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Best cloud-based antivirus in 2024

Best cloud antivirus can help you receive strong protection against malware without having a huge impact on your computer’s performance. It carries out the virus scanning process directly on the cloud instead of completing it on the device itself. So you have plenty of resources left to continue browsing, playing games, or watching movies during the scans.

However, not all providers have implemented cloud technology with their products for home users. Thus, it becomes challenging to find a cloud-powered solution which is not for business only.

For this reason, we’ve carefully researched and tested well-known security products to compile a list of best cloud-based antivirus software in 2024. Each of our selected tools have great malware detection capabilities, low impact on PC performance, and offer additional security features.

Top 5 best cloud antivirus software:

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What is cloud-based virus protection?

Cloud-based virus protection is a technical feature that defines how the antivirus operates. The differences between the cloud-based and traditional antivirus are most notable when it comes to malware definition storage and virus scanning.

Traditional antivirus solutions store known malware definitions and perform the scanning directly on the device. Cloud-based antivirus, on the other hand, does everything on the cloud. As a result, malware definitions on the cloud are updated in real time, meaning that the antivirus can instantly detect the most recent threats.

With traditional protection solutions, upgrades have to be performed manually. During that time, between the update release and installation, a new and unknown malware has a higher chance of infecting your device.

Another cloud-based antivirus benefit is a better computer performance. That’s because cloud-based scanning requires less of your device’s computing power and as a result – doesn’t deteriorate its performance.

The best cloud-based antivirus software – our detailed list:

To help you select the best cloud antivirus, we’ve tested a dozen of different providers for you. Below, you will find detailed descriptions of the great products that we’ve picked.

1. TotalAV – overall the best cloud-based antivirus in 2024

totalav antivirus banner 1
Max devices:8
Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Free trial:Free version available
Current deal:Get TotalAV, now 80% OFF!

TotalAV is the best cloud antivirus since it provides advanced cloud scanning of unknown or suspicious files in real-time. Also, you get a full security package with many additional features to protect your device as well as sensitive information.

Protection: this cloud antivirus has shown great results in independent tests – 99% protection against zero-day and 99.96% against widespread malware. So you can be sure that your system is safe from viruses, worms, Trojan horses or even ransomware.

Performance: it doesn’t take much time to ensure your device is malware-free either. During our tests, the Quick scan with TotalAV took merely 14 seconds, while the Full scan – 6 min 36 s. It’s an exceptionally great performance as most antiviruses require more than 20 minutes for a complete system checkup.

Features: apart from real-time cloud-powered protection, this antivirus also offers extra features for online security, like a VPN. Plus, you get a password manager to minimize the risks of account hacking and an AdBlock to remove intrusive and potentially malicious ads when browsing.

Compatibility: it doesn’t matter what type of device you use, as this cloud antivirus is compatible with all major operating systems. That includes Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. Both desktop and mobile apps are well organized and easy to set up.

Price: this provider offers multiple subscription options and the prices start from $19.00/year for 3 devices with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, there’s a free version that you can use to try the product before purchasing.

Read our full TotalAV review for more information.

2. Surfshark AV – top cloud-based antivirus and a VPN bundle

Surfshark Antivirus banner
Max devices:5
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Free trial:No
Current deal:Get Surfshark Antivirus - 80% OFF + 3 months FREE!

Surfshark AV is also one of the best cloud-powered antivirus solutions. Apart from real-time and scheduled scans, it has the Surfshark Cloud Protect system that examines unrecognized files on the cloud to better detect rare types of malware.

Protection: you can expect great malware detection rates as during our tests, it successfully detected 7/10 malicious files planted among 100,000 regular ones. That’s a really great result considering that we’ve used various types of viruses, including Trojans, spyware, adware, and others.

Performance: another great thing about Surfshark AV is that it’s lightweight – the average CPU usage during our full scan test was around 22% and it took 25 minutes to complete. The highest peak was 53% but it dropped down quickly. So the impact on PC performance isn’t visible.

Features: this provider offers an all-in-one security package. For that, you get the top-class Surfshark VPN – one of the best VPN services currently available. Also, there’s an option to use a private search engine to hide your online activities and even receive alerts if your data gets leaked.

Compatibility: this cloud antivirus has dedicated apps for Windows, Android, and Mac. We’ve tested each of them – the design is not cluttered and they’re ultra easy to use. However, since this is a relatively new product, there’s no app for iOS just yet.

