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Bitdefender Review 2021: Is it a Good Antivirus? [Full Review]

Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
Published on: October 18, 2021

Bitdefender Review: Quick Expert Summary

Bitdefender is one of the best antiviruses on the market in 2021. It provides advanced malware protection and a ton of additional internet security protections, all inside an intuitive user interface.

Bitdefender scored excellent detection rates in all of my malware tests, identifying nearly 1,000 malware files without slowing down my computer. And Bitdefender’s web protection detected far more phishing sites than built-in protections from Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Bitdefender also has more additional features than almost any other antivirus (and all of the extras work really well). Bitdefender has:

  • System optimization.
  • Ransomware protection.
  • VPN (virtual private network).
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.
  • Webcam and microphone protection.
  • Anti-theft protection for Windows and Android.
  • And a lot more…

Most of Bitdefender’s features work great — the system optimization tools cleared up a lot of space on my PC and improved my device’s performance, the VPN is comparable in speed and performance to standalone VPNs, and the parental controls are highly customizable and even include location tracking and geofencing. I also think it’s amazing that Bitdefender’s anti-theft protection works on Windows devices – most competitors like McAfee and Avira offer anti-theft on mobile devices only.

Bitdefender is also surprisingly affordable. Even if you upgrade to the premium VPN and get a good standalone password manager, Bitdefender’s Total Security plan is still cheaper than most competitors.

But as much as I like Bitdefender, I can’t say it’s without flaws. Bitdefender’s password manager is too basic — it doesn’t even have two-factor authentication or password security auditing. The mobile app for iOS is also very limited, providing only web protection and simple email breach monitoring. And the VPN that comes bundled with all of Bitdefender’s plans is limited to 200 MB data per day (but users can upgrade to Bitdefender’s premium VPN, which is powered by Hotspot Shield, provides excellent speeds, and has servers in 30 countries around the world).

Overall, Bitdefender is one of my favorite internet security products. It’s got lots of really good features, it’s easy to use, and it’s pretty cheap. And all of Bitdefender’s packages come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Overall Rank #2 out of 65 antiviruses
Firewall Yes
VPN Yes (200 MB/day, upgrade available)
Free Plan Yes
Pricing Starting at /year
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Operating Systems Windows, Android, Mac, iOS

Risk-Free for 30 days – Try Bitdefender ( off)

Bitdefender Full Review

Bitdefender Full Review

Bitdefender provides cutting-edge internet security for a great value.

Bitdefender’s cloud-based scanner uses machine learning along with traditional signature-based scanning to provide 100% malware detection.

Bitdefender also provides excellent web protections, a fast VPN, comprehensive system tune-up, a secure browser, and some of the best parental controls on the market today (along with several more useful additional protections).

There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of Bitdefender’s plans.

Bitdefender Security Features

Virus/Vulnerability Scan

Bitdefender’s antivirus scanner is both thorough and lightweight. It uses a huge malware directory and machine learning to detect both known and emerging malware. And because most of the malware scanning takes place in the cloud, Bitdefender’s antivirus engine takes up a fraction of CPU and disk space during scans.

Bitdefender offers 4 types of scans:

  • Quick Scan. A lightweight scan of core system files and temporary files where viruses are often stored.
  • System Scan. An in-depth analysis and scan of the entire system for malware and vulnerabilities.
  • Custom Scan. Scanning in any system location where there might be potential threats.  
  • Vulnerability Scan. Scanning for privacy risks in application settings as well as critical software updates.

I tested Bitdefender’s virus scanner by hiding nearly 1,000 malware samples throughout my virtual Windows computer, including viruses, worms, trojans, adware, spyware, rootkits, ransomware, cryptojackers, and keyloggers — once my system was fully infected with malware, I performed a full system scan. Bitdefender Security Features

Bitdefender’s full system scan took just under 1 hour to complete — this is comparable to top competitors such as Norton and Avira whose scans take around 45 minutes to complete.

However, unlike most competitors, Bitdefender has a minimal impact on system performance. I didn’t notice any slowdown on my system throughout the entire scanning process even other premium competitors like TotalAV cause some slowdown during full system scans.

Bitdefender also lets users schedule scans — you can choose between several scheduling options, including at system startup, daily, weekly, and monthly. However, users can only schedule custom scans — Norton, Avira, TotalAV, and BullGuard all provide easy, one-click scan scheduling for all types of scans.

Bitdefender Security Features

Overall, Bitdefender’s malware scanner is one of the best on the market — it’s fast, it doesn’t cause slowdowns, and it has perfect malware detection rates. If you’re looking for a lightweight, powerful antivirus scanner, Bitdefender is an excellent choice.

