After a long break, VPN reviews are back!
And today on our menu is the review of the Avast VPN service known as SecureLine. If you want to learn:
- if SecureLine is safe;
- if it keeps user logs;
- how it is best to use this VPN;
- if you need it;
Then this review is for you!
To navigate to the section you want to read the most, make use of this menu:
- Avast SecureLine VPN: Unique Benefits and Features
- Pros and Cons of Avast SecureLine VPN
- Avast SecureLine VPN: Speed and Security Tests
- Avast SecureLine VPN: Benefits and features Tests
- Avast SecureLine VPN: Frequently Asked Questions
|Avast SecureLine VPN pros||Avast SecureLine VPN cons|
|⊕ AES 256-bit encryption||⊗ Keeps connection logs|
|⊕ OpenVPN protocol||⊗ No live chat
|⊕ Keeps no usage logs||⊗ Unintuitive store|
|⊕ 7-day free trial||⊗ Too few payment methods|
|⊕ Wide platform support||⊗ Pricy|
|⊕ Flexible pricing||⊗ Not enough servers|
|⊕ Fast speeds||⊗ Shared IPs only|
|⊕ Has a kill switch|
|⊕ No IP leaks|
|⊕ Works with Netflix|
|⊕ Allows torrenting|
|⊕ Chrome browser extension for more convenient use|
Overall, Avast SecureLine VPN is decent, though not without certain drawbacks. Its lacking support options, somewhat high prices, and the retention of users’ connection logs make this service lag behind the industry leaders such as NordVPN. On a more positive note, it provides pretty strong security, good speeds, and some additional benefits.
Here are a few decent alternatives to it as well:
Avast SecureLine VPN: Unique Benefits and Features
There are several ways SecureLine VPN is different from other VPN providers.
First, it offers servers in 36 countries and 58 cities worldwide. While this is nowhere near the number provided by ExpressVPN, these servers are quite well-distributed around the globe, at least. You have server locations in South Africa, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Venezuela… the list goes on.
Second, it allows you to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. That’s a lot, even compared to better-known VPNs. However, this feature comes, quite literally, at a price: the more connections you want, the more you have to pay. This is why I can’t call this feature a definite advantage, despite it being impressive.
Third, Avast SecureLine VPN allows torrenting and streaming geo-blocked content. In fact, it has servers dedicated to these activities conveniently marked in its app.
Speaking of the app, its design is simple in a good way. There’s nothing unnecessary crammed into it, but you can find all the needful information and settings easily.
One more unique thing about SecureLine is that its free trial is exactly the same as the paid version functionality-wise. There are no limits on speed, traffic, or anything else. That’s very convenient, as it allows you to see the full version for free for a period of time.
Pros and Cons of Avast SecureLine VPN
AES 256-bit encryption
The encryption that SecureLine offers is top-notch AES 256-bit encryption. What’s so great about it is that it’s even harder to break than the 128-bit one. And that one hasn’t been cracked yet.
As Avast claims, the heat-death of the universe will happen sooner than this encryption can be cracked.
Well, we’ll see about that. So far, though, it is your best bet in protecting your traffic, so it’s definitely a plus.
The protocol SecureLine runs on is OpenVPN.
It is also a big advantage, as this protocol is considered one of the safest. It’s necessary to note that its use is not supported on Mac, though, only on Windows.
Instead, Avast VPN uses the IPsec protocol for macOS and iOS. As OpenVPN is not available on those operating systems, most VPN providers offer IPsec in their apps for them. Basically, IPsec is the next best thing. Thus, Avast’s apps for macOS and iOS are as secure as the one for Windows.
Keeps no usage logs
On the main page of Avast SecureLine, it claims that it keeps no logs:
And they say “if someone asks, we just can’t answer”. But can anyone ask?
Another good thing about Avast is that it is a Czech company. In the Czech Republic, there are no mandatory data retention laws. In fact, back in 2011, the Czech Constitutional Court declared the European Union Data Retention Directive-based local legislation unconstitutional.
So, it’s very likely that no organization has the power to demand any user data from Avast. Even if one does, there will be no data to give to it, since SecureLine VPN keeps no usage logs.
7-day free trial
Some VPNs have free trials, some don’t. Sometimes, like in the case of CyberGhost, a provider offers a free trial but only for an extremely limited period of time such as 24 hours.
Often, free trials are limited not only by time but also by traffic or speed. It makes them somewhat useless for the people who want to see how well a certain VPN suits their needs. Indeed, such drastic differences between the free and the full version make the “trial” part of the free trial false.
Luckily, it’s not the case with SecureLine. It offers a 7-day free trial that is identical to the paid version in terms of features and characteristics such as speed.