Price: the subscription prices start from $47.85/year for 5 devices and include a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also choose your subscription duration based on your needs.

Learn more about this provider in our Surfshark Antivirus review.

3. NordVPN Threat Protection – great cloud-powered protection solution

NordVPN threat protection banner
Max devices:10
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Free trial:Yes, 7-day
Current deal:Get NordVPN Antivirus with 72% OFF + FREE travel data!

NordVPN Threat Protection is an excellent solution that uses cloud technology to safeguard devices from harmful sites, programs, trackers, and ads. On top of that, since NordVPN is initially a VPN service provider, it also allows you to connect to a secure VPN server and encrypt your traffic for an additional layer of security.

Protection: Threat Protection feature includes real-time monitoring to effectively block potentially dangerous websites, downloads, trackers, and ads. After an initial checkup, it additionally uploads suspicious files on the cloud for a secondary examination. This way, you get even stronger protection against online threats.

Performance: this is an excellent choice for users who seek a very lightweight cloud-based security. It doesn’t take a lot of space and once you install the NordVPN app, it continuously works in the background without interrupting your regular activities.

Features: apart from preventing malware, this security solution also allows you to secure your sensitive information, unblock streaming platforms, and enjoy safe torrenting. For that, you just need to enable a VPN connection and choose a server in your desired location.

Compatibility: you can use the Threat Protection feature and the VPN services on all types of devices, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The apps are very user-friendly, modern, and easy to set up.

Price: Threat Protection comes together with all NordVPN plans at no additional cost. The subscription prices start from $4.39/month for 10 devices and include a 30-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, there’s a free 7-day trial for Android.

Find out more about this product in our detailed NordVPN TP review.

4. McAfee – good antivirus with cloud technology and many features

McAfee interface 1
Max devices:Unlimited
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Free trial:Free mobile version available
Current deal:Get McAfee, save up to 70%

McAfee antivirus is also cloud-based which makes it a good choice for security. In addition, since it performs scans on the cloud instead of the device itself, it doesn’t highly impact your device performance. So you can easily continue with your regular tasks while your system is being checked.

Protection: independent testing labs show great McAfee malware detection scores. It’s 99.4% effective in detecting zero-day malware and 100% effective when it comes to widespread threats.

Performance: during our own tests, we’ve received good performance results as well. The Quick scan took 6 minutes and 20 seconds, while the Full scan – 22 minutes. Additionally, it didn’t use extensive amounts of CPU, so it doesn’t highly affect your computer performance either.

Features: it’s important to mention that McAfee includes a firewall that prevents malware infiltration in real-time. Plus, when it comes to extras, this antivirus is quite generous as well. You get McAfee Safe Connect VPN, a file shredder, a password manager, and speed up tools.

Compatibility: this cloud antivirus supports all popular desktop and mobile devices – Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. While it’s easy to download and install the apps, the interface might be confusing at first. So you may have to spend some time familiarizing yourself first.

Price: McAfee costs from $39.99/year with a 30-day money-back guarantee included. There’s also a free version that you can try on your Android or iPhone.

Read more about this product in our full McAfee antivirus review.

5. Avira – solid cloud-based antivirus offering a free version

Avira banner 1
Max devices:50
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Free trial:Unlimited free version
Current deal:Get 1 year of Avira at 43% OFF!

Avira antivirus is another solid option when searching for the best cloud-based protection services. It has a premium and a free version both of which use cloud technology when scanning devices for malware.

Protection: according to independent testing lab results, Avira provides 100% protection against zero-day malware and 99.98% against widespread threats. So, you definitely receive strong protection against both prevalent and unknown viruses.

Performance: we’ve tested the Full scan option, and it merely took 3 minutes and 30 seconds to complete an entire system checkup. While it seems impressive, it’s worth noting that it requires quite a lot of CPU power and might visibly affect your PC performance during the scanning process.

Features: Apart from cloud-based scanning, Avira also offers a password manager to help prevent account hacking. Plus, there’s an unlimited VPN, a tracker remover, and an anti-phishing feature to keep you safe online.

Compatibility: this antivirus works with all major operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It took around 4-5 minutes to complete the installation during our tests and the apps were intuitive and user-friendly.

Price: Avira subscription plans start from $26.99/year and offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, you can always use the free version to test how the cloud technology works before purchasing a premium plan.

