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Bullguard Internet Security 2020 review: Cheap, but not cheerful

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
18
1yr 6 devices, inc VAT

While Bullguard offers good protection at a low price, its impact on system performance is hard to swallow

Pros 
Good overall protection
Nice feature set
Cheaper on Amazon
Cons 
Noticeable impact on PC performance
No VPN or ransomware protection
Limited firewall
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BullGuard Internet Security is one of the cheapest internet security suites around, and for the money it delivers a good degree of malware protection. Strangely, this cheaper price is often offered by third-party retailers when compared to the official website. In terms of performance, Bullguard is not the leader but it’s on par with Kaspersky, and it only slipped up once in AV-Test’s false-positives test – although it’s important to note that AV-Comparatives didn’t test it.

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Bullguard Internet Security 2020 review: Features and performance

The package also brings together a fair set of features, including both a safe browser and an integrated backup client. BullGuard doesn’t provide online storage for your files, but it works with Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, which may suffice to protect your precious files against ransomware. That’s just as well, since BullGuard doesn’t offer any sort of ransomware-specific protection.


There’s a set of bespoke parental controls, which can selectively block 24 different categories of websites, restrict PC and internet usage, ban specific applications and protocols and – unusually – prevent predefined strings from being transmitted online, so your child can’t broadcast their address or other information. The catch is that it only works for local Windows accounts: if your kids have their own phone or tablet, you’ll need to find another solution.

The Firewall module is similarly a little less than it seems. It provides a complicated Network Activity view, and a bespoke window for managing firewall rules, but behind it all, it’s the regular Windows Firewall that’s actually handling business. There’s no VPN module included in the suite either: clicking the "Try VPN" button takes you to a 30-day trial of the separate BullGuard VPN product, which is operated by NordVPN.

Two final features are the Game Booster and Boot Manager. The first doesn’t just silence notifications when you’re playing a game but also constrains resource usage by other tasks. The latter generates a detailed report of which processes are active during the startup process, so you can see if anything’s causing delays.

Bullguard Internet Security 2020 review: Verdict

Sadly, the biggest cause of system slowdown turns out to be BullGuard itself. AV-Test found that it nearly doubled the time taken to install an application, delayed file copies by 19% and even bogged down web browsing by around 10%. This won’t make your PC unusable, but it’s a noticeable drag – and while BullGuard is quite effective and affordable, it’s not fantastic enough to make up for that.

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