Are you trying to stay focused, but finding that relying on willpower is just too much to handle?
Do you start fresh every day, fail, then vow to start again to get things done.
Maybe it's time to learn "How to block websites on google chrome and other browsers"...
In this post you'll learn about a new and counter-intuitive way to block websites with four proven methods (three of them are free).
You will not only learn how to ban distracting websites but to schedule your non-productive surfing hours so you can stay focused and get things done without missing the things you like about the internet.
There are 4 ways you can use to block yourself from any website (3 are free)
- Make changes to the hostfile and restrict access to certain URLs
- Use a browser extension that blocks websites for Google Chrome
- Use a free free and open source website blocker (with limited capabilities)
- Use a professional website blocker
Of course all of these solutions have their pros and cons.
Read the article to find the right solution for you.
The Main Reason to Restrict your Internet Access Or to Block Certain Websites
There are a lot of reasons why you may want to limit your access to various sites on your computer and on your mobile phone.
Studies show that that up to 40% of the population suffer from internet addiction.
Everyone has his own guilty pleasure sites and wastes too much time instead of getting things done and being productive.
Some people feel they are wasting too much time on Facebook but still need to use the business manager because it's part of their job.
Others are trying to pass the next exam or finish their thesis and want to use a website blocker for studying.
Basically every expert on productivity recommends to Cut Out distractions
The main advantage you are getting from using a software or an app like that is that you cut options.
Knowing that you cannot access Netflix in the the next 5 hours takes out the decision out of your day because it's blocked.
You don't have to resist going there any more because you KNOW it's blocked. If you block distractions you can use all your willpower to finish that boring task you need to do.
The world’s leading high performance coach
All that browsing, all those tweets that you’re reading, those newsfeeds that you’re reading guess what?
Every time you’re looking at them guess what your mind has to do?
It has to make a decision, pay attention or not pay attention and that decision is costing you focal power and resources later on, even if you don’t know it.
The secret ingredient you need to use is something that researchers call Delay Discounting.
Delay discounting is a trick that's recommend by behavioral scientists.
Researchers found that the longer you have to wait for something (e.g. watching that funny cat video) the less it is worth to you.
Usually your brain chooses immediate gratification at the cost of future rewards. This is because immediate rewards trigger the older, more primitive part of your brain.
By blocking a site you give yourself some time to cool off and the promise of the reward is reduced.
The researchers found that even small delays can dramatically lower the perceived value of any temptation.
In practice that means your urge to visit Facebook, Reddit, Youtube etc. or playing a game has only a short time to overwhelm your brain.
As soon as there is any distance between you and the temptation, the rational part of your brain takes over
That's why the methods described below work to block yourself from your favorite websites work.
However, they are not created equal mainly for two reasons:
However, after an initial period that typically lasts for a few days or maybe a week, you probably fall back into the same old habits for two reasons.
Either because you know how to find a way around the solution to easily or you forget to block the url again after you disabled the website block.
To choose the right method you need to know if you want to block a website forever or temporarily for a few hours each day.
Method 1: Block a website in google chrome for FREE by changing the hostfile
Changing the host file is probably the most common advise you'll find if you google for any advise on "How to block a website".
This solution is easy and fast.
Unfortunately it's very easy to disable again and therefore not very effective.
To use this method is only recommend if you already have a lot of willpower and just want a little bit of extra work to access your favorite website.
Here are the two methods explained in detail.
How To Block A Website In 2 Minutes By Changing The Host File On Windows Computer
How To Block A Website In 2 Minutes By Changing The Host File On A Mac Computer
Method #2: Block a website on Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari By using a free browser extension
Using a browser extension to limit the access to distracting URLs is the preferred option for most people looking for a free online time management tool. This is the best solution for someone who just wants to gain a bit more control of his or her surfing habits.
Using a browser extension is a great solution if you need to block sites at work and are not allowed to install a fully functional native website and distraction blocker.
How To Limit internet access on google chrome using the most popular browser extension
There is hardly any productivity article that won't mention StayFocusd. With more than 800,000 active users in 2018 this browser extension is by far the most popular extension in this category for Google Chrome.
You can customize StayFocusd so that it lets you onto restricted websites or domains for a specific amount of time each day while a countdown clock shows how much time you have left.
