Bitdefender review: Comprehensive security and performance evaluation

Explore our Bitdefender review for a comprehensive evaluation of its security features and performance. Discover if it’s the right antivirus solution for you.

May 30, 2024 - 16:02
May 30, 2024 - 16:09
Bitdefender review: Comprehensive security and performance evaluation

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

Bitdefender is a cybersecurity company that provides a range of security products and services, including antivirus software, internet security, and endpoint security solutions. Their products are designed to protect devices and networks from malware, viruses, ransomware, and other cyber threats.

like Pros

  • Integrated VPN
  • Superior malware detection
  • Automated software updates
  • Adaptable to varying hardware configurations
  • Outstanding ratings in independent assessments

dislike Cons

  • Less functionality for iOS and macOS
  • Incompatibility with other security programs
  • Restricted VPN usage on the majority of plans
  • Occasional issues with web protection functionality
star star star star star
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Starting price

From $29.99/year

Real-time protection



Windows, macOS, Android

Bitdefender stands out as one of the top-rated antivirus providers in 2024. It consistently achieves excellent results in independent lab tests, is more affordable than many competitors, and offers a range of valuable security features.

Utilizing a cloud-based engine, Bitdefender's scans are efficient and less resource-intensive compared to other antivirus providers. Its paid plans come with additional tools such as a VPN, password manager, web protection, and more.

Despite its many strong features, there is still room for improvement. While most tools are highly effective, the VPN is limited to 200MB of data per device unless you upgrade to the Premium Security Plan. Additionally, features like web protection could be more robust.

This Bitdefender review for 2024 delves into its features, protection capabilities, and different plans for various budgets, and compares Bitdefender to its competitors to help you make an informed decision.

Bitdefender review: Essential insights

Bitdefender is a leading antivirus tool known for its excellent threat prevention and protection. It offers top-tier security, performance, and usability for a wide range of users, including consumers, small businesses, and enterprises. Here's an overview of the main points covered in this review:

  • Pricing: Bitdefender offers competitive pricing with various subscription plans, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a free plan. The Antivirus Plus plan starts at $29.99/year for one device.
  • Security features: Bitdefender includes a comprehensive set of features to protect your devices, such as a firewall, malware scanner, ransomware remediation, a VPN, and a password manager.
  • Ease of use: Although Bitdefender can be somewhat challenging to install, it is lightweight and user-friendly, minimizing any significant usability issues after setup.
  • Performance impact: I assessed how Bitdefender affects device performance during scans and other tasks, and the overall results were highly satisfactory.

Bitdefender price

Bitdefender provides four different plans: Free, Antivirus Plus ($29.99/year), Internet Security ($42.49/year), and Total Security ($49.99/year). While the premium package is more expensive, each plan includes a wide array of useful security features to ensure optimal protection for your devices.

For those who need apps compatible with all operating systems, Total Security is the best choice.

Bitdefender provides 30-day free trials for all paid plans and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee to prevent buyer's remorse.

While the free Bitdefender antivirus plan covers basic device security, premium subscription plans offer additional features such as a VPN, password manager, and webcam and microphone protection.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

This Windows-only entry plan protects three of your devices from malware. With Antivirus Plus, you’ll receive features such as:

  • Malware scanner
  • Secure browser
  • VPN (limited to 200 MB of data daily)
  • Password manager
  • Anti-tracker
  • File-shredder
  • 24/7 customer support

However, there are some security limitations. For instance, you won't get Bitdefender firewall protection or system optimization tools. Additionally, be aware that renewal prices may be higher than the initial purchase price.

Bitdefender Internet Security

Bitdefender Internet Security is an upgrade from Antivirus Plus, adding the following features:

  • Firewall protection
  • Anti-spam feature
  • Parental controls
  • Webcam and microphone protection

The price for these features is quite reasonable, offering top-tier security and protection for your Windows device while browsing online. However, a drawback is that it only covers three devices and is limited to Windows users.

Bitdefender Total Security

Bitdefender Total Security doesn’t significantly expand on the features offered in Internet Security. The only additions to all the Internet Security features are system tune-up tools and anti-theft protection. However, this plan covers mobile devices, allowing you to protect your Android and iOS phones, as well as macOS devices, with one of the best antivirus software available. The Total Security plan also increases the number of devices you can cover with one subscription to up to five.Is there a free version of Bitdefender available

Is there a free version of Bitdefender available?

Yes, Bitdefender offers a free plan for both Windows and macOS users. The Mac version provides basic protection, offering only the Virus Scan feature for on-demand malware scanning.

