How to Block Certain Websites & Allow Access to Only Specific Sites

how to block specific websites with web filtering software

Want to block websites from being accessed in your organization? Whether you are a school, library, or business you need software to block internet access if you want to prevent your users from visiting high-risk, inappropriate, and distracting websites. 

In this article you will learn about the many ways you can control internet use on Windows computers using BrowseControl, CurrentWare’s internet and app blocking software

Table of Contents



Block Sites

in Just a Few Clicks

Need to restrict internet access in your network? In this tutorial you will learn how to block websites using a free trial of BrowseControl, CurrentWare’s web content filtering software.

With BrowseControl you can…

Block websites based on URL, category, domain, or IP address

Schedule unique internet restrictions throughout the day 

Assign custom policies for each group of computers or users,

and enforce internet usage policies, even when devices leave the network

There are 3 ways to block employee internet access with BrowseControl

1) Block access to specific websites with the Block List

2) Restrict internet access to only certain sites with the Allow List 

3) Using the Category Filtering feature you can block access to content categories such as Porn, Virus Infected, or Social Media 

For complete control over internet and application use in your network, you can combine BrowseControl with BrowseReporter, CurrentWare’s internet monitoring software.

All right, let’s get started.

To begin, sign up for a free trial of BrowseControl at CurrentWare.com/Download. After filling out the form you will be provided with the files you need to get started with BrowseControl.

To install BrowseControl, run CurrentWare.exe on the administrator’s computer and follow the installation instructions; this will install the CurrentWare Console and Server. 

After that, deploy the CurrentWare Client Setup file (cwClientSetup.exe) on all of the computers you would like to control. 

From there you can import your Active Directory organizational units or manually create your desired policy groups.

For full installation instructions, please visit our knowledge base at CurrentWare.com/Support. 

Now that you have BrowseControl installed, I’ll show you how to block specific websites based on their URL, domain, or IP address with the URL Filter.

This feature can be used to block your employees from accessing distracting websites like Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram.

First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers and select the desired mode.

Next, click on the URL Filter then select “Blocked List”

From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict

Enter the URL, domain, or IP address of the websites you want to block to the master URL list, then press the Enter key or click “Add”. 

BrowseControl will apply a wildcard to the URL, ensuring that any paths within the domain will be blocked as well.

In the master URL list, select the websites you want to block for the chosen group, then click “Add to Blocked List”.

If you would like to add the selected websites to the block list of multiple groups, you can press the drop-down arrow and select “add to multiple groups”, select the desired groups, then click “add to blocked list”

If you have a large number of websites you would like to block, you can also use the import feature to import an existing list.

Finally, click “Apply to Clients”.

That’s it! You have now blocked your employees, students, or patrons from accessing those specific websites. 

Next, I’ll show you how to restrict internet access to only certain sites.

This feature is ideal if you want to prevent your employees, students, or patrons from accessing websites that are not explicitly allowed by your organization.

The process is identical to how you would block a website, except this time you will set the internet to “off” and add the websites you would like to allow to the Allow List.

With this method, your users will only be able to access the exact websites that have been approved by your company.

Here are the full instructions.

First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers and select the desired mode.

Next, click on the URL Filter, then ensure that “Allowed List” is selected

From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict

Next, set the internet to “Off”. This will ensure that only the websites that are added to the allowed list can be accessed.

Enter the URL, domain, or IP address of the website you want to allow to the master URL list, then press the Enter key or click “Add”. BrowseControl will apply a wildcard to the URL, ensuring that any paths within the domain will be allowed as well.

In the master URL list, select the websites you want to allow for the chosen group, then click “Add to Allowed List”

If you would like to add the selected websites to the Allowed list of multiple groups, you can press the drop-down arrow and select “Add to Multiple Groups”, select the desired groups, then click “Add to Allowed list”

If you have a large number of websites you would like to allow, you can also use the import feature to import an existing list.

Finally, click “Apply to Clients”.

Next, I’ll show you how to block websites based on content categories such as Porn, Virus Infected, and Social Media 

With BrowseControl’s category filtering feature you can block billions of websites across over 100 URL categories. More than 10,000 new domains are added each day, making it simple to restrict internet access even as new sites emerge. 

