How to Block Websites, Ports, and Apps with BrowseControl (Video)

BrowseControl technical demo, web filtering software

How to Block Websites on Your Network (Updated 2021)

Need to restrict internet access in your network? In this tutorial you will learn how to block websites using a free trial of BrowseControl, CurrentWare’s web content filtering software.

With BrowseControl you can…

  • Block or allow websites based on URL, category, domain, or IP address
  • Schedule unique internet restrictions throughout the day 
  • Assign custom policies for each group of computers or users, and…
  • Enforce internet usage policies, even when devices leave the network

There are 3 ways to block employee internet access with BrowseControl…

  1. Block access to specific websites with the Block List
  2. Restrict internet access to only certain sites with the Allow List, 
  3. and using the Category Filtering feature to block access to content categories such as Porn, Virus Infected, or Social Media  

For complete control over internet and application use in your network, you can combine BrowseControl with BrowseReporter, CurrentWare’s internet monitoring software.

All right, let’s get started…

To begin, sign up for a free trial of BrowseControl at CurrentWare.com/Download. After filling out the form you will be provided with the files you need to get started with BrowseControl.

To install BrowseControl, run CurrentWare.exe on the administrator’s computer and follow the installation instructions; this will install the CurrentWare Console and Server. 

After that, deploy the CurrentWare Client Setup file (cwClientSetup.exe) on all of the computers you would like to control. 

From there you can import your Active Directory organizational units or manually create your desired policy groups.

For full installation instructions, please visit our knowledge base at CurrentWare.com/Support. 

Now that you have BrowseControl installed, I’ll show you how to block specific websites based on their URL, domain, or IP address using the URL Filter.

This feature can be used to block your employees from accessing distracting websites like Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram.

  1. First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers and select the desired mode.
  2. Next, click on URL Filter then select “Blocked List”
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict
  4. Enter the URL, domain, or IP address of the websites you want to block to the master URL list, then press the Enter key or click “Add”. BrowseControl will apply a wildcard to the URL, ensuring that any paths within the domain will be blocked as well.
  5. In the master URL list, select the websites you want to block for the chosen group, then click “Add to Blocked List”
    • If you would like to add the selected websites to the block list of multiple groups, you can press the drop-down arrow and select “add to multiple groups”, select the desired groups, then click “add to blocked list”
    • If you have a large number of websites you would like to block, you can also use the import feature to import an existing list.
  6. Finally, click “Apply to Clients”.

That’s it! You have now blocked your employees, students, or patrons from accessing those specific websites. 

Next, I’ll show you how to restrict internet access to only certain sites.

This feature is ideal if you want to prevent your employees, students, or patrons from accessing websites that are not explicitly allowed by your organization.

The process is identical to how you would block a website, except this time you will set the internet to “off” and add the websites you would like to allow to the Allow List.

With this method, your users will only be able to access the exact websites that have been approved by your company.

Here are the full instructions

  1. First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers and select the desired mode.
  2. Next, click on URL Filter then ensure that “Allowed List” is selected
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict
  4. Set the internet to “Off”. This will ensure that only the websites that are added to the allowed list can be accessed.
  5. Enter the URL, domain, or IP address of the website you want to allow to the master URL list, then press the Enter key or click “Add”. BrowseControl will apply a wildcard to the URL, ensuring that any paths within the domain will be allowed as well.
  6. In the master URL list, select the websites you want to allow for the chosen group, then click “Add to Allowed List”
  7. If you would like to add the selected websites to the Allowed list of multiple groups, you can press the drop-down arrow and select “add to multiple groups”, select the desired groups, then click “add to Allowed list”
  8. If you have a large number of websites you would like to allow, you can also use the import feature to import an existing list.
  9. Finally, click “Apply to Clients”.

Next, I’ll show you how to block websites based on content categories such as Porn, Virus Infected, and Social Media 

With BrowseControl’s category filtering feature you can block billions of websites across over 100 URL categories. More than 10,000 new domains are added each day, making it simple to restrict internet access even as new sites emerge. 

