Avast SecureLine VPN review

Avast SecureLine is fast, but its features are limited

Avast SecureLine VPN logo
(Image: © Avast)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Avast SecureLine is an above-average VPN that is easy to set up and very fast, achieving blistering speeds at times. But the apps are somewhat hit and miss, the unblocking is patchy (it didn't unblock Netflix), and the price is uncompetitive. Overall, Avast SecureLine has a way to go before it can challenge class-leaders such as ExpressVPN.

Pros

  • +

    Fast WireGuard speeds

  • +

    Quick and easy to set up

  • +

    Trustworthy provider

  • +

    60-day free trial

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Doesn't unblock Netflix

  • -

    Limited feature set

  • -

    No security audit

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Czech cybersecurity giant Avast – known for its antivirus software – has added a VPN to its stable. Avast SecureLine VPN is available as part of the company's antivirus package, or as a standalone tool.

Based on the HideMyAss! VPN network, which was purchased by Avast in 2015 and renamed HMA, SecureLine uses a network of 700 servers. That's not a particularly high number (market leader ExpressVPN boasts over 3,000) but it doesn't appear to stop SecureLine clocking up excellent WireGuard speeds.

On the downside, SecureLine isn't the most feature-packed VPN I've ever tested. Nor is it the cheapest, and some might call it expensive compared to full-featured VPN providers such as Private Internet Access.

Intrigued? Read on and I'll take you through the pros and cons of Avast SecureLine VPN in detail... 

Avast SecureLine VPN on paper

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Number of servers700Row 0 - Cell 2
Server countries36Row 1 - Cell 2
Supported platformsWindows, Mac, Android, iOSRow 2 - Cell 2
Simultaneous connections10Row 3 - Cell 2
Split tunnelingYes (Android app)Row 4 - Cell 2
Kill switchYesRow 5 - Cell 2
Protocols supportedWireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSecRow 6 - Cell 2
Country of registrationCzech RepublicRow 7 - Cell 2
Support24/7 live chat, troubleshooting guidesRow 8 - Cell 2

Avast SecureLine VPN 1-minute review

Avast SecureLine VPN's secret weapon is its WireGuard speeds. It might not be the fastest VPN that I've ever tested, but it's in my top five. 

If you're buying a VPN in order to securely and privately stream video content, SecureLine could be one to consider. I say 'could', because it isn't all that great at unblocking popular streaming services such as Netflix.

It's comparatively expensive, too – and unlike many other VPNs the price doesn't drop by much when you sign up for two or three year contract. Then again, Avast is a trusted name in the antivirus space, which may be why SecureLine comes at a premium. And to be fair, the company does offer new users a 60-day VPN free trial

Avast SecureLine VPN is ultra-fast and has offers some genuinely clever features, but I can't recommend it to streamers.

There are apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, while desktop users get Chrome and Firefox extensions. The apps do a great job of helping beginners get up and running, although more experienced users may find them a little too simplistic. They're aren't as intuitive as I'd like, either.

Privacy-wise, SecureLine ticks the basic boxes – 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch to protect you if the VPN suddenly drops out. It also boasts Smart VPN mode, which automatically enables the VPN in specific scenarios. However, it has not undergone an independent privacy audit, and therefore cannot be considered among the most secure VPNs.

Customer support is generally very helpful, and includes 24/7 live chat.

Overall, Avast SecureLine VPN is ultra-fast and has offers some genuinely clever features. But I can't recommend it to streamers, and there are better, cheaper options out there.

Avast SecureLine VPN website screengrab

(Image credit: Avast SecureLine VPN)

Latest updates

  • Support for the OpenVPN protocol added
  • Support for WireGuard (beta) added
  • Mimic protocol to bypass VPN detection added
  • Kill switch added

Avast SecureLine VPN price and payment

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Plan lengthOverall costMonthly cost
1 year$55.08$4.59
2 years$105.36$4.39
3 years$158.04$4.39

Avast SecureLine previously suffered from a confusing pricing structure that was based on the number of licences required. Thankfully, the company has wiped the slate clean and now offers three simple plans: 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years. All three provide access to SecureLine's Windows, Mac, iOS and Android apps.

The 1-year plan is the best option for those who don't want to commit to a multi-year contract. It works out as $4.59 a month, which is pricey for a VPN – especially one that isn't great at unblocking streaming services. Surfshark's 1-year plan, for instance, will set you back just $3.99 a month.  

Strangely, the prices don't get much cheaper when you sign up for the 2-year or 3-year plan. At the time of writing, the 3-year plan worked out at $4.39 a month. By comparison, two years of Surfshark will run you the equivalent of around $2.50 a month while Atlas VPN's 2-year plan is under $2 a month at the time of writing.

Worse, Avast SecureLine does not offer a rolling monthly contract, as many other VPNs do. You'll have to sign up for at least a year right off the bat. In Avast's defence, the company does offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a generous 60-day free trial ($0 upfront).

Does Avast SecureLine VPN have a free trial?

Yes. New users can try Avast SecureLine free for 60 days (there's also a 7-day free trial floating around, so be sure to seek out the 60-day free trial (opens in new tab)). 

