How To Block A Website and Stay Safe Online (Expert Tips)

Explore our expert tips and advice on blocking a website using various tools, such as secure browser extensions, parental control apps, and more.
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With so many websites out there, there will be some that you’ll want to block. Why would you want to do that? To protect your children, stop malware infections, and avoid online scams. Blocking malicious sites will ensure safe browsing for you and your family.

There are many ways to go about it, from parental control apps to the best secure browser extensions. Keep reading to learn how to block a website and which method is best for you.

In this article
Why would you want to block a website?
Four different types of content filtering
How to block a website
How to block websites FAQ
Bottom line

Why would you want to block a website?

The modern internet is a dangerous and distracting place. There are plenty of reasons to block certain websites in today’s world.

Here are the three most important ones:

  • Protecting your children online: The internet can expose children to harmful content, predators, cyberbullying, and much more. There are plenty of chatrooms, social media sites, and online games where bad actors can target your child. Keeping your children from accessing dangerous sites will ensure their well-being.
  • Avoiding distractions: According to a study by the National Science Foundation, blocking non-work-related websites can boost employees’ focus and productivity.[1]
  • Blocking security threats: Any type of website can host malware. However, sites with illegal (pirated) content are more likely to infect you. You should also be aware of phishing websites designed to steal your info and identity.

Chrome enhanced protection

Four different types of content filtering

Content filtering is a screening process for web pages. Its main goal is to block harmful websites on your device.

Dedicated programs can use different criteria for this, giving us four main types of content filtering:

  • Keyword filtering: This method can block sites containing specific keywords or combinations of keywords. It’s easy to set up and ideal if you have to target multiple languages. However, you can never create an exhaustive list of harmful terms; some unwanted content might slip through.
  • Category filtering: Blocking entire categories of content works on a much broader scale than keyword filtering. Dedicated programs usually offer settings for homes/families, schools, and organizations. The most commonly blocked categories include pornography, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, web chat, explicit violence, and more. Overblocking is the main problem here; You can restrict valuable resources due to their category.
  • URL filtering: This approach allows you to block specific URLs (website addresses). In other words, you can target known threats directly and stop them from loading on your network. If users try to access one of these URLs, they'll just get a "Website blocked" page.
  • DNS (Domain Name System) filtering: Although primarily used in corporate cybersecurity, DNS filtering can also protect home networks. DNS blocking intercepts your domain name requests and checks them against a list of restricted sites. If a site is on the list, this feature will block it at the domain level. DNS filtering lists require constant updates to stay effective against new malicious websites.

How to block a website

In the upcoming step-by-step guides, we'll show you how to block a website using six different methods. We'll also share a list of the best antivirus programs curated by our experts.

Use Google Chrome’s built-in features

Google Chrome has built-in features for blocking websites. However, it's more complicated than using a secure extension, and you'll need a Google Admin account — or create one — to do it.

Here's how to block a site on the desktop version of Google Chrome without an extension:

  1. Log into your Google Admin account
  2. Go to the home page
  3. Go to Devices > Chrome > Settings > Users & Browsers
  4. Pick an organizational unit (all users or children)
  5. Find the URL Blocking option
  6. Enter the websites you wish to block (up to 1,000)
  7. Click Save

Other web browsers are less user-friendly in this regard. With Firefox, you must use Windows Group Policy or the policies.json file, which is much more complicated. Edge currently doesn’t support website blocking, and you’d have to work around that through the command prompt. If you want to block a site without extensions, we recommend using the Chrome browser for its user-friendliness.

Configure parental controls on your operating system

Parental controls allow you to protect your children from harmful content. They can also include screen time limits and age restrictions for games and apps.

You can configure them on various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. In this section, we’ll focus on built-in parental controls on Windows 10 and iOS.

Here’s how to set up parental controls on Windows 10 and iOS:

  1. In the Start menu, go to Settings > Accounts
  2. Go to Family & other users > Add a family member
  3. Enter the email address of your child’s Microsoft account. If you don’t have one, click Create one for a child under Add a family member.
  4. Follow the instructions
  5. From the Start menu, go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other users > Manage family settings online
  6. On the child’s account you wish to configure, go to Options (three dots) > Go to overview.
  7. On the left side of your child’s profile, you can configure Screen time, Content filters, or Spending.
  8. To block websites, go to Content filters > Add a website
  9. Enter the URL of the site you wish to block.

Here’s how to block specific websites on iOS:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen TIme > Content & Privacy Restrictions
  2. Go to Web Content
  3. Tap Limit Adult Websites
  4. Add a website you wish to block under Add Website

Install a secure browser extension

Using a browser extension is the easiest way to restrict access to specific websites. In this section, we'll show you how to set them up on Chrome and Firefox. We recommend starting with simple extensions like StayFocusd or LeechBlock. They are beginner-friendly and come with many other helpful features.

StayFocusd Blocked Sites 1

Here’s how to install website-blocking extensions on Google Chrome:

  1. Go to the Chrome Web Store
  2. Select the extension you want after searching for it. For this example, we’ll select StayFocusd.
  3. Click Add to Chrome in the top right corner

StayFocusd Block Distracting Websites

  1. Confirm your choice by selecting Add extension
  2. Click Continue and then select Blocked Sites
  3. Click Add blocked sites and enter the URLs you want to restrict.

