URL Patterns vs. Re-Categorization
The Web Filter provides you with two distinct ways to allow or block websites: URL Patterns and Re-Categorization.
When to use URL Patterns
URL Patterns are the preferred method of allowing/blocking a site when you want to allow the site for certain users Rule Sets and not your entire organization. You should use URL Patterns when:
- A site is properly categorized, but you want the site treated differently than the category.
- You want a flexible and easily changeable way to allow or block a site
- A site that you want to allow or block includes several domains or subdomains that you want to track easily
URL Patterns are:
- Easy to customize or assign per Rule Set
- Can contain multiple domains (for blocking/allowing sites such as Facebook or Snapchat, which draw data from multiple domains)
- Easy to edit and add/remove domains or subdomains
- Easy to turn on/off (allow/block)
When to use Re-Categorization
You should recategorize sites when you believe the category is inaccurate for your organization. Though recategorization can achieve similar results to using a URL Pattern, it faces several key limitations when allowing or blocking a site.
- Is more difficult to keep track of. Once you re-categorize a site, you will need to remember that the site has been recategorized, or search for the site in Categorized Sites in order to determine its categorization
- Should primarily be used for domains that you want to allow/block for everyone within Database Categories that are otherwise allowed/blocked. (For example, if you allow all directory sites (ex. Yelp, YP), but want to specifically block Craigslist for all of your users, you can re-categorize craigslist.com into a blocked category.)
- Can also be used if you believe a website is incorrectly categorized (ex. Craigslist is categorized as “Directory” but you believe that it should be categorized as “Forums.Social_Networking” due to its discussion-board type nature and potential adult content.)
- Can cause issues with reporting. Recategorized sites will show up under their new categories within reports. (Ex. if you recategorize Craigslist as “Forums.Social_Networking”, it will show up under that category in reports, making it more difficult to track unless you remember to look for it there.)
Hosting Website Categorization
Hosting websites such as Weebly, Blogspot, or other free website hosts should be treated slightly different than specific domains. While these sites can host valuable educational content, they are designed allow the creator to post any content, and as a result non-educational material can also be found on this sites. By default, Lightspeed Systems categorizes these as Adult.
Do you want to learn more about Blogging platform and free website host categorization
If you find a free hosted website that you would like to allow, we do not recommend re-categorizing the entire domain, or creating a URL pattern that will allow the entire domain, such as *weebly.com*
Instead, we recommend creating a URL pattern for the specific domain, as this allows traffic to the desired website, while not allowing traffic to the entire domain, which may contain inappropriate materials.