We’re starting the week with something of a big name in the cyber-security industry, Avast SecureLine VPN, a product from the Avast family, as its own name proudly suggests.
However, we’re not going to get all star-struck because of its anticipated popularity, so this VPN service is going to get pretty much the same treatment as any other VPN solution in our database: speed tests, leak check-ups, you name it.
Worried this might take too long for you? We’ve got you covered: you can jump straight to the sections that pique your interest by using the table of content that we’ve included below.
- Company information
- Czech Republic Jurisdiction
- Terms of service analysis
- A quick introduction to Avast SecureLine VPN
- Creating an account
- Downloading the app on your device
- Checking the installer for malware
- Installing the application
- Running Avast SecureLine VPN on your computer
- Organized location types
- Changing the settings
- List of servers
- Services unlocked
- TOR and torrenting support
- Customer support
- Security check-up results
- Speed test results
- Pricing plans
As usual, we’ll begin with a little this-and-that about the company that runs the project we’re focusing on this time: Avast Software s.r.o. The Czech company was founded in 1988 by Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš after Pavel Baudiš discovered a floppy disk containing the Vienna virus and developed the first solution to remove it, after which he asked Eduard Kučera to join him and cofound Avast. Initially, the company’s name was Alwil and the software was named Avast, but things changed in the following years.
During their rollercoaster-like journey, Avast Software s.r.o. marked many checkpoints including writing their first antivirus program for Windows 95, refusing McAfee’s acquisition offer, converted to a freemium model and experienced financial difficulties because of this decision, fired its outsourced tech support service iYogi, acquired AVG then Piriform (known for CCleaner).
Widely-known for the Avast Antivirus solution, Avast Software s.r.o. also developed a VPN service, which is what we’re going to talk about today. Oh, remember HideMyAss! VPN? They’re part of the Avast family, as well.
Czech Republic Jurisdiction
First off, let me mention that using a VPN service in the Czech Republic is perfectly legal, so we can get it out of the way. The Czech Republic is considered to be one of the most free and safe countries in the world. Their jurisdiction stands against tampering with the freedom of speech (press’ freedom as well), with strong laws against interference on home, family or privacy being in place.
Although there is a series of exceptions against child pornography, racism, Holocaust denial and hate speech, the residents’ Internet access is generally unhampered. Most importantly, the Czech Republic is not a member of the 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliances.
Terms of service analysis
- Given that the EULA is a legally binding contract, you need to understand that using their service will be seen as your acceptance of the EULA document, in its entirety;
- If you don’t agree with any or all of the terms described in the EULA, you should not continue the installation process, not use the service and even remove all traces of the service from your devices;
- You are granted a non-exclusive license so that you can use the service and its documentation only for the corresponding period (i.e. the length of your subscription);
- You can use the service only on the agreed number of devices (i.e. five devices);
- You are not allowed to use the Avast SecureLine VPN in a commercial way whatsoever;
- You are allowed to make only one backup copy of the software;
- Avast might deploy updates from time to time and you might not be able to use their service (i.e. Avast SecureLine VPN) until/unless the update has been successfully deployed;
- Avast is not required to offer you an option to turn off the updates;
- Owning a license to use Avast SecureLine VPN does not grant you any right or title to intellectual property rights in the service or in the documentation, you just use them as they are;
- Offering your feedback on the service to Avast gives them the right to use your suggestions to improve the service without having to reward you in any way;
- You are not allowed to use the service on more than the maximum number of devices that you’re allowed to do so. Also, you’re not allowed to permit any third party to do so, either;
- You are not allowed to transfer or disclose activation codes to anyone;
- You are not allowed to reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile, reconstruct, translate, transform or perform any similar actions on the services and their software counterpart;
- You are not allowed to disturb the well-functioning of any of their services, as well as services, devices, networks, data, network or properties;
- You are not allowed to cause harm (e.g., destroy, erase, alter, damage, disrupt, degrade) any other device, software, service, property, data or network;
- You are not allowed to permit any third-party to disturb the well-functioning and/or cause harm to Avast’s and/or any other owners’ services, network, data, property, devices, and services;
- You are not allowed to engage in any form of “hacking” and/or any activity that might resemble “hacking”;
- You are not allowed to publish, resell, broadcast, distribute, transfer, pledge, rent, transmit, communicate, share or sub-license the service;
- You are not allowed to use the service to create another product or service that competes with the original one;
- You are not allowed to transfer (receive or distribute, goes both ways) materials of questionable content (child pornography, defamatory, abusive, threatening, discriminatory, etc);
- You are not allowed to promote illegal activities or engage in such operations;
- You are not allowed to engage in any form of unsolicited communication including, but not limited to spam, chain letters, pyramid schemes and the such;
- You are only permitted to use the service in a way that doesn’t violate the Acceptable Use Policy;
- It’s not recommended to use Avast SecureLine VPN in Belarus, China. Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Oman, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab Emirates. Also, in Russia, the same service is subject to governmental restrictions.
