IT Central Station is now PeerSpot: Here's why

Top 8 Web Content Filtering

Forcepoint Secure Web GatewayTitanHQ WebTitanMcAfee Web ProtectionBarracuda Web Security GatewaySonicWall CFSSymantec WebFilterMcAfee SiteAdvisorGoSecure Web Security
  1. leader badge
    Provides good visibility and good filtering features. It’s pretty stable after you get up and running.
  2. leader badge
    It doesn't require installing an agent or software on individual workstations, which is very important for us. I don't have to go around every single machine and/or push updates out because of this product. The product improves on its own without having to go to workstations, which is an ideal thing because it doesn't tie up staff's time to upgrade the machines. I don't need to upgrade the software to make WebTitan work. I wish all products were that way.
  3. Buyer's Guide
    Web Content Filtering
    July 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Forcepoint, TitanHQ, McAfee and others in Web Content Filtering. Updated: July 2022.
    620,068 professionals have used our research since 2012.
  4. Provides good accessibility and handles any overload very well. The most valuable features of McAfee Web Protection are the reporter, and you have the option to have an agent installed in the notebooks or on the mobiles. You are able to have the same policies inside and outside of your organization which is a benefit.
  5. The support is fantastic.The ease of use. It's pretty easy to use and navigate the UI... to either block or whitelist a web address.
  6. It is very stable.
  7. report
    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Web Content Filtering solutions are best for your needs.
    620,068 professionals have used our research since 2012.

Advice From The Community

Read answers to top Web Content Filtering questions. 620,068 professionals have gotten help from our community of experts.
Edwin EzeOsiago - PeerSpot reviewer
Edwin EzeOsiago
Head of Security Solutions at Infodata Professional Services

Should one go for a URL Filtering as an add-on to NGFW or just deploy a Web proxy, instead?

I am one who advocates that firewalls with URL Filtering can't serve better than Web security solutions (i.e., a Web proxy).

What's your opinion?

Mike Hounsome - PeerSpot reviewer
Mike HounsomeOver 50% of security vulnerabilities are non-Web based traffic, such as DNS… more »
9 Answers

Web Content Filtering Articles

Netanya Carmi - PeerSpot reviewer
Netanya Carmi
Content Manager
PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
Apr 06 2022
PeerSpot’s crowdsourced user review platform helps technology decision-makers around the world to better connect with peers and other independent experts who provide advice without vendor bias. Our users have ranked these solutions according to their valuable features, and have also discussed wh...
Read More »
Alex Vakulov - PeerSpot reviewer
Alex Vakulov
Editor at a tech company with 11-50 employees
Phishing is the starting point of most cyberattacks. When sending malicious messages or creating a clone site, attackers use psychological techniques and social engineering tools, so protecting against such campaigns is not an easy task for information security professionals. To protect agains...
Read More »

Web Content Filtering Topics

How does web content filtering work?

Most firewall providers offer web content filters as a built-in feature, delivered as hardware or software solutions. Content filters work by enhancing cybersecurity and implementing security policies about the use of the corporate network.

Web content filters apply predetermined rules to identify harmful websites users may seek access to. The filter usually sits in the firewall, between the public internet and the corporate network. The content filter identifies objects within images or keywords and groups them into the categories it should prevent access to, such as adult, gaming, gambling, streaming, and so on. When the filter finds a match from a website that is seeking access, it blocks the access.

Why do you need a content filter?

The use of malicious sites is one of the most popular attack techniques used by bad actors. A malicious site is a website or webpage containing malware and mimicking a legitimate site.. Attackers use phishing to deceive employees to log in to fake websites so they can access login credentials or get them to automatically download malware into the organization’s net. Once attackers gain access to the network, they can move laterally and find privileged information, data, and resources.

Web content filtering provides multiple benefits both for individuals and organizations alike. These include:

  1. Protect young users from inappropriate content - This is one of the main reasons individuals use web content filtering. Parents and schools install web filtering to protect children from pornographic or violent content. Since the filter is part of the firewall, it achieves complete coverage of the network.
  1. Protection against malware and exploits - The web content blocker prevents access to known risky sites, thus protecting employees from malicious packets. Firewalls with web content filtering can restrict access by domain names and URLs and scan websites to determine whether they contain risky content. Additionally, content filters identify exploit kits. Exploit kits are code packages that attack web vulnerabilities through browser extensions and plugins. When a user visits a malicious URL containing an exploit kit, it downloads malware that infiltrates the user’s systems.
  1. Increases productivity - Social media, shopping, and streaming sites are known productivity suckers, taking up a lot of work time. By blocking these distracting sites, companies not only increase productivity but also prevent risks associated with suspicious sites.
  1. Enhance compliance - Compliance regulations may require filtering to prevent disasters caused by internet misuse. A web content filter also can diminish liabilities from posting non-politically-correct content on blogs or social media, or other misuses. Thus, the content filter helps you monitor not only what your staff is accessing but also what they are sending.
What are the types of content filters available?
  1. Server-side filtration: manages the web traffic for users of a specific network. It is installed on a central server linking all computers on the network. Administrators create one set of rules filtering content and apply it to all users in the network.
  2. ISP-level filtration: an internet service provider can limit web traffic under the request of an organization or government. This type of filter can block inappropriate traffic and monitor chat and emails.
  3. Client-side filtration: this is installed on the end user’s system and the user may not modify it or uninstall it. This is especially useful for remote workforces.
  4. Search engine filtration: solutions such as Google Workspace and MS 365 enable corporate clients to control user activities by implementing security filters remotely. These filters block sites that don’t align with corporate policies.
What is a web filter firewall?

A web filter firewall is a software solution that controls the packets sent and received by your computer or system. It filters compromising and inappropriate content according to the rules set by system administrators.

While typically firewalls and web filters operate at different layers, many firewalls include a web filtering package. This enhances the functionality of the firewall. Usually, firewalls operate at layers 3 and 4 of the network, filtering packets based on IP addresses and transmission control protocol (TCP). Web filters usually operate at layer 7 (the application layer), thus enabling the identification of specific URLs and compromising content.

Web Content Filter Features

Web filters restrict internet access by comparing the website you want to access to a predefined blacklist and whitelist. If a URL is on the blacklist, access to it is automatically blocked. Thus, a web filter gives you more granular access than a firewall. 

What should you look for when looking for the right web content filter? Here are some of the key features you should look for: 

  • Blocks a website but allows specific pages: A good web filter can not only add domains to your blocked lists but also adds pages to your allowed list. 
  • Blocks websites based on category: You don’t need to add each URL manually to block it. An efficient web content filter can block millions of websites based on a specific category, like “adult,” “social media,” “shopping,” etc. 
  • Allows access to a limited list of sites: By using the whitelist feature, you can restrict internet access to internal IP addresses or specific websites. 
  • Manages guests/unknown devices: This can be a useful feature when you have contractors, vendors, or a distributed workforce. 

The right mix of features can change according to the requirements of your organization. For instance, if your company runs most of the workloads on-premises, you should consider an inline firewall to control traffic while using an endpoint web filter to control what websites the staff can access. 

Buyer's Guide
Web Content Filtering
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Forcepoint, TitanHQ, McAfee and others in Web Content Filtering. Updated: July 2022.
620,068 professionals have used our research since 2012.