Here’s how:

First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers, then select the desired mode.

Next, click on “Category Filtering”

From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict

Select the web content categories you would like to block, then click “Add to Blocked List”

Finally, click “Apply to Clients”.

That’s it! 

The Allow List can also be used in tandem with the Category Filtering feature to allow websites that would otherwise be blocked based on their content category. 

For example, you could use the Category Filtering feature to block Social Media while still allowing access to LinkedIn.

Now that you’ve seen the 3 key ways you can block a website with BrowseControl, I’d like to show you how to restrict internet access at certain times.

With BrowseControl’s Internet Scheduler you can schedule custom block or allow lists throughout the day. 

This feature will bring some flexibility to your internet restriction policies; in this example, we will allow our employees to browse the internet during lunchtime.

Here’s how to use the internet scheduler

First, decide whether you want to control internet access based on users or computers and select the desired mode.

Next, click on “internet scheduler”

From the drop-down menu, select the group of computers or users that you want to restrict

Next, click “New Schedule”

Set the start and end time of the schedule. Then, select the schedule type.

Internet On will allow internet access to all websites that are not on the URL Block List

Custom allowed list will only allow access to specific websites.

Custom blocked list will block access to a specific list of websites and allow access to the rest of the internet.

Custom Category blocked list will block specific categories and allow access to the rest of the internet.

Next, set your desired schedule frequency.

Daily will enable the schedule every day during the specified time period.

Weekly will enable the schedule only on specific days of the week.

Monthly will enable the schedule only on specific months.

Next, click “Add Schedule”.

If you selected one of the custom block or allow list options, you can click the link provided under the “schedule type” column to set the websites or categories that you would like on the list.

And finally, click “Enable Scheduler” if it is not already enabled

That’s it for today. If you’re ready to start blocking websites you can get a free trial of BrowseControl at CurrentWare.com/Download. 

If you have any questions during your evaluation our support team is available to help you over a phone call, live chat, or email.

See you next time!

For just $3.99 per license per month, you can take advantage of BrowseControl to block billions of websites across over 100 categories. More than 10,000 new domains are added each day, making it simple to restrict internet use even as new websites emerge.

With BrowseControl you can…

  • Allow or Block sites by URL, category, domain, keyword, or IP address
  • Block any website that is not explicitly approved for viewing
  • Restrict sites based on content categories
  • Schedule unique web use policies throughout the day 
  • Assign custom policies for each group of computers or users
  • Manage web restriction policies remotely through a central management console
  • Enforce computer use policies, even when devices leave the network
  • Mass import URLs from a .txt or .csv file to add sites in bulk

Each website blocking mode in BrowseControl can be customized on a per-user group or per-device group level, allowing you to uniquely customize your policies based on the websites you want to block for each user or computer.

When your users visit blocked websites they can be presented with a custom block message or redirected to a page of your choosing, such as a copy of your internet use policy. You can also optionally provide an email address to receive requests to unblock websites that your users would like access to.

With BrowseControl you can do more than block sites; you can block apps, filter network ports at the endpoint level, and stop file downloads.

Why Block Websites?

  1. Bandwidth Management: Bandwidth abuse causes severe latency and network crashes. Organizations will use a bandwidth analyzer to identify the websites responsible for the excessive bandwidth usage so they can block any website that is hogging bandwidth.
  2. Network & Endpoint Security: By blocking a website that is known to contain malware, an internet filter provides critical security controls for protecting sensitive information.
  3. Productivity Management: Web content filters are used to block sites that are distractions such as social media sites, computer games, and video streaming services. 
  4. Cybersecurity & Compliance: Organizations that are responsible for sensitive data such as personal health information (PHI) will use internet blocking tools to prevent employees from maliciously or negligently leaking information through
    unauthorized channels such as personal cloud storage accounts.
  5. Blocking Adult Content: Administrators will use website filtering to limit adult websites, grotesque imagery, violence, and profanity within their network. Filters also prevent underaged users from accessing adult content and stop employees from visiting websites that contribute to a hostile work environment.
Logo for BrowseReporter, CurrentWare's employee computer monitoring software

Logo for BrowseReporter, CurrentWare's employee computer monitoring softwareLogo of BrowseReporter employee and computer monitoring softwareFor total control over employee and student web use, combine BrowseControl with CurrentWare’s internet usage monitoring software BrowseReporter. Learn More

How to Block Certain Websites

Screenshot of BrowseControl URL filter blocked websites list

With BrowseControl’s URL filter you can block sites based on URL, domain, IP address, or URL keyword. Simply add the specified websites to the URL block list.