To activate the free trial, Avast requests that you download and install the SecureLine VPN software. After that, it's just a case of creating your account and signing up to the free trial. 

Given that most VPN providers have put a stop to free trials for one reason or another, I have to give Avast credit for continuing to offer one.

Avast SecureLine VPN screenshot reads: "Stop online spies and snoops"

(Image credit: Avast SecureLine VPN)

How private is Avast SecureLine VPN?

When it comes to privacy, SecureLine VPN offers all the basics – AES-256 encryption, WireGuard, public Wi-Fi protection, and DNS leak protection, so you can browse without fear of your IP address being exposed to the world.

SecureLine's privacy policy (opens in new tab) is clear and detailed. The company promises not to 'track the apps you use, the websites you visit, or the content you consume, period.' Server data is deleted every 35 days on a rolling basis, which is pretty much what I would expect.

Unfortunately, I can't consider SecureLine to be a true zero-logging VPN. While it doesn’t log your originating IP address, DNS queries, or anything that could identify the services, apps or websites that you use, it does indulge in limited session logging. This includes connection timestamps and the amount of data transmitted. It's all anonymous, of course, but other VPNs still manage to avoid it. ExpressVPN, for example, says that it 'never logs connection timestamps'.

SecureLine promises not to track the websites you visit, or the apps you use. But there's no independent audit to verify this.

It's also worth knowing that Avast's Mac, iOS, Android and apps use (anonymized) third-party analytics tools such as Google Firebase to see how users are interacting with SecureLine and improve its overall stability. This isn't big deal, and you can opt out of it if you prefer.

You can pay for your subscription via credit card or PayPal; there's no option to pay using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, so you'll have provide your real name and address when signing up. 

Last but not least, Avast SecureLine VPN is owned and operated by Avast Software, a Czech company. That may seem of little consequence, but some other VPN operators are hidden behind shell companies registered in offshore tax havens. The Czech Republic generally operates using European Union privacy laws.

All in all, Avast offers a decent level of privacy and has added a kill switch since my last review. But, unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN and others, Avast has yet to put SecureLine through an independent audit, meaning users must take Avast's privacy claims at face value.

How fast is Avast SecureLine VPN?

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WireGuard840Mbps
OpenVPN320Mbps

When it comes my performance tests, I connect to the nearest location in both the US and UK, and I always utilize a number of speed test sites and tools, noting down at least five results. This process is typically repeated three times using WireGuard and OpenVPN, to provide you with a fair picture of the kind of speeds that a VPN has to offer.

Avast SecureLine is not cheap, but it is one of the faster VPNs I've tested.

In the case of WireGuard, Avast SecureLine reached exceptional speeds of up to 840Mbps. That puts SecureLine in my top five fastest providers, just behind Surfshark (900Mbps), TorGuard (900+Mbps), Norton VPN (900+Mbps) and Hide.me (880Mbps). 

As it stands, SecureLine's WireGuard is currently in beta – Windows and Android support it, Mac and iOS are still under development. So if you're a Mac or iOS user, it's worth checking the state of affairs before you sign up. 

In the case of OpenVPN, Avast managed managed mid-range speeds of around 320Mbps. That's more than acceptable for most devices and tasks.

As most users don't have the luxury of a 1Gbps connection, which is what I use for tests, I switched to a 5G broadband router to see how SecureLine fared in a 'real world' scenario. It still reached 210Mbps – more than adequate.

So, while Avast SecureLine VPN isn't cheap, it really does deliver some of the fastest speeds in the business.

Avast SecureLine VPN website screengrab

(Image credit: Avast SecureLine VPN)

How good is Avast SecureLine VPN for streaming and torrenting?

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NetflixNot working
PrimeNot working
YouTubeWorking
iPlayerWorking
Disney PlusWorking
10PlayNot working
9NowWorking
HuluWorking
ITV PlayerWorking
Channel 4Working

Beyond the obvious security benefits, VPNs are extremely useful in that they can unblock geo-restricted streaming services such as Netflix, allowing users to access their accounts from just about anywhere on the planet. Unfortunately, Avast SecureLine isn't particularly good at this particular task. 

I was able to unblock Disney+ – a solid start. But when I tried to unblock Netflix and Amazon Prime Video from afar, I drew a complete blank. In all, SecureLine failed to unblock Netflix US, UK, Australia, Canada and Japan. That's disappointing, as Netflix VPN performance is a big selling point for many rivals.

I was able to unblock Disney+, but not Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. There are better VPNs for streamers.

On a brighter note, Avast SecureLine did unblock three of the most popular UK-based streaming platforms: BBC iPlayer, ITV and Channel 4. It also had no trouble with Australia's 9Now, but failed to unblock 10play.

SecureLine's performance (or lack of it) isn't a huge surprise: last time I checked, its Windows client only offered five servers that were 'optimized for streaming'. Sadly, this all but rules out SecureLine as a streaming VPN.

Those who want to unblock streaming services will be better served by ExpressVPN, Hide.me, NordVPN, PureVPN or Surfshark, all of which managed to unblock Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video without breaking a sweat.

