How to Block Websites on Google Chrome on Windows.
Whether it’s limiting distractions while studying or keeping kids safe from inappropriate content, it’s important to know how to block websites in Chrome on Windows. Website blocking is a way to prevent harmful, violent or sexual content from reaching people you don’t want to be exposed to. From a self-discipline standpoint, it is helpful to force yourself to do productive work instead of playing 9GAG all day. Read on to find out how.
Read: Here are 4 Ways to Block Websites on Android
1. Site Blocking – Chrome Web Extension
The easiest way to block unwanted websites on Chrome is to use the Chrome Web Extension. We prefer to use site blocking. It’s simple and reliable. It allows you to add sites to whitelist and blacklist. It also gives you the ability to block website URLs that contain certain words (such as violent or sexual terms).
You can password protect the extension’s settings page to make it harder to remove. But this is the main drawback. Even if you can’t uninstall it, you can always just uninstall Chrome. Or use a different browser for that matter.
- Very easy to configure, almost one-click installation.
- Robust feature set
- Chrome itself can be removed.
- You can just use a different browser.
Download site lock
This is the tool I wrote about earlier. This is very useful for eliminating distractions so you can be more productive. However, it also has very reliable website blocking capabilities. Once installed, FocusMe allows you to set up black and white lists to block websites. You can schedule periods of time to block these sites, or simply set an unlimited number of times. You can also password protect your settings.
The highlight is that this blocks access to these sites globally: even if you were using a browser other than Chrome, you still couldn’t get around it. Moreover, it may actually close tabs if you try to open a tab on a given website. The main drawback is that FocusMe is premium software with an impressive $ 30 annual subscription. We don’t recommend buying it just to block websites.
- Black and white list functionality.
- High survivability – this may prevent you from deleting.
- Can block more than websites.
- Cost $ 30 per year.
3. Windows Host file
The hosts file is like the address book your computer uses – it maps specific URLs to corresponding IP addresses. Of course, the host file doesn’t have to contain all of them for all websites (this requires a DNS server). This does not mean that you cannot add your own definitions. If you want to block access to a site in Chrome, one trick is to edit the host file.
Your host file is located in the System32 directory. You open it, enter the localhost loopback IP (127.0.0.1) and then enter the URL you want to block. Instead of going to the site, your system will just go back to itself. If you are trying to use the hosts file to block internet access, it works best with restricted user accounts. A regular user will not have administrator rights to edit the hosts file, so he will not be able to access the site.
Alternatively, you can check out our list of the best host file editors for Windows 10, the hosts file editor allows you to directly edit the hosts file without moving the original file.
- Blocks the site globally, not just in Chrome.
- Users with standard accounts will not be able to unblock a site.
- You have to manually enter each site you want to block.
- Administrative users can simply undo the changes.
4. OpenDNS web filtering
This is a slightly more complex solution, but it works great. Remember what I said about DNS servers? They tell your computer which IP address matches which URL. Your ISP will connect you to a specific DNS server by default, but you can configure your router to use a better provider like OpenDNS. Once your router is configured to use OpenDNS, you need to create an OpenDNS account.
This gives you the ability to allow the DNS server to filter out unwanted websites for you. If you are assigned a static IP, you just need to pass it to OpenDNS. If your ISP assigns you a dynamic IP address, you will need to install additional software that transmits the dynamic IP address changes to OpenDNS. Once you have done all this, the blocked sites in your OpenDNS control panel will no longer be accessible to anyone connected to that particular router.
- Block access to unwanted sites for anyone connected to your router.
- System-wide blocking: Removing Chrome prevents you from bypassing it.
- Relatively harder to set up and requires basic networking skills.
- Prevents granular user-level access control.
5. Windows 10 family settings
Windows 10 has a number of family settings that let you control and restrict family members’ access to your computer. This includes the ability to turn on website filtering. You need to set up a Windows family group for this to work. There are two classes of users: adults and children. Adult users have access to account privileges for children. They can blacklist websites that will then not be available to children when they use any browser, including Chrome.
Children have no access to settings. The main drawback here is that all users in the group must have actual Microsoft accounts, making this less useful in temporary situations. It is also less useful if you are trying to deny yourself access to certain websites.
- Blocks system-wide website access.
- All users need a Microsoft account.
- Not very useful for self-control.
6. Router-based blocking
This approach is similar to the DNS server approach we mentioned earlier. Many routers themselves have the ability to block certain websites. Some of them have more robust functionality than others, and some do not have this feature at all. If your router has a “block websites” feature, it is usually found under the “Security” section. You can specify which websites should be blacklisted and you can also set a schedule for blocking.
If you’re lucky, your router might have built-in MAC based website blocking. This will allow you to block specific websites for specific MAC addresses. This means that only those devices for which you want to restrict access to the site will be limited.
However, there are drawbacks here. While you can set a username and password to restrict access to the router, other users can always hard reset the router and undo your changes.
- System-wide website blocking that goes beyond plain Chrome.
- Can be used if target users have local administrator rights.
- The router can be completely rebooted.
- Not all routers have all the features mentioned here.
7. Cold turkey
This is for the really avid users who don’t want to block bugs. Cold Turkey is similar to FocusMe in that it intentionally restricts your access to apps and websites. Unlike FocusMe, the default setting doesn’t let you turn it off. It has very extensive protection against deletion built in. The website blocker is reliable and allows you to whitelist and blacklist websites, and customize time limits and timeouts.
Dedicated uninstaller software such as Revo can be used to get rid of it. If the user wanted to get creative, he could copy this to a flash drive and proceed with Cold Turkey removal. But the app has strong enough protection against uninstallation that you really have to go out of your way to trick it.
Of course, there are also disadvantages. While the default version is free, the Pro version costs $ 30. Moreover, Cold Turkey really takes time blocks seriously. If you accidentally turn it on for a long time, you literally won’t be able to access your system unless you take drastic action.
- Very reliable protection against deletion.
- Lots of website blocking features like scheduling, whitelisting, etc.
- Pro version is expensive.
- Excessive uninstall protection can make your life harder if you accidentally turn on Cold Turkey.
Download Cold Turkey
Each of these website blocking solutions has advantages and disadvantages. If you just want to block Chrome websites, the BlockSite extension offers great features with support for whitelisting and blacklisting. The downside, of course, is that other browsers are not secure. FocusMe and Cold Turkey have very reliable blocking and anti-deletion features. However, they can cost quite a bit. And sometimes they can be overzealous: if you accidentally turn on Cold Turkey, you won’t be able to use your system for several hours.
Configuring the Hosts file is a very simple way to restrict access to specific sites, but it really only works if the users you are configuring for do not have administrative rights. Otherwise, they might just roll back your changes. Windows Family Group is a great way to restrict your kids’ internet access. In theory. In practice, this is a bit tricky to set up, as everyone must have their own Microsoft account.
Finally, the DNS and router-based approaches work great and are safe for users with local admin rights. However, physical access to the router is a problem as users can simply reset it.
There is no reliable way to block websites on Chrome or Windows in general. However, the combination of these options and sound policy design can go a long way.
Also Read: How to Block Inappropriate Sites on Android