Create a Custom URL Category for Cloud NGFW on AWS

Palo Alto Networks provides a set of predefined URL filtering categories. You can also specify your own URL filtering categories using a customer URL category object. For example, create a custom list of URLs that you want to use as match criteria in a Security policy rule. This is a good way to specify exceptions to URL categories, where you’d like to enforce specific URLs differently than the URL category to which they belong.

Create a Custom URL Category

  1. Select
    Rulestacks
    and select a previously-created rulestack on which to configure a custom URL category.
  2. Select
    Objects
    Custom URL Category
    Create Custom URL Category
    .
  3. Enter a descriptive
    Name
    for your custom URL category.
  4. (
    optional
    ) Enter a description for your custom URL category.
  5. Enter one or more
    URL List
    , one per line.
  6. Click
    Save
    .

Basic Guidelines For URL Category Exception Lists

  • Enter the URLs of websites that you want to enforce separately from the associated URL category.
  • List entries must be an exact match and are case-insensitive.
  • Enter a string that is an exact match to the website (and possibly, specific subdomain) for which you want to control access, or use wildcard characters to allow an entry to match to multiple website subdomains. For details on using wildcard characters, review Wildcard Guidelines for URL Category Exception Lists.
  • Omit
    http
    and
    https
    from URL entries.
  • Each URL entry can be up to 255 characters in length.

Wildcard Guidelines for URL Category Exception Lists

You can use wildcards in URL category exception lists to easily configure a single entry to match to multiple website subdomains and pages, without having to specify exact subdomains and pages.
Follow these guidelines when creating wildcard entries:
  • The following characters are considered token separators: . / ? & = ; +
    Every string separated by one or two of these characters is a token. Use wildcard characters as token placeholders, indicating that a specific token can contain any value.
  • In place of a token, use either an asterisk (*) or a caret (^) to indicate a wildcard value.
  • Wildcard characters must be the only character within a token. For example, www.gmail*.com would be invalid because the asterisk follows other characters. An entry can contain multiple wildcards, however.

How to Use Asterisk (*) and Caret (^) Wildcards

*
Use to indicate one or more variable subdomains. If you use
*
, the entry will match any additional subdomains, whether at the beginning or the end of the URL.
Ex:
  • *.paloaltonetworks.com
    matches www.paloaltonetworks.com and www.paloaltonetworks.com.uk.
  • *.paloaltonetworks.com/
    matches www.paloaltonetworks.com but not www.paloaltonetworks.com.uk.
^
Use to indicate one variable subdomain.
Ex:
mail.^.com
matches to mail.company.com but not mail.company.sso.com.
Do not create an entry with consecutive asterisk (*) wildcards or more than nine consecutive caret (^) wildcards—entries like these can affect firewall performance.
For example, do not add an entry like
mail.*.*.com
; instead, depending on the range of websites you want to control access to, enter
mail.*.com
or
mail.^.^.com
. An entry like
mail.*.com
matches to a greater number of sites than
mail.^.^.com
;
mail.*.com
matches to sites with any number of subdomains and
mail.^.^.com
matches to sites with exactly two subdomains.

URL Category Exception List—Wildcard Examples

The following table displays example URL list entries using wildcards and sites matching these entries.
URL Exception List Entry
Matching Sites
Example Set 1
*.company.com
eng.tools.company.com
support.tools.company.com
tools.company.com
docs.company.com
^.company.com
tools.company.com
docs.company.com
^.^.company.com
eng.tools.company.com
support.tools.company.com
Example Set 2
mail.google.*
mail.google.com
mail.google.co.uk
mail.google.example.org
mail.google.^
mail.google.com
mail.google.info
mail.google.^.^
mail.google.co.uk
mail.google.example.info
Example Set 3
site.*.com
site.yourname.com
site.abc.xyz.com
site.^.com
site.company.com
site.example.com
site.^.^.com
site.a.b.com
site.com/*
site.com/photos
site.com/blog/latest
any site.com subdirectory

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