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Looking for a way to block websites in your home so that anyone connected to your network cannot access them? There are lots of programs out there that you can install on a PC or Mac to block or filter websites, but I don’t like these solutions because you have to manually install it on each computer and for any new devices that get connected to the network, they won’t be blocked.
On top of that, what if you want to block the site on other devices connected to wifi like tablets or smartphones? Well, instead of blocking websites on a device by device basis, you can block websites from your wireless router! This is great because all traffic on your internal network has to pass through your router. If you block it here, there is no need to install any software on any computer or to make any changes to the settings on any computer.
This means you don’t have to bother with proxy servers, group policy or secret software running on machines in order to block a few websites. In this article, I’ll show you how you can use your router or use DNS to block websites. All the action takes place on your router.
Block Websites on Router
Just about every router today now has the option to block or filter websites right on the router. For example, I have a Netgear N600 wireless router and there is a whole section called Content Filtering. You’ll need to log into the web interface of your router in order to access these settings.
If you click on Block Sites, you can block on a schedule or block all the time. So you could set it up so that the sites are only blocked at night or during the hours you choose. So you can prevent your kids from browsing Facebook after 9 pm very easily. Just type in the domain name or a keyword if you block websites with certain words in the URL.
It even has the option to allow trusted IP addresses to access the blocked sites, so you can give your computer a static IP address and add it to the list. This way, you can browse everything, but no one else will be able too. In addition to blocking websites, Netgear also has options for blocking services, so you can block all FTP traffic or all AIM traffic. You can create alerts and get emails when someone tries to visit a blocked website.
Not all routers will have the same number of features like Netgear, but there is usually at least a minimum ability to block websites. If your router simply doesn’t have any mechanism for blocking sites via the software, then you can try using DNS.
Block Websites using DNS
On your router, you can also block websites by using another DNS service provider other than your ISP. OpenDNS is an awesome DNS service provider that gives you free content filtering for home use. All you have to do is sign up for a free account and change the DNS servers on your router to point to the OpenDNS servers.
OpenDNS even has a section on how to change the DNS settings for just about every router out there. You can check out this link to change yours:
Note that you should sign up for a free Home account, not a Premium DNS account. The Home account is what gives you the ability to block individual websites. It’s great that the service is free and OpenDNS may actually be faster than your ISP DNS servers.
Those are two excellent ways of blocking websites on your home network without having to configure a single computer or device. It’s the easiest way and provides the widest coverage since you’re blocking the websites at the source. If you have any questions, post a comment and I’ll try to help. Enjoy!