Network and IP scanning tools are software allowing network administrators or users to find loopholes in the environment. That, in turn, is the first step in safeguarding from unexpected and unwanted behavior within the system that can become problematic or even threatening. Securing a computer network is hard, and scanning tools are a convenient help.
This article shares the best IP scanners handpicked for everyday professional use. The list includes both free and commercial software, so you can use them as you prefer.
Quick overview of the best 27 network scanners today
If you are familiar with network and IP scanning and want to know the best tools, here is a list of the 27 picks described in this guide. But if you’re curious to know more details on every option, you can skip this section.
- ManageEngine OpUtils. A powerful and versatile scanner that can give you your network’s full picture in real-time.
- Security Event Manager. Improves security with emphasis on logs and data collection.
- Intruder. The most thorough threat scanner on the list. It emphasizes security and shows you how your network looks for third parties.
- Auvik. It’s network scanning made simple and automatic. In addition, it can encrypt the network traffic with the military-grade AES-256 algorithm.
- Paessler. A tool for advanced infrastructure management with data available as graphs and stats.
- Open Port Scanner. Scans available IP addresses as well as its TCPs and UDPs.
- SolarWinds Network Device Scanner. It scans a network to locate and monitor the devices available.
- IP Control Bundle. This tool focuses on reporting and monitoring the network’s accessible and used IP addresses.
- Network Bandwidth Analyzer. A monitoring tool for network performance. It lets you determine nodes that use too much bandwidth.
- Skyboxsecurity. This network scanner easily decodes the most intricate and complicated networks.
- ThousandEyes. A network monitoring tool specialized in diagnosing and triaging network problems for quick remediation.
- BeyondTrust. An excellent overall free network scanner that monitors the network’s essential stats and detects problems.
- Qualys. A streamlined security solution that can also work across cloud systems.
- Spiceworks. An easy-to-use scanner with real-time alerts for your vital devices.
- Site24x7. An integrated tool to keep vigilance over servers, apps, websites, and clouds simultaneously.
- Nagios. It is an open-source continuous monitoring tool.
- Nessus. A very versatile network scanner intended to make your experience easy and intuitive.
- GFI LanGuard. A scanner focused on mobile devices and patch management for several operating systems.
- Advanced IP Scanner. A free scanner packs a lot of punch with features usually not found in scanners.
- Domotz. A scanner for analyzing the most advanced network data and for remote control.
- Essential NetTools. It’s a scanning suite of tools offering many useful features for network administration.
- LogicMonitor. It works on Linux and Windows, providing a range of options for alerts, performance graphs, and user management.
- Nikto2. One of the best preventive scanners, ready to detect more than 7000 risky applications.
- SoftPerfect Network Scanner. It supports IPv6 addresses and detects those elusive hardware MAC addresses. It runs from a USB stick without installation.
- Nexpose Rapid7. A real-time scanner aimed to find new threats so you can neutralize them on time.
- Snort. An intrusion detection and prevention suite of network tools.
- Wireshark. Another open-source scanner exhibiting multi-platform capabilities.
What is network scanning?
As the term implies, network scanning is the process of analyzing the entire network for any possible security lapse. It includes scanning everything connected to a network, such as all the devices, operating systems, ports, active hosts, filtering systems, and the entire traffic. This thorough IT infrastructure assessment helps the admins apply remedial measures by proactively detecting vulnerabilities. That’s how network scanning is crucial, preventing any disastrous situations from happening.
While such a detailed scanning would be tedious to conduct manually, thanks to the dedicated network scanners, you can quickly monitor the entire network. Besides detecting security bugs, these tools also help in real-time vulnerability detection and alert generation. That means once you deploy such a tool, you don’t have to worry about going after every endpoint for possible flaws, as the tool will keep monitoring it for you.
The best 27 network scanners for 2023 – Detailed list
Now that you know about network scanning, let’s move on to the best, free-to-use network scanners you can use today.
1. ManageEngine OpUtils
ManageEngine OpUtils makes a complicated task, well, still complex but precise. It will give you a comprehensive real-time view of your network infrastructure, including address tracking and network scanning. The tool scans across several subnets, routers, and switch ports. That’s how it shows you where your network’s issues are and help you troubleshoot them.
The OpUtils can automate network scanning to run at pre-scheduled times. It’s scalable and supports many subnets and IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Besides, it detects rogue devices through streamlined network scanning. Other noteworthy functionalities include generating threshold-based alerts to detect emerging problems that could escalate and creating reports you can use later to audit your network. ManageEngine OpUtils is popular because of its short time to boot and seamless integration into the network environment.
2. Security Event Manager
Security Event Manager, a robust product from the tech giant SolarWinds, makes your network safer and shows you compliance easily. It has a central log collection system and a built-in file integrity monitoring capability.
Many users will like the intuitive dashboard in Security Event Manager, the automated response to incidents, and the real-time log analyzer. Additionally, it comes with compliance reporting tools out of the box.