Avira Antivirus Review


With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Avira can definitely be trusted to protect your computer against viruses and other threats that lurk on the Internet. Their security packages offer a highly efficient, no-nonsense antivirus protection, with a high degree of customization. Although you won't find too many bells and whistles strapped on, you can expect to find a highly-rated, award-winning antivirus scanning engine, which is capable of stopping advanced threats and though viruses dead in their tracks.

Avira was founded in 2006, by Tjark Auerbach, but the antivirus product itself has been in development through H+BEDV Datentechnik GmbH since 1986, in the early days of the computer age. Headquartered in Tettnang, Germany, the company has offices in the US, in China, Romania and the Netherlands as well and it is estimated to serve over 100 million customers world-wide.

The company can be found among the top 10 anti-malware vendors, by market share, and for good reason. Their products won numerous awards over the years. One of them received over 20 awards in 2016 alone and it was named the "Best Product of the Year" by AV Comparatives.

Packages and features

Avira has three main packages on offer, with different bonus features. You can choose a specific package, from the most basic one to the top-tier product, based on what you need to protect and how much you are ready to spend. What's more, certain features are offered as stand-alone tools, which you can buy separately. If you want to scan for vulnerabilities and fix them, for example, you could purchase the appropriate tool, without upgrading your antivirus license. Another advantage is the fact that you can pay for a subscription on a yearly or monthly basis, so if you go on vacation, you won't have to pay for a product that you're not currently using.

  • Avira Antivirus Pro

  • Although it has the word "Pro" in its name, this basic package doesn't bring too many special features to the table. However, you can still benefit from Avira's award-winning antivirus capabilities, for up to five devices, and the limited features it has to offer will definitely come in handy when surfing the web. You will be able to do your online shopping safely, block annoying ads and protect your home network.

    • Real-time Protection

      Besides running on-demand scans, Avira constantly watches for incoming threats and suspicious activity, while you are busy doing something else or even if you leave your computer unattended. Whenever you download a file, run an application or click on a link, the program will automatically scan for threats, to ensure that you are not walking into a trap.

    • Safe Web Browsing

      You can never be too sure about the websites you visit, which is why Avira always analyses them quickly in the background. If you stumble upon a fake or phishing website, without realizing it, the software will block it automatically. Whenever it blocks a website, you will receive a short explanation, so you will know that proceeding to that website could lead to your data being stolen or worse.

    • Firewall Control

      Controlling the Windows Firewall can be a hassle. Avira gives you a quicker access to the system's Firewall, it places more options at your disposal and it makes it much easier to control what applications may or may not connect to the Internet. Instead of navigating through countless menus and scrolling through a long list of check boxes, you can set your Firewall rules on the fly, on an attractive and comfortable interface.

    • Ad-blocking

      This tool comes as an extension, which you can install separately on your browser. Once installed, it will automatically block any ads on any websites. Never again will you have to fight to close annoying pop-ups to read an article or click an ad by mistake because you though it was a legitimate Download button.

    • Home Guard

      If you have multiple devices connected to your home network, this tool will help you identify any vulnerabilities they may have, which could be exploited by unscrupulous individuals. After a quick scan, you will be able to spot and fix potential problems, which are usually unnoticeable to regular users.

    • Password Manager

      If you use simple passwords or write them down on a piece of paper, you need to stop that and use this feature, if you don't want someone else to steal your accounts. It can generate long and complex passwords, with random characters, and it lets you store them in a secure database. Your passwords will be impossible to guess, even for a computer and, at the same time, you will be able to log into your accounts at a moment's notice, without having to type any login credentials.

    • Avira Phantom VPN

      A Virtual Private Network (VPN) enables you to surf the web anonymously. If you turn on Avira's VPN, the websites and services you visit will log a different IP address, instead of your own, so the connection can't be traced back to your computer. Another advantage is the fact that you can choose between networks from various countries, which gives you the possibility of accessing online content that is normally unavailable in your country.
      Note: Avira Phantom VPN has to be downloaded separately and it is limited to 500 MB per month, but you can buy the premium version which gives you unlimited traffic.

  • Avira Internet Security

  • This mid-range package comes at a relative low price and it can help you update your programs and fix various software flaws on your computer. It can be of real help to inexperienced users, who don't know about the importance of keeping programs up to date or how to patch security gaps in their systems.

    • Software Updater Pro

      Out-of-date programs can present a risk to your computer's security, which could be exploited by hackers to gain access to your system and your personal files. While it takes a single click to update a program, you can let this tool update everything for you. Instead of running and updating each application separately, you can just click a button and let Avira do everything on your behalf.

