How to Configure Cold Turkey for Better Blocking and Bypass Prevention

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated November 12, 2023

The term Cold Turkey is used when someone wants to break a habit all at once. The Cold Turkey Website Blocker lives up to that name, but in the digital world. Whether you want to break a social media habit, remove distractions or addictive content for productivity and a healthier life, or prevent bypassing a DNS Filtering solution, the Cold Turkey blocker is a solid option for a Windows or Mac computer.

We at Tech Lockdown have found Cold Turkey to be extremely helpful when it comes to blocking content online. When we evaluate a product, we assess two main things:

  1. Content blocking effectiveness
  2. Bypass prevention capabilities
  3. Is it useful within a wider blocking and bypass prevention setup for all devices?

We are focused on empowering people to take back control of their internet use . A key part of breaking addictive online behaviors, such as quitting adult content , involves adding significant friction to prevent compulsively following through on a bad habit. 

Cold Turkey has a strong emphasis on bypass prevention, content blocking, and privacy, and is a tool that we find works well alongside other blocking and bypass prevention layers. Although it's not a comprehensive solution, we find it to be a critical part of the blocking and bypass prevention stack that we recommend.

The best part: it maintains a high degree of privacy, simplicity, and minimal interference.

In our in-depth review, we will explore the different features that we find exceptionally useful for blocking content online, and some techniques we use that will improve your experience with the product.

Cold Turkey Recipes for Blocking Unwanted Content and Enhancing your Blocking Stack

There are many important features that Cold Turkey provides that we find incredibly valuable. These features can work as a supplementary layer of protection for your household content blocking bypass prevention stack (multiple technologies that work together).

The basis for all of Cold Turkey's functionality lies in creating a block. A Block is a group of websites that are either allowed or disabled from being accessed in a browser.

You might have a Block dedicated to distracting websites, and have it behave differently than a Block set up for blocking Adult Content

Blocks are highly customizable, you can select entire websites - for example, - and it will block that entire website on your computer. If a website gets blocked, you will get a pop-up in your browser that looks something like this:

Blocking Categories of Content with Cold Turkey

Our first recommendation would be to block website categories. Ideally, you would first use a DNS Filtering service configured on your home router and directly on your devices to block website categories.

For example, you can use the Tech Lockdown DNS Filter to block categories:

Since a DNS Filtering service blocks content at the network-level for a device or home router, Cold Turkey blocker can work perfectly alongside it without overriding it.

With Cold Turkey, you can create a block and import website categories:

This will block popular websites within those categories. However, these categories will only block a few hundred websites that are well-known. This is one of the weakest ways to block content with Cold Turkey, but we still find this to be a useful blocking layer along side a DNS Filter. It's one more layer a user has to disable to access a blocked website.

Ban Porn from your technology

Regain Control with Effective Content Blocking and Bypass Prevention

Using Cold Turkey to Block Pages in a website

A common thing we recommend for people struggling with adult content or procrastination online is to block websites that contribute to addictive behaviors . However, some of these websites or platforms may not need to be completely blocked. Some of these websites are quite helpful and essential in the modern age. In this case, we recommend filtering content within the website.

To understand the usecase for this, let's evaluate how this would be used from two mixed content websites:

  1. YouTube
  2. Reddit

This approach involves creating a highly restrictive block where you blacklist an entire website, but selectively allow access to sections within that website. This approach is most useful with mixed-content websites, like 

You would start by blocking all of

In our Reddit example, one website that our users find helpful is the r/NoFap subreddit. We can block all of Reddit but make an exception for the specific subreddit. 

Blocking YouTube shorts with Cold Turkey

You may want to use YouTube for tutorials or for education, but YouTube shorts can become a distraction and enable you to use the platform longer than you intended. Also, the shorts that tend to trend on YouTube are often provocative and not ideal for someone seeking healthy online habits. 

We advise our customers to  block YouTube shorts .

In that case, you can add the* URL into a block. The asterisk ( * ) will block any URL that starts with the shorts URL. 

Combine Cold Turkey Blocker with DNS Filtering

Go further with blocking and bypass prevention by blocking content at the network-level alongside Cold Turkey.

