White Listing Web Sites Or Blacklisting – Which Is The Better Solution?

When you are in charge of a network at home or at work then there are many factors that you must think about to ensure the safety of said network.

There are many threats on the internet and the worst part about it is that they come in many different types.

Life would be a lot easier for an IT administrator if the threats were just of one type.

You can just have one mindset and run with it.

The facts are that the threats are in many different forms so when you are thinking about solutions on how to solve the problem, you have to have that sort of mind state.

You have to be able to think of blanket solutions that will solve the whole and not just try to solve each and every problem when they come up.

There are too many problems on the internet to be solved in a manner such as that.

This is where black and white listing the web comes in to play.

white listing vs blacklisting

white listing vs blacklisting

What Does White And Black Listing The Web Mean?

When you are dealing with the internet, you are also dealing with an item known as the IP address.

An IP address is sort of like your address on the internet.

When you have a computer that is sending you data, they are sending it to your IP address.

If you go to web sites such as Whatsmyipaddress.com, they will show you what your IP address happens to be.

There are two types of IP addresses – static and dynamic.

If you have a dynamic IP address then it changes all of the time.

If you have a static IP address then it rarely changes.

While you have an IP address, the web pages that you visit online have an IP address as well.

When you are talking about a web page then most of the time you are talking about a static IP address.

The web pages get changed to a name by programs called DNS.

The letters DNS stand for Domain Name Service and they allow you to match up the IP address with the name.

This means a number such as 657.23.123.32 will return Google.com. (by the way, thats just an example and not actually accurate).

So, since the internet is run this way, it also makes it easy to black list and white list web sites.

If you are having a problem with a certain web site then you can just take the name or IP address and block it from your network.

The reason why the IP address is so important when you are blocking access is that sometimes the threats come from several web sites but in the same IP block.

This means that whoever registered those IP addresses are sending nothing but malware.

So instead of just blocking a single name of one web site, you can block an entire group of web sites at one time.

Sometimes innocent web sites may get caught up in the blocking of a bad one but sometimes that is the price to be paid when you are trying to protect your network.

What Is The Difference Between Black Listing And White Listing?

When you use a black list on your network that means that you have singled out several web sites to be excluded on your network.

That means that if a web site is on that list then no-one on your network would be able to access it.

This is the most common way to prevent the users of your network from visiting a web site and it is not just used for sites with threats on them.

Sometimes a network administrator will block the people on a network from visiting a web site just because too many people goof off on the site during work hours.

Many businesses will blacklist Facebook for this reason.

When you white list a web site you are blocking every web site that is on the internet and only allowing a chosen few to get past your network.

So instead of disallowing certain sites you are disallowing everyone.

This method is not so common because it takes a lot of work to white list all of these sites.

While white listing web sites might be more effective, black listing web sites is the more practical solution for most networks.

This is especially true when you have a bigger network.

If you had a corporation you would have to hire one person to just respond to the white list request of different employees all day.

That is not practical.

But if you are on a small network with a few people then white listing might be the solution for you.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] want to think about to keep the network safe. One of these items might be to censor the network to only being allowed to access certain web sites. While this will surely gain you the ire of a lot of your peers at the office it is probably a safe […]

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