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How To Check If a Website Is Safe

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011

It’s not safe anymore to visit a website and hope that it's safe. Even well-known websites can be compromised and used to deliver viruses and other forms of malware. This article exlains how you can check whether a website is safe before you visit it.

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    Free online website checking services

    Some antivirus provides network protection that will check the website or file is safe or not. Browser add-ons become popular too that will alert users if the page is bad or not. Most browsers will block any bad sites or unsafe downloads but you might want to see below online Services to check if a website is safe or serving malware. Add them in your bookmark or favorites so the next time you want to visit a site, you’ll get to see first if it’s not going to harm your system:

    • Blacklist Doctor – enter the URL or web address to diagnose a site
    • Google Safe Browsing – This is a service by Google. Just enter the URL at the end of http://google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site= Example: http://google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=brighthub.com or http://google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=www.brighthub.com
    • HpHosts Online – My friend Steven Burn created this service to see if the site is listed as rogue, malware or phishing site.
    • LinkScanner Online – if a site is bad, hiding exploit code or has been compromised you can use this service too.
    • Norton Safe Web – a service by Symantec to check if the site is safe or not. Links on the bad file but not clickable is listed. Users can add their review. If a site is not known as good or bad, they will review to add the rating
    • SiteAdvisor – check if the site is safe or have malware
    • sURL - Another free service from Steven Burn. You cannot create a URL redirection if the site is known malware or listed in hpHosts database.
    • Unmask Parasites – check if the site have hidden parasites or compromised. You can also use the other link, Google as a hidden link detection tool if the site or IP is being use to spam
    • vURL Online - this one will dissect a webpage for a suspect or malicious site.
    • Web of Trust (WOT) – see if the site serving malware, phishing, spyware or rogue sites

    Before you download a file, you might want to add the following as add-on to your browser:

    • Dr.Web Link checker – it is available for free. Required browser is Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. Just right-click a download link and let Dr.Web check if the file that you want to download is safe or not.
    • Google Safe Browsing - extension for Firefox browser
    • Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer 8 has SmartScreen Filter that will check if the site is phishing site or if the file you are downloading is malicious.

    Check also my previous article "Extending your browser security: Avoid internet-based threats"

    By using the above services or feature and add-ons while you browse, you are protecting not only your computer but your private information because some websites will ask for your login credentials. Better be safe than sorry!