This article describes how to allow, warn, or block access to websites based on their category, using Web Filtering.

Sophos Home allows users to control website access on every computer, based on categories. Once Web filtering options are set, the computer will block, warn*  or allow categorized  websites as desired.
Note: Web filters are applied per computer, regardless of user.  If you are protecting multiple systems, each computer will have its own Web Filtering settings.

*Warn {DEPRECATED – Soon to be removed – }

Note: Web filtering is not currently compatible with IPv6.

  1. Sign in to your Sophos Home Dashboard
  2. Click on the computer you would like to configure 
  3. Access the WEB FILTERING tab.1.png
  4. Select the website categories that you would like to control/block access tomceclip0.png
    Click on the image to open it in full size in a new tab

Filtering options and messaging

  • Allow – allow the websites in the category to be fully accessed. (No log will be shown in the dashboard) 
  • {DEPRECATED – Soon to be removed – }Warn – users are warned when accessing sites on HTTP web pages (users can choose to bypass the warn, which will log it in the dashboard).
    If using HTTPS secure sites, there will not be a warning shown on the browser, but the log will appear on the dashboard. There are 3 types of warning messages for controlled sites:

    Warning is automatically by-passed if the site uses HTTPS:  
    Controlled website accessed
    User warnings are not available for https sitesmceclip0.png
    Warning is logged, user decided to bypass it
    Controlled website
    User chose to proceed after receiving warning for this site
    Warning is logged, user did NOT bypass it, site was not accessed 
    Controlled website accessed
    User was presented with warning when attempting to access this site
  • Block – does not allow the websites in the category to be fully accessed. If browsing HTTPS websites, users will see the site as unavailable instead of Website Blocked.  These attempts will be logged on the Dashboard:
    Controlled website blocked
    Web filtering blocked this category

Adding website exclusions

Blocking a category will prevent the computer from accessing any sites belonging to it. Depending on the category, exclusions may be added to allow access to specific sites. See this article for more details:
Sophos Home blocks access to specific websites  

Note: If you believe a website has been incorrectly categorized, please submit a sample to Sophos Labs for reviewSubmit a website sample

List of all of Web Filtering available categories



Adult/Sexually explicit

This category includes sites for adult products including sex toys, CD-ROMs, and videos; child pornography and pedophilia (including the IWF list); adult services including video-conferencing, escort services, and strip clubs; erotic stories and textual descriptions of sexual acts; explicit cartoons and animation; online groups, including newsgroups and forums that are sexually explicit in nature; sexually-oriented or erotic sites with full or partial nudity; depictions or images of sexual acts, including with animals or inanimate objects used in a sexual manner; sexually exploitive or sexually violent text or graphics; bondage, fetishes, genital piercing; naturist sites that feature nudity; and erotic or fetish photography, which depicts nudity.

Note: We do not include sites regarding sexual health, breast cancer, or sexually transmitted diseases (except those with graphic examples).

Alcohol & tobacco

Includes sites that promote or distribute alcohol or tobacco products for free or for a charge.

Blogs & forums

Includes sites of weblogs (blogs), newsgroups, and opinion or discussion forums.


Includes sites of web-based chat and instant message servers.

Criminal activity

Includes sites for advocating, instructing, or giving advice on performing illegal acts; tips on evading law enforcement; and lock-picking and burglary techniques.


This category includes sites for downloadable (non-streaming) movie, video or sound clips; downloadable PDA software, including themes and graphics; freeware and shareware sites; personal storage or backup sites; and clip art, fonts and animated .gif pages.

Note: This category does not include update sites such as those for operating systems, anti-virus agents, or other business-critical programs.


Includes sites about television, movies, music, and video programming guides; online magazines and reviews of the entertainment industry; celebrity fan sites; broadcasting firms and technologies (satellite, cable, etc.); horoscopes; jokes, comics, comic books, comedians, or any site designed to be funny or satirical; online greeting cards; and amusement and theme park sites.

Fashion & beauty

Includes sites of fashion or glamor magazines, online beauty products, and cosmetics.


This category includes sites of online gambling or lottery web sites that invite the use of real or virtual money; information or advice for placing wagers, participating in lotteries, gambling, or running numbers; virtual casinos and offshore gambling ventures; sports picks and betting pools; and virtual sports and fantasy leagues that offer large rewards or request significant wagers.

Note: Casino, hotel, and resort sites that do not feature online gambling or provide gaming tips are categorized under Travel.


Includes sites for game playing or downloading, game hosting or contest hosting, tips and advice on games or obtaining cheat codes (“cheatz”), and journals and magazines dedicated to online game playing.


