How do you know if the web site you're about to visit, or the sites listed in a web search, are safe? One of the easiest ways to get infected or scammed is to simply browse the web without first ascertaining if the sites you visit are safe to do so. However, here's five free tools that will help you check validity of websites before you visit them.

Web of Trust

Web of Trust is a free browser add-on which is available for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome, and aims to provide a safe browsing environment. Sites, search engine results and even links in web-based email accounts like Gmail and Windows Live Hotmail are rated green, amber or red based on their safety and security ratings, enabling you to avoid sites that harbour malware and other dangers (if you inadvertently visit a site rated dangerous a clearly visible warning will pop up)

BitDefender TrafficLight (beta)

BitDefender TrafficLight is a browser security addon that comes packed with features. It doesn't just aim to highlight dangerous websites in your search results, for example: there's also a link filter that checks links from social networking sites; a malware filter detects and blocks malware that you might encounter online; a phishing filter prevents you from accessing fraudulent sites; and there's also an ad filter, and even a URL shortening service that uses to check your target links for viruses and phishing scams.

Comodo Verification Engine

Online fraudsters are increasingly turning to phishing in an attempt to steal your personal data. It's a simple idea: they produce a realistic fake of a site like Paypal, for instance, then lure you to it, get you to log in, and steal your user name and password. Your account is duly emptied, a few minutes later. It's a good idea to check the credentials of the web sites that you use, then, and Comodo Verification Engine tries to help in a few different ways.

McAfee SiteAdvisor 3.2

McAfee SiteAdvisor provides advice about every web site you visit. The program installs a web browser plugin which uses a traffic light system to rate the safety of a web site you are visiting

Norton Safe Web Lite 1.2

Norton Safe Web Lite is a free browser plugin that constantly checks the websites you visit to ensure that they are safe. Norton are constantly crawling the internet and checking that various web sites are safe so they can be rated and added to a database. As you surf, the sites you visit can be compared to entries in the database and if a page you attempt to load is found to be potentially dangerous, you will be warned.

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