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AVG Secure VPN Review

Rob Mardisalu

Rob Mardisalu

This review analyses AVG’s popular VPN app

AVG VPN front page

AVG VPN is probably a service that sounds familiar. Not the VPN itself but the first name that pops up – AVG.

That’s right, one of the biggest names in the antivirus market has extended its reach towards privacy on the internet.

On the surface, AVG Secure VPN seems like it’s going to provide topnotch service since they come with a few positives.

AVG Secure VPN offers its users a secure connection as it remains leak and virus-free. Their network also boasts competent customer support that’s available 24/7.

All of these elements come crashing down, unfortunately, as it fails to deliver on a lot of the desirable features of a VPN service. They only use 2 protocols, their speeds are 50% slower, and Netflix is disappointingly blocked.

So, is there a reason to pay for this VPN? Let’s find out…

General Information on AVG Secure VPN App

USABILITY 5/5
LOG FILES: Suspicious, not trustworthy
LOCATIONS: 50 countries, 20+ servers
SUPPORT: Tickets with a fast response
TORRENTING: Limited
NETFLIX: Few servers work
TUNNELING PROTOCOLS: OpenVPN & UDP
ENCRYPTION: 160-bit, 256-bit AES
JURISDICTION / PARENT COMPANY: The Czech Republic / Avast Software S.R.O
COST: $47.88/year and up
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: https://www.avg.com/en-ww/secure-vpn

The Pros of Using AVG Secure VPN

1. No Malware Found, Virus-Free

Since AVG is a major player in the realm of anti-viruses, it’s only expected that they deliver in this area. And they do.

I ran the Windows and Mac versions of the VPN service through Virustotal Scan. The results were pretty good.

Here are the results for the Windows version:

AVG VPN Windows virustotal

And the Mac version:

AVG VPN Mac VirusTotal

Unfortunately, I was not able to scan the iOS and Android versions because they’re unavailable. This was confirmed by their customer support.

2. No IP or DNS Leaks

So far, they have proved that their overall network security, encryption, and private connection is safe from any leaks whatsoever. This will please all potential users of the service.

For testing, I used their Taiwan server and ran the app through the following tests:

  • https://ipleak.net/ (none found)
  • https://www.perfect-privacy.com/check-ip/ (none found)
  • https://ipx.ac/run (none found)
  • https://www.perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest/ (none found)

The DNS leak test came positive:

AVG VPN DNS leak test

The service also did a great job hiding my IP address:

AVG VPN IP leak test

Overall, the VPN provider did stellar work keeping my geolocation anonymous and away from exposure. It’s good news for those who use public wi-fi often.

3. Good Customer Chat Support + Community Support

When looking at the quality of customer support, the response time for said service must come first. Luckily, AVG Secure VPN provides good customer chat support for its users.

The chat support is not immediately available once you enter their website, but it can be easily accessed through their “contact us” page and heading to sale support.

Once in, you only have to provide your first and last name, and your email address. You can then begin.

Here’s an example of their chat support service:

AVG VPN customer chat support

For the basics, it is pretty good. However, when asked a certain question that’s too technical, they will do either of the following:

  • Direct you to technical support. You will wait around 3 – 5 minutes before you can start.
  • The support rep will direct you to their FAQ page to answer your question.

Some support reps will try to answer your question to the best of their ability. This does take time but not as long as being transferred to a different rep.

Their Community Support

AVG Secure VPN has a community support page that answers whatever question you have about the service. The response takes up to an hour or two, but there is a reply nonetheless.

AVG VPN community support

4. Easy To Use VPN App

The available app that you can download for Windows and Mac has great usability. You can get the app as a free trial for 30 days so you can take a look at it for yourself.

Once the app is installed and launched, the first thing you’ll see is the interface below:

AVG VPN app interface

You can click the switch to automatically connect to an optimized server location. Like most VPN apps, the “optimized server” will vary from one location to another. Once connected, a notification will pop up and you can start browsing the internet under their security.

You can manually choose which server you’re connected to by clicking on “change location.” All the servers will be shown and you can choose to categorize them based on their region. There’s also the choice to only show servers optimized for streaming and those that allow P2P:

AVG VPN locations

The settings tab will show a number of options. One of these options being the choice to auto-connect to their servers once the app is launched.