  1. Download the BrowseControl setup file
  2. Install the CurrentWare Console on an administrator’s computer; the Console can be accessed from the convenience of a web browser
  3. Install the CurrentWare Clients on the computers that you want to control
  4. Open the CurrentWare Console, log in with your operator account username and password, and click BrowseControl on the main menu.
  5. Click on “URL Filter”; a popup window will appear
  6. Select the group of computer(s) or user(s) that you would like to restrict from using a specific website
  7. Add the specific website you want to block to the Block List

How to Restrict Access to Only Certain Sites in Windows 

BrowseControl is compatible with the Windows operating system (including Windows 11). BrowseControl’s granular web restriction features make it the best software to allow only certain websites on a Windows-based desktop or laptop. Using the allowed websites list and Internet Off features in tandem you can restrict all websites except for the approved ones.

How to Block All Websites Except a Few in Windows

  1. Download the BrowseControl setup file
  2. Install the CurrentWare Console on an administrator’s computer; the Console can be accessed from the convenience of a web browser
  3. Install the CurrentWare Clients on the computers that you want to control
  4. Open the CurrentWare Console, log in with your operator account username and password, and click BrowseControl on the main menu.
  5. Click on “URL Filter”; a popup window will appear
  6. Select the group of computer(s) or user(s) that you want to block
  7. Set “Internet” to “Off”; this will force the browser to not allow any website that is not on the Allowed List.
  8. Add the specified websites you would like to allow to the Allowed List; everything else will be blocked websites

Use Cases for This Method:

  • Lock a computer to only specifically allowed websites
  • Block all websites except a few

How to Block Websites Based on Content (Web Content Filtering)

Screenshot of category filtering window from BrowseControl web filter. Porn and social media categories blocked.

While filtering certain domains is a viable strategy when you know the exact websites you want to restrict, more often than not the sites you want to keep inaccessible within your network are centered around a given category: Adult Content, Distracting Websites, Phishing Schemes, etc.

There are well over 1 billion websites currently on the world wide web, and approximately 380 new websites are created every minute! With such a massive influx of information, blocking websites manually simply isn’t sustainable.

With BrowseControl’s Category Filtering feature, you can block websites across over 100 categories in just a few clicks. More than 10,000 new domains are added each day, making it simple to restrict access to the web even as new sites emerge. 

Block Sites Based on Content

  1. Download the BrowseControl setup file
  2. Install the CurrentWare Console on an administrator’s computer; the Console can be accessed from the convenience of a web browser
  3. Install the CurrentWare Clients on the computers that you want to control
  4. Open the CurrentWare Console, log in with your operator account username and password, and click BrowseControl on the main menu.
  5. Click on “Category Filtering”; a popup window will appear
  6. Select the group of computer(s) or user(s) that you would like to block from using a specific website
  7. Add the categories you want to block (ex. “Social Networks”) to the Blocked Category List

If there is a blocked website that you would like to allow while still blocking its content category, you can use the Allowed List for those websites. For example, you can restrict the “Social Networks” category while allowing visits to LinkedIn. You can also use this method to restrict social media sites for everyone except for the marketing department.

BrowseControl also includes a reclassification tool, allowing you to locally change what category a given website is assigned to.

Use Cases for This Method

  • As a technology protection measure to prevent exposure to obscene visual content for CIPA compliance
  • Restrict access to high-risk or inappropriate content such as adult websites
  • Block as many sites as possible without the need for URL blocking specific websites

How to Block Websites Containing Certain Words (Keyword Filtering)

BrowseControl web filtering software blocking TikTok with URL filter

Keyword filtering allows you to block websites that contain a given keyword in the Omnibox (address bar + search bar) of the browser. This can be used to block any page with a specific keyword in its URL. 

