Avast VPN: Virtual Private Internet Gets Simple, Goes Mainstream

Thursday, July 23, 2020
Christopher Sirk
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Overview 

SecureLine VPN is an all-in-one solution for internet privacy. 

It’s made by Avast, a major provider of cross-internet security solutions. Their antivirus software is used by an incredible 400 million+ people.

Through encryption, the VPN allows you to keep all your online activity from prying eyes. Prevent having your website visits logged. DNS leak protection keeps all your search and form requests private.

Avast SecureLine VPN is available for desktop and mobile. 

What is a VPN?

Once upon a time, the internet was a wide open field. Now it’s much more controlled, and geographically divided. 

Many companies are trying to collect our data, analyze it, and track our behavior. Some governments are as well. A VPN helps address these concerns.

VPN stands for “virtual private network.” 

A VPN hides your IP address. It encrypts your internet connection for enhanced security. And it makes your online activity almost impossible to trace 

Your ISP cannot track you or see what content you’re viewing. And you can access geo-restricted websites.

The number of VPN users has been increasing rapidly in recent years. For many, a VPN subscription offers a way to reclaim agency online. To feel protected and get around nagging restrictions.

Here’s the process for getting a VPN. And getting it up and running. 

You create an account on a VPN provider’s website. Then download their software. 

A few popular vendors include AVG Secure VPN, ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, NordVPN, and Avast SecureLine. 

Then you connect to the app. Log in with your credentials. 

Select the country and server location you wish to mimic from the VPN server list. Your app then connects you to a shared IP address, which anonymizes you. 

From there, you can change servers, or toggle your VPN on or off. Because you can change your server location to other countries, you can access content available only in certain regions. 

VPN users come in all shapes and sizes. And the range of VPN uses is vast.

A VPN adds security when you’re using public Wi-Fi. This is key for business travellers who need to protect sensitive information. And anyone who needs to buy things online with a credit card at an airport, hotel, or coffee shop. 

Some use a VPN service to get around government censorship restrictions. For example, to access Google and G Suite apps in China. Or to access the BBC iPlayer outside of the UK.

Others use VPNs for torrenting. Or for accessing streaming services like Netflix. 

It should be noted, however, that some streaming sites (Netflix included) have gotten pretty good at detecting VPNs. They have blocked IP addresses known to be associated with VPNs. But some VPN servers still work, so the game of cat-and-mouse continues.

Features 

Avast VPN is pretty simple to start using. Just log in and choose your desired IP address location from a long list of servers. 

As for the number of servers, the vendor has 50+ spread throughout the globe. Located in the United States, Netherlands, Czech Republic, and much farther afield. So you definitely have options (servers are spread across 34 countries in total).

The auto-connect feature ensures you’re always protected by a VPN. When enabled, your VPN will switch on at the same time you connect to the internet. 

Avast VPN offers apps for both your desktop and mobile device. Windows and Mac OS operating systems are covered. As are Android and iOS. 

It’s also multi-device, allowing for 5 VPN connections at once. This is great for multi-taskers and gets rid of annoying log in, log out situations. You can use it on your work computer, laptop, and iPhone simultaneously. 

Avast SecureLine

“People don’t realize when you use a public Wi-Fi, anyone else on that Wi-Fi can see anything you do. And you, by using the VPN product, have really secured yourself.” 

                    - Vice Steckler, CEO of Avast (Interview, Scenester TV)

Avast SecureLine gets a lot of its clout from its parent company. After all, Avast Software is the world’s leading provider of cybersecurity solutions. 

As company CEO Vince Steckler notes, cybersecurity is only becoming more important. Particularly because we love Wi-Fi so much. And our computer lives are so much more mobile than in the past. 

Steckler singles out public Wi-Fi as a major security liability. He suggests it’s super easy to hack. 

That’s really bad, because we use it for email, Facebook, even banking. And if you travel for work, or leave your house to do work, you will need to use public Wi-Fi at some point to do something mission-critical. 

