There are several reasons why you might want to block certain websites on your computer. Some websites could be spreading viruses, contain explicit content or even be trying to steal your personal data. While you may well be more than capable of avoiding these websites, but that doesn’t stand true for every one who uses your device. In such cases, it might be best to block certain websites.
There are different ways to go about blocking websites. You can choose to block websites only on specific browsers, the entire operating system, or indeed your network router. Here’s how to block websites.
On your computer
If you want to control access to websites on just one machine, then you can set up block at the operating system level. This method for blocking websites is not too hard to configure and will work across browsers.
One of the backbones of the Internet is the DNS system that translates easy to remember (and type) names such as www.google.com into equivalent IP addresses (126.96.36.199). While you use DNS servers to get to websites, your computer also has something called a HOSTS file which can have this information stored locally. This can be used to disable access to unwanted websites. We checked this method with both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
1. Make sure you have administrator access on your computer. Sign in to your PC using an administrator account and go to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\
2. Double-click the file named “hosts” and select Notepad from the list of programs to open the file. Click OK. The last two lines of your hosts file should read “# 127.0.0.1 localhost” and “# ::1 localhost”.
2a. In case you can’t edit the file, you’ll need to right-click the file labelled hosts and select Properties. Click the Security tab, select the administrator account and click Edit.
2b. In the pop-up, select the account again and check Full control. Click Apply > Yes. Now click OK in all pop-ups.
3. At the end of the file, you can add the addresses of websites to block. To do this, just add a line at the end of the file, with 127.0.0.1 and then the name of the site you want to block – this will redirect the site’s name to your local computer.
4. To block Google, for example, add “127.0.0.1 www.google.com” to the end of the file without the quote marks. You can block as many sites as you want this way, but remember you can only add one per line.
5. Repeat this step until you’ve added all websites you want to block.
6. Now close the hosts file and click Save. Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect and you’ll find that all those websites are now blocked.
On Android, you’ll need to edit the hosts file on your device to redirect sites you want to block. You’ll need a file manager, and a text editor – the easiest option is to use our favourite app ES File Explorer, which lets you do both things. Here’s how it works.
1. Install ES File Explorer Open ES File Explorer and tap the “/” button at the top. Tap on system > etc.
2. In this folder, you’ll see the hosts file – tap it and in the pop up menu, tap text. In the next pop up, tap ES Note Editor.
3. Tap the three dots button in the top right, and tap edit.
4. Now, you’re editing the file, and to block sites, you want to redirect their DNS. To do this, just start a new line, and type “127.0.0.1 www.blockedwebsite.com” (without the quotes, where blocked website is the name of the site you’re blocking) for each website you want to block. For example, you’ll have to type 127.0.0.1 www.google.com to block Google.