AVG VPN Review & Test 2019 - Good Antivirus, Very Bad VPN
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)
Back in 2016, AVG was bought out by long-time rival Avast. It’s no surprise, then, that AVG Secure VPN shares many similarities with Avast SecureLine. So is there anything that makes this VPN stand out?
With just 50 servers in 36 countries, you won’t find a huge network. But server variety is just one of many important aspects of a VPN.
We tested AVG Secure VPN to see whether it lived up to its name. Our review will help you learn more about this service, how it performs, and what features it offers. Let’s dive in!
Streaming – Does AVG Secure VPN Work with Netflix?
You don’t get many servers with AVG Secure VPN, but there are dedicated streaming options – great news if you’re looking to get around some geoblocks!
These special servers can easily be found in the Streaming tab of your client:
We managed to unblock US Netflix on all three US streaming servers. The UK Wonderland server worked just fine with BBC iPlayer.
That said, popular streaming sites are constantly looking to block VPN connections. AVG Secure VPN works well today, but the limited server network means it’s easy to blacklist in the future. This can be a problem for those who need a dependable streaming VPN.
More available servers is always better when you’re looking to bypass geoblocks. AVG Secure VPN could certainly benefit from expanding its network.
Speed Test – How Fast Is AVG Secure VPN?
We tested AVG Secure VPN with a 75 Mbps connection. For reference, here are the results without a VPN:
Our connection didn’t take a huge hit when we tested the UK Wonderland streaming server:
In fact, the upload speed improved! Great news.
Next up was the UK London P2P server:
The VPN was much slower this time around. Understandable, since this isn’t a streaming server – but an average result.
Our tests were conducted from Europe. The US Gotham City streaming server slowed us down a little, especially in upload speed:
The same happened with the US New York streaming server:
Still, these speeds are great overall, and certainly enough for hassle-free HD streaming.
That said, AVG Secure VPN wasn’t very impressive on its Melbourne location:
Based on our speed tests, AVG Secure VPN performed very well on its European and North American servers. This makes it a good pick for streaming or downloading in these regions. However, the rest of its network is average at best.
Is AVG Secure VPN Good for Torrenting?
If you’re interested in torrents, AVG Secure VPN won’t let you down. Peer-to-peer connections are allowed, although not across all servers.
The good news is you don’t need to dig deep. Similar to the streaming servers, you can find all suitable P2P picks in a separate tab:
While the range is great, European users get only one server per P2P location. Just three US servers for torrenting isn’t anything remarkable, either.
The small number of P2P servers is a potential issue if they become too crowded during peak hours. This can lead to lower speeds and stability problems.
In short, yes – AVG Secure VPN does permit torrenting. But with just eight suitable servers and no advanced features like port forwarding, it shouldn’t be your first choice.
Security – Is AVG Secure VPN Safe?
Let’s be honest – you’d probably expect solid protection from a VPN that puts “secure” in its name. AVG covers the basics well, but a closer look reveals some serious drawbacks.
Does AVG Secure VPN Keep Logs?
The big takeaway is that AVG Secure VPN does keep connection logs. Gathered data ranges from time stamps and bandwidth info to your real IP address:
This data is then stored for up to 30 days:
AVG Secure VPN is based in the Czech Republic, which is another problem for your privacy. While the Czech Republic isn’t part of the Five Eyes alliance, it’s been known to cooperate with Five Eyes countries in the past. As part of the European Union, it also has to comply with strict data retention laws.
Does AVG Secure VPN Have an Adblocker?
This VPN offers a barebones service, meaning you won’t find advanced features like adblocking or anti-malware.
There’s a reason why. AVG want you to use more than just their VPN – for example, AVG Secure Browser comes with a built-in adblocker. There’s also a separate internet security suite against malware.
But you’re looking for a quality VPN service with plenty of features – not AVG’s entire security package. What’s bothersome is AVG Secure VPN should have the essentials for extra protection, and it doesn’t.
You shouldn’t have to purchase additional software just because it’s good for business.
Does AVG Secure VPN Work in China?
AVG Secure VPN currently doesn’t work in China. This is no surprise, as the service lacks any obfuscation settings or stealth servers to get around the Great Firewall.
AVG customer support has also confirmed in the past that the VPN can’t be used in China.
Price and Value for Money
AVG Secure VPN is by no means a top-shelf service. With just a few servers and not many impressive features, it targets the casual user in need of simple protection.
That said, this VPN is neither cheap nor flexible when it comes to price.
The yearly plan puts it in the same bracket with leading providers like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, which have a lot more to offer.
Compared to AVG Secure VPN, these services often run much better deals on their two-year plans.
The lack of a monthly plan also means you’ll be stuck with the VPN for at least a year. But what if you need it just for a weekend or a month?
It’s obvious AVG want long-term users, but they should think about all the potential customers who’d appreciate a shorter subscription.
Even though AVG Secure VPN is a little overpriced in our book, there’s some good value to be found. It provides bank-grade security and works with Netflix – that’s good enough.
There are a couple of other benefits as well.
Does AVG Secure VPN Have a Free Version?
The great thing about AVG Secure VPN is its free trial. Most providers offer a maximum of 7 days for free, or advertise their refund guarantee as a “trial period”. AVG stands out with a 30-day test window on PC.
The trial is limited to Windows and you can’t use multiple devices with it. On the upside, you get the full range of features and servers, so it’s easy to get a clear idea of what the VPN can do for you.