Unfortunately, there's one very obvious way to get around Stayfocusd, and that's to launch a different Web browser because since Stayfocusd only works in Chrome.
Hello Internet Explorer 🙂
The best feature of is that can customize it is to enable it only on certain week days and specific times, for example as only weekdays between 8a.m. and 4p.m.
Stayfocusd has two more features that are responsible for it's success. With the nuclear feature there's no turning back (except switching to another browser).
The first feature is called "The Nuclear Option."
Once you activate it Stayfocusd will completely block the sites that you want for the number of hours you set, regardless of the days and hours you've set as allowable surfing time. There is no way to stop the nuclear option once you activate it.
reflect about whether you really want access to your unwanted websites
The second feature is called "Require Challenge." With this option Stayfocusd asks you to complete a very difficult challenge before you can make any changes to your settings that restrict internet access.
In order to "win" the challenge you need to type a word-for-word a paragraph, without making a single error (!!!) This means that if you hit backspace or a capital letter where it should be lowercase, you have to start over. It's not possible to copy-and-paste the paragraph either because StayFocusd counts your keystrokes.
For most people this takes a few tries before they win the challenge. While typing you are forced to delay your gratification and reflect about whether you really want access to your unwanted websites.
It's even more powerful if you can change the text that you're required to type to something that can potentially make you more motivated to continue the project you are tying to finish.
Block Sites Immediately With Leechblock on Firefox (and Google Chrome)
The most popular site blocker for the Mozilla Firefox is a simple extension called LeechBlock (It's available for Google Chrome as well). Like StayFocusd the extension allows you to specify which sites you want to block and when to block them.
You can specify up to six sets of sites to block at different times and days for each set. You can block yourself within fixed time periods, set allow amount of time per hour), or use a combination of time periods and time limit (e.g., allow up to 5 minutes in every hour between 8am and 4pm).
If you want to use this net blocker extension to block a specific url you can use specified wildcards (e.g., reddit.com/r/all) and exceptions like reddit.com/r/nosurf) to ban websites. Leechblock also comes with another feature called: The lockdown feature which you can use to block sites immediately for a specified time.
Control Internet Access on Safari (and Google Chrome) with WasteNoTime
Your best bet if you want to use an extension for Safari (Mac) is WasteNoTime which is "designed to help you manage your time spent on the Internet more efficiently". Like LeechBlock it's possible to block a web pages and limit internet access on Google Chrome as well.
Basically this web blocker software adds an icon to the Safari browser toolbar. If you click on the icon it will display a popover window, where you can see how much allowed time you have left, add sites to be blocked, and access the Settings.
The extension provides a status bar that allows you to monitor in real-time how much time you have left for accessing sites on the block list. This free productivity software allows you to add sites to the block list easily by clicking a couple of buttons.
The context menu allows you to add web pages to the block list while you are browsing. If I really want to concentrate on work WasteNoTime allows you to block ALL sites by adding a * to your block list. For sites with a custom time limit, the global time limit applies. When either of them is used up, the site will be blocked.
Method #3: Block Access To Websites on Mac (But be careful and know It's limitations)
This article would not be complete without the most popular website blocker for Mac which is called SelfControl and was downloaded over 400,000 from MacUpdate alone.
SelfControl is a free and open-source net blocker for macOS that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet.
The best part (apart from the fact that it's free) is that it's super simple to use but if you are not careful it can damage your Mac.
If you want to know more about this I recommend to check out my Review & Tutorial about the SelfControl App.
Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click "Start." For example: To block Youtube, you would add youtube.com to your block list. However, some websites have different domains for different functions, and you may need to block all of them to get it working fully.
Until the timer expires, the software will modify your host file and you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
The software was created by a great guy called Steve Lambert how decided to make it open source.
SelfControl is still a very powerful, and lightweight app that is used by thousands of people. It's probably the best website blocker for Mac if you don't want to spend any money on software.
However, some institutions like the Wharton University of Pennsylvania, don't recommend using Self Control because a number of their students have lost all their data after having to reformat and reinstall their Mac.
SelfControl can permanently damage your system files
Once preferences are set in the application, the web blocking software embeds itself in system files to prevent access. Even if the program is removed, the system files are damaged and require a reformat & restore.
I interviewed Steve Lambert, the creator of Self-Control and he explained that many people don't understand the concept of free (open source) software:
Creator of SelfControl