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Bitdefender Total Security Review (2024): The Pros & Cons

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

Bitdefender Total Security Review 2024

Bitdefender Total Security 2024: Review Summary

Bitdefender is ranked #4 of 28 antivirus brands.

Bitdefender Total Security is one of the best antivirus of 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, many security features, and an excellent price.

Buy it if you want outstanding protection for up to 5 devices. But keep in mind that you will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, and a few bonus features. Not the password manager or VPN.

Alternatively, you could also consider Bitdefender Premium Security or Norton 360 Deluxe. Both include a password manager and VPN. However, Norton is considerably cheaper.

  • 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: 80%. Bitdefender Total Security includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, and a firewall, but it misses a password manager and a VPN.
  • Price: 100%. Although Bitdefender Total Security misses a few features, it has an excellent price, which gives it good value for money.

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

Ranking  #4 of 28
Anti-malware
Anti-phishing
Firewall
Password Manager
Unlimited VPN
Operating systems Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
🔥 Discount Save 60% on Bitdefender 🔥
Bitdefender Antivirus - Dashboard

Bitdefender Total Security 2024: Full Review

Bitdefender is ranked #4 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.

We put Bitdefender to the test and found it to be a top-tier internet security tool. It’s smart, using both cloud technology and old-school methods to catch malware. It’s not just about antivirus; it also keeps you safe while browsing and offers an effective VPN service. The parental controls are some of the best we’ve seen.

Bitdefender has options for everyone. The Antivirus Plus plan is good for up to 3 Windows PCs. If you have kids, the Internet Security plan includes parental controls. Total Security works on up to 5 devices of different types, making it great for families with various gadgets. Premium Security is the all-in-one package, giving you everything plus an unlimited VPN. No worries about wasting money; there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

So, if you want strong protection without breaking the bank, Bitdefender is worth a look.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Anti-Malware

Anti-malware

We put Bitdefender’s anti-malware features to the test, and we were impressed. The scanning is top-notch and light on your computer’s resources, thanks to cloud-based technology. There are four types of scans: Quick, System, Custom, and Vulnerability. Each serves a unique purpose, whether you’re in a hurry or need a deep cleaning. In our tests, full System Scans were quick and didn’t slow down our computers.

You can also set up scheduled scans, though only for Custom Scans. That’s a small downside compared to competitors like Norton, which allows one-click scheduling for any scan type. Still, Bitdefender nails it in performance, catching all the malware we threw at it.

The real-time protection, called Bitdefender Shield, is also great. It checks files and emails as soon as you access them. This feature comes with lots of settings like checking for hidden apps, network issues, and even keyloggers. In our tests, it blocked every malware sample we tried to download.

So, if you’re looking for powerful, real-time protection that doesn’t slow down your device, Bitdefender is a solid choice.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Anti-Phishing

Anti-phishing

We put Bitdefender’s anti-phishing features through rigorous testing and the results were stellar. As soon as you land on a shady website, Bitdefender checks it against a massive database of bad sites. If it finds a match, you’re blocked from entering. In our tests, Bitdefender outperformed Chrome, Firefox, and even specialized tools from competitors like Panda and Kaspersky.

What sets Bitdefender apart is its user-friendly notification screen that shows you which sites it blocked and why. Whitelisting a site is as easy as one click, a convenience not all competitors offer.

Bitdefender also steps up its game by scanning search results and checking encrypted websites for threats. It even scans sites for deceptive content.

If you’re worried about phishing and web-based threats, Bitdefender should be at the top of your list. It doesn’t just block more phishing sites than most; it also makes managing web protection settings a breeze.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Firewall

Firewall

We examined Bitdefender’s firewall and found it both robust and flexible. It monitors all traffic coming in and out of your network, providing a solid defense against cyber threats. For advanced users, features like port scan protection and stealth mode are available. However, even if you’re not tech-savvy, the out-of-the-box settings are stronger than what’s built into Windows and Mac.

