© 2023 CyberNews - Latest tech news,
product reviews, and analyses.

If you purchase via links on our site, we may receive affiliate commissions.

Best antivirus software for 2023

As new cyber threats like malware develop every day – getting antivirus protection for your device is crucial. Something as simple as downloading an application or a file that your acquaintances sent via email can end up with your device getting infected.

Even though the latest operating systems, such as Windows or macOS, have in-built security solutions for your computer, they’re not comprehensive enough to provide all-around malware protection.

Aside from safeguarding your devices from threats, a high-quality antivirus can do much more. Whether it's the anonymity assurance of a VPN or the safeguarding of logins via a password manager, a full security suite can provide all these protections. This suite also defends against threats like scams that seek to extract personal data, ransomware that holds your files hostage, and escalating risk of identity theft, wherein cybercriminals exploit personal data.

In our guide, we’re going to help you choose the best antivirus software of 2023. As cybersecurity experts, we conducted hands-on investigations, performing tests to offer you firsthand experience. These selections merge insights from autonomous labs like AV-TEST, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs, along with our in-house trials for comprehensive evaluations.

Note: We regularly test and research antivirus software to update this list with products that are of the highest quality.

The 7 best antivirus services in September 2023

📢 LIMITED OFFER: Only now, get 1 year of TotalAV at 84% OFF!

How to choose the right antivirus software?

Choosing the best antivirus might seem challenging at first. There are so many options offering a variety of features. So, how to decide which one suits your needs?

Here are a few simple factors that you should consider before choosing an antivirus:

  • Look for a constantly updating malware database. New cyber threats are being constantly developed to ensure antivirus programs can’t detect them. For such a reason, we only included providers that are known for regular malware database updates.
  • Check security features. The best antivirus solutions should include more than just malware protection. It should provide you with other features you may need, for example, a VPN, a password manager, or any other protection measures. Unless you already have such tools, you can opt for more feature-rich services.
  • Seek for all-around antivirus protection. If you’re not the only one using a computer or a mobile device, you should consider getting an antivirus that would provide extra protection. Some providers have solid parental control features while others protect your whole home network and alert about possible dangers.
  • Consider your budget. Not all antivirus programs offer the same bang-for-the-buck ratio. That’s why spending less (or more) can sometimes get you many more features.
  • Try the software first. You can always make use of the money-back guarantee that antivirus services offer to try the product out. This way, you’ll test it out yourself and see whether or not it’s worth the money you’re paying.

Top 10 best antivirus software in 2023 for PC:

Our guide showcases the best antivirus software, whether you’re aiming to protect against malware, identity theft, ransomware, or other bad actors. All of our listed providers have the necessary tools to provide maximum malware protection and bonus features that you may find useful. Without further ado, let’s dive into the detailed descriptions of all 10 best antivirus programs.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

The best overall antivirus protection software in 2023

Bitdefender interface
Max simultaneous connections:15 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get Bitdefender for up to 67% OFF!🔥

Bitdefender is the best antivirus of 2023 because it offers exceptional malware protection rates and security from all types of malware. Depending on the plan you pick, Bitdefender can become your all-in-one cybersecurity suite with a VPN and a password manager.

During independent lab tests, Bitdefender blocked 100% of both 0-day and 4-week-old malware.

You can get Bitdefender on various OS, including Windows and macOS computers, or iOS and Android. Each app is neatly organized and beginner-friendly, ensuring you easily adapt to it fast.

Bitdefender's full cybersecurity suite includes advanced malware, ransomware, webcam, and microphone protection. You’ll also get a password manager and even a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with a daily data limit of 200 MB to keep you anonymous online.

There’s also an Advanced Threat Defence feature that monitors in real-time any suspicious behaviour on your system and can prevent zero-day attacks.

With prices starting from $19.99/year, Bitdefender has budget-friendly subscription options for anyone. With Bitdefender's Family plan, you can connect up to 15 devices at once. There's even a Bitdefender antivirus free edition and a 30-day free trial for premium services that might help make up your mind before committing.

Visit our Bitdefender review to read more about the features.

2. Norton 360 Antivirus

Premium antivirus with top security features for all your devices

Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Current deal:🔥Get up to 66% OFF Norton Antivirus🔥

Another optimal antivirus pick is Norton 360 antivirus. Its malware detection rates are just as great as Bitdefender’s, while the apps are very simple to get the hang of. Norton 360 is convenient for those who wish for a seamless antivirus experience.

