As cyber criminals advance their tactics, online threats continue to grow. That’s why many cybersecurity companies have started to offer one-fix solutions.
But when it comes to an antivirus versus VPN, well, sure, they both protect you but it just isn’t as simple as that.
I’m gonna be discussing VPN versus antivirus in 2022 to let you know which one might be right for your online habits.
So jumping right in, an antivirus by nature is software that was created to protect you against malware. Malware is kind of an umbrella term for all the different types of malicious software.
level of your antivirus
Now, the level of your antivirus will help determine what types of threats it’s able to detect. The best antivirus providers can go as far as to protect from ransomware or even zero-day threats, which is some of the more damaging stuff cyber criminals tend to use these days.
Now, a virus can get on to your device in any number of ways. But most recently, Microsoft documents or emails embedded with malware have been a more common cause.
Long story short, even the most basic antivirus software will scan your device, detect threats and remove or quarantine them. So depending on the provider you have, they could either just remove existing threats or use real-time protection to keep you updated at all times.
But what you should know is that an antivirus solution isn’t typically made to project users’ privacy. Sure, some can block online trackers but they can’t hide your IP address as you travel the web. This is where a VPN comes in handy.
Okay, so let’s imagine an antivirus like a bodyguard, making sure nobody unauthorized gets into the club and kicking anybody out that shouldn’t already be there.
VPN Work For Privacy
Then a VPN would be more like someone handing out those “Eyes Wide Shut” masks, helping you hide your identity as you move around the club.
I like that analogy. You don’t need to judge me. I’m fine. (Mike clearing throat) Anyway, VPN is thought of as a tool for the anonymous seekers of the internet and in reality, it has a lot more functionalities. If we’re talking security, it uses encryption to hide your online identity as you browse or do other stuff online.
It masks your IP address by swapping it with the VPN provider’s server IP, making it anonymous. It also helps in the case of unsecured networks, like when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi. So when it comes to VPN protection from unknow, it can safeguard against various attacks.
Take DDoS attacks, for example, they solely rely on flooding your address with requests, which in turn overloads and disables your entire system.
Now, I will say that a lot of people confuse the two because a VPN can indirectly protect you from unknows but it won’t protect you from malware and it certainly won’t do anything if your device is already infected.
However, some top providers have ad filters, and they notify you before entering us a site. NordVPN is a good example of this.
They have threat protection that blocks dangerous ads, trackers and stuff like that. It’s more malware prevention than direct defense. So a VPN or antivirus? I would say that no cybersecurity tool is a one-time fix, and that’s why coupling these tools together gives you a better chance of protecting your data. Thankfully, it’s possible to use an antivirus and a VPN simultaneously.
Differences in the More Useful Features
So I’ll head into the main differences in the more useful features. But if you’re considering either of these tools today, I always add my tried and tested recommendations down in the description for you to check out, along with some discounts. Right, so Bitdefender antivirus is a good example of a feature-rich solution.
Not only does this best antivirus 2022 contender protect, remove, and resolve malware, but it also uses ransomware remediation. With ransomware near doubling in attacks between 2021 and ’22, this year is no different with recent reports showing it’s still booming.
So yeah, see why we’re stressing the importance of this protection? Ransomware is dangerous because it allows a cyber criminal to encrypt your precious files and then blackmails you to decrypt them.
But this feature essentially backs up your documents, images and videos so they won’t be affected by such attacks. It also notifies you if ransomware is trying to encrypt your files and then blocks those attempts. Then there’s advanced threat defense, which works in real-time, making sure you have protection against very recent or very poorly documented threats.
Super important. Now, as I mentioned, both the provider and the plan you choose will determine the level of protection you get.
A few other capabilities I truly appreciate from Bitdefender are their parental controls. This helps block malware but also avoids anyone accessing unwanted content. Super useful because yeah, I share a home computer with the family at times.
A few other capabilities are surprisingly tailored towards privacy, though in no way comparable to a VPN. The file shredder is super helpful if you plan on selling or giving away your device. A lot of people don’t realize information can still be recovered.
So this uses a special algorithm to make sure they’re unrecoverable. And then, the anti-tracking feature, which once enabled, will help you customize where your data goes. I was easily able to block ads and social media tracking as I browsed.
Okay, taking a look at a VPN. Well, there are so many useful capabilities, especially in terms of online protection.
Take strong encryption as a starting point. Top providers will at least have the industry standard. NordVPN is no different with an unbreakable AES-256 bit cipher. I always recommend choosing a provider that has a solid kill switch.
This safeguards your location when your connection drops and NordVPN has an efficient system-wide version.
Then there’s split tunneling. With NordVPN for Windows, you actually get two versions of this. Love it. I tend to use this to make my work browser go through the VPN encryption but leave my Netflix app in the current location.
This means I can work securely but watch local content. Another area where a VPN can touch upon similar capabilities to an antivirus is in their dark web monitoring. Now, an area I can’t forget to mention that truly separates a VPN from an antivirus is their unblocking and streaming capabilities.
I really don’t wanna go into too much here but feel free to subscribe and check out our channel because we often post tutorials or updates on the best VPN streaming options.
Anyway, the best VPN 2022 options have specialized servers for streaming. I was able to access around 21 Netflix libraries using NordVPN, including the more difficult libraries, like Japan.
All of which I wouldn’t have been able to do given my location. And because of their smart play technology, I could actually access most streaming platforms that I tried. When it comes to ease and detection rates, I can say that navigating Bitdefender is no problem.
A lot of market leaders have streamlined their UI due to increased competition. In my Bitdefender review, I did some thorough testing.
Running a scan and doing most of the daily activities was super easy. A full system scan took around 15 minutes but it did detect 9 out of 10 malicious files that I planted on my PC, so great going, guys.
All right, if you’re considering NordVPN and wondering if it might be for you, I gotta say, this is a solid all around option for all users.
If you’re a beginner, it has a big map with around 5,400 servers to choose from. It’s super easy to connect and customize your settings. There’s an auto-connect feature as well. Advanced users can take it even further and make it their VPN connect automatically or even use split tunneling to tailor their experience.
Also, in my recent NordVPN review, I ran a NordVPN speed test, which show really reliable speeds, mainly due to their advanced protocol, NordLynx.
Now, as you can see, Nord is pretty on par with Surfshark in sought-after locations: Japan, the UK, and US. So whether you’re , streaming or just browsing in a more secure way, it has the reliable performance that you want. Also, both NordVPN and Bitdefender are accessible on all the major operating systems.
Big Difference Between an Antivirus and VPN
Okay, so now you know there’s a big difference between an antivirus and VPN. But I recommend using both tools in conjunction with a reputable provider.
Yes, there are free options on the market, but it’s always better to choose a reliable option that offers advanced features. But of course, the indecision is up to you. Having said that, you should know that NordVPN and Bitdefender are really affordable right now and an excellent value for your money.
Sure, there are all-in-one tools, like the new Surfshark One bundle, which combines with Surfshark VPN with the Surfshark antivirus.
So it really depends if you want all your tools under one roof. But this is still a recent release and they’re still streamlining their capabilities and approach. So it might be one of the best VPN-antivirus combo options. We’ll see.
So is VPN the same as antivirus?
Not really. Those are some of the best VPN and antivirus picks I can offer up but it’s important to consider your online habits.
You should just know that a VPN and an antivirus won’t offer the same protection, and with online threats becoming more sophisticated, well, it’s vital that you get the perfect solution for your needs. Okay, what are your thoughts on the VPN versus antivirus 2022 debate?