What is the cheapest antivirus software

 Best antivirus suites

Looking for the best possible online device security in 2022? You've arrived at the right place! We thoroughly tested all of the best antivirus providers available to create a definitive list of the best.

The first and most important step in staying safe online is to download antivirus software. It is still the best defense against cybercriminals who want to expose your online devices for financial gain.

Viruses' behavior and end goal have evolved over time, but the fundamental goal remains the same: they want to steal your money. Malware, ransomware, and Trojans are all designed to either steal your data or cause enough damage to your system that you'll have to pay a high price to undo the damage. Then there are the outright con artists.

What is the cheapest antivirus software
 the cheapest antivirus software

We're not trying to scare you, and if you've arrived at this page, you're probably aware of why virus protection is such an important tool. Fortunately, the best antivirus providers in 2022 provide watertight protection, extra features to keep you safe from scams, and are simple to install and use. Here are our top picks for antivirus software for Windows and Android devices, as well as the best Mac antivirus.

Fighting off Viruses: Advancements in Antivirus Software Suites

Protecting your computer from a virus is getting harder and harder each day. While it may border on the paranoid, it goes without saying that you can’t leave your guard down for one second. Even corporate giant Microsoft has found its own systems compromised on more than one occasion.

Remember the "good old days" before the advent of the Internet and downloadable programs? Life was simple then in terms of computer viruses. With the primary way in which a virus could be transmitted being limited to floppy disks, the ability to catch and eradicate the virus was a lot easier. By today’s standards, it used to take quite a while before a virus was able to infect a computer and slow down the system. The antivirus software of that time was typically able to identify and eradicate viruses before they caused too much damage. Additionally, computer users were pretty savvy in terms of how to protect themselves in terms of scanning all floppy disks before copying them to their desktop.

The Internet helped change all that. The Internet provided a conduit by which viruses could move from host to host at lightening speed. No longer could a computer user just worry about floppy disks as points of entry, but they now had to worry about email, email attachments, peer-to-peer file sharing, instant messaging, and software downloads. Today’s viruses can attack through multiple entry points, spread without human intervention, and take full advantage of vulnerabilities within a system or program. With technology advancing every day and the convergence of computers with other mobile devices, the potential for new types of threats also increases.

Protecting Your Computer

Luckily, the advancement of antivirus software has kept pace with current virus threats. Antivirus software is essential to a computer’s ability to fend off viruses and other malicious programs. These products are designed to protect against the ability of a virus to enter a computer through email, web browsers, file servers, and desktops. Additionally, these programs offer a centralized control feature that handles deployment, configuration, and updating.

A computer user should remain diligent and follow a few simple steps to protect themselves against the threat of a virus:

  1. Evaluate your computer security system's current state.
  2. With the threat of a new generation of viruses able to attack in a multitude of ways, the approach of having just one antivirus software version has become outdated. You need to be confident that you have protected all aspects of your computer system, from the desktop to the network, and from the gateway to the server. Consider a more comprehensive security system that includes several features, including antivirus, firewall, content filtering, and intrusion detection. This type of system will make it more difficult for the virus to penetrate your system.
  3. Only install antivirus software created by a well-known, reputable company.
  4. Because new viruses erupt daily, it is important that you regularly update your antivirus software. Become familiar with the software’s real-time scan feature and configure it to start automatically each time you boot your computer. This will protect your system by automatically checking your computer each time it is powered up.
  5. Make it a habit to always scan all new programs or files, no matter from where they originate.
  6. Exercise caution when opening binary, Word, or Excel documents from unknown sources, especially if they were received during an online chat or as an attachment to an email.
  7. Perform regular backups in case your system is corrupted. It may be the only way to recover your data if infected.

Recommended Antivirus Software (the cheapest antivirus software)

There are numerous applications available to consumers. With a little research, you can pick the program that is right for you. Many programs provide a trial version which allows you to download the program and test its abilities. However, be aware that some anti-virus programs can be difficult to uninstall. As a precaution, make sure to set up a System Restore point before installing.

 Here are a few programs that typically receive high marks in terms of cost, effectiveness, ease of use, and customer service.

A. Bitdefender

Bitdefender best cheap antivirus

Prices start at US $23.99, and the rating is 9.3 (Very Good). 
Bitdefender is TechRadar's best antivirus, beating out some stiff competition while charging very little in terms of subscription fees.

So, what makes it so special? To begin with. The sheer number of features included with Bitdefender is truly impressive. Even if you choose the entry-level Bitdefender Antivirus Plus product, you will receive Safepay online banking protection, which is essentially a secure browser that protects you from all angles. There's also a password manager, a vulnerability scanner, and a good VPN with a daily limit of 200MB.

Bitdefender is brilliantly user-friendly, with a polished and well-balanced interface that is suitable for both complete beginners and experts looking to tweak things.

Bitdefender Internet Security, for example, includes all of the above as well as tools to help you speed up your computer and find your mobile devices if they're lost or stolen.

Bitdefender is brilliantly user-friendly, with a polished and well-balanced interface that is suitable for both complete beginners and experts looking to tweak things.

