How Do I Choose the Best Antivirus Software?

Sandi Johnson

Choosing the best antivirus software depends on several factors, with most centering around the best solution for the individual or business. When selecting an antivirus program or suite of utilities, the best antivirus software is the one that meets your needs. Questions such as how much you can afford to spend, the type of home or business network used, typical Internet usage and system properties all factor into which software is best. Equivalent comparisons, diligent research and an accurate assessment of need all play an important part in choosing the right solution.

Many factors go into choosing antivirus software.
Many factors go into choosing antivirus software.

Before reading reviews and comparing various solution options, the best approach to choosing the right computer security solution is to determine what you actually need. Wireless home networking equipment, for example, often includes the ability to establish a network-based firewall. Users who have this type of setup might not need an antivirus program that includes a firewall. For another individual or business, the ability to scan email and filter out spam might be just as important as virus protection.

The type of network being used is a factor in choosing antivirus software.
The type of network being used is a factor in choosing antivirus software.

Determining what is needed first prevents buying a more expensive suite of utilities when a simple standalone program might be the best antivirus software solution. Consider factors such as the type and age of the computer system, how often files are downloaded and available system resources or disk space. Likewise, consider your network setup and whether multiple licenses are required for multiple computers, because this can affect your final decision.

Diligent research of the best antivirus software also is important, although such information should not be the sole deciding factor. Numerous websites, trade publications and information technology (IT) professionals publish lists of the best antivirus software according to different criteria. Typically, these reviews are published in the fall of each year when new software editions are released.

Keep in mind, for the individual or business, such lists and reviews are often less than helpful because the criteria that are used is subjective. Some are based on a collection of user reviews, and others are based on personal experience and testing. Sponsored advertising can also affect the objectivity of certain reviews. Research options before deciding on the best software, but take into account the source of the reviews you read.

For most individuals, budgets usually are the primary deciding factor in choosing the best antivirus software. Cost is an undeniably important variable when deciding which product to buy. Often, rather than purchasing the best software on the market, consumers make choices based on the best antivirus software they can afford. It might be helpful, then, to organize choices by price range to determine the best antivirus software based on cost and budgetary concerns.

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