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AVG Secure VPN review: A well-known security brand takes on VPNs

AVG Secure VPNImage: Sam Singleton

At a Glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

10 simultaneous device connectionsUnblocks streaming servicesFree 60-day trial

Cons

Logs some user activity dataNot a lot of extra featuresLong-term only subscription options

Our Verdict

AVG Secure VPN is an easy-to-use VPN with acceptable speeds and decent unblocking capabilities. But it lacks advanced features that you’ll find with other services and the data it collects will turn off privacy buffs.

Price When Reviewed

$53.88 per year

Best Prices Today: AVG Secure

RetailerPriceAVG$4.55View DealPCWorld Software Store$5.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

AVG Secure VPN in brief:

P2P allowed: YesUnlimited device connections: No, 10 simultaneous device connectionsBusiness location: Czech RepublicNumber of servers: 700+Number of country locations: 50+Cost: $53.88 for a year

AVG is a well-known brand in the digital security space. Right along with Avast, Norton, and McAfee, it’s a household name among security software thanks to its very popular antivirus suite. In recent years the company has branched out to provide a whole host of personal security services with one of them being the AVG Secure VPN.

I’m always surprised to come across an antivirus company running its own VPN network. So many antivirus providers opt for white label services from established VPN providers that it’s a rarity to find a security company in charge of its own. Nevertheless, can this antivirus brand successfully branch out and compete with the giants in the VPN industry? Let’s take a look to find out.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best VPN services to learn about competing products.

What are AVG Secure VPN’s features & services?

Sam Singleton

When you open up the AVG Secure VPN Windows app you can immediately see similarities to other AVG apps such as AVG Internet Security. The title bar, for example, is almost a carbon copy of other AVG apps. In the upper-left corner you have the AVG logo along with the product name. To the right there’s a menu icon with additional settings. 

You can tell this comes from an antivirus company rather than a VPN service — even the larger app window is more in line with modern antivirus apps rather than the smaller vertical windows most VPNs opt for nowadays.

Diving into the main part of the app you’ll find a large on/off slider in the center of the screen. Below that are two tiles: The first one shows the country location of your chosen server, and the second shows your current IP address. Once connected, this tile also shows your new VPN IP as well as the amount of time the connection’s been active.

You can then click the Change Location button at the bottom to open up a list of all available servers. AVG’s server network is reasonably sized with over 700 servers across 50 some-odd countries. It even provides special groupings for streaming and torrenting specific servers. The streaming server list in particular is rather limited with just U.S., UK, and German locations, but nice to have nonetheless. 

Sam Singleton

Dive into the settings under Menu > Settings on the main screen and you’ll find that there’s not much here. There’s the option to start AVG Secure when the computer starts up (but not connect), as well as an option to enable local device access. The latter is for accessing devices on your local network like printers when the VPN is enabled.

Additionally, there’s an internet kill switch option that’s activated by default. There are also options for various notifications, as well as a safe list where you’re able to add private networks in case you don’t want the VPN to connect to them automatically.

Since our last review, AVG Secure VPN has added a section for VPN protocols as well as additional language options for the app itself.

Notably, AVG Secure VPN does not include common features offered by many competitors. Useful features such as split-tunneling, multi-hop, or ad- and tracker-blocking are all missing in action.

The app itself is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

How much does AVG Secure VPN cost?

Sam Singleton

In regards to pricing, AVG Secure VPN does things a little differently. While most VPN services offer monthly pricing options, AVG Secure only offers a minimum of a one-year subscription. Two- and three-year subscription plans are available as well for a slightly reduced price. 

Its choice to only offer long-term subscription plans is a dubious one. Many VPN users pay for their subscriptions on a month-to-month basis and being locked in to a minimum of one year can be a turn off. The overall pricing is good, though, at just around $54 for a year and sits firmly in the middle of VPN services with regards to pricing.

