How to Block Bad Websites—or Just Get Things Done

LeechBlock NG for Chrome and Firefox isn’t quite as comprehensive as BlockSite, but it does the job, and it’s free to use. If you just want something really simple to manage a list of sites you want to steer clear of, it’s one of the best browser tools we’ve come across for doing that.

There’s a good amount of customization available in the tool: You can split sites up into a maximum of six groups (e.g., for social media, shopping, or whatever), and you can limit blocks to certain times of the day. There’s also a complete lockdown mode that helps you stay focused on one job.

Dig into LeechBlock NG’s advanced options and you can actually disable access to the extension during certain times—so it’s virtually impossible to get around the restrictions you’ve put on yourself. OK, you could just open a browser without LeechBlock NG installed, but it might at least give you pause to reconsider.

Cold Turkey

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David Nield via Windows

Cold Turkey is a desktop app for Windows and macOS (with accompanying browser add-ons) that don’t mess around when it comes to blocking websites. You can block certain sites, the entire internet, the entire internet except for certain websites, and even particular Google searches that you don’t want to run.

Once a block is applied, it really is applied—you can even disable access to the Task Manager (Windows) or Activity Monitor (macOS), as well as the Cold Turkey uninstaller, to make sure you stay focused and away from the sites you don’t want to see. It’s a comprehensive package, and it also keeps statistics so you can see how many times you’ve tried to access blocked websites. (There is a less strict mode that allows you to break blocks if you really want to).

You can use Cold Turkey for free or pay a one-off fee of $39 for a Pro license and some useful extras, including scheduled blocks, timers to help you work in focused bursts of attention, password protection for the app settings, and a Frozen Turkey mode that locks you out of Windows or macOS entirely—forcing you to go do something other than stare at your screen.


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Photograph: Freedom