Independent lab test results showed that the antivirus catches 100% of zero-day malware, has minimal impact on the speeds, and detects no false positives. Our own tests showed similar results. The real-time protection feature instantly blocked all threats as soon as we released them. However, the full scan was quite heavy on system resources.

As for features, you get such extra security measures as a smart firewall, secure cloud backup, a VPN, and a password manager. A strong contender to Bitdefender indeed.

We tried all available apps (Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS) – the interface is organized and easy to navigate on all of them. However, some of the extra features open up in different tabs. Inconvenience for some, nothing of importance to others – it’s your call.

With prices starting from $19.99/year, this antivirus is a great choice for robust malware protection. Plus, there’s a free 7-day trial even for Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium plans.

Visit our Norton 360 Antivirus review to read more about the features.

3. TotalAV

The essential free antivirus package and excellent premium software for multi-devices

Total AV user interface
Max simultaneous connections:6 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Current deal:🔥Get TotalAV, now 84% OFF!🔥

With excellent malware detection rates, TotalAV earns one of the top spots on our best antivirus list. It successfully blocks 97% of zero-day and 100% of 4-week-old malware attacks, guaranteeing exceptional protection against various cyber threats.

When testing in-house, TotalAV found 7 out of 10 malicious files during the full scan. It was quite heavy on resources but scanned only for around 7 minutes. The quick scan was, well… quick. It took 14 seconds and had virtually no visible effects on resources: that was really impressive to see.

In terms of the apps, the interface of both dedicated mobile (Android and iOS) and desktop (Windows and macOS) apps is well-organized and simple, just like the installation process itself.

The antivirus also has useful security features that come free of charge. Without spending a single dollar, you get a malware scanner and anti-phishing protection.

If you do get a paid subscription, your security coverage expands a great deal with real-time protection and ransomware shields. On top of that, it also includes a Cloud Scanner, a Disk Cleaner, and other optimization tools. These will help you free up some space in your hard drive and make your startup more efficient.

TotalAV also offers a VPN with unlimited data, a password manager, and an Ad Blocker to ensure safe online browsing.

Apart from the free plan, there are also three other plans with prices starting from $19.00/year. You’re also entitled to a full refund since each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Visit our TotalAV Antivirus review to read more about the features.

4. Surfshark Antivirus

Great all-around antivirus protection with a top VPN for a budget-friendly price

Surfshark AV banner
Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Current deal:🔥Get Surfshark Antivirus - 82% OFF + 2 months FREE!🔥

Surfshark is primarily known as a VPN provider – but its excellent antivirus suite makes it so much more. It's a great internet security suite of features for all your online safety needs.

Fully certified by independent antivirus testing labs, Surfshark Antivirus can block 100% of threats. In our tests, the full scan was exceptionally fast, covering over 100,000 files in just 90 seconds and finding 7 out of 10 potentially malicious files.

In terms of features, there’s real-time protection that protects your system at all times. There’s also Data Breach Protection which checks for your personal data leaked on various internet databases. There's even a Webcam protection feature, a secure search engine, where everything stays strictly private, and neither search history nor activity logs are collected.

And, of course, there's also a wildcard: Surfshark has one of the best VPNs in the business, keeping your privacy intact when surfing online while offering some of the best speeds in the industry.

The antivirus is available on Windows PC, macOS, and Android devices. All of the apps are very neatly organized and simple to use.

You can get Surfshark antivirus on 5 devices for only $53.88/year. A standard 30-day money-back guarantee is also available.

Visit our Surfshark Antivirus review to read more about the features.

5. NordVPN Threat Protection

Top real-time threat protection and an excellent VPN for mobile devices

nordvpn threat protection banner new
Max simultaneous connections:6 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows
Current deal:🔥 Get NordVPN Threat Protection – 63% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥

NordVPN is one of the world’s most popular VPN providers. But in recent years, the company has been steadily moving towards becoming an all-in-one data privacy solution. Now, NordVPN is an excellent security package. It not only hides your IP address but also offers real-time protection against various online threats.

