Exploring the SafeSquid filter proxy


What sounds good in theory has a number of weak spots in real life. SafeSquid sets itself apart from competitors with a seemingly simple, but often confusing, web interface.

For Linux users, a more serious concern is the lack of support for current distributions like Ubuntu 13.10 or Fedora 19. Also, the cProfile module fails pretty much across the board: It allows content that is actually blocked, and SafeSquid "forgets" manual proxy changes when relaunched. The situation is similar with the MIME filter, which not only blocks with the specified file extensions, but sometimes blocks the entire page containing such an extension. For a commercial product that costs at least US$ 600 for a 100-user license, this behavior is cause for concern.

On a positive note, the manufacturer also supports the users of the free SafeSquid version via live chat and a ticketing system. During tests, I at least came away with the impression that the staff in India are very helpful and can arrange live demos, if required, to clarify any possible misunderstandings during the setup.

If you can live with the product's shortcomings, and if you are prepared to invest some time in setup and support, you can count on quite a useful proxy for home environments, bundled with content filtering and a web interface. But keep in mind that alternatives, such as the free IPFire [6] firewall distribution, provide similar functionality with fewer errors and what appears to be a cleaner implementation.

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