Our VPN reviews are here to help you make an informed decision before committing to a service provider. We review all of the top VPN providers to find out who has the better offering. If you’re in the market for online protection, then we have a comprehensive list of VPN providers. We measure all of our reviews using the key metrics of pricing, performance, security, privacy, support, and features.
In this review, we take a look at AVG Secure VPN. Considering we used AVG free anti-virus in the past with excellent result, we were expecting big things from AVG with the release of this software. Read on to see how AVG measures up to the competition.
Before the rise of Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG anti-virus was the most popular free security software on the internet. Everyone used AVG free in the early days of the internet, and it’s still around today.
With demand for its anti-virus products lagging behind other industry leaders, it appears that the management team at AVG are intent on diversifying their strategy into other related security products.
As a result, we have the launch of AVG VPN, a product designed to protect your online activities.
We have to say that we were excited to give this software a try, but after installing the client and reviewing the features, we were a bit disappointed. After analyzing the performance, things were not looking good for AVG.
Let’s unpack AVG Secure VPN and review it piece by piece.
AVG Secure VPN Pricing
We start with the pricing. While AVG free anti-virus didn’t cost a cent to download, install, and use – AVG Secure VPN it a different animal. The company charge for this product and they are not afraid to drop a hefty price tag on their product. Perhaps the company thought that their reputation in the market allows them to enter at a premium price level.
AVG adopt a different pricing structure to other VPN providers. AVG offers all the features of their VPN to their customers, regardless of the subscription they choose. There is no monthly or quarterly option on the VPN, with only annual plans available. AVG offers you a discount model if you decide to choose a 2-year or 3-year subscription to the service.
Your monthly cost for the software equates to $6.66 a month if you choose the annual plan, and AVG discounts the rate to $6.11 per month on the 3-year plan. We like the fact that they offer the VPN on a free 30-day trial, and your purchase comes backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
We also enjoyed that the free trial asked us for no personal information; we click on the download button and execute the file to run the program. After the trial period expires, AVG cancels your service if you don’t take a subscription.
Be careful of your data consumption while using the free version. AVG put a 10GB cap on your downloads for the free trial, and we imagine that many users will burn through this on the first day. If you exceed the limit, then you no longer qualify for the money-back guarantee on your purchase of the software.
AVG also revokes your money-back guarantee if you log onto the internet more than 100-times using the VPN. We found this a sneaky marketing tactic, as most other VPN providers don’t mention these types of restrictions in their “no questions asked” refund policies.
The pricing for AVG Secure VPN is as follows;
- 3-Years US$6.11 per month.
- 2-Years US$6.24 per month.
- 1-year US$6.66 per month.
It’s also important to note that AVG charges for the entire subscription fee upfront. Considering that the pricing is higher than many other premium VPNs, such as Nord VPN or Private Internet Access, this puts AVG on the back foot from the get-go. We hope that the performance of this product justifies the price tag.
It seems that from the moment you commit to purchase AVG Secure VPN, that where everything starts to go wrong. After pulling us through to the payment page, we find that AVG only offers payment for their software with a credit card or PayPal. Now while that suits us fine, we imagine that international customers would like to see alternative payment options like WorldPay, AliPay or Cryptocurrency.
Also, when we contacted one of our friends in Africa, they said that they only had the option to pay with a credit card, and PayPal was not available.
We would like to see the inclusion of more payment systems, as it gives us confidence in the fact that there is demand for the product in emerging markets, meaning that their servers must have a global footprint, and the service works well all over the globe.
Cryptocurrency payments are not available through AVG, which is a pity – especially since we think this payment method is a favorite among people who take online security seriously.
AVG Secure VPN Refund Policy
Most VPN providers offer a free trial of their software, or they issue you with a money-back guarantee with your purchase. AVG decided to do both.
Provided you comply with the rules of the refund, (less than 10GB or downloads, and fewer than 100-session logins,) then you qualify for a refund at any stage of the 30-day guarantee period.
We found the refund process to be painless, and all we needed to do was email the support desk with our refund request.
The company did not send us through customer retention, and they issued the refund the same day. The money returned to our credit card account in 8-business days after receiving the refund receipt.
Headquartered in the Czech Republic – A Data Safe Haven
The “14-Eyes,” is a collaborative effort between the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and mainland Europe. The project has the goal of surveilling all internet data. If you select a VPN provider within the jurisdiction of the 14-Eyes, then you run the risk of the government picking up on your data usage and browsing history.