    • Vulnerability Scanner

      Open ports or incorrect settings can expose an operating system to outside attacks and you can't expect a regular user to know how to find and fix them. However, Avira's Vulnerability Scanner can identify such issues and fix them right away, so you don't have to spend time looking through a thick layer of menus and staring at options you don't understand.

    • Driver Updater

      If you can't run a game, due to outdated graphics drivers, you can let Avira find the latest drivers and install them for you. This way, you won't have to waste time looking for the right drivers on the manufacturer's website, downloading them manually and going through the installation process. Of course, this feature works with all other drivers on your computer.

  • Avira Prime

  • This top-tier package comes with everything Avira has to offer. It gives you access to premium services, for privacy and identity protection, so you don't have to worry about online fraud. It can be used to protect up to 5 computers, but you can also get a license for up to 25 devices. It's an ideal solution for total protection for the entire household.

    • System Speedup Pro

      If your computer doesn't run as well as it used to, this component will help you make it work better. You will notice your operating system booting up faster, a more efficient memory usage and more stable applications. You can work in a comfortable manner, without being hindered by slow-downs or hanged applications.

    • System Cleanup

      Temporary data is a waste of disk space and it can also represent a security risk. Fortunately, Avira's cleanup tool can locate and remove such data, from your browser, your system's Temp folder and the Registry, so you don't have to look around in your folders all by yourself.

    • Data Shredding and Encryption

      Besides removing temporary data and other useless files, Avira can also shred and encrypt files. This gives you the possibility of protecting sensitive documents from prying eyes and you can also completely destroy the information you don't want others to see and make it impossible to recover.

    • Premium VPN

      One of Avira Prime's advantages is unlimited traffic for Phantom VPN. You can benefit from full anonymity and bypass geo-restrictions, without constantly thinking about how much traffic you have left. You can stay connected to a VPN for entire days, without any limitations.

    • Identity Scanner

      Identity theft is one of the biggest dangers on the Internet. Avira's Identity Scanner can look out for your personal data on the dark web and it can help you mitigate any risks if it surfaces somewhere. You can put an end to it, before you find yourself with less money in your account or discover that you're the not-so-proud beneficiary of a loan you didn't ask for.

    • Premium mobile apps

      Avira Prime gives you access to all mobile apps from Avira, for both Android and iOS. You can protect smartphones and tablets and track their security status from a central dashboard. The best part is that you also get remote anti-theft tools, so if someone steals your phone or tablet, you will be able to lock it and track it on a map, which gives you a greater chance to find your device.

    • VIP support

      Avira Prime users get privileged VIP access to Avira's IT specialists. If you encounter a problem and need to reach out to tech support, you will be brought to the front of the queue, so you won't have to wait for too long before someone can get to you.

    • Free Access to Future Products

      New tools are always made available, to mitigate new and more complex threats. If you have an Avira Prime subscription, you will be able to get any new tool from Avira for free.

Installation and setup

Avira has an interesting approach to installation. Regardless of what package you choose, you will get the same installer, which presents all the available modules separately and it lets you decide which ones to install. You can install only the antivirus and ignore the components you don't want. Of course, you can install specific modules at any time, should the need arise. Just click on Avira's system tray icon, to bring up the main dashboard, click the module you want to install and the program will take it from there.

From simple utilities to the main antivirus component, everything can be installed with a single click and it doesn't take long to complete the process. You don't need to have any special tools or services installed, before running Avira, but you should make sure that there are no other antivirus programs running on your computer. The program can automatically remove incompatible software, if you allow it. Fortunately, Avira is not known to cause too many conflicts with other non-security programs, so you won't have to uninstall the applications you use regularly.

A few initial configurations can be made when the antivirus for the first time. The best part is that Avira has something for both experienced and inexperienced users. If you know a thing or two about computers, you will certainly appreciate the level of control you can have over your security system. Alternatively, if the customization options seem confusing, you can just opt for the default settings and rest assured that your system will be protected. Additionally, Avira lets you choose between different detection levels. If you have enough resources to spare, you can set it to scan aggressively, otherwise, you can opt for a low scanning level, to avoid slowing down your computer.

User Experience

In terms of appearance, Avira has a modern and elegant design and its controls are quite comfortable. Its main characteristic is the fact that most features, apart from the core protection functions, can be installed and used separately. Avira's main dashboard presents all the available tools and you can decide to install one or another with a single click. Even if you have a basic package, but you are interested in a premium tool, you can buy it and install it separately, though getting a license for a higher package is usually a better deal.

Regardless of what tools you intend to use, everything can be accessed on the same dashboard, so you won't end up filling your screen with numerous windows. Like all other tools, the antivirus itself can be accessed on the main dashboard. It presents a series of options, on the left side of the interface, through which you can check the status of your security modules, pick between several scanning options, enable or disable individual modules, have a look at quarantined files and bring up an activity log.

