The Internet is a pandora’s box of content often used by many for a variety of purposes. Sometimes productive other times not so much.
Have you ever found yourself wandering off? One moment you’re researching for your assignment the next you’re off on YouTube watching a video of a spaghetti eating competition between a golden retriever and a German shepherd? I know I have.
Or, maybe you have a co-worker who slacks-off work and spends time on social media, or perhaps you’re guilty of it yourself. Hey, we’re human after all. But wouldn’t it be a great idea if we could limit and focus our time on more productive sites?
Google Chrome use to have an inbuilt supervised profile creation option which was secure and straightforward site blocking features but was removed without any official replacement for the time being.
But fear not! As there is an Extension app for almost everything on the Google web store. Here are three of the best for keeping you away from distraction online.
Also read: 8 ways to block ads on Android smartphones
Price: Free/in-app purchases
Platforms: Chrome Desktop, Android
Block Site is the best and innovative extension for website blocking. It’s straightforward while giving you simple yet powerful controls for customising how you block.
How does it work?
After installation, you’ll notice a new Block this site entry on your right-click menu allowing you to block any site quickly with a few clicks instantly.
If you or anyone tries to visit the site, will get a message preventing you from doing so. To configure how the extension works right click on the Block site icon and go to options.
You also have various options to play around with.
- Block sites: This allows you to block the sites as you see fit traditionally. You can also schedule time so you can be unrestricted after a while as per your choosing.
- Work mode: This option allows you to block and also redirect you to a website to keep you on track.
- Block by words: This feature allows you to set a specific word or phrase which would be blocked by the app if detected in the URL.
- Block adult sites: You also have the option to block Adult sites to block adult content. No filter is perfect, of course, but this will block all the major ones.
Block site also has sync function so you can sync to your android application too.
Price: Free/in-app Donation
Platforms: Chrome Desktop only
If you want more options and granular controls over your blocking and access, we suggest the stayFocusd Chrome extension.
How does it work?
After installation, you can add any site you wish to block just by clicking the extension icon and selecting the “block this entire site” option.
Once added you would also be able to configure its behaviour on various parameters.
- Max Times allowed: Here you can set the time limit for specific sites. A timer runs as you visit any of these sites in a pool format (Collective budgeted). So, be attentive of the time you allot.
- Active Days, Hours: Choose which days or hours the extension’s rules will take effect.
- Daily Reset Time: Choose the time when a new “day” of allotted time begins.
- Blocked sites: As the name suggests, It is the option to list the sites you wish to block in a blocklist. StayFocusd suggests blocking the block site’s tab too. However, we strongly don’t recommend locking yourself out of that page.
- The Nuclear Option: This is very similar to the Work mode option from the Block site app. It’s like a nuke which can’t be deactivated once it’s armed (hence the name) forcing you to be more productive.
Adding to these is a unique feature in the stay focused app.
- Require challenge: This requires special mention because it’s the most innovative way to stop you from changing the settings. How? You may ask. Enabling this forces you to type in a paragraph of your choice as a punishment before you are allowed to change the settings. Sounds easy right? Unfortunately like most things in real life No, it’s not. Here’s the kicker you have to type the entire passage without any typo and without using the backspace or delete key. If you do, however, it resets, and you’ll have to start over. How is that for a challenge?
Other settings include a customise section for your alerts and popups and an Import/Export section where you can import and export your settings.
Unfortunately, stayFocusd doesn’t have an android app. You can find stayFocusd for PC here
Google’s Personal Blocklist
Platforms: Chrome Desktop only
Personal Blocklist by Google is a more straightforward approach to blocking, or I should say hiding domains. Yes, unlike the other blocking apps in this list Google’s Personal Blocklist hides domains in search results. This is useful because the chances are that you visit these websites most of the time during Googling anyway.
Upon installation of the extension, You’ll see a new “Block(website).com” link under your Google search results. Clicking on it will add that particular website to your Block/Hide list
It lacks features unlike other apps on this list and doesn’t have much other than whitelist and export/ import settings.
Although you can visit the sites directly this app allows you to keep it out of view on Google.