Blocking Searches on YouTube and Google

Cold Turkey can help you make platforms like YouTube and Google safer by blocking searches containing certain keywords.

For example, you can filter YouTube content to reduce the problematic content by restricting search terms and enforcing Youtube's built-in content filter.

You can enforce YouTube's restricted mode and search engine safesearch using a DNS Filtering service :

Then, enforce SafeSearch and block search engines that don't have a SafeSearch feature:

This will force YouTube and supported search engines to enable their built-in content filter for the current user searching on their website.

Then, you can use Cold Turkey blocker block search terms on YouTube, Google, and other websites using a website block with a wildcard and search query string. You can use the wildcard approach to match any URL on any website where a search is being performed for certain keywords like "fruit":

This is useful for catching some content that YouTube and Google don't pick up with their built-in content filter.

Enforce SafeSearch with DNS Filtering

Use the Tech Lockdown DNS Filtering service to enforce SafeSearch

Using Cold Turkey to Block Websites that use Certain Keywords in the Title

Cold Turkey lets you block not only specific websites, but also websites that include a keyword. This is very useful if there are specific topics or website categories that you want to block, but there are so many different websites that will fit that category.

When you visit a webpage, you'll notice the browser tab has a description of that webpage. For example:

On Windows computer's, you can use Cold Turkey to block browser tabs that contain keywords that you specify. In these cases, it's useful to combine keyword blocks with Website Exceptions so that you don't accidentally block helpful websites that might use similar keywords (like addiction recovery websites).

Combine Cold Turkey Blocker with DNS Filtering

Go further with blocking and bypass prevention by blocking content at the network-level alongside Cold Turkey.

Cold Turkey Bypass Prevention

Cold Turkey has its strengths - it's very good at blocking specific websites or programs on Windows and Mac computers.

However, there are several things you can do to improve how well Cold Turkey works on your system, as well as provide extra layers of protection for yourself and partners online.

Preventing Bypass of a Cold Turkey Block

The most important part of Cold Turkey's usefulness is the ability to lock your own blocks. There are several different ways that this can be done, with some of the options available to free users including:

  • Timer: You set a timer for a block, so it will unlock after the time you set.
  • Random Text: In order to unlock the block, you have to enter in a string of random text.
  • Time Range: Enable a block for a certain time range. Useful for distracting websites.
  • Restart: The block remains locked until you restart your computer.

When it comes to reducing compulsive behaviors, the locked block feature is a critical feature that you should use. Even with a blocking mechanism like entering random text, this creates a big enough annoyance that it will deter compulsive behaviors.

Cold Turkey Premium Features

Cold Turkey is free to download and install. Most of the important features are available on the free version. However, there are some features that can only be unlocked with the premium version.

  • Password locks: Enable locking a block using a password
  • Block Application/Programs on your Computer: You can block an application .exe or window title on your computer.
  • Scheduled Blocks: Allows you to schedule your blocks to repeat weekly for time ranges. 

Go Beyond Beyond Basic Blocking

Elevate your content blocking and bypass prevention.

Configuring your Browser to Improve Cold Turkey Blocking

There are some settings that you can enable for your browser that will make Cold Turkey much more effective and allow you to ensure a better enforcement of settings on that device. Some of these feature include  disabling incognito mode , which will ensure bypassing any kind of content restriction is much more difficult. 

You can also block the native extensions and store pages for you browser, which is another method of bypass that might be problematic on a normal device.

Using Mobile Device Management to Enforce the Cold Turkey Browser Extension

Cold Turkey is designed to prevent bypass on the system it's installed on. However, this solution isn't flawless and there are a few known ways to bypass Cold Turkey's enforcement mechanism.

However, another step you can take is to configure a supervised or managed device. If you do this, you can control which programs are allowed to run, enforce a content filter (such as a DNS filter), and manage your browser.

For example, the below screenshot shows a managed Macbook where Cold Turkey has been specified as an enforced Google Chrome extension:

This means that the person using this Macbook cannot remove or disable the Cold Turkey blocker extension. 

