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Bitdefender Antivirus Plus Review (2024): The Pros & Cons

By Tibor Moes / Updated: November 2023 / Rating: 5 of 5

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus Review 2024

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2024: Review Summary

Bitdefender is ranked #2 of 28 antivirus brands.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is one of the best entry-level antivirus of 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, several security features, and an excellent price.

Buy it if you want straightforward protection for a single PC. But keep in mind that you will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, and a few bonus features. Not the firewall, password manager, or VPN.

Alternatively, you could consider Norton Antivirus Plus. Norton’s entry-level antivirus includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, a password manager, and 2 GB of cloud storage.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Bitdefender detected and removed each of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Bitdefender’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 70%. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus includes anti-malware and anti-phishing. But it misses a firewall, a password manager, and a VPN.
  • Price: 90%. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus has an excellent price, but Norton offers more value for money.

Thanks to the 30-day return policy, you can try it risk-free.

Ranking  #2 of 28
Anti-malware
Anti-phishing
Firewall
Password Manager
Unlimited VPN
Operating systems Windows
🔥 Discount Save 60% on Bitdefender 🔥
Bitdefender Antivirus - Dashboard

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2024: Full Review

Bitdefender is ranked #2 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.

We tested Bitdefender and found it to be a top-notch security solution. Its cloud tech mixes machine learning with classic scanning to catch malware really well. You also get solid web safety, a speedy VPN, system clean-up tools, a safe browser, and awesome parental controls.

Bitdefender has free and paid plans. ‘Antivirus Plus’ is good for up to 3 Windows PCs. ‘Internet Security’ adds family features and is a strong pick for parents. ‘Total Security’ covers up to 5 gadgets, including Macs and phones. ‘Premium Security’ gives you everything, plus an unlimited VPN. All come with a 30-day refund policy.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Anti-Malware

Anti-malware

We ran Bitdefender’s anti-malware tools through their paces and came away impressed. The cloud-based scanner is efficient, using minimal CPU and disk space. It offers four types of scans—Quick, System, Custom, and Vulnerability—that caught every malware sample in our tests. Plus, it’s fast, taking just under an hour for a full scan, and it didn’t slow down our computer.

You can also schedule scans, although only for custom scans. That’s a bit less flexible than Norton or TotalAV, which let you easily schedule all types. Still, Bitdefender excels in malware detection without bogging down your machine.

Real-time protection is another strong point. Known as Bitdefender Shield, it scans every file and email as you open them. The default settings are robust, covering everything from network issues to keyloggers. We tested this by trying to download around 120 infected files, and it caught them all instantly.

Compared to rivals like Norton, Bitdefender’s real-time protection not only matches in effectiveness but also offers better customization options. Overall, if you’re after a fast, light, and powerful malware protection, Bitdefender is a top pick.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Anti-Phishing

Anti-phishing

We tested Bitdefender’s anti-phishing features and they’re top-class. The software checks every site you visit against a huge database of risky websites. In our tests, it blocked all phishing sites we tried, outperforming Chrome, Firefox, and other antivirus tools like Panda and Kaspersky.

Bitdefender also keeps you in the loop with handy notifications about blocked sites. Adding a safe site to the exceptions list is a one-click process, much simpler than with competitors like Norton. However, you should only whitelist sites if you’re 100% sure they’re safe.

The software also goes beyond just anti-phishing; it scans search results, encrypted websites, and even checks for fake content. All in all, Bitdefender offers first-rate web protection, blocking more phishing sites than most and making it easy to tweak settings.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Firewall

Firewall

With Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, there is no firewall. Upgrade to Bitdefender Internet Security, or a more expensive package, to get the firewall. Below is the analysis of the firewall, which we tested for Bitdefender’s other products.

We put Bitdefender’s firewall to the test and found it to be strong and versatile. It watches over your network traffic, stopping threats from breaking into your Wi-Fi. The firewall offers features like port scan protection and stealth mode, which are great for tech-savvy users. But if you’re a beginner, the default settings already offer solid protection—better than what you’d get with built-in Windows and Mac firewalls.