It’s a bit weird that HideMyAss! VPN has a separate section in the EULA, but their proprietary service has no mention. Moving on.
As they nicely put it in their own words, “Using a virtual private network (“VPN”) is like going undercover while you are on the Internet.” Or at least that’s how it should be all the time. Reportedly, the Avast SecureLine VPN service should allow you to anonymize your Internet presence and also secure it against various potential attackers.
What kind of data they collect and use
Data required for creating and managing your account:
- Your email address;
- Your username;
- Your license key;
- Your subscription renewal date;
- Your trial info;
Data collected from VPN servers:
- The timestamps of your connections;
- The subnet of your original IP address;
- The IP address of the VPN server that you’re using;
- The amount of data transmitted;
Note: the data mentioned above is stored on the Avast servers for 30 days, after which it gets deleted.
Data they collect from VPN clients:
- Your OS version;
- Your Avast SecureLine VPN version;
- The application events (how you interact with the app);
Note: this type of data gets deleted on a 2-year basis.
Data that they don’t collect
- Complete IP addresses that could be used to identify you;
- DNS queries while you’re connected to the service (they rely on proprietary DNS servers);
- Your activity logs, such as the apps or the services you use and the websites you connect to;
“Avast does NOT store the originating IP addresses of our users when connected to our VPN service, and thus cannot identify users when provided the IP address of one of our servers. We are also completely unable to disclose any information about the applications people use, the services they employ, or the websites they visit while using our VPN. We simply do NOT store this information.”
A quick introduction to Avast SecureLine VPN
Let’s start with the beginning: Avast SecureLine VPN is, as its name proudly suggests, a VPN solution, which means that it should safeguard your connection against any security and privacy breach so you can enjoy being online in a secure, anonymous environment.
The service is available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS devices, so that you can enjoy the same perks while you’re on the move just as easily. Avast SecureLine VPN is reportedly built on OpenVPN and OpenSSL (widely used protocols), offers you 256-bit AES encryption, includes DNS leak protection, comes with P2P support, covers 55 locations in over 34 countries and features support for Android TV devices.
One of the most important things, though, is that Avast advertises their VPN service to be having a “No logs” policy. As they put it, “We’re blind to the apps you use, the websites you visit, the content you engage with.”
Creating an account
Creating an account just so you can use it only with Avast SecureLine VPN is not an option since Avast is using a centralized account system, so you’ll have to create an Avast account, which will subsequently be used with all Avast products, including Avast SecureLine VPN. Sounds complicated? Well, it isn’t, and we’ll even guide your steps through the entire account registration process, so you don’t get lost on the way.
- Head to the Avast SecureLine VPN product page;
- Locate the “Account” button at the top-right corner and click it;
- Again look at the top-right corner of the screen and click the “Register” button;
- Type your email and your password in the designated fields;
- Confirm your password by typing it in the second password field;
- Hit the large “Create new account” button;
That’s it, you’re now the proud owner of an Avast account that you can use with several Avast products.
