Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Is your Web Site Blocked?

Can you imagine it, finding out that your web site is blocked from a whole load of people because one particular ISP provider thinks your web site has malicious content! Wow!

Today, one of my on-line friends told me she was unable to access my web site, she kept getting the message about it being blocked by Web Safe. Neither of us could really understand what was going on but then another friend confirmed this and told me the whole error message.

Error Message: "Sorry, Web Safe has blocked this site.
This site has been blocked by Web Safe because it's listed as having malicious content. It could put your personal and financial information at risk or cause damage to your files.

If you don'’t think this page should have been blocked, let us know.

Well, then a whole research campaign started. I was concerned about the extent of the block, how many people would not have access to my web site and how long it had been going on. To date, I still don't have an answer to these 2 questions.

But I do have a little more information and have some knowledge as to how to get this problem sorted

1. Contact Virgin Media and ask for your site to be unblocked

Virgin Media Help and Support pages says

If there is a website that you believe is safe, but has been blocked, or there is a site that you believe should be blocked, you can report by emailing websafefeedback@virginmedia.co.uk

I have emailed Virgin and Tweeted them too.

2.Check out other ISP providers and make sure your web site is not blocked by them too

https://www.blocked.org.uk/  This web site lets you submit your site url and they will test it for you for access by the different ISP (ie Sky , BT , O2 , Virgin etc).

Here are the results for my web site.

So this confirmed what my friends were saying and alleviated my concerns that it could be a bigger problem.

It seems that the Blocking techniques vary from one Internet Service Provider (ISP) to another with some sites or specific URLs blocked by some ISPs and not others.

These ISP results shown on the blocked.org web site worry me a whole lot and the fact that web sites can be blocked without the owner of the web site knowing about it doesn't seem fair at all. Who do these Internet Providers think they are, making random decisions about my web site.

I have paid for my domain and expect it to be available for everyone to view!

It’s difficult to measure the financial impact of being blocked but I feel that I must have lost some business and, of course, it doesn't look great telling people the site is not suitable for them!

I'll keep you updated with the outcome of this when it happens. 



PS .
Web Safe is a new network parental control application that helps protect your Virgin Media broadband connection by blocking access to websites that contain the following material:
• viruses and malicious software
• malicious or content unsuitable to children including: pornography, hate, crime, drugs, violence, hacking, self-harm and suicide


After lots of email sending , filling in forms and sending tweets I finally get an email today (11th March 2015) saying that my site was unblocked on the 03/03/2015.

So I checked via the blocked.org.web site and yes my web site is unblocked ,phew

In fact it looks like it was unblocked a few days after I reported it being blocked. No explanation of why or when it was blocked ,humph not impressed Virgin Media.

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