Avast SecureLine VPN Review

Pros

  • Jurisdiction: The company is based in the Czech Republic. The country is not among the 14-Eyes and has strict privacy laws.
  • Servers: The service has more than 55 server locations around 34 countries. The server network is huge and widely spread as well.
  • Speed: The client gives more than 80% of the original speed in general across most of the server locations.
  • Strong Encryption: The user’s date is secured with 256-bit encryption. It is the most robust encryption that any VPN service can offer.
  • Dedicated Servers: They even provide dedicated servers for streaming and P2P file sharing on the service. The user can use one of these servers to fulfill their needs on the network.

Cons

  • Single Protocol: The service offers only one protocol to the user. Even though it is one of the best protocols available, they should provide more options to the user.
  • No Kill-Switch: There is no kill-switch on the client. A kill switch automatically stops the internet traffic if the VPN connection drops.

Overview

Homescree When Secureline is Connected

Most of us have heard of Avast at one point or another. It is one of the giants in the cybersecurity space and caters its services to the users worldwide.

It has a wide range of products which intend to increase the security of the user’s data and privacy.

Avast SecureLine VPN is also among one of these services. The service looks promising at first glance, and it seems to have all the essential features required of a VPN service.

We also expect the service to make use of the rich knowledgebase and experience that comes with Avast and hope that it is a multifaceted VPN service.

Even though the product comes from Avast and everything should be laid out professionally, we will still go through all the policies and statements related to the service.

The security measures will also undergo some serious scans, and we don’t remember the last time we did not make a big fuss about the speed on a VPN service.

They also promise an efficient service when it comes to bypassing the geo restrictions, so, we will also let you know if you can binge-watch that series you always wanted to.

By the end of this review, you will have more knowledge about the product as well as the VPN in general, and you will most likely be able to make an informed decision about the product.

Servers

Server’s Options

The server network is the foundation upon which the whole VPN service rests. The user’s internet traffic is routed through the server locations in the network to mask the IP address and other such information about the user.

It is needless to say that the server network has a vital role in safekeeping the privacy of the user on the VPN network.

 A large number of servers in a VPN network ensures that users don’t come cross bottlenecks of high-density traffic and that they have a lot of server location options to bypass various geo-restrictions.

The bandwidth capacity of servers is not discussed very often, but it is again one of the features which give an idea about the health of the server network.

There are more than 55 server locations across more than 34 countries around the globe at the time of this review.

They have server locations in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South America.

They have a big spread out server network. We excepted something along the same lines as the service was expected to make use of the Avast resources.

Not only they provide a significant and dispersed server network, but the way they have presented all the servers on the client is also noteworthy.

Server Sorting Options

A lot of the VPN services can learn a thing or few when it comes to sorting the servers and providing the user with better server selection options.

They have got dedicated servers in the network which they serve elegantly as well.

They have sorted the servers by region as well as specialization. For dedicated servers, the user gets specialized P2P and streaming servers

Dedicated Servers

The user can access the dedicated servers from the regional server tray as well to get the best of both the worlds.

Many locations around the world obstruct P2P file sharing. It has now become increasingly difficult to do P2P file sharing on the VPN networks as well.

Therefore, dedicated P2P servers come in handy, and the user need not go looking for a server which allows P2P file sharing on the network.

The streaming servers also serve their purpose and allow the user to stream content from the server region without any worry of the geo restrictions.

They provide the optimal server location option on the client as well. It is generally the physically closest and therefore the fastest server location for the user.

Privacy Policy

Avast is a multinational cybersecurity company. The company, and therefore the product as well, fall in the Czech Republic jurisdiction.

They have headquarters in the picturesque city of Prague. This European country is not among the 14-Eyes group, and the local laws respect individual privacy.

Avast SecureLine VPN calls itself a no-logs VPN service. They do not monitor any of the user’s data inside the VPN tunnel. They do not keep track of the websites visited by the user or the data that he/she transfers when using the service.

However, there is some form of data collection, and some parts of it can be a bit concerning for a lot of the users.

The service logs the IP address of the user as well as IP address of the destination server. Along with the IP addresses, time stamps and data volume flow through the network is also logged.

The service provider deletes all this data after 30 days under normal circumstances.

However, no regular customer of the service would like such a policy. The IP address of the user can compromise the location of the user and the privacy as well.

There is some usual collection of information on the service as well as on the official website. They store the email address and the transaction details of the user.

The companies need such information to keep the services up and running.

There is furthermore data accumulation by the analytics services employed by the VPN service provider. There are cookies involved when the user visits their official website.

The collection of data on the official website is mostly for of improving the service and monitoring the user behavior on the website.

They have a very detailed and thorough privacy policy. The service provider discussed various issues related to the privacy of the user and data collection on the service.

