Protecting your computers and other devices from viruses and malware is essential, and with thousands of new malware threats appearing daily, the risks of letting viruses, worms, and trojans infect your system are simply too great to ignore.
But do you really need to pay for virus protection? After all, there are plenty of free antivirus software options out there, claiming to protect you from viruses without even requiring a fee. Are they good enough, or should you opt for a premium plan instead?
This guide will take a look at some of the pros and cons of free virus protection, helping you decide whether or not it’s the right option for you.
Obviously, the first and most evident benefit of choosing free virus protection is that you don’t have to pay for it. For budget-conscious computer users, this is a huge benefit, and there are already so many different services and subscriptions they average person has to pay for, so the idea of adding another one on to your monthly set of bills may be off-putting.
Easy to Change
Another good benefit of using a free antivirus program is that you’re free to uninstall and change it whenever you like. You haven’t paid for anything, nor have you signed up for any yearly plans or long-term subscriptions, so you’re able to make changes and switch to something else whenever you want, without feeling tied down.
A Good Test
Many people see free antivirus programs as a good way to ‘test the water’ and see what antivirus packages can really do, before upgrading to a more powerful, premium plan. Free antivirus software allows you to experience the benefits of having this kind of protection, without needing to pay for it, and then deciding whether to upgrade to a paid plan with the same provider or opt for something different.
A Basic Level of Protection
Ultimately, we can at the very least say that having some free antivirus software is definitely better than having nothing. It might not be able to offer a long list of features or in-depth security advantages to your computer, but it will be able to scan for viruses and remove them, and the best free antivirus programs can be reasonably effective at dealing with common forms of malware and keeping you safe.
Only Minimal Protection Provided
The first, and perhaps most important point to mention when it comes to free antivirus programs is that they only offer the most basic, minimal form of protection. You get what you pay for in this industry, and if you aren’t paying anything, you have to accept that you won’t get much in return. Free antivirus programs can carry out simple scans and quarantine infected files, but that’s about it.
Lacking in Features
Carrying on from the previous point, free antivirus programs are often very lacking in terms of their features and functionality. The best premium antivirus suites come with a whole range of extra features to keep you safe and protected like firewalls, password managers, VPNs, web protection, email protection, system tune-ups, and so much more.
Pop-Ups and Ads
Often, when you opt for a free version of an antivirus program, you’ll have to deal with a lots of continuous, persistent pop-ups and ads asking you to upgrade to the full version. This can be quite frustrating to deal with, and nobody enjoys having little windows popping up in the corner of their screen all the time while trying to work or browse the web. What’s more, some free programs may try and install other software onto your PC, so you have to be really careful during installation.
Lack of Customer Support
Another big drawback of opting for a free antivirus program as opposed to a paid one is that you rarely, if ever, get any kind of customer support. Naturally, companies offering these programs for free aren’t really able to invest in customer service departments as they don’t have the funds. Either that, or they reserve their customer support services for the paying customers, rather than the free ones, so if you have any issues, you’ll have to deal with them alone.
Overall, it’s fair to say that free antivirus programs have a few advantages. They can be a good entry-level option to see what antivirus software can do for you, and it’s always better to have them than nothing at all, but if you want total, complete protection, you need to make the upgrade.