Firewalls are what prevent applications from communicating with the outside world. Unless a program absolutely needs to send or receive information over the Internet, firewalls will block any communications for that particular item. While all operating systems include firewalls by default, antivirus programs provide you with better control over what applications may or may not connect to the Internet. Our guide highlights which programs include built-in firewall security features and how effective they are so that you can make a well-informed decision.
Bitdefender, the antivirus brand trusted by 500 million-plus users across 150 countries, is one of the world's leading providers of consumer cybersecurity products and a pioneer in antivirus protection. This brand has won multiple antivirus awards from leading online test laboratories, including AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, PCMag, and The Anti-Malware Testing Standard Organization.
Rated #1 best antivirus software of 2023. Provides excellent virus protection, includes an extensive list of great features, and has minimal impact on system performance.
BEST ANTIVIRUSVisit Bitdefender
Award-winning antivirus solution featuring privacy & performance tools for all your devices
High-accuracy, low-impact antivirus solution with online backup capabilities
VERY GOODVisit Norton
Highly accurate security solution for computers and mobile devices
VERY GOODVisit McAfee
Powerful security protects you from numerous forms of online and offline danger
VERY GOODVisit Panda
One of the most critical factors when choosing the antivirus solution that’s right for you is who you should trust. With so many fly-by scams and fake review websites across the web, finding a trustworthy and reliable source can be difficult. Unfortunately, most of the teams behind the online antivirus review websites have never actually installed or tested any of the products they recommend. And who wants to purchase an antivirus solution from a Top 10 software list compiled by a team of fake researchers?
Keeping true to our original goal of becoming the most trusted and respected buyer’s guide for antivirus software, we wanted to do things differently right from the get-go. Rather than compiling a quick Top 10 list consisting of the latest best-paying antivirus affiliate programs, we began by researching the market and identifying the most reputable antivirus solution providers. We decided only to include established brands with proven track records in excellence combined with industry-wide recognition. After purchasing a premium package from each brand, we began researching online, benchmarking each product using a proprietary scoring system (more about this in our blog).
But who are we? We are a team of experts specializing in software testing and reviewing with a combined experience of over 30 years. We aim to take an entirely new approach to the world of antivirus software reviewing based on integrity, trust, and transparency.
We’ve spent hours researching the most reputable antivirus testing labs, compiling all the virus and malware detection data we could find. AV Comparatives and AV Test have proven to be reliable sources, but our research didn’t stop there. We’ve also studies countless white papers and articles published by groups and institutions like The Anti-Malware Testing Standard Organization, PcMag, Google's Project Zero, Ars Technica, to name just a few. This approach allowed us to identify the key technical components and requirements of antivirus software and attribute a detection score to each solution.
While a solution’s detection capability plays a significant role, there is still much more to consider when selecting the best antivirus solution. Other important factors that need to be considered include software features, ease of use, and system performance. We set out to test these factors on the various PCs and Macs located in our office. After settling on a list of features to analyze and agreeing on a scoring system for each function, we installed the individual antivirus solutions. The testing process proved to be more time-consuming than expected, but eventually, we could harvest some interesting insights when comparing products. (Some of these insights will be featured in our blog over the following weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out.) Eventually, our scoring table was ready. But we still needed to consider another factor — pricing.
It’s not uncommon for a fully-stocked antivirus solution with premium features to come with a hefty price tag. Some companies will even include “exotic features” in an attempt to justify a higher sales price. The question is, are all of those extra features even worth the extra cost? Along with highly sought-after detection capabilities, we’ve agreed to only consider the must-have features included in each package, including usability, system performance, and the total price. Throughout the research phase, we realized that a handful of virus protection packages that were swimming in exotic features were actually highly overpriced.
Most antivirus companies offer significant discounts, but unfortunately, they’re not visible when visiting the websites directly. As some prices may drop as low as 50% off (for various reasons), the dynamics of selecting the best antivirus solution constantly fluctuate. Who wouldn't want a solution with the same must-have features as a competing brand but for half the cost? By partnering with various affiliate programs, we can provide direct links to antivirus offers at discounted prices. We’ve taken these prices into account when compiling our antivirus software lists to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right solution to protect your digital footprint.