Here’s how:

  1. First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers and select the desired mode.
  2. Click on “Category Filtering”
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict
  4. Select the web content categories you would like to block, then click “Add to Blocked List”
  5. Finally, click “Apply to Clients”.

That’s it! 

The Allow List can also be used in tandem with the Category Filtering feature to allow websites that would otherwise be blocked based on their content category. 

For example, you could use Category Filtering to block Social Media while still allowing access to LinkedIn.

Now that you’ve seen the 3 key ways you can block a website with BrowseControl, I’d like to show you how to restrict internet access at certain times.

With BrowseControl’s Internet Scheduler you can schedule custom block or allow lists throughout the day. 

This feature will bring some flexibility to your internet restriction policies; in this example, we will allow our employees to browse the internet during lunchtime.

Here’s how to use the internet scheduler

  1. First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers and select the desired mode.
  2. Click on “internet scheduler”
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict
  4. Click “New Schedule”
  5. Set the start and end time of the schedule
  6. Select the schedule type
    • Internet on will allow internet access to all websites that are not on the URL Block List
    • Custom allowed list will only allow access to specific websites
    • Custom blocked list will block access to a specific list of websites and allow access to the rest of the internet
    • Custom Category blocked list will block specific categories and allow access to the rest of the internet
  7. Set your desired schedule frequency
    • Daily will enable the schedule every day during the specified time period
    • Weekly will enable the schedule only on specific days of the week
    • Monthly will enable the schedule only on specific months
  8. Click “Add Schedule”
  9. If you selected one of the custom block or allow list options, you can click the link provided under the “schedule type” column to set the websites or categories that you would like on the list.
  10. And finally, Click “Enable scheduler” if it is not already enabled

That’s it for today. If you’re ready to start blocking websites you can get a free trial of BrowseControl at CurrentWare.com/Download. 

If you have any questions during your evaluation our support team is available to help you over a phone call, live chat, or email.

See you next time!

Since this original video was uploaded BrowseControl has received a multitude of upgrades. Here’s how to block websites on your network with the latest version of BrowseControl.

  1. Download your free trial
  2. Install the CurrentWare Console and Server on a manager’s computer
  3. Install the CurrentWare Clients on each computer that you would like to restrict
  4. From the CurrentWare Console, use the URL filter and category filtering features to block websites on all of the computers in your network; you can apply custom internet restriction policies for each group of computers or users

To learn how to filter network ports and block applications with BrowseControl, please see the knowledge base.


How to Block Websites, Ports, and Apps with BrowseControl’s Legacy Desktop Console (Video)

Hi guys this is Sai from CurrentWare’s technical support team. Today I’ll be showing you how to use BrowseControl to restrict the internet access of your employee’s computer. Let’s begin. So what you’re looking at right now is the CurrentWare console from a manager’s computer. 

CurrentWare console showing the BrowseControl web filter

CurrentWare is a server and client based solution.

  1. You will need to install the CurrentWare client on all the computers you want to manage.
  2. After that, the CurrentWare client is installed, they will connect to your CurrentWare console and show up on the left hand side. 
  3. Put the computers in the right folder that you want to organize them in and apply the internet restrictions to the computers inside folders. 

So there are two ways to block internet access in BrowseControl.

  1. For the first method you can set the internet on and use the URL block list and the category block list to block specific websites.
  2. The second method is to set the internet to off, which will block the internet completely and use the URL allow list to allow your employees to only company authorized websites. 

How To Block Websites Based on URLs and Categories

CurrentWare BrowseControl warning message for blocked URL.

Let me show you how to use the URL block list and category block list. 

  1. First, set the internet to on.
  2. Then click on the URL filter. Add the websites you want to block. In this example we’re going to add Facebook and ESPN to the block list.
  3. Select your URLs, click on the block list, and bring it over to the right hand side.
  4. You want to hit apply to clients. This is going to start blocking the internet on the employee’s computer.

