How-To Geek

Enjoy Safer Web Browsing with WOT

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

Need a quick and easy way to tell if a website is bad news for you to visit?  With a quick installation, WOT (Web of Trust) provides security and peace of mind while browsing the Internet.


Update: Web of Trust has been found to track and sell users’ browsing history to third parties. This is a serious breach of…well, trust, so we no longer recommend using the Web of Trust extension, under any circumstances.

Setup in Firefox

The extension for Firefox installs in the same method as other extensions and once you have restarted your browser, you will see the following window asking you to accept the “WOT End-User Software License Agreement”. Click “Accept” to activate the WOT extension.


Once you have accepted the license agreement and Firefox has started, the WOT button will be located at the left side of the address bar (default location). As with other aspects of the Firefox interface, you can easily move the WOT button to a new location that best suits your needs.

The first thing that you will see in your browser window is the option to choose the level of protection that you desire. For our example, we have gone with the Basic (recommended) level. Click “Next”.


After choosing the level of protection that you desire, you will be given the option to create a WOT account. Not only will this give you access to all features, it will also give you the opportunity to rate websites that you browse or run across in your searches on the internet.

Note: You may click on the Red X to close the second window and WOT will still work without problems, but you will not have access to all available features.


For our Firefox example, here is the rating shown when visiting the How-To Geek website. All green and definitely all good!


For a more comprehensive look at how a website has been rated, click on the WOT button to show the WOT ratings window.


Setup in Internet Explorer

The setup process for Internet Explorer is similar to Firefox and uses an msi file. Before you can begin installation, you will have to accept the “End-User License Agreement”. The install process is then very quick and easy to finish up.


As with Firefox above, Internet Explorer will start and you will be asked to choose the level of protection that you desire. Click “Next”.  The location of the WOT button can be moved around the same as other toolbars on the Internet Explorer interface. For our example, it has been located on the right side below the address bar.


As above, you will have the opportunity to create a WOT account.

Note: You may click on the Red X to close the second window and WOT will still work without problems, but you will not have access to all available features.


Instead of visiting a singular website after installing WOT in Internet Explorer, we used Bing to conduct a web search for “anti spyware” in our example. As you can see, WOT is displaying a rating for each link shown in the search window (extremely nice!). This can certainly save you from getting an ugly surprise with a less than reputable website.

Here you can see the whole range of colors displaying with the links (green for the 1st, white for the 2nd, red for the 3rd & 5th, and yellow for the 4th).

Note: WOT also works nicely with other search engines as well (i.e. Google)!


A look at the WOT ratings window for Bing.


Setup in Opera and Safari

To add WOT to Opera and Safari, visit the link provided below and drag the bookmarklet into your browser’s Bookmarks Toolbar. In our example, the bookmarklet was added to Opera’s regular Bookmarks Menu and to the Bookmarks Toolbar in Safari.

To use the WOT bookmarklet, you will need to click on the WOT Bookmark to activate the WOT ratings window and then click on the WOT Bookmark again to deactivate it. Simple as that!

Note: The WOT bookmarklet worked very well whether it was located in the Bookmarks Toolbar or in the regular bookmarks in our example.

Here is a quick look at the bookmarklet version of WOT in Opera…


And in Safari…


An Experiment in Google Chrome

Out of curiosity, we decided to see if we could get the WOT bookmarklet to work in Google Chrome. The result? Success!

To get the bookmarklet to work in Chrome, right click on the Bookmarks Toolbar and select “Add page…”. You will see the following window open up. Name the new bookmark “WOT”, copy the link address for the Opera/Safari bookmarklet, and paste it into the URL area. Click “OK”.


Here is our new WOT bookmarklet working very nicely in Chrome! The bookmarklet works on the same “click to activate and click to deactivate” principle as in Opera and Safari.

Note: This works equally well in the newest release of Iron Browser (version!


Different Levels of Warnings

As you visit different websites, you will run across different color ratings for those sites. What can you expect to see when the website in question causes the WOT button to display a different color than green? Here is a quick color reference guide…


If you see a Yellow color for a website, the page will display normally as shown below. You can continue to browse the website in question or close that particular tab or window. It will be a matter of your personal comfort levels with the website in question.


A quick look at the WOT ratings window for the website shown above.


If you happen to visit a website that displays a Red color, the entire browser window will look like the one below. This is a lot like the User Account Control window shading in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Here you can see a display of the individual category ratings and the options to “Rate the site as safe” or “Ignore the warning and continue”. The best thing to do is close that particular tab or window and stay away from the website.


A quick look at the WOT ratings window for the problem website shown above. Ouch! Not good at all!