The service is transparent and professional in their manner of conduct. They never tried to hide a fact from the user. But, at the same time, they need to reduce some of the data collection on the service.

An IP address is a very sensitive information, and no VPN user can appreciate the logging of such data.

Connection Time Analysis

Trial No.Time to establish a connection (seconds)
Avg. Time In Seconds8.094
111.86
28.69
36.89
47.75
57.68
67.44
79.59
86.85
96.98
107.21

There are not many people who consider connection time while reviewing a VPN service. But the connection time analysis indicates the swiftness of the client.

The analysis also helps tell the user about the reliability of the client and the service. A reliable client will tend to be uniform and consistent with the results in the connection time analysis.

Avast SecureLine VPN took an average of eight seconds to connect to the network.

The client gives steady performance most of the time, and the user should not come across a lot of surprises while connecting the network.

However, keeping in mind that the client does not offer many customization options, it should take a lot less time to connect to the network.

There are VPN services such as Hotspot Shield which take less than three seconds to establish a connection with the VPN network.

Speed Test

Speed For Various Server Settings/Options

This internet generation can deal with pretty much anything but slow internet. There is no way around this issue, and everyone wants a faster internet connection.

The VPN services came into existence with the goal of securing the privacy and data of the user. But those were the old days. Now, the modified goal of VPN services is to secure the data and privacy of the user without slowing down his/her internet speeds.

We all know that it is easier said than done, and there are a lot of VPN services which struggle to provide good speeds along with robust security.

We are also aware of the lineage of Avast SecureLine VPN, therefore expect more than average performance in this section.

The client has an optimal server location option, so we connected to it and did the speed test. The download speed on the optimal server was around 86% of the original speed. But both the upload speed and the ping rate suffered a massive hit.

Generally, the optimal servers are the geographically closest server for the user’s location, but in this case, we got connected to some far away server. We are not complaining as the speeds obtained were satisfactory.

We then connected to the physically closest server for our location, and the download speed was similar to that of the optimal server. But the ping rate and the upload speed saw some significant improvement.

The service provider needs to improve the efficiency of the optimal server selection option.

We connected to a few other server locations as well, and the speeds turned out to be great for most of the locations.

For the UK and the Netherlands server, we recorded more that 87% and 89% of the initial speed. The speed on the US server was around 74% when compared with the original speed.

The most impressive part of the test was that the client gives excellent speeds throughout the network, and this gives the user a lot more freedom on the network.

There is also no mention of capping of speeds or bandwidth on the network. The service provides a combination of high speed and a massive server network with dedicated servers.

We don’t think that a service can get any better in the performance section. Avast SecureLine VPN can even be considered as a benchmark for performance in the VPN services.

Security

Now that we know that there should not be any performance related issues on the client, it is time to discuss the ever-important security features on the product.

As a cybersecurity firm, Avast should be aware of a lot of ways by which the cybercriminals try to breach into the user’s data and privacy. They should also be mindful of the potential new techniques that can be employed to compromise the user’s data.

Thus, we expect the service to leave no stone unturned when it comes to safeguarding the user online.

The VPN service encrypts the data of the users for the while it is in the VPN tunnel. Avast SecureLine VPN encrypts the user’s data with AES 256-bit encryption.

It is military grade encryption and the best that any service can offer. The data is virtually impossible to decrypt after such robust encryption.

However, it also requires a lot of the processing ability of the device to encrypt and the decrypt the data with such heavy encryption. But the bargain is still fruitful as the encryption cover is impenetrable.

This encrypted data is then routed through secure protocols or tunnels. The usual internet traffic is also routed through such tunnels or protocols, but the level of security and speed varies from tunnel to tunnel.

OpenVPN protocol is considered to be the current leader of the protocols used in the VPN service. It is the best blend of speed and security when it comes to protocols.

Avast SecureLine VPN routes all of the user’s traffic through this protocol only. Even though it is a very safe and fast protocol, we feel that they should have included more protocol options in the client.

Most of the top VPN services give users a lot of protocols to choose from, and so should Avast SecureLine VPN. There can be a few users who would compromise a bit with the security for that extra bit of speed, and they should have the option to choose a faster even though less secure protocol.

There is DNS leak protection on the service as well. With DNS leak protection, the user can easily bypass the geo restrictions without exposing the actual device location.

They have private DNS servers, and the user can rest assured that no third-party will get access to his/her DNS queries.

They also have IP leak protection. All the IPv6 requests are blocked, and the client supports IPv4.

Many VPN services which support IPv4 don’t take care of the IPv6 requests, and this mismatch in IP can sometimes lead to IP address leak of the user.

