Is it worth paying for virus protection?

In terms of basic performance in catching infections, anecdotal testing shows that the free and pay products test about the same. That being said noticeable difference between the free and the paid programs is often when it comes to detecting some new threats are detected better with paid products largely because they have better behavior monitors.

The primary differences between the free and pay products tends to be features and ease of use.

Free programs generally offer no telephone technical support, and generally there are no parental controls. Not to mention the annoying ads to get you to upgrade to a paid product, partner ads etc. Some free programs also try to change your web browser's home page and default search engine which is a issue for me.

Paid programs are usually easier to customize and run. They also offer additional features such as parental controls, firewalls to prevent intrusions, and performance and conflict scans, also look for suspicious behaviors that point to virus like activity, such as a program attempting to access unauthorized files. Many paid programs will have a safe search feature to rate safe and questionable and/or dangerous websites and may even warn of scams.