K9 Web Protection is a FREE service. I say service because the way it works is the sites you visit are filtered through their servers as opposed to them being checked through something that’s installed on your computer. You still have to install a driver on your computer, but the lion’s share of work is done remotely. The administrative control panel is actually a Web site you log into to view sites visited, offenses, and add sites to block or accept lists.
One of the things I like about K9 is that I haven’t noticed a significant decrease in performance while I browse. ContentProtect, another Internet filter I reviewed recently and one that I have been using for almost two years, seemed to bog things down a bit. I’m not blaming it completely, but the fact that I uninstalled it and installed K9 instead does raise suspicion.
With K9 you can’t create profiles for each member of your family, but its clean, easy-to-understand interface and ability to keep to certain types of sites from being viewed I think makes up for that. It tracks every site you visit and categorizes it for future reference. You can manually enter sites into its settings to have them blocked or accepted. And if you happen to land on a site that for some reason is blocked but you don’t think it should, you can either temporarily override K9′s decision for 15 minutes by entering the administrator password, or override it permanently. (You can even have the mascot dog bark when a site has been blocked.)
Though I have not tested it yet, K9 claims that it can block anonymous surfing sites — sites that allow you to “cloak” your surfing by entering a Web address into its own form. This is something that I know ContentProtect did not block on its own. Instead, you would have to add the anonymous surfing site as a blocked site.
One interesting thing I experienced just the other day has to do with the way K9 can block images. Using Firefox, I was browsing a forum which was inviting users to vote on logos for their products. The problem was I couldn’t view the logos. All I could see was a large empty space of where the logos were supposed to be. When I viewed it in Internet Explorer, I saw broken image icons, which confirmed that something was supposed to be there, but wasn’t allowed to be displayed. When I viewed the code to get the address for one of the images, I entered the address in another browser window to see if I could access it directly. That’s when K9 said the site was blocked. This particular image hosting service can be used to store images inappropriate for children (and adults) which is why it was caught by K9.
K9 Web Protection is:
- Easy to use
- Even blocks images from sites that are known for hosting offensive material but still allows a site using that service to be viewed (unless the site, of course, is offensive enough to be blocked)
- Provides one set of Internet filtering configurations for all users (not individual profiles)
- A Web-based service