Threats online have never been more prevalent, with the frequency, scale, and sophistication of cyberattacks increasing by the day. This puts both individuals and businesses at risk online, meaning that shoring up your defenses is more important than ever.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are also becoming an increasingly popular choice for the average user, as they can safeguard your privacy and sensitive data, preventing your activity from being traced back to your real IP address. This can stop both legitimate (but invasive) and illegitimate parties from getting to you.
It makes sense, then, to have both antivirus software and a VPN together, which is why many vendors are now bundling the two in one package; not needing to have two separate subscriptions is obviously a boon.
Many vendors also include other cybersecurity tools in their packages, such as a password manager and dark web monitoring. So we’ve featured what we believe to be the best VPN and antivirus bundles on the market right now.
VPN vs antivirus: what's the difference?
Both VPNs and antivirus solutions can help to protect your privacy and data, but they do so in quite different ways, to cover the multiple layers of your overall security posture.
Antivirus software, as the name implies, can protect you from computer viruses. Although the term is a bit antiquated at this point, the operation of such software remains as relevant as ever: it can prevent the likes of malware and ransomware from being downloaded and executed on your devices, which can steal files and sensitive data, as well as locking you out completely. It can also pave the way for further attacks against you down the line.
VPNs, on the other hand, essentially mask your IP address, thus preventing attackers from discovering your virtual and physical location, and protecting your data as it is sent and received across the web by encrypting tunnels.
VPNs can also be used to circumvent censorship and region locks in certain territories, as you can usually choose where in the world you’ll be connected from, tricking sites into thinking that’s where you really are.
There are specialist streaming VPNs for this purpose, which specialize in unlocking geo-restricted content, as well as letting you torrent safely too. You can also learn about VPNs in more depth here.
VPN with antivirus: pros and cons
Although bundling antivirus and VPNs together seems like the perfect solution, there are both pros and cons of such packages.
Firstly, VPNs that come with antivirus software aren’t usually as powerful and feature-packed as their standalone counterparts. You may only get limited options in which location you can choose, for example. They may also have data caps and fail to unlock location-based content restrictions.
In contrast, dedicated VPN services will usually give you a range of virtual server locations to choose from, spanning the entire globe. They will often include many other advanced features too.
However, buying antivirus and a VPN separately will be more expensive, and you’ll have to keep track of two subscriptions. There also won’t be a centralized hub from which to manage the two, as you would get with integrated solutions, so it may be more time consuming and less convenient to have standalone services.
VPNs that include antivirus tools - rather than antivirus software that includes a VPN - may also prove to be limited. As the VPN side of the package will be prioritized, the antivirus features might not be as effective or as advanced as those offered by standalone antivirus solutions.
Another consideration with all-in-one solutions is how much trust you are prepared to instill within the vendor to keep your data safe across both the antivirus and VPN portions of the package; at least with standalone solutions, you have two vendors to safeguard your data emanating from these different sources.
Such bundles, though, are growing in popularity, so they are likely to improve the constituent parts of their package over time, and we’ve featured the best of the bunch available right now.
Best VPN with antivirus bundles overall
Surfshark One is a complete package, offering four cybersecurity tools with just one subscription. These include its own VPN, a data leak detection system, a private search engine and antivirus software.
Surfshark VPN—one of the most secure and cheapest VPN services available—boasts easy-friendly apps, unlimited devices connections and top-notch security features. It's one of the best streaming VPNs too, unlocking all the major platforms. Users can choose among an array of more than 3,000 servers across 65 countries and unlimited connections. It's also a trustworthy no-log VPN, which aced its first no-logs audit in January.
Surfshark Antivirus—powered by Avira's anti-malware SDK—offers both real-time protection from malware, viruses, and privacy-intrusive apps as well as scheduled scans to stay on top of your devices' digital hygiene with ease. At the time of writing, this software is only available for Windows and Android platforms, with the real-time feature available just for the mobile app. The provider has plans to introduce new versions soon, though.
Surfshark One can be purchased for just over $3 per month if you subscribe to its longest two-year plan (prices will differ in different territories). You can also add the bundle to an existing Surfshark VPN subscription with an additional tiny fee around $1.50 per month.
Best VPN with antivirus bundles for streaming and website blocking
CyberGhost has joined forces with antivirus provider Intego to offer its users an 'all-in-one privacy and security solution.' The package includes the VPN, antivirus software, ID Guard and Security Updater tools. The provider axed its password manager software, previously included in the bundle, in December last year in the face of stiff competition.
