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Avast! SecureLine VPN review

I have been using SecureLine VPN as part of Avast! Internet Security suite, it comes integrated with the software and you get the first 7 days for free. For those who don’t know, Avast is a Czech company that sells security software, their free Antivirus is one of the most downloaded in the world. Avast business model consists in giving away software and getting customers to upgrade to a paid version later on, free users can also be monetized gathering usage data to improve their products.

Avast SecureLine is available as stand alone Windows program, Android or iPhone/iPad app, my review is based on the integration with the Avast Internet Security suite.

SecureLine choice of servers is practical, you will not find the staggering number of VPN nodes that other massive VPN companies offer, Avast SecureLine VPN spreads over all continents but with far less nodes. Unless you run a bot in need of thousands of computer IPs for when one of them is banned, Avast SecureLine VPN should appropriately accommodate an average user, they have servers in the USA, Canada, UK, South Korea, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and few others.

SecretLine Avast! VPN
SecretLine Avast! VPN

The main purpose for me to use a VPN is to bypass geographical blocks placed in USA online TV websites, Avast SecureLine does not mention anywhere that it can be used for this, but it is no secret that the only reason why many people pay for a VPN is to watch TV from abroad. I suspect that by not mentioning it Avast has legal cover from lawsuits, the VPN is only being marketed as a security product.

Although servers are spread worlwide, except by the USA, Avast SecureLine VPN does not allow you to switch server node. During my usage, I detected that the Salt Lake and Miami USA servers were being blocked and flagged as anonymous proxy by Hulu, getting around was not difficult, I just had to switch to the Seattle server, however, not such luck with the Canadian and UK servers to watch online TV in CBC.ca and the BBC iPlayer, the Canadian server prompted Google to show me advertisements meant for Brazilians surfers and CBC.ca blocked me from watching online TV on their site believing I was outside Canada.

The Avast SecureLine UK server worked with the BBC one day, the second time I found the VPN blocked, this makes me believe that Avast SecureLine is using load balancing to automatically switch you to the fastest server, which makes it impossible for a user to manually change IP and hampers the ability to watch online TV when blocked.

Speed wise, with a home Internet connection of 10Mbps, every single time I tested multiple SecureLine VPN servers speed I did not notice any important decrease, my connection was a consistent 8Mbps.

BBC iPlayer VPN block
BBC iPlayer VPN block

Something I did not like was the VPN interface, you get warned with a pop up window when connecting and disconnecting from the VPN but the assigned IP is not visible and to change VPN country you have to use a drop down menu that has no configuration options, no server load information and not even a country flag next to the server name.

I also tried to find out information about what logs and how long for they are kept, I was unable to see anything, a bad indication. If Avast was able to boast about logs they would do so, the fact that they prefer not to mention the information tells you that the company rather not to disclose it.

As for payment, Bitcoins are not accepted, only a credit card or Paypal account tied to your real identity is accepted by a third party payment processor called Digital River.

A subscription to Avast SecureLine VPN can help you encrypt a public WiFi Internet access point, secure voice over IP calls (skype), stop search engine tracking, and hide your real IP from websites but do not count on it to protect you from government spying.

I certainly would not buy this VPN to be anonymous on the Internet or watch online TV, except for the USA where multiple VPN servers are available, the Canadian and UK servers are useless for TV.

Due to Avast not having information about log keeping, their VPN not working to watch Canadian and UK online TV, the average price and the lousy VPN interface, not a snowball’s chance in hell  you will see me buying a subscription to their product when there are cheaper and better services.

Visit Avast Secret Line homepage

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