Websites are great, aren’t they? Except, that is, when they’re so great that we find ourselves clicking on them involuntarily when we’re supposed to be working, or when they rank too high for many of our search terms but then force us to sign up to them when we click through, or… well, many reasons, really.
If those issues sound familiar, you may want to find out how to block websites on the world’s most popular browser, Chrome. Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of these excellent Chrome extensions.
1. Personal Blocklist
The simplest option if you want to outright block sites from your Google Search results, Personal Blocklist is an extension generously provided by Google itself.
Once you’ve installed it, you’ll see an option below each of your Google Search results to “Block” the domain of that search result. Click it and that site will no longer appear in your search results. If a blocked site appears in your results, you’ll see a notification at the bottom of the search page telling you that certain sites aren’t appearing because you blocked them, and you can choose the option to “show” them here (though why would you?!?).
To manage your blocked sites, just click the Personal Blocklist extension icon in your Chrome toolbar, and you can see all your sites from there.
2. 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 the Settings page and undo all that you have done.
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 block access.
4. Nanny for Google Chrome
Nanny is a venerable old extension that packs a number of options such as creating a whitelist of websites, specifying the amount of time you can spend on any website, managing lockdowns and more.
In its Options page you will find a “Blocked URLs” tab where you can add the URLs of websites you want to block. You can also specify the time you want the websites to remain blocked. You can even specify the days you want to block the specific websites and the max amount of time you can spend on each blocked website every day. Click Save when you are done.
The next useful option is the LockDown feature. This allows you to completely lock down access to any blocked set of websites.
If you want to track the amount of time you spend on any website, you can add the specific URL to Whitelist.
You can also customize the Mode of Blocking in Nanny for Chrome. It gives you three blocking options: close tab, show site blocked page and redirect to any other URL.
Visit any blocked URL now and you will be shown a confirmation message that the site is blocked. You will be able to access it after the block time is over.
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 July 2017.
Image credit: Man using a laptop with parental control