Bitdefender Review: Quick Expert Summary
Bitdefender is one of my favorite antiviruses in 2022. It has all of the cybersecurity protections most users need to stay 100% safe, it’s super easy to use across all devices and operating systems, and it’s cheaper than most competing brands.
During all of my tests, Bitdefender had perfect results against all types of malware samples, and thanks to its cloud-based virus engine, it didn’t slow down my computer even during full system scans. Bitdefender also has some of the best web protections on the market, detecting more fake and risky sites than both built-in protections from Chrome, Firefox, or Edge, and anti-phishing protections from other antiviruses.
In addition to high-end malware and web protections, Bitdefender also has more security features than almost all other brands, and all of its extras work as promised and are very simple to find and use. Bitdefender has:
- Advanced ransomware protection.
- System optimization.
- Secure web browser for safe online payments.
- Password manager.
- VPN (virtual private network).
- Parental controls.
- Webcam and microphone protection.
- Anti-theft protection for Windows and Android.
- And a lot more…
Most of Bitdefender’s features work great — the system optimization tools cleared up a lot of space on my PC and improved my device’s performance, the VPN is comparable in speed and performance to standalone VPNs, and the parental controls are highly customizable and even include location tracking and geofencing. I also think it’s amazing that Bitdefender’s anti-theft protection works on Windows devices – most competitors like McAfee and Avira offer anti-theft on mobile devices only.
But as much as I like Bitdefender, I can’t say it’s without flaws. Bitdefender’s password manager may be too basic for some users — it doesn’t have a desktop app, and it’s lacking features like emergency access and password sharing. The mobile security app for iOS is also very limited, providing only web protection, simple email breach monitoring, and a limited VPN. And the VPN that comes bundled with most of Bitdefender’s plans only lets you use 200 MB data per day, which is barely enough for web browsing. That said, the VPN with unlimited data is available on Bitdefender’s top-tier Premium Security plan (or you can get it as an add-on to any of the other plans).
And even if you upgrade to the most expensive plan with the unlimited VPN (and coverage for up to 10 devices), Bitdefender still offers an excellent value (and it’s still cheaper than most brands with fewer features).
Overall, Bitdefender is one of the best internet security products around. It’s got unbeatable malware protection, provides lots of really good features, it’s easy to use, and it offers affordable plans for all budgets. And all of Bitdefender’s packages come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk in trying it out.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#2 out of 69 antiviruses|
|👤 VPN||Yes (200 MB/day, upgrade available)|
|🎁 Free Plan||Yes|
|💸 Pricing||Starting at $23.99/year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
|📀 Operating Systems||Windows, Android, Mac, iOS|
Bitdefender Full Review
Bitdefender provides cutting-edge internet security for a great value.
Bitdefender’s cloud-based scanner uses machine learning along with traditional signature-based scanning to provide 100% malware detection.
Bitdefender also provides excellent web protections, a fast VPN, comprehensive system tune-up, a secure browser, and some of the best parental controls on the market today (along with several more useful additional protections).
Bitdefender offers several plans to choose from — Antivirus Plus is a good entry-level antivirus for users looking to protect 1 Windows PC, Internet Security adds coverage for up to 3 Windows PCs and is a great mid-range option for families, Total Security is an excellent value for users looking to protect up to 5 Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, and Premium Security is the best-value package for those who want all of Bitdefender’s features plus the VPN with no limitations.
There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of Bitdefender’s plans.
Bitdefender Security Features
Bitdefender’s antivirus scanner is both thorough and lightweight. It uses a huge malware directory and machine learning to detect both known and emerging malware. And because most of the malware scanning takes place in the cloud, Bitdefender’s antivirus engine takes up a fraction of CPU and disk space during scans.
Bitdefender offers 4 types of scans:
- Quick Scan. A lightweight scan of core system files and temporary files where viruses are often stored.
- System Scan. An in-depth analysis and scan of the entire system for malware and vulnerabilities.
- Custom Scan. Scanning in any system location where there might be potential threats.
- Vulnerability Scan. Scanning for privacy risks in application settings as well as critical software updates.
I tested Bitdefender’s virus scanner by hiding nearly 1,000 malware samples throughout my virtual Windows computer, including viruses, worms, trojans, adware, spyware, rootkits, ransomware, cryptojackers, and keyloggers — once my system was fully infected with malware, I performed a full system scan.
However, unlike most competitors, Bitdefender has a minimal impact on system performance. I didn’t notice any slowdown on my system throughout the entire scanning process — even other premium competitors like TotalAV cause some slowdown during full system scans.
