We test and compare security software
We’re more than just testers – we’re your allies in the world of cybersecurity.
Navigating the cybersecurity realm can feel daunting. We’re here to help. It’s our mission to help you find the best security software, at the best price.
- We test security software in-depth and impartially.
- We find out whether the products do what they claim and compare them.
- When possible, we guide you to hidden discount pages at the vendors.
In 2022, we helped 12,700 people buy the right security tools.
What we do
We rigorously test and compare antivirus software and VPN services. But we don’t stop there. We also publish independent research on cybersecurity trends, potential threats, and the evolving technological landscape.
When testing, we adhere to stringent scientific testing methods and benchmark our results to top-tier independent test labs. Our reviews typically span 32-48 hours and are re-assessed annually. That way, they remain current, accurate, and reliable.
- Inception: 2014
- Products tested: 28 antivirus and 30 VPN
- Hours invested: 18,000+
- Readers since 2014: 12.8 million
The internet, especially the realm of review websites, can be a murky place.
It’s not always clear who stands behind a website or if a review is genuine or influenced by external interests. We aim to stand out and instill confidence.
Our core values are transparency and independent testing. We test products thoroughly, clearly explain the basis of our findings, and always provide links to the sources and tools we rely on.
Every story has a beginning, and ours sprouted in 2014 in a leafy suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Our initial website, ValorTop.com, catered exclusively to a Spanish-speaking audience. Thanks to generous support from the CSE accelerator and a small army of interns, we quickly grew to 100,000 readers per month.
But these were the pioneering days of the digital age, especially on the Spanish side of the web. Amazon had just opened its doors in Spain, and Latin America had hardly any e-commerce.
In 2015, our quest for a sustainable business model brought us to Valencia, Spain. Here, under the wings of the Lanzadera accelerator program, we found our commercial footing.
Through the rebranding from the Spanish ValorTop.com to the multi-lingual SoftwareLab.org, we were able to reach a larger audience and sustainably fund our research.
Today, we are proud to help thousands of people learn about cyber safety every month. We hope you will find our work helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can improve our service.
Why antivirus software?
In today’s digital age, the internet is both a boon and a potential minefield. Every click, download, or online transaction could expose us to a myriad of cyber threats lurking in the shadows. These threats aren’t just limited to well-known viruses anymore—they encompass ransomware, spyware, phishing schemes, and more.
Antivirus software serves as your digital shield. It continuously monitors, detects, and eliminates threats, ensuring that your data, privacy, and devices remain uncompromised. With an effective antivirus solution, you’re not just protecting your devices, but safeguarding your digital life, financial information, and personal identity from cybercriminals eager to exploit any vulnerability.
How do we test antivirus software
Our testing approach to antivirus software is rigorous, thorough, and grounded in real-world scenarios. Here’s a snapshot of our process:
- Anti-malware testing: We conduct in-house simulations to gauge how effectively the software detects and neutralizes malware threats. We benchmark our results against the respected AV-Test evaluations to ensure our tests are industry-leading.
- Web protection (anti-phishing): In a world where deceptive websites are plentiful, we assess how well the software recognizes and blocks phishing attempts, ensuring users don’t fall prey to fraudulent schemes.
- Firewall: We evaluate the software’s firewall capabilities, focusing on its ability to monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic, thereby defending the device from potential external threats.
- Password manager: Given the multitude of accounts and passwords an average user juggles, we assess the integrated password manager’s effectiveness in securely generating, storing, and auto-filling passwords.
- Parental controls: For families, digital safety extends to their young ones. We test the software’s parental controls to understand how efficiently it can filter content, limit screen time, and offer a safe browsing environment for children.
- Identity theft protection: With personal data breaches becoming commonplace, we evaluate how well the software monitors and alerts users about potential threats to their identity, such as suspicious financial transactions or unauthorized access to personal details.
Each aspect of our testing is designed to reflect everyday challenges users might face, ensuring that our reviews are both relatable and practical.
Read more about how we test antivirus software.
Why VPN services?
In an era of heightened digital surveillance, cyber threats, and geo-restrictions, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) emerges as an essential tool for every internet user.
A VPN encrypts your online traffic, protecting your personal data from prying eyes, and allows you to surf the web anonymously by masking your IP address. This provides a dual benefit: safeguarding your privacy and granting access to content that might be restricted in your region.
Whether you’re a journalist in a high-censorship country, a movie enthusiast seeking to bypass geo-blocks, or just someone conscious about online privacy, a VPN is your passport to a free and secure digital experience.
How do we test VPN services
When it comes to evaluating VPN services, our approach is meticulous and comprehensive. Here’s a breakdown of the areas we focus on:
- Privacy and logging: Trust is paramount when it comes to VPNs. We assess the privacy policies of each service to determine what user information, if any, is retained. The ideal VPN adheres to a strict no-logs policy.
- Speed: A VPN’s impact on your internet speed is inevitable but should be minimal. We conduct speed tests across different servers to gauge the performance dip, if any, and the consistency of the service.
- Security: Security protocols, encryption standards, and potential vulnerabilities are scrutinized. We also look for features like kill switches that ensure no data leakage in case of unexpected disconnections.
- Streaming: Given the popularity of streaming platforms, we test VPNs for their ability to bypass geo-restrictions on services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more.
- Torrenting: P2P file sharing requires a stable and secure connection. We evaluate VPNs for their compatibility with torrenting platforms, checking for speed and security.
- Server locations: A wide array of server locations enhances the VPN’s flexibility. We inspect the number, distribution, and quality of servers offered by the service.
- Support: A responsive support system is crucial. We test the customer support of each VPN service, considering response time, efficiency, and the availability of resources like FAQs and tutorials.
- Censorship: For users in countries with high levels of internet censorship, a VPN’s capability to bypass these restrictions is vital. We assess the service’s ability to provide unrestricted internet access in such regions.
Our evaluations are designed with the end-user in mind, ensuring that every reviewed VPN is scrutinized under real-world conditions and challenges.
Read more on how we test VPN services.
How we make money
All our research is published for free. We never accept compensation for a positive review. And we are honest and straightforward in our writing.
We receive referral commissions from some of the brands on our websites. When you click a link to one of these brands and purchase software, we may receive a commission for referring you.
This commission is paid by the manufacturer and at no cost to you. In addition, many of our links lead to discount pages generally hidden from the public. So you get a discount, the brand makes a sale, and we can keep the lights on thanks to the referral commission. Everyone wins.
These commissions allow us to fund our research, for which we are grateful. Although they can impact where products appear on our website, they do not influence our reviews and ratings. We remain objective.
Thank you for supporting us. We hope that you will find our work helpful.
Read more about how we make money.
Who owns SoftwareLab
SoftwareLab is owned by a small company called Momento Ventures Inc. Tibor Moes, a Dutch entrepreneur, wholly owns the company. No antivirus or VPN company owns a stake in Momento Ventures.
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