Both antivirus software and a virtual private network (VPN) are essential tools to combat cybersecurity threats. Fortunately, many popular antivirus programs include a VPN as part of their features now.
After all, a VPN will mask your IP address and protect your data from your ISP, government, hackers, and other third parties. Besides, it will also help you circumvent geo-restrictions of popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.
Most of the widely-used antivirus providers boast an included VPN in their packages, but many VPNs that come with antivirus software are not as secure and fast as standalone VPNs out there. That means you can still be spied on and tracked.
That makes finding an antivirus suite that provides both a stealthy antivirus and a robust VPN is difficult. But after testing dozens of antivirus packages available today, we found five antiviruses that not only offer dependable protection against malware but also boast a high-class VPN.
In this article, we’ll highlight the best antivirus programs, why you need an antivirus and VPN together, and more.
Quick list of the top antivirus with VPN
- Norton 360 – This is our number one recommendation for the best antivirus that includes VPN within it. Norton’s Secure VPN lets you connect to many servers around the world and has a no-logs policy.
- Avira Antivirus – A dependable antivirus software to prevent malware. Its VPN feature is secure and covers unlimited devices.
- Bitdefender Antivirus – It is an excellent antivirus software with a high-quality VPN. Some of the notable features include malware protection, fast VPN speed, and optimized CPU performance.
- TotalAV – Performed exemplary during our tests, with both the Antivirus and VPN being very effective. The user interface is friendly, and the optimization tools are top-level. However, the VPN lacks adequate privacy protection.
- Vipre Antivirus – It comes with an impressive list of features and an excellent malware detection rate. The VPN feature even allows you to switch tunneling protocols.
Why do you need an antivirus with a VPN?
We recommend you use both an antivirus program and a VPN if you want to protect your privacy and devices. This is because an antivirus will secure your device from malicious software such as viruses. On the other hand, a VPN will encrypt your data and hide your online activities.
The best thing about a VPN is that it will protect you from third parties by routing your traffic through a server. This process will change your IP address to make you completely anonymous. In addition, it encrypts your data so that your ISP, hackers, and the government cannot access it.
However, VPNs do not work the same as antivirus programs. An antivirus will identify, analyze and stop potential malware threats from getting to your device. So, as you can see, a VPN is necessary to protect you online, but your device is still vulnerable. This is where an antivirus comes in.
How we selected and tested these antiviruses
Many antivirus services exist, but only a few include a VPN that can compete with reliable providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. A great program should guard your privacy and device regardless of where I am, what I am browsing, or how much bandwidth I am using. These are some of the things we consider when choosing an antivirus and VPN package:
- Malware protection: Robust antivirus software should offer an up-to-the-minute defense against threats like ransomware, spyware, phishing attacks, and other malicious malware. We used sample malware to test the antivirus programs on this list to ensure they’ll keep you safe.
- VPN security: I had to confirm that the VPNs on this list uses strong protection such as 128 or 256-bit encryption. In addition, I made sure they observe the no-logs policy so that the provider does retain any data. Also, we looked for other essential security features such as kill switches and DNS leak protection.
- VPN accessibility: The problem with most antivirus providers is that the VPN they offer comes with limited bandwidth. However, I need sufficient data because I am an online professional, streamer, and gamer. Therefore, I did tests on these VPNs to ensure they perform exemplary. Moreover, bypassing geo-restrictions is another essential part of a VPN. So, I also tested servers in different locations to access streaming services such as Netflix.
- Usability: I need an antivirus that is simple to install and use. This is the reason why I chose user-friendly programs, which are easy to understand even by novices. Furthermore, all antivirus software on this list has reliable customer support in case you face any issues.
- Value: Every antivirus package we’ve featured offers an impressive list of features but at reasonable prices.
Best antivirus with a VPN – The detailed analysis
Several antivirus programs claim to offer a VPN feature, but it’s difficult to determine the genuine one. Therefore, after thorough research and testing, we present you with the best antivirus with a VPN included.
1. Norton 360
- Apps: Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS
- VPN data cap: Unlimited
- Netflix unblocking: Yes
Norton360 is one of the most reputable antivirus providers on the market, protecting devices against cyber threats for over three decades. Its comprehensive 360 package has everything you’ll need in antivirus, including a VPN with unlimited data.
The Secure VPN is effortless to use and allows you to connect to more than 73 servers in 29 countries. This is very small compared to standalone services like ExpressVPN. Luckily, it unblocks Netflix and has a no-logs policy, which means that Norton does not collect your information. Unfortunately, the VPN lacks a kill switch and blocks P2P traffic, so you want to be able to torrent.
When it comes to malware protection, Norton blocked all the malware samples in our in-depth review. It also has other essential security features such as a password manager and parental control.
