Avast SecureLine VPN Review: A Passable Service with Serious Privacy Concerns

Avast SecureLine VPN is a relative newcomer to the business. However, Avast is a company that has built a reputation as being an Internet security powerhouse. For this reason, we were excited that Avast was bringing a VPN to market. We were curious to see just how well they would stack up against their competition. Could they be considered a top VPN, or are they just another disappointing entry in an already saturated VPN market?

We are going to look at how fast of a service Avast SecureLine VPN offers. Do they respect the privacy of customers? Are they a good option for unblocking geo restrictions with streaming services like Netflix? How about torrenting? We will conclude with our final impressions and recommendations for improvement.

Overview

Avast SecureLine is the VPN client recently released by Avast. This application promises to encrypt your connection with just a click of the mouse. They offer clients complete privacy while they are surfing the web on a Windows device, a Mac, or on iOS and Android devices.

Avast SecureLine promises clients that they will have complete freedom online. There is no need to worry about hackers stealing information if they are using public Wi-Fi, they will not need to worry about advertisers monitoring their traffic and then selling this information to others, and they have the freedom to look at geo-restricted streaming content.

Pros:
  • Phone customer support
  • Torrenting is allowed
  • Well encrypted and secure
  • Fast download speeds
Cons:
  • Ambiguous logging policy
  • Potential adware
  • No router support
  • May or may not work with Netflix
  • Based in the Czech Republic
Features:
  • P2P support
  • Public hotspot safety
  • Single shared IP address
  • DNS leak protection
  • Open source privacy protection
  • 256 Bit AES encryption

Where Are the Servers Located?

avast server locations

One of the biggest complaints that people had about Avast SecureLine VPN is the fact that they had very limited service support. They had servers in 19 countries spread across 27 cities. It seems that Avast SecureLine VPN understands how this affected their clients and their reputation. At the end of 2017, Avast added an additional 14 countries and 23 cities to their roster.

It is interesting to note that Avast has a server in Africa, in Johannesburg to be exact. There are only a handful of companies that have VPNs in Africa. It is also interesting to note that Avast has servers in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, and in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, they still only have a limited amount of servers that work with P2P. These include servers in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the Netherlands.

When you look at their list of servers, you will see an anonymous server that is called Gotham City. Gotham City is set aside specifically for individuals who want to get around the geo-restriction that streaming sites like Netflix and others have.

The results you get from using Gotham City are spotty at best. There were times when we used it and were able to connect the Netflix. Other times we received that dreaded Netflix error telling us that they detected our VPN.

avast secureline vpn gotham city

The times that we were able to get the geo-restriction lifted, we had a nice streaming experience. There were no glitches, and there were no hiccups. It would have been nice if this was a consistent occurrence instead of just hit and miss.

As far as server locations are concerned, we felt that Avast SecureLine VPN was a disappointment. For being such of a large and well-established company, we would have hoped they would have drastically increased their server locations. Other companies like ExpressVPN have servers in hundreds of cities. That being said, if you’re just looking to protect your data and you don’t care where your server is located, having fewer servers is not the end of the world.

What Is Their Logging Policy?

Most VPNs keep logs. The majority of them have the ability to monitor your online activities. So when we ask if Avast SecureLine VPN keeps logs, what we are really asking is how well we can you trust this company to keep our private data private.

On the one hand, we have to commend Avast SecureLine VPN for their honesty about their logging policy. This way, customers who take the time to read through their privacy policy know in advance what they’re going to get.

avast privacy policy

When you look at their privacy policy, you see that they do record time logs, including when you connect and when you disconnect. They record the amount of time you use the VPN to surf the Internet. They record how much bandwidth you use. Their logging information will include personal things about you, such as the device name and your IP address. And since you’re paying for the service, things like your name and personal account details will be stored.

This does not mean that you have no anonymity when you are surfing with Avast SecureLine VPN. According to their privacy policy, they do not record things that you download or upload. They do not record the IP addresses you visit and do not record the websites you browse.

This leads one to ask, what happens to the information that they monitor? You do not want your personal information to get out as this could lead to identity theft. This is where the fact that Avast is a security expert comes in handy. Avast has built a secure infrastructure that makes it almost impossible for someone to access your personal information. They would need to physically visit the premises or use an encrypted VPN to get information that can identify you.

Avast has gone a long way in minimizing who on their team has access to your private information. There is a secure process that these individuals follow as well as secure passwords that they use. And that would be all fine and good if it wasn’t for the fact that Avast is not the only one who stores this information. This information is possibly stored by companies that contract with or partner with Avast.

