Top 4 Best Online Antiviruses

Mercy Pilkington
Posted: October 14, 2018

The first thing you should know is that there is no such thing as an online antivirus. What you are really looking is for a free downloadable antivirus that you can quickly run on your machine. All the sites that claim they are online antivirus programs eventually require you to download a program anyway.

Many users might consider an online antivirus solution that doesn’t require downloading a program, but here’s the deal:

These kinds of antivirus programs don’t work.

It’s impossible for an antivirus to be effective without installing it. A so-called “online antivirus” can’t access all your local files, programs, and registry files, leaving you vulnerable to viruses and malware.

There are plenty of reputable antiviruses out there, many of which are even free. These programs are safe, easy to download, and can be installed in no time. I tested a lot of antivirus software to find programs that I could comfortably recommend for being both easy to install and effective:

  • All programs had to be easy to install and contain minimal annoyances like bloatware, toolbars, etc.
  • If bloatware existed, it had to be easily detectable and uncheckable.
  • Each program had to be compatible with Windows 10.
  • Only reputable companies were considered in order to prioritize safety.

Avast

Avast is considered a reliable option by many for its ease of use and strong malware detection rates, among the best on the market. The free version offers plenty of security features and only a few extras are locked behind a paywall.

The Features You’ll Get

  • Protection against malware, ransomware, and phishing
  • Firewall
  • Wi-Fi network scanner
  • Password manager

Guide to Setup

  1. The front page of Avast’s website has a big orange “Free Download for PC” button. Click it to download the installer.
  2. You’ll see a pop-up like the one below. Wait for the “Save File” option to become available and click it.

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  1. Run the executable file you just downloaded. Windows may ask you, “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?” Click yes.
  2. Wait a few seconds for the loading bar to finish.
  3. Next, you should see the following screen. Notice the option in the bottom left to download Google Chrome. Uncheck this box if you aren’t interested.

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  1. Most users should click the big green “Install” button. The “customize” found below is for advanced users wanting to choose specific components to install. You don’t have to worry about this option, but if you’re curious, here’s what it offers:

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  1. Avast will install itself with a progress bar in the bottom right of your desktop. Feel free to use your machine until the installation completes. After a few minutes, the installation will be complete.

See Avast Deals >>>


Comodo

Comodo is another outstanding antivirus option that deserves all its praise. With both free and paid features, Comodo comes with an easy-to-use interface and many options to configure, not to mention an easy installation process.

The Features You’ll Get

  • Firewall
  • Secure shopping
  • Network scanner
  • Application control for locking the system down to only a few programs
  • A dedicated gaming mode to disable scanning and notifications during games

Guide to Setup

  1. Comodo’s website offers a lot of useful tools, but I’m only going to cover the Antivirus installation for now.

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  1. Click the orange “Download Free” button on the next page and run the executable file. Like before, click “yes” when Windows asks for your permission.

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  1. Select your preferred language if necessary and click “I Agree” in the bottom right.

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  1. Comodo does attempt to download some bloatware from Yahoo! so remember to uncheck this box to avoid installing unnecessary add-ons.

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  1. Next, you’ll get a variety of installation options, including changes to your network permissions and whether to install specific features for Comodo. We’ve looked through every checkbox and can safely say most users won’t have to change anything. Click “Install.”

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  1. Just wait for the installation to finish and you’ll be protected!

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See Comodo Deals >>>


Avira

Avira has a great reputation as a solid Windows antivirus, with reliable, beginner-friendly malware detection. The feature set is pretty basic, giving you all you need but leaving out some extras like a firewall.

The Features You’ll Get

  • Automatic malware removal
  • Real-time protection
  • Online payment protection
  • Price comparisons for online shopping
  • Software updater
  • Virtual private network

Guide to Setup

  1. This is the installation for the free version, but if you like it, consider investing in the paid version as its features are worth it.

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  1. Save the executable file and run it. If required, give permission to Windows.

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  1. Avira’s UI makes installation easy. Accept the EULA agreement and start the installation by clicking the big green button.

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  1. The installer will also offer to install the Opera browser or some other sponsored content. Be sure to uncheck this option if you’re not interested. Otherwise, simply wait for the installation to complete.

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One quick note to Avira users: uninstalling the program isn’t as easy as just uninstalling it from the programs list. You need to uninstall each component of Avira in your programs list before uninstalling Avira itself.

See Avira Deals >>>


Trend Micro

Trend Micro is another solid option that offers a wide variety of features and comprehensive scanning. The company’s excellent customer service deserves a mention as well, perfect for users wanting a hassle-free experience. While the antivirus isn’t free, it does come with a free trial that will allow you to properly assess it.

The Features You’ll Get

  • Password manager
  • File shredder
  • Encryption
  • Ransomware protection
  • Parental controls

Guide to Setup

Trend Micro clearly prioritized making installation easy. The website provides you with a guide for installing the program, complete with detailed screenshots (see below).

  1. Download the installer (Maximum Security is the one we tried).
  2. Select “Trial Version” when prompted for a serial number.

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  1. Accept the license agreement.

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  1. Wait for the installation to finish, and you’re all set!

See Trend Micro Deals >>>


The Bottom Line

True “online antiviruses” just don’t exist so don’t be afraid to download and install a program to protect yourself from digital threats. If you feel that Windows Defender simply doesn’t provide enough coverage, try another antivirus. There are many free and paid options that can provide you with all the protection you’ll need.

About the Author

Mercy Pilkington
Mercy Pilkington

Mercy Pilkington has been a tech industry news writer for nearly ten years. She regularly covers topics such as software, cybercrime, and digital innovation.