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Is This Website Safe? How to Conduct a Domain Safety Check

Keep your sensitive data secure by conducting domain safety checks. Read this to learn how to evaluate the safety of any website.

Safety is crucial when you’re browsing the web because you never know whether a website is safe or not. A domain safety check is one way to determine how safe a website is before you visit it. Using a tool to check URL safety can help you avoid scam websites and websites that may be unsafe or using your data for malicious purposes.

There are several website security tips that businesses should follow, but that doesn’t mean every business follows those tips when creating a website. Building a safe website is important when it comes to protecting your customers, but it can also help business owners improve their search engine rankings. If your website isn’t secure according to a website safety check, you need to fix any security issues.

The good news is that there are some basic tips you can follow when it comes to running a domain safety check and making sure your website—and any website you happen to visit—is safe. If you want to know more about conducting a domain safety check and keeping your website safe, here’s everything you need to know.

What is a domain safety check?

A domain safety check is used to determine whether a website is safe or not. These safety checks are frequently used by people who want to remain safe while browsing the web—if a website has been compromised or is deemed unsafe, that information will show up in the domain safety check. If you’re the owner of a business website, it’s crucial to make sure your website is safe and passes domain safety checks.

Domain safety checks are especially helpful because they’re so easy to use. With a domain safety check tool, all you have to do is enter the URL of a website and press a button to check URL safety. When you build a website, you can use these safety checks to make sure your website is secure. Some antivirus programs even have domain safety checkers built right in, so you can stay safe while you’re browsing the web without manually checking each URL.

How to conduct a domain safety check

Now that you know what a domain safety check is, you might be wondering how to check if a website is safe. One of the big benefits of checking domain safety is the fact that it’s so simple. You can run a domain safety check using simple tools online, or you can conduct research to find out more about a website and its owner. Here are some of the different ways you can run a website safety check.

1: Leverage website security tools

Security tools are the simplest way to run a domain check because they do all the work for you. All you have to do is type a URL into a domain safety check tool, then click a button to scan the URL. In just a few moments, you’ll get a quick report about the safety of the website you want to visit.

As an alternative to using a free online domain safety check, some antivirus programs also include website security tools. Check to see if your antivirus software offers a browser extension that checks URL safety as you’re browsing the web. These tools are especially helpful because you don’t have to manually enter each URL to check it; simply browse the web and you’ll see warnings if you visit a potentially unsafe website.

2: Examine the URL

It doesn’t always work, but examining the URL of the websites you visit is a great way to assess safety. Websites that use very strange URLs—such as URLs with several hyphens, numbers, or odd domain extensions—may be a sign of a scam. You should also keep an eye out for websites that use a URL that looks very close to the URL of another popular website, as they may be trying to run a phishing scam.

You can’t always tell if a website is safe just by looking at its URL, but it’s good to get in the habit of checking URLs. Even if you don’t use a domain safety check, keeping an eye out for suspicious URLs can help you avoid scams.

3: Look up the website owner

If you want to look a little deeper to make sure you’re visiting a safe website, you can always use a domain information lookup to find out more about the domain owner. It’s important to keep in mind that some people may use domain privacy, which means you won’t see their actual contact information when you look up their domain. However, researching domain owners can help you determine whether the website you’re visiting is safe or not.

You can use a WHOIS or ICANN lookup to get more information about who registered a particular domain name.

4: Check for spam

In addition to looking up more information about domains and who they’re registered to, you can also check domains against spam databases to see if they have a history of spamming. Sending spam emails is a sure sign that a website is malicious, especially if those spam emails are asking for money or personal information.

If you receive spam emails from a website you’re visiting, you can report that website to spam databases to make sure other people know. Collaborating to create these databases is an important part of keeping the internet safe for everybody.

Website safety check tools

The good news when it comes to website safety checks is that there are a lot of tools available. You don’t have to be an expert to use these tools, and running a website safety check only takes a moment. If you want to run a website safety check, here are some of the tools you can choose from.}

Browser safety features

You can actually monitor website safety and avoid scam websites using the features that are built into your web browser. All of the major web browsers have security features built in that can help you check URL safety to protect yourself on the web, including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

Google Chrome has several features that are designed to protect you no matter which part of the web you’re browsing. Chrome can let you know when you’re clicking on a link to a potentially dangerous website, which includes the ability to predict phishing scams. Chrome’s safety check features also notify you if one of your saved passwords has been compromised or an extension you’re using has been deemed malicious. And with automatic updates, Chrome stays up-to-date so you don’t have to worry about subpar security because your browser isn’t updated.

Like Chrome, Mozilla Firefox offers numerous security features that make it safer and easier for you to browse the web. Firefox has built-in phishing and malware protection that alerts you when you’re visiting a website that’s been reported. Enhanced tracking protection helps protect your private information, including your location. Plus, Firefox has a built-in password manager that helps keep your passwords safe and secure.

While Internet Explorer was often ridiculed for its lack of security, Microsoft Edge has been a big improvement. Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is built right into the Edge browser, so you get protection from malware and phishing attacks. SmartScreen even checks the files you download as you’re downloading them, that way you don’t install anything malicious on your computer.

Regardless of which browser you use, it’s important to understand the basic security features that are built in.

Google Transparency Report

As people use Google Chrome to visit millions of different websites, websites that are deemed unsafe are flagged. These websites end up in the Google Transparency Report, which is a shared database that contains information about privacy and security as they pertain to the web. You can use this database to check URLs to see if they’ve been flagged by Google.