But there is something very trivial yet vital that they missed. There is no internet kill-switch on the client. A kill-switch automatically stops the internet traffic if the VPN connection drops. This way none of the user’s data reaches the internet without the safety of the VPN.

Kill-switch has become more of a norm on the VPN services these days. Avast SecureLine VPN should implement this useful feature on their client.

The overall state of security on the client is excellent apart from the kill-switch which can prove to be the chink in the armor.

The protocol, as well as the encryption, are top notch, and so are the rest of the features. But the user has not much control over any of these as there are no options for the client to make a choice.

 We will discuss more about these options in the next section.

User Interface and Experience

The competition in the VPN market is stiff, and the services need to look beyond the scope of speed, security, and privacy to come up with better products.

The user interface is something which can be one of those critical areas. It can add a lot to the appeal of the product if appropriately designed.

It is the interface through which the user interacts with the service, and a good user interface can make a lot of difference when the user must choose between two comparable services.

The user interface of Avast SecureLine VPN is excellent in a few sections, but there are a few sections where it can improve a lot.

The home screen displays a connection button on the top and server option at the bottom. At the same time, it shows the connection status, and the IP address of the user if disconnected or the IP address of the server if connected to the network.

There is a ‘Menu’ button at the top right along with the option to close and minimize the window.

The user can quickly connect to the network from this window. The user gets a ton of option when it comes to changing the server.

The server tray is categorized under the region as well as the specialty tab. The user can choose a specific area and then pick one of the servers from the region.

He/she can also go for the dedicated streaming and P2P servers and get the best server for the need. The servers are listed in a clean way, and the service provider could not have done a better job in this section.

Sadly, the server selection was the best part about the client, and things go downhill from here.

As we discussed earlier, there are not many options on this service, and the same goes with the user interface as well.

The ‘Menu’ icon displays three options which are ‘Settings,’ ‘My Licenses,’ and ‘About.’ All these open into different windows.

The ‘Settings’ window is further divided into two sections. In the ‘General’ section, you can take care of the notifications, make the app start with the system, or even become a beta tester for the service.

Various Setting Options in the UI

In the ‘Network Security’ section, the user can make a few decisions in the way the VPN starts.

The ‘My Licenses’ option opens up the user’s profile for Avast. It displays all the information related to his/her account.

In the ‘About’ section, the user can see the permissions and the copyrights used in the application.

License Info and About Section

The service provider could have added a lot of relevant features and options in the user interface.

However, instead of providing unnecessary toggle switches for DNS leak protection and IP leak protection, the service provider made them automatic which is also a commendable step.

The user interface of the service leaves the client yearning for more options. The service provider should address this issue and come up with some more customization options.

Platforms and Devices

Platforms

The service is not available across as many platforms as we expected. The platform support is limited, and the devices supported by the lesser know platforms won’t get a VPN cover from the service.

The client is available for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS.

They have not included any other platform or device such as Linux or routers in the support list of the service.

They allow the user to have the VPN cover simultaneously over 5 devices, but the limited platform support on the service suggests that the user will rarely come across such a scenario.

We feel that the company should have at least included the routers in the support list as well. This way the users can have most of their devices covered under the VPN umbrella.

The service provider needs to realize that a lot of the devices connect to the internet these days, and the user wants to secure all such connections. Therefore, the company should work toward providing the VPN support to more devices and platforms.

Customer Support

The customer support for the service is the same as it is for all the Avast services.

They don’t promise live chat support for the service, but the user is likely to get live chat help on the website at most times of the day.

We did contact the live chat support and asked a few questions. All our questions were answered properly and in quick time as well. The live chat support was as professional as it can get, and the user is likely to feel satisfied after the interaction.

Apart from the live chat support, the user can submit a query ticket as well and get the response over email. This option comes handy when the live chat representatives are not available.

The website built for the service is informative as well, and the user should get most of his/her doubts cleared on it.

They have discussed most of the relevant topics on the website. The support page gives the information in an even more concentrated form.

The overall support from the service is thorough and satisfactory, just like something one can expect from a big cybersecurity company.

Conclusion

Avast SecureLine VPN performs very well in most of the sections, and it only a matter of time that the service gets even better.

The jurisdiction is not in some controversial country. There are dedicated servers in the network. The encryption is strong. The protocol is the best. The speed is excellent.

The service took care of all the macro features really well. But there is still room for improvement on the product.

The service provides needs to provide more options to the user, be it in the protocols or the customization options.

The user can do with more options when it comes to platform support as well. The service provider needs to make the client usable on most of the platforms.

Kill-switch is also one of the essential features that the service needs to imply in the product.

There is no issue with the performance of the client whatsoever. It serves all the purpose of a VPN service. We can easily recommend this service to the user if the service provider addresses the issues mentioned above.

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