Bitdefender also lets users schedule scans — you can choose between several scheduling options, including at system startup, daily, weekly, and monthly. However, users can only schedule custom scans — Norton, Avira, TotalAV, and BullGuard all provide easy, one-click scan scheduling for all types of scans.
Overall, Bitdefender’s malware scanner is one of the best on the market — it’s fast, it doesn’t cause slowdowns, and it has perfect malware detection rates. If you’re looking for a lightweight, powerful antivirus scanner, Bitdefender is an excellent choice.
Bitdefender’s real-time protection (Bitdefender Shield) actively scans every file and email attachment the moment you access them. Bitdefender Shield’s default settings include the following scans:
- Potentially unwanted applications. Software that hides inside other applications (usually bundled freeware).
- Network shares. Issues in remote networks on your device.
- Boot sectors. Issues that may change the boot sequence.
- Only new and modified files. Threats that may hide in new and changed files.
- Keyloggers. Malware that captures keystrokes.
While Bitdefender Shield’s default protections are good enough for most users, advanced users can customize real-time settings to also include applications, scripts, and archives. Advanced users can also choose to exclude any of the options mentioned above.
For my testing, I downloaded around 100 infected .exe samples, .txt files, and .rar files (compressed folders), and I also ran network-based attacks from my Android and another PC.
Bitdefender’s real-time protection blocked every single malware file before I could download it. But Bitdefender Shield didn’t merely interrupt my downloads — it wouldn’t even allow me to start them, greying out the “Save File” button.
Overall, I’m really impressed by Bitdefender’s real-time protection. Some competitors provide similar real-time malware detection rates, but Bitdefender provides the best customization options on the market for its real-time scanner.
Whenever you visit a website, Bitdefender’s anti-phishing protection compares it against a regularly updated database of millions of dangerous, blacklisted sites. If there’s a match, Bitdefender blocks access to the site.
I tested Bitdefender’s anti-phishing protection with a huge directory of phishing sites — Bitdefender blocked all of the fake websites I tried to access. Chrome, Firefox, and even third-party anti-phishing tools from competitors like Panda and Kaspersky failed to detect as many suspicious sites as Bitdefender.
What’s more, Bitdefender features a convenient notification screen, so you can see what websites it has blocked and why. This makes it easy to permanently add a false positive to Bitdefender’s exception list. Whitelisting sites can be done in one click, whereas other antiviruses such as Norton require you to dig through settings and advanced protocols to whitelist safe sites. However, keep in mind that you should only whitelist sites if you are absolutely certain that they’re legitimate and don’t contain malware.
Bitdefender’s web protection also prevents you from accessing a webpage that contains downloadable malware — it also checks search results for dangerous sites, scans encrypted websites, and checks sites for fraudulent content.
Overall, Bitdefender provides exceptional anti-phishing protection as well as protection against a wide range of other web-based threats. In addition to blocking more phishing sites than most competitors, Bitdefender also makes it easy to whitelist websites and adjust web protection settings.
Bitdefender’s “OneClick Optimizer” scans your system and removes unnecessary files from your device — including:
- Temporary system files.
- Windows junk files.
- Recycle bin files.
- Broken registry items.
- Browser history.
I ran the scan with no other applications running in the background, and it only took around 2 minutes to complete.
Bitdefender managed to free up a total of 1.3 GB from my PC, which is really good.
However, Bitdefender’s tuneup tool has some annoying limitations — for example:
Before clicking “Optimize,” Bitdefender recommended that I review the issues it had flagged. But Bitdefender didn’t let me view the details about those issues. For example, it flagged one broken software location in my registry options, yet it wouldn’t let me see the file name or date. This was frustrating because I wanted to know what I was deleting, not just the location of the file in question.
I’d also like to see more features included in Bitdefeder’s system tuneup tool. For example, TotalAV’s built-in optimization includes a startup manager, an application uninstaller, and a duplicate file finder.
That said, after running Bitdefender’s one-click optimization, I noticed a speed increase on my PC. This simple one-click method for freeing up space does have some limitations, and it’s missing some features that competitors provide. But overall, it’s very convenient and does a good job.
Secure Web Browser (SafePay)
Bitdefender’s secure web browser, SafePay, is a great way to keep hackers from stealing your personal information when making online transactions.
Here are the main benefits of using SafePay:
- Prevents hackers from remotely accessing your desktop.
- Stops you from taking snapshots of your screen.
- Utilizes Bitdefender’s password manager to protect your passwords.
- Emulates a virtual keyboard to prevent keystroke tracking.
- Turns on built-in VPN protection (200 MB daily limit).
