Best Methods for Blocking Websites in 2023

Block websites on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Prevent users from bypassing blocks so that websites remain blocked.

by Tech Lockdown Team
Updated September 5, 2023

Numerous methods exist for blocking websites, but not all of them are effective when you account for common bypass techniques.

In this article, I'll examine the current website blocking methods that exist. I've dedicated hundreds of hours testing and refining these techniques on dozens of devices.

Based on your use-case, you can choose the blocking method (or combination of blocking methods) that work for you. If you are trying to block porn , you should focus on blocking methods that are more robust and difficult to bypass.

DNS Filtering

Using a DNS Filter service to block websites is one of the best ways to block websites on multiple devices. 

You can  configure a DNS Filtering service on your home router , which will block websites on all devices using your home internet connection.  

Additionally, most DNS Filtering services can be configured directly on devices so that those websites are blocked even when not using the home internet connection.

Most DNS Filtering services will allow you to customize specific website categories you want to block. For example, Adult Content, Proxy & Filter Avoidance, and P2P & Illegal.

Additionally, some DNS Filtering services allow you to manage your own list of blocked websites. This is useful because sometimes you might want to block a specific Social Networking website like TikTok without blocking Facebook or Instagram. In this case, you need to manually add the websites you want to block to your block list.

The following steps use the Tech Lockdown DNS Filter to demonstrate how to manage your own block list:

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Mac & PC

Mac and Windows computers have similar methods for blocking websites. 

Roaming DNS Filtering

DNS Filtering can be directly configured on a Mac or Windows computer so that filtering continues to work even when you aren't on your home network.

Most DNS Filtering services, like the one provided by Tech Lockdown, provide an application. This application will keep your computer connected to the filter when you are on other internet connections.

Install DNS Filter Application
Configure DNS Settings

Instead of installing a DNS Filter application, you can configure your network settings to point to the filter of your choice. Keep in mind that this technique typically only works if you are using a generic filter that doesn't allow you to customize your own allowlist, blocklist, and categories that you want to block. This is best used if you want to point to a filter, like Cloudflare's filter for families, that is pre-configured to block some categories of content.

Prevent Changing DNS Settings

If you want to prevent a user from changing the DNS settings to point away from the DNS Filtering service, you can use a Mobile Device Manager to distribute a profile that locks the DNS settings.

Here's how to enforce DNS settings on Managed MacOS Device using the DNS Filter provided by Tech Lockdown:

Block Browser Extensions

In addition to enforcing DNS settings, it's recommended that you set up a managed browser so that you can block browser extensions. Blocking browser extensions makes DNS Filtering more effective and harder to bypass.

Once a browser is managed, you can selectively block browser extensions or block all unauthorized browser extensions from being installed.

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Hosts File

The hosts file is a system file that can be used to block websites. This blocking method is particularly useful because it will work even while using a VPN or Proxy. Learn how to block websites with the hosts file.

Blocker Applications

There are several good blocking applications for Windows & Mac. A blocking application will typically add an extension to your browser. Similar to the hosts file, this blocking method will also work even while using a VPN or Proxy.

Unlike most blocking methods, you can typically use a blocking application to block specific pages in a website instead of just the entire website domain.

For example, you can block access to all of while allowing access to a specific section, like

Enforcing Browser Extensions

The downside of blocker apps on Windows and Mac is that they have limited ways to prevent themselves from being disabled.

You can make a blocking application more effective by enforcing the browser extension so that it can't be disabled.

Setting up a managed browser allows you to enforce the use of extensions, like the extension that the Cold Turkey Blocker application relies on. Notice that cold turkey doesn't have the option to be removed or disabled while Google Docs can be removed or disabled:

The Comprehensive Guide to Blocking Apps

Learn how to utilize the best blocking apps and prevent them from being bypassed.

Device Management Content Filtering

If you have set up a managed device, you can add the URLs you want to block to the built-in content filter.

For managed MacOS, you can enforce Apple's built-in content filter , which can optionally also limit access to Adult Content.

Built-in content filtering is similar to a blocking application that installs a browser extension. This blocking method will typically work even while a VPN or proxy is enabled.

This approach is particularly good because managed content filtering is difficult to bypass or disable from the device itself. The mobile device manager must be used to make changes.

For managed MacOS , you can enforce the built-in content filter, which can optionally also limit access to Adult Content.

Better Blocking for Mac & PC

Elevate your content blocking and bypass prevention with DNS Filtering and Device Management.

Android and iOS

Android and iOS devices have similar methods for blocking websites. However, iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad require extra configuration if you want to prevent the user from bypassing blocked websites. Android devices like Samsung and Google smartphones require less configuration to enforce blocking settings.

Always-on DNS Filtering

Similar to Windows & Mac, you can configure DNS Filtering to work on your Android or iOS smartphone so that your connection is filtered even when roaming away from home. 

Most DNS Filtering services, like the one provided by Tech Lockdown, provide an application or a .mobileconfig file. Either method can keep your smartphone connected to the filter when you are on other internet connections.

DNS Filtering Application

Installing a DNS Filtering application is the most straightforward method for connecting keeping your connection filtered at all times.


Just like Android, iOS devices can install DNS Filtering apps. However, these apps are easy to disable on the iPhone. A better approach involves installing a .mobileconfig file that enforces DNS settings. 

IOS devices can install configuration profiles that set DNS settings without requiring the use of an app. If the device is supervised or managed, the config file cannot be removed from the device.

On a standard device, the profile can be removed, but it's less obvious to the user how filtering is configured (since there isn't an app).

Tech Lockdown members can download the required .mobileconfig file for managed devices from their filter dashboard.

Blocker Apps

Similar to Windows and Mac, you can download a blocking app that basically functions like a browser extension. Blocker apps are useful when combined with a DNS Filtering app because the blocking methods work together instead of overriding each other.

Because blocking apps function like browser extensions and not a DNS filter, they typically can perform URL filtering, which allows more flexible blocking. For example, you can block website URLs containing keywords or even block pages within a website without blocking the entire website.

Enforcing DNS Filtering or Blocker Apps

Blocker and DNS Filtering apps are most effective when combined with device supervision or mobile device management.

For example, on Android devices, you can install an app using a MDM, which prevents the user from uninstalling the app from the device:

Using an MDM to distribute an app to an android device

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Built-in Parental Control

The built-in parental control on Android and iOS will typically allow you to add your own list of blocked websites. These features are not as useful if you are trying to block yourself from visiting websites and are better used if managing a device for another person.

Here are the steps for Apple Screen Time.


Allowed Websites Only is the most restrictive setup. All websites will be blocked other than the ones you have allowed access to.

Supervised Content Filter for iOS

On iOS devices, a better alternative to screen time is supervising or managing a device, then enforcing the built-in content filter. The built-in content filter is particularly useful because it will work even while a VPN or Proxy is active.

Apply filtering rules to web browsers by configuring a profile with a Content Filter configuration.

Limit Adult Content / Blocklist

Selecting the Built-in: Limit Adult Content Filter Type will enforce content filtering. Additionally, you can add your own list of URLs that should be blocked in addition to the Adult Content category.

Allow Only Mode

Block access to all websites other than the ones specifically added to the allow list. 


Content filtering applies to web browsers, not non-browser apps.

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Managed Content Filter for Android

Managed Android devices can access enforceable, built-in content filtering and additional bypass prevention techniques.

Allowlist - Allow-only mode

This is also known as "default deny" and will block access to everything other than the URLs you specify here. This is the most restrictive content filtering setup, so use this with caution.

Blocklist - Block specific URLs

This is a more common content filtering approach. 

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