Top 5 Free Alternatives to Bitdefender Free Antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Retiring AlternativesBitdefender Antivirus Free Retiring Alternatives

Bitdefender has been amongst the top antivirus software for some time. But it is now time to say our goodbyes as the company retires the free edition for Windows. People using Bitdefender Antivirus Free will now need to shift either to a paid version or rely on other antivirus software to keep their devices secure.

This post lists the top 5 free antivirus software you could use that provide similar security protection to Bitdefender’s free edition antivirus.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free is Retiring

The company previously announced Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition will be discontinued and will not be available for download until after 31 December 2021.

We are retiring the ability to download Bitdefender Free Edition for Windows as of December 31.

Bitdefender Forum

However, it seems that they went ahead of schedule and have taken it off of their website already.

bitdefender page
Bitdefender Free Antivirus download page

The company has not abandoned its clientele and left them out to dry. They will be supporting users already running the free edition by June 30, 2022, which will give them ample time to shift to other free antivirus software.

Not only that, Bitdefender is offering existing users of the free edition a discount package via private emails to shift to Bitdefender Total Security.

Normally, Bitdefender Total Security costs USD 89.99 for 5 devices per annum. However, as per our sources, Bitdefender is offering a massive discount for their current users on the free edition which will cost approximately USD 7 for the same. That being said, this offer is only valid until the end of 2021.

We suggest that you consider these 17 factors before purchasing an antivirus software, or simply use the free versions we have listed down below.

Note that Bitdefender Antivirus Free is discontinued only for Windows and not for Android devices.

Why Bitdefender Antivirus Free has Been Discontinued

We constantly revisit our product portfolio to make sure the technologies we bundle in these products are enough to keep the user safe in all circumstances. Unfortunately, our Free Antivirus product no longer meets our higher-than-ever standards.

Bitdefender Forum

The above was stated earlier by a Bitdefender representative. However, the comment has since been edited and no notion of safety standards is included in the comments any longer.

According to this comment, it can be deduced that Bitdefender Antivirus Free has been discontinued because it no longer meets the security requirements needed to prevent basic attacks in this digital era. That said, there are other conspiracies for the discontinuation of the free antivirus software as well.

Since there are significant improvements in Microsoft Defender Antivirus (now known as Windows Security), a Windows machine may no longer require free third-party software as the built-in antivirus is sufficient for basic protection. This may be a key factor in Bitdefender’s decision.

Another reason for retiring Bitdefender Antivirus Free could be to shift its users to paid versions and generate more income, rather than giving free software and support. Then again, these are just opinions.

Regardless, current users of retired software will need to shift to another antivirus either way: free or paid. There are other free antivirus software available for you to use that provide similar protection for your device as Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Below we have listed the best ones according to their features and threat mitigation.

Free Alternatives For Bitdefender Antivirus Free

Windows Security (Microsoft Defender)

Windows Security
Windows Security

Both Windows 11 and Windows 10 come with Windows Security, which was previously known as Microsoft Defender Antivirus, pre-installed. Microsoft’s proprietary antivirus solution protects your device from outside threats and is continuously being updated through Windows Updates.

Microsoft Security is free for licensed Windows and provides the following features:

  • Ransomeware defense
  • Parental controls
  • Remote management
  • Real-time malware protection
  • Virus and threat protection
  • Network protection
  • On-demand and scheduled system scans
  • Reputation-based site blocking

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus
Avast Free Antivirus

Avast provides almost the same functionality and is equally effective as Windows Security. It even provides the same core features. However, one downside is that it does not offer all of the utilities available in the paid version of the software, which incites the user to go “premium.”

Avast Free Antivirus provides the following features and protection:

  • Malware protection via email, web, file, and network
  • Real-time threat detection and prevention
  • On-demand and scheduled scans
  • Ransomeware protection
  • Wi-Fi vulnerability detection

This antivirus performed quite impressively in AV-Test antivirus testing for Windows but did throw a few false positives. That said, it is no better than Windows Security. Therefore, we suggest that users on Windows 10 and 11 keep using the built-in antivirus if going for free security.

AVG Antivirus Free

AVG Antivirus Free
AVG Antivirus Free

AVG Antivirus Free has maintained its position in the market for some years now. It is slightly more effective than the built-in Windows Security antivirus, and offers the following features:

  • Real-time threat detection and prevention
  • File scanning
  • On-demand and scheduled scans
  • Ransomeware protection

AVG was purchased by Avast back in 2016, hence providing almost the same functionality and security. However, the data from AV-Test shows that this software has a greater impact on system performance than Avast.

Kaspersky Security Cloud Free

Kaspersky Security Cloud Free
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free

Kaspersky Security Cloud is free, cloud-based antivirus software that protects your computer. It has the following features to offer:

  • Virus protection
  • Network encryption via VPN
  • Secure Password Manager
  • On-demand and scheduled scanning
  • Account protection

Since it is cloud-based software, you do not have to worry about keeping it up to date. All security definitions are updated on the cloud platform, regardless of whether your computer is on or off. However, as you may have noticed, it provides very little protection when compared to other free antivirus platforms.

Avira Free Security

Avira Free Security
Avira Free Security

Avira Free Security is another free antivirus software that could potentially replace Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. However, one caveat is that it does not offer ransomware protection, making it less secure than most of its competitors.

That being said, it still offers the following features:

  • Real-time threat protection
  • On-demand and scheduled scanning
  • System optimization
  • File shredding
  • Limited VPN access

Some of the features it offers have nothing to do with system security but are still better to have.

Avira Free Security is at the bottom of our top 5 selection because it performs relatively poorly when compared to some of the other free antivirus software, according to AV-Test.

Closing Words

Since Bitdefender Free Antivirus is going out of commission due to reasons unknown, we anticipate that other antivirus vendors may follow the same routine. Meaning, we may or may not have free access to system security in the future.

Although Windows Security does not offer many configurable options, it is still one of the best antivirus software freely available with Windows, with no additional ads or caveats.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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