How to Block Websites on Mac without or with Parental Controls

2019-05-30 03:23:38 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to Utility Follow @ Rosa

Is there a method or a website blocker to block websites on Mac? When I am trying to work on my Mac, something always drags me from working, like watching YouTube videos, listening to musics, etc. This is very annoying and makes me less productive. Does anybody know how to block websites on Mac? Any help will be greatly appreciated. ― From an anonymous Mac user

To be distracted is human. There are always things that prevent us from focusing on work or study. Sometimes we just can’t stop ourselves from reading Facebook feed, refreshing Instagram and watching YouTube videos, just to name a few. This article will show Mac users how to block websites on Safari, Chrome and other web browsers without Parental Controls or with it. Blocking distracting websites can help us become more focused and productive. In addition, blocking inappropriate websites can help parents keep children safe on the Internet.

The best way to block websites on Mac

If you want to block websites on Mac without Parental Controls, the best way is to use a website blocker. Cisdem AppCrypt comes with an easy-to-use interface and useful features.

  • Block websites on Mac by creating blacklist or whitelist
  • Work for Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.
  • Enable users to block all sites except a few
  • Make it easy to block and unblock websites
  • Can also password lock apps on Mac
  • Allow users to lock apps during certain times
  • Work in the background with no CPU usage while idle

How to block websites on Mac in 2 easy steps

Step 1. Download and install AppCrypt on your Mac. When you first launch the app, you will be asked to set a password.

set a password to block websites on Mac

Note: Don’t forget the password. This website blocker for Mac is unable to rest or retrieve the password once you forget it.

Step 2. Click WebBlock in the upper right corner of the main window. The Preferences window will show up. Under the WebBlock tab, you can block one or multiple websites by adding them to the blacklist. If you need to block all sites except a few, you can add use the Whitelist feature.

add websites to block

This is how to block websites on Mac. Now let’s open Safari and visit facebook.com (which is blocked). It’s blocked, as shown in the screenshot below.

websites are blocked

To unblock a blocked website, you can remove it from the blacklist. Alternatively, you can click the AppCrypt icon in the menu bar at the top of the screen on your Mac and select Disable WebBlock.

enable or disable WebBlock

To disable WebBlock, you need to enter the correct password. If someone enters a wrong password when attempting to unblock websites or to access locked apps, the app will keep record of the failed attempt.

record of failed attempts

Pro Tip: In Preferences, you can create a keyboard shortcut to enable/disable WebBlock.

How to block a website on Mac with Parental Controls

You can use Parental Controls in Mac OS X to help prevent user accounts from accessing to some Internet websites regardless of which Internet browser is used. This part describes how to block websites using Parental Controls step by step.

Step 1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences. From the View menu, choose Parental Controls.

Step 2. Select the user account on the left side of the window that you would like to enable parental controls. Then click Enable Parental Controls. Click the Content tab to set restrictions. If there are no user accounts for you to choose, you’d better set a new one to be enabled Parental Controls by clicking + button.

Step 3. Choose Web and choose one of the three modes under Website Restrictions. See below for a description of each. Then click the lock to prevent further changes.

block websites on Mac using Parental Controls

Note: 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).

To unblock, just go to Web > Website Restrictions. Select the option Allow unrestricted access to websites.

Pro Tip: You can customize the option Try to limit access to adult websites to allow or block access to specific websites.

2 other ways to block websites on Mac without Parental Controls

If you want to block websites on Safari on Mac without using Parental Controls, there are other methods for you.

#1 How to block websites on Mac through hosts file in Terminal

Using Terminal to blocking website on Mac is free for Mac users without buying any application. The process is relatively quick, and requires altering your Mac’s hosts file to redirect a specified domain name. 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. Follow below steps to block a website whether you use Safari or other Internet browsers.

Step 1. Open up Terminal in /Applications/Utilities. Type sudo/bin/cp/etc/hosts/etc/hosts-original on the Terminal command line to make a backup of the file. Hit Enter and type in your administrative password when prompted.

Block and Unblock Sites through Hosts File in Terminal Step 1

Step 2. Next, type sudo nano /etc/hosts and hit Enter on the Terminal command line to open up your hosts file in a nano box. Enter your administrative password and you’ll see the host database for your computer. Using your down arrow, go to the bottom, right under where it says,  SERVER_IP_ADDRESS localhost, for example 127.0.0.1 localhost.

Step 3. Edit the hosts file. Type in SERVER_IP_ADDRESS domain.com, such as 127.0.0.1 facebook.com. On a new line, type in SERVER_IP_ADDRESS www.domain.com; this is for extra measure. Now, hold down Control + O. This will save the changes to the host database. Hit Return and then Control + X to exit the screen.

Block and Unblock Sites through Hosts File in Terminal Step 3

Step 4. Remove the existing cache by typing in sudo dscacheutil -flushcache in the command line, this refreshes the existing cache on the host database. You should receive an Unable to connect error message when you go to the website.

Block and Unblock Sites through Hosts File in Terminal Step 4

Note: You can also unlock these websites by repeating the steps above but removing the information entered in step 3. This method on how to block a website on Mac can be tedious.

#2 How to Block Websites on Mac with browser extensions

Some Internet browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox allow you to download extensions for your browser in which you can manage websites. Go to your Internet search engine and enter keyword phrases such as "Chrome add-ons" or "Firefox extensions" to locate websites that feature add-ons for your particular browser. Then download the extensions and add them to your browsers. Here I will set BlockSite extension as example.

Step 1. Add BlockSite extension to your Mac. And right click the icon to choose Option.

Step 2. Add pages to the list of blocked sites, such as google.com

Prevent Access to Websites Using Internet Browser Extensions Step 2

Step 3. When you open google, you will find the website is blocked by BlockSite extention.

blocksite

Pro Tip: To block websites on Mac for a period of time, 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. You can also select days of the week. Click Set Schedule to save your settings.

TinyFilter is another choice if you prefer to block websites on your Mac without using parental controls or installing any software. As the name suggests, it’s designed to be a internet content filter. By default, it blocks adult sites and related keywords which are removable.

Step 1. Download TinyFilter and add it to your browser. And you will find its icon on your browser toolbar.

Step 2. Add the websites you want to block to its Content Filter. Click the icon on the toolbar and then click options. On the option page, you can find the Content Filter section where you input the website URL you want to block and click the add button.

use tinyfilter to block websites on mac

Don’t forget to click the Save button to save your settings. You can enable the password protection function and set a password. The Advanced Settings allows you to customize the Warning Message and redirect blocked web pages.

Conclusion

macOS offers a built-in solution to block access to websites. If you want to block websites on Safari and other browsers on Mac without Parental Controls, the other three methods are worth trying. The most efficient way is to use a Mac website blocker like AppCrypt. 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.

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4 Comments Leave a Reply

  • Darren

    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.

    2 years ago REPLY
  • William

    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?

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Susan

    There is no way to block specific google searches I think.

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Gina

    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

    3 years ago REPLY