I wanted to show off SafePay’s protections, but I couldn’t capture any screenshots due to its built-in screenshot-blocker, which is great — if you can’t screen-capture your browser, then neither can intrusive hackers!
I tested SafePay with my PayPal account. Apart from being unable to use any of my screen capture tools, I was even unable to copy-paste my password or 2FA codes while using SafePay! The virtual keyboard popped up the moment I was asked to enter my login details, keeping keyloggers from recording my password or personal info.
However, pages loaded pretty slowly, and I couldn’t stream HD video with SafePay — it’s definitely not designed to replace your web browser. But for anyone that does business online, SafePay is a really good privacy enhancement tool.
If you’re looking to protect your information as much as possible during online transactions, SafePay is a really good addition to Bitdefender’s already impressive web protection toolkit.
Bitdefender’s password manager is simple and secure — but it’s not as good as dedicated password managers like Dashlane or 1Password. Bitdefender doesn’t provide features like two-factor authentication (2FA) or password sharing. However, it does provide the essential functions of a password manager, such as:
- High-level encryption.
- Multi-device sync.
- Password generator.
- Unlimited password storage.
- Payment information storage.
- Auto-save and auto-fill.
- Password vault auditing.
Bitdefender’s password manager comes free with Bitdefender Premium Security, but lower-tier Bitdefender plans come with a 90-day free trial of the password manager, after which you’ll have to pay an additional yearly fee.
To access the password manager, you need to install Bitdefender’s password manager extension (available for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Brave). There’s also an Android and iOS app, but there isn’t a desktop version.
Bitdefender still offers the My Wallets features for Windows desktop users, which is a basic password vault with auto-fill capabilities and a password generator. But the My Wallets feature doesn’t offer the range of features or cross-platform compatibility included with Bitdefender’s password manager.
Bitdefender’s password manager lets you store passwords, identities (personal information, addresses, and phone numbers), credit cards and bank accounts, email credentials, license keys and logins for software, and Wi-Fi passwords.
The auto-fill and auto-save functions worked well during my tests. By default, Bitdefender auto-filled my details without requiring any clicks, but also I had the option to disable this and manually click to auto-fill my details. The auto-save feature offered to save my login credentials whenever I logged into new sites.
Bitdefender also has a pretty good password generator that enables users to generate passwords up to 32 characters long. This is good, but top password managers like LastPass can generate passwords that are up to 99 characters long.
But what I liked most was Bitdefender’s password vault auditing tool (named Security report), which gives users an easy-to-understand overview of their password security. It checks for weak, old, reused, and leaked passwords. While I would like to see Bitdefender include active dark web monitoring to continuously scan for leaked login credentials, like Dashlane does, I still like the simplicity of Bitdefender’s Security report feature.
Overall, Bitdefender’s password manager is intuitive and easy to set up, but it’s not quite as good as standalone password managers like 1Password, Dashlane, LastPass, or Keeper, all of which offer a wide range of additional tools, like password sharing, password auditing, dark web monitoring, 2FA, biometric logins, and much more for a similar price. That said, if you get Bitdefender’s password manager as part of the Premium Security plan, it is a decent easy-to-use option for users that don’t really need an advanced password manager app.
Bitdefender’s VPN is powered by Hotspot Shield, one of the more popular VPN providers on the market. However, Bitdefender’s VPN has a much smaller server network and it doesn’t provide the same level of functionality as Hotspot Shield. That said, Bitdefender’s VPN covers all of the basics — it uses unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption, has a no-logs policy, and comes with a kill switch.
Most of Bitdefender’s plans come with a free version of this VPN, but it’s not very good. Bitdefender’s free VPN picks a random server based on your location, and it only includes 200 MB of browsing per day — barely enough to watch a single YouTube video.
However, users that upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium Security plan or opt for a separate VPN subscription get unlimited browsing data as well as access to 30 servers around the world. And Bitdefender’s premium VPN has some of the best speeds of any antivirus’s VPN on the market — it’s even faster than some standalone competitors.
Here’s a comparison of my internet connection before and after activating Bitdefender’s VPN on a local US server:
As you can see, there wasn’t a noticeable difference in internet speed. This is especially good when compared to VPNs from companies like Panda, which can cut your download speed in half and send your PING skyrocketing!
Unfortunately, Bitdefender’s VPN isn’t a good choice for users interested in streaming. During my tests, all popular streaming services like Netflix noticed that I was using a VPN and wouldn’t let me access their content libraries. If you’re looking for a good streaming VPN, I recommend ExpressVPN.
