One of the most significant threats that remain on the internet are the websites themselves. Adware has been know to spread most of the malware, and they were top on the chart in one of the recent Malware reports. The current situation makes it extremely important that you know that a website you visit is safe. While most of the time, you may know the site, but if you receive a link on the email or personal message or a text message, be warned. It is a good idea to check if the Website or URL is safe before you visit it.
Check if a Website or URL is safe using Online URL scanners
There are several websites that can help you check if a website or web page is safe or not. These free online URL scanners will tell you if a link is safe or not:
- Google Safe Browsing Check
- Virus Total
- Norton Safeweb
- Tendmicro’s Site Safety Center
- URLVoid, PSafe Dfndr URL, BrightCloud.com, etc.
Let us take a look at them.
1) Google Safe Browsing Check
It is one of the safest tools that you can use to check if the website is safe or is not serving unsafe content. Google has its advantage of being the top search engine, and they scan billions of URLs per day looking for unsafe content. If Google Safe Browsing tech finds a website, they will warn about it in the search result.
2) Virus Total
It is one of the most prominent websites which can analyze suspicious files and URLs to detect types of malware. When they find one, they automatically share them with the security community. The website can also scan files, IP addresses, domain, files has, and others. It takes feedback from 70 antivirus scanners and URL/domain blacklisting services. Check out VirusTotal
Like VirusTotal, this service also scans a URL with reputable 3rd-party services, such as Google Safe Browsing Diagnostic, PhishTank, and Web of Trust (WOT). If there is a report on any website, it will warn you about it.
It’s a credible service that can clean up a hacked website. It’s no wonder they have vast experience dealing with this every day. They offer a free website security check & malware scanner, which can remote scan for issues and can also tell if the website is serving any dangerous content. They check malicious code and infected file locations by scanning external website source code, blacklist status, and so on.
By the way, we use Sucuri to keep our website safe and secure.
5) Norton Safeweb
Norton is one of the oldest players when it comes to security and antivirus solutions. They also offer a safe web service where you can check for a website’s reputation. They also provide community-based feedback for websites.
6) Tendmicro’s Site Safety Center
Similar to Noton’s service, Tendmicro’s Site Safety Center builds scores based on websites’ age, location, changes, and any indication of suspicious activity through malware behavior analysis. However, if the site has never been checked before, you will not find any result.
There are many similar websites such as URLVoid, PSafe Dfndr URL, BrightCloud.com threat intelligence, which you can give a try.
4] Use a Website URL Scanner & Link Checker addon
You can use Website URL Scanners & Link Checker addons for your browser. These Online URL scanners will also let you scan a webpage for malware, virus, or phishing.
Other suggestions to stay safe
Apart from these, there are a list of tools and tips that will help you identify if the website or URL is safe to open in the browser. However, it is up to you to make the final judgment. Also, these tools are indicators, and there can be false-positives. It would be a good idea to also take feedback from people who you trust.
One of the most common ways to figure out if the website is safe is to check if it’s HTTPS. Most browsers will give you a warning if the site is not serving secure content, but it doesn’t block them.
Set aside a browser to test
Most of us do not use more than one or two browsers. It’s a good idea to install a third browser, and use it for testing. For example, if you use Chrome and Firefox as your primary browser, you can use Microsoft Edge as your test browser. Make sure not to sign-in with any account on any website. Even better, when you need to test a URL, open in Incognito Mode.
You can even set up the highest level of privacy that will make sure the adware or any site doesn’t get downloaded unless you allowed it to. Once you open the website or URL, you can use your judgment if it is safe.
Browser’s in-built Safety tools
Every modern browser—Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari—offers inbuilt security features. Here is the location of settings for each of the browsers:
- Chrome: Settings > Advanced > Privacy and security
- Edge: Settings > Privacy and services
- Firefox: Options > Privacy & Security
- Safari: Preferences > Privacy
Here are additional tips that browsers offer, and sometimes need to enable by the end-users:
- Options to disable automatic redirects,
- Enable Chrome’s inbuilt malware scanner, and cleanup tool,
- Add a Trusted Site in Windows 10, and so on.
- Use Windows SmartScreen.
We hope the tips, and the list of websites help you to check if a Website or URL is safe. In the end, it will up to you to review and open sites. Our only suggestion does not fall for links and emails which lure you to offers, which look impossible.