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Real-Time Protection

Bitdefender’s real-time protection (Bitdefender Shield) actively scans every file and email attachment the moment you access them. Bitdefender Shield’s default settings include the following scans:

  • Potentially unwanted applications. Software that hides inside other applications (usually bundled freeware).
  • Network shares. Issues in remote networks on your device.
  • Boot sectors. Issues that may change the boot sequence.
  • Only new and modified files. Threats that may hide in new and changed files.
  • Keyloggers. Malware that captures keystrokes.

While Bitdefender Shield’s default protections are good enough for most users, advanced users can customize real-time settings to also include applications, scripts, and archives. Advanced users can also choose to exclude any of the options mentioned above.

Bitdefender Security Features

For my testing, I downloaded around 100 infected .exe samples, .txt files, and .rar files (compressed folders), and I also ran network-based attacks from my Android and another PC.

Bitdefender’s real-time protection blocked every single malware file before I could download it. But Bitdefender Shield didn’t merely interrupt my downloads — it wouldn’t even allow me to start them, greying out the “Save File” button.

Overall, I’m really impressed by Bitdefender’s real-time protection. Some competitors provide similar real-time malware detection rates, but Bitdefender provides the best customization options on the market for its real-time scanner.

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Anti-Phishing/Web Protection

Whenever you visit a website, Bitdefender’s anti-phishing protection compares it against a regularly updated database of millions of dangerous, blacklisted sites. If there’s a match, Bitdefender blocks access to the site.

I tested Bitdefender’s anti-phishing protection with a huge directory of phishing sites — Bitdefender blocked all of the fake websites I tried to access. Chrome, Firefox, and even third-party anti-phishing tools from competitors like Panda and Kaspersky failed to detect as many suspicious sites as Bitdefender.Bitdefender Security FeaturesWhat’s more, Bitdefender features a convenient notification screen, so you can see what websites it has blocked and why. This makes it easy to permanently add a false positive to Bitdefender’s exception list. Whitelisting sites can be done in one click, whereas other antiviruses such as Norton require you to dig through settings and advanced protocols to whitelist safe sites. However, keep in mind that you should only whitelist sites if you are absolutely certain that they’re legitimate and don’t contain malware.

Bitdefender Security Features

Bitdefender’s web protection also prevents you from accessing a webpage that contains downloadable malware — it also checks search results for dangerous sites, scans encrypted websites, and checks sites for fraudulent content.

Overall, Bitdefender provides exceptional anti-phishing protection as well as protection against a wide range of other web-based threats. In addition to blocking more phishing sites than most competitors, Bitdefender also makes it easy to whitelist websites and adjust web protection settings.

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System Optimization

Bitdefender’s “OneClick Optimizer” scans your system and removes unnecessary files from your device —  including:

  • Temporary system files.
  • Windows junk files.
  • Recycle bin files.
  • Broken registry items.
  • Browser history.

I ran the scan with no other applications running in the background, and it only took around 2 minutes to complete.

Bitdefender managed to free up a total of 1.3 GB from my PC, which is really good.

Bitdefender Security Features

However, Bitdefender’s tuneup tool has some annoying limitations — for example:

Before clicking “Optimize,” Bitdefender recommended that I review the issues it had flagged. But Bitdefender didn’t let me view the details about those issues. For example, it flagged one broken software location in my registry options, yet it wouldn’t let me see the file name or date. This was frustrating because I wanted to know what I was deleting, not just the location of the file in question.

I’d also like to see more features included in Bitdefeder’s system tuneup tool. For example, TotalAV’s built-in optimization includes a startup manager, an application uninstaller, and a duplicate file finder.

That said, after running Bitdefender’s one-click optimization, I noticed a speed increase on my PC. This simple one-click method for freeing up space does have some limitations, and it’s missing some features that competitors provide. But overall, it’s very convenient and does a good job.

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Secure Web Browser (SafePay)

Bitdefender’s secure web browser, SafePay, is a great way to keep hackers from stealing your personal information when making online transactions.

Here are the main benefits of using SafePay:

  • Prevents hackers from remotely accessing your desktop.
  • Stops you from taking snapshots of your screen.
  • Utilizes Bitdefender’s password manager to protect your passwords.
  • Emulates a virtual keyboard to prevent keystroke tracking.
  • Turns on built-in VPN protection (200 MB daily limit).

I wanted to show off SafePay’s protections, but I couldn’t capture any screenshots due to its built-in screenshot-blocker, which is great — if you can’t screen-capture your browser, then neither can intrusive hackers!

I tested SafePay with my PayPal account. Apart from being unable to use any of my screen capture tools, I was even unable to copy-paste my password or 2FA codes while using SafePay! The virtual keyboard popped up the moment I was asked to enter my login details, keeping keyloggers from recording my password or personal info.

However, pages loaded pretty slowly, and I couldn’t stream HD video with SafePay — it’s definitely not designed to replace your web browser. But for anyone that does business online, SafePay is a really good privacy enhancement tool.

