Websites like Facebook and Twitter can be blocked in several ways. Browser-agnostic options work best with computers that have multiple browsers installed but need blocking in all of them. Browser-specific blocking works best when you only use one browser and can restrict access to other browsers.
Browser-agnostic website blocking operates outside the Web browsers. Typically this is done in three ways: Using the Windows Hosts file, blocking the sites on your router or using Microsoft Family Safety. The Hosts file or Microsoft Family Safety are better options if you want to restrict site access on only one computer, while blocking sites on the router is better if you want to restrict access to all computers on the network.
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Open File Explorer and find the Hosts file. Typically, you can find it by following this file path:
Right-click Hosts and select Open With.
Select Notepad from the list.
Add the following lines to the bottom of the document:
While these instructions use Twitter and Facebook as specific examples, you can block any website using the Hosts file.
Click File followed by Save to save the host file and block the sites.
Any time you want to unblock the sites, open the Hosts file again and remove the lines you've added and then save the file
These are generalized instructions, illustrated using a Motorola Surfboard modem/router with an Arris interface. Consult your user manual for specifics on configuring blocks or filters on your router.
Go to your router's administration interface by entering the router's IP address in a Web browser and sign in to the router administrator account.
- Common router IP addresses include http://192.168.1.1, http://192.168.0.1 or http://192.168.2.1. If none of these addresses work, check your router's documentation for a listing of the correct router IP address.
- If you never configured the sign-in credentials for your router's administrator account, you can find the default sign-in username and password by checking out Port Forward's Default Router Passwords page.
Go to the interface's access control system, typically listed as Access Control or Access Restrictions. It may also be listed under Parental Control.
Create a new filter and enter the details of the restrictions you want to enter and set the filter to Block. Restrictions can include username, the blocked website and even a specific time of day to block access.
Click Save or Apply when finished to confirm and activate the filter or block.
Microsoft Family Safety
Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera block websites and content using Windows's Family Safety options, which require you to create and use a "child" account in order to restrict content. Administrator accounts can manage the content a child account is allowed to access, including specific websites. Administrators can also establish limits on the amount of time spent on the child's account.
To create a child account, follow the instructions provided by Microsoft. When the account is set up, the following directions block any website, including Facebook and Twitter.
Press Windows-X and select Control Panel.
Click Set up Family Safety for any user.
Select the child account you want to restrict.
Click On, enforce current settings radio button and then click Web Filtering.
Click the [Account Name] can only use the websites I allow radio button and then click Allow or block specific websites.
- At any time, you can remove this restriction and allow a website by selecting it from the list and clicking Remove.
- Family Safety limits can also be set on child accounts by visiting the Family Safety management page while logged into your Windows account. However, online account management doesn't work for child accounts set up without an email address.
Browser-specific blocking options are best when you control what browsers are available on the computer and how other users access them. As of publication, Chrome requires its own specific setup, while Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera can all have websites blocked from the Microsoft Family Safety.
Chrome, Firefox and Opera all also feature extensions that can block websites, although the frequent update cycle of Web browsers means some site-blocking add-ons may not work properly after a new update.
Chrome features website blocking only when using supervised user accounts. Supervised user accounts are special accounts overseen by an administrator account, which can block websites, review Web history and adjust user settings for the supervised user.
To learn how to create and manage supervised accounts on Chrome, check out Google's help page on the subject.