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ActivTrak Review

Best Free Employee Monitoring Software

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

ActivTrak is our pick as the best free employee monitoring software because it's always free for up to three users, and it has a good selection of core features such as activity tracking, website and app monitoring, content filtering and alerts. It's easy to install, set up and use, with a dashboard that grants keen insights into user activity and productivity across your team. 

To understand how we selected our best picks, visit our best picks page to find our methodology and a list of the 28 other employee monitoring software applications we considered. 

In addition to its free version, ActivTrak offers paid plans and add-ons (annual contract required). If none of these plans suit your needs, though, ActivTrak can create a custom plan and quote based on your requirements. Here's a look at the standard plans and what each offers: 

  • Free plan: $0 for up to three users. This plan includes employee monitoring features for viewing user activity and gauging overall productivity. The free version comes with 3GB of storage space and a central dashboard that displays an overview of captured data, website blocking, real-time reporting, screenshots and scheduled monitoring.

  • Advanced plan: $7.20 per user, per month (annual contract). This plan supports an unlimited number of users and includes unlimited data storage. It has advanced employee monitoring functions, including USB device detection, file transfer monitoring, behavioral risk analysis, unlimited screenshots and a remote agent installer.

  • Sensitive Data Bundle: $11 per user, per month (annual contract). This plan adds screenshot flagging and redaction add-ons to the advanced plan.

  • Add-ons: ActivTrack offers add-on features for plans with annual contracts. These include useful tools such as video playback of user activity, screenshot flagging, screenshot redaction and access to the data connect module.


Editor's note: Looking for information on employee monitoring software? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.


Although the free version of ActivTrak is relatively limited, it still offers an arsenal of tools to help you keep close tabs on user activity. The software works across Windows, Mac and Chrome platforms. Here's an overview of its features: 

  • User activity monitoring feed: The user activity feed provides a real-time window into user activity as it occurs. You can watch as new updates appear when users access websites or applications, or engage in other activities. The activity monitoring feed provides a quick overview of the activity going on across your team, and if the feed shows suspect behavior, you can easily isolate the questionable user and examine their usage more closely.

  • Productivity monitoring: When configuring the software, you can select websites or applications that you deem "unproductive." As usage is monitored, more undefined websites and applications are added to the list for you to manually sort. These settings are used to gauge the productivity of individual employees and of your team as a whole. Using the productivity monitor, you can quickly tell who spends most of their time on task and who is otherwise engaged while on the clock.

  • Application monitoring: ActivTrak includes the standard application monitoring feature, which keeps tabs on the software apps users are accessing, when and for how long. On the dashboard, the most frequently accessed applications appear in a pie chart, showing just how much time your team or a given user spends on certain applications.

  • Web content filter: If tagging a website "unproductive" simply isn't enough, ActivTrak allows you to block access to specific types of web content altogether. This can be useful for preventing employees from navigating to any particularly problematic content, such as anything related to drugs, pornography or gambling.

  • Screenshots: When you catch an employee doing something they are not supposed to, you can easily snap a screenshot to save as evidence. With the free version of ActivTrak, you can only snap one screenshot per activity, meaning you must wait until you open a new window or look into a different user to take another screenshot. The paid version offers unlimited screenshots and allows you to set up triggers so the software will automatically capture an image of an employee's screen when certain behavior is detected.

  • Dashboard: The central dashboard provides an overview of organizational activity. It displays the productivity gauge, real-time user activity monitoring feed, top applications accessed by users and the top websites visited. A series of icons appear on the left side of the screen, and when you scroll over these icons, they expand to display the category name. These include reports, screenshots, real-time activity, blocked content, alerts and settings. However, unlike other employee monitoring software included in our review, this dashboard is not customizable.

  • Alerts: These notifications can be tailored to let employees know they are violating policies (for example, if they've been surfing social media for an hour) or to trigger automatic actions, like a taking a screenshot when an unproductive application is launched.

  • Real-time reporting. You can run reports to help you analyze the daily, weekly, monthly or annual productivity of individual employees, your team or your entire organization.

  • Mobile app. Managers can use ActivTrak's app to keep tabs on their team using a simplified dashboard that shows screenshots and usage reports. 

ActivTrak is incredibly easy to use, from installation to daily tasks. Its user interface is streamlined and uncluttered, making it easy to navigate, even for first-timers. Everything is neatly organized under well-labeled tabs, so you never have to hunt for what you need. 

To begin using ActivTrak, install the software and download agents onto the devices you wish to monitor. The agents run in stealth mode, so employees are not aware that monitoring software has been installed on their device. Once installed, the agent begins feeding data back to the central dashboard, where admins can monitor it in real time. 

It doesn't take very long to become comfortable with ActivTrak's intuitive interface. With just a half-hour of clicking around, you should begin to feel right at home. This ease of use means you can get up and running quickly without much of a learning curve. 

ActivTrak's free version only supports up to three users, so if you're looking to scale up you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan. Luckily, the Advanced plan is competitively priced at $7.20 per user, per month. 

The other key limitation we noticed was that keystroke logging is completely absent from both ActivTrak plans. Keystroke logging is useful for tracking what users type across browsers and applications. While ActivTrak does not monitor precise keystrokes, it does track mouse and keyboard activity to gauge user productivity. 

ActivTrak offers several customer support options. The company's tech support team responds to email requests for assistance, and live chat is also available. For customers with paid plans, ActivTrak offers a customer support phone line, 24/7 email support, a dedicated billing support team and assigns a dedicated account manager as your point of contact with the company to help you resolve any issues you might encounter. 

In addition to the customer support and tech support teams, ActivTrak offers a series of online resources, including FAQs, how-to videos, case studies and more. 

Ready to choose an employee monitoring software solution? Check out the rest of our coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for information on employee monitoring software? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

Lori Fairbanks

Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She now writes about small business finance, including accounting software, credit card processing and point-of-sale systems for business.com and Business News Daily.