If you’re looking to protect your information as much as possible during online transactions, SafePay is a really good addition to Bitdefender’s already impressive web protection toolkit.

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Password Manager

Bitdefender’s password manager is simple and secure — but it’s not as good as dedicated password managers like Dashlane or 1Password. Bitdefender doesn’t provide features like two-factor authentication (2FA), password vault auditing, or sharing between accounts. However, it does provide the essential functions of a password manager, such as:

  • Multi-device sync.
  • Unlimited password storage.
  • Auto-save and auto-fill.
  • Separate password vaults.
  • Password generator.

When you first run Bitdefender’s password manager, you follow three simple steps to create a password vault (or “wallet”):

  1. You name the wallet and choose a master password (you can also enter a master password hint).
  2. You choose which devices to sync your passwords with.
  3. You choose what web browsers you wish to import passwords from. Supported options include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Bitdefender Security Features

For users that share a computer with other people, there’s no limit to how many wallets you can create, which makes it easy to make separate password vaults with a single Bitdefender account.

Bitdefender’s wallet lets you store passwords, identities (personal information, addresses, and phone numbers), credit cards and bank accounts, email credentials, license keys and logins for software, and Wi-Fi passwords.

Bitdefender Security Features

To be able to auto-save and auto-fill passwords, you need to install Bitdefender’s password manager browser extension. Both the auto-save and auto-fill functions worked well during my tests. The auto-save feature automatically saved my login credentials whenever I logged into new sites, but I didn’t like that I was unable to disable auto-save for specific sites.

Dedicated password managers like LastPass ask you whether you want to save login credentials for each new online account. Bitdefeder’s auto-fill feature automatically filled my login credentials for saved sites, but again, there wasn’t an option to disable auto-fill for some sites. The best standalone password managers let users disable auto-fill for some sites — this is especially useful for banking sites. That said, Bitdefender does have its own browser that makes online banking very secure.

Bitdefender also has a pretty good password generator, but you can only access it from the web extension. The generator’s default password length is 15 characters, but users can generate passwords up to 255 characters long. This is pretty great considering that LastPass only generates passwords that are up to 99 characters long. By default, Bitdefender’s password generator generates passwords with lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and digits, but you can customize settings to only include one of these options. You can also enable special characters and generate passwords that are easy to pronounce.

Bitdefender Security Features

Overall, Bitdefender’s password manager is convenient, but it’s not quite as good as standalone password managers like Dashlane, 1Password, LastPass, or Keeper, all of which offer a wide range of additional tools, like password sharing, password auditing, dark web monitoring, 2FA, biometric logins, and much more. That said, Bitdefender’s password manager is a well-made digital wallet for users that don’t really need an advanced password manager app.

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Bitdefender VPN

Bitdefender’s VPN is powered by Hotspot Shield, one of the more popular VPN providers on the market. However, Bitdefender’s VPN has a much smaller server network and it doesn’t provide the same level of functionality as Hotspot Shield. That said, Bitdefender’s VPN covers all of the basics — it uses unbreakable encryption, has a no-logs policy, and it even comes with a kill switch.

All Bitdefender plans come with a free version of this VPN, but it’s not very good. Bitdefender’s free VPN picks a random server based on your location, and it only includes 200 MB of browsing per day — barely enough to watch a single YouTube video.

Bitdefender Security Features

However, users that upgrade to Bitdefender’s separate VPN subscription get unlimited browsing data as well as access to 30 servers around the world. And Bitdefender’s premium VPN has some of the best speeds of any antivirus’s VPN on the market — it’s even faster than some standalone competitors.

Here’s a comparison of my internet connection before and after activating Bitdefender’s VPN on a local US server:

Bitdefender Security Features

As you can see, there wasn’t a noticeable difference in internet speed. This is especially good when compared to VPNs from companies like Kaspersky, which can cut your download speed in half and send your PING skyrocketing!

Of course, most users want to know if a VPN will give access to geo-restricted streaming content — unfortunately Bitdefender failed all of my geo-bypassing tests. I’m in the US, so I tried to access Netflix’s UK library using a UK server, and Netflix immediately detected that I was using a VPN. The same happened when I tried to access BBC iPlayer. I tried a lot of other different countries and streaming services, but every site noticed that I was using a VPN and wouldn’t let me access different content libraries.

On the other hand, Bitdefender is really good for torrenting — you can even set the VPN to auto-connect whenever you start a peer-to-peer sharing app. This is in complete contrast with Norton, which doesn’t even let you turn on its VPN if you have a torrenting client installed on your PC.

Overall, I like Bitdefender’s premium VPN. While it doesn’t have a lot of the features that standalone VPNs provide, Bitdefender still provides surprisingly fast connection speeds and good encrypted browsing for users that want to increase their internet security.

