How to Easily Block Any Website on Chrome Desktop and Mobile (2024 Ultimate Guide)

We live in the age of endless digital distraction. With just a few taps, we can access an infinite stream of information and entertainment. But this 24/7 access comes with a cost: The average person spends nearly 7 hours per day online, and up to 21% of working hours are lost to non-work browsing. All those stolen moments quickly add up to a massive productivity drain.

Website blocking offers a simple solution: By restricting access to your top distraction destinations, you remove the temptation to mindlessly scroll and create space for focused work. In this ultimate guide, we‘ll walk you through exactly how to block websites on Chrome desktop and mobile, recommend our favorite tools for the job, and explore the evidence-based benefits of digital decluttering.

Why You Should Use a Website Blocker

Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, once wrote "In the attention economy, the people who can focus for the longest win." And it‘s true: Our ability to sustain unbroken concentration is one of the most valuable skills in our distraction-saturated world.

But unfortunately, willpower alone often isn‘t enough to resist the siren song of social media, news headlines, and mindless entertainment. That‘s where website blockers come in: By creating a distraction-free virtual work environment, you make focus the path of least resistance.

Still not convinced? Consider the evidence:

  • A University of California study found that it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus after an interruption. Over a workday, those stolen moments can add up to hours of lost productivity.

  • Constant context switching between tasks can temporarily lower your IQ by up to 15 points, according to research by Professor Gloria Mark. That‘s the cognitive equivalent of pulling an all-nighter.

  • Allowing frequent breathers from tech actually makes us more productive when we are online. Kent State researchers found that students who used their phones less during the day felt more focused and accomplished.

The bottom line? In a world of constant connectivity, disconnecting is a competitive advantage. Website blockers make unplugging from distraction effortless so you can focus your energy where it counts.

How to Block Websites on Chrome Desktop

Blocking sites on Chrome desktop is a breeze with the right tools. We recommend BlockSite, a powerful and user-friendly extension that makes it easy to limit access to any site. Here‘s how to get started:

  1. Go to the Chrome web store and search for "BlockSite". Click "Add to Chrome" to install the extension.

  2. Click the red BlockSite shield icon that appears in the top right corner of your browser. This will open the BlockSite dashboard.

  3. Under "Block Sites," enter the URLs of the websites you want to restrict access to, such as twitter.com or netflix.com. Press enter after each one.

  4. By default, BlockSite will prevent access to the sites on your block list 24/7. To set a custom block schedule, click "Edit block list" then the gear icon next to the site. From here you can choose to only block during certain days or hours.

  5. For added focus power, enable the "Block by default" mode to automatically block any new sites you visit until you manually allow them. You can also set a "Redirection" URL to send you to a productive site like your to-do list when you try to visit a blocked page.

That‘s it! Your focus-draining faves are now off-limits. If you need to access a blocked site, simply click the BlockSite icon and hit the trash can button to remove it from your list.

Not a fan of BlockSite? Other great options for blocking sites on Chrome include:

Extension Key Features Price
Freedom Syncs blocks across all your devices, scheduling, whitelists $2.42/month
RescueTime Automatic time-tracking, productivity scoring, goal-setting $6.50/month
Forest Gamified focus timer with real tree planting rewards Free / $1.99 one-time

Blocking Sites on Chrome for Android

Blocking websites on your Android phone requires a different approach than on desktop. Instead of a browser extension, you‘ll need to use a dedicated app that can manage access to both websites and apps across your device.

Our top pick for Android is once again BlockSite. Their mobile app is just as easy to use as the Chrome extension:

  1. Download the BlockSite app from the Google Play Store.

  2. Open the app and tap the green + button to start adding sites and apps to block. You can enter a URL or search for an installed app.

  3. By default, BlockSite will block your selected sites and apps all the time. To set a recurring schedule, tap the clock icon next to each item on your list.

An important note: Unlike the desktop version, the BlockSite Android app requires a permanent VPN connection to manage access across all your apps. This means you‘ll see a persistent notification when the blocking service is active. If this bothers you, consider an alternative like AppBlock for pure app blocking or StayFocusd for lightweight browser-only site blocking.

Website Blocking on iPhone

Blocking websites on iOS is trickier than Android since Apple is pretty strict about inter-app access (for good reason). But while there‘s no direct equivalent to BlockSite, you still have options for quieting the endless buzz of distraction.

1. Screen Time Website Restrictions

If your goal is completely cutting off access to certain sites, your best bet is the built-in iOS Screen Time feature. It takes a few taps to set up, but you can block any site in any browser on your device:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time > See All Activity > Most Used.
  2. Tap the " + " icon next to MOST VISITED WEBSITES.
  3. Enter the URL of the website you want to block, then tap "Add."
  4. Repeat for additional sites. They‘ll appear under ALWAYS ALLOWED at the bottom.
  5. Tap Back, then flip the switch next to BLOCK AT END OF LIMIT.
  6. Set a daily time limit (e.g. 1 minute) and Customize Days if you only want to block on certain days.

