Does the antivirus slow down the Internet connection?

Having an antivirus on a Windows computer is essential today. Whether it is a third-party antivirus, or Defender, which is included with Windows 10 and 11, these antivirus allow us to use the computer with peace of mind. However, it is a reality that using an antivirus slows down the computer . But, does it also affect the Internet connection?

Does the antivirus slow down the Internet connection

Depending on the antivirus we use, the computer may slow down more or less. Antivirus such as Defender, Norton or McAfee slow down the time it takes for the computer to start up , or the time it takes to open a program for the first time . In the case of Defender, it slows down the computer less when starting, but slows down the PC more when opening programs compared to Norton or McAffe.

Fortunately, after opening it for the first time, it will no longer be scanned every time we open it, since the antivirus will understand that it is a safe program. They also slow down simple things like unzipping files , as every bit is scanned for malicious content. It is the small price to pay to be safe.

Using the browser is slower

However, when using the Internet, the antivirus is also active, analyzing what we download from the Internet and the content of web pages . This effectively makes the antivirus slightly slow down the loading time on web pages , although that does not slow down the Internet as such. Luckily, the pages load quite fast, and since 100% of the CPU is not used, there is scope to analyze what the browser is loading without hardly noticing it.

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When it comes to downloading , the speed is not limited by the antivirus . However, we can notice how the file takes a while to be available after downloading it if, for example, we download it with a browser. That is the moment in which the complete file already downloaded is being analyzed, and already there it is determined whether or not it has a virus .

Antivirus also updates its virus database on a daily basis, sometimes doing so several times each day. Luckily, these databases occupy, at most, a few megabytes, so we will not notice any loss of connection speed either. In the past, with slower connections, this could be a problem, just as it was also a problem to do a full scan on a computer with a slow processor.

Sharing on a local network is also slower

Another problem that we may encounter is that the antivirus uses a firewall and this is activated together with the operating system, which can slow down some connections and possibly increase latency slightly.

Therefore, the Internet connection does not slow down as such , but we can notice slowdowns when opening the file right after downloading it. At the same time, it will also be slower to transfer a file on a local network or upload it to the cloud , since the antivirus will analyze it in real time.