The new NordVPN Threat Protection is an extra layer of defense. This feature ensures your browsing experience isn’t affected by various threats found across the web. This means protecting your devices from malware, tracking, malicious ads, and overall bad actors.

The Threat Protection feature identifies malware-affected files you’re downloading and proactively stops you from landing on infected websites. It also blocks annoying ads and trackers found on many websites.

All of these features don’t require an active VPN connection to work: as long as the NordVPN app is on and Threat Protection is enabled, it will keep working in the background, providing additional protection as you browse.

And of course, we can’t ignore that NordVPN is a VPN: and the best one in its class, letting you access worldwide streaming content and stay protected when connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. With the new protection features, it’s an excellent all-around solution if you’re simply looking to stay safer every time you browse.

Threat Protection is available on almost all NordVPN applications and comes free with every NordVPN plan, making this antivirus a versatile Internet security package. The plan prices start from $3.29/month.

Visit our NordVPN review to learn more about this product.


The best lightweight antivirus software to protect all your devices

NOD32 user interface
Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, Linux, Mac, Android
Current deal:🔥Get ESET, save up to 15%🔥

ESET NOD32 is the leading Slovak cybersecurity product, and offers a very solid and reliable antivirus suite – well worth a place on our best antivirus software list. The independent testing lab scores don’t disappoint – the antivirus is categorized as a Top Product that blocks 100% of attempted attacks.

To make sure of that, we did some testing ourselves. While the scanning options were confusing at first, the custom scan (which appears to be a mixture of quick and full ones) found all threats that we challenged it with. System resources were allocated well, too: other apps that were on experienced no major performance issues during the scans.

You can get ESET on Windows, macOS, and Android. Unfortunately, it’s not available on iOS, but other apps are clean and user-friendly. Considering the Apple ecosystem’s security, this might not be a big problem.

With its core package, you get real-time protection against malware and ransomware. But, if you're worrying that the NOD32 Essential Protection might not be enough, you can opt for ESET Internet Security, which includes the web protection feature to prevent harmful JavaScript injections and a network monitoring tool.

For those who want to go all-in, there's an option to pick the ESET Smart Security Premium package. It will add a password manager and encryption for personal files.

What’s really exceptional about ESET NOD32 is that it’s cloud-based and offloads most of the heavy processing to its servers. This means much less work for your device and better performance.

In terms of pricing, the basic plan starts from $39.99/year. The price of each package increases with the number of devices that you need to protect.

Visit our ESET Antivirus review to read more about the features.

7. Malwarebytes

Simple and intuitive antivirus platform for all your devices

Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get Malwarebytes, now 25% OFF🔥

Malwarebytes is another solid anti-malware program that does the job really well. It performs admirably in independent lab testing, especially when it comes to detecting malware. Let it be a zero-day-old recent threat or one that’s been around for more than 4 weeks, it stops 100% of them.

Malwarebytes had quite an impact on system resources during our in-house test. So we wouldn’t recommend launching any apps during full scans. Additionally, it found 7 out of 10 threats during the 6-minute scan.

You can install Malwarebytes on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms. They’re very simple and allow you to set different scans, including daily threat scans.

Malwarebytes uses real-time malware protection to monitor your device activity and stop any potential cyber threats before they enter the system. Additionally, there’s a ransomware prevention feature to help you avoid file-encrypting viruses from attacking your device.

What’s also worth mentioning is that Malwarebytes includes exploit protection which is useful when stopping malware from both infecting the device and spreading further.

When it comes to extra features, Malwarebytes offers a VPN to help you encrypt your internet traffic and protect private information when browsing online. Not only will your devices be protected from malware, but also incoming and outgoing internet traffic and other data.

What’s worth mentioning is that there’s a free Malwarebytes version, but it only offers a virus scanner. If you want full malware protection, the premium plans start from $38.24/year.

Visit our Malwarebytes review to read more about the features.

8. McAfee Total Protection

Great cross-platform support with a basic plan to secure you from malware threats

McAfee user interface
Max simultaneous connections:Unlimited devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get McAfee, save up to 67%🔥

McAfee falls into the category of our top antivirus software suites since it offers not only protection against the latest cyber threats but also provides additional security features, doing more than just basic malware protection.

