Stop Paying for Antivirus

This is probably the most surprising advice I give friends and family – Don’t pay for antivirus software.


It’s over priced, bloated, and doesn’t offer better protection than the free options.

The ugly truth is that I’ve seen hundreds of infections on computers with lapsed subscriptions. The user always meant to get around to renewing but the end result is an AV product that is 2-3 months behind on definitions. Their paid product actually increased their risk.

Personally, I think the consumer AV industry is mostly a racket.

Business is different. Paid products offer reporting, policies, and all sort of additional features that businesses should consider.

However most folks just need protection.

Free can’t be beatfree-sign

The good news is that free Antivirus options are getting better and better.

I’ve long recommended the offerings by AVG and Comodo but 2 new players have really taken the free AV world by storm.

MSE is a great antivirus. Tons of options and easy to use. It shows real initiative by Microsoft to actually help protect their customers and it really works.

Panda Cloud Antivirus is wonderful product from one of the industry’s long time leaders in AV. It was recently selected by both PCWorld & PCMag as the “Best Free Antivirus”. It’s lightweight with plenty of protection. The interface and install is simply and intuitive. I’ve loved it from the beginning.

It’s time to dump Norton, McAfee, and the rest. Free just got a whole lot better.

Don’t forget you can always find my antivirus, antispyware, and firewall recommendations at and everything I recommend is completely free.

4 responses to “Stop Paying for Antivirus”

  1. I'm so glad you wrote this! It's frustrating when you see so many people having issues with all these things and many times it's because they forgot to upgrade or don't even know they need to because they figured out how to turn reminders off as they were annoying.

    You have to wonder why some people even have a pc that they don't know how to protect and not only do they not know how to protect it, they are no longer inclined to because new pc's are inexpensive enough to just go replace. No incentive.

    Just yesterday my son called with, “Mom, so and so got a virus and their computer is not allowing me to shut anything off and the only websites that are accessible are porn”. I asked how this happened and what they told him was they had received an ecard and had NOT updated their anti-virus so it didn't get it. Whether or not that is true is beside the point really. Anti-virus is the biggest cause of problems, or rather not knowing what is needed and being so overwhelmed by the bulk of most commercial types is a difficult proposition for most users.

  2. Keith says:

    Thanks for stopping by Sheryl. I'm just in continually in awe how many
    people don't even realize free AV exists. I have a personal vendetta against
    some of the crapware being sold right now and people need to here there are
    better options.

    Thanks again.

  3. bla says:

    Yea yea, this is all good for home users and some small businesses. But there is no an AV solution with license which permits its use in enterprise environments besides ClamAV. Taking into account that most enterprises use Windows and that ClamAV doesn't have real-time virus detection – all is lost. 🙂

  4. Keith says:

    Good point, but I don't think corporations have a problem with paying for
    antivirus. The problem isn't with corporate. We've got firewalls, IDSs and
    all sorts of advanced tech, the problem is with home users and it is where
    free AV is needed most.

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