How To Use A URL Filter?


How To Use A URL Filter?

Introduction URL Filter

A URL Filter is a filter that is used in a proxy server in order to block or remove a specific website. The URL filter – in this case – is used in HTTPS proxy servers in order to prevent the users from accessing websites which have been specifically blocked by their ISPs. In some cases, it can also be used for parental control so as to restrict access to certain content on the Internet such as pornographic websites and gambling sites, etc.

Configure pfSense as Proxy Server a...
Configure pfSense as Proxy Server and url filtering

URL Filtering Process

Once you set up your HTTPS Proxy Server through which you want to use the URL Filter, the web browser sends the requested website’s domain name to your proxy server instead of going directly to that site’s IP address . As a result, if your Proxy server has a list of domains which have been blocked by your ISP, the proxy server will block access to that website.

URL Filter through HTTPS Proxy Server

If you want to use a URL filter in your HTTPS Proxy Server, then you must first configure your proxy server. Configuring an HTTPS proxy is very similar to configuring a normal HTTP proxy . The only difference is that instead of pointing the browser’s configuration to the IP address and port number of your HTTPS Proxy Server, you need to point it to its domain name (e.g., https://my-proxy-server.com). Using an HTTPS proxy for filtering web content does not require downloading or installing any third party software on client machines because all major web browsers support proxying over SSL/TLS (i.e., HTTPS).

How to Use a URL Filter

Step 1: 

Configure your Proxy Server In order to use a URL filter in your HTTPS proxy server, you must first set up the proxy server. There are many ways of going about this – you can either configure your proxy using someone else’s pre-made list(s) or manually add domains which you want to block access to through your browser’s options menu . In this article, I’ll be showing you how to do the latter. However, if you wish to avoid all that hassle and cut straight down to setting up a list, then please see my other tutorial on how to make an HTTPS proxy server with a user-defined blacklist .

How To Use A URL Filter Through Your Browser:

Step 2: 

Log into your Proxy Server and add blacklisted domains, Now that you have configured your HTTPS Proxy Server, you can now start adding blacklisted domains. This is done through the browser’s options menu . For this example I’ll be using Google Chrome but most advanced browsers (including Firefox and Opera) don’t really offer any difference in this step of blocking websites.

Step 3: 

Add a URL filter to your Proxy Server Once you’ve logged into your proxy server, click on the “URL Filtering” tab at the top of the page. This will bring up a new page where you can add and remove websites that you want to be blocked by your proxy server. Simply enter each domain name on its own separate line and then press Save Changes at the bottom of the screen. If done correctly, there should now be a big fat error message saying: “The specified Filter contains no domains”. The reason for this is because we haven’t added any rules yet! So let’s do that now…

Step 4: 

Add Rules To determine which URLs are allowed and which aren’t, we need to set up “rules” – basically, if a domain name matches an existing rule then it should be allowed access to the proxy server , but if the request doesn’t match any of your rules, then it will be blocked. You can create as many rules as you wish using the button at the bottom of this screen .

For example, I have enabled two filtering rules on my own proxy server. Rule #1 specifies that all traffic coming from the IP address 34.228.30.35 is allowed access to your proxy server (this is just an example, by the way). However, Rule #2 says that any other requests are denied unless they belong to www.bing.com . As you can see in the image below, requesting www.bing.com does not match either rule, thus it will be blocked by your proxy server (and you should see a big fat error message appear in the browser).

  Step 5: 

Enjoy Your New Proxy Server!Congratulations – You’ve now successfully configured a URL filter through your HTTPS proxy server! Now go ahead and enjoy watching all of those restricted videos. Oh, and don’t forget to thank me later…

Conclusion:

Using a URL filter in an HTTPS proxy server is very simple and you don’t need any advanced IT skills to do it. Using this method will allow you to configure your own user-defined rules for restricting access to web pages and online services based on IP address, domain name or keywords. Using a URL filter in an HTTPS proxy server can also be used as parental control software (for filtering out inappropriate content such as pornographic websites, etc.) which can be configured through the browser’s options menu.

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