In our tests, Bitdefender blocked most simulated attacks and successfully hid our service ports. The firewall has three modes—Automatic, Allow, and Block. The default is Automatic, which we think is best. It decides whether an app should connect to the internet or not, balancing security and convenience.

Bitdefender also has an ‘Alert’ mode, which wasn’t our favorite. It issues pop-ups for every new app trying to connect, but these can be hard to decipher. We prefer AVG’s more detailed alert window. However, Bitdefender does allow you to set custom rules easily for individual apps.

Stealth Mode aims to make your computer invisible on your network, but it had mixed results in our tests. For example, our wireless printer still worked even with Stealth Mode on. Despite this, we found the firewall to be robust and easy to tailor, making it a reliable choice for network security.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Password Manager

Password manager

With Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, the password manager comes as a 90-day trial. Upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium Security for the complete version.

We tested Bitdefender’s password manager and found it straightforward and functional, although not as feature-rich as standalone options like Dashlane or 1Password. It offers the basics you’d expect: high-level encryption, multi-device sync, a password generator, and unlimited storage for passwords and payment information.

The manager works well across Android, iOS, and popular browsers. The auto-fill and auto-save features worked seamlessly in our tests, filling in details without any extra clicks needed. The password generator is competent, but it’s limited to 32-character passwords, which is less than what top contenders offer.

What stood out to us was the Security Report feature, which audits your password vault for weak or reused passwords. It’s not as comprehensive as some, lacking dark web monitoring, but it’s useful for a quick security check.

In summary, Bitdefender’s password manager is a convenient addition to its security suite. If you don’t need advanced features like two-factor authentication or password sharing, it’s a solid choice.

Bitdefender Antivirus - VPN

VPN

With Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, the VPN comes with a 200 MB per day data limit. Upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium Security for the complete version, or buy the VPN separately.

We explored Bitdefender’s VPN and found it to be a mixed bag. Powered by Hotspot Shield, it offers robust 256-bit AES encryption and a no-logs policy. 

The free VPN is too limited. However, upgrading to Bitdefender’s Premium Security or a separate VPN subscription brings significant benefits. You get unlimited data and access to 4,000+ global servers. In our speed tests, Bitdefender’s premium VPN outperformed many standalone competitors, offering near-original connection speeds suitable for regular browsing and torrenting.

That said, it fell short in streaming capabilities. We tried to access Netflix and other popular platforms but were consistently blocked. If streaming is a priority for you, we suggest looking elsewhere, like ExpressVPN.

In summary, Bitdefender’s VPN is good for secure browsing and exceptional for torrenting, but not ideal for streaming. If you’re already using Bitdefender for antivirus protection, upgrading to the premium VPN could be a logical next step for improved online security.

Other security features

We put Bitdefender’s additional features under the microscope, and here’s the quick rundown:

System Optimization

Bitdefender’s OneClick Optimizer is simple but effective. It managed to free up 1.3 GB on our test PC, although it lacks the in-depth features competitors like Avira offer. For instance, you can’t review detailed issue logs before optimizing. Despite this, our system did feel faster post-optimization.

Secure Web Browser (Safepay)

Safepay is Bitdefender’s secure browser for online transactions. In our testing, it successfully prevented remote desktop access, blocked screen captures, and even employed a virtual keyboard to thwart keyloggers. It’s not fast enough for HD streaming, but for online shopping or banking, it’s a top choice. Compared to Kaspersky’s Safe Money, Safepay loads pages quicker, making it a good addition to your web protection toolkit.

Webcam & Microphone Security

Bitdefender offers robust protection for your webcam and microphone, a feature many competitors like McAfee don’t have. During our tests, we received prompt notifications for apps trying to access these hardware features. You can easily customize access, giving permissions to trusted apps like Zoom while blocking others.

Ransomware Remediation

We tested Bitdefender’s Ransomware Remediation feature with mixed results. It mostly succeeded in thwarting ransomware and restoring encrypted files, but a few files weren’t perfectly restored. However, it outperformed Malwarebytes’ ransomware protection, which failed to restore any files.