CyberGhost VPN is a strong and secure service that boasts more than 7,000 servers spread across 90 countries. Good for streaming and website unblocking, it offers a 45-day money-back guarantee and fair pricing (especially if you're willing to commit). The only downside is that it does not offer independent audits just yet.
Its Intego and Avira-powered antivirus is propelled by behavior analysis and a malware engine, offering 24/7 protection against all the biggest online threats around right now. These include protection from malware, trojans, spyware, adware and ransomware. A Security Updater alerts you to outdated apps, and Privacy Guard makes it easy to manage your privacy settings.
The downside here is that CyberGhost Security Suite protects Windows users only. Plus, according to our testing, its antivirus can't compete with the best providers around (although it was last on test in early 2021). But what is excellent is the cost, with its longest two-year plan and security bundle costing less than $3.00 per month.
Best VPN with antivirus bundles for mobile
Private Internet Access (PIA) now offers its users the possibility to bundle its VPN subscription with its own antivirus software—you will need to be a PIA VPN user to add on its antivirus extension. The provider even offers an email breach monitor tool at no extra costs.
PIA VPN hosts more than 10,000 servers across 84 countries. Although not being the fastest service around, it is equipped with many security features as well as with good Android VPN and iPhone VPN apps. The provider even upgraded from 10 to unlimited simultaneous connections.
PIA Antivirus is packed with features for protecting your device from any threats. These include a DNS-based ad blocker, a prevention engine to find and fix your computer’s in-built defenses, a real-time 24/7 protection as well as an up-to-date cloud database to prevent even the newest viruses and malware from infecting your devices. You can also customize your data settings for a full control over your digital privacy.
Add at the checkout the antivirus software to your VPN subscription—at the time of writing, one of the best cheap VPN provider—paying around the equivalent of $2.03 per month if you choose its 2-year plan.
Best VPN with antivirus bundles for security
One of our favorite VPN services, NordVPN has developed a new feature to secure users from cyber threats. The good news is that you will be able to enjoy this benefit without having to purchase any extra software.
Threat Protection will prevent your devices from being infected with malware by blocking access to malicious websites and checking the files you download. It also stops web trackers before they can intrude your browsing activity, while hindering those intrusive and malicious ads from loading on the page you visit.
It is worth noting that even if it looks quite similar on the surface, the Threat Protection tool does not exactly work as other antivirus software does. For example, its scope limits to scan executable files only, without monitoring processes for suspect behavior. However, it can still enlarge the security grip of your NordVPN subscription, guarding you from some cyber threats that regular VPN services don't usually block.
NordVPN is a secure, fast and reliable service ideal for torrenting safely, streaming and bypassing online censorship at ease. Turning on its Double VPN system, all your internet traffic will be encrypted not one but twice. For users ready to commit to its longest plan, a the monthly price comes down to around the $3.99 mark.
Best antivirus with VPN bundles
Best antivirus with VPN bundles overall
Norton's 360 packages add new layers of security for their users, with unlimited access to its own VPN and password manager tools. The Norton 360 Deluxe plan comes with its Dark Web Monitoring tool, too, which searches for your exposed information on the dark web. While those choosing the Norton Advanced suite will also benefit from Identity Restoration Support and Social Media Monitoring.
Norton antivirus is a trusted software that include a really useful firewall and cloud backup space. Powered by AI machine-learning, it secures your devices against viruses, malware, spyware and ransomware.
Even though it cannot compete with the top VPN services, we found that Norton Secure VPN can still unlock US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. It has a no-log policy and kill switch feature for its Android apps, with split-tunneling available for Windows users. Unfortunately, the service doesn't offer obfuscation technology and P2P traffic—so, it can't be used to bypass strong online censorship or download torrents.
Norton 360 packages, all of which include that Secure VPN, start from around $40 or £25 for the first year.
Best antivirus with VPN bundles for security
The current leader in our best antivirus chart is Bitdefender, whose bundles all add a secure browser—called Safepay online banking protection—password manager tool, a vulnerability scanner and a good quality VPN.
The things that stood out to use about Bitdefender Antivirus were its user-friendly interface that can suit either complete beginners or experts who want to tweak things. It also has some impressive features like real-time protection, advanced threat defense, web attack prevention, anti-phishing and anti-fraud.