So let’s open up a tab browser and browse to these websites. First we’re going to go to ESPN. You’re going to notice that when your employees try to go to a website that’s not allowed you’re going to get a warning message like this.

How to Allow Only Authorized Websites (Whitelist)

Allow company authorized websites

For the second method we’re going to use the URL allow list to allow company authorized websites. That means if a website is not on the allowed list your employees will not be able to get to that website.

  1. First come up with a list of websites that you allow your employees to go to and then we’re going to add them to the allowed list.
  2. Open up the URL filter. In this example we’re going to type in CurrentWare.com and BrowseControl.com.
  3. After that we’re going to select the URLs
  4. Click on the right arrow button in the middle, and add it to the allow list.
  5. Click on the apply button and now your employees are restricted from going to any websites that are not on the allowed list. 

How to Prevent Employees From Downloading Files on HTTP Sites

CurrentWare download filter console open with permissions configured for images, layouts, zipped files, audio, video, and executable files.

Other than blocking websites, BrowseControl can also block employees from downloading specific file types.

Let’s open up the download filter. One of the advantages of blocking file types is to reduce unauthorized media consumption in your office. For example, you can block your employees from watching movies or listening to music by setting the permission of audio and videos to always blocked. 

To see what file types are in each group, click on the add button. In the audio group it is blocking popular files such as mp3, mp4s, and WAV. Another advantage of the download filter is to prevent employees from installing unauthorized software. You can block your employees from downloading executable files that are commonly used to install programs.

How to Block Windows Applications

Next we’re going to talk about BrowseControl’s application blocker. BrowseControl lets you block any Windows applications that are running on your employee’s computer. This will prevent your employees from using programs that they shouldn’t be using. For example, you can block employees from downloading malicious files simply by blocking peer-to-peer programs such as uTorrent.

Now let’s add uTorrent to the block list. I’m going to try to launch uTorrent from this computer and you can see that I’m getting an error message when I try to launch this blocked application. Keep in mind that this message can be customized by the manager.

Some employees will try to bypass the app blocker by renaming the file name but BrowseControl uses the original file name to block applications, which is different from the file name that appears on your computer. Therefore, your employees cannot bypass BrowseControl simply by renaming the file. 

How to Block Ports

A screenshot of BrowseControl's port filter

The last filter I’m going to show you guys is the port filter. The port filter lets you completely block internet access from specific ports. There is a list of predefined ports that you can add to the list. Set the ports you want to block and set the filter type to block.

Let’s block your users from using FTP to transfer files over the internet.

  1. First, select FTP from the port type
  2. and then select blocked under filter type.
  3. Once added to the list your users will not be able to use their FTP program to transfer files over.

How to Block Websites When Employees Are Off the Network

The last feature I want to show you today is BrowseControl’s off-site management. Most companies have employees that are remote workers. Once in a while they take your company’s authorized laptop outside the LAN to perform their tasks. For example, employees will very often take your laptops to coffee shops, hotels, and conferences. This is where BrowseControl’s off-site management feature comes into handy.

Now let’s click on the BrowseControl client settings. Under the BrowseControl client settings the option enable internet access with internet filtering is turned on when the CurrentWare server is unavailable. This is the default setting.

And with our CurrentWare client installed on your laptops, employee’s internet activities will still be restricted when they leave the network, ensuring that your laptop is protected from harmful websites and preventing your employees from browsing on non-productive websites on company’s laptop. 

Conclusion

Alright guys that’s it for now. Thank you so much for checking out this video. Be sure to check out our website www.CurrentWare.com to download the 14 day trial. The trial is fully functional and will work on 10 computers. We’ll have more videos published in the near future. Take care for now 

Dale Strickland
Dale Strickland
Dale Strickland is a Marketing Coordinator for CurrentWare, a global provider of endpoint security and employee monitoring software. Dale’s diverse multimedia background allows him the opportunity to produce a variety of content for CurrentWare including blogs, infographics, videos, eBooks, and social media shareables.