Ways to tell if a website is safe and reliable

Online scams and phishing attempts are commonplace. Therefore, before visiting a website, making an online purchase, or sharing one’s information online, we should always ask ourselves, “Is this website safe?”

How to assess a website’s credibility, security, and reliability before using it? Here are seven tips.

  1. Verify that the site uses the HTTPS protocol.

The first item you need to consider when verifying the security of a Web site is whether it uses the HTTPS protocol through the presence of an SSL Certificate.

SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” a protocol that allows information to be transmitted in an encrypted and secure manner.

The presence of an SSL Certificate within a Web site ensures that the data exchange between the browser you use to surf the Internet and the site’s Server takes place in a secure and encrypted manner, without any information theft.

How to tell if a site uses the HTTPS protocol?

Just look at the URL, that is, the address of the website:

  • Sites that begin with “HTTP://” are not secure: they transmit data in plain text and do not guarantee a secure connection to those who visit them.
  • Sites beginning with “HTTPS://” on the other hand, is secure (the “S” in fact stands for “secure”) because they have an SSL Certificate and transmit data in an encrypted manner.

In addition, using an SSL Certificate can also be easily identified by the presentation of a padlock icon next to the URL in the browser address bar. By clicking on the padlock, you can check the certificate’s details.

On the topic of SSL certificates, some platforms redirect you to other secure sites, such as the platforms of the best online casinos worldwide. 

Your security and funds should always be your main priority with online casinos. This is why these platforms have a checklist before fully acknowledging that an online casino excels at security, being secured with SSL, TLS, and HTTPS to keep data safe. 

  1. Double check the URL: is it the official website?

Most people quickly look at the Web address (or don’t look at it at all). Hackers know this, and often, to attempt the scam, they substitute use domains with seemingly similar characters to the official websites (e.g. “anazon.co.uk” instead of “amazon.co.uk” or “Paypa1.com” instead of “Paypal.com”).

It takes little to realize whether a site is original or has been cloned; sometimes, even a small character in the URL can distinguish between an official, secure site and one that aims to steal information from users.

  1. Check online reviews from other users

One of the best ways to test the reliability of a website is to check reviews left online by other users.

How to do this? There are two ways:

  • Type the name of the website in the search bar. If it is a dangerous page, Google will show you some negative reviews among the first search results.
  • Check the reliability of the website on TrustPilot.

    Trustpilot is the most influential review platform in the world. It is a   secure and transparent review aggregator in which all user experiences are collected. To use it, go to the site and type in the name of the company or website. 
  1. Evaluate the site. Does it seem trustworthy?

In addition to checking the URL for the connection type (“HTTP” or “HTTPS”), pay attention to the following warning signs:

  • Numerous hyphens or symbols in the domain name.
  • Texts written in bad English.
  • Presence of spelling or syntax errors.
  • Presence of intrusive advertisements.
  • Presence of banners that force you to answer a questionnaire (or perform other actions) to continue browsing.
  • Presence of banners that force you to answer a questionnaire to continue browsing.

These elements always question the credibility of the site; also, consult another online source to verify the actual trustworthiness.

  1. Use “WHOIS” to look up the domain owner

“WHOIS” is a domain verification service for determining who owns a website. 

Consulting the WHOIS database is an effective way to immediately identify the owner of a domain name and registration data.

  • The domain was registered anonymously and had no registration data.
  • The holder’s name is present, but the email address does not match and has strange characters.
  • The domain was registered or recently transferred.
  1. Check the site’s reputation with simple online tools

There are simple tools online that allow you to check the safety and reliability of URLs.

The most popular is Google Safe Browsing. This is a Google service that scans billions of URLs daily, looking for unsafe Web sites. To check a site, copy and paste any URL into the search box and do a search.

Within seconds, Google Safe Browsing tests and presents a report of the reputation of the URL entered.

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