Webroot Review: Unique Features, Strong and Weak Points

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Founded in 1997, Webroot Inc. has always been a forward-thinking company. They have headquarters in Japan, Austria, Australia, the UK, and the US (the main HQ is in Dublin). SecurityAnywhere is their most famous brand, and it’s now available both for businesses and for private users. Real-time protection, anti-phishing/ransomware, filtering, and a firewall – that’s what you’ll get with it. The strong sides of Webroot include a tiny (less than 4MB) Exe file, incredibly fast scans, and very little strain on the CPU. It’s all possible thanks to its revolutionary approach to dealing with malware. This antivirus doesn’t process any potential threats on its own. Instead, it lets the powerful cloud computer do all the “heavy lifting.” Let us go ahead with our Webroot review and learn more about this highly unusual and capable product.

Webroot Pros and Cons

This is an antivirus with a significantly different approach to virus detection and elimination. Therefore, Webroot has its fair share of pros and cons. Here they are:

Packages and Pricing Plans

With Webroot, you can choose between three packages. The entry-level price-tags are a bit expensive. However, if you commit to a 3-year plan, you’ll be able to save a significant amount of money. SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. This is the cheapest plan, but it has a lot to offer. The biggest downside – it only protects a Win or a Mac (no Smartphones). You can secure up to three devices for three years (and get discounts the longer you commit). For the average users working on desktop computers, this is probably the best pick.
Internet Security Plus. As the golden middle of Webroot, IS Plus features everything from AV and more. It is fully compatible with Smartphones. Furthermore, this package protects your passwords and logins. Again, the most extended subscription plan is three years, but, the users can protect up to five connections. Internet Security Complete. This tier adds 25 gigabytes of secure storage online. You get the same three years/five devices deal. If you need to protect more devices, choose the IS Complete Family Pack. It’s capable of securing up to ten connections, which should be more than enough for a big family. So here are the prices for all the available packages:
  • SecureAnywhere AntiVirus – $30 (1 device/1 year)
  • Internet Security Plus – $45 (3 devices/1 year)
  • Internet Security Complete$60 (5 devices/1 year)

How Is Webroot Different From Other Antivirus Solutions?

While every single antivirus product on the market uses the signature-based detection method, Webroot works differently. This antivirus is all about monitoring behavioral patterns in suspicious files and identifying metadata. As soon as it finds an unknown behavior, it starts to log its activity without taking any actions. Most antivirus software goes through the same routine of collecting information. However, Webroot reviews doesn’t treat the malware/potentially dangerous files on its own. It sends all the data it gathered to the central cloud computer and lets it do all the processing. That’s precisely why this product doesn’t require any computing power to run. Once the cloud computer finds the right course of action, Webroot executes it. Again: a regular antivirus does all the processing locally, and for that, it requires a powerful CPU. That’s not the case with this product. The biggest downside of this method is that most third-party testers can’t evaluate it properly. Let us talk about the various lab tests (including some of our own) next to see how Webroot performs.

Lack of Lab Test Results

No independent tester has access to the cloud computer we mentioned earlier. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to run any real-world tests and to test its capabilities. AV-Comparatives and AV-Test, one of the biggest third-party testers, don’t have any current lab test results. Thankfully, MRG-Effitas and SE Labs found a way to test Webroot, and the results are fairly impressive.

Reliable Malware Protection

The experts at MRG-Effitas run two tests: one for Trojans, and one for general malware. These tests are considered to be quite tough, and many antivirus products fail miserably. Webroot, however, passed them with relative ease and earned a Level 2 award. This means that while it couldn’t block every single malware attack immediately, it did eliminate them within a day. SE Labs has a 5-level ranking system, and Webroot only earned B (the lowest rating is C). Malware protection was above average, but the antivirus couldn’t prevent all targeted attacks. The overall rating between these two tests is 7.7/10, which is quite decent. It falls behind Kaspersky and Bitdefender (9.9/10), but, again, Webroot’s methods are very different.
Our team ran a series of tests as well and was impressed by its malware protection. It earned a perfect score for getting rid of 100% of malware files we intentionally planted on the OS. Webroot required two consecutive full scans for that, but they only took 10 minutes together. 4 antiviruses got close to this result: F-Secure, McAfee, Norton, and Cylance Smart (93%). In the phishing tests, it managed to block 97% of potentially dangerous phishing websites. Kaspersky and McAfee are the only ones with a 100% score. The results of the ransomware tests were uneven. Webroot eliminated every single sample we had on the OS (most of them immediately, and some after launch). However, when we ran a ransomware simulator, the antivirus didn’t stop it from spreading. Eventually, our simulator managed to encrypt thousands of files, and Webroot remained silent. There’s no way of telling why this happened, but it makes it harder for us to call this product a must-have. The built-in firewall doesn’t work like most of its rivals; yet, it is still an excellent tool. It performed well in our tests and blocked any unknown apps that tried to share our credit card info. Moreover, when the antivirus detected an infection, the firewall started to block all traffic by unknown programs. Finally, there’s SafeStart Sandbox, a feature for the experts. If you know your way around antiviruses and malware, it can be of great use. SSS allows the user to set specific limitations and run any suspicious app/file within those limits. We highly recommend leaving SSS alone unless you know what you’re doing.