Independent testing labs have examined the security capabilities of this antivirus and show that it catches 100% of both 0-day and 4-week-old cyber threats. They rated its performance, protection, and usability with 6 out of 6 points.

We tested McAfee ourselves and threw 10 malicious files for it to detect. While the quick scan found none of them, the full scan blocked all threats, not even halfway through the scan. This is a rare sight to see, even with the best antiviruses. So, although the system resources can take a toll on your device performance, the final results are worth the wait.

What’s also worth mentioning is that McAfee supports Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android operating systems and offers pretty easy-to-use apps.

McAfee’s core package includes a VPN, a password manager, and a file shredder, among other features.

Additionally, the antivirus provides identity theft protection and security for your network as well. The Home Network Security allows managing all devices connected to the wifi and alerts you of any intrusion attempts (unavailable on Windows).

McAfee’s prices start from $39.99/year, and there are both low-priced and more expensive tier options. However, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test all the features without the risk of committing to an unsatisfactory service.

Visit our McAfee Antivirus review to read more about the features.

9. Avira Antivirus

Best antivirus with a free plan and robust security features

Avira user interface
Max simultaneous connections:50 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get 1 year of Avira at 43% OFF!🔥

Avira Antivirus is one of the best antivirus software packages available in both free and premium segments that also offers outstanding protection. It showed impressive scores from independent test labs, successfully blocking 99.2% of cyber threats.

As for our initiated tests, Avira distinguished itself with a super fast full scan – it took only 3 minutes and 30 seconds. But get this – it also managed to block all 10 malicious files. Although the CPU was high the whole time, it shouldn’t be considered a drawback since it only takes a few minutes.

Avira antivirus is compatible with the most popular operating systems (Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS). However, not all features are available for macOS – email protection and download scans are for Windows users only.

As for features, without opening up your wallet, you can get a VPN, a firewall, and a password manager when most of the time, you’ll be paying extra to get some or all of them.

Apart from that, this antivirus has advanced ransomware protection, web protection for safe online shopping, email protection, and a file shredder. There’s also an automatic software updating feature, a tool for browser safety, and a password manager, along with regular malware protection solutions.

Furthermore, what distinguishes Avira from other antiviruses is its PC optimization tools. For example, you can speed up the booting of your device.

Avira’s prices start from $30.99/year, but if you turn out to be unhappy with the service, there’s also a money-back guarantee for up to 60 days.

Visit our Avira Antivirus review to read more about the features.

10. Trend Micro

Simple and secure antivirus for online threat protection with a budget-friendly price

Trend Micro antivirus banner
Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:Yes (Android and iOS)
Platforms:Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get Trend Micro, now 54% OFF!🔥

Trend Micro is another solid antivirus software that can help you protect your devices from cyber threats. During independent lab tests, this antivirus showed the ability to catch 100% of the latest malware during the examination.

Our tests demonstrated that while there were a few spikes, the antivirus wasn’t heavy on system resources in general. The virus scanner managed to delete 8 threats out of 10 in under 9 minutes.

Trend Micro is compatible with all major operating systems (including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS) so that you can use it on both desktop and mobile devices, and it’s ideal for beginners. However, it does take ages to uninstall the app.

In terms of features, this antivirus uses AI technologies to scan for malware. Aside from that, Trend Micro offers Pay Guard and Folder Shield for safe shopping and document protection from ransomware. You can also enjoy using Social Media Privacy Protection, Fraud Buster, Dark Web Monitoring features, and a VPN to add an extra layer of security when browsing online.

But these features are not all. Trend Micro also gives the possibility to use system optimization tools and a password manager to boost your device’s performance and keep all of your credentials safe.

With this provider, you can check out their free version to see how it feels. And if you want to test out the Trend Micro Maximum Security or other premium plans (which start from $19.95/year), they include a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.

Visit our Trend Micro review to read more about the features.

Antivirus software rankings

When it comes to protecting your devices from the ever-evolving online threats, selecting the right antivirus software is key. Below is a list of the top 15 antivirus software options, each with its own strengths and features to consider. Please note that while these antivirus solutions have been carefully selected, not all antivirus programs are included in this list.

