If you’ve ever noticed ads popping up for items you’ve recently shopped for online, you’re probably aware that marketing agencies and businesses track your online activity. For those who’d rather keep their activity private and want added security when using a public Wi-Fi network, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) not only encrypts your connection to keep it private but also hides your location, giving you uncensored access to items that are location-specific.
No kill switch
Known security breach
In December 2019, a security researcher raised the alarm that Avast had collected user data through Avast subsidiary Jumpshot, reaching far beyond the tool’s performance needs. While the company claimed it anonymized all data, we were still concerned about the risk to users and rescinded our recommendation of Avast properties. Avast has since severed ties with Jumpshot, though we still hesitate to recommend the software until we can determine the effects with more confidence in our updated review.
AVG Secure VPN works for PCs with Windows, Macs, iPhones, and Android devices. It uses a port-blocking evasion algorithm and bank-grade encryption to give you private internet access, even if you’re using an unsecured network. With AVG’s VPN service, you can easily switch your IP address with a click and show your location as being anywhere from Miami to Warsaw to Hong Kong. See how AVG stacks up against the best VPN Services.
Pricing and Features
AVG offers plans for multiple devices, but the plan you buy is device specific. So if you buy a VPN for your Mac, it will work only on Macs. If you want a VPN for PCs, you’ll have to get the specific Windows VPN. There isn’t an option that works for more than one kind of operating system.
What We Like
Free Trial AVG offers a thirty-day free VPN trial of its service so you can try before you buy.
Money-Back Guarantee If you do purchase the software and you’re not happy with it, AVG offers a thirty-day money-back guarantee.
Unlimited Coverage You can put Secure VPN software on as many computers as you like with one license. However, you can only use the VPN on one at a time.
What We Don’t Like
Confusing Subscription Many AVG users report that their VPN software indicates that their license is only good for thirty days even though they’ve paid for a full year. This glitch can be resolved by going into Settings, clicking on “Account” and then clicking “Refresh license.”
Required Purchase If you’re interested in trying out AVG Secure VPN on your mobile device, you’ll have to buy it first, but you’ll get your money back if you decide not to keep it within thirty days of purchase.
High Price AVG’s VPN costs nearly twice as much as higher-rated VPN software products on the market.
Features and Usability
What We Like
Dedicated Mac Version Many PC software applications fall short when they’re converted to run on a Mac, but AVG’s VPN was created using proprietary Apple programming, which means that it will run seamlessly on a Mac.
Simple User Interface The VPN user interface is straightforward, with no complicated settings to confuse you.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Connections AVG lets you make P2Ps through their data center connections, which means you can participate in anonymous torrent downloading on a secure network.
Automation AVG offers a variety of handy customizable automation options for your VPN. It can automatically turn on whenever you’re connected to an unsecured network, and it can start automatically when you turn on your computer or when you open the program. You can also enable and disable notifications that let you know when the VPN is working.
What We Don’t Like
Limited Number of Servers While twenty-nine worldwide servers is sufficient for decent anonymity, it doesn’t compare to top-rated Nord VPN’s 4,000.
Secondary VPN Disruption AVG Secure VPN doesn’t play well with others: if it detects that you’re connected to another VPN, it may not work properly.
Protection and Performance
We appreciate AVG’s commitment to user privacy, but the Secure VPN lacks a few key security features that could leave you vulnerable, putting it behind the rest of the pack for VPNs.
What We Like
No Logging The biggest complaint among VPN users is that most VPN service providers track or “log” users’ activity while they’re using the VPN, making it feel less than safe. AVG has a no-log policy, which means your VPN browsing is completely private and ad-free.
Light Impact Because VPNs encrypt traffic and data before sending them to a VPN server, they can often slow down your connection, but AVG Secure VPN doesn’t seem to affect internet connectivity at all.
Hardwire and Wireless Security You can use AVG Secure VPN to ensure privacy on both your hardwire and your wireless networks.
What We Don’t Like
December 2019 Data Breach In 2019, Avast reached far beyond their tool’s performance needs to collect user data. While it claims all data was anonymized, we still hesitate to recommend the software.
Sub-Prime Encryption A 256-bit encryption key isn’t weak, but it’s not the strongest out there. Other VPNs like Nord use 2,048-bit encryption.
No Kill Switch VPNs aren’t foolproof, and the second you lose your VPN connection, you’ll also lose your privacy. Most VPNs have a kill switch built into the program that will automatically cut the internet connection if the VPN fails, but AVG doesn’t come with this fail-safe.
WebRTC Glitch WebRTC is a feature that is found in Windows, Mac OS X, and Android for browser B2B applications, and it can make your IP address visible even if you’re using a VPN. AVG doesn’t have a fix for this issue, but they are aware of it. They recommend disabling WebRTC in your browser or using a browser that doesn’t use WebRTC, like Safari or Internet Explorer.
What is the difference between AVG Secure VPN and AVG Internet Security? AVG Internet Security is an antivirus suite that protects your computer against malware infection, while AVG Secure VPN protects your online identity and activity from prying eyes. You can purchase them together to ensure both security and privacy.
What is the difference between Avast SecureLine VPN and AVG Secure VPN? Even though Avast and AVG merged in 2016, they still offer products under each name, and the VPN offerings are slightly different. Avast SecureLine VPN costs more than AVG, but it also has fifty-four server locations around the world, compared to AVG’s twenty-nine. Both VPN services use 256-bit encryption, and both have a no-logging policy.
Why did I get a message from Gmail saying there’s suspicious activity on my account when I used my VPN? Browsing with your VPN turned on will change your IP address, which often triggers a warning from service providers like Gmail or Live Mail. This just means they’ve noticed that your account has been accessed from a different geographic location, which is actually a good sign, because it means your VPN is working properly. To resolve the situation, double-check that the server location you selected in AVG Secure VPN matches the one in the Gmail message and confirm it as your IP address.
How do I get the best server performance from my VPN? Selecting servers close to you—preferably in the same country—will improve your connection speed, but that may not provide the full privacy or unrestricted access you’re looking for. If you want to access country-specific content, use a server located in that country. This will be easier if you have more server options available to you through your VPN.
The Bottom Line
VPNs are ideal for frequent travelers, especially those who frequently use public Wi-Fi or need to access American websites in countries where access is restricted. VPNs are also helpful if you prefer anonymous browsing or want to participate in unregulated online activities (like torrent downloading) and avoid government snooping.
If you already subscribe to AVG services, the AVG Secure VPN may be right for you. Its straightforward, easy-to-use interface is a great option for those who want something simple.
But if you’re looking to go deep undercover, keep shopping around. There are other VPN providers out there with tougher encryption keys and more servers at a lower price. And we still hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend Avast after its December 2019 breach.
How We Evaluated AVG Secure VPN
To research our AVG Secure VPN review, we studied AVG’s specifications and compared them with similar VPN products. We also read others’ reviews on AVG Secure VPN and compared them with reviews for other VPN services. Visit SafeWise to find out more about our methodology.
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. Learn more