Bitdefender VPN is a basic service with some solid speed results and effective kill switch. It's not made in house, but uses Hotspot Shield technology instead. It promises not to keep any logs, also allowing P2P sharing. If it manages to unblock BBC iPlayer, it fails to do the same with other streaming platforms like Netflix. Its most notable downside though is a 200 MB daily limit included with the bundle.
So, if you want more freedom, you need to upgrade to the premium version—in this case, we strongly recommend opting for one of the best VPN services around instead. Those who don't need much VPN data can get hold of Bitdefender's VPN and antivirus plan for about $35 for the first year.
Best antivirus with VPN bundles for free
Avast One is a security bundle that combines antivirus, VPN, data breach scanning and even a firewall in just one subscription. The good news is that all this can be yours for free with its Essential plan—yes, you read it right. Upgrade to its premium package for adding an anti-tracking, webcam monitoring, a powerful disk cleaner, extra device speedup tools and automatic updates for your apps.
Avast Antivirus is packed with useful features to protect your devices. These include real-time protection and different types of scans—you can customize those to better suit your own needs. It automatically detects folders with user documents, adding them to Avast's Ransomware Shield Protect list to guarantee stronger protection.
It's also worth noting that the Avast VPN free version comes with a weekly 5 GB cap. You can upgrade to a paid plan for unlimited data and additional features starting from the equivalent of less than $6 a month for the first year.
Best antivirus with VPN bundles for extra features
McAfee Total Protection Basic suite includes its antivirus—currently ranked at #3 on our best antivirus guide—secure VPN, an intelligent firewall, password manager and identity monitoring tools. Upgrade to the Premium to add parental controls and a Personal Data Cleanup to help you remove your data from risky data broker sites. If you opt for the Ultimate package, you will also have up to $1M ID theft coverage and attorney restoration.
McAfee antivirus keeps its antivirus scanning options to a minimum. You can perform quick scans, full system scans or focused checks on specific items directly from the Explorer right-click menu. Despite this it offers several features like a device cleaner and Depending on file shredder tools. Depending which plan you choose, you can connect up to five or unlimited devices with one subscription.
Powered by TunnelBear technology, McAfee VPN comes with unlimited data for all paid plans and 50 server locations for you to choose from. Despite this, it's a quite basic VPN service offering poor unlocking performance as well as lacking some security features like a kill-switch.
Another downside of McAfee bundles are its prices, higher than the suites mentioned before. At the time of writing, its Plus plan (the most basic) comes to around $40 per year and its most expensive one up to $90.
Antivirus and VPN bundles FAQ
VPN and antivirus bundles: should I get one?
Should I get a VPN and antivirus bundle?
It's clear that both antivirus and VPN providers are reacting to current cyber threats by enlarging their security tools offer. Increasingly companies are understanding that users need an internet security suite when online and, although there are no perfect packages yet, reaching that point seems near.
Currently, these services don't quite fulfil the brief. The VPNs included with traditional antivirus still lack of many advanced features included in their standalone counterparts. The same goes with the antivirus software sitting in the offering of virtual private network providers.
So, should you go with a security bundle or not? And, is it more important that you get a powerful VPN or strong antivirus?
That depends on from your own needs, really. If you are simply looking for an extra layer of security when online, an antivirus with VPN suite may be the right choice for you. But, if you are looking to use the service for streaming or torrenting, a VPN with antivirus package is surely more advantageous. Moreover, there also are many good free antivirus and free VPN services that you can use along your paid subscription.
January 25, 2024 update notes
We periodically review the content of our buying guide to ensure all information is up-to-date and reflects the changing VPN industry and global need for digital privacy.
During the latest round of updates, we tidied up the layout, double-checked the pricing, deals, server locations, and unblocking capabilities to made sure the information on this page was as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example: 1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service). 2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad. We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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Chiara is a multimedia journalist committed to covering stories to help promote the rights and denounce the abuses of the digital side of life—wherever cybersecurity, markets and politics tangle up. She mainly writes news, interviews and analysis on data privacy, online censorship, digital rights, cybercrime, and security software, with a special focus on VPNs, for TechRadar Pro, TechRadar and Tom’s Guide. Got a story, tip-off or something tech-interesting to say? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lewis MaddisonStaff Writer