Your identity is in constant danger if you’re using a PC without the right antivirus. Cyber criminals can steal your identity, take your files and compromise your financial health. That’s why software like Bitdefender and Webroot are for sale, ready to protect you from the most immediate cyber security threats.
We’re putting Bitdefender and Webroot to the test in a head-to-head battle to find out whether Bitdefender still deserves our recommendation as the best antivirus software, or whether Webroot is about to knock it off its pedestal. Take an extra-long look at what we have to say about Webroot’s unusual methods before you make any decisions.
Before we begin our Bitdefender vs. Webroot run-through, don’t forget to take a look at our individual Bitdefender review and Webroot review for a complete breakdown of each antivirus software’s strengths and weaknesses.
Setting Up a Fight: Bitdefender vs. Webroot
We’ll be testing Bitdefender and Webroot in five rounds to help you compare the two — looking at their features, pricing, overall user-friendliness, standard of protection, and quality of customer support — before providing our final roundup and verdict.
Each of these five rounds will have an individual winner, which will earn a point. The first software to receive three or more points will be the winner, with a brief recap to explain why.
You can skip to the recaps, but you’ll get a better understanding by reading through each round in full. If you’ve got a different viewpoint than ours, drop your thoughts in the comments section.
Antivirus developers work tirelessly to help beat cybercrime, but not every antivirus has the same depth of features. Whether or not your antivirus is prepared for those threats depends on whether it’s staying ahead of the game with new feature development. With that in mind, we’re going to take a deeper look at the features both Bitdefender and Webroot offer.
There’s a reason why Bitdefender is one of our most secure antivirus software choices. It’s got features to cover any number of potential cyber threats, but you’ll need to pay a premium to access some of them.
Bitdefender comes with one of the most comprehensive sets of protection features we’ve seen, something we’ll talk more about in our protection section. As is standard, Bitdefender comes with malware protection that can look for and stop the most sophisticated malware currently in the wild.
Additionally, Bitfender backs up its buzzwords, like “real-time data protection,” with WiFi security tools, a firewall to stop incoming threats, browser privacy tools, as well as protection to block access to your microphone and webcam.
Bitdefender doesn’t stop there, though. It also comes with additional (optional) extensions for your browser to block malicious websites. It also has Safepay, a sandbox browser that isolates itself with a virtual keyboard to help block anyone monitoring you while you shop online or access your bank.
Combined with a VPN with a 200MB daily limit, you can safely access your most sensitive accounts on open WiFi, reducing the dangers of public WiFi networks. That said, a 200MB data limit can be exhausted pretty quickly under heavier usage, so you can’t treat Bitdefender as a full NordVPN replacement (see our NordVPN review).
To further improve your safety, Bitdefender also comes with a password manager and secure file tools to encrypt, protect or shred your most sensitive files (depending on your needs).
All of these features come as standard across Bitdefender’s packages, but some are Windows only. It’s also important to note that protection for Mac or mobile devices like Android requires a more expensive subscription.
Bitdefender markets packages like “Total Security,” and it’s clear why. It’s trying to be the only tool you need to protect all of your devices, whether it’s your Windows, Mac or Android phone. With such extensive features, it’s doing a pretty good job of it.
Webroot has taken an innovative approach to its overall protection methods. Rather than relying on and using up your system resources, Webroot SecureAnywhere is based around cloud detection and protection.
This means that your Webroot installation is much smaller, taking advantage of Webroot in the cloud, with all the computing resources and information it has as it’s disposal. It detects and processes new threats, and then passes that information to other users nearly instantly, which vastly reduces the impact on your PC.
Webroot uses this to form it’s standard “advanced threat protection,” which it offers across all of its packages for Windows and Mac users. It comes with anti-phishing and anti-malware, alongside a network firewall and WiFi monitoring, as well as protection for your webcam.
Certain features cost extra, like Webroot’s password manager and mobile support. It’s not a Dashlane replacement (see our Dashlane review), but if you’ve got nowhere to store your passwords, it’ll certainly make things easier.
Mobile support for iOS and Android is another premium feature, but you’ll also get 25GB of extra cloud storage to sweeten the deal.
Round One Thoughts
With such minimal system requirements and a low footprint, Webroot is a great option for older PCs and Macs, and it includes some premium features, like a password manager and webcam protection.
Bitdefender offers the same features and then extra on top, including file shredding and anti-theft, among others, making it the better of the two here.
Webroot also offers a VPN service, which you can read more about in our dedicted Webroot VPN review.
Without affordable price plans, premium antivirus software companies wouldn’t be around for very long. Both Bitdefender and Webroot offer sliding-scale price plans, with additional features costing you extra.
There can only be a single winner in the war on cost, so let’s compare the pricing plans that both companies offer.
Bitdefender has four pricing plans, each with an increasing number of features available. The cost of these plans vary, depending on the type of device you’re looking to protect. There are also varying plan lengths, from one to three years.
- : Unlimited devices, malware protection
- : Good for 5 devices
- : Good for 3 Windows PCs
- : Good for 3 Windows PCs
Bitdefender treats new customers very well, with around 40- to 50-percent discounts available on three-device pricing plans. Thanks to these discounts, it works out cheaper for new customers on certain plans, like the mid-range Bitdefender Internet Security plan, to take three-device coverage than coverage for just one device.