Check out our Avira antivirus review for more details.

How we tested these cloud-based antiviruses

Selecting the best cloud-based antivirus solutions requires evaluating each one in terms of specific criteria. In order to provide you with top-class products, we’ve used the following ones:

  • Malware detection scores. We’ve examined how well the cloud-based antivirus can protect against viruses and other cyber threats. For that, we’ve used reports from reliable and independent testing labs, like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
  • Impact on PC performance. Scanning all of the files on the computer for malware can take a lot of CPU power and have a significant effect on its performance. For this reason, we’ve also evaluated the impact score and checked which cloud-based antivirus providers offer lightweight solutions.
  • Compatibility. All types of operating systems are vulnerable to attacks. Likewise, we’ve selected products that are compatible with the most popular devices, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This way, you can get top-class protection against malware without wondering whether it works with your OS.
  • Free trial availability. Additionally, it’s great if you can try out the software before commiting to a long-term plan. Thus, we’ve checked which cloud-based antiviruses offer free trials or include money-back guarantees. Both options allow you to test the product risk-free.
  • Price. While many might think that higher price equals better protection, it’s not always the case. We’ve compared the price and quality ratio of the available cloud-based antivirus solutions and selected products that offer multiple subscription plans, including affordable ones.

Why should you use a cloud-based antivirus?

Cloud-based antivirus solutions have multiple benefits. Here are the reason why you should use one:

  • Get better protection against new malware. Since cloud-based antivirus doesn’t keep malware definitions on the device, they’re continuously updated in real time on the cloud. Meaning that the antivirus gets information about the latest cyber threats quicker and can detect them almost instantly.
  • Enjoy unaffected device performance during scans. The process of scanning computer files for viruses is also completed on the cloud. As a result, it requires less of your device’s computing power – so, more of it is available for your daily tasks.
  • Have more device storage. Even though the cloud-based antivirus program has to be installed on the device just like the traditional one, it requires less space. So, you can have more device storage for other applications.

How does cloud antivirus software work?

Cloud-based antivirus software operations are based on offloading the scanning process from the device to the cloud. This way, it uses less computer resources for the process and can better detect malware in real-time.

How cloud antivirus works

Here’s a short explanation of how cloud antivirus works:

  1. Detection. Antivirus detects a suspicious file and sends its digital fingerprint to the cloud.
  2. Examination. The file’s data is compared to the database of known malware in real-time.
  3. Evaluation. If the digital fingerprint matches with information on the database, the file is identified as malicious; if no match is found, then the file is marked as safe.
  4. Return of information. The information is sent back to the device with further instructions to either keep the file or remove it immediately.

Traditional or cloud-based antivirus – which’s better?

Cloud-based antivirus is superior to the traditional one because it’s better at detecting the newest malware and has less impact on the computer’s performance. In simple terms, you can get top-class protection against the latest viruses and perform your regular activities uninterrupted at the same time.

Additionally, antiviruses with cloud-based protection use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to become better at malware detection. On top of that, installing one on your device requires less storage space so you have plenty of it left for other applications.

Here’s a full comparison of other key cloud-based and traditional antivirus features:

Cloud-based AVTraditional AV
Real-time malware definition updates
Advanced learning with AI and ML
Less impact on PC performance
Requires less storage

However, cloud-based antivirus also has a downside. For example, since all examined files are compared with the information on the cloud, the scanning process might take longer than with the regular antivirus.

Should I use free cloud-based antivirus?

No, you shouldn’t use a free cloud-based antivirus unless it’s a free version or a free trial of a trusted premium provider. That’s because freemium tools are unreliable and might pose security and privacy risks.

Especially since cloud-based antivirus solutions upload all computer files for comparison on the cloud – unverified products can steal your sensitive information and sell it to third parties.

If you want to avoid the risks but still enjoy free services, we recommend using the free versions or trials offered by premium providers. For example, TotalAV allows you to enjoy cloud-based protection risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Best cloud-based antivirus, like TotalAV, is a great solution for strong protection against widespread and unknown malware. That’s because the virus database used for detection is continuously updated in real-time, making it easier to identify all types of threats.

Additionally, using an antivirus with cloud technology instead of a traditional one can help you avoid a negative impact on your computer’s performance. Meaning that you can continue with your regular activities without any interruptions while the scanning is in progress.

Have you already tried using a cloud antivirus? Share your experience and insights with us in the comments below!

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