Just as there are many different potential dangers on the internet to be wary of, there are also many different types of software designed to keep people safe from those dangers. Yet one of the downsides to this variety of choices is that it is easy to get confused about how these different options differ from one another. Take internet filters and pop-up blockers, for instance. Both are tools for keeping out unwanted content online, but how they are implemented and what type of content they deal with differ quite a bit.

So whether a parent looking to keep your kids safe or an employer keeping employees away from distracting and not-safe-for-work materials, it is important to know your options and how they compare.

What Are Pop-Up Blockers?

A pop-up blocker is a type of software designed to tackle pop-ups when using the Internet. Pop-ups refer to when a website causes a small window to appear in front of your browser, separate from the website you are currently on. Though some sites use pop-ups as a form of navigation or for other unique features, they are most often used as invasive advertisements that are annoying at best and havens for viruses and malware at worst. As such, most modern web browsers now have pop-up blockers built into them by default, both for convenience and safety.

What Are Internet Filters?

An internet filter is a type of software that restricts or controls the content a user is capable of accessing online, whether via the web, email, or other means. Filters can be implemented in many different ways, including software downloaded on a computer or internet-capable device, via DNS or proxy servers, and firewalls that provide Internet access. Since no method is fool-proof, companies often use a mix of various options to get the desired amount of control.

Comparing & Contrasting – Pop-Up Blocking and Internet Filtering

On the one hand, there are some clear comparisons to be made between pop-blockers and internet filters: both are a type of software designed to protect users from unwanted online content by limiting access to them. They are both valuable cybersecurity tools as they eliminate even the possibility of accidentally downloading malware, making them convenient and useful for business professionals and parents alike. Some internet filtering options even have pop-up blocking as a feature.

Yet despite the similarities, saying that internet filters and pop-up blockers are the same couldn’t be further from the truth. For one, how they are implemented tends to be quite different. Most pop-up blockers are either built into web browsers or are third-party add-ons that you have to download. Some internet filters also operate like this, but others are instead set up in the network router itself rather than being on any single device. This allows you to apply the same filtering settings across an entire business or household, while also making it tougher for some to disable the filter without your permission.

But the most obvious difference between an internet filter and a pop-up blocker is scope: pop-up blockers are only focused on blocking a specific type of content, so while will keep you from being bombarded by annoying pop-ups and protect you from certain cyber-scams, a proper internet filter is far more robust and covers a much broader range of internet content than any pop-up blocker can. Along with not being limited to just blocking pop-ups, internet filters have the benefit of allowing users to tailor it to their exact needs. Not only can they block specific websites, but internet filtering can also be used to target and limit access to certain types of content, such as pornography, violent media, or controversial political and religious content.

Which Is The Best Option?

That’s the good thing: you don’t really NEED to choose between internet filtering and pop-up blocking. Most modern web browsers have a pop-up blocker built-in for free, as do some internet filtering solutions. The two are also unlikely to interfere with one another, so you can freely choose whichever options best serve your needs. Pop-up blocking is a useful part of any internet security solution, while internet filters (like Clean Internet) provide an even greater layer of security that’s ideal for organizations or families that want to keep out inappropriate and unwanted online content.