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What is the difference between free anti-virus software and paid anti-virus software?

Are you unsure of the difference between free anti-virus for Windows and paid anti-virus software?

This article explains how free and paid anti-virus options differ, helping you to decide which is best for you.

Read on as we discuss:

  • Key differences between free and paid anti-virus software.
  • How to choose the best free anti-virus software.
  • Suitable free anti-virus options for PC and Mac.
  • Benefits of paying for anti-virus software.
  • Risks of using free anti-virus software.

Free anti-virus software vs. paid anti-virus software

Free anti-virus software, like Kaspersky Free Anti-virus for Windows, offers basic protection for your computer. It helps protect your PC from common viruses, blocks dangerous files and apps and warns you about suspicious websites. In this way, it helps to keep your PC secure.

The specific technology free anti-virus software uses can vary greatly. Ours uses our award-winning security technology which automatically receives real-time data about new threats. This helps to protect your PC from a range of threats online.

Woman browsing on a white laptop

In contrast, paid anti-virus solutions offer more comprehensive protection for your computer.

The specific benefits of different solutions vary, but a quality paid anti-virus solution should prevent malicious attacks. Think of paid anti-virus software as being a proactive, rather than purely reactive, way to protect your computer.

Paid anti-virus software should also control the way dangerous apps and malware behave, preventing infection before it occurs.

What is the best free anti-virus software?

To decide which the best free anti-virus software is for your needs, we recommend reading the features and benefits of the different options available.

Some solutions are feature-rich but they may not be that easy to use. Others have clear user interfaces that make using them straightforward, but they may not offer as many features.

We offer a solution that combines the best of both worlds. Our free anti-virus software offers all the basics features needed to stay safe online, with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.

Reading reviews online and watching videos that demonstrate how to use different free anti-virus software will help you make an informed choice about the best solution for you.  Some vendors allow you to trial the product, to make sure that it’s suitable for you.

Which anti-virus software suits your computer type?

Are you a Mac user or do you have a PC? Because PCs and Macs work differently, it is important to get anti-virus software that is suited to your computer type.

Macs are generally considered more impenetrable due to the way their operating system works. The system is ‘sandboxed’ which makes it hard for viruses to pass between different parts. There is less communication between different programs, so it is harder for viruses to spread. 

For this reason, Macs are targeted by hackers less often than Windows computers. However, Macs do still get computer viruses. To avoid infection, it is wise to protect your Mac using free or paid anti-virus software.

Two men working in a relaxed enviroment

PCs are more commonly targeted by computer hackers than Macs are, so the risk of infection is therefore higher. For this reason, you may want to consider a paid anti-virus option if you have a PC so that you can benefit from the highest level of protection.

Free PC anti-virus software

There is a wealth of free PC anti-virus software options out there, so how do you decide which is best for you?

Doing your own research is important. We recommend reading independent reviews and watching ‘How to’ videos to see which you might like to use. PC Magazine reviews the best free anti-virus protection options annually. This article is a sensible place to start your research.

Also, see if the brand of your choice allows you to trial the full product for a certain number of days. That way, you can see what it looks like, how it operates on your device, and whether or not it’s good at identifying and catching malware before it infects your device. 

Free Mac anti-virus software

There are numerous free Mac anti-virus software options on the market. Tech Radar reviews the best Mac anti-virus software each year, and is worth reading if you’re interested in protecting your mac devices.

Benefits of buying anti-virus software

With so many free anti-virus options available, why would you pay for anti-virus software? Despite the expense, paying for anti-virus software has a number of benefits.

Free anti-virus solutions offer basic protection against common viruses whereas paid anti-virus software offers more advanced protection. For example, Kaspersky Internet Security uses a system watching component which makes it better at spotting yet-unknown malware and computer virus threats.

Paying for anti-virus software tends to allow you to secure all your devices (your PC, your Mac and your mobile) whereas free options may be device specific.

Woman browsing Samsung tablet with pen

Paid anti-virus options give you greater control over your private data and increases protection around sensitive online activity like banking. In addition, paid solutions are more likely to provide extended functions, such as anti-spam, a personal firewall and parental control features to keep your children safe online. Plus, paid options also tend to give you the option to store passwords and protect precious files like photos and music.

Of course, the specific benefits and features of paid anti-virus software vary between brands. The benefits we have outlined can be enjoyed with Kaspersky Internet Security.

Risks of free anti-virus software

Free anti-virus solutions will protect you against common, known computer viruses. However, they may leave you vulnerable to yet-unknown threats.

If you choose Kaspersky Free Anti-virus for Windows, you will benefit from the same antivirus as our paid products. That said, our paid version has additional security layers to fend off uncommon and new sorts of malware.

It is also important to consider that you may be less secure when making online payments with free anti-virus solutions. Kaspersky Internet Security offers an online payment security system that offers you peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your money.

Hacked laptop with american dollar bills falling

Another drawback of free anti-virus software is that it often comes without direct technical support. In contrast, paid options give you access to technical support over the phone, via instant messages, or through email.

You deserve the best protection. Find out more about Kaspersky Internet Security.

Kaspersky Internet Security received two AV-TEST awards for the best performance & protection for an internet security product in 2021. In all tests Kaspersky Internet Security showed outstanding performance and protection against cyberthreats.

What is the difference between free anti-virus software and paid anti-virus software?

Free anti-virus for windows vs. paid anti-virus software. We explain the difference so you can make an informed choice about how to protect your computer.
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