Overall, the app provided is fairly easy to use. There are not many tabs for you to go through and changing the servers manually enough. Furthermore, all apps or versions available of AVG Secure VPN have a built-in kill-switch for additional security.

5. Located in the Czech Republic, a Safe Haven for Data Protection

Data protection is always the biggest thing that a VPN provider must have. With the 14 eyes currently covering a number of major regions around the globe, it’s quite hard to find a VPN service that’s stationed away from their jurisdiction. AVG Secure VPN is proud to say that it stays away from malicious government agencies.

The VPN provider is based in the Czech Republic which is not part of the 14 eyes. This means that user data and information are not so easily given to the government.

However, the Czech Republic will cooperate against cases that break the laws of computer network exploitation. This is not much to be worried about but it is useful to know about.

The Cons of Using AVG Secure VPN

So far so good, right? Well, not quite. You’ll quickly see why all the bright features of AVG Secure VPN are trumped by the negatives of the service.

1. Slow Speed Test Results

For a service that’s backed up by such a big company, you’d think that AVG Secure VPN can deliver in terms of network speed. Unfortunately for this service, it falls flat on its face.

I tested six random servers:

  • Taiwan 
  • Singapore
  • Amsterdam
  • London 
  • New York
  • Miami 

The fastest server speed the VPN got to was Taiwan since it is the most optimized for my location. However, the results that followed were still quite bad.

As part of the control test, I measured my internet speed without AVG Secure VPN:

Speed without AVG VPN
  • Ping: 27ms
  • Download: 51.51 Mbps
  • Upload: 49.07 Mbps

Here is the result for Taiwan’s speed:

AVG VPN Taiwan speedtest
  • Ping: 61ms
  • Download: 21.60 Mbps (58.1% slower)
  • Upload: 25.60 Mbps (47.8% slower)

That’s pretty slow even for a server they claim is optimized. On the bright side, the upload speed did manage to break less than 50% which is okay.

The following tests only showed the severe lack in speed for AVG Secure VPN.

EU Server

AVG VPN London speedtest
  • Ping: 295ms 
  • Download: 5.19 Mbps (89.9% slower)
  • Upload: 1.60 Mbps (96.7% slower)

Horrendous download and upload speeds considering that these were the fastest I got from Europe.

US Server 

AVG VPN NewYork Speedtest
  • Ping: 307ms
  • Download: 6.21 Mbps (87.9% slower)
  • Upload: 2.94 Mbps (94.1% slower)

It’s just as bad as the EU server.

2. Suspicious Logging Policy

AVG VPN logging policy

Right off the bat, AVG Secure VPN is quite straightforward with its logging policy. It claims to collect your VPN Data for a number of reasons. Said data is stored for 2 – 3 months before they delete it. The service will only keep your data indefinitely if you (A) break their EULA and (B) if the user has attempted to defraud the service.

The statement is already worrying since it clearly says that it collects your data. This is where it gets a bit more suspicious, unfortunately.

AVG Secure VPN claims to collect “VPN Data.” What is this data referring to? Their TOS never specifies what it contains. I contacted their privacy department via email and they are yet to send out a reply.

Another thing that concerns me about their TOS is the purpose of keeping VPN data. One of these reasons states that it wishes to prevent any file sharing and other illicit activities. In order for the service to detect file sharing, it must theoretically know the websites that you’re using. To do this, it needs your usage logs which is a major red flag. This is only made scarier since “VPN Data” is a very broad term so it could mean a lot of things.

Regardless, collecting user logs is negative for a VPN provider. Data collection should only be limited to the basics such as email information, diagnostics, and billing info.

3. Netflix Blocked For Most Locations

Netflix means a lot for a great number of people around the globe. However, the service has taken a stance against VPNs during the last few years. Certain VPN providers manage to unblock Netflix and provides access regardless of location.

The same cannot be said for AVG Secure VPN, however.

I first tested out 6 servers, 4 of which belonged to their locations optimized for streaming. The other two were picked randomly.

The good news: most of the server locations in North America unblocks Netflix.

The bad news: most of the other server locations do not.

AVG VPN netflix singapore

I further tested this for 5 more server locations spread across Europe and Asia. So far, only Japan has Netflix unblocked.