This category includes sites for the promotion, instruction, or advice on the questionable or illegal use of equipment and software for purpose of hacking passwords, creating viruses, gaining access to other computers and computerized communication systems; sites that provide instruction or work-arounds for filtering software; cracked software and information sites; warez; pirated software and multimedia download sites; and computer crime sites.

Illegal drugs

This category includes sites for recipes, instructions or kits for manufacturing or growing illicit substances for purposes other than industrial usage; glamorizing, encouraging, or instructing on the use of or masking the use of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or other substances that are illegal to minors; information on “legal highs”, including glue sniffing, misuse of prescription drugs, or abuse of other legal substances; distributing illegal drugs free or for a charge; and displaying, selling, or detailing the use of drug paraphernalia.

Intimate Apparel & Swimwear

Includes sites for lingerie, negligee, and other intimate apparel modeling; swimwear modeling; models’ fan pages; modeling information and agencies; and fitness models and sports celebrities sites.

Intolerance & hate

This category includes sites that advocate or incite degradation or attack of specified populations or institutions based on associations such as religion, race, nationality, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation; sites that promote a political or social agenda that is supremacist in nature and exclusionary of others based on their race, religion, nationality, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation; holocaust revisionist or denial sites and other revisionist sites that encourage hate; coercion or recruitment for membership in a gang1 or cult2; militancy and extremist sites; and flagrantly insensitive or offensive material, including those with a lack of recognition or respect for opposing opinions and beliefs.

Note: We do not include news, historical, or press incidents that may include the above criteria (except in graphic examples).

1 A gang is defined as: a group whose primary activities are the commission of felonious criminal acts, which has a common name or identifying sign or symbol, and whose members individually or collectively engage in criminal activity in the name of the group.

2 A cult is defined as: a group whose followers have been deceptively and manipulatively recruited and retained through undue influence such that followers’ personalities and behavior are altered; a group in which leadership is all-powerful, ideology is totalistic, and the will of the individual is subordinate to the group; and a group that sets itself outside of society.

Online shopping

Includes sites for department stores, retail stores, company catalogs, and other sites that allow online consumer shopping, sites for online auctions, online downloadable product warehouses, specialty items for sale, and freebies or merchandise giveaways.


Includes peer-to-peer file sharing clients and peer-to-peer file sharing servers.

Personals & dating

Includes singles listings, matchmaking and dating services, advice for dating or relationships, and romance tips and suggestions sites.

Photo searches

Includes sites that provide resources for photography, image searches, online photo albums, digital photo exchanges, and image hosting.

Proxies & Translators

Includes sites for remote proxies or anonymous surfing, search engine caches that circumvent filtering, and web-based translation sites that circumvent filtering.


Includes sites of churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship; any faith or religious belief sites, including non-traditional religions such as Wicca and witchcraft.

Ringtones and Mobile Phone Downloads

This category includes sites of providers of mobile phone downloads, including ringtones, logos, backgrounds, screensavers, and games.

Sex education

This category includes sites with pictures or text advocating the proper use of contraceptives; sites relating to discussion about the use of the pill, IUDs, and other types of contraceptives; and discussion sites on how to talk to your partner about diseases, pregnancy, and respecting boundaries.

Note: Not included in the category are commercial sites that sell sexual paraphernalia. These sites are typically found in the Adult category.


Includes sites for team or conference websites; national, international, college, professional scores and schedules; sports-related online magazines or newsletters; and fantasy sports and virtual sports leagues that are free or low-cost.

Streaming Media

This category includes sites for streaming media files or events (any live or archived audio or video file), Internet TV and radio, non-explicit personal webcam sites, telephony sites that allow users to make calls via the internet, and VoIP services


This category includes sites portraying, describing or advocating physical assault against humans, animals, or institutions; depicting torture, mutilation, gore, or horrific death; advocating, encouraging, or depicting self-endangerment, or suicide, including through eating disorders or addictions; instructions, recipes, or kits for making bombs or other harmful or destructive devices; sites promoting terrorism; and excessively violent sports or games, including videos and online games.

Note: We do not block news, historical, or press incidents that may include the above criteria, except those that include graphic examples.


This category includes sites with online purchasing or ordering information, including lists of prices and dealer locations; any page or site predominantly containing, or providing links to, content related to the sale of guns, weapons, ammunition or poisonous substances; displaying or detailing the use of guns, weapons, ammunition or poisonous substances; and clubs which offer training on machine guns, automatics, other assault weapons, and sniper training.

Note: Weapons are defined as something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy.

Web-based Email

Includes sites for web-based e-mail accounts and messaging sites.

Source : Official Sophos Brand
Editor by : BEST Antivirus KBS Team

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