5 Ways to Block Websites on Mac with or without Parent Controls

Rosa Reyes
time June 03, 2021 Preview 40.7K
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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. In these cases, blocking websites on your Mac becomes quite important.

Blocking distracting websites can help us become more focused and productive. Also, blocking inappropriate websites can help parents keep children safer online. This article will show you five ways on how to block websites on Mac, with or without Parental Controls on macOS, including the latest macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 10.15 Catalina or earlier.

The easiest way to block websites on Mac in Safari or Chrome

Applies to: macOS 10.10 or later

If you want to block websites on Mac without Parental Controls, the easiest and best way is to use a dedicated website blocker for Mac like Cisdem AppCrypt.

Cisdem AppCrypt comes with an easy-to-use interface and useful features, allowing you to block websites and lock apps forever or on schedule and helping you block distractions permanently or during certain hours of the day. It provides high-level security to protect your privacy and secure your blocking plans.

How to block websites on Mac in Safari or Chrome

Cisdem AppCrypt offers two solutions to block websites in Safari or Chrome on Mac, i.e. blocking permanently or during certain hours.

Method 1. How to block websites on Mac in Safari or Chrome Permanently

1. Log in to the administrator account or other users on your Mac that you want to block websites for.

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

Free Download

set a password to block websites on Mac

3. Choose Open Main Window.

choose Open Main Window

4. Click Web Block in the upper right part of the main window.

main window

You can block one or multiple websites (e.g., youtube.com) by adding them to the Block list. Or, you can import a category of sites to block. The Allow list mode can block all sites except a few.

block websites by adding them to the Blocklist

5. Click the site blocker’s icon and choose Enable WebBlock if it’s not enabled.

enable

Now let’s open Safari or Chrome and visit youtube.com. You will find the YouTube website is blocked. You can follow these steps to block any inappropriate or adult websites as needed.

websites blocked


Method 2. How to block websites on Mac in Safari or Chrome for a period of time

1. Log in to the administrator account or others on your Mac that you want to block websites for.

2. Download and install AppCrypt to your Mac. Set a password if you are a first-time user.

Free Download

3. Run the program and go to WebBlock.

4. Add the inappropriate or other specific websites to the Blocklist.

5. Click Menu in the main window and choose Preferences > Schedule.

choose Preferences

6. Select a blocked website in the left sidebar and click Add Schedule.

the left sidebar

7. Now select the time and day you based on your needs.

For example, if you want to open a specific website all the morning for each Wednesday to Friday, you can set the unblock schedule as following, and your added websites will be blocked temporarily for the time excluded from the unblock time schedule.

8. Click the icon and choose Enable WebBlock if it’s not enabled.


How to unblock websites on Mac in Safari or Chrome

To unblock a website, you can remove it from the Blocklist.

1. Select the domain in the WebBlock window.

2 Click the minus icon.

Alternatively, you can click the AppCrypt icon in the top menu bar and select Disable WebBlock.

select Disable WebBlock

To disable WebBlock, you need to enter the correct password. In Preferences, you can create a keyboard shortcut to enable/disable WebBlock.

 

Block websites on macOS 10.15 Catalina with Screen Time

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 users who have upgraded to macOS 10.15 Catalina or macOS 11 Big Sur.

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 may need to try Cisdem AppCrypt.

Pros

  • Included with macOS
  • Support blocking on the administrator account

Cons

  • No support for Chrome and other non-Apple browsers

How to block websites on macOS Catalina in Safari

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.

go to Content & Privacy

4. Go to Content > Limit Adult Websites.

enable Limit Adult Websites

5. Click Customize. Click the plus icon + to add Restricted or Allowed URLs for websites blocking in Safari.

add Restricted URLs


Steps 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.

 

How to block websites on Mac Terminal (via the hosts file)

Applies to: macOS 11 or earlier

Still, there are more options to block websites on Mac without Parent Controls, like using 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.

Pros

  • Built-in to Mac
  • Block websites on all browsers

Cons

  • Not for people who are not familiar with command line

Steps to block websites on Mac with Terminal

1. Go to Finder’s Applications folder, find the Terminal app and run it.

2. Paste “sudo nano /etc/hosts” to Terminal as following.

block websites Mac host 01

3. Press the Return key. When Password appears, input your Mac password and press the Return key again.

block websites Mac host 02

4. Now the hosts file is ready for editing. Go to the end of the host file, copy and paste “127.0.0.1” in a new line, input the website name you want to block on Mac, for example, youtube.com.

block websites Mac host 03

5. Once you have added all blocked website URLs, press Control-O to save the hosts file and press Control-X to exit.

This method on how to block a website on Mac can be tedious.


Steps to unblock a blocked site with Terminal

1. Get the hosts file ready for editing in Terminal, as in Step 4.

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.

 

How to block websites on Mac with browser extensions

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.

Pros

  • Instant and effortless blocking

Cons

  • Relatively easy to bypass
  • Support one browser only

How to block websites on Mac’s Chrome with extension

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.

choose Block this Page

4. Click OK to confirm the blocking.

confirm the blocking

To remove the blocking, go to the blocked site, control-click and choose Unblock this Page.


How to block websites on Firefox for Mac with extension

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.

click Block this site

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.

the main screen

 

Block websites on Mac with Parental Controls

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.

Pros

  • Come with macOS

Cons

  • Support non-admin users only

Steps to restrict websites on Mac in Parental Controls

1. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Parental Controls.

2. Click the lock icon in order to make changes. Enter the administrator password.

the lock icon

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.

the Web tab

5. Click Customize to add blocked websites. You can add allowed or prohibited websites.

add websites to block on Mac

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 recommended.


Steps 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.

 

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 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.

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Rosa Reyes
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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.

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Comments (4) Leave a Reply

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  • Richard Bright

    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.

    0 months ago Reply

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  • 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.

    5 years ago Reply

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  • 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?

    5 years ago Reply

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    • Susan

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

      5 years ago
  • 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

    6 years ago Reply

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