Device Supervision and Management can work for all kinds of devices, including smartphones . With a managed device, you also have the option to enforce settings (like extensions) on your browser in such a way that the someone using the device won't be able to bypass.

Device management is a critical focus in the Tech Lockdown premium guides that are included with your Tech Lockdown membership. We show our members step-by-step instructions on how to configure managed devices and set up the best blocking and bypass prevention techniques.

Go Beyond Beyond Basic Blocking

Elevate your content blocking and bypass prevention.

Tech Lockdown strongly recommends Cold Turkey because it is a useful addition to other blocking capabilities on Mac and Windows computers. For many people, this will be a good solution. However, there are some considerations if your goal is a complete blocking solution .


  • Very effective at blocking websites on Windows and Mac computers
  • Good Browser compatibility
  • Premium tier can be purchased once and owned forever
  • Bypass prevention built-in


  • Setting up the extension to have full access and work in private browsing environments will take some focused effort
  • Blocks only explicitly defined websites or websites containing keywords and regular expressions
  • Is limited to Mac and Windows
  • Capabilities on Windows are slightly different from Mac. For example, blocking based on a windows title is not possible on Mac

Overall, Cold Turkey is a great option if you have specific websites or programs that you want to limit or restrict access to. However, this is also its weakness - Cold Turkey will not work well if you are trying to block categories of content.

This is why the best way to use Cold Turkey is to supplement other blocking and bypass prevention layers that you configure on your home network and directly on your smartphones and computers. 

Cold Turkey Premium Features

Cold Turkey is free to download and install. Most of the important features are available on the free version. However, there are some features that can only be unlocked with the premium version.

  • Password locks: Enable locking a block using a password
  • Block Application/Programs on your Computer: You can block an application .exe or window title on your computer.
  • Scheduled Blocks: Allows you to schedule your blocks to repeat weekly for time ranges. 

While many of these features aren't strictly required, they are very powerful options if you are working on developing your own system for blocking unwanted content and building healthier online habits.

Combining Cold Turkey with DNS Filtering for better blocking and bypass prevention

A DNS Filtering service allows you to block entire categories of websites on the network-level of your device or home internet connection.

This is in contrast with Cold Turkey, which works by blocking content at the browser-level for a Windows or Mac computer.

This is actually a significant advantage because Cold Turkey can work alongside a DNS Filtering service without conflicting with it. Furthermore, it can be used as a bypass prevention layer for the DNS Filtering service to prevent a user from easily circumventing this critical cybersecurity and content blocking tool.

You can pair Cold Turkey with a DNS Filter and improve you content blocking experience online. Since Cold Turkey works at the browser level, you can use it to restrict access to programs or settings that enforce restrictions on your device or network.

DNS Filters work at the network level to deny access to a website, and these websites can be assigned a category. Some examples of categories that you may want to block online include:

  • Malicious or Dangerous Links
  • Adult Content
  • Newly Registered Domains
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Proxies or VPNs
  • ...and many more.

A DNS filtering service will be able to filter out categories that you choose and are much more effective against blocking content that is not necessarily known to you. Plus, because a DNS filter works at the network layer, you can use it to filter content on your home router , which can block content for all connected devices like smartphones and computers where you haven't installed any blocking software.

Cold Turkey is great at blocking known unwanted content on the browser level, and you can take advantage of this ability to further refine how you want to access a particular website. There are some things that Cold Turkey can't do, such as enforcing safesearch on your browser , or filtering content on a smartphone device, and these are features that a DNS Filtering service can provide to improve content filtering.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Closing Thoughts

Cold Turkey is a very effective program for blocking content online. You can visit the Cold Turkey website to get started. It's bypass prevention, lightweight interface, and lock functionality are invaluable for someone trying to end habits online. As a bonus, the premium version is not too expensive (at about $40 USD at the time of writing).

However, it is not a complete solution to blocking content online. It struggles with wider content categories, and only works with specifically mentioned websites or applications. However, this approach can be improved with other methods of content blocking.

Tech Lockdown members get access to a DNS filter, as well as premium guides for how to effectively block content online and prevent bypass of your protective layers. If you are interested to learn more, check out our main page. 

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