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Parental Control

Bitdefender’s parental control app is available as a separate download for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

I tested the parental control app on my PC and Android. To set up Bitdefender’s parental control app, I navigated to the Privacy tab in the desktop app, and then I clicked on Configure under Parental Advisor. This took me to Bitdefender’s online portal, Bitdefender Central, where I first had to add a child. Next, I had to install the Bitdefender parental control app on the device my child would be using — I had to give the app all sorts of permissions on the mobile device, but this didn’t take me longer than a couple of minutes.

Bitdefender Security Features

Next, I had to customize the parental app’s settings. In Bitdefender Central, I could:

  • Set daily device limits (not available on iOS).
  • Set device usage schedules.
  • Manage (allow and block) apps.
  • Whitelist and blacklist specific sites or categories of sites (not available for iOS).
  • View location and set safe and restricted areas (available only on Android and iOS).
  • View the latest phone contacts added to the contact list (available only on Android and iOS devices).

After configuring all of the settings, I tested the app with a friend. My friend tried visiting dozens of websites that belonged to the blacklisted categories, and Bitdefender’s parental control app blocked her from accessing each of those websites. The content filters really impressed me — competitors like BullGuard offer a ton of options for filtering websites but don’t accurately block most inappropriate content. The only thing I dislike about Bitdefender’s website filtering is that there’s no way for your child to ask for access to a specific website via the app.

All of the other features inside Bitdefender’s parental app worked perfectly — I could see how much time my friend was spending on her mobile phone, view which apps she accessed, and accurately track her location. I was impressed that I could ask my friend to send me a notification when she arrived safely at a specified location — this isn’t something that most competing antiviruses with parental controls offer!

Bitdefender Security Features

I also really like that Bitdefender allows geo-fencing, so you can get alerts if your child leaves a pre-determined safe area.

Bitdefender Security Features

I was also impressed at how accurately Bitdefender tracked my friend’s location. Norton can track children within a 65 foot radius, but Bitdefender pinpointed the exact house my friend’s phone was in.

Overall, Bitdefender’s parental controls provide some of the best protections of any parental control app out there — parents who want to make sure that their kids are as safe as possible, both online and in the real world, will find a lot of value in Bitdefender’s parental control app.

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Additional Features

Bitdefender is one of the most feature-rich internet security suites on the market in 2021, and the features I previously described are just a small part of its entire offering.

Bitdefender also has:

  • Firewall — Adjusts network settings based on whether you’re connecting to a dynamic network, a home/office network, or a public network. There’s also a “Stealth mode” that makes your device invisible.
  • Ransomware remediation — Identifies when ransomware tries to encrypt some of your files and quickly makes a backup copy of those files.
  • Webcam and microphone protection — Lists apps that request access to your webcam and/or microphone. Users can whitelist and blacklist specific apps.
  • Wi-Fi protection — Analyzes Wi-Fi networks and routers for potential threats.
  • Anti-tracking protection — Prevents web trackers from collecting your data for advertising and other purposes.
  • Anti-theft — Shows you the location of your device on a map. From Bitdefender’s online portal, users can remotely lock, sound an alarm, or wipe a stolen device.
  • File shredder — Permanently deletes files or folders.
  • Profiles — Users can manually or automatically adjust Bitdefender’s settings based on activity/apps in usage.

While all of these features work great, my favorite ones are anti-theft protection and user profiles. Some competitors like McAfee and Avira offer anti-theft protection, but for mobile devices only. Bitdefender, however, provides anti-theft protection for Windows computers, too. I tested this feature on my PC, and I was really impressed at how accurate Bitdefender’s location tracking was — it pinpointed my exact address on a map. I also found it easy to remotely lock my PC, and I was pretty surprised at how loud the anti-theft alarm was!

I’m also a huge fan of Bitdefender’s user profiles which include work, movie, game, public Wi-Fi, and battery mode profiles. If you’re a gamer and worried that an antivirus will interrupt your gameplay, you’ll be happy to learn that Bitdefender’s gaming mode is pretty good. The moment you start playing a game, Bitdefender will suspend notifications, automatic Windows updates, and virus scans. Bitdefender also has an excellent game booster which improves your gaming performance — although Bitdefender’s game booster isn’t as good as BullGuard’s game booster.

Overall, Bitdefender has a truly impressive range of features — if you’re looking for an antivirus that has almost all of the internet security tools you can think of, Bitdefender won’t disappoint you!

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Bitdefender Plans and Pricing

Bitdefender offers 3 annual plans — but only its premium Total Security plan works across all operating systems. All of the plans include a limited VPN, but Bitdefender’s premium VPN is available at checkout, and it costs less than most competing standalone VPNs.

Bitdefender’s free plan is one of the better free plans on the market, although it does have a lot of limitations (like all free antiviruses). All of Bitdefender’s paid plans include a risk-free money-back guarantee for 30 days.