If you want to check a URL using the Google Transparency Report, all you have to do is navigate to the “Site Status” page. From here, you can enter a URL into the search bar and click the search button. If everything is good to go, you’ll see a green checkmark and the words “No unsafe content found.” This means you can safely visit a website without worrying about phishing attacks or malware.

Google Safe Browsing

Google Safe Browsing works in tandem with Google Chrome to help identify unsafe websites. As billions of devices use Google, websites that are identified as potentially unsafe are flagged. This triggers a warning for every user who tries to visit that website, which helps keep users away from malicious websites.

Google Safe Browsing is especially helpful for website owners. If a website is marked as unsafe, the website owner receives a notification from Google. This notification includes details about why the website was marked unsafe as well as instructions to make the website safe again. Google also measures how quickly website owners respond to these notifications, which can help you understand how serious businesses are about security.

Website safety check tips

There are many things you can do to keep yourself safe on the web, so understanding internet safety and domain safety check tools is vital. Protecting yourself online is essential whether you’re a frequent internet user or an occasional browser. Here are some website safety check tips to help keep you safe when you’re browsing the web.

Check URLs before clicking on them

Checking URLs before you click them is the simplest thing you can do to protect yourself online. While some malicious websites do a good job of hiding it, you can often spot an unsafe website by looking at the URL first. URLs with lots of numbers or special characters (such as hyphens) may be an indicator that something’s wrong. While this isn’t always the case, most reputable websites keep their URLs fairly short and clean.

You should also keep an eye out for URLs that are attempting to look like other URLs. While bigger companies protect against this by buying similar domain names, it’s not uncommon for scammers to use a capital letter I in place of a lowercase L. Scammers may also include an extra letter or two in a domain name to make it look similar.

Check for SSL certificate

When you’re browsing the web, take a moment to look for the small padlock symbol to the side of the URL or see whether the URL begins with “https”. These indicators let you know that a website is secured by a valid SSL certificate. If a website doesn’t have a valid SSL certificate, there will be a warning symbol (or simply no padlock icon) next to the URL.

Every reputable website should have a valid SSL certificate. They’re affordable and easy to get, and they ensure the safety of website visitors. If a website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, the website owner should renew or purchase an SSL certificate as soon as possible. Like e-commerce business insurance, SSL certificates help protect business owners and individuals.

Check out the privacy policy

Reading all the terms and conditions when you sign up for a website can be daunting, but the privacy policy is certainly worth a closer look. The privacy policy details everything you need to know about your privacy when you’re visiting a particular website, including what kind of data is collected, who it’s shared with, and more.

You can typically find the privacy policy of a site at the very bottom of the page. Look for a link that says “Privacy” or “Privacy Policy”—clicking this link will show you all the details. If there’s anything in a privacy policy that suggests a website may be using your personal data for malicious purposes, you should find another website to use.

Common signs of a hacked website

Whether you run a website or enjoy browsing the web, it’s important to know how to recognize when a website has been hacked. Cyber attacks are very common and can impact just about anyone. A cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds, so it’s important to be familiar with the signs of one.

Domain safety checks give you the answer to one simple question: Is this website safe? When these domain safety checks don’t display any warnings, it’s up to you to determine whether a website has been compromised. Here’s how you can do it.

Fake antivirus messages

If a website has been hacked, there’s a good chance visitors will run into fake antivirus messages. These “antivirus” messages tell every user they’ve been infected, prompting them to purchase an antivirus program or download and install a free program from the web. These programs can then steal private information, telling users the “viruses” that never existed have been removed.

Frequent pop-ups

While pop-ups can be useful in web design, they shouldn’t be overly abundant. If you feel like every mouse click is causing a pop-up to open, that’s a sign that a website may have been compromised. These pop-ups disrupt the user experience and give hackers an opportunity to redirect visitors to a phishing or malware link.

Unwanted social media invitations

Hacked social accounts and websites often lead to unwanted social media invitations. If you’re connecting social accounts to a website that’s been compromised, that website may be able to use your social media accounts to spam people and attempt to further scam a larger number of people. If your friends have received spam from your social media accounts, check which websites you have connected and make sure nothing has been compromised. You should also change your password.

What to do if your website is hacked

Fortunately, you’re not completely helpless if your website has been hacked. The best thing you can do if you’re hacked is to act quickly and take steps to secure your website. The sooner you address vulnerabilities and put a stop to phishing attacks and the spread of malware, the fewer people will be affected by your breach.

Here are some of the steps you should take if your website is hacked:

  • Document any evidence of the hack
  • Change your passwords as soon as possible
  • Use an anti-malware tool to scan your website
  • Contact your web hosting provider
  • Restore your website from a pre-hack backup
  • Fix any security vulnerabilities the hack may have exposed

Final notes

Whether you’re an average Joe or a website owner, you should know how to run a domain safety check to keep yourself safe online. As a website owner, understanding domain safety checks can also help you keep website visitors safe, which helps you retain customers and protect your bottom line.

Staying on top of website security is crucial. With Mailchimp, you can make sure your email is secured thanks to both application-level security and data center security. Mailchimp even offers protection against the loss and corruption of crucial data. If you want to give your email marketing a boost without worrying about security, check out the email marketing and automation tools Mailchimp has to offer.

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