URL Filtering: Assigning Multiple Categories to URLs

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Did you know that Palo Alto Networks URL filtering can assign multiple categories to URLs that classify a website’s content, purpose, and safety? Every URL can have up to four categories, including a security-focused URL category (or "risk category" for short) that indicates how likely it is that the site will expose you to threats.


These risk categories enable you to implement simple security and decryption policies based on website safety, without requiring you to research and individually assess the sites that are likely to expose you to web-based threats.


There are a total of 4 risk categories:


  • High-Risk
  • Medium-Risk
  • Low-Risk
  • Newly-Registered Domains


In the example below I went to Palo Alto Networks' URL test site and checked the categories for www.paloaltonetworks.com. Notice how there are 2 categories linked to this URL, "Computer and Internet Info" & "Low Risk" respectively.




You can also define a custom URL category by selecting Category Match and adding multiple categories of which the new custom category will consist. This allows you to target enforcement for a website or page that matches all of the categories specified in the custom URL category object.





For websites or pages that hold more than one URL category, URL Filtering logs display the URL category on which the firewall based policy enforcement (the Category). URL Filtering logs also display all the URL categories for the site (the URL Category List).



NOTE: When you set the same action for all categories and there is no priority among the categories, PAN-OS matches the URL to the category in alphabetical order and chooses to log the latest category.


Check out the following links for more information on Multi-Category URL filtering and some best practices to help you along the way:



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