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How to block websites in AB Tutor v8

This article applies to:
  • AB Tutor v8

How to block websites in AB tutor v8

There are two steps to setting up and applying policies: first the policies need to be created. This is often done by an administrator, who can protect policies against being removed by users. Then these pre-created policies can be applied to selected computers by a tutor, who is also able to clear policies. Both tutors and administrators can create, set and remove policies, unless an administrator has protected them.

 

To create a policy, right click on All Policies and select New Policy. This will open a window with a list of the available policy types. Select the one you wish to create and select Next.

Basic Settings

Here, you can give the policy a name and set the duration and basic options of the policy.

For a specified time: The policy will stay applied for the set time, and then automatically remove itself from the client. 

Or remove when user logs off: The policy will automatically be removed when the current user logs off. This is useful for policies which are applied to groups of users. 

Permanently: The policy will not be automatically removed from the client. This will also open the Scheduling page when you press Next allowing you to set what times of the day/week the policy will be active. 

Protected: The policy can only be removed from the client by an Administrator. 

If removed, re-apply: If a teacher removes the policy, it will automatically be put back after the specified amount of time. 

When user logs off is useful for restrictions which a teacher may wish to remove for a lesson, but the network admin wants to be applied again afterwards. 

Add button to toolbar: Put buttons for adding and/or removing this policy on the top toolbar in the main window. This allows easy access to these policies. 

Apply network restrictions: Show an additional page of options setting the policy to be active when the client has an IP address in specified ranges. 

After setting up the basic options, click next. 

Schedule 

If you are creating a permanent policy, you will be given the scheduling options. Click and drag to set the policy to be active/inactive in half hour chunks. If you want to set the time slots more accurately, you can drag the ends of the time blocks or right click on a block and select edit to enter the times manually.  

The time under the cursor will be displayed in the bottom left, the start time, end time and duration of the current block will be displayed bottom right, if the cursor is over a block.

Once you've finished setting the schedule, click next

Block Web Sites

This policy allows you to restrict access to one or more web sites. You can block or allow in general and then create a list of exceptions.

Select Allow access to all sites to block specific sites and allow all others, or Block access to all sites to allow specific sites and block all others. 

To create the exceptions press the Add... button. 

Enter the web address of the site to be an exception (ie, blocked if all are allowed or allowed if all are blocked). 

Press OK to confirm. 

Repeat to add multiple web addresses.

Notes:

 

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 www.youtube.com and uk.youtube.com and www.youtube.co.uk 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. https://www.xyz.com ) 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