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Excels in providing excellent malware detection rates, a user-friendly interface, and a wide range of additional security features, such as a secure browser and password manager.
  2. Norton 360 Antivirus. Offers comprehensive protection with features like real-time threat detection, secure VPN, and cloud backup. Its user-friendly interface and extensive customer support enhance its appeal.
  3. TotalAV. Combines strong malware protection with system optimization tools, making it a well-rounded choice for users seeking both security and performance enhancement.
  4. Surfshark Antivirus. Surfshark not only offers robust antivirus protection but also includes a VPN to ensure your online privacy and security. It's a great option for users looking for both services in one package.
  5. NordVPN Threat Protection. It goes beyond VPN services to include advanced antivirus features, making it an excellent choice for those seeking added online security.
  6. ESET NOD32. Known for its fast scanning, efficient resource usage, and strong detection capabilities against various malware types.
  7. McAfee Total Protection. Offers a wide range of features, including antivirus, firewall, secure browsing, and identity theft protection, making it suitable for users who desire all-in-one security solutions.
  8. Avira Antivirus. Strong malware detection and minimal impact on system performance. Its free version offers significant protection as well.
  9. Trend Micro. Effective ransomware protection and a wide array of privacy features make it an attractive choice for users concerned about online privacy.
  10. Malwarebytes. Specializes in targeting malware and adware, making it a powerful complement to traditional antivirus solutions.
  11. Aura Antivirus. A user-friendly interface and a range of scanning options make it suitable for users who prioritize simplicity.
  12. Intego. Designed specifically for Mac users, it offers comprehensive protection against macOS-specific threats.
  13. AVG Antivirus. AVG provides solid malware protection and various features such as email and link scanning, enhancing overall security.
  14. Avast Antivirus. Avast is known for its diverse set of features, including real-time protection, Wi-Fi security scanning, and a robust free version.
  15. Sophos Antivirus. Basic remote control app, scanning, and threat analysis. Provides different layers of security and flexible pricing.

Some antivirus like Kaspersky didn’t make it to our top list. Even though Kaspersky has boasted a spot among our top antivirus tools for quite some time, the questionable integrity of data services and practices made us reconsider offering it to our users.

Comparison of antivirus software

Bitdefender Norton 360TotalAVSurfsharkAVNordVPN TPESET NOD32MalwarebytesMcAfeeAviraTrend Micro
Free versionYesNoYesNoNoNoYesYes (Android, iOS)YesYes (Android and iOS)
PriceFrom $19.99/yearFrom $19.99/yearFrom $19.00/yearFrom $53.88/yearFrom $3.29/monthFrom $39.99/yearFrom $38.24/yearFrom $39.99/yearFrom $30.99/yearFrom $19.95/year
Device supportWindows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Linux, Mac, AndroidWindows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS
Identity theft protection
  • Advanced Threat Defense
  • Profiles
  • Ransomware remediation
  • AntiSpam
  • Anti-tracker
  • File shredder
  • Anti-webcam hijack
  • VPN
  • Password manager
  • Real-time threat protection
  • VPN
  • Smart Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Cloud backup
  • SafeCam
  • Safe Browsing (VPN)
  • WebShield extension
  • Secure Password Vault
  • Ad blocker
  • System tune up
  • CleanWeb
  • Data breach monitoring
  • Surfshark VPN included
  • Private search engine
  • Real-time protection
  • Ad blocker
  • Automatic download scanner
  • VPN
  • Tracker protection
  • Anti-theft tools
  • Password Manager
  • Switch Protection Mode
  • Secure browser
  • Real-time protection
  • Exploit protection
  • Browser Guard
  • Ransomware protection
  • QuickClean
  • Shredder
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • McAfee WebAdvisor
  • McAfee Speed Up
  • Password manager
  • Password manager
  • VPN
  • Safe shopping suite
  • Email protection
  • Firewall
  • Ransomware protection
  • Social Media Privacy Protection
  • Fraud Buster
  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • VPN
  • Password manager
  • Optimization tools
ReviewBitdefender reviewNorton 360 reviewTotalAV reviewSurfshark AV reviewNordVPN reviewESET NOD32 reviewMalwarebytes reviewMcAfee reviewAvira reviewTrend Micro review

How we tested antivirus software

Out of hundreds of antivirus programs, we investigated 25 popular solutions. To select only the best antivirus providers for our list, we perform in-house testing of the security software and take into account independent lab testing results. The main points to note were antivirus software performance, malware detection rates with already known and zero-day threats, and different security features providers offer.