On the other hand, Bitdefender is really good for torrenting — you can even set the VPN to auto-connect whenever you start a peer-to-peer sharing app. This is in complete contrast with Norton, which doesn’t even let you turn on its VPN if you have a torrenting client installed on your PC.
Overall, I like Bitdefender’s premium VPN. While it doesn’t have a lot of the features that standalone VPNs provide, Bitdefender still provides surprisingly fast connection speeds and good encrypted browsing for users that want to increase their internet security.
Bitdefender’s parental control app is available as a separate download for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
I tested the parental control app on my PC and Android. To set up Bitdefender’s parental control app, I navigated to the Privacy tab in the desktop app, and then I clicked on Configure under Parental Advisor. This took me to Bitdefender’s online portal, Bitdefender Central, where I first had to add a child. Next, I had to install the Bitdefender parental control app on the device my child would be using — I had to give the app all sorts of permissions on the mobile device, but this didn’t take me longer than a couple of minutes.
Next, I had to customize the parental app’s settings. In Bitdefender Central, I could:
- Set daily device limits (not available on iOS).
- Set device usage schedules.
- Manage (allow and block) apps.
- Whitelist and blacklist specific sites or categories of sites (not available for iOS).
- View location and set safe and restricted areas (available only on Android and iOS).
- View the latest phone contacts added to the contact list (available only on Android and iOS devices).
After configuring all of the settings, I tested the app with a friend. My friend tried visiting dozens of websites that belonged to the blacklisted categories, and Bitdefender’s parental control app blocked her from accessing each of those websites. The content filters really impressed me — competitors like BullGuard offer a ton of options for filtering websites but don’t accurately block most inappropriate content. The only thing I dislike about Bitdefender’s website filtering is that there’s no way for your child to ask for access to a specific website via the app.
All of the other features inside Bitdefender’s parental app worked perfectly — I could see how much time my friend was spending on her mobile phone, view which apps she accessed, and accurately track her location. I was impressed that I could ask my friend to send me a notification when she arrived safely at a specified location — this isn’t something that most competing antiviruses with parental controls offer!
I also really like that Bitdefender allows geo-fencing, so you can get alerts if your child leaves a predetermined safe area.
I was also impressed at how accurately Bitdefender tracked my friend’s location. Norton can track children within a 20 meter (65 foot) radius, but Bitdefender pinpointed the exact house my friend’s phone was in.
Overall, Bitdefender’s parental controls provide some of the best protections of any parental control app out there — parents who want to make sure that their kids are as safe as possible, both online and in the real world, will find a lot of value in Bitdefender’s parental control app.
Webcam Security & Microphone Protection
Bitdefender’s webcam and microphone security protections stop hackers from covertly watching you through your device’s webcam and listening into your private conversations.
In my tests, Bitdefender monitored all of the apps that attempted to access my laptop’s webcam and microphone and notified me of any suspicious or unauthorized access attempts. A notification was displayed on my screen every time an access attempt was made, enabling me to either allow or deny access.
I like how I could customize access to my webcam and mic by enabling access for apps I consider safe, like Zoom and Slack. But I could also completely block any access attempts made by my web browser, and I was also able to block access to my webcam and mic entirely, so no apps could access these features.
My only issue is that the webcam and microphone protections are only available for Windows devices, so I couldn’t use them on my Mac.
Overall, I really like Bitdefender’s webcam and microphone protections. They’re very easy to set up, there are useful customization options, and the popup notifications make it easy to see which apps are making access attempts.
Bitdefender’s Ransomware Remediation is designed to automatically protect your files when it detects ransomware running on your system. This feature is supposed to prevent any file encryption attempts and enable you to restore files encrypted by ransomware attacks.
I ran some isolated ransomware simulations, and while the Ransomware Remediation was effective in most cases, it didn’t seem to correctly restore a handful of files in other instances.
When clicking on the Restored Files button, I could see a list of all files that had supposedly been recovered, including video clips, photos, and other files, and I was able to access almost all restored files with all of the original information intact. However, a couple of files weren’t restored correctly, which was a little concerning.
Despite a few missed files, I think this feature is very useful. While I would like to see Ransomware Remediation correctly restore all files, almost all of my files were restored correctly, which is impressive, especially considering this feature is not something that many other antiviruses offer.
Bitdefender’s Profiles feature (Windows only) allows users to customize their experience with the software and optimize their PC’s performance depending on why they’re using their PC.
For instance, if you’re working, you can switch on Work Profile to reduce system slowdowns and enhance email protections. Or if you’re gaming, you can choose Game Mode, which improves system performance and reduces notifications while you’re gaming. You can also adjust the settings within each profile to suit your preferences.
