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Things To Consider Before Choosing An Antivirus Software

Things To Consider Before Choosing An Antivirus Software

Having antivirus software is a must because of rapidly increasing threats in the cyber world. Nowadays you need to take precautions while accessing the internet to keep your device secure.

Along with security precautions it is always advised to have a robust antivirus program on your PC to protect you from multiple threats. Please don’t misunderstand antivirus with its term because these days most antivirus software have become very advanced and will protect your multiple threats along with viruses.

You need to find an antivirus that should work as a complete security suite. It should protect you from everything that poses a risk to your computer security.

There are a lot of antivirus software available in the market. You will find tons of articles on the best antivirus software on the internet. But before accessing those articles you need to list a few things that you must check before choosing an antivirus software.

Here I am going to explain a checklist that an antivirus program must have in order to provide complete security to your device.

16 Things to Consider Before Downloading an Antivirus:

1. Regularly Update the Malware Definitions

When an antivirus program scans files or programs then it compares them with its database. If the antivirus finds a file matching in the database or a file that behaves like malware in the database then it alerts the user.

As we know that new malware are continuously developed from different sources. So, the malware database of the antivirus software needs to be updated from time to time. If the database is not updated then the software will not be able to detect the new malware and will infect your computer.

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2. The Exclusion Option

One of the primary functions of antivirus software is the “File Quarantine”. Antivirus software quarantines the files and programs that it detects as a threat to your computer. There is a drawback to this feature. Sometimes antivirus programs quarantine programs that you use daily and the programs you trust.

Most antivirus programs provide an Exclusion option. Adding files to the exclusion options in the antivirus commands it to exclude the program in the scanning process.

But the file exclusion activity needs to be done with utmost care. The antivirus program puts something to quarantine only if it finds the behavior of the file or programs malicious.

If you are damn confident about the file/program that it is trustworthy and does not pose any risk to your computer then you should add it to the exclusion list.

So, before adding any program to the exclusion list you can do online research. Just ask google the following question- is “program name” a virus?

If the experts say that the program is safe then you can add it to the exclusion list.

Related: Checklist: Is My Website Safe?

3. Frequent Product Updates

The software developer needs to put extra effort to stay one step ahead of cyber threats. Every day cybercriminals invent new ways to infect your computer. So, the antivirus needs to be updated with the latest security patches.

As we know nothing is perfect there could be some vulnerabilities in any software so, they need to find and fix them regularly.

Also, the latest updates come with the latest malware database. So, the antivirus software should be updated frequently.

4. Should Not Slow Down Your PC

Many antivirus programs slow down your PC because they consume a lot of resources. If the antivirus hogs most of the resources then other programs will take time to run on your PC.

So, you need to make sure that the antivirus program you are using is lite weight. A lite weight program uses lesser computer resources and does not slow down your PC.

How to check CPU usage by a program?

If you have an antivirus program on your PC then you can check how much CPU usage it consumes.

Just press ctrl+alt+delete at once and choose “Start Task Manager” from the screen that appears. Now the task manager will open where you can see CPU usage by every program.

5. Easy User Interface

As we have discussed before, antivirus programs consist of many features. Having so many features may make it complex. You should be able to access the software easily and use the features that antivirus software offers.

The user interface should be so easy that a person with minimum technical knowledge can access the software. Also, nowadays many software come in night mode. It is not a must but a plus point if the software provides the feature of night mode so you can work at night without putting strain on your eyes.

6. Enough Resources

The software developer should provide you with enough resources so you can look up to them if you find any difficulty using the software. You should easily be able to find the user guides on how to use the software.

Also, they should provide video tutorials for the software on YouTube or on their website. Community forums are always the best source of knowledge. Especially in community forums, people could answer the unexpected difficulties that you may face while using the software.

7. Good Customer Support

Good customer support is a must for any business. This condition remains the same with antivirus programs. You should be able to contact me for help 24/7.

The antivirus developer should provide you with different types of help like instant chat, email, telephone support, etc.

8. The Best Antivirus Engine

The antivirus engine is like the soul of antivirus programs. This is the most critical component of your Antivirus program. The antivirus engine needs to be fast and accurate.

You need to make sure that the engine in your antivirus is rated good by experts.

There are many in-depth articles on the internet on the best antivirus software.

Related: Cybersecurity Checklist For New Business Owners

9. User Reviews and Testimonials

You should remember this point before you install any type of software on your computer. You should always read the reviews and ratings by their customers on different platforms.