Additionally, we sought out those providers with easy-to-use apps, compatibility with various devices, and value-to-price ratio. These criteria are important to users, so we ensure that the providers in our best antivirus software in the 2023 list offer comprehensive security packages.

Providers tested:25
Operating systems used:Windows, macOS, Android
Minimum virus detection rate:80%
Features tested:Real-time protection, scanning options, web protection, spam filters, firewall, parental controls, bonus features

We performed our tests on the Virtualbox VM with Windows 11 installed on Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 2 device with AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 5650U processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, with Windows 11 Pro operating system.

During in-house testing, we used various popular malware samples, including ransomware, keyloggers, spyware, adware, and others. These online threats are found in malicious files prepared in advance and set up in a controlled environment that imitates the world wide web.

To test out the antivirus, we downloaded ten malicious files and took notice of how many of them the software was able to identify and remove. For successful performance, we sought out a minimum of 80% detection rate.

In addition to in-house testing, we also take into account independent antivirus testing labs, like AV-Test Insititute, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives. They continuously put antivirus software to the test and monitor their performance, false positives, and how they detect malware and other threats.

Video review: Best antivirus of 2023

In this video, we'll review the top antivirus software of 2023 based on independent testing results, features, and pricing. So whether you're a casual user or a power user, we'll help you find the perfect antivirus software for your needs.

Do you really need antivirus software in 2023?

No matter what level of IT skills and online browsing habits you have, an antivirus is a necessary addition to your cybersecurity posture.

Here are some of the reasons why you’d benefit from investing in an antivirus:

  • You often end up on suspicious websites. Unreliable websites are the primary source of various cyber threats that can infect your devices. Premium antivirus tools can block malicious sites and intrusive ads to help you avoid malware.
  • You shop online regularly. If you’re entering your credit card details nearly every day, it would be wise to use an antivirus that puts your transactions in an encrypted secure browser screen.
  • Your kids use your device. If you have children, making sure they stay safe is even more important. With the parental control features, such as webcam blocking, you can protect your children even while not at home. Chances are there are more than a few devices connected to your home Wi-Fi. A home antivirus can protect all of them at once, saving the hassle of catering to each separately.
  • You don’t have all-around protection. Whether you’re using a password manager, a VPN service, or a secure email as separate products or not, you can benefit from a quality antivirus suite. Nowadays, they incorporate most of these cybersecurity tools, so it’s significantly easier to use them and ensure all-around security of your device.

As the years go by, it’s less about malware but about cybersecurity in general. Keep in mind that great antivirus solutions are feature-rich and come cheaper than getting a file encryptor or a VPN separately.

Free vs. paid antivirus: should you pay?

Although free antivirus solutions can offer basic protection against malware and fulfill simple needs, you should pay if you want reliable and all-rounded security.

There’s one thing to remember – antivirus companies need to make money: either from premium plans or from your personal data. This means that an unreliable antivirus company can sell your information to cybercriminals or other third parties.

Not to mention that some free antivirus software can include pop-up ads or even malicious programs that can infiltrate you with malware (the last thing you want from an antivirus).

So, if you still want to get a free service, look at serious and legitimate companies that offer the best and tested free antivirus services, for example, TotalAV. They’re still interested in you eventually paying for premium plans, but at least they won’t do you harm.

However, expect fewer features and serious limitations as you go. Often, free plans will let you run simple system scans. But features like custom scanning, ransomware protection, and advanced firewalls are usually only available when purchasing a premium plan.


Threat actors are lurking in various corners of cyberspace. One wrong move, be it clicking the wrong link or visiting a suspicious site, and you may infect your computer or another device with malware. For such a reason, using an antivirus, especially if it has a real-time protection feature, is crucial.

Only by regular scanning of your device can you protect yourself from personal data theft, including banking details. Our best recommendation is Bitdefender. It guarantees high malware protection rates as well as a wide feature array, including real-time protection and a VPN.

August 2023 updates – what’s new?

