How to Block Employees from Accessing Websites

block employees from accessing websites

Social media websites, gambling websites, or even adult content are a growing distraction in the workplace, so blocking employees from accessing them can be an effective strategy for organizations to:

  • Enhance productivity
  • Mitigate security risks
  • Enforce compliance with acceptable use policies

By implementing web filtering technologies or firewall rules, businesses can restrict access to websites that may pose security threats, contain inappropriate content, or distract employees from their work responsibilities. 

Quick Takeaways

  • Blocking websites can help organizations:
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Mitigate security risks
  • Enforce acceptable use policies
  • Methods to block websites include:
  • Web filtering software
  • Firewall rules
  • DNS filtering
  • Network security measures (firewalls, web filtering appliances, proxy servers)
  • Organizations can monitor and enforce internet usage policies through:
  • Employee monitoring software
  • Regular feedback and reminders
  • Disciplinary measures
  • Internet blocking can also be enabled on individual devices using:
  • Device management software
  • Device settings configuration
  • Mobile device management (MDM)

Why Blocking Employee Access to Websites Is Important

Unrestricted internet access can significantly impact employee productivity as it opens the door to distractions such as social media, online shopping, and entertainment websites. Employees spend a majority of workday engaging in non-work-related activities online, resulting in:

  • Decreased productivity and 
  • Compromising the quality and timeliness of their work

Unrestricted internet access poses security risks to organizations, as employees may inadvertently visit malicious websites or fall victim to phishing attacks, malware downloads, or data breaches. A substantial number of data breaches originate from employee actions, including visiting compromised websites or clicking on malicious links.

By blocking access to potentially harmful websites, you mitigate the risk, protect sensitive data, and safeguard against financial and reputational damage.

Establishing an Internet Use Policy

Establishing an internet use policy is essential for defining acceptable behaviors and responsibilities regarding internet usage within an organization. 

This policy sets clear guidelines for employees on acceptable use, security protocols, and consequences for violating the policy, ensuring a secure and productive work environment while safeguarding against potential risks and liabilities.

Setting Guidelines for Acceptable Internet Usage

Internet usage guidelines outline permissible behaviors, such as:

  • Accessing work-related websites
  • Conducting research
  • Communicating with clients

…while also delineating prohibited activities, such as:

  • Visiting inappropriate or malicious websites
  • Engaging in excessive personal use
  • Downloading unauthorized software. 

By setting these guidelines, organizations create a culture of responsibility and accountability, promoting efficient use of internet resources while minimizing security risks and legal liabilities associated with non-compliance.

Communicating the Policy to Employees

This communication of the Internet usage policy should be clear, concise, and accessible to all employees, whether through employee handbooks, training sessions, or online portals.

Emphasizing the importance of the policy in safeguarding company assets, protecting sensitive information, and maintaining a secure work environment helps employees understand the rationale behind the rules and encourages compliance. It is helpful to also provide examples, scenarios, and practical guidance on acceptable Internet usage behaviors.

Implementing Technical Methods to Block Websites

Implementing technical methods to block websites involves:

These methods enable organizations to enforce internet usage policies, mitigate security risks, and maintain productivity by preventing employees from accessing unauthorized or potentially harmful websites.

#1: Installing Content Filtering Software

Installing content filtering software allows administrators to block access to specific websites or categories of content based on predefined criteria, such as:

  • Content type
  • Keywords
  • URL patterns

Content filtering software often provides reporting and logging capabilities, enabling you to monitor Internet activity, identify trends, and enforce compliance with regulatory requirements or acceptable use policies.

#2: Configuring URL blocking

Configuring URL blocking involves setting up rules or policies within network infrastructure to prevent access to specific web addresses or URLs. 

URL blocking can be customized to target specific categories of websites or individual URLs, providing flexibility and granularity in managing internet access while maintaining a secure and productive work environment.

#3: Enforcing Browsing Restrictions on Company-Owned Devices

Enforcing browsing restrictions can be achieved through various means, such as:

  • Implementing web filtering software
  • Configuring firewall rules
  • Utilizing mobile device management (MDM) solutions

These technologies enable administrators to control access to websites based on predefined criteria, such as content categories, URL patterns, or user roles.

Using DNS Filtering to Block Websites

DNS filtering is a powerful method for blocking access to unwanted websites by intercepting and redirecting domain name system (DNS) requests to predefined categories of websites.

