Teacher in classroom with two kids in front of laptop

Safe & Secure Internet

To provide a baseline level of protection for ākonga while learning online, we recommend all schools and kura use our Safe & Secure Internet. It’s made up of 5 services with recommended settings, which we monitor to help schools keep this level of protection in place. This means if something changes on your network that could put your school at risk we can let you know.
purple shield with fire emblem


This acts as a wall between the internet and the school’s network, allowing the good stuff through, and keeping the bad stuff out. The firewall prevents a huge amount of online threats and malicious activity from reaching school systems and devices.
Magnifying glass with switchboard

Web Filtering

Helps prevent staff and students from accessing inappropriate websites or apps. Filtering rules can be customised for your school to block entire categories (e.g. games), specific websites (e.g. YouTube), particular apps and unwanted VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).

purple shield with fire emblem

DDoS Protection

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is when a network gets deliberately bombarded causing it to slow down or crash, preventing users from accessing resources on the network or the network itself. DDoS protection identifies and mitigates malicious DDoS activity before it impacts your school.
Laptop with shield on screen

DNS Threat Protection

An extra layer of protection that helps block unwanted content and minimises the impact of online threats (such as ransomware and phishing scams) by preventing access to malicious websites.
purple shield with fire emblem


SafeSearch filters out adult content in search results from Google, Yahoo! and Bing – it’s enabled by default when schools use our DNS Threat Protection.

Recommended Settings

These recommended settings are supported by our friends at Netsafe and CERT NZ, but you can decide the settings to apply to best suit the needs of your school.

For more information about the settings head over to our Support Hub article.

Please note that we will update our recommended settings from time to time as we work with schools, IT providers, Netsafe and CERT NZ to help to improve the overall safety and security of schools and kura across Aotearoa.

Web Filtering enabled with recommended categories blocked

Firewall enabled with the recommended ports blocked

DDoS Protection enabled                                                      .

DNS Threat Protection enabled                                            

      SafeSearch enabled

Helping you keep this level of protection
To help keep this baseline level of protection in place we monitor these recommended settings for schools and kura. If we discover that something changes on your network that could put your school or kura at risk, we’ll be able to let you know.
Teacher with two students using a laptop in class
Girl drawing on iPad at school
It’s important to understand

There’s no way to guarantee 100% protection from online threats or inappropriate content. Make sure your school is up to speed with ways to keep your online learning environments safe and secure, such as promoting digital citizenship and making sure appropriate security measures are in place – for example, we recommend schools check their YouTube settings in their Google Workplace admin console.

It’s also really important to note that when it comes to Web Filtering and Firewall settings, N4L only blocks what the school or kura has asked us to, and we recommend reviewing these settings annually.

“We rely on N4L to ensure that our internet is safe, secure and that the filtering is working so they can’t get to anything they shouldn’t get to.”
Bronwen Seaward

Windwhistle School

Other online safety & security resources
  • CERT NZ has helpful information about keeping your school network secure
  • Netsafe has resources on online safety
  • To report harmful online content visit Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs Digital Safety Group here.

Our flyer can also help you figure out who to get in touch with, and when.

Teacher educating students about a small robot at a desk

Note: Schools can choose to fully utilise N4L’s Safe & Secure Internet service, or use a combination of our service and other third party services, to ensure their internet is safe and secure. If a school chooses to turn the N4L service off (and for example use third party services to manage the safety and security of their internet connection), N4L will not be able to assess whether a school is using our recommended settings – meaning we won’t be able to provide the school with any assurance of their online protection.

Want to learn more about N4L? Check out our latest brochure.