Seemingly to combat this long-term commitment, AVG Secure VPN offers a free two-month trial of its VPN service for all new users. You’ll still be required to create an account and secure a payment option, but you can just cancel anytime within that period and not have to pay a cent.

AVG Secure VPN offers a free two-month trial of its VPN service for all new users.

How is AVG Secure VPN’s performance?

To test AVG Secure VPN’s speeds I measured connection speeds across its servers in six different countries around the world and then compared them to my baseline internet speed. AVG Secure VPN’s speeds weren’t anything to write home about. The average download speeds clocked in at 31 percent and upload speeds at a paltry 19 percent of base speeds. 

While this might not look good, it’s important to note that VPN connection speeds are a notoriously finicky metric. There are a number of elements that can affect how fast your connection speed is and all results should be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless, the speeds you’ll get from AVG Secure won’t make it your fastest VPN option, but they should be enough for most browsing or video streaming activities.

Sam Singleton

In regards to unblocking capabilities, AVG is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, the dedicated streaming servers all performed flawlessly. They were able to access every major streaming service I tried including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and HBO Max. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the other servers in its network. While testing servers outside of its designated streaming server list, I found that Netflix blocked every connection and the other streaming sites were hit or miss.

Ultimately, whether AVG Secure VPN will be a good fit for those of you looking to use a VPN for unblocking streaming websites will come down to what countries you need to access. If the content you want to watch is in the U.S., UK, or Germany, then stream away. If it’s from any other country, you’re likely out of luck and it’d be best to consider another VPN provider.

How is AVG Secure VPN’s security and privacy?

Sam Singleton

AVG Secure offers a few protocol options to choose from. Along with the industry-leading WireGuard and OpenVPN, it also offers its own proprietary protocol called Mimic. The name comes from the company’s intention to help mimic HTTPS traffic and therefore more easily bypass VPN blockers. I personally didn’t notice much of a difference when using the protocol when it came to accessing websites, so mileage might vary here.

AVG Secure VPN and its parent company Avast are both located in the Czech Republic which is not a member of any international signals intelligence alliance. Therefore the company won’t be subject to government data-sharing requirements.

The company’s VPN privacy policy is pretty straightforward — if not impressive. It doesn’t log your originating IP, DNS queries, browsing history, or personal data such as emails.

The company does, however, connect timestamps for connections. The company says it needs this data to calculate peak times for service demand in order to optimize network capacity. AVG also tracks the amount of data transmitted, which it says it needs “to plan for new network capacity and server improvements.” The company says all of this data is kept for 35 days and then deleted.

In addition to that server-side information, AVG will also log data from the VPN clients, including connection events (connects, disconnects, failures, etc.), to maintain service quality. It also logs “application events” such as auto-connects and uninstalls as well as crash reports that users send back manually. All of this data is kept for two years and then deleted.

Clearly, AVG is not the most privacy-conscious when it comes to data collection. So if your livelihood depends on you having the most private service possible this is probably not the one you want.

Is AVG Secure VPN worth it?

AVG Secure VPN has some good things going for it. It’s easy to use, it does a decent job unblocking streaming services, and the fact that it offers 10 simultaneous device connections is admirable. It does unfortunately log some web activity data which will alienate privacy advocates, but the company is at least upfront about what it keeps and for how long.

If you want a VPN from a well-known security company that does the basics right and isn’t overly complex then AVG Secure is a decent enough choice.

Editor’s note: Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this article.

Best Prices Today: AVG Secure

RetailerPriceAVG$4.55View DealPCWorld Software Store$5.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Sam Singleton is a tech editor and PCWorld’s jack of all trades. When he’s not on the hunt for the best computer deals he’s covering VPNs, productivity software, laptops, and a wide gamut of consumer-grade hardware and software.

Recent stories by Sam Singleton:

Best VPNs for Android 2024: Our picks for phones and tabletsProtonVPN review: Great paid plan, even better free planTunnelVision hack allows attackers to bypass VPN protections

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