We have updated our article on the best antivirus software in 2023 with the following changes:

  • Rankings. We have added rankings to the article to showcase excellent antivirus options that don't fit within our top 10 list. This includes antivirus software that is specifically designed for businesses, families, or just solutions with other various functionalities.
  • Identity theft protection. We have paid more attention to the rising topic of identity theft and now recommend all antivirus software including identity theft protection. This includes features such as dark web monitoring, credit monitoring, and identity theft insurance.
  • Independent testing results. We have updated our independent testing results to reflect the latest threats. This includes testing from organizations such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
4.6 /5
Special deal
-84% OFF
4.7 /5
Special deal
-66% OFF
4.9 /5
Special deal
-67% OFF



prefix 2 years ago
How necessary is antivirus software? forgive me but I’ve been using my computer for ages without any protection and nothing happened. I never click on random links and generally try to be careful online so I don’t see how my computer could get infected. I also use vpn with blockers. I would be interested to know if I may actually face any threats even with such low risk . I’m genuinely interested, always eager to learn. Thank you for your help.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear wounducknow,
Words cannot describe how essential the antivirus software is. I’m happy that you were able to dodge malware so far, but the fact is that it’s getting more sophisticated, and there’s more and more of it. No matter how internet-savvy you are, you may still get infected with malware one day. Besides, Antivirus Suite would check whether your email ended up on a leaked database. Therefore, for starters, I recommend you install Bitdefender, which has a powerful free version. If you like it, you can get the full suite that will cost you less than a couple of bucks per month.
prefix 2 years ago
After similar hacking experiences on an Android cellphone as several posters mentioned (with VPN in fact), purchased a desktop-Windows 10 to discontinue internet use with cell. Have Comcast internet service with modem. Main use consists of sensitive and financial information. while having once burned twice shy-itis, which comprehensive paid anti-all program is best? Choosing a replacement for gmail is another conundrum. Don’t intend to sync with other devices or WiFi anything if can help it.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hey, Andreas. In your case, I suggest the Norton Antivirus suite. It has its own VPN and password manager. And since none of the suites above offer a secure email service, you should choose either Tutanota or ProronMail.
prefix 2 years ago
Any article that includes Norton 360 in it, automatically is removed as a valid source. Their software has been a bloated nightmare for years. In corporate world their software is dangerous as it missed a LOT. Replacing with other solutions makes you aware of how much it misses.
It really is that bad of a product. When you lose up to 33% of resources because of it, you must uninstall.
prefix 2 years ago
The 5 best antivirus software of 2021?
Is this a joke?
I had trouble with them… not good experience… ha ha
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, AuSS. No, I’m afraid that’s not a joke. I’d love to hear about the antiviruses that you love most, though. Have a good day!
prefix 2 years ago
I can’t imagine my life without gaming. Actually, I spend a fortune on games, however, I don’t want to spend money on antivirus. They are expensive and not always needed ( on the daily basis). Suggest the best free antivirus for gaming. I sometimes download stuff for games (skins, mods, and so on) and websites mostly are very suspicious and download stuff at my own risk.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hey, Leon. As there are not that many good free antiviruses, I’d consider choosing from our list of best free antivirus software.
prefix 2 years ago
Can someone explain the difference between antivirus and antimalware? Antivirus is detecting, blocking, and removing viruses, malware, and ransomware, as well as preventing identity theft and block phishing and fraud. Isn’t antimalware the same? It’s so confusing.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear Jourdan,
There is some confusion with these terms. Technically, malware is any type of software that does something bad to you. This includes viruses, Trojans, ransomware, and so on. However, there are plenty of products named Antivirus, while in fact, they combat all sorts of malware. Therefore, when choosing the best antivirus software, you should look at the features and whether there’s everything that you want. Some tools might not include ransomware protection, while others might ignore adware.
prefix 2 years ago
I guess Bitdefender is not only the best antivirus but also the world’s most popular antivirus. The premium plan is not expensive, and you get a lot in one bundle. That’s why I don’t buy a VPN for example. I used Avast when I purchased my first PC, however, I’ve switched to Bitdefender. It has a very understandable UI, and when I needed some help, live support just saved me.
prefix 2 years ago
Việt Nam
Oli Oli
prefix 2 years ago
you can never be too secure, right? i use a vpn, which has some ad blocks, so many suspicious websites do not even load. but the main concern is – can i have two antivirus programs on my computer? will they conflict with each other, or it will just like double protection if one antivirus didn’t find potential malware, the other will?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear Oli Oli,
