Is Your Hospital Blog Blocked by Websense?

by Ed Bennett on August 29, 2010

in Best Practices

It’s possible.

Websense is a Web filtering tool used by many large organizations. It lets management control employee access to web content based on category definitions provided in a Websense database.  There are over 150 categories, and each Websense client can choose what to block and what to allow.

Make sure your site is in the right category, since being in wrong group could limit your visibility.

A recent check of 85 hospital blogs found the following Websense  groupings:

  • 44 – Health
  • 16 – Uncategorized
  • 14 – Blogs and Personal Sites
  • 3 – Social Networking
  • 3 – Business and Economy
  • 2 – Educational Institutions
  • 1 – Society and Lifestyles
  • 1 – Sports
  • 1- Traditional Religions

The 17 hospital blogs categorized as “Social Networking” or “Blogs and Personal Sites” could have a problem. Some Websense clients block that group for productivity reasons. Note – Almost all of these hospitals used free hosting services from Blogspot, Typepad or WordPress, and had sub-domain URL’s of these services. (For example, innovishealth.wordpress.com)

Fortunately, you can request a category change in two ways:

1. If your organization uses Websense,  sign up for a Support Account and use the Site Lookup tool. This tool will let you check sites and suggest changes.

2. If you are not a Websense customer, then send them an email at suggest@websense.com

Ed’s recommendations:

1. Check your Websense category at least once a quarter – make sure there are no surprises.

2. Get your own domain name, and don’t use the free blogging services. That gets  you automatically grouped as a “Blog and Personal Site”

3. Be proactive for others – if you see a site blocked because it’s in the wrong category, suggest a change. It helps everyone.

Wondering about your hospital blog? Check the list here – The Hospital Blog Websense List Note – link goes to .xls Excel file. Use right-click “save as” to download


  • http://facebook.com/osumedicalcenter Ryan Squire

    Awesome info Ed. The whole point behind many of these blogs is to enable people at our hospital and hospitals across the country to consume the info. Obviously, if the site is blocked, it’s useless. In your opinion, does this blocking ridiculousness ever stop?

    • http://ebennett.org Ed Bennett

      I believe blocking of social media sites will go away in a few years. In the meantime, try to get in the “Health” category – it will get you more visibility.

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  • http://www.shoutmeloud.com Harsh Agrawal

    Thanks for this post. My site is blocked by Websense and i just put a support request ..
    Since my site is a blogging site and never shared any tutorials which may hamper readers in any ways…

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  • http://Www.nsdbehindthefirewall.blogspot.com Teresa Heithaus

    Hi Ed! I just read this posting and once again wanted to thank-you for alerting me to the blocking of my newly launched blog site by web sense back in September. Your involvement and guidance was truly appreciated! I was happy to learn I am now listed under the health category and no longer seen as spam! What I love about so many people I have met on social media is the willingness to help others! You and the knowledge you impart are terrific! Thanks once again!

  • http://mamiehatfield.co.cc/ Mamie Hatfield

    Twitter Comment RT @LeeAase: RT @EdBennett: New post: Is Your Hospital Blog Blocked by Websense? [link to post] #hcsm – Posted using Chat Catcher