Now when you try to visit one of the sites on your list, you‘ll see a "Time Limit Reached" message. This method is best for blocking sites across all browsers long-term.

2. Use a Content Blocker

If you mainly use Safari and want more nuanced control over your browsing experience, consider a content blocker app. These let you hide individual page elements or block entire sites, similar to an ad blocker.

Our favorite is 1Blocker. After installing the app, you‘ll need to enable it:

  1. Go to Settings > Safari > Content Blockers
  2. Enable 1Blocker

Then open the app to start building your filters:

  1. Tap Whitelist from the main screen
  2. Tap the " + " icon, then New Blocker
  3. Select Hostname, then enter a website you want to block, e.g. facebook.com
  4. Leave Behavior set to Block and Options set to Any
  5. Tap Back then Save to create the blocker. Repeat for additional sites.

Now when you visit a blocked site in Safari, you‘ll just see a blank page. You can always edit your blockers from the 1Blocker app.

3. Download a Minimal Browser

For a simpler but less flexible iOS blocking solution, try a streamlined browser app with built-in website blocking. We like Firefox Focus – just tap the menu icon, go to Settings > URLs blocked list, and enter any sites you want to restrict. Brave Browser offers a similar feature.

The main limitation of this method is that it only works within that specific browser. But if you just need a quick and easy way to avoid distractions during focused work sessions, a minimal browser can be a great option.

Block Sites by Hacking Your Hosts File

If you‘re the DIY type, there‘s one other way to block websites on any device: editing your hosts file. This is the file on your computer that maps hostnames to IP addresses. By manually mapping a site‘s hostname to an invalid IP, you can block it from loading.

Fair warning: This method is not for the faint of heart. Incorrectly editing your hosts file can screw up your internet connection. But if you‘re up for a challenge, here‘s a quick overview:

  1. Find the hosts file on your device. On Windows it‘s at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. On Mac it‘s at /private/etc/hosts. You may need administrator access to edit it.

  2. Open the file with a plain text editor like Notepad or TextEdit.

  3. To block a site, add a new line at the end of the file that reads: 127.0.0.1 www.blockedsite.com (replace with the actual site). This will redirect the site to your localhost so it can‘t load. You can also use 0.0.0.0 instead of 127.0.0.1.

  4. Save the file. Your blocked sites should now show an error when you try to visit them.

To unblock a site, just remove its line from your hosts file. Again, be very careful when editing system files like this — one misplaced character can cause connection chaos. When in doubt, stick with an extension or app!

Other Ways to Reduce Digital Distraction

Website blocking is a great starting point for improving your focus, but it‘s not the only tool in the anti-distraction toolbox. A few other techniques to try:

  • Usage tracking: Apps like RescueTime, Moment and Space automatically log how much time you spend on different activities and give you detailed reports. Simply being aware of where your time goes can be a powerful motivator.
  • Grayscale mode: Switching your phone to black and white removes the eye-catching colors that make apps so irresistible. On Android go to Settings > Digital Wellbeing & Parental Controls. On iOS go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Color Filters.
  • Notification blocking: Disabling notifications for your most distracting apps lets you check them on your own schedule instead of being constantly pulled away. Both iOS and Android let you choose which apps can send notifications in Settings.
  • Focused work sessions: Timeboxing techniques like the Pomodoro method (25 minutes of focused work followed by a 5-minute break) can help you resist the urge to tab-surf. Apps like Forest and Tide make it easy to start the timer and get in the zone.

The key is to experiment and find the right balance of tools and techniques to support your productivity without feeling overly restricted. What works for one person might be digital overkill for another.

A Note on Ergonomics and Eye Health

Blocking distracting sites is a great first step toward healthier screen habits, but don‘t forget the physical side of the equation. Staring at screens for hours on end can lead to eyestrain, headaches, and foggy focus – not exactly a recipe for doing your best work.

A few tips to protect your peepers:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eye muscles a much-needed break.
  • Position your monitor about an arm‘s length away, with the top of the screen slightly below eye level. This reduces strain on your neck and eyes.
  • Match your screen brightness to your environment. Aim for a level that‘s comfortable to look at without squinting or straining.
  • Use a blue light filter like f.lux or your device‘s built-in Night Shift mode, especially in the evenings. Blue light interferes with melatonin production which can disrupt your sleep and focus.

Go Forth and Focus

We live in a world of constant connectivity, where focus is the exception rather than the rule. Website blockers are a powerful weapon in the battle against endless distraction, but they‘re just one part of a broader intentional tech toolkit.

By taking control of your digital environment – blocking distractions, tracking your time, and optimizing for focus – you tilt the playing field in your favor. With every small habit change, you strengthen your ability to do deep, meaningful work in a shallow, sound-bite world.

So go ahead and begin your blocking journey. Start small with just a few distracting domains, then iterate and optimize as you settle into your new routine. The road to laser-focus starts with a single block.