Best antivirus for VMware virtual machines [2020 Guide]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • It’s clear that virtual machines are prone to cyber-attacks because of the nature of their use.
  • When looking for the best antivirus for VMware virtual machines, we recommended BullGuard, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky.
  • To discover similar articles for the VMware Workstation Player or VMware virtual machines in general, take a look at our VMware section.
  • Visit this Antivirus Software Hub too and find the best-engineered antivirus solutions.
Antivirus for VMware virtual machines

Are you a VMware user worried about what choice of antivirus you should use? Windows Report has compiled the best antivirus programs for VMware.

VMware is a virtualization and cloud computing software provider located in Palo Alto, California. It was founded in 1998 by Dell Technologies.

Meanwhile, virtualization technologies of VMware are based on its bare-metal hypervisor ESX/ ESXi in x86 architecture.

A hypervisor is usually installed on the physical server to enable multiple virtual machines (VMs) to run on the same physical server.

Multiple Operating Systems can run on one physical server because each VM can run its own individual OS. VMs on the same physical server always share resources, such as networking and RAM.

However, VMware products include networking virtualization, software-defined data center software, security management tools, and storage software.

In addition, it pools disk space from several ESXi hosts and provisions it through smart policies, such as thin provisioning protection limits and erasure coding.


What’s the best antivirus for VMware?

BullGuard (recommended)

try out BullGuard

The average user may not know that VMware uses a combination of on-host security such as encryption and firewalls to protect ESX/ESXi management interfaces.

BullGuard is a top antivirus for VMware that steps in to further boost the basic protection offered by these tools.

Keep in mind that this solution combines traditional signature-based protection with behavioral detection to fight malware.

Even more, it isn’t only compatible with virtual machines. It supports all major operating systems too, providing hyper-easy management through the centralized cloud portal.

Let us remind you of some BullGuard key features waiting to be enjoyed:

  • Great scores in independent lab tests
  • Anti-spam filtering
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • Backup tools to protect your files in case of system failure
  • Automatic performance optimization
  • Free trial to ensure complete satisfaction


BullGuard is the most intuitive antivirus program for VMware virtual machines. You can enjoy it right away!
$23.99/year Get it free

Read our full BullGuard review

Bitdefender GravityZone

grab Bitdefender

GravityZone is a native virtualization cloud solution designed to provide complete security services for virtual machines (among others).

You need to know from the very start that it is compatible with VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (with KVM), etc.

No less important, GravityZone centralizes all security features into a single console. You don’t need to worry about updating or monitoring security activities whatsoever.

Best of all, this security solution can even be hosted by Bitdefender in the cloud, a rather approach appreciated by users worldwide.

Here are its main features:

  • Full protection against malware on all virtual machines
  • Layered security for maximum precision
  • Uses vShield Endpoint for deployment
  • Latency and vulnerability during Windows boot are removed
  • Native device encryption
  • Skilled Bitdefender engineers for professional guidance
Bitdefender GravityZone

Bitdefender GravityZone

Comprehensive protection and risk management are both ticked boxes when using Bitdefender GravityZone.
Free trial Visit website


try out Kaspersky

This software provides great security for Virtualization and also offers protection to your virtual infrastructure. It is compatible with Windows OS and Linux as well.

However, that’s not all. Add up to the list security features for VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, and KVM platforms too.

Even more, that’s your chance to enjoy powerful yet lightweight security for XenDesktop and Horizon and advanced network protection & IDS/IPS.

With Anti-malware for any virtual platform, Integration Server for better efficiency, and Central management console. it has everything you would need in an antivirus suite.

Key features that you’re about to enjoy:

  • Anti-malware protection and IDS/IPS for virtual servers and VDI
  • Works in harness with your infrastructure, empowering its capabilities
  • Perfectly balanced protection with no impact on performance
  • Agentless security integrated with VMware NSX
  • Multi-layered security for VDI environments
  • Cloud-assisted security
Essential for Windows
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  • Blocking ransomware, cryptolockers & more
  • Preventing cryptomining malware infections
  • Real-time protection

Which of the previously mentioned antivirus solution is your final choice? Let us know in the comments area below.

FAQ: Learn more about virtual machine protection

  • Does a virtual machine need antivirus?

Even if not every single antivirus solution plays well in virtualized environments, you do need extra protection for virtual machines. For example, you may use BullGuard in that regard.

  • Can you be hacked through a virtual machine?

As unfortunate as it sounds, this isn’t an impossible scenario. To maintain the safety of all programs from your host machine, always use the best antivirus for virtual machines.

  • Can a virtual machine be traced?

Your virtual machine Internet connection goes through the router and its IP address can be easily traced. Prevent that from happening by using these reliable proxy tools to protect privacy.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.