While there are many free alternatives out there, like stand-alone firewall applications or your operating system's built-in firewall, buying an antivirus is always a better solution in the long run as they’re far more reliable and provide you with more options. Compromised applications will not be able to transmit your private data to strangers on the Internet, while hackers won't be able to connect to them to issue new commands. Of course, you’ll also benefit from the superior security features included with each antivirus program.
Quality and reliability always come with a price tag. Thankfully, you don't have to spend a fortune even for some of the best antivirus brands. In addition to enhanced firewall security, you’ll also benefit from enhanced protection against malware, online scams, phishing attempts, as well as other dangerous threats that lurk on the Internet. These extra features will make you feel much safer when you click that web link in your browser or run a new application.
If a software application is compromised, it could lead to some serious damage without any clear warning signs. No matter how cautious you are, if your system becomes infected with spyware, your passwords, banking details, and other private data could be collected and sent to an unscrupulous individual on the Internet who could use your information against you for financial gain. Some hackers may even send back instructions to cause harm to your operating system by deleting critical system files. This is why it's important to have an antivirus program up and running, as well as a suitable firewall.
If you don't want to rely on your operating system's basic firewall, then it makes sense to go with an antivirus solution. Instead of wasting memory and processing power by running multiple applications, you could just have everything included in one package. It would probably be cheaper as well. Just consult our professional guide, and you’ll surely find something that suits your requirements.
With an antivirus program's firewall in place, your computer will be a safe environment for all manner of activities. You can go about your routine and not have to worry about your applications sending or receiving anything without your consent. Your computer's overall defenses will be enhanced, and you’ll have access to professional technical support should you have any questions or concerns.
There are a variety of features to consider besides an antivirus program's firewall protection. First of all, make sure its virus detection capabilities are on par with today's standards. Real-time behavior analysis is the norm nowadays as it ensures protection against undocumented threats. Be sure to stay away from programs that fail to bring this feature to the table. Even if it means paying a slightly higher price, being able to detect new viruses and prevent them from damaging your system is more important in the end.
An antivirus program's capabilities don't stop at malware detection and firewall security. Developers incorporate all sorts of useful tools into their products that are designed to make your life easier and safer. The selection of features included in an antivirus package should hold significant weight when it comes to making your final decision. Look for a product with enhanced network security and safe online browsing features if you spend a lot of time on the Internet. Furthermore, you might also want a banking safety feature if you tend to do a lot of shopping online. These features will help you avoid scamming and phishing websites and ensure your private information doesn’t get stolen.
Security features are usually grouped in differently priced packages aimed at specific user categories. If you only want to protect one computer, along with a mobile device or two, then a basic package is all you’ll need — especially if you're not prepared to spend that much on an antivirus solution. Mid-range packages are usually the best deal due to their excellent balance between price and features. If you’re interested in firewall security, you can usually find it in this package. Finally, high-end packages are worth looking at if you have data you can't afford to lose. These packages are more expensive, but they include everything from the previous packages, as well as a few powerful tools for backing up and protecting your files.
No matter what user category you find yourself in, the package you choose should be determined by your needs. Parental controls are good to have if you have children, but an online advisor or webcam protection feature is something that you’ll definitely want, regardless of your status. The best part is those mid-range products are not significantly more expensive than basic packages.
In addition to a program's detection capabilities and unique features, you also want to know how well it performs and how it will affect your typical routine. Look towards the top antivirus brands if you are worried about your computer being slowed down. These solutions will barely leave a mark on your computer's performance. It may take a little more than half an hour to complete a full system scan, but the performance hit is so small that you can continue to work, watch movies, or play games in the meantime.
Having a firewall active on your system is a great way to protect yourself from online threats, but that’s only half of what these solutions can do. They are updated continuously by developers with years of experience behind them. You can be sure that your computer and your private data will remain safe from the worst threats the Internet can throw at you.
The reviews, classifications, and content presented on AntivirusGuide.com represent the informed opinions of our reviewers. Our mission is simple: to help our visitors choose the antivirus solution that’s right for them. Our company receives monetary compensation when users buy the products that we recommend by clicking the links featured on our website, AntivirusGuide. Our editorial team puts countless hours of effort into providing accurate information regardless of the amount of monetary compensation received from affiliate links.