Bitdefender Internet Security, for example, includes all of the above as well as tools to help you speed up your computer and find your mobile devices if they're lost or stolen.

As the flagship product, Bitdefender Total Security includes a slew of PC maintenance tools, as well as support for Android and iOS devices in addition to Windows and Mac machines - in short, it's a one-stop shop for your entire family's online security needs.

In previous years' reviews, we'd be discussing how Bitdefender outperforms the competition in terms of pure virus protection. That isn't the case this year, with the AV-Comparatives report revealing less accurate results than usual. Given Bitdefender's strength in previous years, we're willing to give it the benefit of the doubt for the time being, but we'll keep a close eye on the independent lab results this year to see if that picture changes.

Whichever Bitdefender version you choose, you're getting a lot for your money, especially if you have a lot of different devices (or a family to protect). Plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're protected by the best antivirus software in 2022.

B. Norton AntiVirus Plus

Norton AntiVirus Plus, cheaper Antivirus

Prices start at US $39.99, and the rating is 9.5 (Great). 
Norton AntiVirus Plus is a reliable antivirus software app from NortonLifeLock, a security company. The main draw here is the sheer number of features available - even with the entry-level Antivirus Plus product - not to mention the high quality of those features.

They include a very useful intelligent firewall, which is a huge help in terms of policing your system, as well as some very thorough browser protection measures to keep you safe online.

There are also some extras not found in other antivirus applications, such as a bundled cloud backup tool with 2GB of online storage (it's also very user-friendly, making backup a breeze) and some useful PC maintenance utilities.

The package's central antivirus defenses are strong, as we discovered in testing and as independent test labs confirmed (albeit with slightly mixed results from one of those labs). Furthermore, in our own ransomware testing, Norton fell a little short of Bitdefender's more effective protection.

If you require more, NortonLifeLock provides a number of higher-level suites. Norton 360 Standard includes some useful extra features, such as an integrated full VPN service, more backup storage (10GB), and dark web monitoring (for some countries, including the US and UK). There are also powerful mobile apps available for Android and iOS.

If you need protection for more than one device, you'll need to upgrade to Norton 360 Deluxe, which provides protection for up to five devices as well as more backup space (50GB) and a comprehensive parental control system. While 360 Premium increases that to 75GB backup and 10 devices.

C. Trend Micro Antivirus

Trend Micro Antivirus

Prices start at US $19.95, and the rating is 8.5 
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security provides straightforward but effective protection, with a user-friendly interface that explains its various options in plain English rather than jargon.

The app's antivirus engine is highly rated by the major independent test labs and has achieved some excellent results in recent evaluations - with the minor caveat that some testing revealed that it raised a few more false positives than the top competition. In our Trend Micro review, we didn't find this to be a problem, and we also noticed that Antivirus+ Security's anti-ransomware protection was a particular strength.

Another plus is that this antivirus is currently the best at blocking phishing sites (according to AV-Comparatives), and it offers excellent web browsing protection, including Pay Guard as a secure environment for online banking.

What are the flaws? Well, system performance is impacted more than in some competitors, and there aren't as many options or features as in some competitors - this is an app aimed at beginners rather than experts. Trend Micro's higher-level security suites, on the other hand, provide more functionality.

Trend Micro Internet Security, the next tier product, includes some intriguing extras such as parental controls and social media protection tools. However, for most people, Trend Micro Maximum Security, which protects Mac and mobile devices as well as Windows, will be worth the extra money (plus it adds a password manager and secure file vault).

D. Avast 

Avas Free Internet Security

Prices start at US $50.28, and the Avasts score of 9.6 
Whereas the majority of the 2022 updates on this list are fairly superficial, Avast ripped everything up and started over with its latest release, Avast One.

Avast One expands on the company's trusted free antivirus (now known as Avast One Essential) with new features.

Whether you go free or upgrade, the software is currently very popular with independent testing labs, ranking near the top of the heap in real-world malware tests and anti-phishing tasks.

You also get a basic firewall, data breach scanning to notify you if your online accounts are compromised, and apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

So why should you pay for Avast One? It includes an old head VPN from HideMyAss with a generous 5GB weekly allowance, tune-up tools, ad blockers, webcam protection, malicious URL blocking, and... not much else. You'd have to really want one of those specific add-ons to part with your money; otherwise, we'd recommend going with a more fully featured internet security suite or simply sticking with the free Essential download.

E. Microsoft Defender

Microsoft Defender

Prices start at US $39.99, and the rating is 9.6
In 2021, we saw a lot more thought pieces suggesting that the time had come to pay for antivirus software. While we generally disagree, Microsoft Defender is probably the strongest argument in its favor.

That's because if you're a Windows user, you already have a perfectly capable virus protection system built into your operating system.

Microsoft Defender is a solid product that provides capable mid-level protection - most of the time without users even realizing it's there. Defender has a dashboard, scan options, and so on, but you'll never see them unless you look for them.