4. Limited Torrenting and P2P Locations

Currently, AVG Secure VPN allows P2P connections for eight locations:

AVG VPN torrenting policy
The image claims that Brazil allows P2P but their Windows app says otherwise.
  • Prague
  • Paris
  • Frankfurt
  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Miami
  • New York
  • Seattle

The image above claims that Brazil allows P2P but their Windows app says otherwise.

The rest of the available server locations do not have this feature.

Limited choice for this feature holds it back in terms of flexibility and choice.

All servers do provide unlimited bandwidth for those looking to torrent. So, there’s that. Just remember the speed you’re getting is still dreadfully slow.

5. Lackluster Servers, Tunneling Protocols, and Missing Features

For a service that comes from AVG, you’d expect they have the power to extend their server count to a few hundred. Unfortunately, AVG Secure VPN only has 20+ servers. That’s lower than even most of the VPN providers that aren’t backed up by a big name company.

This lack of flexibility carries over to their tunneling protocols. Right now, the service uses only OpenVPN and UDP for Windows and IPsec for Mac. That’s too low.  It doesn’t work with PPTP but it still doesn’t provide enough alternatives for when a user wants to switch protocols. Seeing as different tunneling protocols provide different benefits, the lack of it here is quite disappointing.

Other Missing Features

AVG VPN Router Compatibility
  • AVG Secure VPN is not compatible with TOR. TOR is an extra suit of protection and most VPNs work well with it. This one, however, doesn’t want to play with the other kids.
  • It is not router-compatible. If you’re trying to protect a number of gadgets using AVG Secure VPN, you can forget about it.

6. A Heavily-Stained Background

This article by Wired explains that AVG has the power to sell your browsing data to third parties. When a parent owner of a VPN service gets in trouble, it’s a good cause for worry.

Do take note that the article is only shedding light on this fact and not actually saying that the company has already done it. Or have they? Remember, AVG Secure VPN collects your VPN Data. Said information could contain a number of specific elements and service is collecting it up to 3 months.

It’s also worth mentioning that AVG was bought by AVAST. The latter is not safe from any controversies either because it has fallen victim to it a number of times. Here are a few examples:

AVG Secure VPN Payment Methods and Refund Policy

AVG Secure VPN’s payment methods are quite confusing if you’re looking to buy their service.

First of all, heading over to their website will show this result:

AVG VPN website payment

$79.99 a year for a VPN sounds steep, right? Well, that’s not all of it. This website fails to mention that the version that can be bought here is for one device only. I made sure of this fact by asking their sale support.

If you want to save money and get it cheaper for 5 devices, then I recommend downloading the free trial version first. Once the app is launched, you can manage your subscriptions and see their intended payment plan:

AVG VPN app payment method

 

The payment plans available are for a yearly subscription only. There is no monthly or quarterly offer.

Unfortunately, AVG Secure VPN only offers limited payment methods. You can only pay through credit and debit card, or PayPal. The PayPal method does not take your balance but instead asks for the card linked on the account.

Though limited, the prices on offers are quite reasonable and are on par with all the other big name VPN providers.

Their Refund Policy

AVG Secure VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you’ve already paid for a subscription and wish to opt out of it, asking for a refund within the allotted time is easily done. To start, you can contact their sale support and ask for a refund. They’ll go through the normal process of asking why you’re canceling your payment.

AVG VPN refund process

The sale support will then notify you that their refund team will process the request and, on a successful submission, will email you the process in the next three days.

AVG VPN refund process email

Do I Recommend AVG Secure VPN

This is an easy NO for me. 

First of all, you’re getting a VPN for the complete package; privacy is your goal but it doesn’t have to severely compromise your daily experience as well.

Unfortunately for AVG Secure VPN, it fails to tick most of these boxes.

It’s slow, doesn’t provide enough features and compatibility. Add to that, its parent companies are known to keep vital information for extended periods of time. All that dirt has finally caught up to them, I’m afraid.

All in all, AVG Secure VPN feels like that old timer trying to stick to dated methods in a time where innovation and adaptability are required. My advice, go for the top names in the VPN market. It’s money well spent.

P.S. I’m always interested in hearing your own opinions on the product. If you are or have used AVG Secure VPN, then leave a review! Let us know how your experienced differed.

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