Note: it’s possible to create your account in an easier way by using your Facebook or your Google account if you don’t care about your privacy much. If you do, it’ll become possible for you to log into your Avast account by using your Facebook or Google account, depending on your choice.
Downloading the app on your device
Fortunately, downloading the Avast SecureLine VPN application on your Windows computer can be accomplished without relying on a previously-created account, so you can straight retrieve the installer without too much hassle.
All you have to do is head to the Avast SecureLine VPN product page as you did before (when creating your account) and hit the large “DOWNLOAD FOR PC” button. As you can probably notice for yourself, there is a 7-day trial that you can use and the best part of this situation is that you don’t even need an account, let alone handing out your credit card details, to enjoy the trial.
Checking the installer for malware
We understand the irony of the fact that we recommend you to scan a product of Avast, which are popular for their antivirus solutions, in order to make sure that it has no malware, but the truth is that many trustworthy websites have been compromised before, and Avast shouldn’t make an exception.
So we’ve decided to give it the same treatment by running a VirusTotal scan on their windows installer executable. We prefer using VirusTotal since it has a wide range of antivirus engines that check the submitted files all at once, so the probability of detecting something hidden in there is highly increased.
As we’ve expected, there was absolutely no alert for the Avast SecureLine VPN windows installer, as you can see by checking our results here and our not-so-tiny screenshot below. Moving on.
Installing the application
Assuming that you’ve successfully downloaded the installer’s executable on your computer, scanned it and made sure that no little bug can be found in its confines, you can now install it without a worry if you just follow these steps:
- Launch the installer executable that you previously downloaded;
- Accept the terms of the End User License Agreement and hit “Next”;
- Configure the destination path on your PC where you want Avast SecureLine VPN to be installed;
- Hit “Next”;
- Click the “Install” button on the confirmation screen;
- Wait for the setup process to finish;
- Decide whether or not you want Avast SecureLine VPN to be launched after the setup is complete;
- Hit the “Finish” button;
That’s it, you should have successfully installed Avast SecureLine VPN on your computer and, depending on your choice, it might be even running at this point. Moving on to the next step…
Running Avast SecureLine VPN on your computer
As I’ve mentioned above, if you ticked the corresponding checkbox, Avast SecureLine VPN should be already running on your computer and you should be facing its less-subtle main window. We call it that because, compared to other VPN solutions it displays a rather large window and, as a result, a lot of space is wasted and memory consumption is also potentially affected.
The main window displays a brief overview of the current situation that consists of your current IP address, the virtual IP address that the system has assigned to you and the duration of the connection. Flicking the large switch button lets you establish a tunneled connection that uses a recommended location by default, but that can be easily changed after you connect by using the “Change Location” button at the bottom of the window.
If you want to install the application on your mobile devices in an easy manner, you can simply do so by clicking the little mobile icon displayed something in the center-left part of the screen and typing your email address in the designated field. It’d be more intuitive to let you type your phone number, but that’s just me.
Organized location types
If you’re curious about the locations menu’s appearance, you can quickly check it out by clicking the “Change Location” button as instructed above. Doing so will open a new menu on the main screen, one where you can view and access the whole collection of servers (locations) that Avast SecureLine VPN has to offer.
However, it’s not just a large list holding all the servers, bundled together in the same place. Instead, the app sorts locations by continent and also provides you with two extra categories for P2P-friendly servers and ones that were designed especially for streaming.
Changing the settings
If you’re the tinkerer type, you’re most likely to head straight to the configuration menu, just so you could tweak one or two settings around there and feel like you’re in control. Although you probably got this figured out already, you can access the configuration menu by clicking the app’s “Menu” button (somewhere at the top-right corner of the main window) and hitting the “Settings” button there.
