Setting the scan scope in Burp Suite Professional
Last updated: January 29, 2024
Read time: 4 Minutes
The Scan details section of the scan launcher enables you to select the scan type, and the details of what will be scanned.
You can select from the following scan types:
- Crawl and audit - This performs a crawl from one or more starting URLs, and then audit the discovered content for vulnerabilities.
- Crawl - Performs a crawl from one or more starting URLs.
- Audit selected items - This option is only available when you select one or more requests or responses and select Scan from the context menu.
Depending on the scan type selected, the scan launcher shows options for the scope of the scan or the individual items to be scanned.
URLs to scan
This section is displayed for Crawl and audit and Crawl scan types. You can configure one or more start URLs from which Burp will start the crawl. Burp Scanner follows any links from these URLs into the application. For more information on how Burp Scanner uses start URLs when crawling a site, see the Crawling page of the Scanner documentation.
By default, the scope of the crawl is restricted to the configured URLs, ending with the final directory (if any). For example, if you specify a start URL of
https://example.org/myapp/welcome.php, the crawler begins at this URL and crawls content within the path
Burp identifies the directory based on the final slash (
/) in the URL. For example, if you enter
https://example.org/myapp/myfolder, all content within the path
https://example.org/myapp/ is considered in-scope. To limit the scope to the
myfolder directory, you would need to enter
You can override the default behavior and provide a different scope configuration by opening the Detailed scope configuration toggle. This enables you to define the scope of the crawl using either URL prefixes or advanced matching rules.
You still need to specify the URLs to scan because these are the starting point for the crawl. The URLs must fall within the defined scope for your project. For more information, see Setting the target scope.
For scans using Burp's browser, Burp accepts URLs with fragments (
#). This enables Burp Scanner to handle client-side routing found in React apps and single-page applications. However, the legacy crawling engine does not support URL fragments. If you disable browser-powered scanning in your scan configuration by deselecting the Crawl settings > Miscellaneous > Use Burp's browser for crawl and audit option, you cannot include a fragment in any start URLs.
To control which protocols are used to scan your URLs, select one of the following options:
- Scan using HTTP & HTTPS - When this option is selected, Burp Scanner scans all of your URLs using both HTTP and HTTPS, regardless of whether you explicitly specified a protocol in the list of URLs.
- Scan using my specified protocols - When this option is selected, Burp Scanner scans the URLs using the protocols that you specify. For example, if you only include the URL
http://example.org, the URL
https://example.orgis not scanned. Any URLs for which no protocol is specified are still scanned using both HTTP and HTTPS.
If Burp identifies that the content at a given location is the same for both protocols then it only scans that location once, even if you choose to scan using both HTTP and HTTPS.
Advanced scan parameters
This section contains the Run isolated scan setting. Results from isolated scans do not appear in the Target > Site map, Target > Crawl paths, or Dashboard > All issues tabs. It can be useful to isolate a scan if you want to test scan configurations without impacting "live" scan results, for example.
You can view site map and crawl path information for an isolated scan from the Dashboard by selecting the relevant entry from the Tasks list. For more information, see:
Items to scan
This section is displayed for the Audit selected items scan type. The URLs of the selected items are listed. Note that the same URL appears more than once if there are multiple requests to the same URL with different parameters.
Where you have a lot of items to scan, it is often useful to consolidate the selected items to improve the efficiency of the scan. Click Consolidate items to display a wizard that enables you to choose to remove certain items:
- Duplicate items in the selection (those with matching URL and parameter names).
- Out-of-scope items (based on the current suite scope).
- Items with no parameters.
- Items with specific file extensions.
For each option, Burp shows the number of affected items. Any options that would result in none or all of the items being removed are unavailable.
The consolidation wizard then displays the full list of items that will be scanned. You can double-click any item in the list to view the full request and response. You can also remove any further items that you do not wish to scan manually.
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