In this case, using a VPN residing within the 14-Eyes jurisdiction is a waste of time – it goes against what you are using a VPN for in the first place. Therefore, if you want to remain secure and anonymous in your online activities, you need to choose a VPN provider that resides out of the watchful stare of the 14-Eyes.
Fortunately, AVG Secure VPN has its headquarters in the Czech Republic, away from the 14-eyes jurisdiction. This location gives AVG management the right to refuse to co-operate with any government subpoena for data logs on the company’s users.
AVG Secure VPN claim that they have a “no-logs” policy. This statement means that they do not record what you do online with their VPN product. This policy is a key criterion for a VPN, and many users trust their service provider to keep their activities private and secure.
However, AVG does mention that if they receive reports of abuse, they will investigate the claim. The company also claims that they do not allow their customers to use the VPN service to share or distribute pirated content. This clause is pretty standard for the course, but we don’t see this type of language in the terms and conditions of many other VPN providers.
It turns out that AVG is collecting a substantial amount of data on its users, and storing them in their servers. Email addresses, phone numbers, SIM card numbers, location data, and your I.P. address are a few examples of the account data accessed by AVG, which can identify you online.
AVG state that they also have the right to share your data with interested third parties, and this includes handing over your session logs to law enforcement if they subpoena the company.
We can’t accept these terms of service, and we find it appalling that AVG would promote their product without clearly informing their customers of these terms. Essentially, there is very little protection on offer from the company, and they will hang you out to dry if the 14-Eyes demand it to be so.
AVG is part of the Avast Group, with headquarters in Amsterdam. Their senior management comprises of U.S. citizens, and we don’t see any reason for them to avoid requests from the 14-Eyes.
We enjoy using apps with clean interfaces – there’s nothing worse than opening an app to a cluttered dashboard; that’s why we appreciate apps with clean interfaces. However, saying that AVG Secure VPN has a clean c-panel would be an understatement.
The AVG Secure VPN dash has very few features. The only data available on the main screen is your server location and connection status. Call us picky – but we would like to see other features like our current I.P. address and connection speed.
Considering the bare-bones nature of the main screen, we are surprised to see that it takes up so much space when we open the desktop client. The main screen gives you access to the list of server locations by clicking the “change location” button, which opens the server list in a separate window.
We enjoyed the look and feel of the server lists, as AVG have all of their locations listed by continent, making it easy to select your ideal server location. We would have preferred it if the software allowed us to save our favorite server locations.
Clicking the gear icon in the top right-hand corner takes you through to the settings menu. These settings are very basic, with options for automatic startup, as well as an option to turn on Wi-Fi security. We didn’t find any configurable settings, giving the VPN a very out-of-the-box feel, and we would have liked to see more customizable configurations for the software.
Connection and Speed
AVG state that the connection speeds for their VPN have significantly improved as they expand their server network. When connecting to local U.S. servers, we experienced rates between 45 to 50-Mbps, which is more than adequate for streaming and fast download times.
Connecting to the United States servers from the U.K. was a bit slower, but still offered satisfactory speeds of 40-Mbps. The further we get into mainland Europe, the lower the speed tests. Fortunately, connection speeds to Australia were faster than most competitors, with average rates clocking in at 30-Mbps.
We found that uploads were not as consistent as downloads, but that par for the course with most VPN providers. However, slow upload may deter people who are frequent users of P2P services.
While speed was excellent, we found the latency to be unacceptably high. Even when connecting to servers in the same city as our geographic location, we found ping time to measure in at 16-ms, which is a terrible performance.
These latency issues mean that many gamers will have problems playing live, and may want to consider another VPN service. Our research into other VPNs shows average latency times of 2-ms for local connections, making AVG one of the worst providers available.
Security and Encryption
When it comes to rating the security and encryption of AVG Secure VPN, we also found it lacking in some departments. The Wi-Fi protection offers adequate countermeasures to avoid public hacks in open Wi-Fi spots, but users with privacy concerns may want to look into other software if they use open networks frequently.
Both the Windows client and Android app, we tested use OpenVPN protocol, with no option to switch to other protocols in the settings. We found this frustrating, as AVG does not mention this in their sales material, and we needed to use the support chat to discover this fact.
The encryption uses the industry standard 256-bit model, which is a military-grade encryption level offering the highest level of security to users. Our biggest gripe with AVG Secure VPN is that they don’t provide an internet kill switch with the software.
