FortiOS 6 – Web Filtering

FortiGuard Web Filtering Service

FortiGuard Web Filtering is a managed web filtering solution available by subscription from Fortinet. Before you begin to use the FortiGuard Web Filtering options, verify that you have a valid subscription to the service for your FortiGate firewall.

FortiGuard Web Filtering enhances the web filtering features supplied with your FortiGate unit by sorting billions of web pages into a wide range of categories users can allow or block. The FortiGate unit accesses the nearest


FortiGuard Web Filtering Service Point to determine the category of a requested web page, and then applies the security policy configured for that user or interface. FortiGuard Web Filtering supports detection for traffic using HTTP protocol (versions 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0).

FortiGuard Web Filtering includes over 45 million individual ratings of web sites that apply to more than two billion pages. Pages are sorted and rated into several dozen categories administrators can allow or block. Categories may be added or updated as the Internet evolves. To make configuration simpler, you can also choose to allow or block entire groups of categories. Blocked pages are replaced with a message indicating that the page is not accessible according to the Internet usage policy.

FortiGuard Web Filtering ratings are performed by a combination of proprietary methods including text analysis, exploitation of the web structure, and human raters. Users can notify the FortiGuard Web Filtering Service Points if they feel a web page is not categorized correctly, so that the service can update the categories in a timely fashion.

FortiGuard web filtering and your FortiGate unit

When FortiGuard Web Filtering is enabled in a web filter or a DNS filter profile, the setting is applied to all firewall policies that use this profile. When a request for a web page appears in traffic controlled by one of these firewall policies, the URL is sent to the nearest FortiGuard server. The URL category is returned. If the category is blocked, the FortiGate unit provides a replacement message in place of the requested page. If the category is not blocked, the page request is sent to the requested URL as normal.

FortiGuard web filtering actions

The possible actions are:

  • Allow permits access to the sites within the category.
  • Block prevents access to sites within the category. Users attempting to access a blocked site will receive a replacement message explaining that access to the site is blocked.
  • Monitor permits and logs access to sites in the category. You may also enable user quotas when enabling the monitor action.
  • Warning presents the user with a message, allowing them to continue if they choose.
  • Authenticate requires a user to authenticate with the FortiGate unit before being allowed access to the category or category group.

The options of actions available will depend on the mode of inspection.

  • Proxy – Allow, Block, Monitor, Warning, Authenticate and Disable. l Flow-based, policy-based – Allow, Block & Monitor.
  • Flow-based, profile-based – Allow, Deny

FortiGuard Web Filtering Service

Web filtering flowchart

FortiGuard web filtering categories

The following tables identify each FortiGuard web filtering category (organized by group) along with associated category IDs. You can access the current list of category IDs through the CLI.

config webfilter profile edit default config ftgd-wf config filters edit 1 set category ?

For a complete description of each web filtering category, visit

Potentially Liable

ID Category   ID Category
1 Drug Abuse 12 Extremist Groups
3 Hacking 59 Proxy Avoidance
4 Illegal or Unethical 62 Plagiarism
5 Discrimination 83 Child Abuse
6 Explicit Violence    

Adult/Mature Content

ID Category   ID Category
2 Alternative Beliefs 16 Weapons (Sales)
7 Abortion 57 Marijuana
8 Other Adult Materials 63 Sex Education
9 Advocacy Organizations 64 Alcohol
11 Gambling 65 Tobacco
13 Nudity and Risque 66 Lingerie and Swimsuit
14 Pornography 67 Sports Hunting and War Games
15 Dating    

FortiGuard Web Filtering Service

Bandwidth Consuming

ID Category   ID Category
19 Freeware and Software Downloads 72 Peer-to-peer File Sharing
24 File Sharing and Storage 75 Internet Radio and TV
25 Streaming Media and Download 76 Internet Telephony

Security Risk

ID Category   ID Category
26 Malicious Websites 86 Spam URLs
61 Phishing 88 Dynamic DNS
  Newly Observed Domain   Newly Registered Domain

Newly observed domain (NOD) applies to URLs whose domain name is not rated and were observed for the first time in the past 30 minutes.

Newly registered domain (NRD) applies to URLs whose domain name was registered in the previous 10 days.

General Interest – Personal

ID Category   ID Category
17 Advertising 47 Travel
18 Brokerage and Trading 48 Personal Vehicles
20 Games 54 Dynamic Content
23 Web-based Email 55 Meaningless Content
28 Entertainment 58 Folklore
29 Arts and Culture 68 Web Chat
30 Education 69 Instant Messaging
33 Health and Wellness 70 Newsgroups and Message Boards
34 Job Search 71 Digital Postcards
35 Medicine 77 Child Education
ID Category   ID Category
36 News and Media 78 Real Estate
37 Social Networking 79 Restaurant and Dining
38 Political Organizations 80 Personal Websites and Blogs
39 Reference 82 Content Servers
40 Global Religion 85 Domain Parking
42 Shopping 87 Personal Privacy
44 Society and Lifestyles 89 Auction
46 Sports    

General Interest – Business

ID Category   ID Category
31 Finance and Banking 52 Information Technology
41 Search Engines and Portals 53 Armed Forces
43 General Organizations 56 Web Hosting
49 Business 81 Secure Websites
50 Information and Computer Security 84 Web-based Applications
51 Government and Legal Organizations    

Local categories

Users can define custom or local categories. See Overriding FortiGuard Website Categorization for details.

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