Web Titan Review – A Network Filter for Business Users
One of the biggest issues with having employees who work on the clock either at-home or in-office is that they can easily use their working hours to go on social media, stream music, go on Youtube, or even other activities that you would prefer they skip. Since you’re paying for their hours, and their productivity, limiting internet usage is an excellent idea, but it can be difficult without the right software. WebTitan web filtering is one solution that many business owners can look into as an easy and reasonably priced method for controlling internet.
What Does it Do
The WebTitan web filtering service is just that. It filters internet via DNS requests so that it can allow or disallow specific websites and website categories. Because it uses DNS and not HTTP requests, the web filter does not slow the internet, meaning that all allowed services proceed at their normal pace. WebTitan comes with a cloud version that can be set up within a few minutes and then accessed using a web base GUI. Essentially, it’s a great way to keep anyone using the internet from accessing sites that are not allowed.
I was given a free test version of the service for the purpose of writing an honest review and the following is my experience with it.
If you’ve never worked with your DNS before then setup might seem a little complicated at first but really you can do it in a couple of minutes either via your companies internal DNS or from each specific computer. Basically the setup is pretty easy and you do get instructions with your password and subscription. In my case that came as a standard email with everything I needed already included (step by step instructions, password, login URL, etc.). As I don’t have internal DNS, I changed mine via my computer by going into my ‘Change Adaptor’ settings and just resetting the DNS from there. While these instructions were not provided in the email, it’s a fairly simple process.
I was actually given a quick demo of WebTitan before using it, and the staff at WebTitan state that this sort of demo is available to anyone who is having trouble, although it is non-standard. Overall I was fairly impressed with how easy the filter is to use. I think that even if you do not take the demo, you’ll probably figure out almost everything within a few minutes. The system is pretty much set up where you can simply select your preferences, type in specific URLS you want to be blocked, and then if necessary set your non-working hours so that your employees can access blocked items while on lunch-break or etc. If you’re having trouble finding out how to set up work time vs. non-work time you can find it under ‘settings’, ‘policy’ and then ‘non-working times’.
Overall WebTitan is extremely simple, really fast, and because it’s cloud based, you can modify it from home if you want so long as you have the log-in ID. I would go so far as to say that if you’re pretty tech savvy you will literally be up and running in minutes. In fact, you don’t even have to restart a browser for it to start working since it goes through the DNS. You can also view every site that your employees access, and get alerts when someone tries to access a blacklisted site.
Web Titan has a LOT of pros. For starters, it’s fast, effective, and doesn’t slow your browsing at all. Second, it’s extremely easy to use, fast to set up, and doesn’t really require any technical knowledge other than redirecting your DNS. Since you get step by step instructions for that, and you can probably find a tutorial or two on YouTube, that’s pretty easy as well. The basic pros of WebTitan’s web filter include:
- Easy to Use
- Affordable (roughly $16.20 per year per person)
- It Works (I tested about 20 different types of sites with filters)
- Fully Scalable
- Great Customer Service
In fact, I was actually pretty impressed with how well WebTitan works. I blocked social networking and it not only blocked my access to networks like Facebook and Twitter, but it also took out my access to chat programs on Gmail and Outlook. You can also whitelist and blacklist any specific items to either include or exclude them from available websites. For example, if you want to block all music except Rolling Stone Magazine, you can do so. Or vice versa, if you want to allow all social sites but Facebook, you can do so as well. You can also issue cloud keys to anyone who you would like to be able to get around your web filter.
Like any great tech, WebTitan has a few cons. One of the largest that I noticed was that while you can block specific sites or block specific categories, categories are very broad, and blocking a number of specific sites might be difficult. For example, streaming music falls under the category of music, but if you block ‘music’ the category, you block any site relating to music. If you block ‘art’ it auto blocks any photos on social sites or search engines. Basically you can block a lot of things, but specific categorical blocking like ‘music streaming’ or ‘family photos’ is impossible to block without blocking the whole category. One way around this is to whitelist specific items, although this can be time consuming if there are a great deal of items on this list.
Review of Webtitan
All in all, WebTitan is really impressive. It’s easy to use, relatively inexpensive (costs about 50% less then user based products like NetNanny designed for kids but roughly the same cost as web-filter and security services rolled into one, such as those provided by Umbrella). With no software to install it’s a bit harder to get around meaning that your employees should have to follow your web rules. However, you can still get around WebTitan by installing a secondary DNS like OpeDNS, unless websites with downloadable content are disallowed.
With a free trial, monthly scalable options available, and a low per-person price, WebTitan is definitely worth looking into. It’s almost perfect.