Bitdefender Free — Good Free Plan (With Real-Time Protection for Windows Users)

*Not available in some countries*

Bitdefender does offer a free version of its app for Windows, macOS, and Android. While it lacks important protections like ransomware protection, a firewall, and a secure web browser, the free version includes:

  • Antivirus scanning.
  • Real-time protection (Windows only).
  • Web protection (Windows only).

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition uses the same advanced anti-malware engine as the premium version — which earned Bitdefender a spot on our best free Windows antiviruses of 2021.

While Bitdefender’s free version lacks a lot of the protections that make Bitdefender’s premium plans so good, I still think Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a decent choice for Windows users who are only looking for malware scanning. Plus, unlike most competitors, Bitdefender’s free Windows antivirus also has real-time malware protection.

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Bitdefender Antivirus Plus — Basic Paid Plan (Windows Only)

Bitdefender Plans and Pricing

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus includes real-time malware defense and web protection, as well as:

  • Multi-layer ransomware protection.
  • Secure browser for online finances.
  • Password manager.
  • Wi-Fi protection.
  • VPN (200 MB daily data).
  • Anti-tracking protection.
  • User profiles (including gaming mode).
  • File shredder.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is a good entry-level antivirus plan, but it’s lacking a couple of essential security features, like a firewall. I’m also pretty disappointed that this plan is only available for Windows computers, especially when competitors like Norton, McAfee, and TotalAV include coverage for all operating systems in all of their plans.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is cheaper than most competitors’ entry-level plans, and it also has an excellent discount for the first year. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bitdefender Internet Security — Advanced Paid Plan (Windows Only)

Bitdefender Plans and Pricing

Bitdefender Internet Security comes with all of the features included in Antivirus Plus, but it also adds extra features like:

  • Firewall.
  • Anti-spam filter.
  • Webcam and microphone protection.
  • Parental controls.

Bitdefender Internet Security is a really good value, but it’s only for PC users. The biggest downside of this plan is that it doesn’t offer multi-platform support — if you use an Android, Mac, or iOS device, you’ll have to upgrade to Bitdefender’s most expensive plan.

However, for Windows users, Bitdefender Internet Security is one of the best options on the market — it covers up to 3 PCs, includes a ton of features, and is pretty affordable.

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Bitdefender Total Security — Premium Paid Plan

Bitdefender Plans and Pricing

Bitdefender Total Security has all of the features included in Internet Security, plus:

  • Coverage for Mac.
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android.
  • System tune-up tools.

Bitdefender Total Security doesn’t offer a lot of improvement for PC users (besides the one-click system tune-up tool), but mobile users will want to upgrade to Total Security so they can get access to Bitdefender’s excellent mobile apps.

While Total Security doesn’t have a VPN with unlimited data like many premium antiviruses do (like Norton), Bitdefender’s most advanced plan provides comprehensive security for up to 5 devices for a really low price — even if you buy the separate VPN subscription, Bitdefender’s premium package is still cheaper than most competitors.

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Bitdefender’s Mobile App

Bitdefender’s mobile apps for iOS and Android come included with the Total Security package, but they’re also available as standalone subscriptions.

Here’s what’s included in Bitdefender’s mobile app for Android:

  • Antivirus scanner.
  • Web protection (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Brave, and others).
  • Autopilot (automatic security recommendations).
  • App lock.
  • Anti-theft protection.
  • Data breach monitoring (email only).
  • VPN (200 MB/daily with unlimited VPN available).
  • Smartwatch compatibility.

While Bitdefender’s Android app is very good, its iOS app is surprisingly limited. The iOS app only has web protection, data breach monitoring, and a free VPN. To be fair, iOS devices can’t get viruses, so iOS users don’t need a virus scanner. But I’d still like to see Bitdefender expand the functionality of its iOS app to better meet the internet security needs of iOS users (like the best antiviruses for iOS do).

For my tests, I downloaded several malware files and pirated apps to my Samsung Galaxy, and then I installed Bitdefender’s mobile antivirus on my phone.

When I set up Bitdefender Mobile Security, the app immediately recommended I perform a scan. The scan took only a minute, and it found all of the malicious files I placed on my phone.

Bitdefender’s Mobile App

Next, I tested Bitdefender’s web protection by visiting dozens of malicious sites with Chrome’s security filter turned off. Bitdefender’s web protections blocked every single phishing site I tried opening, including sites that Chrome’s built-in protections failed to catch during my tests.

Bitdefender’s Mobile App

I also tested Bitdefender’s app lock feature — it allows you to lock important apps with a 4-8 digit PIN or your device’s biometric scanner. Bitdefender even takes an automatic selfie when somebody tries and fails to unlock your phone or locked apps — I locked my Facebook app, deliberately entered the wrong PIN code 3 times, and then I received a notification in Bitdefender’s online portal that someone tried to unlock Facebook on my mobile (and yes, Bitdefender did take my selfie as well!).