Should your connection fail, then the program will expose your real I.P. address – this is an unacceptable feature to leave out of the package, especially when we consider the subscription price being in the premium segment of the market.
Our DNS leak tests gave us no issues, and we pleased to find that the connection remained stable for most of our session, without any drops.
Netflix Blocked for Most Locations
One of the favorite uses of a VPN is the fact that it can get around geoblocks preventing you from watching certain content online. By routing your connection through a VPN, you can connect to services like the U.S. version of Netflix.
While most VPN providers have dedicated Netflix servers for streaming, it’s clear that AVG does not think this feature is worth adding to its service. When we tried to watch the U.S. version of Netflix, we found that more than half of the server locations we tried did not gain access to the site.
We did eventually establish a connection using the North American services, but their dedicated streaming servers proved to be worthless in our testing.
Limited Torrenting and P2P Locations
Downloading Torrent files is also one of the most frequently cited reasons for using a VPN service. Once again, AVG falls short in this department. We tested Torrenting on their dedicated P2P servers and found results to be less than impressive.
At the moment, AVG allows Torrenting through the following dedicated servers.
- New York.
However, while the Windows client lists Brazil as an active P2P server, we find that it does not show up on the Android app as a valid P2P location.
The limited choice available may turn off those P2P users that rely on faster upload times. Fortunately, AVG does not limit bandwidth to these servers, so you have no limits on file size or restrictions on session bandwidth consumption.
We downloaded the Android app for our smartphone to test the mobile functionality of the program. As a note, the app is also available for all iOS devices as well. Similar to the desktop client, the app has a 30-day trial period with the same terms and conditions as the desktop client.
After downloading and installing the app, we opened the interface to find a clean, user-friendly control panel – with hardly any features. Like the desktop client, the mobile app is extremely sparse in terms of features and functionality.
The app automatically chooses the server that’s offering the best speeds, and the optimized server can vary depending on your location. This type of functionality is similar to what we see with other VPN apps, so it’s nothing to get us excited.
By clicking the “change location” button, you gain access to the server list and can make your choice manually. You also have the option to choose dedicated servers in the mobile app. Overall, the app is user-friendly, but we think that’s because it is so featureless that there is nothing to include in the control panel.
Navigating the settings is easy, but once again, there is no option to customize your settings configuration.
AVG Secure VPN Server Locations
AVG may advertise an extensive server network, but when we take a look at what’s on offer, it tells a different story. There are limited server locations, especially outside of the United States, with AVG hosting servers in 29-cities across 21-countries.
Seven of the locations reside in the Us, with servers in New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle. Montreal and Toronto house the company’s Canadian servers.
Europe has the next most extensive concentration of servers, with locations in London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Helsinki, Paris, Milan, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Russia, Warsaw, and the Czech Republic.
International locations include Johannesburg in South Africa, Australia, Tokyo, and Singapore, along with servers in Turkey. South America has server locations in Mexico City and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The list is not impressive, and we found that speeds outside of the US, Canada, and Europe, to be relatively weak compared to other VPN providers.
AVG doesn’t give a hoot about customer service from our experience with the company. The website has limited information on their products, and the email support took 48-hours to get back to us with a simple query.
Almost every other VPN provider offers a live chat, and when we have issues, it’s the first place we go to for support. AVG does not provide this service –which is very disappointing.
Other VPN Providers
Some other providers we have covered before on Blockonomi are as follows:
Wrapping Up – The Verdict
If you’re looking to buy an over-priced VPN that may or may not track your movements on the internet, then AVG is the ideal product for you. However, if you have serious concerns over your privacy, you’re a gamer, or you enjoy downloading and uploading P2P, then AVG is a poor choice.
Considering the cost of this software, and the functionality – AVG leaves a lot to be desired from its offering. While the basic functionality of the VPN is adequate, the costs are not great, and we feel you would be better off going with another VPN provider, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
Taking a brief overlook of the pros and cons of this software, we find;
- Comfortable, clean user interface.
- U.S. and U.K. servers offer decent streaming speeds.
- 30-day trial.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Deceptive refund terms.
- Minimal features and no configurable settings.
- Limited server performance and locations.
- Shady data and logging policies.
- Average customer support levels.
- Poor pricing for what’s on offer.
This VPN is probably the bottom of the barrel, The legacy behind AVG had our hopes up for this product. However, after spending a few days using the VPN, we find it to be lacking in several notable features, the performance is nothing worth shouting about and their privacy / no-log policy is very poor.
The bottom line? Look for another product.
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