In terms of torrenting VPN performance, it's a mixed bag. Avast SecureLine has P2P-optimised servers and offers lightning-fast speeds, but it's not the most private VPN out there, so you may want to bear that in mind. 

How good are the Avast SecureLine VPN desktop apps?

Avast SecureLine's Windows 10 VPN and Mac VPN apps are well-designed and do a great job of taking beginners through the process of setting up and using a VPN. 

The large on/off button makes it clear when you are/aren't protected, and the menus are clear and helpful. After you've found your feet, you'll probably want to try some VPN server locations in far-flung places. Again, this is delightfully simple – you can even hover your mouse over the 'Help' icon for advice.

The location list is basic, though. It allows filtering by continent, or by P2P or streaming-optimized servers, but there’s no favorites system or list of recently-used connections. 

The settings panel allows you to choose a protocol: WireGuard is now available in beta form. Mac users get the added bonus of Avast’s own Mimic protocol, which aims to help you connect in VPN-unfriendly environments.

SecureLine's desktop apps are well-designed and do a great job of taking beginners through the set-up process.

Connection times were quick at around a second for WireGuard, and around 5-6 seconds for OpenVPN. I did not experience any dropped connections and SecureLine's desktop apps proved to be as stable as they are speedy.

The kill switch worked OK, but I did notice a slight issue when using it with WireGuard. It appeared to be trying to reconnect even when there was no internet connection. This didn't compromise any data, and may be down to the fact that WireGuard is still in beta.

Smart VPN mode is an intriguing feature – it aims to 'automate' the starting and stopping of the VPN. For example, you can set the VPN to automatically connect when you visit a particular streaming or banking website. It works like a charm – but gets a bit confused when I try to use with more than my allotted 10 devices.

SecureLine's desktop apps aren't the best, but they offer decent usability and cater to newbies.

How good are the Avast SecureLine VPN mobile apps?

SecureLine's Android VPN and iOS VPN apps offer many of the same features as their desktop counterparts, but their interfaces are a lot more basic. The Android app, for example, offers little help to beginners and there are no friendly directions. 

Selecting a location requires the user to rifle through an lengthy list of countries and cities, which can be somewhat tiresome. I'd like the option to filter by continent, and a decent shortcut to SecureLine's streaming and P2P-optimized servers. 

Avast SecureLine's Android and iOS apps do the job, but they're not as impressive as the desktop apps.

The Android app supports WireGuard, Android's system-wide kill switch and split-tunnelling – three excellent plus points. But in the minus column, Smart VPN mode (see desktop apps, above) doesn't appear to have made it into the Android app yet.

I was not dissatisfied with the Android app, but it's clear that SecureLine's desktop apps offer a far better user experience. 

SecureLine’s iOS app is the simplest app of all. As of yet, there's no WireGuard (although you do get the Mimic and IPSec protocols). Features are thinner on the ground, but it connects quickly and seems nice and stable.

Avast SecureLine VPN website screenshot of 'help' page

(Image credit: Avast SecureLine VPN)

What customer support does Avast SecureLine VPN offer?

Avast claims to be the second-biggest vendor of anti-malware software in the world, with more than 435 million monthly active users. As such, it is used to providing technical customers support. Avast even offers a 'Premium' service to help customers with non-Avast issues, such as PCs and printers.

As you'd expect from a multi-national worth $8 billion, Avast's customer support is slick and professional.

SecureLine VPN subscribers can access a 24/7 live chat feature. I found responses to be quick, friendly, and informative. The agent may not have had the degree of expertise that I often encounter when testing smaller, specialist VPNs but that's perfectly understandable. Avast's staff are most likely focused on solving the most common VPN issues related to installation snags and dropped connections.

Avast's support pages are simple and stylish. Key information such as 'Installation & Activation' is clearly signposted, reassuring users that Avast wants to help. And while some VPNs hide their 'refund request' page in a some dusty corner of their website, Avast puts it front and center. A nice touch. The troubleshooting pages are quite basic, but those looking for detailed answers can head to the Avast forums.

As you'd expect from a multi-national worth $8 billion, Avast's customer support is slick and professional. 

Should you buy Avast SecureLine VPN?

SecureLine VPN does the basics well, with compatibility for Windows PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices. It's reliable, integrates well with Avast's antivirus software, and delivers truly spectacular WireGuard speeds.  

However, it's one of the pricier VPNs I've tested, isn't much use for unblocking streaming services, and hasn't been independently audited. 

If you already use Avast security products, adding SecureLine might be a no-brainer. If you don't, consider a better, cheaper all-rounder such as Surfshark or CyberGhost.

Sign up to Avast SecureLine VPN if:

  • You want superfast WireGuard speeds
  • You want a VPN from a trusted multi-national brand
  • You want a VPN that integrates with Avast's antivirus software
  • You want reliable, professional, 24/4 customer support
  • You want decent desktop apps

Avoid Avast SecureLine VPN if:

  • You want a VPN to unblock streaming services such as Netflix
  • You want one of the best-value VPNs 
  • You want a VPN that offers class-leading privacy
  • You want a VPN that supports more than 10 simultaneous connections
  • You want a VPN with great mobile apps

Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more. His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.