On the other hand, the free version of Bitdefender is a more comprehensive anti-malware protection suite with additional features.

In fact, Bitdefender's Free Edition rivals the paid premium versions of some other antivirus providers, providing robust security with virus scanning, real-time protection, and defense against phishing and ransomware attacks.

However, Bitdefender's free version lacks certain features such as network threat protection, usage profiles, a VPN, and a password manager. If these are essential to you, it may be worth considering investing in Bitdefender's premium subscription, which not only offers top-tier security but also covers multiple devices with a single account.

Is Bitdefender safe?

Bitdefender is indeed a secure anti-malware application, widely regarded as one of the safest antivirus software available. It has received accolades such as the AV-Comparatives' Outstanding Product Award and achieved the highest Advanced+ rating in all seven tests of the Consumer Main-Test Series.

Looking beyond awards, recent tests show Bitdefender's effectiveness in virus detection. In the latest AV-Test, Bitdefender successfully blocked 100% of threats during the testing period of November-December 2023, including both 0-day and 4-week-old malware and other threats.

Bitdefender security features

When comparing Bitdefender's free and paid versions, both use the same malware database for identifying potential threats. This means that regardless of your budget, you'll receive the same high level of malware removal. However, there are additional benefits to consider with a subscription.

Here is a list of some of the most notable features included in the Bitdefender antivirus package:

Feature What it does?
Firewall Enables you to keep track of every connection originating from your device.
Anti-theft Enables you to find your device on Google Maps and remotely lock it.
Malware scanner Provides various scanning choices ranging from quick to comprehensive searches for threats within your device's system.
Real-time protection Detects threats in real-time, preventing them from entering your system.
Anti-tracker Shields you from online trackers that collect your information.
VPN A tool for safeguarding your digital privacy and preventing data collection.


Bitdefender Firewall is a security function that defends your device against unauthorized access by blocking both inbound and outbound connections, whether on local networks or the internet. It operates based on a set of rules that dictate which connections are permitted and which are blocked. These rules are automatically generated for recognized, legitimate applications. Additionally, you have the option to manually establish rules for applications you deem trustworthy.

This functionality helps safeguard your computer from various threats, such as hackers, malware, and data snoopers.

After personally testing the Firewall feature on Windows, I received popup notifications to either allow or block applications. I was able to configure and monitor all permissions for both recognized and unrecognized programs.


Anti-theft is a security feature designed to protect your lost or stolen device, which I find particularly valuable in today's world where being vigilant with your possessions is crucial. This feature offers several functionalities, including:

  • Remote location: Locate your device on a map, even if it's turned off.
  • Remote lock: Lock your device remotely to prevent unauthorized access to your data.
  • Remote wipe: Remotely wipe your device to erase all of your data.
  • Remote alarm: Activate an alarm on your device remotely to help locate it if lost or stolen.
  • SIM card change alerts: Receive notifications if your SIM card is changed, aiding in tracking your device if stolen.
  • Photo capture: If an incorrect PIN or password is entered three times, Bitdefender Anti-theft will use the front camera to capture a photo of the unauthorized user.

Malware scanner

Bitdefender offers a highly effective and dependable virus scanning tool. It relies on a combination of malware databases and machine learning, making it particularly adept at identifying both familiar and unfamiliar malware threats. These scans occur in the cloud, resulting in minimal impact on the device's system.

There are four scan options available: Quick scan, System scan, Vulnerability scan, and Custom scan.

To evaluate the Quick and System scan options, I downloaded 10 malware samples, including trojans, red line stealers, worms, and ransomware, and disabled real-time protection. I then tested these scans while monitoring computer resources to assess Bitdefender's scan effectiveness and its impact on the device system. Here are the results:

  • Quick scan - This scan targets locations where malware typically resides. It completed in 3 minutes and 37 seconds, scanning nearly 4000 files.
  • System scan - This scan examines the entire system for malware threats. It took 24 minutes and 5 seconds, scanning over 163,000 files. It successfully detected 9 out of 10 zero-day threats, demonstrating its reliable protection capabilities. Overall, the system scan finished in under an hour, a competitive result compared to other leading antivirus software like Norton or Avira, which typically take around 15 minutes to complete.

Bitdefender also offers two alternative scan choices:

  • Vulnerability scan - This scan examines the device for potential vulnerabilities. It typically takes 5 minutes and involves checking for weak passwords, outdated applications or drivers, and Windows updates. This feature is particularly beneficial for users who don't manually update their devices. Additionally, it detects any system alterations and notifies users of any security breaches that may require further action.
  • Custom scan - This option enables users to scan specific system areas where threats may be present. Moreover, it allows users to schedule scans at their convenience. Comparable to offerings from competitors like Norton or TotalAV, Bitdefender's custom scans are quick and easily schedulable with just a few clicks.