How to Block Websites Using Keywords

  1. Download the BrowseControl setup file
  2. Install the CurrentWare Console on an administrator’s computer; the Console can be accessed from the convenience of a web browser
  3. Install the CurrentWare Clients on the Windows computers that you want to control
  4. Open the CurrentWare Console, log in with your operator account username and password, and click BrowseControl on the main menu.
  5. Click on “URL Filter”; a popup window will appear
  6. Select the group of computer(s) or user(s) that you would like to restrict
  7. Add the keywords you want to block to the Block List

Use Cases for This Method

  • Block search queries for unwanted keywords (in addition to safe search)
  • Block websites that contains objectionable keywords in the address bar

How to Disable Access to the Entire Internet

BrowseControl internet on/off feature with internet set to off

If you want to block a desktop or laptop computer from being able to visit any website in Chrome or other browsers while still allowing network access for other tools (apps, systems updates, etc) you can set the internet to “Off” in BrowseControl.

  1. Download the BrowseControl setup file
  2. Install the CurrentWare Console on an administrator’s computer; the Console can be accessed from the convenience of a web browser
  3. Install the CurrentWare Clients on the Windows computers that you want to control
  4. Open the CurrentWare Console, log in with your operator account username and password, and click BrowseControl on the main menu.
  5. Select the group of computer(s) or user(s) that you would like to restrict
  6. Click on “Internet” and set it to “Off”
  7. If you would like to selectively allow a certain website, simply add the website you want to permit to the Allowed List

How to Block a Website for Specific Users and Allow Them for Others

CurrentWare web console with the BrowseControl web filter page shown

For businesses that want to control employee web browsing and schools that want to manage student computer use, certain websites may be appropriate for some but not for others. 

By selectively limiting visits to certain websites for some but not others you can ensure that web use policies are not causing a productivity bottleneck.

With the BrowseControl web filtering software, you can organize your users or computers into their own policy groups, allowing you to selectively apply access restrictions based on the needs of each group.

To block websites for some while allowing them for others, you simply need to add the website you want to block/allow to the Blocked/Allow list for the exact group you want to control.

Use Cases for This Method

  • Schools will group their students based on their grade level and expected maturity. This allows older students to research more adult-oriented topics while keeping them blocked for younger students.
  • Block non-marketing employees from visiting social media during work hours
  • Restrict unauthorized employees from accessing intranet sites that contain non-public, classified, or sensitive information

How to Block Websites in Google Chrome (& Other Browsers)

Icons of web browsers: Google Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox

BrowseControl can block websites on all updated modern browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge Chromium, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Opera. 

BrowseControl will apply restrictions to a default list of browsers and applications. To block websites in other browsers and applications you can add their executables to the Filtering List.

Note: For the most up-to-date system requirements, please visit the CurrentWare knowledge base.

How to Block Websites at Certain Times of the Day

BrowseControl can set web usage limits to your client computers based on time and usage with its Timer and Internet Quota features.

Internet Scheduler

The internet scheduler lets you create flexible policies based on set schedules. Configure unique restrictions for each day of the week, during lunch hours, on holidays, and even for specific months of the year.

Inetscheduler-e1614801621249

How should I use this feature?

Breaks and Lunches: Automate less strict web control measures during break periods, after office hours, and on special occasions.

Remote Workers: Allow access to distracting sites after work hours to allow remote workers and other employees to freely use company devices during their personal time.

Internet Timer

The Timer feature allows you to assign Internet ON or OFF permissions on an ad hoc basis. For example, if a Client PC/User is set to Internet ON at a specific time and you would like to temporarily block their Internet access, the Timer feature will allow you to set the Internet to OFF for a specific amount of time. Once the timer has expired, the settings will return to the previous mode (ON/OFF or Schedule). The timer can be set for a whole group or an individual client.

  1. From the left-hand side open the BrowseControl solution.
  2. Press the More Options MoreOpts-e1614284791765 button
  3. Select Timer from the list; a popup window will appear
  4. The Timer screen will be displayed.
  5. If the Internet status is ON then BrowseControl will automatically choose OFF Timer or vice versa.
  6. Set the timer period.
  7. The format of the timer is hr(s):min(s)
timer-e1615390272878

How should I use this feature?