Defender ranked roughly in the middle of the 17 tested providers in independent lab AV-Comparatives testing. That means it protects your computer better than some of the more expensive software available.

Aside from virus protection, it includes a multi-layered anti-ransomware, firewall, webcam and privacy protection, web filtering, parental controls, and backup.

So, what's stopping you from foregoing the rest and simply installing Defender? Those features mentioned above are all fairly basic and do not meet the standards set by the majority of the security suites mentioned above. It probably goes without saying that Defender is only available for Windows PCs - forget about protecting your Mac or smartphone - and that some features are only compatible with Edge as a browser.

F.Avira

Avira Antivirus pro

Prices start at US $47.99, and the rating is 8.8
In reality, Avira is probably best known for its Avira Free antivirus option (which is among the best available - see further down this page), but its premium packages are not to be overlooked.

That's the name of Avira's entry-level antivirus, and it includes everything you'd expect from a modern security app: real-time malware scanning, dedicated ransomware defenses, a software updater feature that works very well to keep all your apps secure, and various privacy tools, including a file shredder for added privacy.

The interface is smart, and the various features, such as the free (but limited to 1GB monthly) VPN, are now more seamlessly integrated into the overall UI.

The caveat here is that the antivirus engine's ratings from independent test labs are only mediocre at best - but the app does provide adequate protection.

Upgrading to the Internet Security or Prime plan unlocks additional features such as a full password manager and the Pro version of Software Updater (which provides automatic app updates), plus Prime unlocks the VPN's unlimited usage version and mobile app support.

G.McAfee's security Antivirus

McAfee's security Antivirus

Prices start at US $39.99, and the rating is 9.4
McAfee's security offerings take an interesting approach in that they are all variants of its core Total Protection product, with the main difference being that more devices are supported at higher tiers. McAfee Total Protection Single Device is an entry-level antivirus product that covers only one device, as the name implies.

The good news is that McAfee has a commendably small system footprint, which means it won't consume much of your PC's resources. There are also a plethora of features available, especially for a basic product, and while not all of them are of the highest quality, you get a lot for your money. This includes a smart firewall, an integrated (TunnelBear-powered) VPN with unlimited data, a high-quality spam filter, a secure file vault, and some PC-speed-up options.

The main stumbling block here is that the antivirus engine itself is not the best available - although some results from independent test labs are better than others - but this has to be a cause for concern. There's also the fact that the basic package only protects a single device.

If you need antivirus software for more than one piece of hardware, you must purchase the Multi-Device package, which supports up to five devices, including mobile phones (plus it provides identity theft protection, at least for US users). Then there's McAfee Total Protection Family, which ups the ante to ten devices and adds a full-fledged parental control system.

The latter may be a tempting option for those looking to keep their children safe online, but given McAfee's typical pricing - with Multi-Device and Family subscriptions not being much more than the entry-level product after discounts - you're probably better off going for one of these higher-tier plans.

H.Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus

Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
Prices start at US $30.99, and the rating is 8.6
Almost every antivirus tool claims to be "lightweight," but Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus outperforms the competition. The app's memory footprint is also minuscule (less than 2% the size of some internet security suites), with virus definitions stored in the cloud. Installation takes seconds, and it only takes up a tiny amount of drive space.

Despite this, there is no compromise on features, which makes Webroot even more impressive. You get extremely fast virus scans that take less than 20 seconds, a smart 'firewall' monitoring system, accurate real-time anti-phishing, identity theft protection, and much more.

SecureAnywhere AntiVirus isn't ranked by the big-name testing labs, with the exception of SE Labs, which rated Webroot as solid in terms of malware protection in its most recent Home Anti-Malware report - though not quite up there with the top competition.

SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus extends coverage from Windows and Mac PCs to mobile devices, while also including a password manager (courtesy of LastPass) and covering up to five devices (rather than three).

Internet Security Complete, at the top of the tree, adds an automatic backup tool (with 25GB of secure cloud storage) and additional online privacy features. A Family Pack version of the flagship suite is also available, which expands device coverage to 10 pieces of hardware and includes 100GB of cloud storage.

SecureAnywhere AntiVirus provides everything you need, though Internet Security Plus is our top pick for the most comprehensive package. Another benefit worth noting here is Webroot's confidence-instilling 70-day money-back guarantee.

I. Sophos Home

Sophos Home

Prices start at US $59.99, and the rating is 7.0
Sophos Home Premium protects (up to) ten devices (Windows and Mac computers). It's designed with beginners in mind, which isn't a bad thing, but experts may find the interface oversimplified and be disappointed by the lack of options or low-level tweaks.

The user interface is also clunky in some ways; however, the web management console could be ideal for those who want to take control and manage their non-tech-savvy family members' devices.
Sophos provides capable virus protection and performed admirably in our anti-ransomware tests. Sophos Home Premium could be a great value proposition for those who want to protect multiple computers, given the antivirus software on offer and the 10 device limit.

Just keep in mind that Sophos no longer provides new users with a long-term free version. You can download it for free from the website, but it's only a trial version, not an all-inclusive free antivirus package.

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