How To Check Your Employee Internet History
As an employer, you may want to keep track of what your employees are doing on their business devices online. Are they visiting websites related to work, or are they going to sites that reduce their productivity, like social media platforms? Or are they on websites that can put them and your company in danger of cyberattacks?
Employees‘ internet history can be checked directly from the browser they use to visit websites. You can enable the router to keep logs, which track all incoming and outgoing connections. Windows Defender Firewall and remote desktop monitoring software can also track employees‘ internet history.
In this article, I’ll suggest different techniques to check your employee’s internet history. Try all the methods so that you know what your employees are up to during working hours.
1. Check Browser History
The easiest way to know what your employees are doing online is to view the browser history. Every browser keeps track of all the websites visited by users. It also contains the time at which they went to specific sites. Here’s a simple guide to viewing the internet history on popular browsers.
- Open Google Chrome
- Click on the three dots (vertical) icon on the screen’s top right corner.
- Select History>History.
This will give you an overview of all the websites the user opens in Google Chrome. You can also open this directly via a shortcut. Open a new tab on the browser and press one of the following combinations, depending on the operating system you’re using on the device.
- Windows – Ctrl + H
- macOS – Cmd + Y
- Open Mozilla Firefox.
- Select the three horizontal lines icon from the top right corner of the display.
- Click History.
Firefox will show a list of websites the user visited from the browser. Like Google Chrome, you can use the following shortcuts to open the internet history directly.
- Windows – Ctrl + H
- macOS – Cmd + Y
- Open Safari on the macOS device.
- Look for History on the top menu bar and select it.
It will open a new tab, showing you the websites opened by the user in Safari. Alternatively, you can press cmd + Y to get to this tab without searching for the settings.
- Run Microsoft Edge on the device.
- Click on the three-dot icon, which you’ll find in the top right corner of your device’s screen.
- Tap on History to open it.
The shortcut Ctrl + H also works on Microsoft Edge.
This is how you can open a user’s internet history on any browser. The steps are similar for most browsers. If you can’t find the history, search for how to find it online and follow the instructions.
2. Use Command Prompt on Windows
While it is simple to view browsing history, this technique has a significant problem. Most users are aware that browsers keep track of the websites they visit. Due to this reason, they will often clear their browsing history. Also, if you ask them to hand over their device to you, there’s a chance they’ll try to cover their tracks.
If you were to open the browser and check its history, you’d find an empty list. However, this doesn’t mean everything is lost, as you can still recover this information. For this process, you’ll need to use command prompt, a built-in Windows tool. It is a powerful tool for executing various commands.
Today, I’ll teach you how to run a simple command to check your employee’s internet history.
- Press the Windows key and type cmd in the search bar.
- Open Command Prompt as an admin. Otherwise, the commands you enter won’t work as expected.
- Enter the following command „cd c:\„. This allows you to change the location where the tool will store the websites the employee visits. Depending on your requirements, you can swap out „c“ for any other drive.
- Now, enter the following command „ipconfig /displaydns >websites.txt
When you use this command, the tool will create a text document called websites on C drive. It will contain a list of all the websites the user opened on the device. Do keep in mind that it will also have subdomains, which can look confusing.
3. Allow the Router To Keep Logs
The router allows all devices in your business to connect to the internet. Most routers will come with built-in trackers, known as logs. This feature enables the router to track all websites the user visits.
It works even if the user uses incognito mode in the browser to hide their browsing history. However, you can only do this in routers that you use for your business. You’ll have to use other techniques if your employees work from home.
One thing to remember is that the router may not show all the information you need. Sometimes, it will only display the IP address and the website traffic, which can be confusing to read if you are unfamiliar with these topics.
Here’s how you can use the router to check your employee’s internet history.
- Press the Windows key and type cmd.
- Open the search result cmd as an admin.
- Enter the following command „ipconfig/all„.
- This will provide a bunch of information. Look for the default gateway, which contains the IP address you need to access your router’s settings.
- Enter the IP address under the default gateway into the browser to open the router’s settings.
- You need to enter the default username and password to access this page. You’ll have to use the default login details if you haven’t set this up before. This information will be available on the underside of the router. You can also get these details from the router’s box.
- Once you enter the router’s website, you need to locate logs. The location of this setting depends on the router brand, as it is different for each manufacturer. You may find it under advanced or admin. Search online for how to enable logs on your router.
4. Use Windows Firewall To Track Internet History
Windows has a handy built-in feature known as Windows Firewall, which lets you keep an eye on the websites the users visit on their devices during work. The only downside of using this feature is that it can be challenging to make sense of the information.
