To be distracted is human. When you use your Mac for work or school, there are always things that prevent you from focusing. Sometimes you just can’t stop watching YouTube videos or checking social media etc. Don’t worry. This article will show you how to block websites on Mac.
Blocking distracting websites can help you become more focused and productive. Also, blocking inappropriate websites can help parents protect their children from bad content online.
Mac provides the Parental Controls feature to help users restrict websites, but it is useful in a limited way and somewhat obsolete. In this article, you will find easy ways to block websites on Mac without Parental Controls.
Applies to: macOS 10.12 or later
Available for macOS Mojave or earlier, Mac’s Parental Controls only works with Safari. To block websites on Safari and other browsers on Mac without Parental Controls on macOS Monterey, macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra and macOS Sierra, the best way is to use Cisdem AppCrypt, the best dedicated website blocker for Mac.
Cisdem AppCrypt main features:
1. Download and install Cisdem AppCrypt.
2. The first time you open it, set a password.
3. Click its icon in the menu bar. Choose Open Main Window.
4. Type the password and click OK.
5. You are in the main window now. Choose the Web Block tab.
6. Under the Web Block tab, add one or multiple websites (e.g. youtube.com, facebook.com) to block. Or, you can import a category of sites to block.
7. Click Enable WebBlocker if it’s not enabled.
You can follow the steps to block access to inappropriate, distracting or any other websites. The unwanted websites will be blocked on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac etc. permanently as long as AppCrypt is running.
If you want, you can block websites for a period of time by using the Schedule feature. Under the Web Block tab, select a certain website and click the clock icon next to it. Turn on Custom Schedule and set the site to be blocked at specific times of the day and days of the week, for example, during school hours.
Tip 1: How to block all websites except one on Mac
There are two blocking modes: Block list (default) and Allow list. By switching to the Allow list mode, you can block all websites but one (or more). Allowing only certain websites can help parents completely control what children can access online.
Tip 2: How to unblock websites
If you don’t want to block a website on your Mac anymore, you can unblock it.
Applies to: All macOS versions
Another way to block a website on your Mac without Parental Controls is to edit the hosts file using Terminal. The hosts file is an operating system file. Terminal is a terminal app included with macOS.
If you are tech-savvy and familiar with command-line interfaces, you may find this method easy, quick and free. But one should be careful anyway because this involves modifying a system file.
1. Open Finder. Go to Applications > Utilities.
2. Open Terminal.
3. Enter “sudo nano /etc/hosts”. Press the Return key.
4. Enter your Mac’s admin password. Press the Return key.
5. Use the Down Arrow key to go down. Now you can add a website to block. Suppose you want to block YouTube. In a new line, enter “127.0.0.1 youtube.com”. In the next line, enter “127.0.0.1 www.youtube.com”.
6. Continue adding other unwanted websites.
7. Once you finish adding, press Control-O and then press the Return key to save your editing.
8. Press Control-X to exit.
Follow the steps to block a website whether you use Safari or other Internet browsers. This process will prevent users from seeing content you deem block-worthy across all browsers but that can be reversed should you want to grant access to the sites in the future.
Tip: How to unblock website on Mac with Terminal
1. Get the hosts file ready for editing in Terminal, as shown above.
2. Add a number sign # before the line of the site from which you want to remove the blocking.
3. Use Control-O and then Control-X.
Applies to: All macOS versions
It’s also possible to restrict websites at the browser level. Some Internet browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox allow you to download extensions for your browser in which you can manage websites. I will set two extensions as the example to block websites on Mac without installing any software.
1. Go to the Chrome Web Store. Install Block Site offered by rynu.smith.
2. Open an unwanted website in Chrome.
3. Control-click and choose Block this Page.
4. Click OK to confirm the blocking.
To remove the blocking, go to the blocked site, control-click and choose Unblock this Page.
Firefox is the third most popular browser among Mac users. You can get social media sites, bad sites and other undesirable sites blocked on Firefox using an extension called BlockSite. Thanks to it, you can get the job done without using parental controls or installing any software.