Profiles for Customized Use

Bitdefender’s Profiles feature lets you tweak settings based on what you’re doing. For example, Work Profile boosts email protection and system speed, while Game Profile minimizes notifications and optimizes performance. We tested these profiles with CPU-heavy apps and streaming, and they made a noticeable difference in system performance. This level of customization is a step ahead of competitors like Norton.

Anti-Theft Measures

We found Bitdefender’s anti-theft feature among the best, but it’s only for Windows and Android. You can locate, alert, lock, or wipe your device. In our tests, the location tracking was spot-on. An alert feature emitted a loud sound, useful for finding a misplaced device. It outperforms competitors like McAfee, which lack anti-theft features. However, it could be improved by expanding support to Mac and iOS.

Extra Utilities

Bitdefender packs additional features like Wi-Fi protection, anti-tracking, and a file shredder. We especially liked the file shredder for its ability to permanently delete sensitive files, a feature not commonly found in every antivirus suite.

Mobile App Security

Bitdefender’s mobile apps are solid, but they differ for Android and iOS. The Android app is feature-rich, with antivirus scanning, web protection, and unique features like App Anomaly Detection.

We tested this on a Samsung Galaxy and were impressed by its malware detection and constant monitoring of app behaviors. The iOS app is more limited but includes web protection, scam alerts, and a vulnerability scanner. Although web protection had some hiccups on iOS, the scam alert function worked well, scanning for malicious links in texts and calendars.

Both Android and iOS apps offer anti-theft features. Our tests revealed they work flawlessly on both Windows and Android devices. The App Lock feature even takes a selfie if someone fails to unlock the app, a feature we found entertaining and useful.

Customer Support

Bitdefender offers strong customer support, outpacing rivals like Norton in live chat responsiveness. We spoke to agents within minutes, 24/7, and found them knowledgeable. Phone support was equally quick and helpful. The email support lagged a bit, taking over 24 hours for responses. However, the answers were thorough and personalized, unlike some competitors.

Bitdefender has a well-structured knowledge base with articles and video tutorials, offering more depth than competitors like McAfee. The Bitdefender Expert Community is an active forum for customer interaction and quick answers to queries.

Plans and pricing

In the table below are the core products with their features and prices.

The prices shown are from the USA. However, most brands have different prices (and currencies) in other regions. So visit the brand’s website to see the price in our country.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Bitdefender Internet Security
Bitdefender Total Security
Bitdefender Premium Security
Bitdefender Ultimate Security
Starting price
$14.99/year
$24.99/year
$39.98/year
$59.99/year
$89.99/year
Devices
1-10
1-10
5-10
10
10
Operating software
Windows
Windows
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
VPN datalimit
200 MB/day
200 MB/day
200 MB/day
Unlimited
Unlimited
Anti-malware
Anti-phishing
Firewall
-
Parental controls
-
Device optimizer
-
-
Password manager
-
-
-
Identity theft protection
-
-
-
-

Plan description

We’ve extensively tested Bitdefender’s antivirus plans and can break them down into simple terms.

Free Plans

  • For Windows: Bitdefender’s free plan is basic but robust in malware protection. Missing are advanced features like rootkit removal and VPN.
  • For Mac: Similar to Windows, but it’s only an on-demand scanner. No real-time protection.

Basic Paid Plan

  • Antivirus Plus (Windows only): Adds real-time protection, a password manager, and a secure browser for online shopping. No firewall, though. Costs $14.99/year with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Advanced Paid Plan

  • Internet Security (Windows only): All features from Antivirus Plus, plus a firewall and parental controls. A good deal at $24.99/year, but only for up to 3 PCs.

Premium Paid Plans

  • Total Security (All OS): Extends coverage to Mac and mobile, adds system tune-up and anti-theft. Costs $39.98/year for 5 devices.
  • Premium Security: All features plus an unlimited VPN for up to 10 devices. Priced at $59.99/year.

