4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe

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intro1   4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are SafeWhether you’re accessing popular social networking sites or other communication apps such as your webmail portal and IM clients, the links let you dive into a world of new information. With one click, you may end up enjoying a great story, or on the other hand unfortunately trying to crawl your way out of a potentially harming website.

You may have your anti-virus and malware removal tools programs installed, but they will not prevent you from clicking any of those potentially-harmful-but-so-interestingly-looking Twitter, Facebook or email links. Even if you have security toolbars and add-ons installed, the following online tools may help you find out whether a website really is safe, especially if you would like to get a second opinion (e.g. you suspect the site’s review hasn’t been updated) or if you decide that you don’t need more add-ons slowing your browser’s performance.

Want An Analysis Of A Website’s Safety? Try McAfee’s SiteAdvisor

When you first access McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, you may see more of SiteAdvisor’s software (a self-updating security toolbar that we covered before) than the web application that serves a similar purpose as the toolbar. Locate the textbox in the right sidebar under the heading of View a Site Report and enter your site’s URL.

SITEadvisorvs   4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe

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Besides the big sticker at the beginning of the report, SiteAdvisor reports the website’s online affiliations and has numerous community member reviews/ratings. As if that’s not enough, you can also view a detailed analysis that SiteAdvisor offers on another page because this is a long list of the downloads it encountered on the submitted website. SiteAdvisor tests whether these downloads are crapware.

siteadvisoranalysis   4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe

Norton’s SafeWeb

nortonhome   4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe

Norton’s SafeWeb initially provides a simple-looking site to check a website for threats. Upon displaying a site’s threat report, it shows a strong community presence in the form of reviews and ratings in the right sidebar. The actual Norton review starts with the green (site is safe), orange (caution is advised), red (unsafe site) or grey (untested) icon, followed by the threat report, that includes the results of 17 different malware tests. For certain sites, Norton’s SafeWeb also reports information of e-commerce safety (whether the site encrypts transactions and has a privacy policy).

nortonmuoinfo   4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe

Find more details on our SafeWeb article.

Want To Report A Suspicious Site? Jump to Phishtank!

phishtank   4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe

Phishtank can help you decipher whether a site is phish which, according to the site, is a fraudulent attempt to steal the site visitor’s information. If you sign up to be a registered user, you can also submit a phishing site and also verify other users’ reported phishing sites.

Just Want To Know If A Site Is A Go Or No-Go?

If you are only interested in knowing whether a site is safe and want to skip the details of the analyses, Online Link Scan collects and summarizes the threat reports of the aforementioned Phishtank, AVG and Google Safe Browsing engines. It paints a clear and simple picture of whether a site is clean. What is not as simple are the number of ads surrounding the textbox and summary chart.

ols   4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe

Relevant Bookmarklets & Addons

If you use Twitter constantly, then you probably get lots of shortened links to other sites. For your browser’s safety, you should check out our article on LongURLPlease’s bookmarklet and Firefox addon that reveals the location of shortened URLs. Also, check out these great Twitter tips to help your identity remain protected. If you’re more of an IM person, swing by our IM security hacks post.

If you often Google random topics, you may face a lot of new websites with promising names that sometimes sound too good to be true. If so, you may benefit from browser addons that will warn and stop you from entering potentially unsafe sites: AVG’s Linkscanner (browser addon that highlights potential threats) and WebOfTrust (featured along with eight, and ten other great security and privacy addons).

Do you know of another web app that scans sites for malware? Feel free to tell us in the comments.

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17 Comments - Write a Comment


Sacramento Photographer

This is a good resource! Thanks for putting together the compilation.

Jessica Cam Wong

No problem. I figured that a list of link-scanning web apps would come in handy after several of my friends’ IM accounts were hacked and thus, they would send me random links that I know they would not just advertise (the first screenshot is proof).



I prefer MyWot though :-)

craig kensek

Is MyWot real-time? If a “good” web site is hacked 10 minutes before you click on it, what will MyWot say about it? LinkScanner will check in real time what you are trying to click on.


craig kensek

AVG LinkScanner is free for home use. It’s included with many of AVG’s products but can be downloaded and used separately. http://www.linkscanner.avg.com is the site to learn about and download it. Unlike many other products, it provides real time safe surf protection. Many other products rely on a database and trust. 60% of threats on hacked websites around around for less than a day. So the real time aspect is critical.

Jessica Cam Wong

I actually do use and recommend AVG’s LinkScanner, but this list could be for people who don’t have AVG as their Anti-virus. I do agree with your point that constantly-updating AV and browser addons offer better real-time protection, so you can count on updated reviews.

craig kensek

Thanks for clarifying! The important thing for people to note is that they the LinkScanner technology is both part of AVG’s SW but can be downloaded separately and works with most home security sw



Online Link scan seemed to work no problem. I laugh at the thought of disproving one of these services would require one to become compromised lol.



There is also http://www.uptimekeeper.com that checks web pages for availability and malicious contents.

Jessica Cam Wong

Hmm, this website wouldn’t load for me.



Just a note: The Online Link Scan site reports seriall.com as safe. (I was trying to see what an unsafe site would look like.)

Jessica Cam Wong

I see what you’re saying. Both McAfee and Norton have the red Warning/Unsafe sticker for seriall.com, so I guess the beauty of having several link-scanning resources is knowing generally that a site is a no-go.



There is also:


Which works with short URLs, to show the real one and if they are safe..

Jessica Cam Wong

Thanks! I tried it and it worked great! I might be able to add it to the list soon.

Jessica Cam Wong

Actually, I can’t re-edit it but thank you for the suggestion anyway! I like how sucuri scans shortened links for safety through several engines such as SiteAdvisor and Google’s SafeBrowsing. It’s a neat concept.


Pix Place

Firefox NoScript FlashBlock WoT Safety on The Interwebz



Thanks for the resources you’ve put together on this.

Your comment