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Bitdefender Free Review 2017: Strong Cloud Protection With Zero Ads

By: Dennis Z
Bitdefender Free Review

Bitdefender offers a line of top rated premium products for home and business use.

This review of Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition focuses on the main differences between the free product and the paid product.

Our complete review of Bitdefender dives into the test results and dissection of its advanced security features, so you should definitely have a look at it as well.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Pros and Cons of Bitdefender Free

These are the most important strengths and weaknesses of Bitdefender Free compared to the paid products of Bitdefender.

Once again, you can read complete review of Bitdefender if you're looking for detailed information about the company, the test scores it received from us and from other independent labs, and a thorough overview of all of Bitdefender's features.

Pros:
  • Real-time cloud-based protection
  • Phishing protection
  • A very simple interface
  • No ads
Cons:
  • No active ransomware protection
  • Must be connected to the internet
  • No scheduled scans
  • Custom scan is limited to a single file or folder only
  • Email activation required
  • Some email marketing

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Article Index

Reviewing Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

This review is very simple compared to our other free antivirus reviews because there's simply not a lot to say.

I installed the free version of Bitdefender in a few clicks, and immediately after registering a free account with Bitdefender, I had access to the on-demand scanner and real-time protection enabled.

And just in case you missed it, Bitdefender is one of the top performers in independent antivirus lab tests.

7.5 / 10

Free Features vs. Paid Features

Unlike other free antivirus products like Avira, Bitdefender chose a different path in terms of monetizing their free users.

And in my opinion, this is the best approach - Value for Money!

There are no ads and no products sold from the user interface.

If you don't purchase a premium license, the features you receive are simply limited to the core protection features only.

For comparison, here's how Bitdefender Total Security looks:

Bitdefender Total Security 2017

Bitdefender Total Security 2017

And that's only the dashboard, there are plenty of features and settings inside the premium product.

By installing Bitdefender Free, you will still enjoy real-time cloud-based protection from malware and phishing, but active ransomware protection is only included in the paid products.

The fact that it's cloud-based means that you must have an active internet connection for it to work, and that there will be an ongoing "trickle" data transfer between your home network and Bitdefender's servers.

On the bright side, this means that your computer resources aren't used for scanning, so that's not a bad trade-off.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition includes an on-demand scanner as well, but you can only drag and drop single files and folders for scanning, there's no multiple choice for the on-demand malware scan.

In fact, aside from the above there's really not much you can do with this program.

The only setting you can modify in the free version is to deactivate (or activate) real-time protection, dubbed the Protection Shield.

Bitdefender Free: Protection Settings

Bitdefender Free: Protection Settings

The rest of the tabs you see there are informative and there is nothing else you can change.

Malware database updates are applied automatically whether you like it or not, but this is both a benefit and a drawback.

On the one hand, being unable to control updates will use your internet connection in times which might be inconvenient for you.

On the other hand, it's not that much data, and it's better than having rare updates or no updates at all.

If you prefer to have more control and enjoy the complete features Bitdefender has to offer, check out our recommended premium product:

PREMIUM

Bitdefender Total Security 2018

8.5 / 10

Email Sign Up is Mandatory

When you first install Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, right after the first scan which happens during the installation process, you will see this:

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition - Post Install Activation

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition - Post Install Activation

You have to be signed in in order to use the free version of Bitdefender antivirus.

If you decide to postpone this, Bitdefender won't be running for as long as it would take you to log in or sign up.

Once you're ready, you can click the Bitdefender icon in the taskbar and do it here:

Bitdefender Free - Activation

Bitdefender Free - Activation

If you don't have an account, you can create one.

All you need to provide is an email address, a password, and a name.

10 / 10

Zero Ads and Some Marketing Emails

There's a reason you have to register an email for Bitdefender.

This company didn't give up on you as a paying customer, and you will be receiving occasional promotional emails which advertise their premium products.

I don't see anything wrong with this, because it's not interrupting your day-to-day activities, and it sure is better than cluttering the user dashboard with ads and upgrade offers.

I did find a setting that allows you to toggle "notifications with special offers" under the Account Info section.

Promotional Notification Setting in Bitdefender Free

Promotional Notification Setting in Bitdefender Free

However, I didn't see any such notifications actually appear.

Furthermore, when you turn it off, close the account info window, and open it again, the setting is once again switched on.

I'm guessing that it's either a remnant from the past or an option that Bitdefender created for future use, and if they decide to actually display promotional notifications this setting will allow users to turn them off.

My Conclusion

I think that my review of Bitdefender Free says it all.

You get a slick and lightweight interface, you get real-time protection, you get a simplified on-demand scanner, and you enjoy frequent updates.

All of this is free!

To me it says that the company respects its user-base and doesn't try to shove promotions down my throat when it's clear that I chose to use a free antivirus rather than a paid one.

The paid products have real benefits compared to the free products, and with a great value for money.

Pros:
  • Real-time cloud-based protection
  • Phishing protection
  • A very simple interface
  • No ads
Cons:
  • No active ransomware protection
  • Must be connected to the internet
  • No scheduled scans
  • Custom scan is limited to a single file or folder only
  • Email activation required
  • Some email marketing

Get Bitdefender Free

By Dennis Z

Privacy fanatic & online marketing guru

A millennial privacy freak who wouldn’t normally even put his first name anywhere, not to mention his last name or his photo. Having learned basic programming at the advanced age of 11, computers have always been a part of his life in every aspect.

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Bitdefender Free is as simple as it gets. Aside from cloud-based real-time protection from malware and phishing, you get an on-demand scan which is limited to a single file or folder. On the bright side, you enjoy an excellent antivirus engine and you won't see any ads, aside from occasional email promotions.

Bitdefender Free
Date published:October 14, 2017
8.9 / 10 stars

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