Usually, the data is presented in the form of IP addresses. Also, it involves changing a bunch of settings in your Windows Firewall, so only proceed if you’re comfortable with this. Otherwise, I recommend you move to the last step, which is easy for everyone to set up and use.
Here’s how to use Windows Firewall to check your employee’s internet history.
- Hit the Windows key and type Firewall in the search bar.
- Open the search result Windows Defender Firewall.
- From the side menu on the left, look for Advanced Settings and click it.
- Choose Windows Firewall With Advanced Security On Local Computer.
- Select Properties from the side menu on the right.
- Here, you’ll find three tabs – domain profile, private profile, and public profile. You only need to focus on private and public profiles for the time being.
- Under private profile, search for Logging and select the Customize button next to this setting.
- Enable Logging, and Windows Firewall will keep track of all the websites the user visits on the website. Do the same for the public profile.
If you want to view this data, here’s what you need to do on the device.
- Press the Windows key and enter Firewall.
- Click on Windows Defender Firewall, which will be one of the search results.
- Select Advanced Settings from the side menu on the screen’s left portion.
- Open the following – Windows Firewall With Advanced Security On Local Computer.
- Locate Monitoring, which you’ll find below this tab.
- Look for Logging Settings. It will contain the location of the file. Click on it to open the location where the log is kept.
In the log file, you’ll get information such as when the user visited a website, along with their device’s IP address and the site’s IP address. It also shows the port used by the user to access the website.
5. Use Remote Desktop Monitoring Software Like Wolfeye
All the above techniques require you to have physical access to the employee’s device. This means the employee can delete their browsing history before handing over their personal computer to you. As a result, you won’t be able to view what websites they visited during work hours.
Also, using techniques like setting up router logs, Windows Firewall, or Command Prompt require some technical skills. This is because the information it records can be challenging to understand.
A better way to track what your employees are doing online is to use remote desktop monitoring software like Wolfeye. It is easy to set up the software, and the information it records is easy to understand. You won’t have to keep searching online for what certain technical words mean.
Also, you can just set it up once, and the software will track everything automatically. This means you can go about your day and only check only when necessary.
The best part about Wolfeye is that it hides itself once Windows runs. Your employees won’t know about this software.
How Can Wolfeye Track Your Employee’s Internet History?
You might be wondering why you have to go with Wolfeye in the first place. Wolfeye has several powerful features that can help you track your employee’s online activities. You don’t have to be available at the office to find out what’s happening with their devices.
Track Internet History, Anywhere, Anytime
If all your employees don’t work in the office, how can you keep an eye on their browsing behavior? The methods I highlighted earlier require you to have physical access to the device. Also, you must set it up before handing the device to the employee.
However, if the employee is tech-savvy, they can change these settings to stop you from tracking their online activity.
Once you run Wolfeye, you can take a step back and let the software do its job. Even if the employee works from home, it will continue tracking their internet activity.
For instance, the software will take screenshots and screen recordings randomly so that you know what they are doing on their business devices at all times. As the user won’t be notified about these actions, you will get an accurate representation of the websites they visit. It also maintains a log of all the sites they open on any browser, even in incognito mode.
View Employee’s Screen in Real-Time
There are several ways employees can hide their internet activity on their devices. For example, they can use a virtual private network (VPN) along with incognito mode to hide their online activity to a certain extent.
Wolfeye ensures that this won’t be a problem as you can see what an employee is doing on their device in real-time. Once you run this software, you can look at the device anytime.
Note: There will be a few seconds of delay in what the user is doing and what you see on the screen.
Wolfeye comes with a three-day trial so that you can try out the software and see whether it meets your requirements. It works on all Windows versions, from Windows XP to Windows 11. As it can hide itself on Windows, the software won’t pop up in Task Manager.
Also, you can run it on your device to see if it tracks the information properly.
If you want to check your employee’s internet history on their device, you should check the browser history. It contains a list of all the websites they visit, and you can check whether they opened the site during working hours.
If the employee deleted the internet history, you could use the command prompt to recover this data. You can also use Windows Firewall and the router to keep logs of an employee’s internet activity.
The best solution is to use remote desktop monitoring software like Wolfeye. It’s simple to use, and you can easily understand all the data it tracks.
- Hubstaff: How to Monitor Employee Internet Activity and Usage
- PanSpy: How to Track Browser History of Employee
- Time Doctor: How to Monitor Employee Internet Usage Accurately & Ethically
- Lifewire: How to Check Router History
- YouTube: Check internet/Browsing history even after its deleted in Windows PC
- Express: How to check your router history and internet activity
- Microsoft: View and delete your browsing history in Internet Explorer
- Techviral: How to Track Internet Activity for free using Windows Firewall Log
- Maketecheasier: How to Track Internet ACtivity for Free Using Windows Firewall Log