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Some thoughts on free and paid antivirus and firewall applications

by George Gkoutzouvalos 14 days ago in cybersecurity

A few things to consider when choosing between free and paid antivirus programs

Downloading and running an antivirus and firewall program is absolutely necessary

Let’s face it.

Running a robust antivirus and firewall program on your computer or mobile device is more than necessary.

This has been the case since the very early days of buying and using a computer, and this need has become even stronger over time, due to the unprecedented evolution and sophistication of computer security threats.

Companies that develop and sell antivirus and firewall programs have taken advantage of this need, and as a result, these companies have prospered by successfully covering this market gap and serving the specific consumer need.

Can you do without an antivirus software program?

No. This is not my subjective opinion, but rather a hard fact that is accepted by most Internet users across the globe. Or, in other words, you can’t use the Internet safely without installing and running an antivirus application on your device; otherwise, just don’t go online! As simple as that.

Antivirus and firewall options: Paid vs. free

Therefore, since choosing to run an antivirus application, or not, is not really an option, because you have to have one, the actual question that follows, refers to whether you should choose a paid or a free option.

Free is good for most people, not only in the case of antivirus software, but in other products, as well.

However, the issue is whether a free option can actually do the job, i.e. keep malware and other security threats at bay.

If it can successfully do that, then, by all means, why should you buy a paid version, when you can have the same (or even better) results with a free one?

Of course, the next question that should be asked is whether a free (or fermium) software program can be equally good and effective in practice.

Naturally, software companies that sell antivirus and firewall applications boast about the effectiveness of their products. They may also offer a free edition, in order to show off the superior protection that they can offer to consumers, and persuade them to buy their paid option that normally offers advanced security features at a premium price.

Another thing that you should consider when choosing a free antivirus program and/or firewall over a paid on, is whether there are any “hidden” surprises for you, when you install and run a free antivirus application.

For example, you could be asked to install their web browser or accept to receive ad messages, as a compensation for the use of the free version by you.

Therefore, you have to make sure that you have read the fine print carefully, before installing a free edition.

Nothing is truly free, and you have to remember that.

How to choose the right antivirus/firewall?

There are some antivirus developers that are industry leaders, the products of which, are promoted more by offline and online retailers of computer-related products, than those of other, lesser-known companies.

The thing is that times and conditions change in the computer industry, and a company that dominated the market just a few years ago, may have lost its status, momentum, and position as a market leader to existing or emerging antivirus developers.

In that sense, some “big names” may be overrated, in terms of the security level offered by their antivirus platforms, while there are other less popular names that may prove to be a pleasant surprise to the users who decide to give them a try.

The first factor that affects your purchase of a free over a paid version, and vice versa, refers to how much money you can afford to spend on a particular antivirus product.

If you don’t have or don’t want to spend any money, there is no other choice than a free option.

On the other hand, and depending on the features that can’t be covered by the free option, you may opt for a paid option that offers the required features by paying of course a price.

Another factor that comes into play is the requirements and technical characteristics of your system. If the memory of your system is limited, then you should avoid downloading and running an antivirus application that is “heavy” and may slow down your device.

Thus, going for an option that is “light” on your system, and does not affect its smooth operation, is an essential parameter that should be taken into account, regardless of whether it is a paid or free antivirus program that you think of using.

This is due to the fact that there can be free options that are much “heavier” on the system than paid ones.

In my opinion, I don’t believe it’s worth running an antivirus program that slows down your computer, thus making it difficult for you to use it, even if it has a proven 100% success record in detecting and destroying cyberattacks and threats.

Sources and further reading:

Do you really need to pay for antivirus software?

Comparison of antivirus software

George Gkoutzouvalos
George Gkoutzouvalos
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George Gkoutzouvalos


I have written articles for various websites, such as Helium, Hubpages, Medium, and many more.

Currently, I work as a translator. I have studied Tourism Management at college.

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