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 we 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 …)
1. 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:
- Go to “C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc” and open the “hosts” file using Notepad (I prefer Notepad++ myself).
- 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.”
- 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.
Linux and Mac
The process is exactly the same as for Windows, except you need to navigate to the “/etc/hosts” directory to open the hosts file. Other than that, the second and third points for Windows apply.
2. 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 there.
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 block access.
5. 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.
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 2018.