Difference between revisions of "DansGuardian"

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Revision as of 17:20, 10 June 2011

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Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:DansGuardian#)

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Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:DansGuardian#)


From the Dansguardian website.

DansGuardian is an award winning Open Source web content filter which currently runs on Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Mac OS X, HP-UX, and Solaris. It filters the actual content of pages based on many methods including phrase matching, PICS filtering and URL filtering. It does not purely filter based on a banned list of sites like lesser totally commercial filters.
DansGuardian is designed to be completely flexible and allows you to tailor the filtering to your exact needs. It can be as draconian or as unobstructive as you want. The default settings are geared towards what a primary school might want but DansGuardian puts you in control of what you want to block.
DansGuardian is a true web content filter.

DansGuardian is excellent at filtering pages from the Internet as it examines both the URL and the content of the page, and it has many options to allow you to fine tune the process. To run DansGuardian, you will first need a proxy in place. DansGuardian will work with many proxy servers, such as Polipo or tinyproxy, but Squid is the recommended one.

The original author of this article runs Squid and DansGuardian content filters at several schools in the UK, successfully blocking inappropriate content.


DansGuardian is available in the extra repository. Make sure this is enabled in your pacman.conf, then run:

pacman -S dansguardian

This article is based on DansGuardian DansGuardian is hereby referred to as DG.


Config Files

Assuming you have Squid already set up, configuring DG is a relatively straightforward process. All of the configuration files, blocking templates, blacklists, etc are stored in /etc/dansguardian.

DG has the concept of groups, which are groups of users or machines that have certain blocks applied to them. For now, we are just going to set up one group for everyone - the idea being that anyone who wants unfiltered access could just hit Squid directly. (This is not ideal.)

Start by editing /etc/dansguardian/dansguardian.conf. The file is pretty well commented so you shouldn't have many problem problems following it through. The defaults are pretty sane. Be sure to check the options under Network Settings for filterip, filterport, proxyip and proxyport. You may also want to examine weightedphrasemode and phrasefiltermode. The filter mode is especially important if you are running this setup on older hardware.

Next we need to edit the options for our first, and only, group. Edit the file /etc/dansguardian/dansguardianf1.conf. Once again this is pretty well commented, but you should pay attention to the naughtynesslimit.

DG examines the content on a page and adds up the naughty words based on a weighting scheme, with worse words getting more points. If this total exceeds the naughtnesslimit, the page will be blocked. 50 is a good limit for young children, whereas 160 is good for young adults. In a corporate environment, you'd want this set around 200.


Adding websites to the block lists are done in the same directory, in the almost self-explanatory configuration files. DG provides a powerful regular expression URL and content filter, as well as ordinary URL blocklists. Some of the important files are:

  • bannedsitelist - The domains for your banned sites, e.g. "human-horse-love.com"
  • bannedurllist - If you just want to block part of a website, e.g. "bbc.co.uk/games"
  • exception* - This is where your domain/URL exceptions go. Sites in this list will not be checked and allowed straight through.
  • bannedregexpurllist - Very powerful. This is where you can put regular expressions to block certain URLs, e.g. "(.*q=.*xxx.*)" to stop searching for the word "xxx".

Whenever you add or remove a URL from the list, you must tell DG you have done so. This can be done with:

dansguardian -r

Which will force DG to reload it's configuration. Doing it this way, rather than restarting the daemon, will mean that for the most part your users won't notice reloading. (I've noticed that straight after the reload, users may have trouble accessing web pages for about 5-10 seconds - if this is a problem you can always run a cronjob at 12am to run dansguardian -r).

You can download a blacklist collection from URLBlacklist, but be sure to read the FAQ first, as you will, paradoxically, want to unsort the collection to enable DG to start faster. Once you have installed the blacklist under /etc/dansguardian you can add them to your DG configuration by opening the appropriate configuration file and adding:


To the bottom of the file. Take a look around the blacklist collection to see what is available.

"Access Denied" Template

If you wish to change the page that gets displayed to users when a website is blocked, you need to edit the file:


Web Frontend

If you would like a web-based frontend to manage Dansguardian, you could use Webmin with the Dansguardian Webmin Module.

Starting DansGuardian

Dansguardian needs to start after your proxy has started, so run:

/etc/rc.d/squid start
/etc/rc.d/dansguardian start

And ensure in your DAEMONS=() section of rc.conf, that DG starts after squid:

DAEMONS=(... squid dansguardian ...)

Without a valid proxy, DG will fail to start, so you will not want to background Squid. Depending on the size of your blacklists and your hardware, DG can take quite a while to start (30-60 seconds), so you may wish to background DG.

DAEMONS=(... squid @dansguardian ...)