1. Go to the Firefox Browser Add-Ons page. Install BlockSite provided by Blocksite.
2. Go to a site that you want to block from your Mac.
3. Click the extension’s icon in Firefox toolbar and click Block this site. The current site will be blocked immediately.
Tip: Block websites on Mac for a period of time with extension
Click Schedule in the upper right corner of the main screen. You can set the start time and the end time. Add one or multiple intervals if needed.
1. Go to the Safari Browser. In the Mac Menu bar select Safari > Safari Extensions.
2. Search for about:blank from the Extensions page.
3. Purchase and install it to your Safari browser.
4. Quit and reopen Safari browser. Then you’ll see a prompt: New Safari Extensions Available… Click Turn on and Review.
5. Click the extension’s icon on Safari’s menu bar.
6. Click the plus icon at the prompt window. Then add the unwanted website to the block list.
7. Now the website is blocked on Safari. Try to access the blocked website on Safari again, you will see a message: Safari can’t open the page.
Applies to: macOS 10.15 or later
With the growing popularity of Screen Time that came with iOS 12 in 2018, now macOS also brings this brilliant productivity-booster tool to Mac computers running macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 11 Big Sur or macOS 12 Monterey.
If you want to block inappropriate or adult websites in Safari on your Catalina or later, Screen Time can tackle this. However, if you want to block websites on Mac in Chrome, Screen Time is not helpful. You can use Cisdem AppCrypt.
1. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Screen Time.
2. Click Options in the corner and turn on Screen Time on your Mac.
3. Go to Content & Privacy.
4. Go to Content > Limit Adult Websites.
5. Click Customize. Click the plus icon to add Restricted or Allowed URLs for websites blocking in Safari.
Tip: How to unblock websites in Safari for Mac
1. Click Customize (as in step 5).
2. From the Restricted list, select the site you’d like to unblock by clicking it.
3. Click the minus icon.
Or, if you want to unblock all your blocked sites, switch from Limit Adult Websites back to Unrestricted Access.
Applies to: macOS 10.14 or earlier
You can use Parental Controls in Mac OS X to help prevent user accounts from accessing to specific Internet websites regardless of which Internet browser is used. This part describes how to block websites using Parental Controls step by step.
1. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Parental Controls.
2. Click the lock icon in order to make changes. Enter the administrator password.
3. On the left side of the window, select the user account that you would like to enable parental controls.
4. Go to the Web tab and enable Try to limit access to adult websites.
5. Click Customize to add blocked websites. You can add allowed or prohibited websites.
6. Click OK to enable websites blocking on Mac.
Parental Controls cannot be enabled for administrator accounts (admin accounts will not appear in the window). Check Accounts preferences in System Preferences to see which account(s) have what level of access (Admin, Managed, and so forth). How to block websites on a Mac administrator account? Try the other methods described in the article.
Tip: How to make websites unblocked on Mac
1. Go to the Never allow these websites section, as shown in step 5.
2. Click the site in the list.
3. Click the minus icon.
4. Click OK to apply changes.
macOS offers a built-in solution to block access to websites. If you want to know how to block websites on Mac on Safari and other browsers without Parental Controls, the other 4 methods are worth trying. The most efficient way is to use a Mac website blocker. It’s easy to use and applicable to all browsers. Other methods are not equally effective. For example, if you use a browser extension, the blocked website will become accessible once you have the extension removed.
Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.
What I dislike about Parental Controls is that you can't set them up for an administrator account. Screen Time is much better in that regard. But Screen Time's Limit Adult Websites blocks certain normal sites and pages that I need. The first method is better. It does no automatic blocking.
I loved your post!!! exactly what I wanted. This will be useful to help my son get rid of the addiction from Internet. My son can't inadvertently click on any of these sites now.
Hello, thank you for posting this, it's been really helpful so far! I was just wondering, does anyone know of a way to block specific google searches and not google entirely?
There is no way to block specific google searches I think.
With these methods recommended in this article, I can block any websites I want to be blocked, and the app recommended to lock apps is really wonderful