Here you can see a website that displays the White/Unknown color rating. Expanding the WOT ratings window shows that some categories have already been rated, but not enough ratings data has been collected on the website yet to give it a full color rating on the WOT button itself.



WOT is an extremely easy to use and valuable addition to any browser that only takes a few minutes to set up. Your peace of mind is definitely worth it. Relax and enjoy safer browsing!


Download the WOT Extension for Firefox (Mozilla Add-ons)

Download the WOT Extension for Firefox (WOT Website)

Download WOT for Internet Explorer (WOT Website)

Get the WOT Bookmarklet for Opera and Safari Browsers

If you would like to help add to WOT’s website database, sign up for an account!

Register for a WOT Account (Not required to use WOT)

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 07/6/09

Comments (11)

  1. sul2005tan

    Really good add-ons, I’ll give it a try.

    thank you geek :)

  2. RandyN

    A lot of the site ratings for WOT are based on user input. Many users really do not know what sites have malware, cross-site injection, bad active-x or javascripts, etc. and the site content changes too quickly for this type of anti-malware add-on to be very effective.

    The point being, these types of add-ons based on user input are often wrong or out of date. The only add-ons that may help keep you “safe” are the ones that actively scan websites. These include AVG Linkscanner, Finjan Secure Browsing, and most of the http scanners included in your AV or IS suites.

    If you really want to use a WOT type add-on, check out the Link Extend add-on for Firefox. Even though it still uses input based on users input, it is based on several different sources. Take your time to configure it properly, otherwise it can be slightly irritating.

  3. DiAnne

    I installed WOT a few months ago and absolutely love it. I used to have something similar through McAfee but it didn’t provide a way of stopping the site from opening (like if I clicked a link in an email) without paying the extra fee (which I did…but it never worked). WOT has blocked quite a few innocuous-looking sites. It’s now on all of our computers. I’d much rather block a valid site than visit one of the bad boys erroneously.

  4. Chol

    My Norton antivirus do it for me but this is great, it can takeover when your Norton is not working

  5. goom

    fantastic addon, i’ve used it for many many months.
    doesn’t replace an anti-virus, of course, but avoiding harmful sites is extremely helpful.

    i highly recommend everybody tries it.

  6. Deborah

    Thank you for recommending WOT to your readers. We are very pleased to have been featured on the How-To Geek. You guys are very well respected and have a big following.

    RandyN’s comment expressed concern about user ratings being inaccurate and out of date. I hope I can ease your mind. Our reputation database is updated every 30 minutes, and we respond immediately to any reports of incorrect ratings. The pride of WOT is our 5 million member WOT community who rate sites based on their experience, but remember, it’s not all about malware. Our users also give valuable feedback concerning online shopping sites, scams and content that is inappropriate for children – things that automated scanners can’t pick up. In addition to user ratings, we also use numerous trusted sources like PhishTank, hpHosts and TRUSTe.

    Thanks for the other supportive comments and again, a big thank you to the How-To Geek.

    Safe surfing,
    Web of Trust

  7. Philip

    There is an extension for Google Chrome available. You have to be on the developers channel though (dont know about beta)

  8. anonyma

    gooooooooooooooooooooood nice article

  9. CPJames19

    AVG Linkscanner is better since it live searches the page

  10. Tylor Lavoie

    I LOVE THIS ADDON! Oh also works on Chrome too.

  11. Road Dog777

    I got involved in the WOT eval of URL’s for about 2 years as a voting member and gave a fair rating of how URL’s behaved to a senior WOT moderator. I used common sense unbiased evals even when the subject matter was not to my liking. Evaluating a web-site that sells online sex-toys I gave them a good rating, as they were not malware infected, bombarding me with homing-cookies that act like a Spam harvester for any visitor. Even their BBB sticker was a legit follow-up I dug into! Gave an ammunition vendor site a bad write up as once I hit their page I was unable to navigate out, pop-ups galore, active-scripting and my online malware scanners went nutso. I was hit with so many homing cookies and a few days later that site ‘Who-Is-ed’ me and their ads flooded my inbox, blocked their domain. WOT is a useful tool to help steer users away from sites which infect, entrap or defraud users, child porn, WAREZ, etc. WOT is the opinion of a global community of 10’s of millions of users who set the final rating, unlike say McAfee site adviser that deals with URL’s who can do real damage to your computer, or your credit, break laws or mislead to the ridiculous like: ‘Doctor proven cures for ALL forms of cancer pills’, if you are crazy enough to enter your CC #’s and get nothing but excuses or dead customer service responses to your complaints as do enough WOT evaluators then that URL turns red, some even appeal a rating and those pleas are often the funniest retorts I have ever read! I still use WOT and McAfee SA; 99+% of the time their evals match and IMHO should be included in any wise browsing.

    R D

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