In summary, Bitdefender's malware scanner stands out as one of the top security tools. It operates swiftly, comprehensively, and without impeding device performance, ensuring users can trust in the security of their systems.

Real-time protection

Bitdefender's real-time protection, also known as Bitdefender Shield, continuously scans all downloaded files for threats. If a threat is detected, it is either deleted or isolated in quarantine, preventing you from opening malicious files. This feature is highly effective as it works in conjunction with Bitdefender's Global Protective Network, which monitors over 500 million machines to identify new malware patterns. This ensures protection against recent or poorly documented threats and phishing attacks.

To test the reliability of Bitdefender's malware scanner, I downloaded and unzipped 10 malware files, allowing real-time protection to detect any threats. Typically, it swiftly identifies and removes most of the malicious files.

It's worth noting that Bitdefender's real-time protection cannot scan compressed files. To ensure its effectiveness, you'll need to unzip downloaded files. Nevertheless, this feature is quick and highly secure, shielding your device from both known and emerging cyber threats.

Ransomware remediation

Bitdefender's ransomware remediation feature is built to automatically safeguard your files from ransomware threats. It achieves this by creating backups of your files, including documents, images, music, and videos, ensuring they remain unaffected in the event of a ransomware attack. Additionally, Bitdefender is capable of detecting ransomware attempts to encrypt your files, promptly halting all malicious processes before they can inflict substantial harm.

While it may not always be feasible to decrypt ransomware-encrypted files, having prepared backups enables you to replace the encrypted files, alleviating concerns about potential loss of critical documents or sensitive data.


While the Antispam feature may initially appear straightforward, its functionality is more complex than meets the eye. This feature is intended to function with any mailbox, offering active protection for the entire email channel. To accomplish this, it utilizes a Whitelist, a heuristic filter, and learning modules.

Bitdefender analyzes each received email, examining its contents, header, and metadata to detect specific spam characteristics. The system can also be configured to block emails encoded in Cyrillic or Asian characters.

The learning module complements this filter by collecting statistical data on genuine emails and spam messages, enabling it to detect spam faster than a trained cybersecurity expert with sufficient adaptation.

The whitelister feature allows you to designate trusted domains, preventing them from being marked and scanned as spam.

I tested this feature's ability to identify spam emails, and it effectively flagged spam messages, demonstrating its ability to protect your data.


Bitdefender Anti-tracker is a feature offered to premium users seeking to halt extensive tracking conducted by online services. It's common knowledge that many websites track user activity using third-party scripts, cookies, and other advertising technologies.

The Anti-tracker add-on is compatible with Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. When activated, it prevents malicious scripts from collecting your data while you browse the internet. Additionally, you can choose which tracking categories to enable or disable. For instance, you might want to allow website analytics but block ads or social media tracking. This customization option allows you to tailor the add-on to your preferences. Furthermore, it notably reduces the loading time of websites.

Bitdefender VPN

One notable distinction from many other antivirus providers is that Bitdefender includes a VPN as part of its application. This is particularly generous, as some antivirus companies either charge extra for their VPN services or offer them as separate products included only in their most expensive packages.

However, you also have the option to purchase the VPN separately, which would cost $3.33 per month for a yearly plan.

While Bitdefender's VPN is a solid option among antivirus providers, it may not compete with premium VPN services like NordVPN or Surfshark. Bitdefender's VPN offers only one tunneling protocol, Catapult Hydra, which is fast but lacks extensive information on its security. However, it does provide AES 256-bit encryption, ensuring your data remains secure.

If you prioritize security and anonymity, Bitdefender's VPN may not be the best choice, as it lacks an independently verified no-logs policy.

Despite this, there are several positive aspects of Bitdefender Premium VPN:

  • It boasts over 4,000 servers in more than 53 countries.
  • It can unblock Netflix US and several other streaming services.
  • It includes a kill switch that disables your internet traffic if your connection to the VPN servers is interrupted.
  • It features an Auto-connect feature for public Wi-Fi networks or specific websites.
  • It offers split tunneling, allowing you to exclude certain websites from VPN traffic.

However, if you opt for Bitdefender's cheaper antivirus plans, you'll be limited to 200 MB of data per day. Conversely, purchasing the VPN separately grants you unlimited data.

