What Does Whitelist Mean?

A whitelist is a list of entities approved for authorized access or privileged membership to enter a specific area in the computing world. These entities could include electronic groups or organizations, privileged websites or even email addresses.


Whitelist may also refer to an actionable promotion or recognition of an organization, group or individual.

This term may also be known as an approved list.

Techopedia Explains Whitelist

Sometimes Internet service providers employ whitelists to protect their customers. There are various types of whitelists, including commercial, noncommercial, local area network (LAN), program and application whitelists. Rather than blacklisting harmful websites, whitelisting is considered to be a proactive measure. Whitelisting is used to allow access to pertinent and safe websites, which may be considered an alternative to the use of anti-malware software.

Regarding emails, a whitelist includes email addresses that are considered acceptable and are therefore not filtered out. Likewise, application whitelists are considered a protective measure to allow only safe applications that do not compromise computer functions or security. Organizational whitelists are used to make sure that institutions such as public schools protect their students against harmful websites. These organizations may allow, or whitelist, only those sites that promote organizational goals, such as those that assist students with classroom assignments.

Commercial whitelists are used to ensure that advertisers are successfully delivering content to their preferred customers. Noncommercial whitelists may also be generated by nonprofit organizations.

Blacklist is the opposite of whitelist, and refers to a list of entities that is denied, ostracized or unrecognized for access to the computing world.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…