Internet is the source of all kinds of knowledge, information and entertainment these days. It allows you to be here right now, reading this article, so that’s a big deal. But there’s a time and a place for everything, and you’ve probably noticed that it’s too easy to get distracted on the internet. And if you have kids, you might also know how easy it is for them to watch things they shouldn’t. This means it might be time to block certain websites on your browser, such as Google Chrome, and we’re here to show you how.
There are several ways to block sites using parental control apps or by going to your router settings. And these can be more effective in many ways, but it’s not always easy to configure these blocks, especially because they vary depending on the router or the parental control service you have. We will show you how to block websites on Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, as it is an accessible and understandable method for everyone.
How to Block Websites on Chrome with an Extension
It might be a little surprising, but most browsers, including Chrome, don’t give you the option to block websites out of the box. If you’re in a company, there are tools to block your company’s websites, but as a personal user, you’ll need a Chrome extension. The good news is that most browsers these days are Chromium-based, so Chrome extensions also work on Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi, and others. A notable exception is Mozilla Firefox, however.
If you want a free, full-featured extension, my recommendation is StayFocusd. The most popular tool seems to be Block Site, but this one has some features locked behind a paywall. The first thing you need to do is download StayFocusd and add it to Chrome (or another browser). Once installed, you can access it from your browser’s toolbar, and it gives you a big button to block the website you’re on right now.
If you want to be preventive, you can click on Settings from the extension menu. Here you can edit everything about the websites you want to block. What interests you most here is probably the Blocked sites tongue. Switching to this tab, you have a text box where you can enter all the sites you want to block. It also supports wildcards, so you can block all sites on a specific domain or sites containing a specific word.
There are other things worth checking out here, though. the Maximum time allowed allows you to choose how long you can spend on a blocked website before it is completely disabled, while the tab Active days and Active hours Tabs allow you to choose when you need to focus on work, i.e. when restrictions are applied.
If you can’t trust yourself, there’s also the tab called The nuclear optionwhich lets you block sites for a set period of time with no way to turn off the setting until the timer runs out.
This isn’t a perfect solution, as kids can try disabling or uninstalling the extension, but you can also try blocking the Chrome Extensions page itself. Additionally, you can set the StayFocusd settings to be locked behind a challenge where the user must enter a string of text without a single typo to change the settings.
Another workaround a child may find is to use a different browser, but since most browsers these days are Chromium-based, you can still install the extension across multiple browsers. Either way, it will never be a perfect solution.
If you want something a little more effective, but more involved, there are other ways to block websites on a computer. For example, you can use Microsoft’s Family Safety Services to block access to websites, apps, and games. This requires creating a Microsoft family group and adding a child account for the person you want to regulate. You can then set content filters, but your child will need to use the Edge browser for this to work.
If you know how to access your router settings, you can also block certain websites for your entire home network, which can be harder to circumvent. But it is also more difficult to create these blocks and it varies depending on your router.
In Enterprise Settings, Google Chrome can use the Windows Group Policy Editor to set block and allow lists of up to 1,000 URLs of your choosing. Open the Group Policy Editor, search for Google Chrome and use the Block access to a list of URLs policy to block the websites you want. You can also use the Allow access to a list of URLs to create exceptions for certain pages of a domain.
That’s about all you need to know about blocking websites on Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers. Outside of enterprise environments, there is no perfect solution, but using an extension can help a lot. Coupled with some restraint, this may be what you need to stay focused on work without distractions.