Malwarebytes Review In 2021: Features, Pricing & More!

There is something I would like to tell you about Malwarebytes right away: every Malwarebytes review I find online is very different from one another.

This is because there are many old Malwarebytes antivirus reviews on the web. And, a while ago, this program was not the simplest antivirus solution out there.

However –

Malwarebytes Antivirus has improved tremendously. Its virus detection and removal scores are getting better and better, competing with the most powerful antivirus programs on the market. It also has a particularly intuitive interface and some useful features like a VPN.

Malwarebytes is now available in two versions: free and premium. The Premium version functions like a traditional antivirus, however, the free version lacks real-time protection.

In this Malwarebytes review, I’ll cover the features, test scores, and performance of the free and premium versions to determine which one best suits your needs.

Malwarebytes Overview

Price:From $23.99 a year
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS
Current deal:Get Malwarebytes, now 25% OFF!
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

Malwarebytes Pros & Cons


  • Free version
  • Good virus detection rates
  • Intuitive interface
  • Minimal CPU usage


  • The free version does not have real-time protection.
  • No live chat or phone support
  • No firewall function

Is Malwarebytes safe?

When it comes to security, Malwarebytes definitely has earned a spot on the list of the simplest free antivirus software of 2021. It uses advanced virus detection techniques and features a number of security measures that make you feel much more secure while browsing or working.

On the contrary, it is often missing a touch, because it does not have a built-in firewall. Also, the free version only offers virus scanning, because the real-time protection feature is for Premium users only. This is why Malwarebytes is especially recommended as an additional antivirus tool, especially if you are only going to use the free edition.

I even have to deal with the fact that they were recently in the spotlight due to a cyberattack. several of his emails were breached by equivalent attackers responsible for the SolarWinds hack. So, several of his internal emails were leaked. That said, there is no evidence that user data has been compromised.

Independent Malwarebytes testing

Before downloading any antivirus software, it is an honest idea not only to read its reviews but also to check the results of independent tests. After all, you don’t want your computer to become the test subject; that’s what testing labs are for.

For a long time, users were unable to inspect the virus detection results of Malwarebytes antivirus. That’s because the company decided to participate in antivirus testing only at the end of 2018.

Their results weren’t stellar for a while, ranging from 4 to 5.5 (out of 6) within the protection, performance, and utility categories. Surprisingly, Malwarebytes scored only 2 out of 6 in the Protection category in June 2019.

Malwarebytes virus tests
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

However, its performance has lately improved. Malwarebytes 4.2.0 and 4.2.1 received a maximum of 6 points in Performance and Protection and 5 points in Usability for their new editions.

The development is good to know, especially considering that Malwarebytes has managed to outperform the industry average for virus detection. The antivirus program detected 99.4% to 100% of zero-day threats and 100% of 4-week malware. With results like these, you will make sure your device is protected.

Malwarebytes Security Features

Malwarebytes has a lot of important functions, but it doesn’t have as many as Avast, McAfee, or other superior antivirus software. Parental Control and a firewall, for example, are not included in the Malwarebytes antivirus package. However, you won’t be missing out on important functions like virus protection or file quarantine; in other words, Malwarebytes will just function as a good antivirus program.

There is one other thing I would like to say during this Malwarebytes review. During installation, the program will ask you if you want to install it on your home or work computer. Don’t worry about this choice, both versions are identical in terms of features. the only difference is priority customer support for business users, which isn’t a big deal for many people.

Real-time protection

This is a feature that is only available with the Premium version of Malwarebytes, and it is also quite important.

Real time protection
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

You see, real-time protection can be a background process that prevents various threats (such as viruses, malware, and ransomware) from entering your device. It uses minimal system resources and has virtually no effect on CPU usage.

The Malwarebytes antivirus real-time protection option includes web protection (which blocks infected websites), malware protection, ransomware protection, and exploit protection.

Exploit protection

Although it is included in the Real-time Protection list, the Exploit Protection feature deserves its own paragraph. This is because this is often a complicated security technique that deals with exploit attacks against security flaws and software vulnerabilities in applications.

These types of attacks are much more sneaky than normal viruses, requiring only you to open an infected page or file. Fortunately, Malwarebytes Premium has you covered: it “protects” vulnerable applications so that malicious code cannot exploit your security problems.

Three system scan modes

If you had Malwarebytes antivirus software on your computer a few years ago and decided to reinstall it, don’t be surprised by the scan mode changes. There were four types of scans in Malwarebytes Version 3: full, threat, hyper, and path.

