ClamAV Antivirus Review: Not Only For Linux

ClamAV is an open-source, cross-platform product. It offers a reasonable protection level, especially if you’re seeking a free antivirus solution for Linux or Windows devices, despite some areas for improvement. The program is simple to use and easily integrates seamlessly with applications like MS Outlook and Explorer.

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    This antivirus offering can detect malware, trojans, and viruses, but it doesn’t have many extra features. You need to manage the software using your computer’s command line (CMD). The antivirus program protects email gateways and handles real-time scanning of email attachments. Still, it has many weaker areas that push it down the ranks compared to other security suites.

    ClamAV Pros And Cons


    • Doesn’t cost a penny
    • Schedule scans per your convenience
    • Relatively easy to use
    • Selectively scan files
    • Email gateway security feature is top-notch
    • The multi-threaded virtual scanner delivers better malware detection
    • Added protection for multiple documents and zip file formats


    • Inconsistent updates
    • Limited functionality
    • No access to customer/technical support
    • The user interface isn’t intuitive

    ClamAV Overview

    As a free and open-source solution (FOSS) that operates on a cross-platform basis, this software toolkit detects various malware types, including viruses, trojans, and worms. Still, it’s primary use is to scan incoming emails and attachments for viruses on mail servers. 

    The software includes quite a few utilities such as a flexible and multi-threaded virtual scanner, a command-line scanner, and a tool for automatic database updates. Additionally, benefit from built-in support for popular document formats such as PDF, RTF, HTML, MS Office, and MacOffice files.

    How To Install ClamAv On Linux

    ClamAV antivirus was initially designed as an email scanning gateway for Unix, but has since evolved into a robust free security solution for cross-platform devices like Windows and Mac. To this day, it remains one of the best antiviruses for Linux systems.

    By default, this tool doesn’t come prepackaged within the CentOS/RHEL repository. Therefore, you’ll need to download the latest version from the official website. Just follow these steps to install ClamAV for Linux:

    1. Enable EPEL repositories
    2. Execute one of the following commands depending on your OS and architecture

    1. $ sudo dnf install [for CentOS 8]
    2. $ sudo rpm -Uvh [for CentOS 7]
    1. Once done, execute the following command via the command line to start the installation

    1. $ sudo yum install clamav clamd
    1. Next, start the service and set to enable during boot [use command line: $ sudo service clamd start  OR  sudo systemctl start clamd]
    2. Update the signature database to the latest version using the command $ sudo /usr/bin/freshclam

    ClamAv Integration With Windows 10

    You can integrate ClamAV with Windows 10 if you have administrator privileges. Follow these steps to handle installation:

    1. Download the .EXE file
    2. Right-click on the download and select ‘Run as Administrator’
    3. Accept the agreement and click on Next
    4. Click Next one more time
    5. Click on Install and then on Finish
    6. Once done, press the Windows key and type in powershell (don’t click on Enter)
    7. Right-click on the Windows Powershell program and then select Run as Administrator
    8. Enter cd "c:\program files\clamav" to navigate to the installation directory

    If you’re installing this software for the first time, make sure to run the following commands in the Powershell window:

    • copy .\conf_examples\freshclam.conf.sample .\freshclam.conf
    • copy .\conf_examples\clamd.conf.sample .\clamd.conf
    • write.exe .\freshclam.conf
    • write.exe .\clamd.conf

    Finally, update the signature databases to start using the application.

    ClamAv Integration With Mac

    The easiest and quickest way to install ClamAV on macOS is to use Homebrew. Follow these steps:

    1. Install Homebrew using the code /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
    2. Install ClamAV dependencies and XCode’s Command Line Tools
    3. Next, install the library and unit testing dependencies
    4. Go to the official website and download the latest stable release
    5. Extract the files and start configuring the builds
    6. Finally, configure ClamAV and update the signature databases to start using it

    How To Update ClamAV?

    Updating ClamAV is easy given it maintains its local database that needs to be modified as new viruses and malware emerge. When ClamAV is installed, it adds a cron job to update the definitions of the virus. If you need to handle this manually, log in to the SSH server and run this script: /usr/bin/freshclam

    Usually, the signature database is updated multiple times weekly. It’s a good idea to sign up for the product’s VirusDB mailing list so you can stay updated. Alternatively, you can also download the latest VirusDB from the Latest Releases section on the official website. 

    If you’ve installed an older version of ClamAV, uninstall the same, then compile and set up the latest version. For Windows, update the Microsoft packages first, then download the latest stable release and double-click the download to install the MSI package. 


