How to block websites using policies

When creating a policy there will be an option to 'Block websites'. Clicking on this option will bring up a new window that will allow you to enter a list of websites that you wish to block. Here you can type in the websites you'd like, using enter to add a new entry into the list. There will also be an option to either have the entered list as either a blacklist or whitelist. 


Wildcards can be used to pick up web addresses that contain certain words (e.g. *sex* will block web addresses that contain the word 'sex', including ones like 'Sussex').  We recommend using wildcards when blocking web sites to catch all possible urls that could point to the site. (e.g. *.youtube.* will block and and etc.). You can also block file downloads by specifying the file extensions to block. (e.g. *.exe or *.zip will stop the user from downloading these files types). Repeat to add multiple web addresses. 

Alternatively, instead of manually adding the addresses, press the Import... button and select a text file located on your hard drive that contains a list of web sites to add. (Each web address entry must be on a separate line in the text file.)

If the web site is secure (e.g. ) you can only block the domain as a whole, and can't block individual pages since the url itself gets encrypted before it leaves the web browser.  Please be aware that there are websites on the internet that allow users to bypass any web address filtering. This is called 'Proxy Tunneling'. Students can use these sites to enter banned web addresses and then browse them freely. 

Web site blocking also includes support for Regular Expressions (regex). This is an extremely powerful tool for creating rules. Any line item which is enclosed in forward slashes (/) will be treated as a regex.

Some example rules (this is not by any means an exhaustive list):

  • . matches any single character.
  • * matches zero or more of the previous character, eg .* matches anything. This is useful for padding the ends of a term, like * in standard rules.
  • + matches one or more of the previous character.
  • [abcd] will match any single a, b, c or d character.
  • [0-9] will match any single numerical character.
  • [^a] specifies any character other than a

For example, /.*setup7[12][29]a+/ would match foosetup712a, setup719aa, barsetup722aaaaa, but not setup722.

Regex support is not provided by ABT technical support, however there are guides available on the internet. 


Blocking Entire Ports

This is an alternative to our Port blocking policy.

By specifying ':X' as the web address to block, you can prevent all access to the internet via that port number. E.g.

  • :80 - blocks all access to the internet via port 80
  • :443 - blocks all access to the internet via the SSL secure channel (https)
  • :8080 - blocks internet access via some proxy servers 

Disclaimer: AB Tutor uses a local proxy server in order to capture web traffic and inspect it before forwarding/blocking it from the requesting application. If your local site relies on a local proxy then we cannot guarantee this feature will work.