In this blog post, I will review Avast's VPN service, called SecureLine, and break down their features so that you can make an informed purchasing decision, plus I'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about VPNs in general.
When you connect to a service like Avast VPN, all of your Internet data will be encrypted and sent through a digital “tunnel.” This prevents third parties from intercepting any information that’s being transmitted from and to your devices.
VPNs are necessary to protect yourself when you're using public WiFi, but as you consider signing up for one of these services there are some things that you should know about before you pull the trigger.
Disclosure: Although I receive affiliate compensation for some of the links below at no additional cost to you that compensation in no way influences my recommendations, which are strictly informed by my years of digital marketing experience working with clients large and small. My aim is to always recommend tools that will offer you the best return on investment.
How does Avast SecureLine VPN Work?
This prevents anyone from seeing your data and using it for malicious purposes, such as logging into your social media or email accounts, taking over them, changing passwords, etc.
When you connect to a VPN service with your computer or mobile device, all traffic is routed through the encrypted connection created by the VPN server.
Neither your ISP (Internet Service Provider) nor any other third parties will be able to see your data over the VPN connection because all communications will be encrypted end to end.
VPN encryption protects your devices from prying eyes when you connect to public unsecured networks in coffee shops, shopping malls, airports, hotels, etc.
Can Avast hide my IP?
With the protection of Avast VPN, your IP address will also be fully concealed.
As a result of this cloaking, you’ll be able to access Internet sites and services that are blocked from your region due to geo-restrictions (like watching American Netflix from Canada or the U.K.)
In fact, with the Avast VPN you won't have any restrictions whatsoever and will be able to surf the net at full speed with total freedom.
Does Avast VPN hide your activity from your own router?
When it comes to your Internet service at home, Avast will also protect your online activity by making it harder for your local internet provider to log and track what you do.
To achieve this level of protection, Avast VPN makes use of military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, which means that if anyone tries to intercept your traffic all they’ll see is useless data that's virtually impossible to unscramble.
Avast SecureLine Server Locations
Avast VPN offers extensive coverage in European countries, Africa, South America and particularly countries with institutionalized firewalls like China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Avast VPN Features
Below you'll find the key features of Avast SecureLine VPN:
1. Protects your privacy and security with military-grade encryption so hackers can't intercept your data communications and break into your online accounts
2. Allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and access content not otherwise available in your region
3. Provides you with a new IP address, so that you can browse the web without exposing your location and online identity to anyone
4. Allows you to stay safe on public WiFi hotspots, hotel networks, and other places with a weak security system
5. It's available for the MacOS, Windows, Android and iOS operating systems
1. It’s not free (they offer a 7-day free trial)
2. Although Avast doesn’t keep browser logs, they do keep connection logs
Avast VPN costs $4.99/month ($59.88 billed a year in advance) or $8.99 monthly for up to 10 devices. Two and three year plans are priced even lower when paid in advance.
Premium Avast antivirus costs an additional $44.99/year for up to ten devices.
Is Premium Avast antivirus worth it?
I would personally recommend it. The VPN service on its own may encrypt all Internet communications and keep your IP address anonymous, but it won’t protect you from visiting a malicious website that ends up infecting your computer or mobile device.
Premium Avast anti virus will automatically avoid nefarious websites so you won’t visit them by mistake — for example, many bad actors use misspellings of popular sites like eBay, Amazon and YouTube to infect the devices of unsuspecting visitors.
Avast’s antivirus service also protects you against infected routers in public places that use hacked settings to send you to fake websites to steal your logins, and blocks remote access attacks from reaching your computer.
How do I know if the VPN is working?
With Avast VPN installed on your device, when the VPN is active the slider switch on your main panel will turn green:
If you want to check if you're protected outside Avast VPN, you can use a service like whatsmyipaddress.com, which will show you what IP address the site thinks that you're accessing it from.
If this IP address is different from the one shown in your device’s network settings, then you know the VPN is working.
Will my VPN slow down the internet?
Yes and no. Let me explain. Technically speaking, yes; the act of encrypting and decrypting each data packet takes more time than routing raw traffic, although top VPNs like Avast do this conversion extremely fast.
Having said that, almost all of the consumer Internet traffic these days is accessed via WiFi networks and not through wired connections, and WiFi technology is a bigger bottleneck for speed than VPNs.
So, in the rare case that you’re accessing the Internet over a wired connection, you might experience some latency.
But if your access is via WiFi you more than likely won’t experience any delays because VPNs can perform encryption and decryption faster than the WiFi router can transit the signal to your device.
Now, if you happen to own an ultra high speed WiFi router (they’re very pricey) you may notice some latency. Most of the time, however, you’ll be fine.
Are VPNs illegal?
In most countries VPNs are completely legal and in fact highly recommended, but in others their use is restricted or even illegal.