Moreover, there’s no need to register, let alone give away your credit card information to use it. You just download the app and start your trial. Very convenient! SecureLine is definitely of the best VPNs in terms of the free trial.
Wide platform support
SecureLine provides apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. The free trial is available on every one of them, which is another plus.
As a minor downside, there is no option to set this VPN up on a router. A brief search on Avast forums shows that once there seemingly was such a possibility:
However, if you follow those links today, you won’t find any relevant information.
Please note that this upside of the service doesn’t mean that the prices are great, only that there are a lot of options to choose from.
And indeed, there are a few: you can choose the desired duration of your subscription (1 month, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years) as well as the number of devices you want to be able to connect to Avast VPN simultaneously (1, 3, 5, and 10).
As a matter of fact, there are so many options, this advantage gets uncomfortably close to the “disadvantage” territory. But we’ll talk about it in due time.
The server speeds of Avast SecureLine are quite good. Obviously, the closer your physical location is to the server you’re connected to, the faster speed you’re going to receive, but I was pleasantly surprised with speeds even on the servers very far removed from me.
More on this in the following section.
Has a kill switch
This function is, or at least, should be the industry standard. A kill switch protects your IP from leaking and your traffic from leaving the encrypted tunnel. It’s an absolutely necessary feature to have.
Avast VPN has a kill switch, and that brings it another plus:
No IP leaks
One of the most important considerations when choosing a VPN service is whether it will leak your real IP address. Pro-tip: if it will, it’s not worth the money, even if it’s free.
As I will show you in detail in the following chapter, Avast SecureLine doesn’t leak your IP. Which is, obviously, a huge upside.
Works with Netflix
It’s really hard to find a VPN service that allows you to unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix. Due to copyright issues, the streaming platform tries its best to recognize and prohibit the use of proxies and virtual private networks to bypass such restrictions.
SecureLine VPN promises to unblock any content that is geo-restricted:
We’ll find out how it fares in a later chapter.
Unlike some VPNs, Avast SecureLine is fine with its customers using P2P technology and torrents in particular. In one of the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at how well it works with torrents.
Browser extensions for more convenient use
Avast provides its VPN solution in the form of an app. What it means is you install it and when it’s on, all traffic is encrypted.
Stand-alone apps such as this one are generally better than browser extensions. Usually, they have more options, more settings, and, once again, affect everything Internet-related on your device.
However, the necessity to click an icon that is not within your browser every time you need to change a location or tune some other setting is a bit inconvenient. It’s especially true if you mostly use just a single browser.
SecureLine brings together the best of the two worlds. It’s possible to integrate the app with the browser:
This browser extension allows you to control SecureLine from within your browser like you would a browser-only VPN.
The extension itself does not provide a VPN service. It can only be used in conjunction with the main app. Still, I like this quality-of-life idea very much.
Sadly, so far only three browsers are supported:
- Google Chrome
- Avast Secure Browser
- Mozilla Firefox
I hope this number will increase.
That’s it as far as the Pros are concerned. The next part of this Avast VPN review will tell you about its Cons.
Keeps connection logs
The first significant minus of SecureLine VPN is its logging policy. Unfortunately, it does keep connection logs, as it says outright on its website:
The reason given is “diagnostic purposes”.
While not as bad as usage logs (which Avast VPN does not keep), it is, nevertheless, concerning. This is somewhat made up for by the absence of data retention laws in the Czech Republic and it not being a Fourteen Eyes member state.
No live chat
As far as customer support goes, Avast SecureLine is not among the best VPN services. The same goes for other Avast products as well.
A contact form is the only way to connect with the support services.
2 business days can be a long time to wait.
Additionally, there is a paid Premium Support service that is delivered via phone. Theoretically, it works 24/7, but there are several drawbacks to it:
- It costs from $79.00 to $119.00 per call or $199.00/year;
- Not an option for people with speech/hearing disabilities;
- Only supports English.
As I’ve mentioned earlier in this review, one of the Pros of Avast VPN is its flexible pricing. However, I can’t help but feel that it gets unnecessarily flexible.
First of all, there are two different SecureLine products:
- Avast SecureLine VPN;
- Avast SecureLine VPN Multi-device.
But you also can choose to get the regular plan for multiple devices. Five devices cost the same as the Multi-device plan.
Perhaps, you’re wondering if there’s a reason for the Multi-device one to exist. There is one: unlike the regular plan, it provides a 1-month option.
For how confusing it is, I count it as a drawback. Besides, the lack of the 1-month option for the one-device plan also isn’t good: not everyone needs several devices, and those people who do may require fewer or more than five.
Currently, they are out of luck with Avast VPN as well. As of now, you cannot get a 1-month subscription for anything but 5 devices.
