Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

January 14th, 2011

One month down to one minute

I promised to follow on the most-download-software-statistics post from last week and shed some light on the real number… the number of avast! users.   But before that, let me get back to the history a little because what seems as the most obvious thing now – didn’t look quite so obvious 9 years ago.

It was only in January 2002 when AVAST introduced for the first time its free antivirus and allowed home, non-commercial users to use it for free.    During the whole first month following the introduction only  93 (!) users downloaded, installed and registered the free version.

Some say, getting the “first million” is the most difficult part.  It took AVAST 30 months until summer 2004 to reach the milestone of having 1 million users.  From that moment on… it started spinning much, much faster.   The 2nd million was reached only 5 months later and 2 months further on there were 3 million users protected by avast!

In 2006  avast! free antivirus was made available in many languages besides English.   Partially, it was done internally by our own staff.  More importantly, number of language localizations was done by the avast! users themselves in the countries.   Result?  The user base grew to 10 million in January 2006 and doubled (!) to 20 million by November of the same year.

In 2007 AVAST hired employee number 38 (I need to find who it was) and the user base doubled again to 40 million.  By the way, this started unofficial tradition of “employee-to-user-efficiency-metric” which says we should have 1 million users per each employee.   The metric is kept until today…

So much for history.     What is the number today?

Well ;)  it is two numbers actually:  141 million registered and 119 million alive users in December 2010..

The “registered user metric”  dates back to its launch when avast! Free Antivirus required “registration” to receive a license key.  It was and still is a convenient way how to measure the user base.  Obviously, over the years some users who registered the license didn’t actually use it any more.  Either because they lost their e-mail and re-registered with new.  Or stopped using avast altogether and installed something else.

To reflect on this, AVAST introduced a new metric back in 2008 and started to measure “alive” users by counting unique downloads of the virus database update.   The logic is simple:  avast! antivirus installed on a computer will get everyday a virus database update.  If avast! antivirus is removed from the computer, there will be no updates and we have lost a user.  If there is new unique installation asking for updates, we got a new user.     Of course nothing is so simple in the world of two digits ;)  For example, not every computer is turned on every day.  Actually,  on given day only every second computer is turned on and in given week about 80%.   Therefore we measure a whole month at a time.  If particular installation doesn’t come for an update for 30 days… it is considered lost.

It is worth mentioning here that we have over 10 million users in France and when they all go for the standard 5 weeks  summer holidays to Cote d’Azure or the same length winter holidays in les Alpes… they do cause havoc to our counting ;)

Last but not least, there is a counting trouble with security networks.     When they are managed centrally,  avast! will request and download only 1 virus database update for the whole network regardless if it is 20 or 20000 computers.   And count all of the as 1.

I hope it is clear now ;)   Nice weekend to all!


In 2010 the user base increased by 35% or 31 011 326 users.    (this is the alive count).

With a little bit of rounding and one eye closed ;)   Each minute of 2010 avast! was installed by the same number of users as in the whole January 2002.

  • Tech

    I’m glad to have participated in the translation process on early 2003. At that time, there were very few languages available. English and Czech for sure, but not much more if my memory doesn’t fail me.

    I suppose the ratio between pro and free users has raised up on last years also.
    And, can you measure the impact of the start of the firewall (AIS)?

  • Milos Korenko

    I need to explain to the possible bystanders…. Tech is a legend on avast! forum with – if I’m not mistaken – over 50.000 posts to other users. And of course the localization. And I also need to stress, France has been for years our biggest country in terms of number of users. In December 14 030 435 (alive). Brazil, where Tech is helping a lot is now at 13 802 283. Up almost 50% vs. year ago.

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  • Ringman

    I’m glad to be in the 31011326 person.

  • Sparxx

    Was using avast since 2003, can say only good things about it, there was some problems, but who can say it never had any.
    And by the way avast not only have one of the best free antivirus products, it also have the best community.
    Good job avast! team, from Moldova, a part of Romania(unfortunately separated for the moment).

  • yanto chiang

    From Indonesia keep waiting for the Bahasa update on the new version since our company has been provide the translation as well…so hopefully Indonesia someday could be the number one (1) highest user of avast antivirus…

    yanto chiang

  • Enthusiast

    Can be better than any awards till date with such mass appeal. Hopefully Avast retains my favourite too.

  • Light Archangel

    I’m proud to be an avast SBC Spanish Translator…

    If you need my help in the future, i’ll be an honor for me :D

    For now i’ll keep recommending avast to my friends and family, and the numbers will grow and grow!


  • Aethec

    @Milos Korenko: Interesting numbers about France being the country where avast! is the most used.. Quite paradoxical, since the French-speaking IT-related forums have a lot more “anything but avast!” users than the English-speaking ones.
    You can’t talk about avast! in a French forum without having at least one guy say “avast! is bad, no one should use it”.
    (of course, their arguments are usually “my stepdaughter’s boyfriend’s cousin’s friend’s butcher’s daughter heard someone say it was bad”)