    As mentioned, ClamAV doesn’t have many features compared to other antiviruses. Primary features include:

    • Command Line Scanner
    • Advanced tools for automatic database updates
    • Built-in tools for handling all popular documents and email file formats
    • Support for various archive formats (Zip, Rar, Tar, GZip)
    • Capable of running Portable Executable files and ELF executables 


    • Money-Back Guarantee - N/A
    • Free Version - Yes
    • Platforms - Windows, Mac, Linux, Ubuntu
    • Parental Controls - No
    • Email Protection - Yes
    • Chat - No
    • VPN - No
    • Smartphone Optimizer - No
    • USB Virus Scans - No
    • Automated Virus Scans - Yes
    • Game Mode - No
    • Safe Browser - No
    • Passive Mode - No

    Threat Detection

    • Anti-Spyware - Yes
    • Anti-Worm - Yes
    • Anti-Trojan - Yes
    • Anti-Rootkit - Yes
    • Anti-Phishing - Yes
    • Anti-Spam - Yes
    • Adware Prevention - No


    This protective solution is designed to detect malware as soon as it arises. It features a high detection rate and allows users to choose between full scans and selective scans. You can also run batch scans and scan all incoming emails directly on the mail server. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with an on-demand scanning feature, but you can integrate other tools to achieve similar functionality. 

    Schedule scans as per your preferences, but only on a per-drive basis, be it hourly, daily, or weekly. This functionality is excellent if you don’t want to run detailed scans while using your device. Another useful characteristic of ClamAV’s offering is the inclusion of a standalone virus scanner that can scan for malware in installed applications and saved folders.

    Security And Reliability

    As a moderate security tool, this solution can keep your device secure from viruses and malware. Since the core engine relies on cloud technology, it’s able to maintain top-level security against the newest threats, namely spyware, botnets, keyloggers, and ransomware in your emails.

    ClamAV integrates with MS Outlook and Windows Explorer, thus making it easy and secure to send private files, folders, and email attachments for quick scans. If the program uncovers any malicious program running within your device’s memory, it can forcibly unload the program. 

    Performance And Protection

    The program is lightweight and doesn’t consume much system resources, primarily because of its cloud-based technology. With over 850,000 signatures listed in its database, ClamAV is well-equipped to offer reasonable protection from new and old threats.

    That said, if you’re looking for advanced features such as heuristic monitoring and multi-layered threat protection, you may want to opt for a paid antivirus suite.

    Ease Of Use

    The program is easy to install and set up, especially for Windows and Mac users. All you need to do is download the executable file, run it, and accept the EULA when employing these operating systems. It has a straightforward interface, and you’ll find it easy to navigate around the menus. 

    The Settings screen allows users to schedule scans for their files and directories, change scan filters to meet their needs, and customize their scanning rules for Microsoft Outlook and Windows Explorer.

    Customer Support

    Since this is free and open-source software (FOSS), there isn’t a dedicated support team around to help. You’ll have to be content with online forums, and in-depth user guides to navigate your way through any difficulties that arise. Unlike premium products, there’s no email, phone, or live chat support.

    Final Verdict

    We think this solution is best for casual computer users who don’t require advanced features. The robust anti-malware software capably keeps viruses and malware away from your devices and the built-in features for mail and document integration add an excellent security layer at no cost.

    Still, if you’re looking for more feature-rich solutions that deliver more comprehensive coverage, consider the following alternatives:

    • Threat detection from sophisticated malware
    • Encrypted online browsing and transactions
    • Encrypted online browsing and transactions
    • Recovering damaged files
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    • Around-the-clock support
    • Strong privacy protection
    • Safe web browsing
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    • Real-time malware protection
    • Advanced security features
    • Cross-platform compatibility
    • Value for money
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    • Multi-layered malware protection
    • Fast system scans
    • Secure web browsing
    • Enhanced security suite and advanced features
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    • Firewall Security and VPN
    • Multi-device protection
    • Easy-to-access features
    • Advanced Malware protection
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    1.    Can I download ClamAV antivirus for free?

    Yes, you can download it for free from the official website, Github, or any other verified third-party website.

    2.    Is the ClamAv antivirus configuration easy to set up?

    Yes, the installation and setup process is easy and straightforward.

    3.    How to install the ClamAV antivirus on Centos 7?

    You’ll need first to enable the EPEL repositories. Once done, you’ll need to run the command $ sudo rpm -Uvh to start the installation.

    4.    What are the most popular ClamAV alternatives?

    Kaspersky, AVG, Norton, Bitdefender, and Avast are some of the most popular alternatives.

    5.    Can I use ClamAv for Android devices?

    This software isn’t available for Android, but it can still detect a few of the harmful trojans targeting the Android platform. If you’ve installed the solution on Windows, Mac, or Linux, you can connect your phone to the computer and still scan its internal storage using ClamAV.