6 Free Online Virus Scanners

Check for viruses online with these scanners

A free online virus scan is pretty much what it sounds like: an online-based, free scan for viruses and other malware. This kind of virus scan differs from your traditional virus scanning program because all the work is done on a server on the internet.

Every online virus scan site does this a little differently. Some let you upload a file for scanning, others check websites for links that contain malware, and still others install browser add-ons or other small programs that scan your entire computer but do the behind-the-scenes work online.

Free online virus scanners are good options for one-off virus scans if installing a full-fledged antivirus program isn't an option for some reason, or maybe just for an extra layer of precaution.

Regardless of why you're using one, each of the free online virus scan services listed below are completely free! They're ordered by ease of use and functionality.

An online virus scanner will only check for viruses, not actually remove any that it finds. Visit the link above for a traditional virus scanner program that can not only check for viruses but also completely delete them from your computer.

You can also use an on-demand virus scanner for another layer of protection, or a bootable antivirus tool if your computer won't start because of the virus.

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VirusTotal

VirusTotal home page

What We Like

  • Easy to share scan results and search for past results.

  • Supports an Android app to keep your mobile devices safe.

What We Don't Like

  • For personal use; commercial use is not permitted.

  • Scans only one file at a time.

You can upload a specific file to VirusTotal to have it scanned by various antivirus engines or enter a website address to have VirusTotal scan an entire page for malicious links. Also supported is IP address, domain, and file hash scanning.

Archives like ZIP and RAR can be uploaded but the maximum acceptable size for any file type is 550 MB.

A browser extension is also available for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer users that allow URLs to be scanned from the right-click menu and files to be checked for viruses before downloading them.

Another handy feature with the VirusTotal online virus scanner is that it works through email, too, meaning that you can attach a file to the message and send it to scan@virustotal.com to have it scanned.

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MetaDefender Cloud

MetaDefender Cloud online virus scanner home page

What We Like

  • More comprehensive virus scanning than any other free alternative.

  • Doesn't require installation.

What We Don't Like

  • Must scan files one by one.

  • Limited support for browser integration.

MetaDefender Cloud (previously called Metascan Online) is a slick website that allows files up to 140 MB to be uploaded and scanned against 30+ different antivirus engines at once, including ones used by popular vendors like Microsoft, Kaspersky, McAfee, and AVG.

A few files you might be interested in scanning at MetaDefender Cloud could be 7Z, EXE, and ZIP, but you can scan others, too, like images, videos, and documents.

In addition to uploading a file to MetaDefender Cloud, it can also scan by IP address, hash value, and website URL.

Results are really easy to read; a bright green checkmark is placed next to each antivirus engine that identifies a file as safe, and a red mark with the virus name if it's found to be malicious.

There's also the OPSWAT File Security for Chrome extension you can install to scan downloads made through that browser.

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Avira

Avira online virus scanner site

What We Like

  • Option to upgrade for more features and broader protection.

  • Very simple, user-friendly interface.

What We Don't Like

  • Not as reliable at detecting phishing malware.

  • Reports false positives with relative frequency.

Avira's online virus scanner uses the same antivirus engine as the popular Avira AntiVirus program to scan submitted files and URLs through an online form.

The form asks for your contact details so the URL of the results can be sent to you. A maximum of five files no larger than 50 MB each can be uploaded.

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Jotti's Malware Scan

Jotti free online virus scanner site

What We Like

  • Comprehensive virus scanning sorts out false positives from real threats.

  • Available in several languages.

What We Don't Like

  • Ugly interface with lots of distracting ads.

  • Significantly slower than other options.

Over a dozen antivirus engines are used to scan up to five files at a time (with a 100 MB limit for each) that you upload to Jotti's Malware Scan.

The date and scan detection status of each antivirus engine is shown in an easy to read list so you can clearly see which ones did or didn't find the file to be dangerous.

Jotti.org also includes a hash search if you wish not to upload a file but instead, enter the MD5 or SHA-1/256/512 cryptographic hash function of a file. This will only work if the file was scanned by Jotti.org at an earlier date, by you or someone else.

Scanning is possible from your desktop, too, with the JottiScan program.

Jotti's Malware Scan is sometimes busy, making you wait in a line before your file can be processed. 

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Kaspersky VirusDesk

Kaspersky VirusDesk home page

What We Like

  • Scans quickly.

  • Results are clear and easy to understand.

What We Don't Like

  • No browser tools for easy scanning.

  • Can't scan more than one file at a time.

Kaspersky has an online virus scanner, too, that supports both files and URLs. A file you upload to this online virus scanner can be as large as 50 MB.

The website couldn't be easier to use. Just paste the link or select the attachment icon to upload a file. Pressing SCAN starts the virus scan and the results are shown on the same page.

If a threat is detected, Kaspersky VirusDesk will say "Threats detected in <file>" and show the threat name and other details. Otherwise, you'll see a clean, "No threats detected" message.

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FortiGuard Online Scanner

FortiGuard online virus scanner site

What We Like

  • Extremely easy to use.

  • Website includes helpful cybersecurity news and resources.

What We Don't Like

  • File size limit greatly restricts its usefulness.

  • No browser integration.

Upload a file to FortiGuard Online Scanner for a quick check against its scanner.

After you upload the file, enter your name and email address in case they need to send you a message about the file. After you submit the file for review, wait for the page to refresh and you'll see the results at the top.

Files uploaded to this online virus scanner can only be as large as 1 MB.