Another cool thing about Bitdefender’s app lock feature is that you can enable Bitdefender to randomize number positions on the keyboard so that no one is able to read your PIN code.

Bitdefender’s Mobile App

Bitdefender’s anti-theft feature is also great — enabling users to send alerts, lock the device, take a picture of the thief, and wipe the device directly from Bitdefender’s online portal. I tested this feature both on my Windows PC and on my Android phone, and it worked perfectly on both devices.

Bitdefender’s Mobile App

Overall, Bitdefender’s mobile app is one of the best mobile security apps on the market, providing excellent antivirus protection and a couple of very useful extras, including app locking and anti-theft protection.

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Bitdefender Ease of Use and Setup

Before you download Bitdefender, you’ll need to create a Bitdefender Central account online and download the Bitdefender install files from there —it took me less than 5 minutes to set up my account and get Bitdefender up and running on my PC.

As soon as I launched the application, Bitdefender gave me a quick tour of the software and suggested I run an initial scan.

Bitdefender Ease of Use and Setup

Bitdefender’s desktop dashboard is really well laid-out, with large, simple buttons, a comprehensive toolbar, and every feature accessible with just a few clicks. I love that there’s a customizable Quick Action button on the main screen, so users can easily add more buttons to the dashboard. You can only have 5 “Quick Actions” on your home screen at any one time. But these can always be edited and changed.

Bitdefender Ease of Use and Setup

All of Bitdefender’s essential and extra features are located in 3 tabs: Protection, Privacy, and Utilities.

In the Protection tab, you can enable/disable web protection, vulnerability scanning, firewall, ransomware remediation, and antispam. Each of these features can also be customized — although Bitdefender’s default settings are good enough for most users.

In the Privacy tab, you can launch the SafePay browser, open the VPN, add and edit password vaults, customize webcam and microphone protection, integrate the anti-tracker with your browser, and access parental controls.

Finally, the Utilities tab includes the one-click optimizer, user profiles, file shredder, and anti-theft protection.

When you click on parental controls or anti-theft protection in the desktop app, you will be taken to Bitdefender’s online portal — Bitdefender Central. Users can also remotely scan any of the devices in their plan via Bitdefender Central. Other online dashboards, such as TotalAV, don’t provide remote device scanning — so I really appreciated having access to this feature.

Bitdefender Ease of Use and Setup

Overall, the Bitdefender interface is simple to navigate — even with the huge number of features included in the premium Total Security plan.

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Bitdefender’s Customer Support

Bitdefender’s customer support center is really good. Bitdefender offers:

  • Knowledge database.
  • Email support.
  • Phone support.
  • Live chat support.
  • Community support.

I was especially impressed with Bitdefender’s live chat support. I always connected to a live chat agent within minutes, and each time they answered my questions within a few seconds. As far as customer support for an antivirus goes, this is the quickest I’ve ever seen.

Bitdefender’s Customer Support

Bitdefender’s phone support is impressive, too. Bitdefender has 28 different phone numbers across 18 countries, including a worldwide phone number with 24-hour service.

I called the United States number, and Bitdefender connected me with an agent almost instantly — which was a big surprise! I’m used to being put on hold for at least a few minutes with most tech companies.

I asked the agent about the different subscription packages, and he quickly broke them down and recommended which one I should go with based on my needs. I’m always impressed when a customer support person gives me good advice instead of simply telling me to spend my money on the most expensive option — Bitdefender’s phone support representative was knowledgeable, personable, and helpful.

If you don’t want to connect with a customer support person, Bitdefender’s knowledge base has a vast collection of articles as well as video tutorials. I found that I was able to get most of my questions answered through this knowledge base. There’s also a community forum, but it’s not very active — the most recent question was answered a couple of months ago.

Overall, I’m really impressed with Bitdefender’s customer support offerings. Every agent I talked to was knowledgeable and courteous, and most importantly, I could get a hold of them in a matter of minutes. I also like Bitdefender’s extensive knowledge base which contains video tutorials, how-to-guides, answers to the most common questions, and more.

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Is Bitdefender the Top Protection for Windows/Mac?

Bitdefender is a strong contender for best antivirus in 2021. Bitdefender’s advanced malware engine detected every piece of malware in my testing — including newer and advanced threats like cryptojackers, rootkits, and ransomware. Bitdefender’s web protection also caught most of the phishing sites I tried visiting — outperforming both the majority of competitors and the most popular browsers, including Chrome and Firefox.

Bitdefender has almost every cybersecurity protection you can think of — from basic things like Wi-Fi protection, a secure browser, and a VPN to more advanced things like parental controls, ransomware remediation, and webcam and microphone protection.

And even though Bitdefender has more features than almost any other brand, it’s still very easy to use — even non-tech-savvy users will find it easy to adjust all of the settings and customize protection levels to meet their needs.

