Google Chrome is great, but it can also get in the way. Whether we’re procrastinating and our hand auto-pilots our mouse to the Facebook bookmark, or if sites show up in our Google search results that we know are probably fake news but click through anyway because the headline told us to, there are plenty of good reasons why we’d want to block websites on Google’s browser.
In this article we take you through every way we could think of to bar certain sites for life (or at least until you unblock them again).
UBlacklist is a simple-to-use extension that lets you block websites from appearing in your Google search results (which, let’s face it, is pretty much the window onto the Internet for most of us). Once you’ve installed the extension, there are a few ways you can block websites.
Firstly, if a site you want to block appears in your search results, you’ll see the option “Block this site” next to its URL. Click this and the site won’t appear in your search results next time.
You can then manage your blocked sites by right-clicking the uBlacklist icon in your Chrome extension area and clicking ‘Options.’ Here you can remove sites from your blocklist, add sites manually, sync your list to Google Drive to use on other devices, and import your blocklist from Personal Blocklist.
Speaking of which, whatever happened to Personal Blocklist?
This used to be the go-to extension for blocking websites from appearing in your Google search results, but at some point in 2018 it stopped being maintained and has subsequently become unusable on the modern version of Chrome (This forked version that was made by someone with the goal of fixing it didn’t work for us either.)
Luckily, uBlacklist has stepped up to fulfill exactly the same role, so we recommend just using that instead.
2. Use the Hosts File
Whether you’re on Windows, Mac or Linux, you can use the Hosts file to block specific websites. It may sound a bit techy, but it’s really not that bad and may appeal to those who like the idea of blocking websites without having to mess around with third-party software (and it blocks the sites on all browsers). If you’re not into this method, scroll down for other ways to block unwanted websites.
Here’s how to use the hosts file to block sites on each major platform:
Edit Hosts File in Windows
1. Go to “C:WindowsSystem32Driversetc” and open the “hosts” file using Notepad. (I prefer Notepad++ myself.)
2. Scroll to the bottom, then under all the hash symbols (you can delete everything marked with the hash symbol if you like so you have a clean sheet), type “127.0.0.1” followed by “localhost.”
3. On the next line type “127.0.0.1” followed by the address of the site you want to block, then repeat this step for every other site you want to block.
Edit Hosts File in Linux and Mac
The process is exactly the same as for Windows, except you need to navigate to the “/etc” directory to open the hosts file. Other than that, the second and third points for Windows apply.
3. Block Site
The best thing about Block Site is the authentication option. Once you have configured your list of blocked websites, you can add a password to the Settings page so your children won’t be able to access it and undo it.
After installing the extension, open extension settings and add the websites you want to block. Also, check the “Enable Authentication” box and specify the password to block access to the settings.
StayFocusd is one of the best website-blocking extensions for Google Chrome. We tend to waste a lot of time at work on Facebook and other time-wasting websites, and this extension limits the amount of time you spend on these websites (and any others of your choice).
You can specify the days StayFocusd will restrict your browsing activity along with the time you can spend per day on time-wasting websites. Apart from that, you can create a list of blocked/allowed websites as well. Another handy feature is The Nuclear Option. Enabling this feature will restrict access to any blocked website even if you have not crossed the time limit. You can specify the number of hours you want to have access blocked.
Using one or two of these apps (StayFocusd and Personal Blocklist are my personal faves), you’ll have much more control over which websites are permitted on your browser. It’s amazing how easy it is to get caught up in a web of procrastination and time-wasting websites if you’re not careful, and these extensions will help you get rid of those unhelpful habits.
This article was first published in May 2013 and was updated in February 2019.