In our tests, Bitdefender successfully fended off most simulated network attacks. It also hid our system effectively, making it hard for anyone to probe for vulnerabilities. The firewall operates in three modes: Automatic, Allow, and Block. We recommend sticking with “Automatic,” as it’s a balanced choice that doesn’t compromise security.

The “Alert” mode gives you a popup whenever an app tries to access the network. We found this feature a bit annoying and not as user-friendly as some competitors like AVG, which provides more context for the alerts. Bitdefender does allow you to easily create custom rules for individual apps, which is a plus.

Stealth Mode aims to make your computer invisible on the network, but our tests showed mixed results. For instance, we could still print wirelessly and stream content, despite the mode being active.

Overall, we think Bitdefender’s firewall offers strong protection and is pretty easy to use and tweak to your liking. It stood up well against network attacks and offers more features than the basic firewalls on most computers.

Bitdefender Antivirus - Password Manager

Password manager

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

We tested Bitdefender’s built-in password manager and found it to be a decent but basic option. While it doesn’t match up to specialized password managers like Dashlane or 1Password, it covers essential features like encryption, password generation, and secure storage for login details and payment information.

Setup is simple, and there are mobile apps and browser extensions to ease your digital life. We appreciated the auto-fill and auto-save capabilities, which worked smoothly in our tests. The password generator is good but not as robust as some rivals, allowing up to 32 characters compared to LastPass’s 99.

A standout feature is the Security Report, which audits your password vault for vulnerabilities like weak or reused passwords. While we’d love to see features like dark web monitoring, the current auditing tool is straightforward and useful.

Overall, Bitdefender’s password manager is suitable for users who want a simple, integrated solution without the bells and whistles of standalone managers. It’s secure, easy to use, and a decent part of the overall Bitdefender package.

Bitdefender Antivirus - VPN

VPN

With Bitdefender Total Security, 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 put Bitdefender’s VPN through its paces and found it to be a basic but speedy solution for those focused on secure browsing and torrenting. Powered by Hotspot Shield, it offers strong 256-bit AES encryption and maintains a no-logs policy. However, its free version is limited, providing only 200 MB of data per day and random server selection.

Upgrading to Bitdefender’s Premium Security plan or a separate VPN subscription grants you unlimited data and access to over 4,000 global servers. In our tests, Bitdefender’s premium VPN showed negligible speed drops, making it faster than some standalone competitors and other antivirus-bundled VPNs like Panda.

The downside? It’s not the go-to option for streaming. Popular platforms like Netflix detected our VPN usage and blocked access to their content. If streaming is a priority, you might want to check out alternatives like ExpressVPN.

One big plus: Bitdefender excels in supporting torrenting, even offering an auto-connect feature for peer-to-peer sharing apps.

In summary, Bitdefender’s VPN is a solid, fast choice for users mainly interested in secure browsing and torrenting, but it falls short for streaming enthusiasts.

Other security features

We examined Bitdefender’s additional features—Parental Control, Identity Theft Protection, and System Optimization—and here’s what we found:

Parental Control: Setting it up on Windows and Android was straightforward, involving a quick trip to Bitdefender Central online. The app offers robust features like device usage limits, app management, and location tracking. During testing, the website filtering blocked all blacklisted sites effectively. However, unlike Norton, there’s no option for children to request site access. We were particularly impressed by the unique notification feature for when your child reaches a specified location.

Identity Theft Protection: Available only for U.S. users and as a standalone purchase, Bitdefender offers an extensive package. It monitors dark web activity, data breaches, and even credit reports. Upgrading to the Premium plan provides a $2M insurance policy and covers all three major credit bureaus. Norton also offers similar features, but Bitdefender’s comprehensive tracking of up to 100 pieces of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) sets it apart.

