WEBSITE: Whether it’s to safeguard your children from dangerous websites or to protect yourself from distracting websites while working, we all need to block websites from time to time for our own good. It might be difficult to strike a balance between privacy, freedom, and control.
While many computers come preloaded with parental settings, some are more user-friendly than others. We’ll show you how to use the settings, as well as host files and routers, to do this.
The first method is to use parental controls.
Both Windows and MacOS feature built-in parental controls that make it simple to limit access to anything you don’t want on your system. If you need additional features, we’ve put together a list of the finest free parental control software.
Windows 10’s Parental Controls
The first step is to create a child account. To do so, either search for the Windows 10 settings menu or select the cog symbol in the Start menu.
Step 2: Select Accounts from the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Click the Add A Family Member button under the Family & Other Users menu.
Step 4: To set up your child’s profile, click Create One for a Child and follow the on-screen steps.
Step 5: Go to the page for your Microsoft account. Click Overview under your child’s account. Then, on the right, click the Content Filters tab.
Step 6: When it comes to filtering websites, you have a few options under the Web and Search tab, under the Filter Settings section: You can enable the Only Use Allowed Websites option, which restricts your child’s access to the websites you specify in the Allowed Sites section. However, if you disable this option, you can still construct lists of approved and forbidden websites. Simply go to the Allowed Sites area and type in the websites you want to allow, then click the plus sign button to add them. You can also ban websites in the same way: Simply go to the Blocked Sites area and type in the URLs of the sites you want to block, then click the plus sign button to add them.
Using MacOS’s parental controls
Windows isn’t the only operating system that lets you keep track of your child’s internet activities. Parental Controls has been replaced with Screen Time in MacOS Big Sur. You can perform a variety of things here, such establish time limits on how long you can use certain apps or websites, block specific websites altogether, and check screen time metrics.
Follow these steps to use Screen Time to ban websites:
Step 1: Go to System Preferences and click the Screen Time icon.
Step 2: If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to do so now in order to continue. After that, you’ll want to choose which profile you’d like to change. If you’re the administrator, all users on that Mac should appear, as should any users associated with your Family Sharing account. From the drop-down menu in the top left corner, choose the user you want.
Step 3: On the bottom left of the menu, select Content & Privacy. You can change a lot of things here but search for the Web Content section. There are three choices available here. Because Unrestricted Access does exactly what it says, you’ll want to choose Limit Adult Websites. This will filter out the most offensive websites automatically, but you can add more by clicking the plus sign that appears.
Step 4: Select the Allowed Websites Only option if you really want to control what the user sees. This means that the user will only be allowed to access sites that you have approved. Click Customize and add all of the sites you want to allow the user to visit, and everything else will be prohibited.
Altering hosts files is method number two. Disallow the use of the Windows hosts file.
In Windows, blocking individual websites is simple – and usually child-proof. It’s absolutely free, doesn’t require any additional software, and just requires a few fast changes to your computer’s Windows hosts file.
The hosts file, which is a plain text file used by your operating system to map IP addresses and hostnames, can be used to redirect a domain name to your local computer, effectively blocking the desired website. It’s a terrific approach to keep visitors from seeing content you don’t want them to view, no matter what browser they’re using or what time of day it is.
Keep in mind, though, that changing the file requires administrator access, and it can be a little complicated. You can always undo the adjustment if necessary, although the process is a little more involved than the parental controls on Windows and MacOS.
Step 1: First, you’ll need to log in as an administrator to Notepad. To do so, type Notepad into the desktop search bar, then right-click the resulting app. Then select Run As Administrator and confirm your choice by clicking Yes. Then navigate to the host file by selecting File > Open and looking for it in that window. By going to C: > Windows > System32 > Drivers > Etc, you may find the Hosts file. In that same File Explorer window, you may need to pick All Files from the drop-down file format menu.
Step 2: Choose your hosts.
Step 3: You’ll notice numerous lines of text in Notepad that are utilized for mapping reasons. Enter 127.0.0.1 and press the spacebar beneath the last line of text, which should mention something about a local host. On the same line, write the web URL of the website you wish to block. To block all traffic from the popular video-sharing site, use 127.0.0.1 www.youtube.com.
