3 Neat Chrome Extensions to Block Unwanted and Distracting Sites

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The web is an apt moniker for the World Wide Web, because if you are not careful and focused, you will get entrapped in the hyperlinks that make it up. A single casual mouse-click can take you to your social network, your email, or the newsreader. All of them ask for a chunk of your time and before you know it, you have wasted the better part of a day.

If the web is an “addiction”, it is the “prescription” too. If your favorite browser happens to be Chrome, check out these three extensions that help to block unwanted and distracting websites.

1. StayFocusd

StayFocusd

StayFocusd forces you to focus on your work instead of browsing through attractive but addictive websites that distract from the task at hand. You can browse to the “time waster” websites and click on the extension to block them. As the screen shows, you can set a few options to selectively block pages or the entire site. As a shortcut, you can set it up so that StayFocusd only allows that particular site and no other.

StayFocusd

The Settings page gives you powerful personal rules to apply like – setting the maximum number of minutes per day that you will be allowed to browse sites on the Blocked Sites list; the interesting option of the Challenge where you have to complete a difficult – but not impossible – challenge before you are allowed to change any settings…and many more.

2. Chrome Nanny

Chrome-Nanny

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Chrome Nanny helps you to block URLs at certain times in a day or set a time range (or hour range). For instance, you can block Facebook from 9AM-5PM or to a maximum of 60 minutes a day or both. You can also group URLs to be blocked into block sets. You can create separate blocksets for groups of URLs. You can set universal filters using regular expressions.

For instance, if you use ‘wordpress’ as a regular expression, it will block all websites which have it in the URL. Whitelists will allow you to access important websites irrespective of the blocksets. Finally, you can track your productivity from the graphs in the Statistics tab. You can find the instructions to set the options in the last tab under options.

3. TinyFilter

TinyFilter is perhaps the simplest of the three. Straightaway after install, it gives you two options – either you block a site or trust it. The Options gives you a strong content filter. It does not come with time-restrictions but sites can be filtered using a keyword list or by entering specific URLs. A profanity filter can mask offensive words – there is a default list you can add your own words to. TinyFilter supports List Subscriptions which are basically text files that have all the content filter rules written down in a specific format.

TinyFilter is a no-hassle alternative to any parental control software for the browser. It comes with password protection (though that can be dodged by disabling the extension from the extension manager).

These three extensions are handy enough to give you some productive mileage every working day.

Which one would you choose and why? Let us know.

Before You Go...

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  • http://jasonrundell.com/ Jason Rundell
    • http://www.guidingtech.com Abhijeet Mukherjee

      Thanks Jason, updated the post.

      • http://jasonrundell.com/ Jason Rundell

        Wow that was fast :) I was just about to add that Personal Block list is something I also use to keep out certain sites in google search results: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nolijncfnkgaikbjbdaogikpmpbdcdef

        • http://www.guidingtech.com Abhijeet Mukherjee

          I was staring at my inbox when your comment notification popped in, and I decided to take care of the task immediately (you know, the GTD way..don’t delay tasks that require few seconds etc etc) :)

          Personal Block list is a neat tool indeed but probably not useful for the average Google or the computer user out there. For advanced users like us, it can definitely come in handy.

  • http://twitter.com/loebpaul Paul Loeb

    This is a great article. I also recommend the program StopDistractions – http://www.StopDistractions.com

  • Jens Knutson

    I highly recommend StayFocusd – best balance of features/usability, and has the best UI, IMHO. I’ve used it for at least 6-9 months, and it’s worked great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alice.di.35 Alice Di

    That’s a nice list. But you should include Qustodio from http://www.qustodio.com. Its a free yet complete parental control solution. Automatic blocking of sites in real time, tracking data, and also monitoring the activities kids engage in on social media sites are just some if its greatest features. Have been using for quite some time and love it.

  • hostile_17

    Avoid Chrome Nanny – what a joke. Just tried it. I added some sites to a block list. I missed one off…. I tried to add another one to the list.

    And… wait for it… it wants me to add type a 64 character string! WTF?

    I tried to turn that feature off, and it asks for a 64 character string. Tried typing it, got it wrong, it blanks it and makes me want to start again.

    So let me get this straight: I want to ADD a site to restrict it, and you make me jump through stupid hoops. If I wanted to disable your app I’d just start an Incognito window in seconds, so your pathetic system just made me uninstall the app.

    • VyperX

      Extensions like these are why Chrome allows you to set any extension to run in Incognito mode.

      • Hannah

        Except you can disable extensions in 10 seconds by going to tools > extensions and then unchecking the “enabled” box next to the blocking app. I’ve found them to be scarcely better than not blocking the websites at all. =/

  • Karl Schon

    I would like a Site Blocker, that would reroute requests to another website for productivity. This could help me, while traveling to Countries, like Poland, Greece, Russia, China, Japan, and my Browser suddenly switches to that Country’s Language. I could block the attempt of Google trying to second Guess me, and go local, and always revert back to the US Site, even while Traveling. Since Google is trying to over step, and second guess what people should see, this would be a good tool to work against their assumptions.

  • stian

    The first thing I would do was to block this one ;D

    no really cheers, but you have really big annoying adds…

    • http://www.guidingtech.com Abhijeet Mukherjee

      Ads are a necessary evil and needed for running the business. And we try our best to make them as less annoying as possible. Hope you enjoyed the content. :)

  • regoogler

    Nice, except you can voluntarily remove the extensions without any password protection :(

    • dafox

      Wow, have some self-control. For me, just seeing that it is blocked is enough to remind me that I shouldn’t be on the site and to get back to work.

  • http://www.problogbooster.com/ Vinayak Sutar-Patil

    Nice buddy!

  • martman

    Stay focused has worked well for me. I get sidetracked very easily so I needed something to keep that from happening. Installed to torch browser and works very well!!

  • alfvin

    Thank you poster, it’s still relevant even now.

  • ‘CheeseCake’

    I need like a ‘key Jammer’ embedded into Chrome that prevents certain words from being typed. Because that way I couldn’t search a variety a websites I shouldn’t know about…for a variety of things I shouldn’t be watching. And really I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t help myself.

    http://wmwood.net/software/incognito-gone-get-rid-of-private-browsing/

    I tried this but you can just remove the history manually. So I need either to NOT be able to delete the web history. As a scare factor. Or A key Jammer that prevents me from searching for certain things I shouldn’t know about. So once I add a word in to be blocked. I shouldn’t be able to remove that word. And this ‘Key Jammer’ should govern all browsers. And be to difficult to uninistall. Also When copying and pasting it should search and delete those words from the paste. And you couldn’t translate into a different language as a ‘get around.’ because the words would delete them selves before the translator could do it’s thing.

    An example of this concept in use would be searching, let’s say, “Delicious cake.”

    And then I find a variety of sites that have, ‘Delicious cake.’ A HUGE list of sites that all have Delicious cake and other things baking related. But because the name of the websites aren’t always to do with cakes or baking. It makes blocking them so much harder because you can’t predict what they’re called. But you can predict what they’re there for. So If, in advance if I couldn’t search for ‘Delicious cake. Or anything ‘baking’ related I couldn’t find the huge list of sites that bake delicious cakes.

    And I’ve tried K9 cake protection. It’s ok but you can still go on YouTube and search for all kinds of cakes. You can use the ‘time’ filter to find cakes yet to be tagged yummy. I think if they really wanted to block all the cake from the Internet, they really could. If they recorded the searches of a quarter of the cake enthusiasts on the net. They’d have a pretty big bank of cake related words to block.

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