Anti-virus software is an essential tool for any computer. It is comforting to know that there is a program working away in the background, dealing with threats without too much hassle.

Some businesses and self-employed workers will assume that they need to pay out for expensive premium solutions. Premium, all-inclusive options can seem like the best approach for anti-virus software . This is because of their comprehensive coverage.

However, there is also a series of important, free programs that do more than many users may assume. Below are five of the best free anti-virus products around.

The pros and cons of opting for free anti-virus software.

There are obvious concerns over the choice to use a free service. Free, at one time at least, meant that there was a minimal option for basic use. It was the cost effective alternative to the best options with some of the better options left out.

It is still true that some options omit some key features and tease them as add-on items. However, there are still plenty of programs that offer a broad range of solutions. Also, these anti-virus programs can work in the background with ease, only popping up for an update or if it finds a threat.

Manual updates can be annoying, but they are worth it for the low cost and improved options. The only other downside is that every computer needs its version installed. This can be time-consuming for companies but is not a problem for individual users.

Best anti-virus software options for 2017.

1) Lavasoft Ad-Aware

The first option to mention in these reviews for the best anti-virus software is Lavasoft. This is a program that many will be familiar with and there are some great reports on its potential.

Lavasoft Ad-aware

The features included work well, such as the on-demand and on-access malware scans, malicious URL blocking and web companion. There is also a good help center. However, some key elements are missing, such as the phishing protection, behavior-based detection, and vulnerability scan.

This program falls into the typical trap of offering a basic package for free and a better, more comprehensive option for a price.

2) Check Point ZoneAlarm

At first, this name may pass some browsers by in anti-virus software reviews. AVG, Avast, and Lavasoft are more well-known names in the field of anti-virus. This is a part of the Kaspersky brand, so it is more reputable than some may think.

There are some great modern features in here that highlight this link to Kaspersky. In addition to the on-demand and on-access malware scans and behavior based detection, there is firewall protection, identity protection, and credit monitoring.

However, some elements are missing that are basic features in other anti-virus software. It doesn’t have malicious URL blocking, website rating functions, phishing protection or a vulnerability scan.

Some users have also found that the behavior protection is a little inconsistent. There is no doubt that this is an excellent alternative to Kaspersky in some ways, but there is a clear gap in quality.

3) Bit Defender

Bit Defender comes in halfway on this reviews list because of the pros and cons. The elements that are correct are brilliant, but the items that are not are frustrating.

The list of features is strong with support in all the right areas. Here users have access to on-demand and on-access malware scans, malicious URL blocking, phishing protection and behavior based detection.

The clear downside is that it doesn’t have the website rating tools of some of the more reliable options below. Those that can deal with this omission and the lack of technical support will appreciate the results of the features.

It is worth noting that where “better” software fails with the phishing protection, this one scores highly. It also works well in the background, with users forgetting it is there. The only major problem is that it ‘s hard to install this program on an infected system. It is a preventative measure not a cure for a virus-riddled computer.

4) AVG

AVG has been one of the go-to options in free anti-virus software for general use for a while now, with great reviews. The program is pretty easy to use and install, and there is a surprising range of features for such a necessary, free option.

AVG Internet Security

On-demand and on-access malware scans, malicious URL blocking, website ratings, anti-phishing and behavior based detection are all included.

The free package is a bit limited compared to select options. It is extensive enough that many users are happy to trust it. The features included all perform well with excellent scores and sensitive nature. This is true when it comes to malware-blocking.

The online web security plug-in is also better than many may expect. The downside here is that while the results are good, the scans are slower than some other options.

5) Avast

It is Avast that tends to come out on top in reviews for the best software. This is largely down to its extensive range of features. It has all of the elements included in the programs above for a comprehensive package.

It tends to have the ones that are missing too, notably the vulnerability scan. This means that users can enjoy on-demand and on-access malware scans, malicious URL blocking, website rating features, phishing protection and behavior based detection.

There are positive comments from users on this range of features, as well as some bonus content for increased online security.

The majority of elements perform well and find the risks, except the anti-phishing. Also, some of the helpful bonus features do come at a price.

Choosing The Best Anti-Virus Program For Your Needs

Free software is appealing because the cost is no longer a deciding factor in the purchase. Users can pick a program on the features offered and its performance.

The Avast system comes out on top for many users because of the range of features and reliable performance. It is clearly not perfect, and some users may find that the other options are easier to use or better suited to their system.

The great thing here is that programs are easy to install, tested and uninstalled until one fits – with no money wasted.

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