Product Review : GFI Web Monitor 4.0

Product Review : GFI Web Monitor 4.0



September 19, 2007
Last Updated : September 19, 2007



If you ever thought about having a 3rd party application for ISA Server 2004/2006,  to filter internet traffic, secure your users downloads, check their internet activities and bandwidth consumption, I strongly advise you to have a look and get GFI WM4.

GFI has long been a name in internet security. I have been using GFI WM since its first child, v1, which came with a single page only , then it continued to have a successful version one after another and today we have v4. What I personally like about GFI , is that their support team really DO LISTEN to your feature requests.

If you check the GFI WM Forums, you would notice that I personally requested multiple features, and I was very delighted to see these features available with GFI WM4, specially the WebGrade Database, Time-based filtering, Quarantine and much more.

GFI WebMonitor 4 is a complete new redevelopment of GFI’s award winning web monitoring and access control suite.


The download file for GFI WM4 is a mere 13.7 MB, and installation is quick and straightforward. You do not have to reboot your computer. 
You do not need to configure anything on ISA Server Console, GFI WM will automatically create its required rules and URL Set , to enable virus definitions updates and WebGrade Database updates from GFI site, also to check if there is a newer build for GFI WM.

After installation, GFI WM4 occupies 1.3 GB of disk space, this is because WebGrade Database and the three different Antivirus engines definition updates will be downloaded later, and spawns only a handful of processes and services; far fewer than any of the other applications that fall into the same category as GFI WM. Plus its much cheaper.

GFI WM4 like its previous versions, easy to install and to configure. Actually you do not need to read the manual to install it, installation takes less than 3 minutes, and configuring it is easy. If you do like to read manuals, you can go through its manual which covers it all.

GFI WM4 also installs a handy tool , called GFI Troubleshooter Wizard, which can be used to collect details related to ISA Server and GFI WM4, so that you can send the collected info later to the GFI Support team to analyze these collected data and provide you with a solution if you ever faced a problem with GFI WM4.


If you ever used GFI WM in the past, you'll be pleased with the redesigned interface. The new GFI WebMonitor 4 user interface has been revamped for more convenient real-time monitoring and user-friendly configuration.

 What I always liked about GFI is that it is a Web Based Application, that I can access from anywhere, and of course I can limit who or from
 where one can have access to it. Accessing GFI is as simple as typing http://monitor.isa or


GFI WebMonitor for ISA Server 4 is now available in 3 editions:

  • WebFilter Edition – Includes URL filtering and website categorization
  • WebSecurity Edition – Includes anti-virus, anti-phishing and spyware detection
  • UnifiedProtection Edition – Packages both WebFilter and WebSecurity editions.

 The new features available in GFI WebMonitor 4 (all editions) include:

  • WebGrade Database: GFI WebMonitor 4 comes with a human-reviewed site categorization database. This database allows users to set up filtering policies based on user/group/IP that specify who can access websites of which category. Websites can either be blocked or else allowed through with an appropriate warning/notification.

    As WebGrade is a human-reviewed site categorization database, and due to the vastly dynamic nature of web content, it is possible that you might find URLs which do not fall under any particular category, or which in your opinion should be placed under a different category.
    For this reason, GFI have launched the WebGrade customer feedback form to allow GFI WebMonitor 4 users who are making use of the GFI WebFilter Edition to submit feedback on URLs categorized within the WebGrade Database.

  • Time-based filtering: Each of the web-filtering policies may be configured to work on a time schedule. This means that administrators can configure the product to allow users/groups to access certain websites during specific time windows, for example, employees can be allowed to access news and entertainment websites during break time.
  • Anti-phishing: GFI WebMonitor 4 protects the users from the potential risks of social engineering by blocking access to phishing websites through an auto-updatable database of phishing URLs.
  • Anti-spyware: In addition to the multiple anti-virus engines provided with GFI WebMonitor 3, GFI WebMonitor 4 now also scans user downloads to block spyware infected files.
  • Quarantine: In addition to being blocked, with GFI WebMonitor 4, potentially hazardous files can now also be quarantined.
  • Download control policies: The administrator has the ability to create multiple user/group/IP based policies in order to block particular file-types from being downloaded by particular users.
  • File-type-based anti-virus scanning policies: The administrator can now define which anti-virus engine is used to scan which real file-types.
  • Whitelist and blacklist: Any URL/user/IP can be inserted permanently/temporarily to these lists in order to bypass all web filtering and web security policies.
  • Bandwidth monitoring: Through user and site bandwidth monitoring features, the administrator now has the ability to track download and upload traffic and the number of URL hits over time, either on a user basis or else on a website basis. Real-time monitoring may be achieved through drilldown reporting enhanced with graphs within the user interface.
  • Revamped user interface: The new GFI WebMonitor 4 user interface has been revamped for more convenient real-time monitoring and user-friendly configuration.