Give preference to the reviews on third-party websites like Trustpilot. Trustpilot is a website where users shared their feedback about any software. You can find multiple websites like Trustpilot.

Also, you should look for expert reviews on authority websites like CNet, Techradar, SoftAppWorld, PCMag, Tom’s Guide, etc.

10. Get The Highest Security

Choose an antivirus program that has your back for any situation. The antivirus software should include the following features-

  • Malware detection.
  • Complete internet security.
  • Live computer security
  • Firewalls
  • Computer backup

Along with these basic needs, the antivirus should also provide a built-in VPN. VPNs are very useful for your privacy. Also, these tools can help you from being tracked and exposed to any threat.

11. Free Trial Version and Money-Back Guarantee

As we know that paid antivirus programs perform far better than free ones. Using paid antivirus can save you from many losses for example loss of data, money, and privacy.

But you should always choose an antivirus program that provides a free trial version. There are many antivirus tools that provide 7-day or 30-day trial versions.

Once you have tried the software on your computer and assured yourself that the software is working fine then you can invest in the software confidently.

If you don’t find a trial version then you should look for the money-guarantee option which is similar to the free trial. You should be able to get your money back if you don’t find the software useful.

Note: It is very difficult to find the VPN function in the free version. Because running VPNs cost the software developers. So, if you don’t find a VPN in the free version then you should be ok with this.

Tip: If you want a paid antivirus program you should explore different plans and prices. For example, you can choose a family protection plan in which you can secure multiple devices for your family. Also, some antivirus developers provide plans to secure devices on multiple-platform. For example, they can secure your PC (with software) and Mobile (with premium app) in a single plan.

12. Real-Time Protection

It is a must for an antivirus program to provide you with real-time protection. It will help you protect from threats while you are browsing the internet, or opening any file on your PC.

This feature is the most useful when you browse websites that you don’t know. The antivirus should stop you from accessing malicious websites so, they can not download malware on your computer.

13. Privacy Policy

Read the privacy policy of the software very carefully. The antivirus should not collect too sensitive data and send it to the cloud. It is ok to collect some normal data like CPU usage.

Once you read the privacy policy you will be able to know what type of data the antivirus program is collecting from your computer.

14. Quick Notifications

You should get quick notifications whenever the software detects something malicious. If you get a quick notification of any threat then you can take the needed action.

15. No Annoying Ads

Sometimes software developers show a lot of ads and notifications prompting you to download other products. These ads look very annoying, mostly this happens if you are using the free version of an Antivirus. 1 or 2 ads in a day are normal but if you are getting new ads every hour it becomes annoying.

16. Download From Trusted Sources

If you have chosen an antivirus program you need to make sure that you download it from a trusted source. In most cases, the most trusted source is the official website of the software.

If the software is very well known and you have heard it so many times from trusted sources then it is safe to download from the official website. But if the software is not very well known then you should download it from other third-party trusted sources.

For example, Microsoft App Store is a good platform to download an antivirus program. Because not everyone gets to upload their software on the official Microsoft App Store.

Other than this there are some other third-party websites that provide safe download facilities. Some of the popular websites are CNet, Softpedia, Softonic, Filecr, Fileroco, SoftwareAdvice, etc.

These websites have dedicated people to test the software. They have teams of experts who review the software and tell you the genuine features along with the download option.


These are the basic things that you should consider before downloading an antivirus program. You may not find all of these things on your favorite antivirus. So, I suggest you be a bit liberal and give importance to the feature that matters the most for you.

For example, buying a family protection plan is your utmost priority but if the software does not have an exclusion list then you can give it a try.

Also, it is not necessary that an expensive program will be the most effective one. There are many low-cost programs available online that give as many security features as an expensive one. So, the trick is before buying an antivirus software you should compare the features and pricing.

The last but not least tip is you can always search for discount coupons. Many antivirus programs provide discount offers from time to time. All you need to do is ask from google with relevant queries e.g. “antivirus name + offers”, “Antivirus name + discount coupon”. As soon as you enter such queries on Google you will see that there are many authority websites that are providing software at a discount or you can find a discount coupon.

That is all from my side, I hope the article helped you. If you like the article please share it on social media. Also, if you have any suggestions then feel free to use the comment section.

The Author

Priyanka is a technical content writer at SoftAppWorld. Her keen interest is in testing different kinds of software and writing reviews about them. Her goal is to help people with software reviews and how-to guides. In her free time, she likes to create different kinds of sketches and designs.

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