were mostly average, while the Hong Kong servers had below average results.
Ease of use and multi-platform support
AVG Secure VPN only supports the four major desktop and mobile platforms:
Unfortunately, there are no configuration options for other devices, such as routers and Smart TVs.
When it comes to ease of use, AVG Secure is one of the easiest to use VPN apps out there. On the home screen, you’ll find your spoofed location and a big button that disables or enables the VPN.
Below this, you’ll see a smaller button that will give you the opportunity to set your location. It’s organized alphabetically according to the continent so it navigates really well.
When you open the Settings window, you’ll see that you are able to disable or enable auto-connect, which usually connects to the strongest server available when you are on an unsecured wifi connection. You can also disable or enable Windows notifications, but that is pretty much it.
AVG Secure’s settings options are incredibly basic, with very little room for any kind of meaningful customization. While this makes the app easy to use, advanced users will inevitably find the lack of options dissapointing.
P2P and torrenting
A good VPN that allows you to torrent safely can make your P2P experience hassle-free. AVG Secure seems to works fine with all torrent websites. When asked by email, they confirmed that AVG Secure VPN supports P2P transfers on a limited number of servers.
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- New York, USA
- Miami, USA
- Seattle, USA
- London, United Kingdom
- São Paulo, Brazil
If you consider the massive logging, however, even the fact that torrenting is allowed on some AVG Secure servers does not make it a good choice for any torrenter. There are much better alternatives out there for P2P enthusiasts.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
In the streaming department, AVG Secure VPN seems to do well.
It managed to unblock Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO GO, and YouTube.
It didn’t work on the BBC iPlayer, but perhaps it has something to do with AVG Secure being a US-centric VPN.
Other than this, the AVG Secure VPN impressed with its seamless connection. So, if you use a VPN exclusively for binging TV shows on the US streaming platforms, AVG Secure VPN might be a good contender.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
Assuming you use the IKEv2 or IPSec tunneling protocol, you might be able to get past the Great Firewall’s Deep Packet Inspection techniques, at least in theory. With servers in Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong, you might even get decent speeds.
The complete lack of any obfuscation features, however, severely diminishes that possibility. With that in mind, we don’t recommend using AVG Secure VPN in China or any other heavily restricted country like Iran, Russia, or the UAE.
AVG Secure’s support options cover the basics but lack the most important option – live chat support. You can contact AVG support staff via the following channels:
- Email ticketing system
- Toll-free phone numbers in the US and the UK
- FAQ section
Unfortunately, AVG Secure VPN doesn’t offer a live chat option on their website. If you ever encounter any problems or have a question, you’ll need to make use of the support ticketing system and wait patiently until someone assists you via email.
They do offer to assist you over the phone, if need be. They advertise a US number, as well as a UK number and state that consultation is free. But, if you need to fix something more urgent and unusual, you will need to fork out $79 for a one-time Premium support session, which costs more than the two-year subscription.
They do have a FAQ section with some basic technical information that includes system requirements, protocols and encryption, and they are very active on various social media platforms.
One of the better things about AVG Secure VPN is undoubtedly its pricing structure, and although it is not possible to opt for a monthly licence to start with, you are able to select this option later on during checkout.
The pricing structure is as follows:
- 1-year subscription: $3.99/month (Total: $47.88/year)
- 2-year subscription: $2.99/month (Total: $71.76 /2 years)
- 3-year subscription: $2.49/month (Total: $89.64/3 years)
This is what they state is included in all their subscriptions:
- Private banking, shopping, or chatting over an encrypted network
- Secure private browsing
- Anonymity by hiding your internet activity from governments, hackers, and ISPs
- Peace of mind knowing that they will not log your internet activities
If you consider the features you’re getting for these prices, it’s not such a bad deal. However, as we established previously, they log your info and sell it to third parties.
The good thing is that there’s a free trial, with no payment information required. Just download, install, and use as you like for up to 30 days. This is a big plus, considering not many other VPN services offer 30-day trials without severely limiting their features.
If you’re looking for a basic VPN for basic secure browsing, you can take advantage of AVG Secure VPN’s generous 30-day trial.
Yes, AVG Secure has a very user-friendly interface, plus you can torrent and stream Netflix. But the real dealbreaker with this VPN is your privacy. Although protected when browsing around the web, it could be a different story with US-based government authorities and third parties.
For this reason alone, we cannot fully recommend this VPN service. Especially when there are better equipped and a lot more privacy-friendly VPNs on the market.