Computer and Gaming Cafes: Set hourly limits to automatically disable your customer’s web access after their prepaid session is complete

Temporary Access: Use the timer to provide temporary and time-limited access to guests, contractors, students, and employees

Internet Quota Limit

With the Internet Quota Limit, the administrator can control how often users have access to the Internet on a daily basis. The quota limit is defined by the administrator and will start counting down as soon as the quota is enabled. They will get notification messages on their computers about how much remaining time they have for their quota.

  1. From the left-hand side open the BrowseControl solution.
  2. Press the More Options MoreOpts-e1614284791765 button
  3. Select Internet Quota Limit from the list
  4. The Timer screen will be displayed.
  5. Set the timer period.
  6. The format of the timer is hr(s):min(s)
quota-e1615390187605

How should I use this feature?

Limit Access: Provide employees that do not require the internet for their roles with limited daily access for personal use during slow periods and breaks.

Shared Workstations: Set cumulative time restrictions to stop employees from hogging network access on shared workstations. Automatically disable the internet and notify them when they’ve exceeded their permitted usage.

School Computers: Stop students from abusing privileges on school computers by limiting their browsing time throughout the school day.

Want to Block Websites? Get a FREE Trial of BrowseControl

BrowseControl is an easy-to-use web filter that helps organizations enforce policies, improve productivity, reduce bandwidth consumption, and meet compliance requirements – no matter where their users are located.

With BrowseControl you can ensure a safe and productive environment by blocking high-risk, distracting, or inappropriate websites, improve network performance by blocking bandwidth hogs, and prevent users from using unsanctioned applications and software-as-a-service providers

BrowseControl’s security policies are enforced by a software agent that is installed on your user’s computers. This allows the solution to continue blocking websites and applications even when computers are taken off-site.

BrowseControl’s central console allows you to configure your security policies from the convenience of a web browser. 

With BrowseControl you can Block or allow websites based on URL, category, domain, or IP address, assign custom policies for each group of computers or users, prevent users from launching specific applications, and block network ports to reduce the attack surface of your network

There are three key methods for blocking websites with BrowseControl:

The Blocked List allows you to block specific websites based on URL, domain, or IP address

Category Filtering allows you to block millions of websites across over 100 content categories including pornography, social media, and virus-infected sites.

and finally, you can use the Allowed List to allow specific websites that would otherwise be blocked based on their category, or for the greatest security and control you can block all websites except for those that are on the Allowed List.

When your users try to visit a blocked website they can either be presented with a custom warning message or directed to another site, such as a page with a reminder of your organization’s internet use policy.

With BrowseControl’s App Blocker you can prevent your users from launching specific applications.

Simply select the group you would like to restrict, enter the Original Filename of the application to the Application List, and add it to the blocked applications list.

When the user tries to launch the blocked application they can be presented with a custom warning message that alerts them of the restriction.

BrowseControl is best used in tandem with our computer monitoring software BrowseReporter. Using both solutions provides the visibility and control you need to ensure that your organization’s computers are being used appropriately.

Don’t let internet abuse run rampant in your organization. Take back control over web browsing with a free trial of BrowseControl.

Get started today by visiting CurrentWare.com/Download

If you have any technical questions during your evaluation our support team is available to help you over a phone call, live chat, or email.

Thank you!

With BrowseControl, blocking a website you want to be restricted from your network is as easy as a click-of-a-button. The central management console makes managing the website restrictions of your entire workforce simple, scalable, and convenient.

If you’d like to try BrowseControl on your Windows computers you can download a free trial or get in touch with our sales team via phone, live chat, or email. If you’d like to try out the user interface first you can even visit our live demo.

”As a ‘novice’ I was able to set up with help from support in about an hour. Previous software took forever and didn’t work as advertised; this software worked right out of the box. It allows my workers to use the internet and make money for the practice without distraction/temptation to use personal websites/email/shopping.”
Gerard B., Office Manager

Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu is a Product Manager with CurrentWare. He enjoys helping businesses improve their employee productivity & data loss prevention efforts through the deployment of the CurrentWare solutions.