Free Online Virus Scanners

A List of the Best Free Online Virus 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 mainly because the work is all 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!

Note: I also keep updated lists of traditional antivirus programs too. See my Best Free Antivirus Programs and Free On-Demand Virus Scanners lists for more information.

Bonus: Check out item #10 on the bottom of this page for a list of email addresses from several online virus scanners that you can send files to directly that you think might be infected. This is a great option for virus scanning on the go or from your smartphone!

1
VirusTotal

Screenshot of VirusTotal
VirusTotal. © VirusTotal

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.

Archives like ZIP and RAR can be uploaded but the maximum acceptable size for any file type is 128 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. More

2
Metadefender

Screenshot of the Metadefender website
Metadefender. © OPSWAT, Inc.

Metadefender (previously called Metascan Online) is a slick website that allows files up to 140 MB to be uploaded and scanned against 43 different antivirus engines at once, including ones used by popular vendors like Microsoft, Kaspersky, McAfee, and AVG.

I was able to upload 7Z, EXE, ZIP, and a few other similar file types to Metadefender, as well as other common files like images and documents.

In addition to uploading a file to Metadefender, 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. More

3
BullGuard Virus Scan

BullGuard Virus Scan - Free Online Virus Scanner
BullGuard Virus Scan. © BullGuard

BullGuard Virus Scanner works with Firefox and Internet Explorer to quickly scan critical areas of a computer.

Once the browser extension is installed, BullGuard Virus Scanner starts in seconds to scan currently running processes, established network connections, autorun files, browser plugins, system folders, and the DLL and EXE files found in program installation directories.

When finished, you can view a report that shows everything that was scanned. More

4
Avira

Avira - Free Online Virus Scanner
Avira. © Avira Operations GmbH & Co.

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 5 files no larger than 50 MB each can be uploaded. More

5
Jotti's Malware Scan

Jotti's Malware Scan - Free Online Virus Scanner
Jotti's Malware Scan. © Jotti

Over 20 antivirus engines are used to scan up to 5 files at a time (with a 50 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 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.

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

6
NoDistribute

Screenshot of the NoDistribute webpage
NoDistribute.

NoDistribute is an online virus scanner that lets you upload one file at a time to be scanned with over 35 unique antivirus engines simultaneously.

When a scan is complete, you can share the direct link with others that point to the results page, which is pretty handy.

Only one file can be scanned at once, and only 10 files can be uploaded within a 24 hour period. More

7
ThreatExpert

Screenshot of the online virus scanner ThreatExpert
TheatExpert.

Another online virus scanner is ThreatExpert. You can upload files as large as 5 MB (one at a time) and get the results of the scan sent to you as an email.

If you create a free account with ThreatExpert, you can keep track of the results of all files you've sent in for scanning. More

8
FortiGuard Online Virus Scanner

Screenshot of the FortiGuard Online Virus Scanner website
FortiGuard Online Virus Scanner. © Fortinet, Inc.

FortiGuard Online Virus Scanner is a super simple online virus scanner that works in any browser. It works by letting you upload a file to the website for scanning.

You have the option to show the scan results on screen only or to send the results to you as an email after the scan completes. More

9
ESET Online Scanner

Screenshot of the ESET Online Scanner website
ESET Online Scanner. © ESET

ESET Online Scanner installs an addon so it can clean your computer from an Internet browser. It supports scanning removable media, the memory, local drives, and network drives.

Internet Explorer is the only supported browser, but Chrome and Firefox users are instead prompted to download the installer file and run the setup like a regular program.

Before a scan begins, you can choose specific options like whether to remove threats automatically if they're found, to scan inside archives, to enable rootkit detection and if you wish to check for potentially unwanted programs. More

10
Send Files Over Email

Picture of yellow envelope with a green arrow

Instead of a browser addon or website form, use one of the email addresses listed below to have suspected files scanned for you. Results of a virus scan are emailed back to the sender.

I've ordered these by how fast the results came in:

VirusTotal: scan@virustotal.com

Files sent to VirusTotal can be as large as 32 MB. Enter "SCAN" in the subject line to get an automatic reply that's in plain text form, or "SCAN+XML" for XML format

Sophos: samples@sophos.com

Use "Sample submitted for analysis" as the subject of the email. Password protect the files in the ZIP file format and enter the password in the body of the message. Results are scanned and then analyze by a real person who will send you the results

Avira: virus@avira.com

To send files to Avira, compress them to any archive format and specify the password in the email. You'll get an automated response with the results in it, as well as a URL that stores all the scans they've ever made from your email address

eScansamples@escanav.com

Pack the files in a ZIP or RAR file type secured with a password and include the password in the email. You'll get a simple reply that says if the data is clean or not

McAfeevirus_research@mcafee.com

Compress into a ZIP file with "infected" as the password

Norman Safeground: helpdesk@norman.com

Pack files into a ZIP archive with the password "infected"

Tip: See my Free Zip & Unzip Programs list for some free programs that will make ZIP or RAR files for emailing to these online virus scanners.