How to block online websites and apps
The internet revolution changed the way we live. It has changed how people interact, socialize and contact one another. It has made business efficient and therefore life has become a lot easier for everyone using it. However, there is a certain catch to this gold mine. Human addiction to using websites and apps has become the norm. Before even realizing, we become helplessly addicted to this digital world to the point where other aspects of life start to get compromised. For that, it is quite essential to block certain websites and apps that consume human time more than usual before they get detrimental.
There are several ways to block online websites and apps using tools we have on our computers and smartphones, and we are going to delve into the major ones below. Moreover, there are self-exclusion schemes available in many countries around the world that block your access to websites. For instance, in the UK, all regulated betting sites are compatible with Gamstop, the local self-exclusion scheme from gambling. You can rest assured though that there are several websites on which you can try sports betting not on Gamstop too.
Using blocklist & allow-list for basic URL management on your internet browser
This method is one of the simplest ways to allow only certain internet content to be accessed on your devices. The internet browser that is being used can be modified in a way where prohibited websites and apps can be blocked.
Allow the internet browser of use to open apps and websites just from that browser where the permission to access the content is taken beforehand.
We can use URL blocklist to block all URLs and then use the allow-list to access certain domains and subdomains that follow a scheme or an algorithm which goes with the admin’s preference of use.
This can also be done if we only block URLs we do not want to access and the rest of the websites and apps can work in the usual way.
Editing your hosts file
Host File is that file which is used by a personal device to access the internet. By tampering with this file, a user can manually stop certain files from launching. This can easily be done personally without having to buy some extension or membership for blocking websites and apps, though it does come with the extra work of going through the hassle of editing your computer’s host file.
For Microsoft Windows, we will open NotePad and use the directory: Windows/ System32/ drivers/ etc. folder on our hard drive. Under the last line, we will type “127.0.0.1” which is followed by a space. The URL of the website that we want to block will then be added. If we want to add new websites to block then we’ll add new lines underneath and then finally save the file. Then we will restart the computer and see our changes have been established with the websites no longer accessible.
We will type “sudo nano /etc./hosts” and hit Enter, then enter our macOS account password to open the hosts’ file. Similarly, like Windows, we can then add new websites to the end of the file, one site per line, using the format “127.0.0.1 www.websiteurl.com”. We then need to type “sudo dscacheutil -flushcache” and hit enter to apply the changes.
Using extensions on your internet browser
There are thousands of tools available on the internet which can be used to block websites and apps a user does not want to access anymore. They are either free, or come in different packages which can be on a monthly basis or annual basis. This is the most widely accepted form of banning websites and apps from devices.
- Block-Site: This is one of the majorly used browser extensions compatible with all sorts of browsers and is also available in the form of application for Android and IOS smartphones. The use of this tool is convenient and widely accepted as one of the easiest ways to block websites; either categorical or individually. This tool also provides reports for users over how they are using their devices, while also being able to sync their computer and mobile phones with each other thereby allowing greater control over access of websites and apps.
- Cold-Turkey: As the name implies, this app provides users with the ability to block certain websites, sometimes everything on the internet or the entire internet except some websites. This is a desktop app for Microsoft and macOS. This app also helps in keeping tabs over user’s activities by providing statistics on the number of times they have tried to access the blocked website or app. Once the cold-turkey app is enabled, the website to be blocked really gets out of the way for the user. This app can be used for free and if a certain user wants to opt for the paid version, they can get extra features which come pretty handy in supervising user’s access to the internet.
- Freedom: The great part about this program is that it allows scheduling options for the users to access websites and apps. It also syncs different devices and then forms a blocking preference from the user’s choice where everything related to the blocked content is swiped off the internet for the user. Another special feature this program provides is the Locked Mode, a form of restriction which is impossible to undo until a certain time window. Plus, the program also comes with peaceful sounds that help users with their work and get them into the right focus. The program can be used for free for a week after which it is seven dollars a month, something that is considered by many as an investment worth making if they really want to prohibit use of certain websites or apps.
- LeechBlock: This is a tool very compatible with all internet browsers and the best thing about it is that its free. Just like most blocking extensions out there, Leech block helps in scheduling time for blocking certain websites and apps from the internet for the user. It is however just an extension, not an app so it is less effective if a user switches on another internet browser where the extension is not applied.
Story by Gordon Bennett