Password manager

Instead of creating a separate application, Bitdefender has integrated its password manager into the main dashboard. Users with multiple devices will find it convenient to synchronize their passwords across all of them.

The password manager includes several features:

  • Password wallet - where you can store passwords and specify which browser to use this feature with.
  • Password generator - helps create strong passwords for enhanced security.
  • Auto-save and auto-fill - allow automatic saving of new passwords into your password wallet and automatic filling of passwords.

This password manager is user-friendly with basic features, suitable for new users and provides decent security. However, premium password managers offer higher security with features like two-factor authentication and more advanced functionality, such as NordPass or Keeper. While Bitdefender's password manager is a great addition to an antivirus suite, there are more comprehensive options available.

Digital Identity Protection

Bitdefender provides continuous web monitoring to alert you if your sensitive information has been leaked online. This service checks compromised databases on the dark web to ensure your social security number, various login credentials, and payment details remain secure.

It's important to note that this feature must be purchased separately, starting at $7.99 per month, to access its benefits. Additionally, it is available in three tiers, with each higher plan offering more advantages:

  • Digital Identity Protection ($7.99/month or $39.99/year): Offers 24/7 dark web monitoring.
  • Identity Theft Protection ($8.99/month or $79.99/year): Includes 1 bureau credit status monitoring, ID theft restoration services, and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
  • Identity Theft Protection Premium ($11.99/month or $109.99): Provides bank and credit card activity alerts, 3 bureau credit status monitoring, and increased insurance coverage.

Extra security features

In addition to essential security features, Bitdefender offers several extra features that can be incredibly useful:

  • Microphone and webcam protection: Protects your camera and microphone from unauthorized access. It notifies you each time any app or website accesses your camera or microphone, although you are not alerted when an attempt is made, only when access is successful.
  • Web protection: Includes an anti-phishing tool that guards against online threats to your data and device. It prevents access to malicious sites, stops visits to sites with downloadable malware, identifies fraudulent websites targeting financial exploitation, alerts you about dangerous search result pages, and verifies the validity of SSL/TSL certificates on encrypted websites.
  • System optimization: A tune-up tool to free up space on your device by removing older and unnecessary files, such as old installation files, registries, junk files, outdated drives, and empty files.
  • SafePay: A secure web browser for safe online purchases. It creates a sandbox that operates separately from your other browsers, ensuring it remains unaffected by malware present on your regular browser. Additionally, it checks the security of your connection to Wi-Fi networks and uses a virtual keyboard to prevent malware from registering your keystrokes.
  • Profiles: Preset settings that adjust to your circumstances to optimize your computer's performance. There are several modes available, including work, movie, game, public Wi-Fi, and battery modes. You can choose manual or automatic switching between profiles.
  • Parental controls: Protects your device from unwanted content. It includes website blocking, app use restrictions, device usage schedules, screen time limits, access to phone contacts, and device location tracking.

Bitdefender ease of use and setup

Selecting the appropriate Bitdefender plan and setting it up may initially seem time-consuming, especially since the installation files are 400 MB. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the installation and setup took no longer than 10 minutes. The duration of this process may vary depending on your device.

Once set up, I found the app to be quite user-friendly. The interface is well-organized, and I particularly appreciated the ability to customize the dashboard by adding "quick actions." The default suite is categorized into Protection, Privacy, and Utilities. The Dashboard provides quick actions, displays your status, and includes tabs for Settings and Notifications.

The Protection tab includes features typically associated with antivirus tools, such as real-time protection settings, firewall monitoring, and ransomware countermeasures. The Privacy tab focuses on methods for staying anonymous and secure while browsing online, including the SafePay browser, VPN, password manager, and parental controls. The Utilities tab contains optimization tools, profile management, and a file shredder.

Overall, I found the Bitdefender app to be intuitive and user-friendly. Its interface should be easy to navigate for both beginners and more advanced users, including those in business settings.

Impact on PC performance

When discussing Bitdefender's impact on the device, the term "lightweight" doesn't just refer to minimal use of system resources. In my tests, I monitored how much the software utilized my system resources. It's crucial to recognize that higher CPU loads can impede the performance of other tasks.

During a full scan, Bitdefender only utilized 50% of the device's CPU, which is significantly lighter on resources compared to other antivirus providers. Furthermore, Bitdefender's full scan successfully detected all malware samples on my test device. In contrast, Avira consumed up to 92% of the CPU and only detected 70% of the malware samples.

Bitdefender mobile apps

Bitdefender offers dedicated apps for both Android and iOS as part of its Total Security package. I tested both to assess their quality and effectiveness in providing device protection across different operating systems.

