Best URL filtering software of 2021

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The best URL filtering software allows you to easily manage website access across business networks, while minimizing security risks.

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Monitoring access to and restricting access to certain websites is a common way for parents to keep children safe online. But URL filtering can be equally effective in a business context.

As well as blocking a website on the basis of quality, the best URL filtering software can scan the content of a website and block access to users if anything in it is deemed unsafe or inappropriate.

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URL filtering can prevent employees from accessing websites that have nothing to do with their roles and, most importantly, prevent employees from inadvertently infecting a malicious website infecting your network with potentially devastating viruses.

In this article, we dive deep into the best URL filtering software solutions on the market, giving you all the information you need to protect your business network and maximize productivity.

  • We’ve also featured the best employee monitoring software.

1. DNS Filter

Highly priced URL filtering service

reasons to buy
,very competitive price,cloud-based,easy-to-use interface,wide range of features
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The biggest selling point of DNSFilter is its competitive price. As well as comprehensive threat protection, the Basic plan includes desktop roaming features and weekly threat reports.

You’ll need to pay a few dollars more per user to access the Pro plan, which includes advanced features like advanced data analytics tools. However, for a small to medium-sized business, the basic service is more than enough.

DNSFilter has all the features you could ask for, including AI-powered real-time threat detection, phishing, malware and virus protection, customizable URL filtering, off-network protection, analytics, and even a bonus SSL certificate also includes.

We found the interface easier to navigate than other providers and particularly liked the Jio Activity display, a nice touch that demonstrated the process of physically finding and preventing threats that would likely appeal to first-time users.

2. Cisco Umbrella

Comprehensive filtering software from a trusted brand

reasons to buy
,100% uptime since 2006,cloud-based security,predictive threat detection,weekly safety report

Cisco is one of the largest and best-known software providers around, and unsurprisingly, its URL filtering product, the Cisco Umbrella, is one of the top examples of technology you can find.

Since it is a cloud-based service, there is no hardware involved and updates happen automatically. Cisco’s uptime record is also impeccable, so you can be assured that an unexpected outage is unlikely to jeopardize the security of your network.

The major selling point of the software is its ability to detect threats from malicious websites and block them before they reach you. This is achieved by analyzing more than 180 billion Internet requests a day, and the technology protects users on and off the network.

As the name suggests, the Cisco Umbrella has many tools including DNS-layer security, interactive threat intelligence, a secure web gateway, firewall, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) functionality, and integration with Cisco SD-WAN.

The interface is well designed but a bit complicated for first time users. Still, with a little practice, it’s navigable and provides consistent reports and easy-to-view monitoring. Price is fixed.

3. Webtitan Cloud

Straightforward, scalable web filtering

reasons to buy
,simple price plans,very scalable product,Protects business email accounts
reason to escape
,Interface suitable for technical users only

TitanHQ’s WebTitan Web Filter is actually a suite of filtering tools that can be deployed to protect customers and employees from malicious web pages and emails. WebTitan Cloud, a DNS-based service both hosted and managed by the TitanHQ team, is a product best suited for small to medium-sized businesses.

This scalable software product is perfect for businesses that want to run security in the background without the need for constant maintenance.

As well as blocking malware, viruses, malicious websites and ransomware, the technology protects users from compromised email accounts, monitoring incoming HTTP and HTTPS traffic, and blocking malicious content in real time.

The Webtitan Cloud Dashboard displays updated threat reports and category lists showing blocked and allowed domains. It is very easy to create custom page blocking settings and policies and set individual user preferences. That said, navigating the interface correctly does require some degree of technical know-how.

4. McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service

Cloud-based, enterprise-grade web security

reasons to buy
,no hardware required,Powerful security for remote teams,99.5% malware blocked
reason to escape
,Dashboard more complex than competitors

McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service is much simpler to operate and manage than its on-premises alternative, McAfee Web Gateway, without having to purchase additional hardware and the ability to set up security remotely via the cloud.

The technology is powerful, scalable and suitable for all user levels, including enterprise clients. That said, the dashboard is a bit more complicated than most of the other providers we tested, and requires some degree of technical knowledge.

A well-known name in the anti-malware industry, McAfee doesn’t let its standards slip away here, and advanced features include proactive threat detection and zero-day exploit protection. It’s even possible to extend the software’s URL filtering capabilities to protect users outside of your network.

There’s no clear pricing information on McAfee’s website. Instead, it is negotiated on a case-by-case basis based on service needs.

5. Finish Solving the Firewall

Perfect for small to medium sized businesses

reasons to buy
,Wide range of apps ,well priced plans,very intuitive dashboard
reason to escape
,website a bit confusing

Founded in 2003, Untangle is a great web filtering option for small to medium-sized businesses because it’s possible to specify the apps needed for your company’s exact needs. This not only makes the process of securing your network less expensive but also easier to manage.

For our tests, we opted to test the provider’s NG Firewall full plan, which includes all the apps needed to monitor web traffic, specify site usage, and block malicious content.

The service enables users to filter content and prioritize specific sites and apps relevant to business-related activities. Much of this functionality is down to the provider’s web filtering app, which has a wide array of features including alerts based on search terms and a huge database of vulnerable IPs.

We were impressed with the dashboard. Although loaded with features, it was incredibly easy to navigate, while the animations and images really helped us visualize the reporting.

  • We have also featured the best free and public DNS servers.
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