Sometimes, it’s necessary to block an entire website on your mobile device so that it cannot be accessed even accidentally.
Perhaps you want to prevent adult content from showing up, want to avoid a site that ruins your productivity — like Facebook — or don’t want to ever visit a particular URL. Whatever the case, there are several methods at your disposal that you can use to make this happen.
I should first note that the method you choose will depend on where and how you want the website blocked.
Advanced users, for example, might be more inclined to edit the host’s file to block all access across everything. If you want to block the website in a particular browser, there are easier ways of doing that, as well.
Sort through the list and choose the option that suits your preferences.
1. Block Sites Using BlockSite
The easiest way to outlaw websites is to install an app called BlockSite. Once installed, the app will make sure you cannot access the affected URL from any browser, be it default, Chrome, Firefox mobile, or another.
You can download and install the app for free, via Google Play. To block inappropriate websites:
- Open the BlockSite app select the Get Started.
- Go to the Settings button. Make sure to enable the BlockSite service in your Android settings.
- Click Allow when it asks. Clicking Allow gives it the appropriate permissions.
- Tap the + icon located in the bottom right.
- Select the Website tab and enter the URL of the website you wish to block.
- Select the check mark to save your entry. This mark is in the top right corner.
- Visit the website you blocked in a browser to make sure it’s now inaccessible. If you notice that you’re still able to access the blocked website, wait for a few minutes and access it again.
BlockSite also offers extensions for most popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, even on mobile. The add-ons offer an alternative to installing the native app.
2. Edit the ‘Hosts’ System File
I should note that this solution is a bit more advanced and requires technical knowledge. You may also need a rooted Android device — some devices restrict the editing of protected system files.
- Open an advanced file explorer app like ES File Explorer.
- Make sure ‘hidden files’ is selected in the app settings; in ES File Explorer you can see this by tapping the menu and ticking the box next to Show Hidden Files.
- Navigate to the Local directory; in ES File Explorer this can be done by selecting the menu icon (three horizontal lines) > Device > Local.
- Scroll through the list of files and folders until you see one named ‘hosts’.
- Tap the ‘hosts’ file and choose Open as Text > ES Note Editor.
- Select the edit icon (pencil) and add a new line with the following information: [127.0.0.1 <website URL>].
- Make sure you save the file when you’re done.
- Reboot your device to ensure the change(s) take effect.
If you followed the steps correctly and added the URL to your ‘hosts’ file the website should now be blocked completely on your Android device, no matter what browser or app you use.
3. Install a ‘Safe’ Browser
Believe it or not, there are browsers specifically designed to block distracting, mature, or damaging websites. Brave is a great example, with versions available for desktop, Android, and iOS.
Another great example — and one you might want to give a try now — is Safe Browser. It was built from the ground up to block mature and adult-oriented websites, so much that it’s an ideal browser for children. That doesn’t mean adults should rule it out, however.
Like most browsers, Safe Browser offers multiple tab support, bookmarks, detailed browsing history logs, and strict controls over what content is visible and what’s not.
4. Install a Mobile Firewall
Think of a firewall as a dam, restricting the flow of various apps and services on your device. Much like a dam prevents water from flowing past, the firewall does the same for internet traffic and activity.
The best part about installing a firewall on your mobile device is that you don’t have to restrict permissions for some apps.
This is important because even though you might want to prevent certain apps from accessing the internet, they require you to enable permissions to use them.
A firewall, on the other hand, blocks internet access for all outgoing — and incoming — connections. The app thinks it has access, when it doesn’t. It’s a neat little trick.
For the purpose of this guide, NoRoot Firewall is the app you should download and install. Once it’s on your phone, do the following to block sites:
- Select the Global Filters tab.
- Under the Pre-Filters section choose New Pre-Filter.
- In the Address field enter the URL of the website you wish to block. Be sure to include the HTTP or HTTPS)
- In the Port field, select the * (star) option.
- Tick the boxes next to the Wi-Fi and data icons. This is above those two fields.
- Select the OK button to save the changes.
- Return to the home screen and select the Start button. The start button allows you to activate the firewall.
After you’ve saved the profile for the website you wish to block, you must then activate the firewall. To do this, return to the home screen and select the Start button.
The website should now be blocked, meaning you cannot access it from your mobile device via any browser or app.
Of course, there are many apps and tools not listed here that will also allow you to block certain websites. Parental control apps, for instance, might allow you to block certain sites — Trend Micro’s Mobile Security and Anti-Virus app offers parental controls.
Rest assured, the solutions listed above are both the easiest and most comprehensive. Just understand there are alternatives if you wish to explore them.
If you want to prevent access to a site across all apps, browsers, and connections, then editing your ‘hosts’ file is the way to go.
But because it requires technical knowledge, it may not be the ideal option for everyone. In which case, you should opt to either install BlockSite, a safe browser, or a mobile firewall.
If you run into any issues or have questions about something on this list, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to provide assistance.