Antivirus Plus is the cheapest Bitdefender package on offer. However, this Windows-only plan is pretty basic. It’s limited to Windows, lacks webcam protection and Safepay (along with several other premium features), but does come with the full anti-malware coverage. It comes with coverage for up to 10 devices, but only 10 Windows devices.
Internet Security is also for Windows users, but it gives the full set of Bitdefender features, excluding anti-theft. It also offers coverage for up to 10 devices, along with one-, three- and five-device plans.
For an extra $5 to $10 (depending on whether you choose five- or 10-device coverage), you can get support for Android and Mac with Bitdefender Total Security, along with the full Bitdefender feature set. Bitdefender’s Android support is well regarded, which is why we recommend it on our best antivirus for Android shortlist.
At the top of the pile is Family Pack, Bitdefender’s plan for families with coverage for 15 devices. This is the “everything but the kitchen sink” edition, with maximum device coverage, full support for mobile and Mac, and all the features for an extra $20 per year.
Webroot offers five Webroot antivirus plans, but some of them specifically target niche audiences, like gamers. As you might expect from the name, SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is the basic plan for consumers.
- : One device, ransomware and phishing protection, firewall
- : Three devices, mobile apps, firewall, password manager
- : Five devices, file shredder, cloud storage, disk cleaner
New-customer discounts are reasonable, but for existing customers, AntiVirus costs around $10 less per year than the equivalent Bitdefender Antivirus Plus package. It supports Windows and Macs, while also offering identity protection, anti-phishing and a network firewall as standard.
Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus is the next plan tier, adding mobile support and a password manager for an extra $10 per year, compared to SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, as well as support for three or five devices for one to three years.
Internet Security Plus is the same price as Bitdefender Internet Security, but is the better option for mobile and Mac users, although with fewer other features. Near the top of the tree is Internet Security Complete, about $10 per year cheaper than Bitdefender Total Security.
It comes with a system optimization tool (similar to tools like CCleaner), 25GB storage and coverage for five devices which, like the other plans, is $10 per year cheaper than the equivalent Bitdefender plan.
Internet Security Complete Family Pack, with 10-device coverage, is the only plan that’s more expensive than Bitdefender per year: $30 per year more expensive than Bitdefender Family Pack.
Among these packages sits an oddity in the form of AntiVirus for PC Gamers. This niche plan is, as you can gather from the name itself, targeted at PC gamers, offering them lag-free, silent coverage with other features on par with the AntiVirus plan. Coverage only covers one device, though.
Round Two Thoughts
Bitdefender does well to spread the cost of its plans, providing large, new-customer discounts and a sliding scale for features. Webroot offers similar plans, but at a lower cost (except for the plan for families), so it ultimately wins this round.
3. User Friendliness
Antivirus software should be easy to install, use and navigate around. If antivirus software isn’t user-friendly, you might find yourself bamboozled by what to do when a crisis does hit. You can find a good example of a hard-to-use antivirus in our BullGuard Antivirus review.
We’re about to find out if Bitdefender and Webroot are the same in this overall test of user friendliness.
Bitdefender is an easy installation with few user prompts, and you’ll be up and running within 10 minutes.
Using Bitdefender isn’t difficult, with a client built around a dashboard designed to make it easy to find your most likely actions. Virus scanning, VPN and SafePay are all “quick actions” that Bitdefender automatically provides for you, but you can customize the dashboard to your own requirements.
For the most part, however, Bitdefender shouldn’t get in your way. Occasionally, you’ll receive an update or a recommendation — for example, when Bitdefender thinks you should switch to using Safepay.
If you want to modify your Bitdefender setup, you can access your settings or the other advanced features it offers from the side menu. You can also mute or customize your Bitdefender experience with user profiles. You might use a profile like this to lock down your firewall on an open network, for instance.
Bitdefender’s client is one of the most user-friendly we’ve seen, on par with other big names, like AVG, as our AVG review points out. Beginners won’t be overwhelmed, while advanced users will appreciate the level of customization available.
Bitdefender is fast to install, but Webroot is faster, with an installer that’s only 5MB in size. In fact, we installed it and were scanning away in two minutes. The only extra step for users is to insert their subscription key, which Bitdefender provides when you subscribe.
To make sure your PC is up to scratch, Webroot SecureAnywhere will run an initial scan of your PC and deal with any existing threats upon installation. Not only is this efficient, it’s quick — it has to be one of the quickest and lightest scans we’ve seen.
Once you’re up and running, the client is simple, focusing around the scanning aspect of the software. You’ve also got a sidebar with easy access to your settings, premium features, like your password manager, as well as a helpful link to Webroot’s support pages.
The settings area is thorough, with lots of customization options for power users. You can customize the intensity of antivirus scanning, for instance, as well as enable scheduled scans.
If you’re unsure about anything, clicking “learn more” under any option will direct you to helpful guides. For example, clicking this under the “identity protection” section opens up a guide that explains the identity protection it offers.
