F-Secure virus scan screen
F-Secure Online Scanner

Most people think of a virus scan as a resource-heavy and time-consuming process. Although this may be true for full suit antivirus software, there are also types of virus scan program that specializes in light and fast experience.

Virus scan programs designed with a minimum feature and quality user experience is known as Online Virus Scanners. In this article, we will introduce the top free online virus scanner products that can be used as long as you are connected to the internet.

How we decide the performance review

There are a variety of aspects that we take into consideration when performing a product review. The following attributes are used as score measurements to comprehensively compare each product.

Virus Detection Rate

The most important aspect of a virus scanner is the performance of virus detection. Higher the number of viruses that products can detect the better score is assigned.

The virus scan is performed on a computer that contains a variety of virus files specific for testing. The number of viruses detected by each products' virus scan will be compared to each other and ranked accordingly.

Scan speed

The speed of the scan is considered extremely critical when it comes to reviewing the performance of the virus scanner.

We don't consider sacrificing the scan speed for a better detection result is always a good product. A truly impressive virus scanner is expected to optimize the analysis logic. Nobody would want to be stuck for days waiting for the software to complete its task.

Resource Usage Performance

A powerful application is not equivalent to powerful resource usage. With the recent technology improvements, even a high bandwidth calculation can be optimized to be performed on a computer with a normal amount of resources.

We will look closely at the CPU and memory consumption rate to measure and compare the value of products.

Ease of use

Because online scanners are mainly used in situations when users need a quick virus check, convenience usage becomes very important. This includes the user interface and experience, the number of steps until the operation, and the smoothness of delivery of safety.

A virus scanner is not expected to only be used by tech shabby person, but also by people who are not familiar with the technological details. User-friendly and simple navigation is a highly valuable characteristic of technologically complex cybersecurity products.

Features and options

We are aware that for an organization to succeed they still need to make a profit through their free product. This might be in a form of advertisement, client acquisition, trading data, or some unobvious ways.

Free or Paid? Which is better

While this article will only introduce free virus scanner products, we believe it is important to understand the cost of being free to give a proper product review.

The research and development effort required to create a virus scanner is nothing close to free. In addition to the technology aspect, the organization requires many other divisions to run the business.

Then why are free virus scanners free? Not all will apply to all cases, but here are some of the main reasons.

Common Disadvantages of Free Virus Scanners
  • Performance is slightly slower.
  • Threat meta databases may not be up to date.
  • Vulnerable to zero-day attacks.
  • Require manual scanning.
  • Will not proactively detect threats.
  • Do not protect the computer.
  • Will detect a threat but does not remove.
  • Cannot schedule scans.
  • May expose user data for profit.
  • Display advertisement during the operation.

A free virus scanner comes in handy to perform a quick check. Also, a great way to experiment with the product, but not sufficient when it comes to applying for protection.
If you are looking for a comprehensive security product to enhance your environment protection, we highly suggest selecting a paid product over a free version.

F-Secure Online Scanner

F-Secure Website Clip

F-Secure is a Finnish product with characteristics of rich features and stylish UI design. The high reputation accorded to not only for its modern interface but also for its security performance.

The free F-Secure Online Scanner product provides users a fast and user-friendly virus scan experience. There are very few steps required between the product download to running the scan letting users directly start the operation. On the other hand, its simple interface does not allow options for the user to apply any scan customization.

The scan speed is blasting fast that it will be completed before you realize it. Performs an entire system scan by default so no threat files will be missed. The clean scan result will display a message saying "No harmful items were found" with a big green check sign giving the user the feel of safe and pristineness.

Definitely an impressive scanner we recommend if you want to execute an extremely quick virus scan.

Pros
  • Extremely easy to use.
  • No software installation required
  • The database is always up to date.
Cons
  • Windows only.
  • No scan options to select.

F-Secure Online Scanner

ESET Online Scanner

ESET Website Clip

ESET is known to design and develop programs with an emphasis on resource optimization allowing their antivirus platform to run lightly on computers. Many third-party organizations evaluate ESET test results as high scoring detection.

ESET Online Scanner comes with many useful features out of the box, including computer scan, periodic scan, and 30 days test evaluation of full protection.

We were very impressed that the computer scan feature provides the user a choice to pick from Full Scan, Quick Scan, and Custom Scan. There is also a Proxy Server Settings feature that lets the user execute scans over a proxy network.

With the Periodic Scan Setting configuration, the user can schedule a scan based on the date and time. Amazingly, ESET can include all these useful features for free.

Extremely feature-rich ESET Online Scanner is highly useful for general virus check necessities.

Pros
  • Different types of scan options.
  • Can configure the scan schedule based on the date and time.
Cons
  • Scan takes longer for an online scan.
  • The full scan feature takes even longer.
  • Only available for Windows.

ESET Online Scanner

Bitdefender Essential Free Online Antivirus Tools

Bitdefender Website Clip

Bitdefender is developed by a Romanian organization called SOFTWIN. Their high reputation virus detection program is used not only internally but also by other security software companies.

Bitdefender has been keeping the top position for many years when it comes to virus detection rate testing. Full protection product comes with numbers of useful security features to comprehensively protect client system.

As for their Essential Free Online Antivirus Tools, it is more of a free pack edition of their antivirus software. After downloading the program, there will be an additional download of 400MB to prepare for scanning making it not applicable for users that are seeking a quick virus scan.

Although the virus scan performance is remarkable, the preparation to perform the scan can be time consuming and hectic. We were a bit annoyed with the long setup process and especially the requirement to create an account.

Pros
  • Product provides fully loaded features.
  • Detection rate is extremely high.
Cons
  • Requires Bitdefender product download.
  • Setup takes quite a time to prepare for a scan.
  • Require account creation.

Bitdefender Essential Free Online Antivirus Tools

Kaspersky VirusDesk

Kaspersky Website Clip

The Kaspersky's online scanner is architected quite differently from other vendors. Ordinally you will download a virus scan program to your computer and perform a search on your local files. For Kaspersky's VirusDesk, instead of downloading the program you will upload the files to their web interface.

VirusDesk interface lets you scan files by either manually uploading from a dialog, drag and drop a file on the browser, or by providing a link that references the files. If any threat gets detected an analysis will display the details of the threats.

The simple interface and always the latest database provides a blazing fast virus scan experience with minimum steps. We especially love the link reference feature that can scan online storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

However, this program is only recommended to the users who have the scope of files to perform the scan. If you don't know where the virus is at or not sure if the virus even exists on your computer, there are other programs more suitable for such needs.

Pros
  • Extremely fast bulk file scan.
  • The link reference feature can scan online storage.
  • Works with any platform, Win, Mac, Android, iPhone.
Cons
  • Require uploading files to online.
  • Not usable without knowing the scope of files to scan.

Kaspersky VirusDesk