Avira requires very little user interaction to protect a computer and the files on it. Its security modules can be enabled or disabled instantly, with a single click. Furthermore, preparing and executing a scan is just as easy. You only need to pick one of four scanning methods, target a drive or make other simple specifications, if necessary, and the program will start looking for infections right away.

When you're not scanning for viruses, you can just let Avira work quietly in the background. It will constantly check for incoming threats and it will update itself automatically, letting you focus on your important tasks. If something dangerous is about to make it to your system, the program will react immediately and save your system and your personal files. The best part is that Avira doesn't have a significant performance impact, while it's passive, and it doesn't bother you with unimportant messages and prompts. Furthermore, you can enable a gaming mode, if you want to play a video game without any kind of distractions.

Scanning and detection

Like all other similar products, Avira comes with conventional scanning and detection capabilities, as well as real-time protection and behavior analysis features. It can actively scan for virus infections, but it can also monitor for suspicious activity and prevent new threats from infecting your files. While the program is working on your computer, you will be safe against numerous threats, from simple viruses to ransomware or even botnet hijacking attempts, through which hackers may take control over your computer.

  • Multiple scanning modes

    Depending on your schedule and on how much time you have, you can choose between four scanning options. For regular virus checks, you can opt for the Quick Scan option, to check the locations and components that are most likely to get infected. Performing a full system scan will take significantly longer, but the program will check every single file on your computer.

    Besides full and quick scans, you can also perform a custom scan, if you wish to check a specific folder for virus infections. Another useful feature is the possibility of scheduling automatic scans. You can set the program to perform a scan on certain days, at certain hours, so you won't have to concern yourself with routine scans. You can go on with your day and the antivirus will perform regular scans all by itself.

  • Real-time Protection

    While working in the background, Avira will always make sure you don't accidentally get a virus infections. When you download or open a file, read an email or run an application, the software will automatically check it for infections, before the item is opened. This makes it possible for you to work on a computer normally, without having to fear that something you have downloaded may cause harm to your computer or send your personal information to strangers on the Internet.

    If you use an email client, you can say "goodbye" to spam and to all those special offers that are meant to steal your money, thanks to the program's real-time protection capabilities. Also, if you install Avira's browser extensions, you can benefit from the same kind of protection on your web-based email services. What's more, the program can automatically scan external USB drives when you plug them in, so you won't risk an infection when you plug a friend's memory stick into your computer.

  • Behavior Analysis

    Avira uses an advanced cloud-based AI technology to spot new malware, that hasn't been classified yet. It is essentially an early warning system against zero-day threats. New viruses may not trigger any warnings right away, but the program will notice if something tries to make changes to your system or attempt to read your personal files. This is where Avira steps in to prevent any damage.

    If the program detects any suspicious activity, the information will be sent to the cloud, along with the infected files, for a fast, but thorough analysis. At this point, the new threat will be identified and sent to all Avira users, through a definitions update. You will be safe against unidentified malware and, once the program catches it and sends it to the cloud, that threat will be much easier to detect in the future, for all users.

  • Vulnerability scanner

    Not everyone can be expected to know how to configure their operating systems and optimize their security measures. Fortunately, this is another task Avira can help you with. The program can identify unsafe system settings, open ports and other risks. What's more, it can also patch these gaps for you.

    You don't have to be a tech expert to figure out how to properly secure your operating system, nor do you have to call one to do it for you. You can make all the necessary settings, to prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer, with only a few simple clicks.

System Performance

Minimum system requirements:

CPU: 1GHz or higher
RAM: 512MB (XP) / 1GB (Vista or 7)
Disk space: 2GB Free Space

One of the biggest concerns everyone has is how an antivirus affects a computer's performance. Fortunately, you don't need to worry about Avira, because its impact is minimal. It has one of the smallest impacts when working passively in the background, which means that you won't notice any significant slow-downs when copying files, compiling databases, playing games or rendering videos. Furthermore, the gaming mode makes it feel like the program isn't even there.

You can count on good performance scores when you run virus scans as well. A full system scan will slow down your system by roughly 15%, which places Avira among the programs with the lowest impact. You can safely use your computer for mostly anything you want, while performing a full scan. Though a slight slow-down is noticeable, it is still within reasonable margins.

It takes about 41 minutes to complete a full scan, which is well within the average scanning time of most antivirus products. However, Avira doesn't ignore files that are presumed to be safe, so you won't see any improvements in future scanning times. On the bright side, the program might catch well-hidden infections this way. You may have to deal with a slight performance drop for a little while longer, but you can be absolutely sure that your system is clean, from top to bottom.