The settings are organized in three main categories, as follows:
- General – lets you enable Avast SecureLine VPN notifications, set the app to be launched at startup, receive beta updates (might make the app unstable) and change the language;
- Network security – lets you set the app to establish a tunnel connection whenever you’re connected to the Internet or just ask if you’d like to connect whenever you’re online and exclude trusted networks from this rule. There’s also a kill switch that can be enabled in this section;
- Browser Integration – lets you add Avast SecureLine VPN extensions for Firefox and Chrome and also install an Avast-made browser;
While everyone’s a fan of free stuff, the Avast Secure Browser is not of crucial importance to Avast SecureLine VPN, so it feels a bit uncool to leave a product promo there in the configuration section, especially in the premium, paid version of the app. Just saying.
List of servers
We didn’t find a complete list of servers that Avast SecureLine VPN can provide you with, but what we did find instead is a full list of locations that you can connect to. Well, you don’t connect to locations per se, you connect to servers available in those locations, you get it.
Salt Lake City
Well, Avast SecureLine VPN’s official website might boast about their service’s capability to unblock various entertainment content (“stream your favorite shows”), but in reality, this is not one of its features.
The service might have servers that were especially designed for streaming content, but attempting to unblock the U.S. version of Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify or Amazon Prime Video with Avast SecureLine VPN proved to be futile.
At the same time, you should know that most entertainment services out there carry an ongoing battle against VPN service providers and their customers, in an attempt to restrict their access to access that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
TOR and torrenting support
Torrenting works with this VPN service, but just for your safety, please make sure to connect to a P2P-friendly server. As long as you download legal content it shouldn’t matter what server you’ve connected to, but many VPN providers think about the location as well when designing their servers, so it wouldn’t hurt to follow their indications in this situation.
Now for TOR. Well, it does work, but we kindly recommend you to not even attempt running TOR on top of Avast SecureLine VPN (or any other VPN for that matter), since the risks greatly overweigh the benefits.
There’s the speed reduction, which is not actually a risk, but a major inconvenient, and then there’s the chance that you could land on a malicious TOR node, which would render your connection to pass unencrypted traffic, which is a perfect target for monitoring.
As you’d expect from a name as big as Avast, their customer support is nothing short of effective. There’s a huge knowledge base that’s basically overflowing with useful material that you can use to troubleshoot and possibly solve the issue on your own, but you can also get in touch with their customer support crew if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
However, there’s no immediately available chat option or a ticket system. Instead, you have to follow a helpful wizard component that will try to figure out what you need help with and based on your selection, you’ll be handed a bunch of options. For instance, if you’re not unsure of what product you want to try, the wizard gives you Avast’s Customer Support’s phone number. If you need assistance with certain paid products (such as, say, Avast SecureLine VPN) the wizard will let you get in touch via chat or email.
We have to say that we did try the chat feature and the customer support agent that we got in touch with was friendly, prompt and helpful. We had no issue with Avast SecureLine VPN’s customer support.
Security check-up results
Now comes the part where we perform various security tests on Avast SecureLine VPN and try to figure out if it leaks important data and if it does, what kind of information does it leak. During our security tests, which will be carried on as described in this article, we’ll use a U.S.-based server, since we’re looking for the results to be as consistent as possible.
Conclusion: after running our security tests, we can safely conclude that Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t leak any important data, such as IP, Flash IP, DNS and WebRTC data whatsoever. Moving on to our speed tests now.
Speed test results
After concluding that Avast SecureLine VPN can keep you and your privacy safe on the Internet, it’s time to see exactly how fast this service can get by running speed tests on many on their servers.
