Can You Trust an Antivirus Free Download?

LAST UPDATED: April 18th, 2019

You may have purchased a new computer and have a pre-installed antivirus trial about to end. Perhaps you started at a new job or school which requires you to have antivirus software in order to connect your device to their Wi-Fi. Or maybe you’re just trying to be a little more cautious online.

Regardless of your situation, protecting your computer is an absolute must, as hackers are evolving and constantly developing new techniques. But, as with most computer software, that protection can be costly. A budget-conscious user might ask, are antivirus free downloads safe?

The short answer is that they can be. However, you should take care, because not all software is equally effective. The following are several considerations to weigh in your search for the best free antivirus programs.

Go With Well-Known Brands

Computer software isn’t like clothes or medicine. For software, off-brand alternatives can be risky. Obviously, the Internet isn’t rigorously policed for misinformation, so always verify a software company’s claims through multiple third-party websites and legit review sources for antivirus software.

Several well-known antivirus brands offer free versions of their software. When in doubt, stick with these options. To choose the very best one, do some research. Numerous sites have lists of the best antivirus free downloads and their benefits. Do your homework and then get the software from a name that keeps coming up in list after list.

Choose Reputable Download Sources

Getting the right brand isn’t enough to ensure your safety. Oftentimes, numerous websites with no affiliation with the manufacturer of a piece of software will distribute free downloads. But not all of these vendors are reputable. You might be told you’re getting an antivirus free download, only to find that you’ve just installed something else entirely.

Sometimes, you may even get the download of the software you want, but later learn that it was underhandedly packaged with malware which has now infected your computer. Some of these third-party websites will treat you well, but again, do your homework. Don’t just stop with picking out the right software – make sure you’re downloading it from the right place.

You’ll Have to Make Compromises

Needless to say, if some antivirus software costs money, that means the free stuff is often going to be missing something. Sometimes, the free version might just be a short-term trial. Other times, it might be missing key features, or require you to view persistent advertisements.

It’s up to you to decide which features are most important to you, and if you don’t know what you need, research that, too, before you choose your software. Just go into downloading antivirus free software knowing that you won’t be getting the same features and benefits as the paid version.

The Bottom Line on Antivirus Free Downloads

In today’s world, overloaded processors and persistent pop-ups, although still annoying, are far from the worst things that malware can do to your computer. Your financial and personal information is also at stake.

No one should go without antivirus software, and if you want an antivirus free download, make sure you know what you’re getting and where it’s coming from. Do your research on the most reputable antivirus programs and don’t forget to listen to your gut!