Here’s the full list of profiles to choose from:
- Work Profile — Enhances email protections and reduces system slowdowns.
- Movie Profile — Stops pop-up notifications and minimizes background processes.
- Game Profile — Optimizes system performance while you’re gaming.
- Public Wi-Fi Profile — Activiates protections to keep you safe on public Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Battery Mode Profile — Changes software settings to improve laptop battery life.
You can set up Bitdefender so it changes your profile depending on the apps you’re using, but you can also switch between profiles manually.
I really like the Profiles feature — it’s easy to use and significantly improved my performance while using CPU-intensive programs like Adobe Illustrator for work. I also tested this feature while I watched Netflix on my laptop, and I didn’t experience any interruptions or system slowdowns.
While some antiviruses offer similar tools, like Norton’s gaming mode (which also improves system performance while gaming), I’m a huge fan of the range of profile options offered by Bitdefender and how easy it is to adjust each profile.
Bitdefender is one of the most feature-rich internet security suites on the market in 2022, and the features I previously described are just a small part of its entire offering.
Bitdefender also has:
- Firewall — Adjusts network settings based on whether you’re connecting to a dynamic network, a home/office network, or a public network. There’s also a “Stealth mode” that makes your device invisible.
- Wi-Fi protection — Analyzes Wi-Fi networks and routers for potential threats.
- Anti-tracking protection — Prevents web trackers from collecting your data for advertising and other purposes.
- Anti-theft — Shows you the location of your device on a map. From Bitdefender’s online portal, users can remotely lock, sound an alarm, or wipe a stolen device.
- File shredder — Permanently deletes files or folders.
While all of these features work great, my favorite ones are anti-theft protections. Some competitors like McAfee and Avira offer anti-theft protection, but for mobile devices only. Bitdefender, however, provides anti-theft protection for Windows computers, too. I tested this feature on my PC, and I was really impressed at how accurate Bitdefender’s location tracking was — it pinpointed my exact address on a map. I also found it easy to remotely lock my PC, and I was pretty surprised at how loud the anti-theft alarm was!
Overall, Bitdefender has a truly impressive range of features — if you’re looking for an antivirus that has almost all of the internet security tools you can think of, Bitdefender won’t disappoint you!
Bitdefender Plans and Pricing
Most of the plans include a limited VPN (Premium Security is the only plan that comes with the unlimited VPN), but Bitdefender’s premium VPN is also available at checkout, and it costs less than most competing standalone VPNs.
Bitdefender no longer offers a free Windows plan, but it does have a free version for Mac users. That said, all of Bitdefender’s plans are affordable and include a risk-free money-back guarantee for 30 days.
Here’s a quick overview of all of Bitdefender’s plans:
|Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac||Bitdefender Antivirus Plus||Bitdefender Internet Security||Bitdefender Total Security||Bitdefender Premium Security|
|Platforms||Mac||Windows||Windows||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Number of device licenses||1||1||3||5||10|
|Malware scanning & removal||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|VPN||❌||✅ (200 MB/day)||✅ (200 MB/day)||✅ (200 MB/day)||✅ (Unlimited data)|
|Webcam & microphone protection||❌||❌||✅||✅||✅|
|System tune-up tools||❌||❌||❌||✅||✅|
Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac — Basic Free Plan for Mac
Bitdefender offers a free version of its software for macOS, but it’s very basic — it’s only an on-demand virus scanner that lets you scan your Mac for viruses and malware.
Bitdefender’s free Mac version uses the same advanced anti-malware engine as the premium version — which earned Bitdefender a spot on our best free Mac antiviruses of 2022. But it doesn’t have real-time protection, meaning it’s only good for removing existing malware, and not for protecting against future infections.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus — Basic Paid Plan (Windows Only)
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus includes real-time malware defense and web protection, as well as:
- Multi-layer ransomware protection.
- Secure browser for online finances.
- Password manager.
- Wi-Fi protection.
- VPN (200 MB daily data).
- Anti-tracking protection.
- User profiles (including gaming mode).
- File shredder.
- 24/7 customer support.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is a good entry-level antivirus plan, but it’s lacking a couple of essential security features, like a firewall. I’m also pretty disappointed that this plan is only available for Windows computers, especially when competitors like Norton, McAfee, and TotalAV include coverage for all operating systems in all of their plans.
Priced at $23.99 / year, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is cheaper than most competitors’ entry-level plans, and it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Bitdefender Internet Security — Advanced Paid Plan (Windows Only)
Bitdefender Internet Security comes with all of the features included in Antivirus Plus, but it also adds extra features like:
- Anti-spam filter.
- Webcam and microphone protection.
- Parental controls.
