Windows 10: Block Websites Across Multiple Browsers

Block Websites Windows 10

Windows 10: Block Websites Across Multiple Browsers

The internet is the new WAN, your second datacenter. Without it, your users don’t have access to the cloud applications and SaaS tools they need. The problem with the internet is that it gives your users access to websites they don’t need, as well as some websites that are harmful to both them and your network. Some websites need to be blocked. It’s that simple. As a result, this blog provides multiple ways to block websites in Windows 10 that you can employ today.

Windows 10: Block Websites with a Dedicated Web Filter

If you are a school system or public library that depends on E-Rate funding, you are required to implement some web filtering solution. If your organization or business caters to families with minors, then parents expect you to restrict web access to age-appropriate content. You may be a business that wants to block access to sites that may stifle the productivity of your employees such as online games, media streaming, and gossip sites. In all of these instances, you need a web filtering solution that allows you to block entire categories such as Adult Content, Games, Violence, Drugs, etc. If your organization requires this type of deep level of content blocking, then you probably need a dedicated web filtering solution.

Windows 10: Block Websites Without a Web Filter

Just because your business connects to the internet doesn’t mean you need a dedicated web content filter; however, yet every organization needs to block websites in Windows 10 from time to time. In most circumstances, a dedicated web filtering solution is overkill. Web filtering solutions also have some inherent disadvantages:

  1. You are paying expensive licensing fees for a tool that only performs one function
  2. Category blocking results in false positives, which then require overrides
  3. Mobile machines often have to have their internet traffic backhauled back to the datacenter when off premises

Many companies continue to expose their users to naughty websites because they can’t justify the expenditure of a dedicated web filtering solution. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Windows 10: Block Websites with Browser Router

There is a more straightforward solution to block websites in Windows 10. PolicyPak Browser Router gives you full control of the websites users can visit. Additionally, it gives you the power to control which browser types users can deploy. For example, let’s say that your company regularly performs online financial transactions at the Bank of America website. Sites like these are often the victims of typosquatting attacks in which hackers purchase domain names that emulate popular financial sites that incorporate a common misspell or typo. These sites can be initiated by a user manually typing the wrong domain or being redirected there by a rogue DNS. In the example below, we want to block “bancofamerica.com” (note the misspelling of the word, “bank”). We first create a policy with PolicyPak Browser Router using Group Policy Editor, which integrates with PolicyPak and all of its components.

Windows 10: Block Websites with PolicyPak Browser Router

Then use the Browser Router interface to specify the website to block. Notice that Browser Router policies apply to all major web browsers, and even less popular ones as well. Unlike a traditional web filter, Browser Router is not only a website blocking solution. The same screen below is also used to match websites up with their optimum browser, ensuring that only the preferred browser opens up the given site. In the instance below, we have merely blocked the website.

Edit Policy Template to Block Websites in Windows 10

Note the Item Level Targeting button above. For those who are accustomed to creating policies using Group Policy Preferences, you already know the granular capabilities of Item Level Targeting in which policies can be assigned using conditions. You can base these conditions on a particular IP subnet, group membership or designated operating system. In the example below, we are applying the policy to only mobile computers. You could do this as a supplement policy to your web filtering solution for mobile devices without backhauling web traffic back to the data center.

Windows 10: Block Websites Using Item Level Targeting

This level of conditionally based granularity is something that traditional web filtering solutions cannot offer. You can see a full video demonstration of how to block websites in Windows 10 below.

Windows 10: Block Websites and More with PolicyPak

PolicyPak does more than just block websites in Windows 10. The full suite of PolicyPak components offers solutions to many of the problems that plague enterprises today. Whether its delivery and enforcing application settings, stopping malware and malicious code, whitelisting applications or managing the Windows 10 Start Screen, Taskbar or file associations, PolicyPak offers the right solution for each scenario. While there are dedicated filter solutions with more website blocking features, none of them offer the vast capabilities of PolicyPak, which yields a higher return on investment.

Jeremy Moskowitz

Founder & CTO, Microsoft MVP in Group Policy, Enterprise Mobility, and MDM

Jeremy Moskowitz founded PolicyPak Software after working with hundreds of customers with the same problem they couldn’t manage their applications, browsers and operating systems using the technology they already utilized.