System Optimization: The OneClick Optimizer does a good job of clearing unnecessary files, freeing up 1.3GB on our test PC. However, it lacks advanced features like a startup optimizer or driver updater, something competitors like Avira offer. While the tool is basic, it’s effective at improving PC speed.

Safepay: This secure browser is a solid tool for safe online transactions. Features include a virtual keyboard for defeating keyloggers and a screenshot-blocker. However, it’s not fast enough for HD streaming or as a browser replacement. In our tests, it worked better than Kaspersky’s Safe Money and is a good fit for online shoppers and bankers.

Webcam & Microphone Security: Bitdefender does well in protecting your webcam and microphone. It alerts you when an app tries to access these, allowing you to permit or deny the action. You can also customize access for trusted apps like Zoom. Norton offers similar features, but other competitors like McAfee don’t, making this a win for Bitdefender.

Ransomware Remediation: In our isolated tests, this feature mostly succeeded in blocking ransomware and restoring files. It wasn’t perfect—some files weren’t restored correctly. Still, it outperformed Malwarebytes in our tests and could be a lifesaver in a real-world ransomware attack.

Profiles: Bitdefender offers customizable profiles for various activities like work, gaming, and public Wi-Fi use. During our tests, the Work Profile improved our PC’s performance when using resource-heavy programs like Adobe Illustrator. This flexibility isn’t common in other antivirus software, making it a unique perk for Bitdefender.

Anti-Theft Protection: Bitdefender’s anti-theft tools impressed us. It supports location tracking, remote locking, and data wiping. The feature only covers Windows and Android, so Mac and iOS users might feel left out. Nevertheless, it outperforms competitors like McAfee, which lacks this feature entirely.

Additional Features: Bitdefender is a Swiss Army knife of internet security, packing features like Wi-Fi protection, anti-tracking, and a file shredder. The file shredder caught our eye, effectively deleting sensitive files beyond recovery.

Mobile Apps: We rigorously tested Bitdefender’s mobile apps for Android and iOS. The Android app is a powerhouse with features like an antivirus scanner, web protection, and anti-theft tools. It even includes unique elements like App Anomaly Detection, which continuously monitors app behavior. Our tests confirmed that it excels at detecting malware and blocking phishing sites. The iOS app is more limited but offers useful features like web protection and scam alerts. However, we did find the web protection a bit inconsistent on iOS devices.

Customer Support: Bitdefender’s customer support is robust and efficient. We tried the 24/7 live chat and got responses in just minutes, far quicker than competitors like Norton. The agents were well-informed and offered real solutions, not just generic answers. Email support was slower; it took about a day to get a response, although the answer was in-depth and personalized. Phone support was stellar; we got immediate connections to knowledgeable agents. The Knowledge Base and community forums are also rich resources for self-help.

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 tested various Bitdefender plans, and here’s the quick rundown:

Free Plans

  • Windows: Bitdefender Free gives basic anti-malware and web safety. No frills like rootkit removal.
  • Mac: A simple on-demand scanner. Lacks real-time defense.

Basic Paid Plan

  • Antivirus Plus (Windows-only, $14.99/year): Adds features like a secure browser, password manager, and VPN (200 MB daily). Missing a firewall, but offers good value for Windows users.

Advanced Paid Plan

  • Internet Security (Windows-only, $24.99/year): Builds on Antivirus Plus by adding a firewall, parental controls, and webcam protection. Excellent for Windows but doesn’t support Mac or Android.

Premium Paid Plans

  • Total Security ($39.98/year): Adds Mac and mobile coverage. Good for up to 5 devices but lacks unlimited VPN.
  • Premium Security ($59.99/year): All features, 10-device coverage, and unlimited VPN. A bit pricey but comprehensive.

Business Plan

  • GravityZone Premium (Starting at $49.99/year): Meant for enterprises, packed with advanced features like risk analysis and Linux support. Offers custom quotes for large-scale needs.

All premium plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Overall, Bitdefender gives a good range of options, with something for both basic and advanced 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 #4 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.