In some countries, VPNs are required to operate under strict government regulations that mandate them to record all user activity logs, including all your browsing and connection data.
In more extreme cases they might be banned altogether due to their potential use in unapproved activities such as circumventing censorship restrictions imposed by the country's regime.
These countries may have local laws against access to certain types of information, which could include virtually anything as defined by their rulers, typically related to political advocacy, critique of political figures, etc.
Finally, some countries like China block access to any foreign website that stores user data out of country, in contravention to local laws that dictate that all data from their citizenry must be kept within their borders.
Do VPNs prevent spying?
Yes, the main purpose for using a VPN is to protect your data from any type of surveillance.
VPNs are in the business of encrypting your data and routing it through their dedicated servers to keep it away from prying eyes.
They achieve that by routing your traffic through digital “tunnels” of military-grade encrypted data from one end (your device) to the other (the website you’re visiting).
Can you be tracked if you use a VPN?
No. VPNs create a shield of security around your data so that nobody can track you.
This means your data is secure as it travels across the Internet, so no ISPs, hackers or government entities are able to monitor what websites you visit.
The only exception would be a local court order issued against the VPN provider demanding access to your connection logs.
VPNs also mask your real IP address with an anonymous one, effectively hiding any identifying information about where exactly you're browsing from.
This ensures full anonymity on the web since everything looks like it comes from a different location than where you physically are.
Can you get hacked through a VPN?
VPNs prevent hackers from intercepting your data, but don’t stop them from launching remote access attacks or prevent you from visiting malicious websites.
For that added level of protection, you’ll also need a strong antivirus like Premium Avast.
Do VPNs protect your passwords?
Again, yes and no. VPNs will prevent your passwords from being intercepted en-route but won’t prevent hackers from installing keyword capture malware in your computer sahould you visit a malicious website or open an attachment in an infected email.
Antivirus software like Premium Avast will guard against these types of attacks.
Should I use a VPN when surfing while on my data plan?
VPNs are most valuable when the WiFi router or hot-spot you’re connecting to has weak security, like most public places (coffee shops, retails stores, airports, etc.)
If you use your own data plan, or a computer tethered to your smartphone, then your communications are secured by your phone provider. However, your IP address will still be visible and you won’t be 100% anonymous.
If you want full anonymity, including IP address cloaking, then you should use a VPN at all times.
Do I really need to use a VPN at home?
Not if you use a router with strong security. Otherwise, you'll benefit from a VPN. A VPN is most useful when you’re on public or unsecured networks, such as in a coffee shop or an airport.
However, if you're at home and have an older WiFi router with weak security you should consider adding the protection of a good VPN, or upgrading your router to one that has WPA3 security.
Having said that, if you want to cloak your IP address and remain 100% anonymous at all times you should always use a VPN, even when your home router is using a secure connection.
Do I need a VPN on my phone?
Absolutely! Your phone is your most likely device to be connected to unprotected public WiFi, and is therefore the most at risk of being hacked.
For example, if you log into your social media accounts or your email from an unprotected public WiFi network and a hacker is lurking in it, it only takes a minute before they're able to break into your accounts.
So, if you're out and about without the protection of a VPN and need to visit a website where you’ll be entering login credentials, make sure you turn off the WiFi on your device and use your data plan instead.
Should I leave my VPN on all the time?
Yes, unless you're at home and you have a secure router. Otherwise, I recommend turning your VPN on as soon as you leave home and before you automatically connect to a public WiFi network.
Once again, if you want to always remain anonymous by cloaking your true IP address, then you should have your VPN turned on at all times, even at home.
Should I use Avast secure browser?
The Avast Secure Browser blocks ad trackers that follow your every move on the internet so they can sell your online behavior data for profit.
In doing so, it also dramatically improves your website loading speeds as these trackers and the ads they trigger can slow down your devices quite noticeably.
Does Avast VPN work with Netflix?
Netflix uses smart software to compare IP addresses looking for encrypted connections and clusters of people using the same IP address.
If an IP address is flagged, users won't be able to stream from Netflix. Instead, they will see an error message pop up.
The good news is, this is one area where Avast VPN really shines!
Most large streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video are able to block the VPN servers of most large competitors. But somehow, Avast VPN manages to avoid their wide net and stay ahead of the game.
Wrapping Things Up
When using the Avast VPN servers to connect with your devices, all of your data will be encrypted and sent through digital tunnels that prevent unwanted parties from accessing your data transmitted over the Internet.
So, use of the Avast VPN is critical when you’re relying on public WiFi networks to access the Internet from retail establishments and public places like airports, public libraries, etc.
Also, the Avast VPN service cloaks your IP address so that you remain 100% anonymous when you browse any website.
Finally, when combined with the Avast Premium antivirus software, you'll be adding a solid layer of protection against hackers infecting your devices with malware or gaining remote access to your computer.