As far as user friendliness is concerned, Webroot offers something for everyone. You can customize your protection with plenty of settings. However, if you prefer to leave things as is, Webroot is ready to go from the start.
Round Three Thoughts
Both antivirus software look to give the right balance for beginners and power users when it comes to user-friendliness, although Bitdefender’s interface is a little more modern. That said, there’s not much between them, making this round an overall draw.
A pretty interface for an antivirus is pointless if it doesn’t protect you when the malware starts to appear. With that in mind, we’re using the reports of three independent security laboratories to see how well Bitdefender and Webroot will protect you in the real world.
Bitdefender’s scores dropped in AV-TEST’s May-June 2019 scoring, dipping to 97.1 percent in its protection scores from tests conducted earlier in the year. Overall, Bitdefender scored 5.5 out of 6, an unusual drop for this top-tier provider.
Performance percentages for Bitdefender also dropped a little, although the overall score for performance remained the highest at 6 out of 6. Things were a little better for Bitdefender during AV Comparatives’ testing in February-May 2019, with 751 blocked threats and a 99.9 percent success rate.
This meant that Bitdefender earned AV Comparatives’ Advanced+ rating for protection, as well as for performance — the highest offered.
Similarly good results can be found in MFG-Effitas’ Q1 2019 full spectrum test report. It received their highest level 1 “certified” award, matching big names, like Kaspersky (see our Kaspersky review).
Before we begin, it’s important to clarify that Webroot handles antivirus testing a little differently than other antivirus software. It’ll run malware in a sandbox to test and analyse its behavior before reporting the information back.
This means that the methods used by our usual labs aren’t ideal, and it’s also why labs like AV-Comparatives haven’t tested Webroot on Windows since 2012. Most labs expect antivirus software to strike immediately to deal with threats — something that Webroot doesn’t do.
That’s why Webroot performed poorly in AV-TEST’s May-June 2019 testing. It received a score of 2 out of 6 for overall protection, with scores of 81.1 percent in May and a shockingly low 66.5 percent in June.
Performance scores were higher, at 5.5 out of 6, but the low overall protection scores reflect the proactive approach hitting hard here and being scored poorly for it.
Over at MRG-Effitas, the last full spectrum test it conducted on Webroot was in Q3 2018. Again, scores were very poor here. It received a lower level 2 certification, with 26.75 percent of malware samples not initially detected from a sample size of 329, and 0.3 percent missed completely.
They were, however, all detected within 24 hours, backing up the “wait and see” approach that Webroot prefers to use in it’s monitoring.
For comparison, in Q3 2018, Bitdefender blocked 100 percent of all threats in the first round of MFG-Effitas testing, with 99.7 percent blocked automatically.
Round Four Thoughts
Given the unusual way Webroot performs, this is a difficult round to analyze. The sandbox approach to testing shows that, with delays factored in, Webroot will monitor and tackle most threats it faces, while using fewer resources.
On technicalities, however, Bitdefender wins this round. It’s still an outstanding performer, using tried-and-tested methods.
If there’s a problem, you’ll need resolutions fast. To make sure that you’ll get the right support in an emergency, we’re testing the quality of customer support from both Webroot and Bitdefender.
Bitdefender is a global company with international support options for its customers. There are 16 phone lines available for your support queries, which are based in various countries in different continents.
If that doesn’t interest you, you can also make contact through live support tickets, email or through Bitdefender’s live chat system.
There’s 24-hour support, though, should you run into any difficulties. If your issue is minor, you may find that Bitdefender’s knowledgebase has the answer, with guides and videos exploring how to install and configure the software.
If you’d like to hear from other Bitdefender users, the community forum will prove useful. You can ask questions, as well as seek support queries from staff and other helpful customers in English and other languages.
Webroot offers support ticketing and live-chat support, but it’s important to mention that the live chat is only for pre-sales questioning. You can’t ask about any problems until after you’ve purchased, and you can’t seek answers to support queries.
If you need an answer within business hours, you can call Webroot to talk to a support agent. It has centers in Ireland, the U.S. and Australia. Failing that, you can also ask questions on the community forum or search it for existing answers.
There’s also a knowledgebase with a mix of common questions, which you can search through. There doesn’t appear to be a huge number of resources, however, with the forum having much more content.
Round Five Thoughts
Webroot doesn’t do a bad job with its support options, but the knowledgebase feels like an afterthought. Bitdefender matches Webroot’s offerings and more, especially with technical support over live chat.
6. Final Thoughts
Webroot is an interesting player in the antivirus market. It’s fast and easy to use, with price plans that are clearly trying to undercut Bitdefender’s own. Technically, Bitdefender is the better performer, but Webroot’s own unusual methods have a lot of positives.
Its “wait and see” approach — analysing malware it sees in the wild — certainly sees results (as MFG-Effitas’ 24-hour retests show). However, Bitdefender works just as well with typical methods and offers a lot more features.
Bitdefender is still our recommendation as the best antivirus out there, but you can take a closer look at our other antivirus articles to help you decide if it’s the right option for you.
What are your experiences of Webroot SecureAnywhere? Let us know what you think in the comments, and thanks for reading.