Excellent Performance

One of the most significant advantages of Webroot Internet Security over other antivirus products is the fact that it is incredibly lightweight. Also, it doesn’t put any strain on the system, as all the processing is done on the cloud computer. Add lightning-fast (and highly accurate) scans, and you’ll get a very attractive solution. Even Kaspersky, one of the least demanding antiviruses, can’t compete with Webroot in this regard.

Easy Installation and Setup

With Webroot, you won’t have to provide any credit card info when trying to use the trial. However, they do require you to share your email address and register. After that, the user gets a license key for 2 weeks (14 days, to be exact), and an active download link. As mentioned, the .EXE file is tiny, and the installation will be finished in no time. Important note: while most antivirus products can’t co-exist on the same system, Webroot doesn’t mind the company. To clarify: you won’t have to uninstall your favorite antivirus software to make room for this product. That is a big pro, as it allows you to run your scans and compare them to the cloud computer’s results. Once the installation is complete, Webroot will run a full scan of the system. The test won’t take more than a couple of minutes. However, it is quite effective and managed to find some dangerous files we intentionally planted on the OS. While most antivirus products strive to minimize system impact, they still can’t compare. Webroot only needs two processes to work and up to 100MB of RAM, which means it will run flawlessly even on older devices.

Not the Most User-Friendly Interface

While this is a lightweight, fast, and reliable antivirus, it still lags behind the leaders regarding ease of use. There are numerous buttons, icons, and menus on the main dashboard. For an experienced user, this could be a pro, as everything’s right there in front of you. For the average users, it can be a bit intimidating and confusing (as opposed to the user-friendly alternatives). It’s the first impression that counts; besides, regular users don’t need all of those settings. The biggest downside of the interface is the small text that’s hard to read. Therefore, it’s somewhat hard to figure out where you can find a menu/function you need at the moment. However, once you learn your way around Webroot, you’ll realize that navigation is quite smart. The good news is you don’t have to change/tweak anything in this antivirus to make it work. It runs perfectly in the default settings and will make sure your device is safe and sound. All those “scary” options are for advanced users and experts. The bottom line: once Webroot is installed on your computer, you can forget about it and enjoy industry-leading protection.

Decent Customer Support

Customer support is another big pro of this product. During our Webroot antivirus review, we were pleased by its professionalism and friendliness. The somewhat outdated email support (ticket-based) is available 24/7. Response times are quicker than average: our experts received an answer in less than three hours.
customer support
By the way, you’ll find support accounts on social media – Facebook and Twitter, which is a great idea. There’s also a forum and a vast knowledge base for users that prefer to solve problems on their own. Frequently asked questions about installation, navigation, and pricing can be found in the FAQ section. The knowledgebase is a bit different from what we’re all used to, though. You won’t find any articles there unless you type in 3 to 5 keywords in the search bar. The forum is quite busy, and the same can’t be said about some of the rivals. With over 48K members and 300-350 active users every day, you have a high chance of getting an answer fairly quickly. Phone calls and live chat are also at your disposal. Most people are more comfortable with live chat, but it’s only available for pre-sale questions. Last, but not least, there’s a blog that is updated 3-4 times with articles about viruses and protection. Overall, customer service deserves the highest praise.

Verdict

Summing up, Webroot SecureAnyWhere is a unique antivirus solution that has no full equivalents. It is lightweight, doesn’t have an impact on the system, and is easy to install. During our tests, it proved to be a worthy antivirus product and held its own against the competition. Navigation, however, leaves a lot to be desired, and the one-device package is a bit expensive. Not long ago, you could only protect up to five devices for three years with this software. Owners of more devices had to purchase multiple licenses. Right now, for a big family, Webroot offers the Family Pack that’s good for ten devices. If you’re looking for an antivirus that’s equally lightweight and reliable, this product will be an excellent pick. It is a reliable tool against all kinds of malware and performs lightning-fast scans. The lack of proper lab test results might scare off some potential customers. On the other hand, it can co-exist with any other antivirus solution, letting you run scans on both.