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We have ~200 users and are currently using Blue Coat to filter web content. Basically we just block things like porn and streaming media. Our contract is coming up and the device is End Of Life, so we are looking for possible alternatives. I know that WebSense is popular, but we'd prefer something a little cheaper.

Have you used anything that you would recommend?


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I must admit I've never used anything like that. Ever. In a small business especially, if people aren't doing their jobs, they should go away. Conversely, if someone does their job better while listening to Pandora, why would I want to interfere with that? – pjz Feb 23 '11 at 16:51
There are many reasons you'd want to filter content... blocking porn in popup ads is one. We're asked to filter content by the managers, not as some "IT Gods". As for the Pandora, bandwidth is expensive. Why should we pay lots of money for more T1s for you to listen to streaming music and watch NCAA basketball? Buy an iPod. – Andy May Feb 23 '11 at 16:51
Pandora might run beautifully in your network, but it would clog mine. – Feb 23 '11 at 16:51
up vote 2 down vote accepted

We use an Astaro Security Gateway device in our office and it works very well. It is essentially a linux server with a bunch of open source apps tied together with a proprietary web-based management front-end. You can purchase a license for just their software, or you can buy a packaged/branded server from them with everything pre-loaded and ready to go. They offer maintenance plans which continually update filtering rules and also covers software updates. It does firewall, nat routing, content filtering, ids, e-mail filtering, vpn, etc. I've found their support to be very helpful the few times I've needed a hand with something. They update the software fairly regularly and continue to add new features and correct obscure problems that anyone reports. Overall a great product designed specifically for what you're trying to do. I am not tied to Astaro in any way aside from being a satisfied customer.

Thanks for the suggestion! I'll add that to the list of devices to try out. – Andy May Apr 30 '09 at 16:43
Many of their resellers will ship you a unit to demo before you buy as well. – Justin Scott Apr 30 '09 at 18:13

Check out Untangle.

I can't post links, but it is at untangle dot com

Open source, can run on inexpensive or used hardware...

I'm using it at a couple of small businesses and it works great..antivirus, antispam, firewall, protocoal control, port forwardng, etc...

@pjz, it isn't a matter of them doing their jobs, its a matter of helping reduce risk to technology resources connected to a horribly dangerous internet!

+1 for Untangle. It's free, easy to set up and administer. The only downside that I have with it is that I can't whitelist some websites for a certain IP addresses (or maybe it's included in the premium account, sorry I don't remember). Example: our marketing dept needs access to Twitter, but when I whitelist their IP addresses, it unblocks everything for them. – Feb 23 '11 at 16:28
+1 for Untangle. Cheep and easy to administrate. And to answer With the paid Policy manager you can create "racks" for users or groups. – WebFooL May 11 '12 at 16:45
Welcome to Server Fault! Please read our faq in particular May I promote products or websites I am affiliated with here?. – Iain May 11 '12 at 16:48

My company uses SQUID with blacklists, but OpenDNS is VERY easy to use and configure...and FREE.


squid + black list with linux as router with iptables is tha best solution

Soon we bundling same with nice webuser interface .


I'm biased, I work for SmoothWall,, but we do offer a cost-effective alternative to the two products you suggest - both of which, I might add, are decent kit!


Does Smoothwall do URL filtering and where does it get its URL List from? – Rob Bergin May 29 '09 at 19:32
Both URL and content filtering. Lists/rules are largely our own doing - take a few from the governement, CEOP etc. for terrorism/CP etc. – Tom Newton May 29 '09 at 19:47

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