There are significant differences between the Android and iOS mobile security apps. While both are easy to download and set up, the user experience differs. The Android version is notably superior, offering more features, while the iOS apps are more basic and feel like they were added as an afterthought.

Bitdefender on Android

The Bitdefender Android app is highly secure and user-friendly, often regarded as one of the best antivirus solutions for Android devices. It closely resembles the desktop version in terms of functionality, ease of use, and visual appeal, offering all the essential security features for mobile devices. Key features of the Android version include:

  • Malware scanner: Constantly scans and protects your device from cyber threats.
  • Web protection toggle: Can be enabled on your browser to guard against visiting malicious websites.
  • Scam alert: Protects you from fraudulent links in your messages.
  • VPN feature: Includes an ad and tracker blocker, with a data cap of 200 MB per day.
  • Autopilot: Provides advice on how to enhance your phone's security and scans all new apps for potential threats.
  • App lock: Allows you to restrict access to specific apps, useful when lending your device to others.
  • Anti-theft feature: Helps locate a lost or stolen device, displaying its last known location. You can also send a message to the missing device, make it ring loudly, or remotely wipe the system.
  • Identity protection: Notifies you if your email was involved in recent data breaches, checks for leaks on the Dark Web, and assists in strengthening your passwords.

Bitdefender on iOS

The iOS version of Bitdefender Mobile Security is relatively basic compared to its Android counterpart, lacking features such as a malware scanner, scam alert, or the Autopilot feature. However, the app is highly secure, easy to use, and serves as a valuable addition to iOS security. It ranks among the best antivirus apps for iPhone, following Norton Antivirus and TotalAV.

Key features of the iOS app include:

  • Web protection: Ensures safe browsing by preventing access to malicious sites.
  • Privacy monitoring: Helps track any of your accounts that may have been involved in data breaches.
  • VPN: Offers a daily data cap of 200 MB, but unlike the Android version, it does not include an ad and tracker blocker.

In summary, the iOS version of Bitdefender Mobile Security offers privacy monitoring, a VPN with limited data usage, and browser protection. This may be disappointing to some, as most antivirus software for iOS lacks many additional features due to Apple devices being less susceptible to malware threats. Bitdefender antivirus has room for improvement in terms of iOS security.

Customer support

One of the standout features of Bitdefender's customer support is that it's available to both free and paid users, without requiring a premium subscription. Additionally, there are various channels through which users can seek assistance.

Bitdefender's live chat support is highly efficient, connecting you with a knowledgeable agent within moments. They are prompt in answering questions and resolving issues, which is a significant improvement over competitors like Norton, where wait times for a response could be as long as 20 minutes.

Additionally, Bitdefender offers a comprehensive collection of FAQs, guides, and other resources on their support website. While waiting for live chat support, it's worth checking these resources, as you may find a solution to your issue before your turn in the queue.

If you prefer other communication methods, Bitdefender also provides phone support and email contact options. This variety ensures that you can reach out in the way that is most convenient for you, making Bitdefender's customer support a standout feature of the service.

Bitdefender video review

If reading the entire Bitdefender review feels like too much, you can watch our video review instead. In less than 10 minutes, you'll get all the information you need to know before deciding on this security tool.

Is Bitdefender worth it?

Bitdefender stands out as one of the premier antivirus software options available. Its strong malware detection and removal capabilities make it highly effective against zero-day threats. The comprehensive protection package includes real-time and web protection, along with various personal security tools, making Bitdefender a versatile choice. The user-friendly interface, feature-rich offerings like a VPN and password manager, and affordable pricing further enhance its appeal.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider. The iOS app lacks certain features, the VPN has usage limitations, and the web protection feature could be more robust.

Overall, Bitdefender provides excellent protection and features, although there is still room for improvement. The free version is adequate for basic malware protection, but for more comprehensive features, upgrading to a paid plan is recommended.

How we tested Bitdefender?

We conducted in-house tests and consulted third-party antivirus lab results to assess the effectiveness of Bitdefender.

Our evaluation began by testing the service's real-time protection against 10 zero-day malware samples. We downloaded these files onto a device with Bitdefender installed to observe the software's response.

Subsequently, we disabled real-time protection and repeated the test to determine if quick and full scans could detect the malware samples. Throughout these tests, we monitored metrics such as CPU, memory, and disk load to evaluate Bitdefender's impact on overall device performance.

These tests were conducted across various device and operating system combinations to ensure consistency in protection results. Additionally, this approach allowed us to assess other relevant aspects of Bitdefender, including feature availability and ease of use.

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