What Types of Antivirus Software Are Available Today?

More than 100,000 recognized computer viruses and almost a dozen types of malware are currently floating around the internet, waiting for an opportune moment to infect your devices.

For that reason, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the types of antivirus software available for your computers. After all, choosing the right software for your devices starts with exploring your options.

This brief guide will help you get caught up on the different software types you can use to keep computer viruses and malware at bay. Read on to learn more!

Types of Antivirus Software

The first thing you’ll need to consider before choosing new antivirus software is program type. For example, most antivirus software belongs in one of two categories:

  • Stand-Alone Antivirus Software, or
  • Cloud-Based Antivirus Software

The first antivirus software was available via floppy disk and CD. This type of program belongs to the stand-alone group, as it doesn’t rely on an internet connection to function.

But these types of antivirus programs were outdated almost as soon as they were produced. That’s because viruses and malware are often released far more quickly than stand-alone virus programs.

However, later versions of stand-alone software offered annual, monthly, and weekly updates. This new feature helped make these programs more capable at detected recently-released viruses and malware.

But these programs tended (and often still do) to consume a ton of processing power. As a result, your computer might come to a virtual standstill during virus scans.

Nowadays, most newer devices utilize cloud-based antivirus software. This software doesn’t consume nearly as much hard drive space as stand-alone programs. But it does rely on a consistent internet connection.

Still, choosing a type of antivirus software isn’t the only decision you’ll need to make when selecting a protective program for your computer. You’ll want to consider other factors, including software features.

How to Choose Antivirus Software

Selecting the best possible antivirus software for your computer only takes a few minutes, but only if you’re familiar with your options.

For example, do you know what kinds of features you’re looking for? What about the type of software (cloud-based versus stand-alone)? If not, it’s time to sit down and consider your new antivirus software’s:

  • Type
  • Features
  • Duration
  • Price

Let’s take a moment to explore these aspects more deeply. That way, you’ll be able to choose an antivirus program that suits your specific needs, price point, and device.


Stand-alone antivirus software requires an internet connection for updates, but it doesn’t rely on the internet to function. For this reason, stand-alone antivirus programs are best-suited to those that occasionally go offline.

The opposite is true of cloud-based antivirus software. It requires a consistent and constant internet connection to check for viruses and stay updated on newly-created types of malware.

Consequently, cloud-based antivirus programs consume more internet bandwidth than computer processing power. This can be an advantage for those with powerful routers but budget-friendly computers.

But it can also be a drawback for individuals with slow internet connections and high-performance computers. As such, you’ll need to consider your current device and internet connection before selecting a type.

That said, cloud-based antivirus software tends to offer the best level of protection for most users. That’s because cloud-based software often offers far better features and more in-depth functions than stand-alone programs.


Nearly all types of antivirus software are designed to identify, quarantine, and remove malicious viruses and malware. Still, some go above and beyond the call of duty to keep your devices in top-notch shape.

For those looking for the bare minimum level of protection, you’ll want to ensure that your chosen software offers:

  • A network firewall to keep you protected while browsing online
  • A virus detection and removal function

However, if you rely on your computers for work or recreation, you may want to invest in additional features like:

  • Up-to-date malware detection and removal
  • System-monitoring functions
  • Downloaded file scanning
  • Email virus and malware scanning

Malware signature antivirus programs are some of the best options for regularly downloading files online. These can spot malware signatures quickly and easily, removing potentially dangerous files in a flash.

System-monitoring antivirus functions scan your device for signs of viruses and malware. That way, if something does slip through your network firewall, it doesn’t have a chance to take over your device.


No matter which type of antivirus software you choose (stand-alone or cloud-based), you’ll likely be on a countdown from the moment you install it. That’s because antivirus software functions on a subscription basis.

If you’re looking for long-term protection, you’ll need to consider the duration of your antivirus software. For example, Norton 360 charges on an annual basis. But McAfee Total Protection offers two-year subscriptions.

Investing in an extended subscription is a fantastic way to avoid lapses in protection. Remember, it only takes a few minutes for a nasty virus to worm its way into your computer and shut it down.

While professional computer repair services can help reverse most of the damage viruses and malware cause, it’s often better to prevent them entirely.

Savings are another reason to invest in a multi-year subscription to antivirus software. Remember, some antivirus software manufacturers offer discounts on multi-year subscription plans!


Some types of antivirus software are free and come pre-installed on your computer. An excellent example of this would be Microsoft Defender, a program that comes with Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems.

Others offer a 30-day free trial but then charge per year. Still more offer multi-year subscription plans or charge per device.

If you’re working with a tight budget, it may be best to start with an annual subscription to multi-device antivirus software.

For example, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select costs less than $100 for the first year and protects up to five devices. Bitdefender Antivirus offers paid and unpaid options and charges less than $50 per year.

Still, be sure to weigh the features of each of your potential options before settling on one. Typically, antivirus software that’s free or less costly is also less capable of protecting your computer from sneaky malware and viruses.

Getting Rid of Viruses and Malware

If your computer is riddled with viruses and malware, you might not be able to download and install antivirus protection. After all, some computers are so infected, they can barely operate.

Fortunately, there are ways to remove computer viruses without outside help. But some viruses and malware persist, even after hours of careful deleting and disc cleanups. In this case, you may need professional help.

If you opt for a professional virus removal service, you’ll enjoy an initial diagnostic and an in-depth solution recommendation from tech experts. This extra step can determine the precise cause of your computer problems.

Remember, a computer’s poor performance might come down to sneaky malware, worms, or viruses. But damaged components or an overloaded hard drive could also be to blame.

Seeking professional assistance is a great way to determine what’s causing your computer issues. It can also save you tons of money spent on unneeded repairs and prepare your device for antivirus software installation.

Protect Your Data With Antivirus Software

There are two primary types of antivirus software: Stand-alone and cloud-based. Stand-alone software could be the better choice for those with high-performance computers or those that prefer to operate offline.

However, cloud-based antivirus tends to offer a greater level of malware protection. It also requires less processing power, making it a better choice for budget-friendly laptops and desktops.

Are you curious to learn more about computer repair and virus removal services? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us today!