As opposed to the security tests that we’ve made earlier in this review, the speed tests will require multiple servers to run their magic on, for the simple reason that we’re aiming to see exactly how location can affect speed. This being said, let’s begin our assessment.
|Location||Internet Speed||Latency||Upload Speed||Downloaded||Uploaded|
|U.S.A.||34 Mbps||157 ms||340 ms||20 Mbps||110 MB||80 MB|
|Germany||80 Mbps||78 ms||212 ms||33 Mbps||90 MB||90 MB|
|Brazil||33 Mbps||359 ms||454 ms||13 Mbps||60 MB||50 MB|
|Hong Kong||53 Mbps||232 ms||298 ms||19 Mbps||90 MB||80 MB|
|South Africa||40 Mbps||202 ms||217 ms||13 Mbps||130 MB||60 MB|
|Australia||36 Mbps||327 ms||380 ms||12 Mbps||80 MB||30 MB|
As you can notice, we’ve reached some pretty good speed values, but only in specific areas (ones that were closer to our actual location), and the rest of the values were slowed by at least 50%. Not too good, not very bad either.
Avast SecureLine VPN provides you with five different subscription plans, but it’s not what you think; instead of making each of the plan stand out by its unique features and whatnot, Avast made them different by the device they work on. That’s right, there’s a plan for your PC and then there’s another plan for your Android phone.
- Up to 5 devices (all devices supported): $79.99 per year;
- PC: $59.99 per year;
- Mac: $59.99 per year;
- Android device: $19.99 per year;
- iPhone or iPad: $19.99 per year;
So there you have it, five plans, each of which available on a different set of devices. Keep in mind that there’s a 7-day trial available for you to download and enjoy before considering to make the commitment of purchasing a subscription plan.
Bottom line, Avast SecureLine VPN is, as its name suggests, a VPN service provider developed by Avast, designed to keep you safe and your identity private while you’re connected to the Internet.
Avast is a company that’s based in the Czech Republic, which is considered to be one of the freest countries in the world when it comes to Internet freedom. The country is not facing any Internet restrictions except some imposed on websites that host questionable content such as child pornography and is also not a member of the infamous 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliances.
Avast SecureLine VPN comes with a “no logging” policy and the company states that it’s impossible for them to identify you by your IP or by the server that you’ve connected to. Avast keeps only the subnet of your IP, with the last digits being anonymized. However, they record the VPN server that you connect to but claim that there’s no way for them to link it back to you. Furthermore, they claim that they don’t record your online activity while you’re connected to their service (websites that you visit, services that you access).
Creating an account, downloading the installer and installing the service on your computer are all a walk in the park since there’s no advanced configuration that needs to be done and no complicated steps need to be taken. Our only remark towards the Avast SecureLine VPN Windows app is that it boasts a huge window compared to other similar services, which is frankly a waste of space and resources needed to load the app on a computer.
Accessibility-wise we have no complaints, as we found the Avast SecureLine VPN Windows app to be user-friendly and highly intuitive so that even computer novices can access it and benefit from its features without significant efforts. The app also features a kill switch, in case you’re wondering.
Security-wise we encountered no issues with Avast SecureLine VPN, as we’ve checked for IP, DNS, Flash IP, and WebRTC leaks, but nothing came out. The speed could use some improvement since we only captured some pretty good values only for locations that were virtually next to us.
Both torrenting and TOR work (although we’d recommend you not to use TOR with VPNs). However, we advise you to limit yourself to P2P-friendly servers if you plan on engaging in P2P file-sharing activities. Unfortunately, Avast SecureLine VPN is not able to unblock popular streaming services such as Netflix, although it does provide you with servers that are streaming-friendly.
Cost-wise the service is a bit pricey, considering that there are several other services that could give you more for less, but it’s not THAT expensive, it’s just that there’s no monthly plan available. However, there’s a 7-day trial that you can enjoy before deciding on whether to purchase that subscription plan or not.
Do we recommend Avast SecureLine VPN? Yes. It’s a decent service that can provide you with good security, embraces a no-logging policy and features a good deal of locations for you to choose from. If you’re looking for a VPN that can unblock Netflix, then this is not for you.
+ Good security; (5)
+ No-logging policy; (5)
+ Works with torrenting; (5)
+ 7-day trial; (5)
– Doesn’t work with Netflix; (0)
– Average connection speeds; (2)
– No monthly plan available; (1)
Avast SecureLine VPN receives a 3.28/5 rating.