We just can’t help ourselves. And we’ve opened ourselves up to the possibility of identity theft or fraud. Or government or corporate monitoring of our behavior that we didn’t consent to. 

Fortunately, we have VPNs like SecureLine. Getting a reliable VPN will give you a major step forward in personal security. That’s important for practical purposes, and for peace of mind. 

Ease of Use

Avast’s VPN is easy to use, and simplicity is one of the platform’s key values. 

The user interface is clean and contemporary. Icons are kept to a minimum, and essential features are highly visible. 

Installation is quick and straightforward. There are no pop-ups or requests for permissions. Just download, install, and start it up. 

This means the platform can be picked up quickly by a general audience. Or the average productivity app user. And it’s definitely suitable for company-wide adoption.  

Speed

Avast VPN fares quite well on connection speed tests. North American and European servers all clock fast download speeds. 

Server locations in other parts of the world may not be quite as fast. But a bit of trial-and-error will help you find which is the quickest at the moment. 

The platform itself supports speeds up to 2 GB/s. And you can have it identify the “optimal” VPN location for you. 

Torrenting is also available on some of the VPN’s servers. 

Security & Privacy

Avast SecureLine VPN offers a range of advanced security features. 

This is perhaps not surprising. The company is also known for Avast Premium Security. An anti-virus, malware, and general computer security product.  

SecureLine VPN uses OpenVPN for connection security. This is a widely trusted open source protocol. It’s run with OpenSSL libraries over user datagram protocol (UDP). 

The platform uses AES encryption (Advanced Encryption Standard). Its AES-256 encryption is at the same level as banks.

There’s also active DNS leak protection. DNS requests to third-party DNS servers are automatically blocked. This foils pretty much all attempts at web activity monitoring and DNS hijacking.

iOS and MacOS versions use IPsec protocol for transmitting data. This is the most secure, private commercially available protocol.

There’s also a kill switch for internet security. If your VPN server suddenly stops working, your internet will disconnect. This ensures you aren’t ever exposed due to service outages. Or servers compromised by cyber-attacks.   

The kill switch is turned on automatically. You can also customize settings and deactivate it.

In addition, the vast number of Avast users creates a huge case history. The company’s real-time intelligence detects and prevents more than 66 million threats a day. It also gives them ample opportunity to spot new threats and update their product immediately. 

Pricing

  • 1 year plan is $4.99 a month, billed annually as $89.99.

  • 2 year plan is $3.99 a month, billed every two years as $179.99.

  • 3 year plan is $3.99 a month, billed every three years as $269.99.

A 7-day free trial is available. No credit card required. All paid plans offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Conclusion

There are a dizzying number of VPNs on the market. Some of them are sketchy and adware supported. Some of them are safe and reliable. 

Avast Secureline VPN falls in the latter camp. It’s a solid product from a trustworthy vendor. 

That said, there are a few caveats. 

Sometimes features aren’t totally straightforward. And you may not find the answers you need in their FAQs. 

Also, there are dedicated streaming servers, but they don’t always work. Three are located in the US (Miami, New York, and “Gotham City”). Still, if you flip between servers you’ll probably get through.

Some Avast SecureLine VPN reviews mention the platform’s session logging. Avast stores connection logs with information from your account for 30 days. This includes connect and disconnect times. Duration of the connection and bandwidth usage. 

The vendor states this is for maintenance and to prevent abuse of the platform. But some users feel it’s still too much oversight. 

Is Avast SecureLine the best VPN?

That’s hard to say with any definitiveness. The VPN works very well, and it’s definitely a nicely designed platform. Users of Avast products will be pleased, given its deep integration with the company’s other software.

It’s simple to set up and use. And it’s priced competitively to boot. 

Indeed, you can give it a free spin for 7 days, risk free. Give it a try and see how it compares to the competition. 

Website: avast.com/secureline-vp

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