K9 Web Protection
Simple and effective web filtering with safe searching
Pros & Cons:
K9 Web Protection by Blue Coat Systems is the second choice for parental filter software. If your primary requirement is for web filtering with safe searching then I would use this because it is simple and effective. Besides the desktop software for Windows and Mac OS X, it is also available for iOS mobile devices as a safe browser for your family.
K9 requires a license key that you can obtain before or after you install the software. It can be reused if you reinstall K9 so you will be sent an email with the license key whenever you uninstall K9.
Blue Coat's approach is different to the other providers because K9 is most accessible when a page has been blocked. This means that I don't get frustrated if I want to see the page or realize that my settings are wrong. The block page provides access (with the correct password) to all that I need: the site URL and why it is blocked; unblock the site or the category either temporarily or permanently; request that the site be reviewed; enter supervisor mode, i.e. no filtering; or change the main settings. Of course, if I just want a block page with no options I can set that in the 'Blocking Effects'.
All other changes are made through the web interface: a password-protected menu with three options:
- View Internet Activity. K9 logs every site you’ve accessed and the activity view highlights those that have been blocked;
- Setup is where you specify the sites or site categories to block or allow, the time restrictions, and safe search options;
- Get Help is the first place to go if you have any problems.
What are potential issues? There is not the breadth of controls of products like Norton Family. Settings apply to all users on the computer as it does not have settings for each account - but that is what I normally want. The barking sound when blocking is helpful until you realize it barks on blocked ads too. Blocking an allowed site is done through the main menu as there is no system tray icon or button for this. There is no printing of activity reports. On occasions, web surfing has been slow or intermittent but, given that I’m half a world away from the K9 servers, that is not unexpected.
K9 also has a couple of useful and unique features. A timeout period can be set if there are too many blocks in a period up to an hour. URLs containing a specified keyword will all be blocked. Activity logs can be kept a long time and cleared whenever you like.
K9 Web Protection was reviewed by Gizmos Freeware on