Today STOPZilla is a full-featured suite of software designed to take care of a wide variety of security problems, but in its infancy it was nothing more than a popup blocker for Window’s infamous web browser Internet Explorer. To date STOPZilla is 14 years old since they started in 2001, and their products will provide you with security solutions for your desktop computers as well as your mobile devices. If you know anything about Windows, you know it is probably one of the least secure operating systems on the market, and hackers frequently write malicious code and viruses specifically for Windows. If you want a way to boost your security from viruses and malware while simultaneously optimizing your computer, you’re going to love STOPZilla’s solutions.
But there’s just a couple problems. The Windows antivirus and antispyware markets are extremely crowded with tons of competition. So what makes STOPZilla stand out from the crowd? We’ll dig into the dirty details shortly, but know that some of their strengths include fantastic support, solutions for businesses and individual users, and comprehensive tools designed to take care of all of your needs. However, the largest competition people are met with in the consumer space is security tools that are absolutely free of charge. It’s true what they say: you get what you pay for. While the free tools are enticing because of their price, they aren’t well-known for providing the highest quality software on the market that responds to the latest threats faster than the paid solutions. The second problem is really more of an unfounded fear than it is a concrete, tangible issue.
Many of you have probably already heard that the government has persuaded domestic technology companies (such as Google, Yahoo, and many others) to create backdoors for N.S.A. spies and other governmental officials in an effort to combat terrorism. Therefore, it would follow that other software companies based in the US could also be subject to pressure from the government to structure their code to forfeit information to the government. While we don’t know whether or not STOPZilla has been influenced by the government, some people have the mentality that it is better to err on the side of caution and not do business with domestic security firms.
Types of Software and Pricing
STOPZilla is a full-featured suite of programs that is comprised of four different conditionally-suited products. The good news is that if you want to go ahead and test one out to see if you like it, each of the four products allow you to conduct a free trial. The four different products and their pricing models are as follows:
- STOPZilla Antivirus – A single-user license for 1 year will only cost you $39.95, but they also have options for multiple PCs. The more you buy, the more you save. When you opt for their 5-user license, a 1 year subscription will only cost you $89.95. Another way they add value is by helping non-technical users who don’t feel comfortable installing the software. If you want to, you can hire a local tech to install the software for only $20.00. The antivirus software also includes the antimalware software, but you have the option to buy the antimalware on its own if you really want to.
- STOPZilla Antimalware – The antimalware service is a little more inexpensive than the antivirus software. For a 1-year single-user license, you only pay $19.95. This software also provides a 3-user license, which will cost you $39.95 per year. Yet again, they offer an installation service for the same price as the antivirus software.
- STOPZilla Mobile – Their mobile software is only available on Android 2.01 systems, and it only costs $9.95 per year.
- STOPZilla Optimizer – The optimization software doesn’t charge a subscription fee – it’s a flat purchase. For a single user it will cost $19.95 and for 5 users it will cost $79.95. This service also includes the $20.00 installation service, but it also provides a money-back guarantee that is good for 30 days.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the software suite’s components and pricing models, let’s take a closer look at each of the components individually.
This software is their core competency, and the antivirus is their best-selling product. As a side note, if you don’t currently have any antivirus software, you should really think about getting some. All it takes is one virus to ruin your computer and cause you to lose sensitive information that could put your future at risk.
This antivirus software was designed to compete with the biggest names in the antivirus industry such as Trend Micro and Norton Internet Security. But I would argue that it has more features than the free Internet security software, and to be honest the free software doesn’t really save you that much money in the first place. For a single user, this software will only cost about $3.33 dollars per month. To put things into perspective, you could buy 3 items off a fast food restaurant’s dollar-menu or instead use that money to protect your investment in your computer. Again, remember that the antivirus software includes the antimalware software too. So you’re really getting 2-for-1 at the low price of 3 bucks a month for a single user.
In addition to scanning your PC for viruses and malware, it also has a handy email security feature. Not only is the interface laid out in an attractive and uncluttered manner, but it also includes a link to support at the bottom of the interface. Lastly, it includes a vast array of customizable features aimed at novices and techies alike.
But how well does it stack up performance wise with the other leading providers of security software? To be completely honest, it is extremely difficult to benchmark security products. New viruses and threats are surfacing every day, and the challenge is beating the competition to creating an update or patch. Typically antivirus and antimalware software effectiveness and trust is determined by test run by industry-leading experts. It’s not as simple as running two competing antivirus solutions on two computers to see which one identifies the most problems. And unfortunately these tests haven’t been performed on their latest versions of software. If they have, they’re certainly not easy to find online and there hasn’t been any published material from the manufacturer – which you’d assume they would do to promote their products.
You should take note, however, that you simply can’t rely on Windows Defender as your only means of protection. STOPZilla has algorithms and virus definitions that can detect potentially dangerous files that Windows Defender cannot. They operative word there is “potentially,” because sometimes antivirus software marks code as malicious when it is really benign. And some software that is classified as “greyware” is somewhere in between malicious code and a sparkling clean program. A good example of this is a program that installs a web toolbar by default during the installation process if you don’t specifically tell it not to. If you get a false positive and don’t check the results, you could break other software on your system by deleting files it needs to operate properly.
