Block Distracting Websites

Courtesy of xkcd

If you spend a lot of time on the computer like I do, there’s a good chance that there are some websites that you spend too much time on. Recently I’ve taken measures to outright block various distracting websites on my home computer.

On OS X and Linux you can block websites by adding entries like the following to the /etc/hosts file. (On Windows, the hosts file lives at C:\Windows\system32\Drivers\etc.)

# Block distracting websites
127.0.0.1 news.ycombinator.com
127.0.0.1 arstechnica.com
127.0.0.1 slashdot.org
#127.0.0.1 facebook.com
#127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com
#127.0.0.1 reddit.com
#127.0.0.1 www.reddit.com

On OS X, you would also need to running the following terminal command to refresh the hosts file:

dscacheutil -flushcache

After doing both of these, attempting to visit one of the websites listed in /etc/hosts will display an error page.

Of course if you need to temporarily visit one of the blocked sites you can just go back to the hosts file and add a # before the corresponding entry.