While I like most of Bitdefender’s features, I do have a couple of complaints. I wish that Bitdefender would add a few more security features to its password manager, and the free VPN bundled with the software is way too limited. Also, the mobile app for iOS could use some improvement.

However, Bitdefender is more affordable than most other premium antiviruses (including top competitors like Norton, McAfee, and TotalAV), even for users that add a VPN subscription to their package — and Bitdefender’s premium VPN is pretty good.

All of Bitdefender’s plans are available with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you try it and decide if it’s the right antivirus for you.

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Bitdefender Antivirus — Frequently Asked Questions

🤔 Is there a free version of Bitdefender?

Yes, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is one of my top free antiviruses for Windows. Bitdefender Free includes an on-demand antivirus scanner (Windows, Mac, Android) along with real-time anti-malware protection and web protection for Windows users.

Bitdefender Free uses the same advanced scanning engine as the paid version, and unlike most competitors, Bitdefender’s free antivirus for Windows also includes excellent real-time protection. That said, any free antivirus will leave some holes in your internet security protections — and Bitdefender is no exception.

This is why I recommend purchasing an affordable internet security suite — if you’re willing to spend a little on premium internet security protection, Bitdefender’s paid plans offer multiple layers of security and a wide range of features at a really low cost. Plus, all of Bitdefender’s plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

🤔 Will Bitdefender’s mobile app slow down my device?

No, the Bitdefender mobile app won’t slow down your device. It’s designed to be lightweight, and it only functions when necessary (for example, after you install a new app or when you scan your device). The app does not run in the background while you’re using your device.

🤔 Is Bitdefender compatible with my system?

To use Bitdefender in 2021, Windows users will need to have Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or higher installed on their PC. Mac users will need to have OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher installed.

For the mobile app, Android users will need to have Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. iOS users will need to have iOS 11.2 or higher. Note that your device must be connected to the internet for the mobile app to work on both Android and iOS devices.

All of Bitdefender’s plans are Windows-compatible, but only Bitdefender Total Security includes protection for macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

🤔 Is Bitdefender better than Windows Defender?

Bitdefender is better than Windows Defender in almost every single way. Bitdefender has better malware detection rates, better real-time protection, better phishing protection, better ransomware protection, and better parental controls.

Bitdefender also has a whole host of other internet security features like system optimization, a VPN, and a password manager. It’s also way easier to use than Windows Defender.

Go here for a more detailed comparison of Bitdefender vs. Windows Defender.

Bitdefender Products & Pricing

Bottom Line

Bitdefender is one of the best and most feature-rich antiviruses on the market. Its malware scanner has 100% perfect detection rates, its web protection is better than most competitors, and all of its additional features (system tuneup, VPN, parental controls, anti-theft, etc.) work exactly as promised. The only major downside is that Bitdefender’s VPN with unlimited browsing data is only available as a separate purchase. However, all of Bitdefender’s plans are really affordable — they’re cheaper than most competing brands (even with the premium VPN subscription), and they’re all backed by a risk-free, money-back guarantee for 30 days.

About the Author

Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd

About the Author

Sam Boyd is an avid tech fan with a keen interest in cybersecurity products and online safety. When he isn't researching the latest online threats, he enjoys chilling out with some video games and getting outside, exploring new parts of the world with his family.

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Bitdefender User Reviews

68 62
Based on 130 reviews in 28 languages 6.6
You can trust the Community! Companies can't ask us to delete or change user reviews.
Oct. 18, 2021 NEW
United States
Bitdefender is a scam and they use dishonest tactics!!!
Mac User
I signed up for Bitdefender/ Armor Nov 2020. Nothing but problems with the software an support and no resolution??. As mentioned in other reviews the tech support is terrible, they don't understand English and I cannot understand them?? They are in the Philippines too?? They hang up on you when they cannot help you. The tech support is in Romania!! which that in itself concerns me. In Sept 2021 I started getting Attacks on 3 of my devices several times. day?? and they were blocked at first but showed up as blocked! . I reported it to Netgear and Bitdefender and they did nothing. Then I started getting offers to renew my Bitdefender subscription daily...(not expiring until Nov 2021) Then yesterday I had 26 actual breaches of malware, viruses...Show More
Sep. 18, 2021 NEW
United States
bad support
Windows User
Bit defenders is about the worst i have encountered.
tier 1 support only reads from a script and has no usable knowledge of the product
when asking about logs they did not respond, then acted suppressed i would ask about them
on the first cast tier 2 never responded to the emails
on the second case al they did was to ask the same questions already answered, and they where part of the chat logs attached to the support emails.
now they are not responding at all, 3 days to try to open a port thru the firewall and no help.
there are many other issues with this product and i was trying to do one at a time with no luck
avoid bit defender at all cost
Sep. 12, 2021
Windows User
I have never come across a company that is still doing business with the absolute 0% customer focus they have, their Auto renew on Total Security is clear to understand and easy to disable, but their VPN, create the impression that if you do disable the auto renew that you cancelling the subscription. Have a simple button enable/disable. Give your customers the choice when they subscribe the first time, this feature should not be a default setting.

