I have home internet access via Comcast/Xfinity and the router below providing wifi to multiple devices - laptops, iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch. Macs.

What is the best way to monitor and record the URLs called by device to establish or monitor browsing history?

I'm the admin so have root access to the router via Ethernet, but all other devices access it via wifi.

I have young children and would like to have (preferably remote) access to view a list of the URLs they are browsing or pages they are accessing.

I know that Xfinity does record this information, but I believe it is outside of their Parental Control Feature-Set.

The equivalent would be to copy the browser .plist file from OS X and view it, but that is a one-time thing and I'm looking to be able to access it remotely by device ID, without installing nanny software on all of the machines.

Is there an easy way to set this up?

Thanks in advance for any help.


Wireless Gateway




  • "I know that Xfinity does record this information" - I strongly doubt Xfinity gives two hoots about your browsing habits unless you specifically ask them to. In any case, home questions are off-topic on Server Fault and this will be migrated to our sister site Super User. If you're interested in setting up a proxy server between your network and the Internet I highly recommend the DansGuardian and Squid combo. There are of course commercial products that can accomplish the same thing.
    – Chris S
    May 30, 2012 at 23:02
  • Thanks for the migration to the appropriate venue and for the recommendations, Chris. Any commercial, non-commercial products or strategies are welcome. Trying to brainstorm the best way to achieve this. May 30, 2012 at 23:06
  • 3
    @DesiraeTilford You do realize that you won't see the content of any HTTPS connections those browsers make (including the URLs they request, but you will see the remote IP addresses to which they connect)? Unless you do some hacking on the browsers themselves you can't see the URLs in HTTPS connections.
    – Fran
    May 30, 2012 at 23:42
  • This is a good guide: howtogeek.com/68886/…. You'll need some technical chops to deal with the logs your router makes. May 31, 2012 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


Use OpenDNS as your upstream DNS server on your router.

How it works:

Every device that uses this router will get it's DHCP lease from the router, which will say send me all your DNS queries. The router will forward them all to the OpenDNS servers.

You can then log into their web portal to set parental controls.


  • Quick, simple, effective
  • No new hardware/software to setup
  • Captures HTTPs traffic.



There are a fair number of ways to do what you're after, but most of them are somewhat technical. If you can get an intermediate router between your internet connection and your LAN and put DD-WRT on it, you could use this guide to monitor HTTP requests with it.

A more full-featured solution would be to put something like untangle on your home network (ideally between the internet and your LAN, again), and use its network monitoring facilities to see which sites are being visited, and by whom. Still not super-simple, though.

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