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AVG Secure VPN UK Review: A solid VPN

Written by  May 17, 2020

AVG Secure VPN operates servers from 58 locations around the world, though some of these are virtual locations and actually based elsewhere, and while it has a good presence in Europe, Asia Pacific and North America

It is a bit sketchy elsewhere, with only one location in South America or Africa, and only Israel and Turkey covered in the Middle East.

On the plus side, it has a few servers scattered around Europe and North America which specialise in video streaming or peer-to-peer traffic. If you’re looking to watch US TV streaming services or share perfectly legitimate and in no way pirate content through a peer-to-peer service, as we’re sure is the case, AVG Secure VPN has your back.

avg secure vpn review locations


On their website, you’ll find apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android, though Linux users and those wanting a VPN installed on their router are out of luck. However, there is one area where AVG Secure VPN differs from its stablemate. Where you could buy Avast’s product on a one-license-per-product basis, AVG Secure is sold as an all-in-subscription for five devices for £48 a year.

Buy AVG Secure VPN now

Setup and basic use

Credit where credit’s due: AVG Secure VPN couldn’t be much easier to download, install and use. You can download the Windows client from the website and install it, enter your activation key and have it up and running within a few minutes.

What’s more, it actually tells you what to do while you use the app, telling you to click the big switch in the middle – which pulses green every few seconds – to encrypt what you do online. One click and you’re in. There’s really not a whole lot more to it. You can switch location by clicking on the Change location link, which takes you to a list of all the current locations by default, but sorts them region by region if you click on the regions on the left-hand side.

What additional features there are come down to options to show notifications or start AVG Secure VPN when your PC boots, plus options to turn it on automatically when you connect, either excluding or including specified trusted networks. Other than that, there’s just a Kill Switch, to make sure your connection closes if the VPN link drops.

Privacy and security

AVG’s parent company, Avast, is based in the Czech Republic and operates under EU privacy laws. AVG publishes a reasonably clear VPN service privacy policy on its website, telling you what information it captures and stores, including timestamps of your connections, the subnet if your originating IP address (with the last eight characters anonymised) and the IP address of the VPN server you’re using. This data is only stored for 30 days, after which it’s deleted, and no complete copy of your IP address or any DNS queries you make while connecting are collected.

avg secure vpn review settings

There is a clause that enables AVG to disclose information to other members of the Avast group, or to the relevant authorities when served with a valid warrant or subpoena. On the latter front, though, they make it clear that they can’t identify users from the IP address of a server, or any information about which applications people use or services they employ.

That still leaves one concern. Last year it became apparent that Avast was harvesting data from its free products and browser extensions and passing it on to an analytics subsidiary. However, Avast has apologised and closed the subsidiary down, so this is (hopefully) water under the bridge.

In terms of privacy protection, all seems good. DoILeak.com noted that the number of hops suggested a Proxy or VPN use, but IP addresses and locations matched and the only off note was that, when connecting to a US VPN in Georgia, the site still received some DNS requests from the EU. All the same, AVG Secure VPN doesn’t have the additional security features we’re seeing with other VPNs, so it’s not the last word in security by any means.

Performance

When we reviewed Avast Secureline we said that it seemed to be using some of the same infrastructure as another Avast product, HMA VPN, and we suspect the same is true here. When running speed tests, many of the same server locations kept coming up. This isn’t necessarily a problem, though. HMA VPN is very fast, Avast Secureline is very fast, and AVG Secure is just as speedy.

When connecting to a UK server from a UK address, download speeds dropped by a mere 3.11%, while upload speeds were just 2.22% down. With a UK to Netherlands connection, the drop remained under 4% on both counts. Even connecting through to Germany, the speed reduction was 6.95% for downloads and 3.76% for uploads.

avg secure vpn review

The hit is bigger with longer-distance VPN links, but that’s to be expected, and even then the reductions aren’t bad. A VPN in New York was 28% slower for downloads and 4% slower for uploads, while a Singapore connection saw speeds reduced by 81.9% and 35.9% – which sounds awful, but isn’t by VPN standards.

And while we saw some faster transatlantic links with HMA VPN and Avast, these involved the use of virtual servers based in the EU. We suspect AVG Secure was connecting through to servers actually based in the US.

There’s more good news for streamers, too. AVG Secure allowed us to play BBC iPlayer programmes without throwing up an error, and the same with US Netflix content streaming across a New York or Boston VPN.

Buy AVG Secure VPN now

AVG Secure VPN review: Mobile apps

The iOS and Android app maintain a similar UI to the Windows client and work in the exact same way, the only real difference being that the iOS version doesn’t have a killswitch. Unless you need to change location you can be up and running with a few taps.

Performance is virtually identical, with a slightly larger reduction in UK to UK speeds on the Android version, but few other disparities elsewhere. If you’re after a good, simple VPN for iOS or Android, AVG Secure VPN will do the job – but if you’re looking for more advanced security features, you won’t find them here.

Customer support

AVG provides support through a comprehensive FAQ or via an email contact form. Replies to enquiries sent via email were polite and helpful and delivered the right information – and as long as you don’t come across technical issues, there’s really very little to go wrong, in any case.

Pricing

AVG Secure costs £19.99 a year for five devices. As with other VPN services, and the longer you commit to upfront, the cheaper plans get, a two-year subscription costs £34.99.

Thankfully, all plans come with a 30-day moneyback guarantee if you're unhappy with the service. Its price range puts it in a middle tier along with some of our best VPN services.

Buy AVG Secure VPN now

Verdict

A solid VPN with effective user interfaces that practically tells you what to do, and both are impressively speedy.

However, neither offers any notable features or strengths that raise it above the VPN crowd – and neither is particularly cheap. You won’t go wrong by picking AVG Secure VPN, but there are better options that you should consider at first.

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