Thanks for the comment. You can have two antivirus programs, but they will most likely conflict with each other. In a way, it’s like using two condoms – double doesn’t always mean two times better. I’d suggest adding a password manager to your security suite instead. Stay safe!
prefix 2 years ago
i always thought that the answer to do smartphones need antivirus is no. i mean, i rarely download anything to my phone from suspicious places. however, i was so wrong! i visited one website and something automatically went downloading 🙁 my son when was playing with my phone installed it (simply clicked yes-yes-yes) and my phone went to brick mode.i had to install software from zero. from that moment – always use antivirus on my phone, on my pc, and even on the tablet.
prefix 2 years ago
My old man is so bored with this quarantine that he decided to pull out his old dusty Thinkpad. It takes eons to load, runs as fast as a crippled tortoise yet sounds like a jet engine. I don’t understand why he doesn’t get a new one.
Anyway, now he’s going to dive head first into the new internet. I’m a bit concerned, but I can’t stand over his shoulder all the time and tell him to not click on some weird links. And there’s no way that he would pay for a program. So, long story short – I’m looking for the best free antivirus for older computers. Any ideas?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear RockerChell,
Well, it seems that your dad is not yet ready to let it go 🙂 Convinging him into installing Panda Dome should work. Good luck!
Eddy Hepburn
prefix 2 years ago
Ok, here’s the thing – I got a Macbook Air for Christmas. Now, I’m not really a big fan of Apple so I never really used their products that much in the past, but I have a feeling this might change. I was told that Macs have better security than Windows, but I’m not convinced. I’d feel better with some extra security layers. Problem is – I don’t know what to choose. Do you have any suggestions on what’s the best antivirus scanner for mac? Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll get back to me!
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, Eddy. You’re right about not trusting your online security on Mac alone. As always, you can try a free antivirus first. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Kaspersky Anti-virus, and Avira Antivirus can all be great for macOS.
Duncan N.
prefix 2 years ago
All these articles about hacks got me a bit concerned. I could use a program that would protect all of the devices in my house. What do you think is the best antivirus for multiple pcs? And would I need a different program for phones or tablets? So many devices are connected to the internet, yet I’m not sure if a VPN on my router would be enough protection.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hey, Duncan! Thanks for stopping by. While using a VPN is a big step towards securing your home network, there are still many potential threats that only a reliable antivirus can handle. In your case, I’d suggest McAfee Total Protection. It works on both desktop and mobile devices, comes with plenty of features, and allows to easily manage all devices that are connected to wifi.
Phillip Hedley
prefix 2 years ago
So my grandma decided that she needs a laptop. I think it’s great that she decided to stay more connected to everyone, was always against modern tech, but the pandemic really made her reconsider. Problem is she got some really cheap one with weak specs. So I have to ask – do you have recommendations for best antivirus for low resources computers? Not something that I can test on my own beastly rig so I got to ask the professionals.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear Phillip, thanks for the comment. I’m happy that your grandma has decided to go online! I suggest trying Panda Dome – it’s both free and doesn’t require the latest hardware to run smoothly.
Sherri Hardwick
prefix 2 years ago
Do you know what’s the best antivirus for students? A lot of us have to study remotely now and the universities don’t provide us with things like that, have to manage all of these cybercriminals by ourselves. Which is understandable I suppose, but I’d still like something that gives a good discount to students.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, Sherri. First of all, you don’t have to pay for a good antvirus! There are at least a few with great free versions. I suggest you to try Bitdefender Antivirus Plus or Kaspersky Anti-virus.
prefix 2 years ago
Hey there, Cybernews. I was curious about what you think is the best antivirus for small businesses. We’re not in the IT business, but I’ve been reading all these stories about how all kinds of businesses get attacked with ransomware or other kinds of hacks. I have an online store so it’s really important to keep it running all the time. Right now we don’t need a lot of computers secure, but that could change in the future. I want something that wouldn’t cost too much when the amount of computers increases. Perhaps there are some antiviruses that have an unlimited amount of devices?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hello, MountainShard. Getting an antivirus for business protecion is a very good idea. In your case, the best choice is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. It has a great free version and isn’t pricey in case you decide to upgrade. When it comes to unlimited devices, McAfee Total Protection is probably your best bet. Good luck!
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked