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Wildcard Filtering with School Manager

This article is intended for filtering, reporting, and IT support.

Wildcards can be added to content filtering rules in School Manager to allow or block specific website paths or keywords contained in website addresses. The two most common scenarios in School Manager use either “single sided” or “double sided” wildcards or * (asterisk). 

“Single Sided” Example

For the website https://www.imdb.com you can filter a specific part of the IMDB website, such as:

https://www.imdb.com/chart/*

Adding the single wildcard will filter all chart subdirectories, such as:

https://www.imdb.com/chart/boxoffice or

https://www.imdb.com/chart/top

“Double Sided” Example 

For the website https://sites.google.com you can filter keywords contained in the Google Sites website, such as:

https://sites.google.com/*game*

Adding the double wildcard will filter any Google Sites with the word game contained in the website path.


Before You Start

Check HTTPS inspection on your School Manager physical appliance or MITM on devices running Connect has been configured.

Important


Ensure the website subdomain and domain, such as sites.google.com are added to the Inspected websites for HTTPS Inspection and Mobile Agent MITM for devices not using the Connect for Chrome extension.


Creating a Wildcard Content Filtering Rule

  1. In School Manager, select Filtering > Content Filtering
  2. You will see your current list of Content Filtering rules.
  3. To add a new rule, select Add Rule
  4. Set the following:

Name

The best practice for naming a rule is to give it something that’s both short and descriptive, covering what the rule is intended to do and who it applies to. We recommend following this naming convention: Block/Allow - Website - Scope

Type: Website

Enter each required URL 

  1. When creating the rule, type the URL (for example, sites.google.com/*games*)
  2. Select Website sites.google.com/*games* from ___________.

Type: Select Criteria

This will define to whom the rule will apply. Using this type, you can fine-tune the level of control by including or excluding different criteria. Select a Criteria using the drop-down.

Warning


If you select multiple criteria for a Rule, it will make an AND Rule. For example, If you select a Group and Network criteria for a rule, the rule would only apply to users who are both in the selected group and on the IP subnet.

Actions (Rule Types)

At the most basic level, School Manager allows you to create four types of Content Filtering Rules or actions:

Rule

Description

Primary Use

Locked Block

The website is Blocked and can’t be accessed, even if another Rule is set to Allow. You cannot override this by using a bypass code, classroom rule or reward.

Prevent access to content that is completely unacceptable at your school, such as pornography or violence.

Locked Allowed

The website is Allowed and can always be accessed, even if another rule is set to Block.

Prevent users from accidentally blocking networking and internet backbone websites.

Blocked

This website can’t be accessed unless another, higher-priority rule is set to Allow. You can override this by using a bypass code, classroom rule or reward to access.

Prevent users from accessing content that is generally unacceptable at your school without teacher supervision, such as games or social media.

Allowed

This website can be accessed unless another, higher-priority rule is set to Block.

Create exceptions to block rules.

Redirect & Redirect URL

Note


This option only applies to a Block rule.

You can redirect the user to your chosen URL when their activity or connection conflicts with a rule. You can only select this if you haven’t enabled a Block page for this rule.

Blocked Page

Note


This option only applies to a Block rule.

You can enable a Block page when a user’s online activity conflicts with a rule. You can use the default block page or create your own.

Alert

Note


This option only applies to a Block rule.

Enable this feature to receive filtering alerts. You will also need to configure the Emailed Reports section. Go to Filtering > Reports and Alerts.

Quarantine 

Note


This option only applies to a Block rule and should only be used when Blocking the Proxies & VPNs Signature using a physical School Manager appliance.

This feature allows you to temporarily block users attempting to access this content from all internet traffic for 3 minutes. For more information please read Using Quarantine.

Locked Rule

For Blocked: The website is Blocked and can’t be accessed, even if another rule is set to Allow. Teachers using Classwize can’t override this by using a bypass code, classroom rule or reward.

For Allowed: The website is Allowed and can always be accessed, unless a Locked Blocked rule is placed above the Locked Allowed rule. Teachers using Classwize can’t override this by creating a block or focus rule, but can temporarily block access to all Internet traffic, including Locked Allowed sites, by using Pause Internet.

Tip


To give teachers the most autonomy in managing their classes, it is recommended to only Lock those rules which are absolutely required to be blocked or allowed.