How do I know what websites I can trust?
Knowing what content to trust on a web page can be a difficult task since anyone regardless of his or her age or knowledge is capable of creating a web page or making a post on a forum. However, following the steps below, can help give you a better understand and the security of knowing what to trust.
Spelling and grammar
A web page or forum posting that contains multiple spelling or grammar errors is more likely to be written by someone who is young, not concerned about the quality, or is uneducated.
If what you are reading contains lots of spelling or grammar errors take caution when following their advice.
Use third-party Internet browser add-on such as Web of Trust (WOT), which is a great way to verify the content as well as the reliability of the website.
However, a tool such as this will verify the quality of the site and not the pages individually.
A website designed for a specific topic is more likely to contain good and correct information than one that has not. For example, a site such as Computer Hope that is dedicated to computer help and support has better information than a site that also has cooking and shopping information.
Forum, bulletin board, and chat
Website forums, chat, blogs, and other methods that allow visitors to post and communicate with other visitors are a great resource and often contain a wealth of information. However, when relying on these pages, realize that it is often other visitors and not the actual company or person behind the site creating the post.
When reading a forum post try to keep the below suggestions in mind.
- Complexity of post - A post that is a paragraph or more often means more time was spent composing the post and increases its authenticity.
- Other posts - If the forum has hundreds or thousands of other posts from other users, it is likely other users are finding good help or information and that you are visiting a well-established forum.
- Moderated forum - Not all forums are moderated, if you see lots of spam or garbage posts it is likely no one is making sure the forum is safe.
- Post counts - A user who has several hundred or thousand posts is a contributing member and has likely been around the forums for a while.
Extent of information
A page that has a wealth of information regarding a subject or question is more than likely going to be more accurate and in-depth than a page that has a paragraph of text. Usually, when spending more time on the subject, the author has spent more time researching the subject and has a better understanding the topic.
Too good to be true rule
When reading anything on the Internet always keep the golden rule in the back of your head. "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is."
- What to look for when buying computer hardware and software.
- See the WOT definition for further information and related links.
- All computer security related questions and answers.