DNS filtering works by analyzing DNS requests made by users when attempting to access websites.

When a user tries to visit a specific URL, the DNS filtering system checks the requested domain against a database of categorized websites and determines whether it falls within a restricted category, such as:

  • Social media
  • Gambling
  • Malware-infected sites

If the website is flagged as unwanted, the DNS filtering system blocks the DNS resolution process, preventing the user from accessing the site and displaying a block page.

DNS filtering operates at the network level, meaning that it applies to all devices connected to the organization’s network, including company-owned devices, guest devices, and IoT devices, ensuring consistent enforcement of internet usage policies across the entire network infrastructure. 

Configuring DNS to Block Specific Categories of Websites

Administrators can create DNS filtering rules based on categories such as adult content/adult websites, gambling, social media, or malware-infected sites, using categorized lists provided by DNS filtering providers or customizing them according to the organization’s specific requirements.

Blocking Websites Through Network Security Measures

Network security measures can be used to block access to specific websites or categories of websites. This is achieved through:

  • Firewall rules: These define what traffic is allowed to enter or leave the network.
  • Web filtering appliances: Dedicated devices that analyze and filter web traffic based on pre-defined criteria.
  • Proxy servers: Act as intermediaries between devices and the internet, allowing for filtering and control of web traffic.

Administrators can set policies within these tools to block access based on factors like:

  • Domain names (e.g., “”)
  • IP addresses (e.g., the unique numerical address of a website)
  • Content categories (e.g., gambling, social media)
  • Keywords (e.g., “malware”, “hacking”)

Here are three common methods for implementing website blocking:

1. Creating Access Policies

This involves defining rules that dictate what websites users can access on the company network. Administrators can use firewalls, web filtering, or router settings to enforce these policies. Restrictions can be based on:

  • URL categories: Blocking entire categories like social media or gaming sites.
  • Content types: Restricting access to specific types of content like video streaming.
  • Time-based restrictions: Limiting access to certain websites during specific times.

2. Implementing URL Filtering

This involves configuring firewalls or routers to block access to specific URLs or website categories. Administrators can define criteria for filtering, such as:

  • Inappropriate content (e.g., gambling, adult content)
  • Malicious websites are known to harbor malware
  • Non-work-related websites to improve productivity

URL filtering offers several advantages:

  • Consistent enforcement across all devices on the network.
  • Easier management of internet usage policies.
  • Improved security by minimizing the risk of accessing harmful websites.
  • Generation of reports for auditing purposes to track internet usage patterns.

3. Utilizing Proxy Servers

Proxy servers filter and block web traffic requests before they reach the user’s device. Administrators can configure the proxy to block access based on:

  • Domain names
  • IP addresses
  • Content categories

Proxy servers provide additional benefits:

  • Centralized control and monitoring of internet usage.
  • Identification of security threats and potential violations.
  • Generation of reports for analysis and ensuring a secure work environment.

By implementing these network security measures, organizations can promote a safer and more productive work environment for their employees

Monitoring and Enforcing Internet Usage Policies

Organizations use various tools and techniques to monitor internet usage and enforce established policies. These measures aim to:

  • Track user activities: Monitor internet traffic and user behavior on the network.
  • Analyze internet traffic: Gain insights into website visits, applications used, and data transfer.
  • Enforce policy compliance: Ensure users adhere to acceptable use guidelines and restrictions.

Here are some key strategies for monitoring and enforcing Internet usage policies:

1. Leveraging Employee Monitoring Software

Employee monitoring software provides valuable insights into:

  • Internet usage: Tracks websites visited, applications used, and data downloaded.
  • Email communications: Monitors email activity for potential security risks or policy violations.
  • Application usage: Identifies unauthorized applications or excessive use of non-work-related programs.

This data empowers organizations to:

  • Identify potential issues: Detect signs of unproductive behavior or potential security threats.
  • Address performance gaps: Help managers address areas where employees may need improvement.
  • Promote accountability: Foster a culture of responsibility for efficient resource utilization.

2. Providing Regular Feedback and Reminders

Regular communication is crucial for policy adherence:

  • Constructive feedback: Offers guidance and clarifies expectations regarding internet usage.
  • Periodic reminders: Reinforce key policies through emails, meetings, or training sessions.

Consistent communication:

  • Maintains a secure environment: Minimizes risks associated with non-compliance.
  • Promotes accountability: Encourages responsible use of company resources.
  • Fosters a culture of compliance: Ensures employees understand and respect company policies.

