Ideal for young children

A huge array of filter options

An excellent brwosing history summary


Will be bypassed by older children/adults quickly

The way in which the software is bypassed can put your computer at more risk

Full Review

The Problem

I have four children the oldest of which are seven and four. As a treat they get to play on the CBeebies or Hot Wheels website from time to time. My wife and I were of the opinion that they were far to young to know how to browse the net let alone find anything offensive....we were wrong.

I was doing some washing up when I heard a strong American accent saying "This toy is %^%&, its a $$^%^ing joke". I rushed into the office and saw that my seven year old son had gone to youtube and typed in Transformers toys and was watching a video review from a drunk middle aged man who's language was blue to say the least.

Bluecoat k9 Web Protection

After turfing the boys off the computer and being given a thorough ticking off from my wife for leaving them alone on the computer I did some googling of my own .The first result for free contents filters was for k9.

The installation is completely pain free. They ask that you register your e-mail address and let them know how you found out about the software. You are then e-mailed a link to download your software and your liscene agreement number. You simply click the link and the product installs automatically.

Ease Of Use

The software is completely idiot proof. You can either choose a custom filter setting or block individual categories. You can also block individual websites or domain names. The highest default setting makes any normal browsing impossible.

However to override the filter you only need to know the password. You have the option of allowing a blocked category for a fixed amount of time (for example 15 minutes) or to allow a site or category to be viewed permanently.

After a few weeks browsing you will soon have all your favourite sites unblocked whilst protecting your children from unwanted sites.

Another excellent feature is the webhistory which not only records every website you look at but also categorises the sites and lets you know of any outward links on sites you have viewed which may pose a security risk to your computer.

Problems with Bluecoat K9 Web Protection

For older children (particularly college students) K9 is not suitable. The reason for this is that it can be easily bypassed and the way of bypassing it puts your computer at real risk.

K9 reads the sites you look at. However it will not read sites with the prefix https. The reason for this is that these are secure sites. By using a proxy browser such as VTunnel with a https prefix anyone can bypass k9.

Proxy sites such as vtunnel are notorious for spyware and therefore put your computer and your details at risk.

In Closing

Bluecoat K9 is a fantastic free easy to use content filter for families who want to protect young children. However for older children a more powerfull filter should be considered.