Use this simple and free check to see if a site or file contains malware

Your computer is a temple, and you should never download anything suspicious or open an unsolicited file from an unknown person. Tap or click here for five mistakes to avoid when uploading files.

Don’t believe us? There are millions of horror stories you will find online. Hidden malware, hackers and phishers are all after your data and bank accounts. But what can you do when you need to visit a website and you’re not sure if it’s safe?

We found an online tool to check websites and files for digital threats before opening them. Keep reading to find out how to use it.

Can VirusTotal protect your computer from malware?

It’s possible, and it’s easy to use. VirusTotal is a scanner that can be used on local files and anything you find online. Plug in a site’s URL to find out if it’s safe to visit instantly.

VirusTotal inspects items with over 70 antivirus scanners and URL/domain blocking services and tools to extract signals from the content being studied. You can select a file on your computer using a browser and send it to VirusTotal.

The site offers several file submission methods, including the main public web interface, desktop uploaders, browser extensions, and a programming API.

During the first inspection, the in-browser user interface is very simple and accessible. You have three options: download a Caseusing a URLsor from VirusTotal Research feature. Click on the tab that seems most relevant to your needs and follow the prompts to analyze.

After adding a URL or file that interests you, give the site a few minutes. You’ll be presented with an incredibly long list of malware standards and types, with a column warning you if anything terrible has been detected.

There are a few other tabs describing the properties of your file. Everything from MD5 and TLSH to more common information such as file type and size.

This tool is very versatile, allowing various tasks and approaches. You can use a file’s hash to locate it or even scan for possible exploits through its API.

Total Virus Scan

Downloading local files and using a site’s URL are pretty self-explanatory functions. The third option, finding files to scan, might not. What’s the problem?

VirusTotal Search is basically a tool that can be used to scan and audit files across websites and entire domains. A simple search using a website URL will yield a surprisingly comprehensive report with plenty of other details.

Everything from the website’s server type to meta descriptions and access control points will be presented to you through your browser window.

This tool lets you play investigator, learning more about any website that excites or intrigues you. It’s a great tool for students learning computer science and anyone who is really interested in how the Internet and its many pages actually work.

Anything you plug into this online tool can then be translated into graphics, which is great for visualizing the situation in front of you. The complex stream of incoming data is transformed into something anyone can read and understand.

How to protect your computer from malware

Never trust a file that gives you a funny feeling. VirusTotal lets you confirm your worst suspicions, or at the very least quickly dismiss them. It’s completely free to use, so don’t take our word for it. Try it on any file on your computer or website before visiting it.

But for ultimate protection, you should have an antivirus program on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, AV total.

Get an annual plan of TotalAV Internet Security for just $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price, just for my readers and listeners!