Sophos vs Webroot

Sophos and Webroot may not be the most familiar names in the antivirus industry but they both offer strong malware protection along with some additional features.

Both companies use simple pricing and offer a small product range. This makes it easy to differentiate between products, but if you’re looking for advanced software packages then it’s a possible weakness of both brands.

In this post, I provide a side-by-side comparison of Sophos and Webroot, looking at features, performance levels, malware protection scores, and more. I have conducted my own tests to show how they fare in performance and protection.

Don’t have time to read the whole comparison?

Sophos is the clear winner. The Home Premium version offers everything you need, including privacy protection, parental controls, and excellent protection against sophisticated threats.

If you’re still not convinced, read on for the full comparison.

Summary: Sophos Home Premium vs Webroot Complete

Sophos Home Premium

  • Privacy protection
  • Safe browsing
  • Real-time protection

Webroot Complete

  • Anti-phishing
  • Password manager
  • Identity theft protection
FeatureSophos Home PremiumWebroot complete
Antivirus and antispyware
Firewall
Webcam protection
Password manager
Anti-phishing
Ransomware protection
Banking and payment protection
Parental control
Network attack protection
Encrypted storage
Automatically update apps
VPN
PC cloud backup✔ (25GB)
File shredder
Performance optimization
Identity theft protection
Run suspicious apps in sandbox

Background

Sophos

Sophos is a British security software and hardware company founded 35 years ago. Its main focus is providing security software to businesses, although it does offer free and paid antivirus packages to home users too.

Sophos has had some controversy over the past few years. Ultimaco Safeware AG, which was acquired by Sophos in 2008, was accused of supplying data monitoring and tracking software to the Syrian and other governments. However, Sophos swiftly suspended its relationship with the company.

Webroot

Webroot is an American company that has provided internet security solutions since 1997. In 2008, it launched its first consumer security product, Webroot Internet Security Essentials, in the US.

In 2019, Carbonite Inc. acquired Webroot. Just a few months later in December 2019, Webroot and Carbonite were both acquired by OpenTest, a global leader in enterprise information management.

Pricing and compatibility

Sophos and Webroot both offer just a few antivirus packages. This is helpful if you’re confused by the extensive product lines that many other antivirus software companies have to offer. Whether you’re on a budget or want a premium version at an extra cost, you’ll find something to suit your needs with Sophos and Webroot.

Webroot AntivirusWebroot Internet Security PlusWebroot Internet Security Complete
$39.99 per year$59.99 per year$79.99 per year

Sophos offers two products, a free version and a premium option at $60 per year. Although a free antivirus might pique your interest, it’s important to note that any no-cost antivirus software will only provide a basic level of protection against common online threats. The premium version will offer you privacy protection, parental controls, and features that guarantee safer browsing, banking, and shopping.

Webroot offers three products. Its basic antivirus costs $39.99 per year, with the midrange annual plan costing $59.99. If you’re looking for something more advanced, Webroot Internet Security Complete costs $79.99 per year. The Complete product does what it says in the title; it’s a complete package with more extensive features.

Both companies offer discounts. Sophos is currently offering a 25 percent discount, reducing the cost of the premium version to $45 for the first year. You’ll also find greater discounts on offer if you subscribe to a multi-year package.

Webroot offers a discount of $20, taking the cost of Internet Security Complete to $59.99 for the first year.

What happens if you’re not happy with the product you’ve purchased? Sophos offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and Webroot offers a generous 70-day money-back guarantee. This gives you peace of mind that you can try the product out and receive a refund if you’re unsatisfied.

If you’re looking at protecting more than just a Windows PC, both Sophos and Webroot work with all the major operating systems including Windows, MacOS, and Android devices.

Effectiveness against malware

Before you purchase any software product, you need to make sure that it meets your required performance standards. I’ve made it easy for you and conducted my own tests on Sophos’ and Webroot’s effectiveness against malware.

The first test involved downloading four sample files from the European Institute of Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR). The second test used live malware samples to see how well they were handled. The results are shown in the table below.

Test FileEICAR Sample 1EICAR Sample 2EICAR Sample 3EICAR Sample 4Live Sample 1 (Adware)Live Sample 2 (Trojan)Live Sample 3
(Trojan)
WebrootAllowedAllowedAllowedAllowedBlockedBlockedBlocked
SophosBlockedBlockedBlockedBlockedBlockedBlockedBlocked

Webroot’s real-time scanner allowed all four EICAR files but automatically and silently removed the three live malware samples. Sophos’ real-time scan blocked all of the EICAR files and live malware samples. Both EICAR and malware samples were removed during the scan after real-time protection was turned off.

Through these tests, I discovered that Sophos provided superior protection against malware, blocking all the malicious files and therefore protecting my device better than Webroot.

There are many websites that undertake their own independent tests to evaluate how well antivirus software protects your device. I looked at AV-Test’s latest real-world protection test against zero-day malware threats, conducted through the months of May and June 2020. Surprisingly, Sophos and Webroot were not part of this test. Sophos has not been tested by AV-Test since June 2011 and Webroot has not been tested since June 2019.

I then checked AV-Comparatives for any recent data. Again, Webroot and Sophos were not included in the most recent tests. Sophos was included in the business security test from March 2020 to June 2020 and gained a 99.5 percent protection rate. As Sophos aims to provide the same level of protection for business and home users, we can assume that the home product would have similar results.

The lack of tests by leading antivirus websites makes it difficult to validate my own data and provide further evidence. Even so, in my own tests, Sophos provided an exceptional level of protection and is my winner in this round.

See also: 25+ Malware statistics & facts

Impact on PC performance

What impact did Sophos and Webroot have on my PC performance? It’s important to consider PC performance before purchasing your antivirus software.  You want minimal impact on your device without interruption to your everyday use.

