Every year, something like Bitdefender 2021 becomes more and more necessary. A few years ago, you'd be ok with any free security program but, as online threats have advanced and people’s needs have changed, many services have evolved to offer multiple tiers of security, depending on your needs and budget.
Bitdefender 2021 not only offers some of the best antivirus software (opens in new tab) software out there, but it also offers some of the best internet security software (opens in new tab) too. But which options should you go for? Well that depends entirely on what your expectations are, and how extensively you do business online.
If you’re just looking for something to keep you safe when you’re browsing the internet and watching videos on TV streaming services (opens in new tab), then you’ll be fine with the basic antivirus package (or the Mac variant if you’re using an Apple device). But if you need additional features like a firewall and VPN then you’ll want to shell out for one of Bitdefender’s full security packages.
There are six different security packages on offer here, so we're going to run through them all, explain what comes in each tier to help you choose the right one for you while also letting you know what the professionals think about Bitdefender's antivirus offerings.
Bitdefender review: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021
- Protection against viruses, malware, adware, and spyware
- Limited VPN access
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 is the entry-level security package for users with a Windows PC or laptop. With this package you get a comprehensive suite of antivirus and malware protection, but without a lot of the extra bells and whistles that come with the more expensive security packages. But what exactly does Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 cover you from?
As an antivirus program, it goes without saying that it protects your devices from malicious computer viruses, but those aren't the only types of attacks to watch out for online. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 also includes protection against spyware, malware, and adware. You also get multi-layer ransomware protection for your most important files, which means attackers won’t be able to lock you out of them. There’s also online protection, which warns you if you’re about to visit a dangerous website, while also blocking known scam websites that engage in fraud or phishing.
Like we said, this is the no frills version of Bitdefender so it isn’t laden with extras, but there are a few bonus features worth talking about. There’s a password manager that keeps your passwords secure, while storing them for you so you don’t need to remember them all. There’s also a file shredder that lets you completely destroy a file, leaving no trace on your computer. Perfect if you’re planning to steal the declaration of independence and don’t want to leave a paper trail.
You can also protect certain files with Bitdefender’s Safe Files feature, which will block and flag up any unauthorized attempts to alter those files. Then there’s Rescue Mode, which automatically reboots your computer into Rescue mode when it detects a sophisticated virus like a rootkit, allowing it to remove the offending program.
Finally, you also get access to a VPN to keep your online activities safe and anonymous. Sadly though, you’re limited to 200 MB per day in this package. Even with general browsing, it will be easy to hit that limit with today’s high bandwidth chugging websites, especially picture heavy sites like Facebook or Instagram. It’s a nice extra, but if you’re serious about needing a VPN, you’ll need to upgrade to BitDefender Premium Security to get an unlimited data allowance.
Pricing depends on how many devices you want to cover:
- One device: $19.99 for the first year, $39.99 annually after that.
- Three devices: $29.99 for the first year, $59.99 annually after that.
- Five devices: $69.99 annually
- Ten devices: $79.99 annually
Please note that you can also buy longer subscriptions for two or three years that have their own built-in discounts and costs. Please see the Bitdefender website for full details.
Bitdefender review: Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac 2021
- Same virus and malware protection offered as with Windows version
- Fewer extras thrown in compared to Windows version
Unlike other antivirus solutions out there, Bitdefender has a separate program for Windows and Mac computers, so if you’re using an Apple Mac or MacBook, this is your entry-level antivirus program. It’s functionally identical to the windows version, but sadly with some of the extra features missing.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac still has the same excellent core protection though, offering a rock solid defense against viruses, malware, adware, and spyware. You also still get the limited VPN access, but most of the other features of the Windows version aren’t here yet. Still, if you need a steadfast antivirus for your Mac computer, this is your best bet (unless you’re willing to upgrade to Bitdefender Total Security 2020.
You can either get cover for one or three Mac devices with this option. Pricing starts at $19.99 for the first year and then $39.99 per year after that to cover a single device, while the three device cover costs $29.99 for the first year and then $59.99 onwards from there.
Bitdefender review: Bitdefender Internet Security 2021
- Parental controls
Back to Windows only products again now, the next step up the ladder is Bitdefender Internet Security 2021. This upgraded version is a more complete online security package and comes with a built-in firewall to protect your computer from online threats. There are also a suite of parental controls that let you ensure that your children are safe online, and that they aren’t visiting any websites or using any apps that they shouldn’t be.
Finally, this package also comes with Webcam and microphone monitoring and protection, so you can be sure that there won’t be anyone snooping in on your online conversations if you’re chatting over Zoom.
Again, pricing on Bitdefender Internet Security 2021 varies depending on how many devices you want to cover:
- 1 device: $29.99 for the first year, $59.99 annually after that.
- 3 devices: $39.98 for the first year, $79.99 annually after that
- 5 devices: $84.99 annually
- 10 devices: $89.99 annually
Bitdefender review: Bitdefender Total Security 2021
- Works on PC, Mac, and smartphones
- The best value option, in our opinion
Bitdefender Total Security 2021 is extremely similar to the previous option, Internet Security, but this product works on all manner of devices, not just Windows PCs. You can use Bitdefender Total Security 2021 to cover your PC, laptop, Macs, MacBooks, and even Android or iOS smartphones. More importantly, a lot of the features that are missing from Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac 2021 are present in this offering, which makes it the best choice for Mac users looking to get a complete security package. Since this is designed to be a multi-device plan, there are only two pricing options covering five devices or ten devices.
- 5 devices: $44.99 for the first year, $89.99 annually after that.
- 10 devices: $49.99 for the first year, $99.99 annually after that.
Considering the first year deals on offer here, we’d say that Bitdefender Total Security 2021 offers much better value for money than Bitdefender Internet Security 2021, especially if you’re looking to cover five or ten devices with a single plan. The only other major addition to Bitdefender Total Security 2021 is a suite of anti-loss and anti-theft tools to help you out should one of your devices be stolen or misplaced.
Bitdefender review: Bitdefender Family Pack 2020
This should really be folded in the Total Security product range, since it’s literally just Bitdefender Total Security 2021 but it covers 15 devices, instead of just five or ten. Other than the device increase, Bitdefender Family Pack is identical, so really it just depends how many people are in your family? Got enough people living under your roof that 10 devices isn’t enough coverage? Well then grab the Family Pack
Bitdefender Family Pack costs $59.99 for the first year and then $119.99 annually after that.
Bitdefender review: Bitdefender Premium Security 2021
- Priority support
- Unlimited VPN usage
We’ve reached the top of the mountain here with Bitdefender Premium Security 2021, which is the most expensive and comprehensive home plan that Bitdefender offers. There is only one option here that covers 10 devices (Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS) and it costs $89.99 for the first year and then $149.99 annually for every following year.
But what do you get for that extra cost? Well you get unlimited VPN usage, which is a vast improvement on the 200MB per day limit that the other plans get. You also receive priority support in the event of an emergency or issue, so you’ll get to jump the queue when waiting to speak to the Bitdefender support team. Is it worth the price jump? Only if you’re looking to make serious use of the VPN, as subscriptions to those can be quite pricey in their own right.
Bitdefender review: How good is Bitdefender Antivirus?
To see how effective Bitdefender's security suites and antivirus prgram actually is, we've looked to several experts in antivirus performance to see how they rated it. AV Comparatives most recent (at time of writing) report which covers February to March 2020 shows that Bitdefender managed to catch 99.5% of all malware and virus attacks against it during the Real-World Protection tests, with Malware compromising the system 0.5% of the time. While this isn't quite as good a score as Norton 360 (opens in new tab), which block 100%, it's still a great score.
Another antivirus testing website, AV Test showed even better results, with Bitdefender blocking 100% of attacks against the test systems. AV Test found that Bitdefender had a low to moderate impact on system performance and noted some slowdown on popular sites which was slightly above the industry average. AV Comparatives gave a much better score to Bitdefender in this regard, giving it one of the best scores for performance in its lineup, so it seems to vary significantly on a case by case basis.
Bitdefender review: Price
We've already covered prices for the individual products in their respective sections, but we've rounded them up here too. Please note, these prices only cover the costs of a single year subscription, please see the Bitdefender website for details on multi-year subscription rates.
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (One device): $19.99 for the first year, $39.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (Three devices): $29.99 for the first year, $59.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (Five devices): $69.99 annually
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (Ten devices): $79.99 annually
- Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac (One device): $19.99 for the first year, $39.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac (Three devices): $29.99 for the first year, $59.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Internet Security (1 device): $29.99 for the first year, $59.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Internet Security (3 devices): $39.98 for the first year, $79.99 annually after that
- Bitdefender Internet Security (5 devices): $84.99 annually
- Bitdefender Internet Security (10 devices): $89.99 annually
- Bitdefender Total Security (5 devices): $44.99 for the first year, $89.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Total Security (10 devices): $49.99 for the first year, $99.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Family Pack (15 devices): $59.99 for the first year, $119.99 annually after that.
- Bitdefender Premium Security (10 devices) $89.99 for the first year, $149.99 annually
Should you use Bitdefender Antivirus?
if you're looking for a solid internet security suite that lets you choose the right package to suit your needs, then you'll do well to find a better option than Bitdefender. It offers great protection against viruses and other malware while also offering a ton of other extra features.
Some packages don't look like great value when stacked up against others in the range though, so it's best to shop through all of Bitdefender's offerings to make sure you're getting the best deal.