StayFocusd Blocked Sites 3

If you’re a Firefox user, follow these steps instead:

  1. Open the Firefox Add-ons site
  2. Search for LeechBlock or another website blocker add-on
  3. Click Add to Firefox next to the extension
  4. Click Add to confirm your choice
  5. A prompt will appear asking you to Allow this extension to run in Private Windows. Select Okay.
  6. Click on the Extensions icon next to the URL search bar and select LeechBlock.
  7. Enter the domain names of the sites to block. Then, scroll down and click Save Options & Close.

LeechBlock add-on

Use a reliable parental control app

Parental control apps are ideal for monitoring your child’s online activities. Here's what they can do:

  • Limit adult websites and filter harmful content
  • Monitor the sites your child visits and the apps they use
  • Set screen time limits for social media, games, and other distracting content.
  • Block certain features in games, like in-app purchases or chat functions
  • Keep track of your child's location for safety purposes

For those who are new to parental control apps, we strongly recommend trying Bark.

Bark specializes in monitoring, but rather than allowing parents to spy on their kid’s online activities, it takes a unique approach and encourages parents and children to discuss online safety, which improves digital literacy
Bark monitoring overview

Buy an antivirus program with content blocking

Antivirus programs are excellent tools for website blocking and protecting against malware or phishing. Many of them also include parental controls.

Based on our research and testing, we’d recommend these top three picks:

  • Norton 360 Deluxe: This plan provides real-time protection against phishing, ransomware, and other malware. It also includes a firewall, dark web monitoring, password manager, VPN, parental controls, and webcam protection. You can protect up to five devices with this subscription.

    Get Norton 360 Deluxe | Read Norton 360 Deluxe Review

Enjoy Norton’s 100% Virus Protection Promise
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Save up to 58% your first year
  • 4 plans available, all including antivirus, malware, ransomware, and hacking protection, Cloud backup, and a secure password manager
  • Option to add VPN connection, dark web monitoring, privacy monitoring, and more
  • Available for up to 10 devices depending on plan
  • Multi-tab navigation may be overwhelming at first

  • Bitdefender Total Security: This package offers advanced malware protection, web filtering, protection against phishing and other frauds, performance enhancer (Bitdefender Photon), Bitdefender VPN, anti-tracker, Wi-Fi Security Advisor, social network protection, microphone and webcam protection, parental controls, and a firewall.

    Get Bitdefender Total Security | Read Bitdefender Total Security Review

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  • Antivirus software offering reliable security
  • Simple yet powerful interface tools
  • Perfect protection score in third-party tests
  • Premium features incur additional subscription fees

  • McAfee+ Premium: This subscription includes malware protection for unlimited devices, a Social Privacy Manager, a VPN, web protection with security alerts on malicious websites, dark web monitoring, and scam protection.

    Get McAfee+ Premium | Read McAfee+ Premium Review

Online Protection With VPN Access and Identity Monitoring
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Save $90 on a 2-year plan
  • Inclusive antivirus, scam, and web protection with the added privacy of a VPN, identity monitoring, and secure password manager
  • Get a real-time Protection Score that measures your online safety and offers guidance to improve security
  • Added peace of mind with 24/7 expert online support and McAfee’s Virus Protection Pledge
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying

Block websites in your router

To block websites in your router, follow these simple steps:

  1. Access your router’s admin page.
  2. Find the URL filtering or parental controls section.
  3. Enter the websites you want to block and save the settings.

Keep in mind that each router has different settings and a different user interface, so the exact process will depend on the actual model.

How to block websites FAQ


+

How do I block a specific website?

You can use content-filtering software, website-blocking browser extensions, the parental control features in your native operating system, or parental control apps.


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Can I block websites on my phone?

Yes, Android and iOS devices offer built-in settings for content filtering, and parental control apps are also useful for managing children’s mobile devices. If you’re an iOS user, learn how to set up parental controls on your iPhone or iPad device.


+

How do I block a site on Google Chrome?

You can use built-in settings or the best secure browser extensions. BlockSite is one of the most popular extensions that allow you to create a list of blocked websites. You can also do this in Chrome browser settings under “Privacy and security.”


+

Does Safari block suspicious websites?

Safari can display warning messages when it detects suspicious or malicious websites; this feature is called Fraudulent Website Warning. However, it can’t actively block them.

Bottom line

Learning how to block a website is important for various reasons. These can range from protecting minors from inappropriate content and safeguarding against malware to enhancing the focus or productivity of employees or students.

Tools like content-filtering software, site-blocking browser extensions, robust antivirus programs, and parental apps are effective at blocking specific websites. Read more in our guide on the best secure browser extensions.

Online Protection With VPN Access and Identity Monitoring
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On McAfee's website
All-In-One
McAfee
Save $90 on a 2-year plan
  • Inclusive antivirus, scam, and web protection with the added privacy of a VPN, identity monitoring, and secure password manager
  • Get a real-time Protection Score that measures your online safety and offers guidance to improve security
  • Added peace of mind with 24/7 expert online support and McAfee’s Virus Protection Pledge
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying

Author Details
Mars is a cybersecurity professional and writer based in California. Currently pursuing a B.S. in Cybersecurity, he serves as an Advisory Board Member for WEBGAP, specializing in browser isolation. With an interest in OSINT, ethical hacking, and threat intelligence, Mars enjoys writing security content and has experience as a Security Researcher, Cybersecurity Analyst (WEBGAP), and Editor-in-chief (Secjuice).

Citations

[1] Effects of Individual Differences in Blocking Workplace Distractions