Step 4: Repeat Steps 1–4 for each website you want to block, beginning with 127.0.0.1, followed by a space, then the appropriate website. Make sure to only use www and not http unless you want the entry to be invalid. No other text in the hosts file should be changed.
Step 5: Once you’ve entered the sites you wish to block, go to the File menu in the upper left corner and select Save — don’t alter the name or save location — and disregard any warnings about modifying the hosts file. When you’re done, close Notepad.
Step 6: Test the effects in your preferred browser! When you try to access any of the sites on your restricted list, you should receive a blank page instead. It’s possible that you’ll need to restart your browser and wait a few moments for the changes to take effect.
When you’re using MacOS, you can host a file.
Blocking websites on MacOS works in the same way that it does on Windows. The procedure is simple and free, and it involves editing your Mac’s hosts file to redirect a certain domain name. It’s a straightforward technique that prevents users from seeing anything you find objectionable across browsers, but it can be undone in the future if you wish to grant access to the sites.
Step 1: Open Terminal by going to the main apps folder, clicking Utilities, and selecting Terminal from the list that appears. You can also do it by using Spotlight to look for the software.
Step 2: Now is the time to make a backup of the hosts file in case something goes wrong. To make a backup of the file in question, use sudo /bin/cp /etc/hosts /etc/hosts-original on the Terminal command line. When prompted, key in your administrative password and press Enter. It may appear that your keystrokes aren’t being registered properly — for example, your cursor isn’t moving — but rest assured, they are.
Step 3: On the Terminal command line, type sudo nano /etc/hosts and press Enter to open your hosts file in a nano box. Then, when prompted, enter your administrative password.
Step 4: When you open the hosts file, you’ll see various lines of text that are utilized for mapping reasons. Enter 127.0.0.1 and press the spacebar beneath the last line of text, which should mention something about a local host. On the same line, write the web URL of the website you wish to block. To block all traffic from the popular video-sharing site, use 127.0.0.1 www.youtube.com.
Step 5: Repeat Steps 1–5 for each website you want to block, beginning with 127.0.0.1, followed by a space, then the appropriate website. Ensure that you only use www and not http, and that you do not change any other content in the host’s file unless you wish to make the entry invalid.
Step 6: When you’re finished, press O while holding down the Control key. Then press X while holding down the Control key to quit the hosts’ file.
Step 7: To flush your existing cache and apply the modifications, type sudo dscacheutil -flushcache and press Enter again. You can also try restarting your computer.
Open your favorite browser and test the effects once you’re back up and running! When you try to access any of the sites on your restricted list, you should receive a blank page instead.
Method number three is to use your router’s settings.
Using the methods described above, blocking all users at all times and on all browsers can take some time. Fortunately, your router is another wonderful tool that will provide you network-wide control over the blocking process without using any other software. Although we cannot guarantee that your router will block specific websites, most routers come with parental controls that allow you to restrict website access entirely, on specific days of the week, or even during specific hours.
Step 1: Log in to your router’s web interface. In general, typing 192.168.1.1 into your browser’s address bar will give you access to your router. The next step is to input a username and password, albeit the defaults may differ depending on the router.
If you’re not sure how to access your router, look for the username and password on the device’s label. You can also find that information, as well as the default IP address, in the instruction manual. If the information isn’t available, go to routerpasswords.com or cirt.net to find up the router’s settings.
Step 2: Locate the security window on your router, which contains content blocking choices. Many manufacturers title security menu options as Access Restrictions or Content Filtering, so you’ll have to sleuth around to find the relevant settings.
Step 3: Once you’ve located the appropriate window, type or copy and paste all of the website addresses you want to block. You may be given further options to further restrict the website through other means. Before closing the tab, make sure you hit save and apply.
Blocking a website isn’t difficult, whether you’re attempting to keep yourself focused on the task at hand or prohibiting unsuitable content. To properly block hazardous websites or improper content, you can use a trinity of your router, host file modifications, and parental controls.