The Bottom Line: Bitdefender goes beyond antivirus protection with a pack of privacy features such as a VPN, webcam protection, microphone monitor, anti-tracker, social network safety, and more.
- Real-time antivirus and malware protection
- Certified by independent testing labs
- Protects against phishing attacks
- Extensive security and privacy features
- New social network protection
- Online transaction security
- Bitdefender Profiles (work, movie, game, public WiFi, battery mode)
- Newly revamped customizable dashboard
- Minimal system impact
- Better than average free antivirus program
- Excellent user reviews
- The free VPN has a daily limit of 200MB
- Bitdefender for Mac has considerably fewer features than the Windows version
- Limited capabilities on the Android app
There is no doubt that Bitdefender has almost everything you need to protect your personal info, privacy, and web browsing. But while it has one of the most impressive privacy toolboxes in the industry, it definitely hasn't forgotten its core product — malware security. Bitdefender has a bevy of security features guaranteed to keep your home network and all your devices safe from all types of online threats. Using a combination of behavior-based technology, heuristic methods, and real-time monitoring, you get superb protection against viruses, spyware, worms, adware, Trojan, ransomware, rootkits, and zero-day exploits. It also protects at a network level, stopping potential intrusions such as botnet-related URLs and brute force attacks before they could happen. Bitdefender's multi-layered security includes anti-theft, anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-fraud, web attack prevention, and Safe Files.
Besides keeping your devices malware-free, Bitdefender can also safeguard you against hackers, spies, scam artists, and global mass surveillance. Keep uninvited guests out of your Zoom meeting with Webcam and Microphone Monitors. Bitdefender's Safepay browser ensures that your online shopping, banking, and other transactions remain private and secure. The VPN will keep your identity under wraps even on public WiFi networks.
Bitdefender's Social Network Protection is another timely security and privacy add-on. Just recently, there have been reports of people getting tagged by strangers in lewd Facebook content. Clicking on these links either downloads malware on your device or your account is used to tag other people in your network. Social Network Protection can help combat these types of cyberattacks. Parents of young children or teenagers will also appreciate Bitdefender's Parental Control. Using this feature, you can control what websites and apps they can access and manage their screen time. The app also includes location tracking, geofencing, and safe check-in.
These are just but a few highlights of Bitdefender's 30+ security and privacy functionalities. Bear in mind that the availability of these features depends on what tier you're on, though everything from the free edition to the paid plans boasts of excellent malware removal.
User Interface and Effect On Performance
Getting started with Bitdefender is fairly quick and easy. The installation process typically takes just a couple of minutes before you're prompted to initiate a scan of critical system areas. If you'd rather do it later, you can simply click on Skip. Next, you'll see the Getting Started window, where you'll see details of your subscription. Finally, click on Finish to access the dashboard, and that's it; your Bitdefender product is now activated.
Bitdefender's interface is uncluttered and well-organized, with hard-to-miss buttons and a comprehensive toolbar. We love Quick Actions, which lets you access almost any feature without navigating to the actual module. Right now, you can create up to 6 pins from the following selection: Quick Scan, System Scan, Vulnerability Scan, Wallet, Safepay, VPN, File Shredder, and OneClick Optimizer.
When it comes to system performance, Bitdefender can easily beat the competition. The lighter footprint and minimal system impact mean you won't notice any slowdown, even during full system scans. We did a deep scan test while streaming a movie on Netflix and experienced no lags or buffering. All in all, Bitdefender is a joy to use, and once installed and customized, you can literally forget about it.
Licenses and Packages
Bitdefender currently offers three main packages. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus provides basic protection for 3 Windows PC against malware, adware, ransomware, and ad attacks. With Internet Security, you get all that, plus parental control and privacy tools, including firewall, webcam, and microphones. If you want multi-platform coverage, then we recommend their comprehensive plan: BitdefenderTotal Security. It gives total protection for up to 5 devices running on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
About the Company
Bitdefender has been around since 2001 since its inception in Bucharest, Romania. After two decades in the industry, it has built a solid reputation for providing top-of-the-line security products to private individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises, and government organizations. Today, it has half a billion users in 150 countries worldwide.
Bitdefender has easily one of the best customer support out of all the antivirus brands we've tested so far. Their effort in providing exemplary customer care is evident in its 24/7 live chat, phone, email support, and extensive knowledge base. Our chat experience was fantastic. We tried it twice, and both times, we didn't have to wait long before being greeted by a support agent who answered all our questions in a concise and friendly manner. On the other hand, email response times averaged 1-2 hours. It isn't anything mind-blowing but still a lot better than other providers. Lastly, in what might be considered a rarity these days, Bitdefender offers 24/7 phone support for customers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the world.
Our Verdict: Balances Security, Speed, And Usability
In the past, buying an antivirus solution was a tricky affair. You can have tons of security features but at the expense of computer performance. Or you get a light and speedy solution, but virus protection is minimal at best. Bitdefender provides the perfect balance between complete security and computer performance, so you don't have to perform a "balancing act." In addition to this, their range of privacy features is second to none, the interface is easy to use, and customer care is phenomenal. It's not perfect, especially since the free VPN is limited, but that's pretty much the only thing we can gripe about.