Sophos Home, a free antivirus solution

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 13, 2016
Updated • Jan 14, 2016

Sophos Home is a free antivirus solution by Sophos Group, a UK-based company that is most known for its Enterprise market security offerings.

The free antivirus solution market is quite crowded but it seems to have gone downhill a lot in recent time with companies adding more and more features to their products that are not always in the best interest of users.

A new product entering the market, even if backed by a known company, will have a hard time getting traction unless it is offering something new or improvements to traditional protection methods or features.

Sophos Home

Sophos Home is a free product that is offering malware protection, web filtering, and protection against potentially unwanted programs.

Installation of the program is quite cumbersome, as you cannot just download an installer and be done with it, but need to create an account on the Sophos Home website first before download options are provided.

The installation itself is quick but does not offer any customization options in regards to what is getting installed or enabled by default.

You will end up with all protective features enabled by default (automatic virus protection, web protection and potentially unwanted app detection), as well as a massive list of eight new Services that are all set to start up automatically with Windows and running all the time.

The following services are added by the installer:

  1. Sophos Anti-Virus
  2. Sophos Anti-Virus Statusreporter
  3. Sophos AutoUpdate Service
  4. Sophos MSC Agent
  5. Sophos MSC Client
  6. Sophos Web Control Service
  7. Sophos Web Filter
  8. Sophos Web Intelligence Service

These services remain active even if you disable some of the protective modules Sophos Home offers.

The client application itself provides you with little control over the program. All you can do is run a scan of the system, and add exceptions for the program's antivirus, website and application protection.

Everything else is controlled on the Sophos Home website. There you find listed all devices that you have added to the account, and options to control features on these individual machines.

You may disable certain protective measures on client systems using the dashboard, or customize the website filter by setting categories such as hacking, games or religion to allow, warn or block.

All types of sites are allowed by default, and the website protection module will only spring to action if known malicious sites are opened in web browsers on the local system.

The dashboard may be useful for administrators who manage multiple devices (up to 10) running Windows and Sophos Home, but it makes little sense for individual devices.

The main issue here is that you cannot control what the program does on the local system as there is no option to enable or disable protection locally, or define which types of websites to block or warn about.

It remains to be seen how well the protection is after all. Both AV Test and AV Comparatives have not added Sophos Home to their end user test lineup yet.

Sophos Endpoint Security got a good rating on AV Test, and an average real-time protection rating on AV Comparatives, but it is unclear if Sophos Home uses the same technology or something different. (via Dave's Computer Tips)

software image
Author Rating
3.5 based on 26 votes
Software Name
Sophos Home
Operating System
Software Category
Landing Page

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. David S. said on April 23, 2017 at 1:39 am

    I’ve used Sophos for Mac for about six months. It seems to work well, but frequently downloads from the net. When I use CCleaner, it clears out various Sophos caches. I don’t know if this is normal, but it seems to spend a lot of time downloading updates or something.

  2. Thiago said on January 15, 2016 at 1:05 am

    Why not accept my comment without offense? Difficulty of accept opinion different? ghacks not is reliable for me after of attitude. Poor review and poor accept others opinions contrary.

  3. Thiago said on January 15, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Sorry, but your review not is very constructive. Various services add by sophos, but very light, more that others softwares antivírus (Various services not mean high consume). Sophos Home not afect startup of Windows, very more fast that Avast. Not is necessary a installation personalized, sophos add antivírus, web protection and unwanted app protection. Why modify essential components? Level of protection is same of level commercial, maximum protection. How much a installer standalone Sophos can create it.

    Note: Instalation not is complicated, only register, execute and enjoy. Is very easy!

    1. Maximus said on January 15, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      I’m using Sophos, but its a little heavy on system resources, otherwise i like it

  4. Ray said on January 14, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I have been using Avira for more than 6 years now and have not been the victim of any virus or malware since . So I am sticking to the proven ones. Sophos sounds nice. Thanks for the review

  5. Sophist said on January 14, 2016 at 2:02 am

    “… customize the website filter by changing categories such as hacking, games or religion”….

    uhm… errr… what?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 14, 2016 at 7:59 am

      I meant setting to block or warn ;)

  6. Brock said on January 14, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Martin: can you review Hosts Block ? :)

    Thank you

  7. James said on January 13, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    “The main issue here is that you cannot control what the program does on the local system as there is no option to enable or disable protection locally”

    I personally like that, I don’t want my family turning off protection locally. Most of my family/friends don’t know what the hell they’re doing when it comes to AV and shouldn’t be messing with that stuff.

  8. Andrew said on January 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    “The main issue here is that you cannot control what the program does on the local system as there is no option to enable or disable protection locally”

    Well, that kills any desire to use the program. Sometimes I need to disable protection. Being unable to temporarily disable it is a horrible thing to lose.

  9. Ken Saunders said on January 13, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I don’t see anything appealing and I guess that you didn’t either.
    The PUP feature that’s in this program, Avast, and I’m sure in others is useless to me as are many other things in the programs that try to do more than one thing really well, like, virus detection/blocking/removal (I’m counting that as one thing). I think that Avast still does a great job at that and that’s why I’m still using it, but it would be nice to have a stripped down version that just offered the shields ya’ know?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 13, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Even if it is really good, I would not use it because I dislike programs that take away controls from the local system and move them to the Internet.

  10. John said on January 13, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Looks like a annoying one. Way too many services. No customization of what services you want or not. I use:
    – Virus: Eset NOD32 Antivirus
    – Anti-Malware: Spywareblaster, Malwarebytes + anti-exploit
    – Firewall: Glasswire

    1. Bleep said on January 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      GLASSWIRE IS NOT A FIREWALL. GW is a firewall manager. it’s different. while a firewall uses it’s own wall, GW uses Windows firewall. using GW is more like replace the ugly Windows firewall UI for GW’s UI… besides that GW is in Beta version, has a lot of bugs, huge RAM consumption (some people say GW can consume 200MB, other people 50mb…) and it will never really protect you more than your old and ugly windows firewall… as the support of GW says: GW is not a firewall but we call it as a firewall to shorten it’s name (short version). so basically, GW’s website and all the support of the program are lying to their users… GW is more for a network manager and apps controller than a firewall…

      my FULL set, despite not being the best is:
      – my router’s firewall as my first line of defense
      – windows firewall (prettending to use comodo free firewall for it’s network control) as second firewall
      – 360TS as my 3rd line of defense
      and the most important thing on my set: my brain :D

  11. MikeFromMarkham said on January 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Martin: Are you sure this isn’t really from Microsoft? The whole “we decide what you get and when and how you will use it” approach sounds an awful lot like their Windows 10 deployment strategy.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 13, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Microsoft is not the only company going down that route :)

  12. Moloch said on January 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    im still sticking with Panda Free:

  13. Anatoly Nechaev said on January 13, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Kaspersky have also released their free Antivirus for Home. At least in Russia:

    1. Belga said on January 14, 2016 at 9:49 am

      ” The product is enabled only on the territory of the Russia and the Ukraine. The license is free for 1 year (365 days) with automatic renewal”

      1. Anatoly Nechaev said on January 14, 2016 at 10:22 am

        Funny enough its online installer refused to download from my Russian IP, but had no problem doing so connected through Dutch VPN.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.