Founded in July 1997, Webroot is a privately held antivirus and cybersecurity company with stakes in both the consumer and business antivirus markets.
It launched with a single tool specializing in the immediate deletion of personal information and web browsing history.
The company created its own up-to-date antivirus suites designed for home and business use in 2011, bringing together its disparate tools under a more unified banner. It was acquired for $618.5 million by Carbonite Incorporated in 2019.
Webroot is a popular antivirus, but is it worth your money and can it compete with the best antivirus providers? In this review, I am going to comprehensively examine the consumer-grade suites provided by Webroot, and help you figure out if it’s right for you.
As part of this Webroot antivirus review I wanted to find out:
- What impact does this antivirus have on the speed of my laptop?
- How does Webroot compare to competitors based on independent lab testing results?
- Is Webroot antivirus easy to use and install?
- Which of Webroot’s plans is best for the average user?
I will also consider the special features offered by the company, with attention paid to tools like VPNs or Secure Browsers.
If you don’t have time to read the complete breakdown, here’s a short summary of my findings.
Webroot offers decent antivirus software in some scenarios, but it did not perform particularly well in my own tests. The software does, however, have a relatively small system impact. This can make it an attractive option for a lot of consumers.
What’s new in the latest version of Webroot?
Webroot updates its software with protection against new agents. The latest PC update in April 2021 has fixed an issue that was leading to a 1067 error.
The Mac version has been updated to fix an issue with the antivirus scan progress bar stopping while the scan continued in the background. The mobile version has also undergone known bug fixes to ensure a smoother experience for the end-user.
Webroot pricing and plans
Price plays an important role in any software purchase and the same applies when selecting the right antivirus program. I’ve covered everything you need to know about the cost of Webroot’s products below.
Webroot has a system called Webroot Antivirus that caters to the low-end antivirus market. This program has threat protection for PCs and Macs, computer scans, constant identity security, anti-ransomware protection, real-time anti-phishing that blocks malicious websites, and a firewall or network connection monitor.
The cheapest option available in Webroot’s product range costs $39.99 per year for coverage of one device. At the time of writing, this is being offered at a $10 discount on the company’s website, making it $29.99 for the first year.
Internet Security Plus with Antivirus
Webroot’s Internet Security Plus with Antivirus is the next price tier up from Webroot Antivirus. It offers all of the above features, as well as mobile device coverage and account and password protection.
It costs more than the above package, clocking in at $44.99 per year at the time of writing. This is offered at a $15 discount, so the normal retail price is $59.99. This product can cover three devices for one year.
Internet Security Complete with Antivirus
Internet Security Plus with Antivirus Complete again offers the features promised in the previous tier. In addition, it includes a system optimizer, and the ability to wipe traces of your online activity.
This is the most expensive consumer end product offered by Webroot, but at the time of writing, it is also the most heavily discounted. There’s a $20 discount, reducing the cost from $79.99 to $59.99 for the first year.
Effectiveness against malware
In this section, I will check the product’s efficacy against various types of malware, to assess how it acts in controlled and real-world settings.
First, I’ll look at how the software works against different types of malware infection. I will be using non-malicious samples from the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR). I will also test live malware samples to see how it performs against examples an end-user might encounter online.
The second step is an analysis of the depth and thoroughness of a full scan by seeing the number of discrete items Webroot checks relative to the amount of time the scan takes. After that, I will breakdown Webroot’s score from different antivirus comparison labs.
EICAR sample tests
The EICAR creates different samples to replicate malicious files.
First, I check to see if the real-time protection of the software detects and blocks the malicious file before it’s downloaded (tested on both HTTP and the more secure HTTPS connections). Next, I disable the software, download the files, and then see if the quick or full scans can detect and delete the file. Finally, I can see if the antivirus program successfully blocks what should be a suspicious file from being run.
Below, you can see a table showing how Webroot performs against the four different EICAR samples.
|Test File||EICAR Sample 1||EICAR Sample 2||EICAR Sample 3||EICAR Sample 4|
As you can tell, these aren’t the most promising results. The real-time scanner permitted the entire array of EICAR files access into my system.
The next test uses the same methodology as the EICAR check, but using live malware samples. These three samples include two different strains of malware. The first is adware which infects your PC or mobile device with a huge number of adverts that sit in your system, popping up frequently on your desktop or browser. These generate passive income for the hacker and can house very dangerous links that can further damage your machine.
The other type of malware is a trojan horse virus. A trojan masks itself as a safe program file, but once it is run, it can damage your system. Malware like this often includes some form of ransomware, which locks you out of your machine and demands money to return access.
Here is how Webroot fared against these live samples.
|Test File||Live Sample 1 (Adware)||Live Sample 2 (Trojan)||Live Sample 3 (Trojan)|
This is much more promising than the performance against the EICAR files. The real-time scanner blocked and detected these samples, which is good to see.
How effective are its scans?
The below table tells us how thorough Webroot’s full scans are.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan # Items Scanned|
In just over an hour and ten minutes, Webroot’s full scan checked through 11,938 different files within my machine. In the next table, I have put this figure up against the other products offered at a similar consumer price point, to see how Webroot stacks up. Webroot’s results are highlighted in bold.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan # Items Scanned|
What this table tells us is that Webroot doesn’t scan many items compared to antivirus market peers. The purpose of a full scan is to scour through as much of your PC as possible, seeing if any malicious software is hiding in unusual or uncommon areas. It’s not meant to check only a few common areas, which is more the domain of a quick scan. The fact that Webroot scans barely a fraction of the number of items the others manage to cover is rather worrying.
Webroot Antivirus & Webroot Endpoint Protection
Name: Webroot Antivirus & Endpoint SE
Description: Webroot started in 1997 in Broomfield, Colorado, where it is still headquartered. The company was acquired by online data backup service provider Carbonite in February 2019, then Carbonite was acquired 10 months later by OpenText, an information management company.
Offer price: $2.49 – $3.17 per month
Operating System: Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, MAC, Android
Application Category: Webroot (Opentext) - Brand Review
Author: Webroot (Opentext) Developer
Ease of use
Webroot started in 1997 in Broomfield, Colorado, where it is still headquartered. The company was acquired by online data backup service provider Carbonite in February 2019, then Carbonite was acquired 10 months later by OpenText, an information management company.
- 25GB of encrypted automatic backup
- Light on disk space and low performance impact
- LastPass password protection
- Poor performance in my own malware tests
- Not ranked by top comparison websites
- No coverage of multiple devices