Too few payment options
Some providers like Private Internet Access offer a variety of payment methods, including cryptocurrencies. Avast SecureLine doesn’t.
If you want to buy it, you’re limited to either a credit card or PayPal.
Avast VPN offers the following prices:
- $8.99 for a monthly subscription;
- $79.99 for a 1-year subscription;
- $149.99 for a 2-year subscription;
- $219.99 for a 3-year subscription.
All the prices are for the 5-device plan. They are relatively high, and you can easily find cheaper VPN solutions.
Not enough servers
SecureLine VPN’s servers are located in 58 cities/36 countries. The US has the most servers (16), while most other countries have only one.
Not only is it significantly fewer than major VPNs have, but it is also far too few on its own.
Shared IPs only
All users who are connected to a certain server of Avast VPN share the same IP address. While it helps with anonymity, it also makes those IP addresses more suspicious to websites such as Netflix, Hulu, etc.
Avast SecureLine VPN: Speed and Security Tests
Now that we’ve discussed its Pros and Cons, it’s time to test the performance of Avast VPN.
To calculate how Avast SecureLine affects my Internet speed, I tested it without a VPN on first. Here is the result:
And this is how it changed when I connected to a Berlin server:
The difference is here, but it isn’t too big.
Time to move on to our next server. This one is in Brussels:
While the upload speed suffers, the download speed is acceptable.
Here’s my speed when connected to a Zurich server:
As you see, European servers show pretty good speeds. But what about those located farther away from me?
Here you can see a server in New York:
And here is one in Tokyo:
Considering the distance, these speeds are pretty fast.
All in all, Avast SecureLine VPN offers good Internet speeds. You can find the detailed speed comparison in the table below:
|Server in||Download speed, Mbps||Upload speed, Mbps||Speed change, download/upload, %|
We have seen how fast Avast SecureLine is. Another crucial point is how secure it is.
To see that, I tested this service for IP leaks. If you’d like to learn more about that problem, you may check out my research on VPN services that do not hide your real IP.
The first server I checked for IP leaks was the one in Germany:
The result shows that no leaks were present.
Testing the server in New York also found no problems with my real IP being shown:
Same was true for the server in Tokyo:
To conclude this section, Avast SecureLine passed IP leak tests with flying colors!
Avast SecureLine VPN: Benefits and Features Tests
In this chapter of this review of Avast VPN, I will tell you:
- If it’s easy to set up;
- If it unblocks geo-restricted content on Netflix;
- If it works with torrents.
Is SecureLine easy to use?
One can expect a straightforward approach to app design from such a mainstream company as Avast. After all, the easier it is for users to install and set up the application, the happier they will be with the product.
SecureLine VPN doesn’t hold any surprises here. All you have to do is download the app from the official Avast website:
Then install it with just a few clicks of your mouse:
And then it’s done.
So, as you can see, there’s nothing difficult about installing Avast SecureLine.
When you launch it, this is the menu you see:
In it, you can either choose a free trial or buy a subscription. If you go for the free trial, no registration is needed.
Whichever you choose, you are under a VPN protection now.
Servers are grouped by region as well as by their designation (P2P or streaming).
Besides that, the app allows you to choose whether or not you want it to start with Windows, show notifications, and activate the kill switch function. You can also change the language of the app and install a browser extension.
Can SecureLine unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix?
Avast VPN has special servers dedicated to this exact task. However, let’s see if they actually work.
I was able to connect to the US version of Netflix without a hitch. Moreover, Avast SecureLine managed to unblock a geo-restricted show on the first try:
However, there’s something to keep in mind about SecureLine and streaming. As you may remember from one of the previous sections of this review, Avast VPN provides only shared IP addresses to its users. That means that all people connected to a dedicated streaming server will have the same IP.
It makes it quite easy for Netflix to notice some strange activity and take measures. They can include blacklisting those servers or even all SecureLine’s servers. So, while this VPN service works with Netflix so far (September 2019), it may change at any moment.
That’s why my advice to you is to keep track of other VPN providers that work well with Netflix.
Can I use SecureLine for torrenting?
Just like with streaming, Avast VPN has servers dedicated to torrenting. I’m pleased to inform you that they also work great:
You can also refer to my Best VPNs for Torrenting rating to learn more.
Avast SecureLine VPN: Frequently Asked Questions
Avast SecureLine VPN is based in the Czech Republic. It is a good jurisdiction because of the absence of mandatory data retention laws. Also, it’s not a 14 Eyes member.
The free trial of SecureLine VPN has all the same functions and features as the full version. The only way it’s limited in is time (7 days).
You can get 1, 3, 5, or 10 device connections. This does influence the price of the VPN, though.
Do you have anything to say about Avast SecureLine VPN? Be sure to let me know!
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