To STOPZilla’s credit, it is reportedly a lot faster than Windows Defender, but there is still one drawback. Some of the leaders in the antivirus industry include links to descriptions of the harmful files discovered on your computer so you can determine if a false positive was created. STOPZilla does not, so if you want to see a description about a file that got tagged as “malicious” you are going to need to hunt around on the Internet.
With that said, by and large STOPZilla is a great antivirus security solution. It runs quickly, it does a great job of detecting viruses, and it goes above and beyond the speed and effectiveness of standard protection software like Windows defender.
Though this software is included with the antivirus software, you have the option of purchasing it separately if you wish. Most people would want to opt for this malware instead of the complete package if they are already using another antivirus solution that doesn’t provide adequate antimalware software. Not only will it find, detect, and eliminate malware, but it can also help you find greyware, adware, and potentially unwanted programs (PUP). Though it does a great job of finding bad, annoying, and dangerous files on your computer, the scanning process can be a little slow. And just like the antivirus software, the antimalware software can be a little sensitive to what is really malware. So you should take care in reading your results before you remove a file that this program has tagged as dangerous.
The mobile is chock full of useful features and at its low price point it really adds a lot of value. It will provide you with antivirus and antimalware software for your phone, which will allow you to scan for malicious files both manually and automatically. But this software does a lot more for your mobile device than scanning it for dangerous files. It also has a lot of useful features to aid you in the event someone steals your phone. The features will help you lock down your phone, physically locate it, delete information from it, or send a message to it remotely.
And it even goes a step further than other antivirus and antimalware programs. When you are browsing the web, the app will generate a warning when you are in danger. If you visit a site that contains malicious code, phishing attempts, or the site isn’t trusted, it will warn you. Lastly, it helps you manage what apps you have installed on your mobile device by tracking them and identifying the ones that have the ability to bill you. In addition, the speed of the serviced o mobile devices seems to be on par with other competing services.
Not only is it very intuitive to use but it is an extremely small and lightweight app that isn’t going to hog a lot of memory on your mobile device. In fact, it is only 814K when you exclude stored data. To be fair, it is lacking some of the features that the big names in the industry – such as Norton – would provide. All in all, this is a very functional and useful tool that doesn’t cost too much and does a fantastic job of protecting your device.
The optimizer was created for the purpose of making your computer run as fast as possible. After people have had their computers for a while, they have likely installed, uninstalled, and repaired installations of a variety of programs. All of this work can get a little messy, and sometimes old files are left on the computer that should be cleaned up and entries into the Windows Registry need to be fixed. It also provides a defragmentation utility for your hard drive which will help boost read/write speeds from your HDD. Not only that, the optimizer will hunt for driver updates for the devices on your computer, compact the registry, and take care of any data pertaining to history information. However, I’m sure you have all seen programs like this before – and some of them are a little trigger-happy when they think they have found an error.
Some of these programs are notorious for making edits to the registry that will accidentally cause software to misbehave, cause you to reconfigure a setting, or in some way harm your Windows installation. In some severe cases – though not frequent – they can even harm a Windows operating system so badly that Windows won’t be able to run properly at all. Just like with the antivirus software, you don’t want to be too trigger happy and choose to “fix all” errors after a scan. It would be much safer to take your time and read through the list to see if anything looks suspicious, but if it finds hundreds of entries, do you really have time to go through the entire list and research each individual error?
However, the program does a good job at giving users the ability to search for errors on different drives and directories. If you wanted to, you could exclude some directories and data from the scan. Lastly, it does provide a feature that will defragment your hard drive to improve its performance. But there’s only on issue. Just about every operating system provides some sort of utility to do the same, and Windows provides this feature by default.
In summary, this tool for improving Windows has gotten good reviews online and there have been few reports of mistakes the optimizer made that would negatively impact a user experience with the exception of removing old data stored in web browsers. However, given the reputation of STOPZilla this software is more credible than something you might accidentally run into via an advertisement on the Internet that is pushing a registry cleaner.
STOPZilla Customer Support
Though they do offer a variety of support options, when you visit their support page your will notice that right off the bat that they don’t offer 24/7 support. They instruct you to leave a message and wait for a call if you can’t reach anyone because it’s their off-hours. They also offer a “live chat” feature, but again this is dependent on whether or not the support representatives are working at the time you have your problem. Others have reported that they were only able to send a message to the support team, and that they received an automated response indicating they would be contacted within 24 hours.
On a happier note, people have left many positive reviews regarding their interactions with support on a phone call. They seem to be consistent with providing knowledgeable support staff who are friendly, competent, and have the ability to remotely login to your computer to assist with configurations and other issues. And last but not least, you can contact the support department toll-free if you are from the US, the UK, Australia, or Canada.
But know that this is just the standard support. You have the option to pay for a premium support service that seems to go above and beyond the standard support. They support techs seem to be more knowledgeable, and can help remove viruses and help make repairs to your PC that are outside the scope of the STOPZilla software. As they old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Lastly, understand that they are a reputable and accredited company, so you don’t have to worry about their legitimacy.
STOPZilla offers a wide variety of tools to help you speed up your devices while simultaneously protecting them from malware and viruses. They certainly outperform some the lower-quality free options but they have massive competition from the biggest names in the industry. However, because they have over 9 million users already, they are certainly doing something right. The largest concern is the failure of industry standard benchmarks to provide quantifiable evidence regarding the efficacy of their solutions when compared to the leading brands.
And of course, don’t forget a VPN, one of which you can find over here.