3. Implementing Disciplinary Measures for Policy Violations

Disciplinary actions are necessary for repeated violations:

  • Fair and consistent: Implement policies in accordance with company regulations and legal requirements.
  • Clear communication: Outline consequences for non-compliance and provide opportunities for improvement.
  • Documentation: Record incidents and disciplinary actions taken to ensure accountability.

Effective enforcement:

  • Reinforces policy importance: Highlights the significance of adhering to established guidelines.
  • Deters future violations: Discourages repeated non-compliance and promotes responsible behavior.
  • Upholds a secure environment: Maintains a secure work environment for all employees.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can effectively monitor and enforce internet usage policies, fostering a secure, productive, and compliant work environment.

Enabling Internet Blocking on Individual Devices

Organizations can control internet access on individual devices by implementing software or tools that restrict access to specific websites or content categories. This approach offers several advantages:

  • Granular Control: Administrators can tailor access policies to user roles, responsibilities, and needs.
  • Enhanced Security: Blocking unauthorized or malicious websites reduces security risks.
  • Improved Productivity: Restricting access to inappropriate websites helps employees stay focused.
  • Flexibility and Customization: Different policies can be applied based on device type, location, or user preferences.

Here are three common methods for enabling internet blocking on individual devices:

1. Setting Up Device Management Software

Deploying centralized device management software allows administrators to:

  • Configure settings: Manage device settings remotely.
  • Enforce policies: Implement security policies and access controls.
  • Deploy updates: Distribute software updates and patches across all devices.

Benefits of Device Management Software

  • Streamlined Administration: Centralizes tasks and reduces administrative workload.
  • Enhanced Security: Improves overall device security and compliance.
  • Optimized Performance: Enables proactive troubleshooting and performance optimization.
  • Inventory Tracking: Provides visibility into device inventory and usage patterns.

By using device management software, organizations can maintain control, security, and visibility over their devices while ensuring efficient technology utilization.

2. Configuring Device Settings

Administrators can leverage built-in features or device management software to:

  • Define blocking rules: Restrict access to specific websites or content categories.
  • Enforce internet usage policies: Ensure consistent enforcement across all devices.

Benefits of Device-Level Blocking

  • Consistent Policy Enforcement: Applies policies regardless of location or network.
  • Increased Security: Protects sensitive information and prevents malware infections.
  • Improved Productivity: Minimizes distractions and helps employees focus on work.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensures adherence to legal and industry regulations.

3. Implementing Mobile Device Management (MDM)

MDM software enables management and security of employee-owned devices used for work. Features include:

  • Security Policy Enforcement: Enforce passcode requirements, encryption, and remote wipe capabilities.
  • App Management: Deploy, monitor, and update corporate applications on employee devices.

Benefits of Mobile Device Management

  • Balanced Approach: Enables employee productivity while safeguarding company data.
  • BYOD Security: Maintains control and visibility over company assets in a BYOD environment.
  • Compliance Management: Ensures adherence to licensing agreements and security standards.

By implementing these methods, organizations can effectively manage internet access on individual devices, fostering a secure, productive, and compliant work environment.

Create a Bulletproof Security Strategy with Perimeter81

Partnering with Perimeter81 can help ensure that your employees stay off of high-risk websites or unproductive websites that can lead to time and money being wasted.

Whether you’re concerned about these types of websites, or just increasing your overall network security from cyberthreats, the team at Perimeter81 has the expertise to help you choose what is best for your organization. 

Contact us today to see how we can help you succeed!


How do I restrict Internet access to my employees?
There are several options that you can use to block internet access for employees, whether it’s a URL or DNS filtering, or another type of content filter, the most important thing is to ensure that you have a consistent policy and communicate expectations with employees.
How do I block users from accessing certain websites?
There are several different options, a firewall can be utilized to provide DNS filtering which will block all webpages for a specific domain.
How do I stop my employees from surfing the internet?
Establishing a clear internet use policy is important for organizations. Communicating the expectations are key, and if specific websites are an issue, you can use a DNS filter or URL filter to block the websites.
How do I block websites on the office network?
DNS filtering and URL filtering are likely your best options. You can also utilize content filtering that blocks specific categories of websites.
Can a company block internet access?
Yes, a company can remove, restrict, or revoke internet access and is best recommended to do so within their acceptable internet use policy.

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