One might rightly ask, who gets to see these logs? That’s a good question, and the answer is that it depends. When you look at their privacy policy, you see that Avast will share your information in certain circumstances.

Part of the terms that you agree to when signing up for Avast SecureLine VPN include allowing third parties who provide services you request to be granted access to your private information. At the same time, governmental organizations that request your information may be granted access if they follow the right channel. Remember, Avast has servers located in the Czech Republic, the United States, and the EU. All of these countries have laws requiring companies to hand over the private information of their clients if the government can provide a legal reason for requesting this information.

avast product policy

As we mentioned, every VPN needs to log something in order to provide you with their service. With Avast, you know in advance that your information is being monitored, and it is likely to be shared with others.

How Fast Is the Service?

Avast claims that they have one of the fastest VPN services on the market. Speed tests were run on their servers in both the US and Netherlands to see how well Avast lives up to these claims.

avast speed results

As you can see, Avast SecureLine VPN offers some fast speeds when compared to other VPNs. In fact, their speeds put them in somewhere around the top 10 percent of the VPNs we have tested.

Security

In addition to being fast, the service is well encrypted and is secure. This is what you would expect from a company that specializes in digital security.

They offer two protocols- IPsec and OpenVPN. They have AES 256 bit encryption. This is the military standard for data encryption. The encryption at 256 bit is currently the best that businesses offer. It is considered to be virtually impenetrable. It protects your data against brute force attacks. There are a number of government agencies and security companies around the world that use this encryption.

What Is Their Pricing?

avast vpn pricing

With Avast SecureLine VPN, you get access to a variety of subscription options. The subscriptions are sold for one year and are only viable on the device you buy them for. For $59.99, you can purchase the VPN service for use on one PC. The three device price is $69.99. For $10 more, at $79.99, you can get coverage for five PCs. And for $99 a year, you will be able to protect 10 PCs.

We want to emphasize that the protection you purchase is device specific. If you purchase a service for 10 PCs, you cannot use it on five PCs and five mobile devices. It can only be used with PCs. If you want to use it on a different type of device, you will have to purchase another device specific subscription.

avast vpn payment method

The one exception to this rule is if you purchase a multi-device subscription. It can be used on five devices, and it does not matter the type of device. It does cost more at $79.99. Unfortunately, there is no option to increase the multi-device subscription to include more devices. Either you get five devices with one subscription, or you pay for two subscriptions that will allow you to use 10 devices. What you can do is up the number of years your subscription will be in force. A three year subscription is going to cost you $219.99.

avast customer information

Something that may be concerning to individuals looking for complete anonymity is the fact that there is no way to pay for this service with an anonymous payment like Bitcoin. Your options are limited to PayPal or major credit cards like Discover, MasterCard, American Express, and Visa.

Do We Recommend the Service?

Not really. Avast SecureLine VPN offers a passable service. What you see when you look at them is a company that specializes in digital security that has branched out into a new field that it doesn’t completely understand. Their antivirus solution is good, but their VPN is problematic.

One of the biggest downsides for us was the fact that it does not work consistently with Netflix. Understandably, not everyone purchases a VPN because they want to get around geo-restrictions, but many people do. And from our experience, we have seen that a VPN that is able to get around the geo-restrictions imposed by Netflix is a quality product. One that cannot leave something to be desired.

Something else that made us nervous about this service is the fact that it’s in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic does not belong to the Five Eyes surveillance program. However, they are very friendly and financially reliant on a number of countries that do engage in this type of digital surveillance. When we look at Avast’s privacy policy, they are very clear that if they are requested to hand over your private information, they’re going to do it.

You can even see for yourself the number of times that they have handed over private information to different governments. Couple that with the fact that they are collecting a lot of your information and privacy becomes an issue.

We noticed that there was potential adware ready to infect your device if you are not careful. Again, another attempt to collect your personal data.

Avast SecureLine VPN is not the worst VPN out there. It is fast and for the most part, does not have DNS leaks. But they are expensive, not flexible, and lack a lot of features.

For our money, the two best VPN services on the market right now are ExpressVPN and NordVPN. ExpressVPN hands-down is the best overall VPN option on the market today. You can stream and use torrents, they don’t collect your personal information, and their pricing is clear-cut

If you are on a budget, NordVPN is another great option. It allows you to secure all of your devices regardless of the platform. It gives you access to the global Internet, meaning that it gets around geo restrictions. NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee risk-free and has plans starting as low as $3.99.