If you are getting a smartphone or tablet for your kids, having parental controls and the option to block websites on Android is a must. You can use website blocking yourself to kick your social media habit, or avoid distracting content when working. Whatever the reason, we are here to help. Here are some of the most effective methods to block websites on Android.
READ MORE: The 15 best Android browsers
Mobile browsers on Android don’t have as many features as their desktop counterparts, so it’s as simple as toggling a switch. Some browsers, like Firefox, have a helpful add-on you can set up. If you’re looking to monitor and block your kids’ mobile usage, we recommend Google Family Link.
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Use browser add-ons
The Chrome browser is available by default on most Android devices; however, it doesn’t offer a simple way to block websites. Not many browsers do, but some, like Mozilla Firefox, make it easy with an add-on. Install Firefox from the Google Play Store. Once that’s done, all you need to block websites is to get the LeechBlock add-on.
Launch Firefox on your mobile device, then tap Menu (⋮) > Add-ons. Tap on the + icon next to LeechBlock NG in the list of recommended browser extensions. After adding it, you can find the extension in the Add-ons section. Within the LeechBlock NG menu, tap Settings to start blocking websites of your choice.
You can set up up to 30 sites to block and add website domains individually, or set up blocks for keywords. You can also set up when and how to block them. It looks complicated at first glance, and there’s a lot of manual work you’ll have to do, but you can block any site you want.
If you are primarily using this add-on to protect your child from inappropriate content, you may need to take a couple more steps. You should uninstall or disable other browsers on your device just in case. You can do this in Settings > Apps. Most devices will have Chrome and the phone manufacturer browsers preinstalled. Find them via the search option and disable them.
Block websites with an app
If the previous solution seems a bit too convoluted, you can always rely on apps. Various applications will get the job done, but we will mainly focus on those that do not require rooting your device.
Google Family Link
If your goal is to monitor your child’s online activity and protect them from inappropriate websites, one of your first choices should be Google Family Link. It allows you to block websites on Chrome and sets limited access to certain apps and mature content on Google Play. If you want to know more about it, you can read our detailed guide on how it works.
If you’re aiming to cut down on your procrastination by blocking websites, BlockSite is the way to go. The application has an easy-to-use, clean interface that will guide you through the process of blocking websites and apps. However, what makes it great is the ability to schedule blocking and its work mode that will help you stay productive.
BlockSite has password protection, so you can lock the app itself, and it can even sync between desktop and mobile. It can also be used to protect kids from unwanted content, thanks to the option to block all adult websites at the tap of a button. Many of its more useful features are locked behind a paywall, including blocking unlimited sites. Still, it’s not too expensive (tapping away from the “upgrade” page comes with a special offer that’s even more discounted).
Anti-virus apps with parental controls
If you want to combine online security with parental controls, you can’t go wrong with anti-virus apps that come with built-in parental controls. Mobile Anti-virus by Trend Micro is a good option, but parental controls are a premium feature that will require an annual subscription fee.
Finally, if you are unsure if the above app is a good fit for you, we recommend checking out the Kaspersky SafeKids app.
Block websites with a firewall
If you want to go one step further, you can block websites on Android using a firewall. Most of these require rooting your device, but there are root-free options. One of the best says it all in its name: NoRoot Firewall.
NoRoot Firewall has a clean and easy-to-use interface, requires minimal permissions, and allows you to create filters based on domain names, IP addresses, and hostnames. You can even control the specific connections of apps.
- Open the app and go to the Global tab at the bottom.
- Tap on the New Pre-filter option.
- Tick both the Wi-Fi and data icons if you want the website blocked on both connections.
- Enter the address of the website you want to block on Android.
- On the Port tab, select * then press OK.
- Go back to the Home tab and press Start.
One small warning, the app might not work with 5G/LTE connections because it does not currently support IPv6.
Filter inappropriate content with OpenDNS
If you want something that will do most of the heavy lifting on its own, one of your best options is OpenDNS. This service provides reliable content filtering, and even tech-savvy kids will have trouble finding a workaround. How does it work? By default, when connected to Wi-Fi, you use your internet service provider’s DNS server, but you can swap it for OpenDNS. It will automatically filter all inappropriate content.
On some Android devices, you will be able to use it without installing additional apps by going to Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced options > Change DNS settings. Those devices are the exception rather than the rule, however. This is why the first step you should take is downloading and installing Wi-Fi Settings. Enter 188.8.131.52 into DNS1 and 184.108.40.206 into DNS2, and tap Apply.
Using OpenDNS does have its downsides, however. It’s useful when you are home, but not when you are out and about, since it does not work with mobile data. But if you are mainly giving your tablet or smartphone to your child while at home, it will do the trick spectacularly.