At $32.00 / year, Bitdefender Internet Security is a really good value, but it’s only for PC users. The biggest downside of this plan is that it doesn’t offer multi-platform support — if you use an Android, Mac, or iOS device, you’ll have to upgrade to Bitdefender’s most expensive plans.
However, for Windows users, Bitdefender Internet Security is one of the best options on the market — it covers up to 3 PCs, includes a ton of features, and is pretty affordable.
Bitdefender Total Security — Premium Paid Plan (All Operating Systems)
Bitdefender Total Security has all of the features included in Internet Security, plus:
- Coverage for Mac.
- Mobile apps for iOS and Android.
- System tune-up tools.
Bitdefender Total Security doesn’t offer a lot of improvement for PC users (besides the one-click system tune-up tool), but mobile users will want to upgrade to Total Security so they can get access to Bitdefender’s excellent mobile apps.
While Total Security doesn’t have a VPN with unlimited data like many premium antiviruses do (like Norton), Bitdefender’s most advanced plan provides comprehensive security for up to 5 devices for only $36.00 / year — even if you buy the separate VPN subscription, Bitdefender’s premium package is still cheaper than most competitors.
Bitdefender Premium Security — All of Bitdefender’s Features + Unlimited VPN
Bitdefender Premium Security has all of the features included in Total Security, plus the VPN with no data or server limitations — it’s a great option for users who want to get both Bitdefender’s powerful antivirus protection and fast VPN.
Priced at $69.99 / year, Bitdefender Premium Security is somewhat expensive compared to other Bitdefender plans, but considering that it includes a really good VPN, I think it’s worth it.
Like all of Bitdefender’s packages, Premium Security is also covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk in trying it out.
Bitdefender’s Mobile App
Bitdefender’s mobile apps for iOS and Android come included with the Total Security and Premium Security packages, but they’re also available as standalone subscriptions.
Here’s what’s included in Bitdefender’s mobile app for Android:
- Antivirus scanner.
- Web protection (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Brave, and others).
- Autopilot (automatic security recommendations).
- App lock.
- Anti-theft protection.
- Data breach monitoring (email only).
- VPN (200 MB/daily with unlimited VPN available).
- Smartwatch compatibility.
While Bitdefender’s Android app is very good, its iOS app is surprisingly limited. The iOS app only has web protection, data breach monitoring, and a free VPN. To be fair, iOS devices can’t get viruses, so iOS users don’t need a virus scanner. But I’d still like to see Bitdefender expand the functionality of its iOS app to better meet the internet security needs of iOS users (like the best antiviruses for iOS do).
For my tests, I downloaded several malware files and pirated apps to my Samsung Galaxy, and then I installed Bitdefender’s mobile antivirus on my phone.
When I set up Bitdefender Mobile Security, the app immediately recommended I perform a scan. The scan took only a minute, and it found all of the malicious files I placed on my phone.
Next, I tested Bitdefender’s web protection by visiting dozens of malicious sites with Chrome’s security filter turned off. Bitdefender’s web protections blocked every single phishing site I tried opening, including sites that Chrome’s built-in protections failed to catch during my tests.
I also tested Bitdefender’s app lock feature — it allows you to lock important apps with a 4-8 digit PIN or your device’s biometric scanner. Bitdefender even takes an automatic selfie when somebody tries and fails to unlock your phone or locked apps — I locked my Facebook app, deliberately entered the wrong PIN code 3 times, and then I received a notification in Bitdefender’s online portal that someone tried to unlock Facebook on my mobile (and yes, Bitdefender did take my selfie as well!).
Another cool thing about Bitdefender’s app lock feature is that you can enable Bitdefender to randomize number positions on the keyboard so that no one is able to read your PIN code.
Bitdefender’s anti-theft feature is also great — enabling users to send alerts, lock the device, take a picture of the thief, and wipe the device directly from Bitdefender’s online portal. I tested this feature both on my Windows PC and on my Android phone, and it worked perfectly on both devices.
Overall, Bitdefender’s mobile app is one of the best mobile security apps on the market, providing excellent antivirus protection and a couple of very useful extras, including app locking and anti-theft protection.
Bitdefender Ease of Use and Setup
I’ve tested many antiviruses, and Bitdefender is by far one of the easiest antivirus programs to set up and use. Its main interface is user-friendly, well-designed, and makes it easy to ensure you’re fully protected.
Before you download Bitdefender, you’ll need to create a Bitdefender Central account online and download the Bitdefender install files from there — it took me less than 5 minutes to set up my account and get Bitdefender up and running on my PC.
As soon as I launched the application, Bitdefender gave me a quick tour of the software and suggested I run an initial scan.