A free trial is available on Android and iOS as well. It starts automatically when you download AVG Secure VPN from the Play Store or App Store, respectively.
AVG Secure VPN’s Refund Policy
AVG Secure VPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If at any point you aren’t satisfied with the service, you can request a refund via the support page.
Sometimes, there will be hidden conditions in the refund policy that can make you ineligible for a refund (such as using up too much bandwidth). We checked AVG’s refund policy to make sure that wasn’t the case – luckily, we didn’t find any suspicious fine print. Well done to AVG for their transparency!
Is AVG Secure VPN Compatible with My Device?
AVG Secure VPN has clients for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
This covers all major platforms, but overall support is rather disappointing. Linux users are out of luck, as the VPN doesn’t offer manual setup. What’s more, it doesn’t work with routers, smart TVs, or gaming consoles.
This also means you can’t run your own VPN configuration via third-party clients – in other words, it’s either the AVG apps or nothing.
AVG Secure VPN runs AES-256 encryption with the OpenVPN protocol on Windows. This makes it a great choice for PC – unfortunately, the same can’t be said for its other supported platforms.
OpenVPN is considered the most secure protocol, and you want to have it for all your devices. That’s not the case with AVG Secure VPN – its Mac client uses IPSec. OpenVPN isn’t available on mobile, either.
Overall, the solid 256-bit encryption is always welcome. However, security isn’t on the same level across all platforms. AVG Secure VPN also lacks any real security features – you won’t find custom DNS settings or a kill switch here.
AVG Secure VPN Customer Service
It’s true that AVG provide 24/7 support for their products.
But this doesn’t tell the whole story.
There’s no live chat option. If you want real-time help, you’ll have to reach support via phone – which is for paying customers only.
This makes it very difficult to get answers before you actually buy the VPN. The knowledge base and ticket system can give you the info you’re looking for, but there are no alternatives to the quick replies live chat usually offers.
And if you were thinking of asking a more technical question and paying for the pleasure, keep in mind that one-time calls cost as much as one year of AVG Secure VPN!
All in all, AVG certainly doesn’t make it easy (or cheap) for users to contact them.
During our tests we didn’t run into any problems with AVG Secure VPN. That’s mostly because we didn’t have a lot to work with in the first place.
When your entire client is a big button with server info under it, you can’t mess up:
Connecting to the VPN and switching servers is as easy as it gets, whether you’re on your computer, tablet, or phone. Even if you somehow forget to turn it on, you can rely on AVG’s helpful (or annoying) reminders.
In the Settings tab, we could enable the auto-connect feature, as well as whitelist trusted networks:
Helpful settings, but a lot is missing. Where’s the kill switch and DNS leak protection? What about split tunneling or switching between OpenVPN UDP/TCP?
At this price range, there are plenty of services that offer these features and more. AVG Secure VPN is missing some key functionality in this area.
Do we recommend AVG Secure VPN? Not really.
There are two things this VPN is good at – providing basic wi-fi protection and unblocking popular content like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
The free trials are also great if you’d like to run some tests of your own.
But we can’t ignore its major flaws. Between the extensive connection logs, average customer support, and tiny server roster, AVG Secure VPN needs a lot of improvement before it can justify the rather high price tag.
If you’re looking for spotless privacy and a heap of useful features at a reasonable price, we recommend checking out NordVPN.
If speed is your top priority, ExpressVPN is another premium pick – it’s a little more expensive, but in return, you get the fastest speeds on the market.
And if you’re on a budget, take a look at Surfshark – a reasonably priced VPN with plenty to offer.
|Number of countries with servers||21|
|Number of servers||29|
|Number of IP addresses||29|
|Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|Does VPN include a kill switch?||No|
|Number of devices per license||Unlimited|
There’s nothing difficult about downloading and installing AVG Secure VPN.
It runs smoothly on all platforms, thanks to its simple and intuitive clients. You can connect to the most suitable location for you, or choose a specific one from the server list.
With just a couple of settings available, you don’t have much to configure. This VPN offers auto-connect for unsecured wi-fi networks, but lacks any special features for security or streaming.
Overall, AVG Secure VPN is very easy to use, but its clients don’t do much to enhance your experience.
For what it offers, AVG Secure VPN isn’t the cheapest service around. Its pricing is also a little weird.
There’s no monthly subscription. You have three choices – a one-year, two-year, or three-year plan. Bigger plans have a nice discount, so they’re a better deal in the long run.
AVG Secure VPN accepts credit cards and PayPal. Sadly, cryptocurrency isn’t supported, so you can’t make anonymous payments.
With stable clients for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, AVG Secure VPN is a reliable choice. We didn’t detect any IP or DNS leaks during our tests, which is another plus.
That said, this VPN doesn’t have any extra settings to prevent leaks in case the software stops working. The lack of custom DNS settings and a kill switch can be a potential security issue.
Support is another aspect that needs improvement. AVG Secure VPN doesn’t have dedicated experts or live chat – two weak points we don’t want to see from any VPN provider.
There is 24/7 phone support, but it’s not specific to the VPN and only services customers with an active subscription. A knowledge base with basic information is available, and you can also use the ticket system – but be prepared for long response times.
- AES-256 bit encryption
- OpenVPN support
- Established brand name
- 24/7 phone support
- Seven-day free trial and 30-day money back guarantee
- Can connect to five devices simultaneously
- Get started with AVG Secure now