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introWhether 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 Free and Simple Way to Stay Secure from Online Threats Free and Simple Way to Stay Secure from Online Threats Read More 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.

check links website

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.

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check links website

Norton’s SafeWeb

check links website

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).

check for broken links

Find more details on our SafeWeb article.

Want To Report A Suspicious Site? Jump to Phishtank!

check for broken links

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.

check for broken links

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 Long URL Please Prevents You From Getting Rick Rolled (Firefox) Long URL Please Prevents You From Getting Rick Rolled (Firefox) Read More on LongURLPlease’s bookmarklet and Firefox addon that reveals the location of shortened URLs. Also, check out these great Twitter tips 10 Twitter Safety Tips to Protect Your Account & Identity 10 Twitter Safety Tips to Protect Your Account & Identity Read More to help your identity remain protected. If you’re more of an IM person, swing by our IM security hacks post Instant Messenger Hacks: 10 Security Tips to Protect Yourself Instant Messenger Hacks: 10 Security Tips to Protect Yourself Read More .

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 Keeping Safe on the Web: 8 Firefox Addons for Privacy and Security Keeping Safe on the Web: 8 Firefox Addons for Privacy and Security Read More , and ten 10+ Best Firefox Security and Privacy Addons 10+ Best Firefox Security and Privacy Addons Read More 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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  1. Bombay Velvet box office collection
    April 25, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    i think avast online security has all features to protect from such harmful sites

  2. blackwatertown
    January 11, 2010 at 4:30 am

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

  3. Pix Place
    January 11, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Firefox NoScript FlashBlock WoT Safety on The Interwebz

  4. dd
    January 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    There is also:

    http://sucuri.net/?page=tools&title=check-url

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

    • Jessica Cam Wong
      January 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

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

    • Jessica Cam Wong
      January 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

      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.

    • Jack
      April 28, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Sucuri, you are known for spamming your urls everywhere. How more low can you drop...

  5. mathmom
    January 10, 2010 at 8:42 am

    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
      January 11, 2010 at 11:08 am

      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.

  6. Basil
    January 10, 2010 at 3:55 am

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

    • Jessica Cam Wong
      January 11, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Hmm, this website wouldn't load for me.

  7. Kroon78
    January 9, 2010 at 10:24 am

    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.

  8. craig kensek
    January 8, 2010 at 8:36 am

    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
      January 11, 2010 at 10:40 am

      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
      January 11, 2010 at 10:45 am

      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

  9. Saad
    January 7, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I prefer MyWot though :-)

    • craig kensek
      January 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      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.

  10. Sacramento Photographer
    January 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm

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

    • Jessica Cam Wong
      January 11, 2010 at 10:32 am

      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).

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