Bitdefender’s desktop dashboard is really well laid-out, with large, simple buttons, a comprehensive toolbar, and every feature accessible with just a few clicks. I love that there’s a customizable Quick Action button on the main screen, so users can easily add more buttons to the dashboard. You can only have 5 “Quick Actions” on your home screen at any one time. But these can always be edited and changed.
All of Bitdefender’s essential and extra features are located in 3 tabs: Protection, Privacy, and Utilities.
In the Protection tab, you can enable/disable web protection, vulnerability scanning, firewall, ransomware remediation, and antispam. Each of these features can also be customized — although Bitdefender’s default settings are good enough for most users.
In the Privacy tab, you can launch the SafePay browser, open the VPN, add and edit password vaults, customize webcam and microphone protection, integrate the anti-tracker with your browser, and access parental controls.
Finally, the Utilities tab includes the one-click optimizer, user profiles, file shredder, and anti-theft protection.
When you click on parental controls or anti-theft protection in the desktop app, you will be taken to Bitdefender’s online portal — Bitdefender Central. Users can also remotely scan any of the devices in their plan via Bitdefender Central. Other online dashboards, such as TotalAV, don’t provide remote device scanning — so I really appreciated having access to this feature.
Also, Bitdefender’s Autopilot feature makes securing your device a lot easier, as it scans your system for potential threats, vulnerabilities, and more, and it will automatically address any issues without alerting you. When Autopilot is turned on, Bitdefender will fix any malware or network threats, automatically update the software, address privacy issues, and make suggestions on how to improve your system’s security. This is one of the key reasons why I consider Bitdefender to be one of the easiest antiviruses to use.
Overall, the Bitdefender interface is simple to navigate — even with the huge number of features included in the premium Total Security plan.
Bitdefender’s Customer Support
Bitdefender’s customer support center is really good. Bitdefender offers:
- Knowledge database.
- Email support.
- Phone support.
- Live chat support.
- Community support.
I was especially impressed with Bitdefender’s live chat support. I always connected to a live chat agent within minutes, and each time they answered my questions within a few seconds. As far as customer support for an antivirus goes, this is the quickest I’ve ever seen.
Bitdefender’s phone support is impressive, too. Bitdefender has 28 different phone numbers across 18 countries, including a worldwide phone number with 24-hour service.
When I tested phone support, Bitdefender connected me with an agent almost instantly — which was a big surprise! I’m used to being put on hold for at least a few minutes with most tech companies.
I asked the agent about the different subscription packages, and he quickly broke them down and recommended which one I should go with based on my needs. I’m always impressed when a customer support person gives me good advice instead of simply telling me to spend my money on the most expensive option — Bitdefender’s phone support representative was knowledgeable, personable, and helpful.
If you don’t want to connect with a customer support person, Bitdefender’s knowledge base has a vast collection of articles as well as video tutorials. I found that I was able to get most of my questions answered through this knowledge base. There’s also a community forum, but it’s not very active — the most recent question was answered a couple of months ago.
Overall, I’m really impressed with Bitdefender’s customer support offerings. Every agent I talked to was knowledgeable and courteous, and most importantly, I could get a hold of them in a matter of minutes. I also like Bitdefender’s extensive knowledge base which contains video tutorials, how-to-guides, answers to the most common questions, and more.
Is Bitdefender the Top Protection for Windows/Mac?
Bitdefender is a strong contender for best antivirus in 2022.
Bitdefender’s advanced malware engine detected every piece of malware in my testing — including newer and advanced threats like cryptojackers, rootkits, and ransomware. Bitdefender’s web protection also caught most of the phishing sites I tried visiting — outperforming both the majority of competitors and the most popular browsers, including Chrome and Firefox.
Bitdefender has almost every cybersecurity protection you can think of — from basic things like Wi-Fi protection, a secure browser, and a VPN to more advanced things like parental controls, ransomware remediation, and webcam and microphone protection.
And even though Bitdefender has more features than almost any other brand, it’s still very easy to use — even non-tech-savvy users will find it easy to adjust all of the settings and customize protection levels to meet their needs.
While I like most of Bitdefender’s features, I do have a couple of complaints. I wish that Bitdefender would add a few more security features to its password manager, improve its iOS app, and include the unlimited VPN with all plans.
However, Bitdefender is more affordable than most other premium antiviruses (including top competitors like Norton, McAfee, and TotalAV), and all of its plans are available with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you try it out risk-free and decide if it’s the right antivirus for you.
Bitdefender Antivirus — Frequently Asked Questions
- Is there a free version of Bitdefender?