However, version 4 changed things a bit. Now, we only have the quick scan, the custom scan, and thus the threat scan. It appears that Malwarebytes simply adapted to the market and adjusted several of its scan titles to more familiar ones.

Please note that Malwarebytes can only run one type of scan at a time. for example, you cannot perform a system scan and check if a selected file has antivirus. So please schedule them accordingly.

Malwarebytes scan options
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

Quick scan

Lasting up to a moment and using 0.0-0.2% CPU usage, Malwarebytes Quick Scan scans your device memory and startup objects for active threats.

Threat scan

If you have Malwarebytes Premium, this scan will be done every day. It will scan memory objects, startup objects, registry objects, as well as file system objects, and will perform heuristic analysis for better protection in the future. Note that this is often not equivalent to a full scan, it does not cover every corner of your system.

Custom scan

If you want, the custom scan can check your entire system. As a result, it’s going to last a bit longer – the duration of the scan is strongly associated with the number and size of the files on your computer. The more there is, the longer it takes to scan everything. it will even scan for rootkits, which are among the most difficult of malicious programs to detect.

Malwarebytes custom scan
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

I like that regardless of what type of scan you decide on, Malwarebytes will do it very quickly with almost zero CPU usage. This makes it stand out among slower antivirus programs like McAfee.

On the contrary, I am a bit disappointed in the lack of a full fanatic analysis. Although, those who prefer the DIY approach can configure it themselves. Users can modify how often the application updates its list of known malware, what the default scan should look for, and whether it wants to use it as primary or secondary antivirus. This gets to detect what actions are going to be carried out PUP or PUM. Therefore, they are often tailored to your unique preferences.

Browser Guard

Malwarebytes Browser Guard can be a free extension for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. It blocks ads and protects you against third-party trackers, malware, scams, and PUAs (potentially unwanted programs, for example, browser hijackers).

Browser guard features
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

It comes bundled with your Malwarebytes antivirus software. However, you have the option of deciding whether to install this extension or not. I prefer that Browser Guard does not enter your system without your consent and that the clear form of the selection is presented to the user.

Quarantined files

When Malwarebytes antivirus finds an infected file on your device, it instantly neutralizes it by placing it inside the quarantine section. However, if you are sure that the file is safe and that is just a warning, you will restore it and return it to its original place.

You can even put the file on the allowed list. So Malwarebytes won’t target it during future scans.

Malwarebytes Plans & Pricing

Malwarebytes antivirus has three distinct planes: the free version, the Premium version, and the Premium + Privacy version. Let, take a closer look at the differences.

Malwarebytes FreeVirus scans$0.00
PremiumVirus scans, real-time protection, ransomware prevention, exploit protection$23.99
Premium + PrivacyVirus scans, real-time protection, ransomware prevention, exploit protection, VPN$59.99
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

Malwarebytes Free

After the 14-day Premium trial ends, you are left with the free version of Malwarebytes antivirus. Is there anything good about it? Well, all it does is scan your device and remove the threats that already exist.

In other words, it lacks real-time protection, which is one of the most critical characteristics of any antivirus program. This implies that you merely use another antivirus solution to defend yourself when browsing the internet or carrying out your regular duties.

Of course, Malwarebytes Free can be a good solution when your computer is already infected. And let’s face it: most free antivirus programs don’t offer real-time protection, so we shouldn’t be too harsh on Malwarebytes.

However, in the future, I would like to see more free features. Otherwise, Malwarebytes will not hold out against the competition.

Malwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes Premium is the full version of the software. You will test it during your 14-day trial. Then you would like to buy an annual subscription if you want the program to continue to protect your device in real-time.

This edition includes everything that was covered during this Malwarebytes review: the various types of scans (including daily threat scan), all real-time protection features (web, malware, ransomware, exploit), also because the possibility to urge Device Alerts that warn about security issues along with your devices.

Malwarebytes Premium is now on sale for $ 23.99 per year (regularly $ 39.99 per year). It only covers one device and is compatible with Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, and Chrome.

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy

Finally, we have Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy. This version comes with a VPN, which can protect your privacy while browsing.

Malwarebytes VPN
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

Their VPN is pretty good: it offers more than 30 countries, each with many different servers (more than 240 in total).

Now about the value. With a reduction, this bundle of antivirus software and a VPN costs $ 59.99 a year (without a reduction, you’d have to pay $ 99.99). Compared to other antivirus programs, this is usually quite expensive. I suggest you buy this edition as long as you surely use the program and therefore the VPN.

By the way, note that immediately the VPN is only available for Windows, macOS, and iOS; versions for Android and Chrome will be available in the near future.