The provider offers the VPN feature in the cheapest plan, Norton 360 Standard package that covers only a single device. Fortunately, you can access more features by upgrading to the Deluxe plan, which has 40GB of cloud storage and protects 5 devices.
- A reliable in-built VPN
- Bypasses geo-restrictions
- Unlimited data
- It lacks a kill switch
- Supported apps: Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS
- Netflix unblocking: No
- VPN data cap: 500MB monthly
The best thing with Avira’s Antivirus is that the VPN is included in the free plan. However, it’s highly limited with a 500Mb monthly data cap, only enough for light browsing. Also, there is no option to select a server location, making it impossible to unblock geo-restricted content.
Nonetheless, you can upgrade to Avira’s Phantom VPN Pro that has exciting features. For example, it allows unlimited devices, a huge benefit for small businesses and offices that may need VPN protection. In addition, it has military-grade 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection no-logs policy, and access to 50 servers in 36 countries.
That said, the antivirus offering is also reliable. Moreover, it is user-friendly and has an excellent malware detection rate. Also, this lightweight software offers other features such as real-time protection, virus scans, password manager, file shredder, file quarantine, etc.
Besides the free version, Avira’s paid packages have a lot to offer. For instance, the most affordable plan, Avira Antivirus Pro, has email protection, internet protection, and customer support.
- VPN in the free plan
- Uses proprietary technology
- Excellent malware detection
- Limited data on the VPN
3. Bitdefender Antivirus
- Supported apps: iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS
- Netflix Unblock: No
- VPN data caps: 200Mb daily
Bitdefender is a great option if you are looking for a high-quality antivirus that offers VPN. It has outstanding performance on most devices and is ranked among the best in malware detection.
This antivirus comes with a list of impressive features like advanced threat detection, real-time protection, web attack prevention, anti-fraud, and phishing. There is even a free plan, but it doesn’t feature the VPN. So, you’ll have to upgrade to the cheapest package, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, to protect your connections with a VPN. However, it limits data to only 200Mb daily.
The best thing about the VPN is the kill switch feature that ensures your traffic does not leak in case of interruption. Bitdefender uses Hotspot Shield’s technology to provide a secure and reliable VPN service. In addition, Bitdefender is available as a separate app with more features, but you have to dig deeper in your pockets.
- Incredible malware detection
- The VPN has a kill switch
- Reasonably priced packages
- Daily data caps
- Supported apps: iOS, Android, macO, Windows
- Netflix unblocking: Yes
- VPN data caps: Unlimited
TotalAV is a relatively new player in the antivirus industry. However, it stills offers excellent protection and a powerful VPN at affordable rates. This is an ideal option if you want an antivirus and VPN package.
More importantly, the VPN gives you international access like no other antivirus VPN. In fact, it employs OpenVPN protocol, which is updated frequently to bypass popular streaming site’s restrictions successfully. So, for example, watching movies on BBC iPlayer was straightforward during testing.
The antivirus suite is based on Avira’s technology. Also, it has plentiful security features such as anti-phishing, real-time and on-demand detection, and other varied optimization tools. In addition, the protection against ransomware and other online threats is excellent. Fortunately, TotalAV is compatible with Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS.
One of the most striking features is the user interface. It is highly intuitive with all the features and settings displayed on the easy-to-navigate dashboard. This makes TotalAV a perfect solution if you want a modest product that you can easily install and customize.
- Real-time and on-demand protection
- Extensive server network
- Exceptional malware removal rates
- The VPN does not have a kill switch
5. Vipre Antivirus
- Supported apps: Android, macOS, and Windows
- Netflix unblocking: Yes
- VPN data cap: unlimited
Vipre Antivirus is not as famous as the other brands on this list but still offers an excellent suite of features. They include browsing track cleaner, anti-spam, webcam and microphone blocker, dark web scanner, and a firewall. In addition, there is device scan, real-time protection, and reasonable malware detection rates.
The Internet Shield VPN feature is what makes Vipre antivirus attractive. It is based on the IPVanish VPN technology and allows you to choose between OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, and IKEv2 protocols. Besides the inbuilt antivirus app, Internet Shield VPN is also available as a standalone VPN app.
It is great at bypassing geo-restrictions on Netflix and other popular streaming services. Fortunately, the VPN offers unlimited data and bandwidth, so you’ll be able to stream whatever content you want unrestricted.
Another interesting thing is the obfuscation feature that hides your VPN traffic if you live in a country that prohibits VPN usage, like China.
- Unlimited bandwidth and data
- Traffic obfuscation
- Device scans and real-time protection
- It consumes a lot of CPU power
Top brands that did not pass the mark
McAfee is one of the famous brands on the market. However, its VPN is extremely slow, does not unblock streaming sites, and has a strict no-logs policy. As a result, any service in our selection above is much better.