For Businesses

  • GravityZone Premium: Enterprise-focused with features like network threat protection and Linux support. Starting at $49.99/year with custom pricing for large deployments.

All paid plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Choose based on your OS and feature needs.

Test score comparison

Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:

  • Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
  • Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
  • Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.

We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:

Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.

Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.

Source: AV-Test.

Final Score
Protection
Performance
Usability
6.00
6.00
6.00
6.00
6.00
6.00
6.00
6.00
5.98
6.00
5.90
6.00
5.98
6.00
5.90
6.00
5.97
6.00
5.85
6.00
5.96
5.95
5.95
6.00
5.94
5.95
6.00
5.85
5.93
5.95
5.95
5.85
5.91
5.95
5.75
5.95
5.87
5.83
5.83
6.00
5.81
5.85
5.55
5.95
5.77
5.70
5.95
5.80
5.60
6.00
6.00
4.00
5.47
5.15
5.90
6.00

Price comparison

We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a  single Windows PC with the most essential features:

  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-phishing (web protection)
  • Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Unlimited VPN (no data limit)

A few notes:

  • Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
  • Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
  • Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).

Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.

Total price
Missing features
$ 50
No firewall, password manager, and VPN
$ 80
No firewall and password manager
$ 90
No firewall
$ 130
No password manager
$ 180
No firewall

User reviews

We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.

Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.

We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.

Source: TrustPilot.

Review score
Review count
4.8
5900
4.7
97000
4.4
1600
4.3
14500
4.3
4000
4.2
8300
4.1
13200
4.1
900
3.9
12000
3.9
26600
3.8
19000
3.7
7600
1.2
2000

Company Profile

Bitdefender is a key player in the global cybersecurity field, established in Romania in 2001. The company aims to be the most trusted source for cybersecurity solutions, offering products with high efficacy, speed, and ease of use. It serves a wide range of clients, from individual consumers to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as larger enterprises.

The company has a robust global presence with headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, and Santa Clara, California. It also has additional offices across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. With over 1,600 employees, more than half of whom are specialized in research and development, Bitdefender emphasizes constant innovation. This focus has led to the issuance of 440 patents, particularly in core technologies like machine-learning algorithms for threat detection.

Bitdefender has built strong partnerships with over 20,000 qualified resellers and is available in 170 countries. They also maintain technology alliances with industry leaders like Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft.

The company has a track record of receiving industry recognition from various independent testing organizations and media outlets. Their solutions are well-regarded for effectiveness in threat prevention, detection, and response.

Beyond its business goals, Bitdefender is also committed to sustainability, producing annual reports to disclose their environmental and social responsibilities.

Overall, Bitdefender has evolved significantly since its early days. It originated as Softwin, a startup founded in post-communist Romania in 1990 that eventually transitioned into Bitdefender in 2001. The company has since reached many milestones, including a valuation of over $600 million in 2017 and launching a Formula One partnership with Scuderia Ferrari in 2022. With two decades of experience, Bitdefender stands as a global leader in cybersecurity solutions.

How we test antivirus software

Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.

Anti-malware protection test

We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.

We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.

Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.

False positives test

False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.

System performance test

We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.

Firewall test

We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.

Password manager test

We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) test

We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.

Parental control test

We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.

Anti-phishing protection test

We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.

Ransomware protection test

We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.

Bonus features test

We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:

  • Ad Blocker
  • Anti-theft
  • Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
  • Email protection
  • File encryption
  • File shredder
  • Gaming mode
  • Microphone protection
  • PC maintenance features
  • Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
  • Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
  • Spam filter
  • Startup optimizer
  • Tune up tools
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Webcam protection

Ownership and reputation test

We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

Is Bitdefender a good antivirus program?

Bitdefender is ranked #2 of 28 antivirus programs. The ranking is based on its protection, performance, price, and features. Find the best protection in our comparison of the best antivirus of 2024.

How do we test antivirus software?

We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor has tested 39 antivirus programs and 30 VPN services, and holds a Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate from Stanford University.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.