The data captured during my tests is shown in the table below.

Test TypeFull Scan Time (minutes)Full Scan Items ScannedQuick Scan CPU Utilization %Quick Scan Memory Utilization %Quick Scan Disk Utilization %Quick Scan Time (seconds)
Webroot72119383178971
Sophos15N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Webroot prides itself on its speed of scan and this was reflected in the results. Webroot managed to complete a quick scan in one second. CPU utilization peaked at just 31 percent, which is extremely impressive. Sophos doesn’t provide a quick scan option, but its full scan took just 15 minutes, much faster than Webroot’s 72 minutes.

It’s also difficult to compare how deep each scan went to check for viruses as only Webroot gives the user any data on the number of files that have been scanned. It’s very unusual for an antivirus not to provide this information and is a quirk that seems unique to Sophos.

The table below shows the performance data captured during a full scan and corresponding control numbers captured when no antivirus scan was in progress.

Test TypeControl CPU Utilization % (no scan)Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) (no scan)Full Scan CPU Utilization %Full Scan Memory Utilization %Full Scan Disk Utilization (MB/s)
Webroot2567109563721
Sophos79813609785431

Sophos had a much higher CPU utilization when no scan was running, at 79 percent, compared to Webroot’s 25 percent. The full scan also showed Sophos with a higher score at 97 percent CPU utilization compared to Webroot’s 95 percent. The difference here is very minimal.

My results conclude that Webroot has a very light impact on PC performance, and it includes the option of a quick scan. That said, Sophos did complete its full scan in a faster time.

I wanted to check the latest lab performance tests for Webroot and Sophos, but unfortunately, no recent test data was available from AV-Test or AV-Comparatives to further validate my own findings.

Features

As online threats become more complex, antivirus software offers more than just the malware scanner itself. To find which antivirus software offers you the best value for money, I looked at the features of both Sophos and Webroot.

Below I have listed the ones you would likely find most useful and expanded on some of the standout features.

Sophos Home Premium

  • Malware remover
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Real-time antivirus
  • Ransomware security
  • Banking protection
  • Privacy protection
  • Identity protection
  • Advanced web security
  • Parental web filtering
  • Remote management
  • Premium support

Webroot Complete

  • Advanced threat protection
  • Protection that stops ransomware
  • Anti-phishing
  • Lightning-fast scans
  • Protects account logins and passwords (LastPass)
  • Eliminates traces of online activity
  • 25GB of secure online storage

Sophos Home Premium

Parental web filtering – If your device is used by children, it’s important to be able to control the content they see online. With this feature, you can easily filter categories around inappropriate content or websites to ensure your children are browsing safely online.

Privacy protection – This feature will alert you if an outside source is attempting to access your webcam or microphone. Sophos Home Premium encrypts your keystrokes, so cybercriminals can’t capture what you’re typing. 

Identity protection – If you often shop or bank online, this feature helps protect your identity and prevents malware from stealing any usernames or passwords that are stored on your device. 

Webroot

LastPassSecure password management is provided by LastPass, a highly-regarded password manager. It encrypts all usernames, credit card information, and passwords to help keep you safe online.

Lightning-fast scans – The scans are up to 60 times faster than those of other competitors.

25GB of secure online storage – Protect up to 25GB of photos, music, and other files from damage or loss with cloud-based backup.

The additional features offered by Sophos and Webroot provide lots of value to the user. Sophos’ focus on privacy and identity protection provides reassurance, while Webroot’s cloud storage is a handy feature to have.

Signup and installation

Antivirus software should be simple and quick to install. Sophos’ signup process guides you through your chosen product to a straightforward payment process. You are given clear information on price and the first year discounts are outlined. One note of caution: it doesn’t mention anything about renewal, so it’s a good idea to set a reminder for when your subscription is due to expire.

Webroot allows you to input your customer and payment information all on one page. It clearly outlines your discount and the price of the product. It gives you an option to increase or decrease the number of devices you want to protect, displaying the corresponding cost. Webroot automatically adds a software CD at a charge of $9.99, so if you don’t require this, click the x to remove it.

Both programs take just a few minutes to install, so you’ll have protection almost straight away.

How easy is the interface to use?

Will the software be complicated to use? How do I navigate all of the features? These are all common questions and things to consider when choosing the right software. As you use the software for a year at least, making sure it’s user-friendly and easy to navigate is a must. Below are screenshots of the respective dashboards you’ll be greeted with.

The picture above shows the Sophos Home Premium dashboard. The color scheme is simple with a blend of gray, white, and dark blue. There isn’t much variance in the fonts or text size, making it quite difficult to quickly navigate to the desired destination. However, it does clearly state that you are protected with a green tick at the top. You can easily add a device if needed and manage your activity using Sophos Cloud.

Webroot has a more complex home screen design. There are more options to navigate, with a list of features on the right-hand side. The color scheme is a blend of green and gray, which provides good contrast. You can see the progress of your scan and the time and date that your last scan was completed.

Customer support

You can contact Sophos Home Premium support between the hours of 8am and 8pm, through online chat or via telephone. It’s important to note that if you opt for the free version, you can only access support through the online hub. This should cover all of the most common problems and technical information.

Webroot has a ticketing system on its website, and if you opt for the Complete product, you get unlimited tickets. You can also contact them through Facebook or Twitter or reach them via telephone. Answers to common questions are available on the website FAQs.

Conclusion

To sum up this comparison, Sophos is my clear winner. Sophos performs superbly in my own malware tests and will provide a great level of protection against sophisticated and common threats targeting your device. Sophos’ pricing and packages are simple to understand and much cheaper than many other antivirus software products on the market today. Plus, it offers an extensive list of additional features to enhance your overall security.

See also: