Best Internet Filtering Software

Category: Security

There are lots of websites and other things out there on the Internet that you don't want to see. There are many more that you don't want your children to see. If you run a business that used the Internet, there are things you don't want employees to see, or do. What's the best Internet filtering software for your situation?

Which Internet Filtering Software is Best?

Parental control software is designed to give parents control over where their children can go online; what sort of online activities the kids can engage in; and even how much and during what hours they can use the Internet. Internet filtering for business a environment must offer content-based access, email scanning and application blocking. That's a lot for a piece of software to do, and no parental control or internet filtering software does it perfectly. But here are some of the best, time-tested solutions for home and office internet filtering.

  • NetNanny has developed Internet filtering software almost since the Web got started. Its features include a database of "blocked" websites that is updated regularly; "intelligent" blocking based upon keywords in sites that users try to access; filtering and blocking of social media such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, chat rooms, etc., and even blocking of proxy sites that can be used to circumvent other parental controls. Net Nanny costs about $29.
  • Internet Filtering Software

  • CYBERsitter from Solid Oak Software is another leading parental control program. It is one of only a few parental control programs that monitors and blocks email as well as other forms of communication, so your children won't see those obnoxious ads for "adult" products. CYBERsitter sells for about $25 online.
  • Websense is Internet filtering software for enterprises. It includes anti-hacker security features as well as content-filtering and site-blocking capabilities to keep employees off shopping sites, fantasy sports league sites, gambling sites, and other services they should not be visiting during working hours. Websense can also monitor outgoing email for words or attachments that may indicate an employee is transmitting your customer list or other trade secrets to outsiders. These are features that good business Web filters should include.
  • Barracuda Web Filter software combines content-filtering, site-blocking, email monitoring (inbound and outbound), and application-blocking. The last feature prevents users from downloading files from Bittorrent and other peer-to-peer networks, which may include illegal or virus-laden copies of music, movies, or software. It also prevents employees from running any Internet-connected software that you don't want them to use. It also protects business networks against spyware, viruses, Trojans, and other malware.

Legal Considerations

Before installing any Internet filtering software on your home or business network, consider the practical and legal implications. "Over-blocking" and "under-blocking" are inevitable with any filtering software. Over-blocking means users are blocked from sites that they should be able to access, so they have to bug the system administrator to manually override a block. Under-blocking lets users access a site that they shouldn't be able to, and that can provide a false sense of security to an employer.

Children have virtually no legal right to privacy from their parents' monitoring of their online activities. If the kids complain, hand them an Etch-a-Sketch and tell them the right to privacy begins when they start paying their own rent, utility, cable and internet bills. Employees, customers of cyber cafes and libraries, and other adults who may use your network are another matter. It's best to consult an attorney, or at least publish appropriate notifications of what you are monitoring and filtering.

And as I mnentioned earlier, no parental control or internet filtering software is 100% effective. Clever adults and even children are always looking for ways to get around the blocks and filters -- and sometimes they will. That's why the old "look over the shoulder" method is sometimes needed as an extra measure.

Do you have something to say about internet filtering software? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Best Internet Filtering Software"

Posted by:

Christopher Behnke
23 Nov 2010

I LOVE the fact that you are doing a review of this type of software. There is such a problem with inappropriate content making its way into the house! Services like NetNanny are good, but not really sufficient. They don't protect "all" the connected devices in your home, and a quick google search on "how to get around netnanny" reveals that they really aren't all that safe... The ONLY way to protect every device in your home is to have some kind of router based solution. http://webSAFEfamily.com offers a solution that protects the entire home, every device on it and is very inexpensive. If you have any questions, or would like to do a review please let me know!


Posted by:

Clint Cozier
23 Nov 2010

I prefer OpenDNS since its easier to filter at a network border than machine by machine and the DNS filter also picks up smart phones and other internet devices. Also, Microsoft makes a great Windows Live service called Family Safety that works great in a Windows 7 environment.


Posted by:

chesscanoe
23 Nov 2010

I like OpenDNS for additional reasons aside from their optional filtering capability. I suspect it may not be a working solution if you use the Chrome browser, however, as Google likes to directly know what you request to see.


Posted by:

chesscanoe
24 Nov 2010

Using the latest betas of Chrome 8 and Firefox 4, OpenDNS does in fact work well for the intentionally misspelled URL www.msnbccc.com tested under latest Windows 7 x64.


Posted by:

Pat Coppag
24 Nov 2010


Truth told - none of these are perfect but you use what you feel you must.
Education goes a long way with children; some adults think they already know it all.
Tell the children when they pay their own way...Tough Love or common sense?
My parents made me buy my own 'got-to-have' goodies so I had my head on right and a fat bank book when I moved out.
But then I joined the Army.


Posted by:

Dr. S. Kumar
25 Nov 2010

Hey, I really love your blogs and the information its helping me a lot & want it that other may enjoy too be good to others.
Dr. S. Kummar


Posted by:

Lloyd
30 Nov 2010

I highly recommend the Untangle gateway if you have an oldish unused PC www.untangle.com

It is an open source Linux OS that is very easy to install and comes with free packages to handle antispam, antivirus, antiphish, antispyware, firewall, intrusion prevention, web content filtering, Open VPN for remote access and more. You can also opt for paid packages that give more control and flexibility.

It was really easy to set up and the functionality is brilliant. Used in conjunction with OpenDNS and you have security, remote access, internet filtering and more.


Posted by:

Mitch H.
30 Nov 2010

While probably a little too geeky for some, I use the free distribution of ClearOS and a old computer that still had some life left in it in my home, with selected subscription updates. With so many devices now web-enabled, a PC based filter and even the "over the shoulder" method are less and less effective.

For those looking for a more rebust solution and are willing to get their hands dirty, its a great option.


Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
30 Nov 2010

I'm surprised you do not mention the possibility of running a the filtering program on a dedicated firewall box, for instance running DansGuardian on top of an IPCop firewall, thus solving two problems at one go.


Posted by:

LisaMcCullough
26 Jan 2013

I need immediate help!I cannot access my computer because the internet keeps blocking!All my icons have turned into tags.Please help,because I can't check my mail!!


Posted by:

devjohndevon
30 Apr 2013

you can download best internet software from there!!
http://www.comvigo.com/


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