Kaspersky is another reputable antivirus but offers the VPN as a separate entity. Nonetheless, both the antivirus software and the VPN app offer top-tier protection. We didn’t feature it in our list is because of the high cost.
Avast is a well-known VPN service and has reigned in the industry for a long time. However, it was recently involved in a massive scandal of selling user data to third parties. This is why we stopped recommending it.
What’s the difference between an antivirus and a VPN?
As we mentioned earlier, an antivirus program helps with real-time protection against malware by scanning your device from suspicious activity. On the other hand, a VPN will encrypt and reroute your traffic to keep you anonymous when online.
In particular, a VPN will prevent third parties from snooping into your activities, something that you can’t get with an antivirus. Sometimes utmost privacy is necessary, especially if you live in a country with strict censorship or your work involves political activism or investigative journalism. What’s more, a VPN will also enable you to access geo-blocked content and protect your connections when using insecure public WiFi.
Although antivirus and VPN services have different functions, they are essential cybersecurity tools to ensure you’re entirely safe online. Therefore, we strongly advise you to use them together.
How to use an antivirus with a VPN?
Here are the things you need to do to start using an antivirus with a VPN:
- Select an antivirus that also features a VPN. Our top choice is Norton 360.
- Download and install it on your device.
- Register and sign in if necessary.
- Locate the VPN feature within the antivirus program (some providers offer the VPN as a detached app, too).
- Choose the server you want to connect to.
It is straightforward to verify whether the antivirus VPN is working. Before you connect to a VPN server, do a Google search ‘what’s my IP address’ or head over to our IP tool here where you’ll get your actual IP address. Then, after connecting to a VPN, check again if the IP address has changed. If it remains the same, the VPN isn’t working, or there is a malfunction.
Note: It is straightforward to verify whether the antivirus VPN is working. Before you connect to a VPN server, do a Google search ‘what’s my IP address where you’ll get your actual IP address. Then, check again if the IP address has changed after connecting. If it remains the same, the VPN isn’t working, or there is a malfunction.
The disadvantage of using an antivirus with a VPN
The core purpose of antivirus software is to protect against malware, so it will always prioritize that over anything. Therefore, the inclusion of a VPN will come as an excellent extra addition with limited features than a standalone service like ExpressVPN.
Premium VPNs have advanced features than the one that comes with an antivirus package. For example, they enable you access to thousands of servers so you can bypass geo-restriction to stream content on DAZN, Netflix, etc. They also have robust security features such as a kill switch, tunneling protocols, ad blocker, and more. Moreover, many of these services support torrenting, while those featured in antivirus programs reject P2P traffic.
In addition, antivirus VPNs limit data either daily or monthly. Unfortunately, this is insufficient to handle data-intensive activities like streaming or gaming, so you’ll only do occasional browsing. Also, connections are slower with combined apps than standalone VPNs.
Is there a free antivirus with VPN included?
While you’ll have to pay for most antivirus programs that offer a VPN, some providers offer a free VPN. For instance, Avira’s free antivirus version features a VPN. However, it is constrained, like giving only 500 MB of data per month. This is only enough for light browsing. Furthermore, there aren’t any servers to choose from, so you wouldn’t be able to access geo-blocked content.
When it comes to cybersecurity tools, you get what you pay. So, most free VPNs have limited features, and it’s better to invest in reliable service for robust security. In fact, several premium providers offer affordable VPN packages.
As you can see on our list above, there are remarkable options if you want an antivirus with a VPN together. However, the VPNs included in antivirus packages come with different features and varied price points. Some are highly limited, while others are fully-fledged and give standalone services a run for their money. The combination of an antivirus and a VPN is increasingly becoming a necessity due to the widespread malware and data breaches.
No. These are essential cybersecurity tools that do different functions. The work of an antivirus is to find, analyze and destroy potential malware threats to your device. Conversely, a VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic to prevent anyone from stealing your data or seeing what you’re doing online. Therefore, combining them both will keep you completely safe.
Yes, some antivirus programs with a VPN service allow you to connect to multiple services. Unfortunately, this is mainly with costlier subscription plans. So, you need to check it out before signing up.
Antivirus programs are known to block installation or hinder the functionality of some apps. However, it doesn’t affect a VPN’s performance, whether it comes as part of the package or separately.
Although VPNs prevent third parties from access your information, some providers retain users’ browsing history. This presents similar risks to browsing without a VPN, as your data can be sold, lost, or misused in any way. That’s why you should always lookout for a no-log policy when choosing a VPN.
ExpressVPN is one of the best-rated VPNs on the market and works well with almost all antiviruses. So, if the VPN included in your antivirus package doesn’t meet your needs, you can check out ExpressVPN.