- Will Bitdefender’s mobile app slow down my device?
- Is Bitdefender compatible with my system?
- Is Bitdefender better than Windows Defender?
- Is Bitdefender safe?
- Does Bitdefender have a VPN?
- Which is the best Bitdefender plan to choose?
- Is Bitdefender a Chinese company?
- Does Bitdefender steal data?
- Is Bitdefender going out of business?
Is there a free version of Bitdefender?
Bitdefender recently discontinued its free Windows antivirus, but it still offers a free virus scanner for Mac users. While the free Mac scanner uses the same advanced scanning engine as the paid version, it doesn’t include real-time protection or any of Bitdefender’s useful extras.
Bitdefender’s free Mac antivirus is one of the best virus scanners for macOS users, but any free antivirus will leave some holes in your internet security protections — and Bitdefender is no exception.
This is why I recommend purchasing an affordable internet security suite — if you’re willing to spend a little on premium internet security protection, Bitdefender’s paid plans offer multiple layers of security and a wide range of features at a really low cost. Plus, all of Bitdefender’s plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Will Bitdefender’s mobile app slow down my device?
No, the Bitdefender mobile app won’t slow down your device. It’s designed to be lightweight, and it only functions when necessary (for example, after you install a new app or when you scan your device). The app does not run in the background while you’re using your device.
Is Bitdefender compatible with my system?
To use Bitdefender in 2022, Windows users will need to have Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or higher installed on their PC. Mac users will need to have OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher installed.
For the mobile app, Android users will need to have Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. iOS users will need to have iOS 11.2 or higher. Note that your device must be connected to the internet for the mobile app to work on both Android and iOS devices.
Is Bitdefender better than Windows Defender?
Bitdefender is better than Windows Defender in almost every single way. Bitdefender has better malware detection rates, better real-time protection, better phishing protection, better ransomware protection, and better parental controls.
Bitdefender also has a whole host of other internet security features like system optimization, a VPN, and a password manager. It’s also way easier to use than Windows Defender.
Is Bitdefender safe?
Yes, Bitdefender is a safe antivirus program to use. Bitdefender is a legitimate company and its software isn’t linked to any malicious activities or bad practices (like spying on your activity or stealing your data to sell to third parties).
Bitdefender offers regular updates to ensure its software is fully secure and any vulnerabilities are fixed — so hackers can’t exploit vulnerabilities and bypass Bitdefender’s protections. The software updates also keep Bitdefender’s virus database ready to detect both well-known viruses and newer variants, which are often created in an attempt to bypass antivirus protection.
Bitdefender also has one of the best malware detection rates, performing incredibly well in all of my tests.
Does Bitdefender have a VPN?
Bitdefender’s VPN is as fast as some of the top VPNs on the market. It’s powered by Hotspot Shield, which is one of the fastest VPNs available. However, Bitdefender’s VPN doesn’t offer the same functionality as Hotspot Shield, and users are limited to 200 MB of browsing data per day (unless they upgrade to the Premium Security plan).
While Bitdefender’s VPN is good for torrenting, it’s a bad choice for streaming — during my tests, it was unable to access all of the top streaming sites, including Netflix.
If you’re looking for a VPN that provides unlimited browsing data, fast speeds, and the ability to access all of the top streaming services, then I recommend standalone brands like ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access.
Which is the best Bitdefender plan to choose?
If you need complete protection from all malware and internet security threats, Bitdefender Premium Security is a great option. This plan includes all of Bitdefender’s security features mentioned in this review, including the VPN with unlimited data usage.
However, all of Bitdefender’s plans offer excellent protections, starting at just $23.99 / year. Bitdefender Total Security offers just as much protection as Premium Security, but it doesn’t include the VPN with unlimited data. Bitdefender Internet Security is also a good option, but it’s only available for Windows users, and it doesn’t include the PC optimization tools that are included with Bitdefender’s Total Security and Premium Security plans.
Is Bitdefender a Chinese company?
No, Bitdefender is a Romanian company with headquarters in Romania (Bucharest) and the United States (California). It also has offices in Canada, Australia, the UAE, the UK, the Netherlands, and several other countries in Europe.
Bitdefender is one of the safest antiviruses on the market, with 500 million users worldwide.
Does Bitdefender steal data?
Is Bitdefender going out of business?
No, Bitdefender is not going out of business. It’s one of the most popular antiviruses in the world, with some of the best malware detection rates out there.
That said, Bitdefender has recently discontinued its free plan for Windows, which was one of the best free Windows antiviruses on the market. It still offers a free version for Mac users, as well as several low-cost plans for all operating systems.