Knowledgebase: General Support
GENERAL - Firewall Requirements
Posted by Carrie Rawley on 20 April 2011 12:39 PM


Blackboard Learn 9.1, Internet Explorer, Safari


The purpose of this article is to explain Firewalls and their interaction with Blackboard.


What are Firewalls? Are they required to use Blackboard?


Firewalls are programs that are designed to safeguard your computer malicious information and programs, like keyloggers, viruses, harmful macros, malware and spyware. Firewalls achieve this by running all the information that your computer receives through a filtering system, akin to a screen door. These filters are designed so that information that is flagged, or marked, as 'safe' by the Firewall will pass through and information that is flagged as 'dangerous' will be caught by the filter and prevented to pass. Mac OS X 10.2 and Windows XP operating systems include a Firewall program, which is turned 'on' by default. This built-in Firewall will protect you against very basic malicious programs and information, provided it is not turned off.


With this basic Firewall software, it is not uncommon for Security Warnings or Certificate Errors to appear when attempting to open Blackboard or access content that is hosted on the website. Should this happen, you will need to add Blackboard as a 'Trusted Site' to your browser. Below are steps on how to add Blackboard as a 'Trusted Site' to some of the more commonly used web browsers:

Internet Explorer:

1. Open Internet Explorer and click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the window.
2. Choose 'Internet Options' from the drop-down menu; this will open a smaller 'Internet Options' window.
3. Click on the 'Security' tab.
4. A box titled 'Select a zone to view or change security settings' should be near the top o fthe page, and 'Trusted sites' should be listed here with a check-mark icon. Click this.
5. Below the box, click the 'Sites' button that was just greyed out; another window titled 'Trusted sites' should pop up.
6. Add the link to your school's Blackboard into the 'Add this website to the zone:' field, then click the 'Add' button.
6a. If your Blackboard link does not begin with https:, uncheck the 'Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone' check-box that is located underneath the 'Websites:' area of the 'Trusted sites' window.
7. Click the 'Close' button found in the bottom-right corner.


Additional Information

Networks that are large and open to the public, like those used in a library or at a school, will have Firewalls that generally run stricter settings and filtering rules than a user's personal computer. This is done to protect the multitude of users who may access the Internet from the network and keep the whole network safe, as one single computing station being infected will easily spread to other stations connected on the same network.

These networks are monitored by administrative staff, and in an effort to keep the network safe, access to many of the functions addressed above my be closed off to the general public. If you are on an large, public network and cannot access Blackboard or make changes to the browser's 'Trusted Sites' list to be able to access Blackboard, contact the administrator of the network you are on.

Update History

06/09/2015 - Content overhauled, format updated

04/20/2011 - Article created

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