Ease of Use and Setup


Malwarebytes, like other antivirus apps, is quite simple to set up. You’re ready to go after a few clicks and a few minutes. Malwarebytes will ask if you want the Browser Guard extension throughout the installation process.

Malwarebytes dashboard
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

At first glance, Malwarebytes seems quite simplistic. The panel shows the virus detection history, the scanner section, and thus the real-time protection functions. To search for more things, you need to dig a little deeper. for example, to access different virus scans, you need to open the Scanner window and then click on “Advanced Scanners”.

However, if you want more control over how Malwarebytes works, you will need to attend Settings. For this, simply click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Here, you will see seven tabs, below which you can modify the program to your liking.

malwarebytes customization options
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

For example, you’ll disable notifications, turn on device alerts, choose from over 20 languages, and even select the show’s visual theme (light, dark, or default) and background image. I especially like the last option, because it is a rare thing in the world of antivirus software.

All in all, during this Malwarebytes review, I can firmly say that the program’s interface is basically intuitive and easy to navigate, something I’d expect from a popular brand like this.


Visually, your macOS app looks pretty similar. Malware scans are so fast, so there are no strange performance drops simply because the platform is different.

malwarebytes mac app
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

That said, the similarities end there. Apple users once again get a basic version of what Windows users are becoming. It has a quick scan and other means of protection against malware, that’s it.

The only unique toggle included in the Mac version is Application Lock, which blocks untrusted applications from running in the background. Although Gatekeeper is included by default, I didn’t notice any difference in functionality.

Malwarebytes mobile apps

Both Android and iOS have mobile apps. Although visually they appear to be equivalent, the features you get are just going to be different.

android security audit malwarebytes
Article: Malwarebytes Review In 2021

Android features a full Malwarebytes scan. It even tells you that you simply have developer mode, NFC, and Android Beam enabled. It is generally not intrusive and does not restrict its use if you do not give the application all the permissions it requests.

However, they do tell you exactly how the permissions will be used and why they are needed. this is usually something I would like to see from more developers.

iOS only has protection against malicious URLs, spam calls, and text message filtering. So, as is often the case with iOS antiviruses, it pales in comparison.

Customer support

If you encounter any problems installing or using Malwarebytes, click the support icon in the upper right corner of the dashboard. this can open a window with several links to program guides and FAQs, as well as a download link for the support tool that will fix several of your problems automatically.

However, there is no direct link to contact a customer service agent. If you want to give it a try, you’ll need to click the button that says “Malwarebytes Support”, hit “Help” in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, and sort your question. Then the support bot will offer you a lot of FAQ links and an option that says “Get in touch”. Finally, it allows you to fill out a form, provide your email address, and start waiting for a solution (which can take a couple of days).

As you can see, the Malwarebytes customer service department might need some assistance. I’d especially like to see a live chat option in the future, as waiting for an email response could be a bit frustrating.

How good is Malwarebytes?

Having written this Malwarebytes review, I can gladly tell you that this antimalware software may be decent. Compared to its previous versions, it has improved a lot in terms of performance and virus detection rates. the current version will surely protect your device even from zero-day threats.

However, there are also some downsides. Although Malwarebytes is safe and fine for a seasoned user, those who aren’t really tech-savvy may have a hard time tapping when they come across a drag. This is because Malwarebytes can be somewhat limited within the customer service department, offering only email support and FAQ sections.

Also, the program can be a bit expensive (especially if you think of the Premium + Privacy version). So if you were to select the simplest version, it would accompany Malwarebytes Premium. it is better than Malwarebytes Free in terms of security (as it offers real-time protection) and it is not as expensive as the privacy package.


If you didn’t find everything you would like to understand during this Malwarebytes review, check out our FAQ section for a quick answer.

Is there still a free version of Malwarebytes?

Yes. After your 14-day Premium trial, Malwarebytes will revert to its free version that offers virus scanning but no real-time protection.

Does Malwarebytes hamper your computer?

No. In fact, Malwarebytes is one of the lightest antivirus solutions on the market.

Is the free version of Malwarebytes good?

Yes. it is an honest tool to scan your device for viruses and remove them. However, Malwarebytes Premium is safer to use because it includes all security features. To find out if this program is really for you, I suggest you read the full Malwarebytes review.

Is Malwarebytes better than McAfee?

Since both Malwarebytes and McAfee perform similarly in virus testing, it all comes down to features and speed. Use McAfee if you want features like a firewall or file shredder. However, if your device is struggling with CPU usage, I highly recommend Malwarebytes.

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