Their auto renew is 100% more expensive than if you buy a new subscription, then if you disable the auto renew they offer at 50% discount. Loyalty programs work in the opposite direction. I renewed my subscription, 2 days later they deducted a second auto renew amount off my account and it now...Show More
Aug. 15, 2021
Bitdefender Premium
Windows User
I am very happy with the antivirus, firewall etc. I haven't had any popup problems as other users reported. It was reasonably easy to install on the various devices in our household. The MAJOR downside is the "bitdefender wallet" that is used to manage passwords, user ids and credit cards. It is absolute junk! It will not populate card information when checking out 99% of the time. In that regard, it is very secure....It does not recognize the login at FEDEX and therefore will not save the user id and password. When support is contacted they are quick to respond and ask for screen shots, web addresses etc. If I had time to solve the problems with their software myself, I would. In short, great software mostly, bad password utility definitely.
Nick Danger
Nick Danger
United States
Endless pop-ups
Windows User
I wish you had mentioned in the review the almost constant stream of pop-up notifications related to "Suspicious connection blocked" - I even received this notification when going to the Bitdefender help website. I have searched online and there doesn't appear to be any easy way to disable these notifications - one workaround required changing Bitdefender settings on 4 different Bitdefender setting pages and essentially turning off the function that blocks suspicious connections. I want Bitdefender to block suspicious connections - it's part of the reason I bought it! I just don't want adware pop-ups occurring every 6 seconds or so with Bitdefender bragging about doing what it is supposed to do.
first data loss, then a bug with hidden files, now constant popups
Windows User
I can't believe I paid for this s***
First, bitdefender deleted a whole day of work because I didn't explicitly allow my programming software. Thank you for the warning in advance (which wasn't there)

Secondly I suddenly couldn't access nor see any hidden files on my computer. Only a bitdefender reinstall helped.

Now the latest problems are the CONSTANT POPUPS, which already interupt my writing, because they tab you out of the current window...
It does not work to switch off any notifications in the settings..
According to my research this is a common problem.(community.bitdefender. com/en/discussion/comment/295815)

If I calculate in the amount of time and work I have invested to manage my fu**ing antivirus system, the cost of i...Show More
user avatar
Justy Eli
Bitdefender is a bad company.. It's software slows games down. It detects fake viruses.. And best part is.. If you have autopay and switched to linux and deleted the software. And you happen to have autopay that they turn on witho...Show More
Annoying program
Windows User
I would have renewed if it wasn't for all the POP UPs. You click NO and immediately a the same POP UP sows again, clicking NO several times before the POP UPs disappear. And there are several POP UPs

Now I will test TotalAV but if they remove all stupid POP UPs I might come back
user avatar
Len Aladdin
I agree. Its like you bought adware that also scans. It also loads the heck out of the CPU often, not just occasionally.
Bitdefender is a scam
Mac User
1. Their website is full of directions which do not work and are only meant to give you the impression that all is above board whereas it is not (like cancelling with the alleged auto-renewal button which does not exist). The software itself has an uninstall which does not work making it hard to get rid of the thing.

2. Their support team is a one (or a few)-man operation. Look at the style of replying with all those changing names, they are clearly fake. And for a single problem for which you contact support you will not get one person to handle it, it is always a "different" person. They have some half-automated system to keep replying with nonsense, like asking for info which you actually just sent them.

Daniel Bradac
Costel V.
Cezar F.
Ellie Nagi
Vlad Fischer
United States
Windows User
I went to their website to disable the auto-renew (which I never checked in the first place) and the auto-renewal function could not be de-activated. I had to contact customer support to notify them to not renew my subscription. I received an e-mail from Alexandru C. of 2Checkout, assuring me that auto-renewal would not occur. Seven days later Bitdefender was automatically renewed. Now ANGELICA, OF BITDEFENDER SUPPORT CENTER ALLEGES THAT I AUTHORIZED AUTORENEWAL AND REFUSES TO PROVIDE A REFUND. THIS IS A SCAM COMPANY. IF THEIR PRODUCT WERE WORTH THE PRICE THEY WOULD NOT NEED TO SCAM CUSTOMERS TO RENEW THEIR PRODUCTS. AVOID BITDEFENDER.
After I talked with customer support they told me that its the subscription auto-renew is
They will spam the shit out of your computer with no way to turn it off.
Windows User
All they do is spam your computer with messages that can't be turned off. This goes to the point where you are no longer able to type because of the useless notifications. They have no intention of fixing their issues and users asking for help are simply ignored. So no I would not recommend it to anyone honestly.

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