If you start a quick scan, you will have a performance drop of about 10%. Though it is only 5% lower than that of a full scan, the toll on your processor is still perfectly reasonable. What's more, it only takes about half a minute to complete a quick scan, which is one of the fastest times you will see. You don't have to leave your computer or start working on something, when performing routine scans. By the time you decide what program to launch and find its icon, the antivirus will be done scanning, so, realistically speaking, you don't actually have to deal with a performance impact when running a quick scan.

Support and Customer Service

Avira always take care of their paying customers, so if you encounter any problems, their technical support team will be ready to answer your questions, by email or phone, and help you fix your issues. A live chat solution is available as well, but you will need to download and install a special tool for this. Though installing another tool on your system doesn't sound like an attractive proposition, it definitely makes it much easier to contact Avira's tech support. Instead of combing a website for contact information or links, you can just launch the support tool and call them right away.

If you like to take matters into your own hands and fix your problems by yourself, Avira has a rich knowledge base on its website. This includes a forum, where other people will be glad to answer your questions, but you can also access various Help pages and video tutorials. What's more, Avira offers a series of support tools, which can help you recover from serious damages, like like bootsector issues rootkits or an unbootable operating system.

It is worth noting that Avira Prime users get access to VIP support. If the program stops working correctly, if you can't remove an infection or if you have other problems with your system, you can get help much faster. With the VIP support, you will be bumped up the waiting list, so you won't have to wait for too long before a technician can get to you. Furthermore, Avira offers a standard 30-day money back guarantee for all users, regardless of what packages they have, so if you are not satisfied with the product for any reason, they will refund your purchase without any trouble.

Value for the Money

Buying an Avira license is definitely a sound investment. Although it doesn't offer as many bells and whistles as other antivirus products, you can certainly expect a top-notch security system. If you are worried about virus infections, hacker or ransomware attacks or other threats, you can be sure that Avira won't let anything bad happen to your computer. You can use your computer for work or entertainment as usual, knowing that your operating system won't get damaged by malware and your important documents or personal information will remain safe.

Independent testers can vouch for Avira's protection capabilities. The product line has top scores across the board, which is proof that it is an excellent choice when it comes to protection. It has certified "Top Product" badges, due to its near-perfect scores in AV-TEST's evaluations, for protection against both widespread malware and zero-day threats. Avira also came through with flying colors in the performance and usability tests.

It's obvious that Avira made significant progress over the past few years, especially if you look at the numerous "Advanced+" ratings it got from AV-Comparatives, who named it "Product of the Year" in 2016. The program's stellar protection rate places it among the top antivirus solutions on the market, so those high ratings are certainly earned.

Both AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives show that Avira has next to no false positives, a feat that very few products manage to achieve. This means that your favorite applications won't get mistakenly flagged as threats and removed from your system. Whenever the program detects something malicious on your computer, you can be sure that the warning it displays is accurate.

Avira addresses the needs of various user categories. From people who simply want to enjoy a movie or chat on social media to professionals who use a computer for important work, everyone can find something that will meet their demands.

Avira Antivirus Pro

This basic package offers everything you really need to use a computer without worrying about malware and hacker attacks. If you use a computer for non-professional purposes, Antivirus Pro's smart and powerful protection functions will allow you to safely enjoy a good movie, play video games or keep in touch with your friends on social media. Furthermore, the program's network protection capabilities make it ideal for family use, since it can discover and patch the vulnerabilities of all devices in your home network. Also, its Safe Web Browsing feature ensures that the money you have saved for that family vacation won't get stolen.

Avira Internet Security

Geared towards securing a computer from exploits and system vulnerabilities that are not obvious to everyone, this package is certainly a good pick for both regular and advanced users. Licenses are available for one, three of five devices, so you can either get it for yourself or spend a bit more, to secure more devices in your household. Its Vulnerability Scanner can help you discover flaws in the operating system's security measures and the included update utilities are also a good touch, since they can help you keep everything up to date, without wasting time on countless applications and web pages.

Avira Prime

With this top-tier package, all the best utilities that Avira has to offer are placed right in front of you. The price gap is a bit higher than the one between the previous two packages, but you will be able to use all Avira utilities, including future releases, without any limitations. The package covers 5 devices, which should be enough for small families. Alternatively, if you live in a large household, with numerous devices, you could get a license for a maximum of 25 devices. Regardless of what devices they use, everyone in your house will benefit from Avira's powerful antivirus protection and special utilities.

Final Verdict

With over 30 years of fighting against viruses, Avira certainly knows what it's doing in terms of security. It may not have as many bonus features as other products, at least not without a price tag, but it doesn't hold anything back when it comes to preventing virus infections or protecting your data or financial information from being stolen. Anyone looking for a powerful and effective antivirus solution will definitely want to keep Avira on their short list.

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