With phishing scams, ransomware, malware, and other cyber threats out there, you definitely need good antivirus software. But how do you pick the best software for you? Free software might not provide all the protection you need, and paid antivirus suites tend to come with a dizzying array of bells and whistles that can make it hard to decide which one you need.
While basic free software can be sufficient for one device if you follow common internet safety guidelines, you’re probably better off getting a paid solution. You’ll get more functionality and a higher level of protection, including protection for multiple devices. You can even get antivirus programs that protect both Macs and PCs. You need an antivirus suite that doesn’t hog too many resources, and one that offers protection against malware, viruses, ransomware, and phishing scams. You want something that’s easy to use, affordable, and reliable. Here’s what you should consider when you’re buying an antivirus program.
Use of RAM
Antivirus programs are notorious for hogging system resources. Many antivirus programs use a ton of random access memory (RAM), so you’ll need to consider the capabilities of your system when choosing a software suite. You’ll want to check reviews to find a program that can work within the limits of your system resources, especially if you have an older system.
Functionality, Level of Protection, and Convenience
These are probably the three biggest things to consider when you’re looking for the best antivirus software for your needs. You’ll want a program with the functionality to protect against all kinds of malware, including viruses, ransomware, and malware. A paid program will offer you the most features and the highest level of protection – and it’s usually not that much more for the premium package. In addition to antivirus functionality, you can get a password manager, email spam filters, parental controls, protection for financial transactions, and security for multiple devices. Most antivirus programs also come with 24/7 tech support, and premium packages can even come with repair assistance.
Paid premium antivirus suites are the most convenient, because they combine all of the security features you need for your devices in one software suite and they allow you to protect all of the devices in your home. That’s important when you’ve got several people using smartphones, tablets, laptops, or other devices.
Compatibility Across Operating Systems
If different members of your family use different operating systems, then you’re going to need to find an antivirus software suite that is compatible with all of them. If some members of your family use macOS and some use Windows, you need a software suite that is compatible with macOS. That usually means choosing a paid software.
Ease of Use
The easier your antivirus software is to use, the more you’ll get out of it. You can usually test antivirus software for 14 to 30 days. Even paid antivirus programs offer a free trial period. You shouldn’t have to give your credit card number for the free trial – instead the program should prompt you for payment after the trial period is over.
If you can’t afford a paid antivirus program, then you can make do with a free version. Free versions tend to be very basic, but as long as you’re smart about how you use the internet and willing to supplement with additional security apps, you should get along just fine. You’ll need a password manager, a malware detector, and a spyware detector, at minimum. If you can afford a paid antivirus program, on the other hand, it’s a lot easier to just buy a subscription, and you’ll get all the functionality you need under one umbrella. It’s usually best to buy the most comprehensive antivirus program you can afford, familiarize yourself with all its features, and make the most of them. Take advantage of free trials to shop around for the best antivirus program for your budget.
Most antivirus programs from big-name manufacturers are going to be perfectly reliable, so if you stick with a recognizable name, you should be fine. You can always look up reviews and ratings to see how reliable a particular program is before you sign up for a free trial.
Choosing the best antivirus software for your devices isn’t always easy. You should take your time to investigate the different products available. Use some free trials so you can buy the product you like best. After all, it’s one of the most important purchases you can make.