Free Or Paid Antivirus Protection – Which Is Best?

These days, most people are aware that they need to have antivirus protection installed on their computer. Cyber threats are on the rise, with spyware, adware and ransomware circulating regularly.

More people today understand about the different types of malware, and how it can impact on their system, yet, they still aren’t sure what they’re looking for when it comes to finding the best antivirus protection. With both paid and free options out there, what is the best antivirus protection to pick from?

Why Choose Paid AV Software?

When antivirus software is available for free, why should you pay extra for this type of program? There are several reasons to consider:

  • Top protection – paid software offers a more comprehensive defence against viruses, fraud and phishing campaigns.
  • Flexibility – paying a little more will allow multiple devices to be covered.
  • Added extras – you’ll benefit from additional features such as parental controls, identity protection, tune-up and back-up tools Paid for security software will usually offer features like maintenance tools, parental controls, recovery and back-up to help your PC be restored should the worst happen.
  • Customer service – paid software will usually offer technical support and better customer service than a free software package.

Most brands will offer either a single device option, or for a higher fee, a multi-user license to the same protection can be installed on multiple computers in the home. Some allow extra to be paid upfront to cover the device’s security for another year or more.

In brief, paid AV software gives you an all-around security solution that can be accessed via a single user interface. All of the individual components are updated automatically simultaneously, so protection is assured against all of the most recent threats.

On the downside though, paid software comes at a cost, and there are also ongoing costs in the shape of annual subscriptions if you wish to receive updates once the initial protection period is over.

Should I Use Free AV Software?

Obviously, the main attraction of free AV software is that it won’t cost you anything, but will you be compromising on quality? Some of the things to consider include:

  • Essentials are covered – you’ll get basic protection against all malware
  • Effective security – usually, free AV tools won’t perform at a worse level of core protection than paid alternatives
  • Mixing and matching is possible – if you’re missing any extras, free tools may be downloaded to fill the gaps. You may not even need to purchase any security software at all, since some computers come with security features pre-installed for a base-level of protection. This can then be improved with additional downloaded anti-spam, PC clean-up and anti-spyware software for extra protection.

Free antivirus software offers good basic protection from malware, and the package can be downloaded for free without any long-term commitments or contracts. On the downside, though, they lack the additional features you’ll find on paid security software. Also, free AV software is usually only for use on one device, so you’ll have to download, manage and install a separate version for multiple computers.

What About Microsoft Windows 10 Security (Defender)?

In recent years, a major shake-up occurred in computer security when Microsoft launched Windows 8 – an operating system with additional security features already built into in. This operating system saw Microsoft Security Essentials being replaced with Microsoft Windows 10 Security (Defender). This includes AV protection together with anti-spyware features. The program runs continuously in the background while you play or work, and notifies you if action is needed.

Users are also protected further by the 2-way firewall and SmartScreen filter which protects from phishing scams. There is also parental controls to offer additional protection when children are using the internet. The Secure Boot option also prevents any malware from being able to gain a foothold on the PC while it’s starting up.

On the downside, though, Microsoft’s operating system has been made a target by virus creators and hackers quite frequently. So, if Defender is the only line of defence, it would be better to upgrade to a standalone AV program, since it simply doesn’t offer enough protection to ensure that computer users will be safe from any possible risks.