 The chart below explains in further detail which functionality is available in which edition of GFI WebMonitor.

GFI WebMonitor 4 Edition Features WebSecurity Edition WebFilter Edition UnifiedProtection Edition
General Features
Supports Windows Users Yes Yes Yes
Active Directory Integration (Users & Groups) Yes Yes Yes
HTTP / FTP Protocol filtering Yes Yes Yes
User/IP/Site Black & White List Yes Yes Yes
Web Filtering
User/Group based URL Categorization No Yes Yes
User/Group/IP Web Filtering Policies No Yes Yes
Time-window Web Filtering Policies No Yes Yes
Content & Anti Virus
Download Control Policies Yes No Yes
True File Type Checking Yes No Yes
Multiple Anti Virus Engines Yes No Yes
User/Group/IP based Virus Scanning Policies Yes No Yes
Protection From Malware, Spyware & Greyware Yes No Yes
Heuristic Scanning & Macros Yes No Yes
Anti Phishing Yes No Yes
Retention of User Browsing History Yes Yes Yes
Quarantine Yes Yes Yes
Quarantine Approval & Deletion Yes Yes Yes
Real Time Monitoring
Connection Monitoring (active & past) Yes Yes Yes
User & Site History Monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Bandwidth Monitoring No Yes Yes

With GFI WM4, you can do more with your ISA Server 2004/2006. GFI WM4 completes ISA Server by adding features that are not available with ISA Server 2004/2006, and it does this by not replicating what ISA Server can do, but by filling what ISA Server does not offer.

However, GFI WM only deals with HTTP traffic and HTTP tunneled FTP traffic. As a result, it leaves other resources, such as HTTPS, mail and FTP,  vulnerable. What I personally believe, that this should be done on the ISA Server itself, having an HTTPS Filter on GFI WM is a plus for the product, but I believe HTTPS filter is a must to have with ISA Server 2009.

GFI WM4 main menu is divided into 4 different nodes:

  • Monitoring

  • WebFilter

  • WebSecurity

  • Quarantine

  •  Monitoring

     From the Monitoring node you can:


  •  WebFilter Edition


     From the WebFilter Edition you can


  •  WebSecurity Edition

     From the WebSecurity Edition you can



  •  Quarantine

    Policies may be set where downloaded files/URLs are blocked and stored in quarantine. In this node you are given the ability to view quarantined items, have the option to either approve access to these items , or to deleted them from the quarantine List. Yet another great feature in GFI WM4 that was not included in GFI WM3.



Documentations & Support

GFI Web Monitor is well supported. The Installation instructions guide is clear and covers initial deployment. All documentation includes numerous screen shots and diagrams to assist in configuration, deployment, policy development and administration.
GFI provides a 73-page PDF-file manual for download, plus KBase/FAQs for GFI WM4, links to an active user forum dedicated to the software, and a Web form for contacting GFI customer support. And as I said earlier, GFI Support team do listen to your feature requests, and you can expect the features you have requested to be available in future versions / builds. Also you can chat with a technical support staff online between 09:00 and 23:00 hours CET/03:00 and 17:00 hours EST, Monday to Friday. In short, GFI support team is always there to help you if you ever needed them.


Priced at the low end of the spectrum for this type of product, GFI WM4 is an excellent value for organizations of just about any size, although for large organizations, the price of the product would be much more expensive than the ISA Server Firewall itself. But for the features that are available with GFI WM4, I believe it does worth it.

A one year subscription of the UnifiedProtection Edition comes at a 5% discount over the combined price of the WebFilter and WebSecurity Editions.

 Users Discounted price Price / user Total savings
  25 users $ 745 $ 29.80 5% $ 40
  50 users $ 1,400 $ 28.00 5% $ 75
  100 users $ 2,605 $ 26.05 5% $ 135
  250 users $ 5,695 $ 22.78 5% $ 300
  500 users $ 9,935 $ 19.87 5% $ 525
  500+ users Contact sales    


It is solid, easy to use, well documented and well supported. 
GFI Web Monitor V4 is a complete Add-on product for ISA Server 2004/2006.GFI WM4 provides the perfect balance between best-of-breed security protection and ease of use, providing IT administrators superior protection that's light on system resources.

 Personally, I like this product a lot and recommend it for its performance, feature set, cost and ease of use.

 Related Links

 You can download GFI WebMonitor from
You will find more info at
Installation instructions are at
The manual is at

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