Everyone should know how to block websites on Android phones. These days, intrusive web ads and malware programs can do anything. Some will cover your phone’s entire browser window so that you can't perform any function except to click on them. Others dig into the operating system to steal your login information. Some can even hijack your device, causing it to send out spammy emails.
Having a child with an Android phone is another reason to add this knowledge to your list of parental talents. It allows you to monitor and control what websites you don’t want your child visiting. Alternatively, maybe you don’t want them spending all of your family's monthly data allotment streaming YouTube at school. Either way, the solution is the same: blocking their device from viewing certain websites.
Even seemingly harmless ads might include content that you don’t want to see. Whatever the reason you have, knowing how to block websites on Android phones is good knowledge to have in your toolbox. Dealing with such technical topics can be a little intimidating. We broke down the process of how to block websites on Android phones into a simple and easy-to-understand tutorial. Hopefully, that will make the process as quick and painless as possible.
Fortunately, you don’t need much in the way of special tools or software to block websites on Android phones. The Android operating system already contains most of the functions you need. The one extra thing you will need is an application called a file browser. A file browser will allow you to access files on your phone more directly than you can with the Android software.
Our file browser of choice is ES File Explorer, which is available for free from the Google Play store. ES File Explorer is easy to use and a very reliable file browser that contains everything you will need. This will assist you to block websites and also perform all kinds of other mundane Android tasks.
In addition to helping you access files, ES File Explorer can help you understand how you’re using your phone’s storage. There is a function that enables you to transfer your phone's data to other devices. It even includes a text editor, which we’ll use in this tutorial.
With all that said, you can use any file browser you want as long as it can access your phone’s root directory. It is perfectly reasonable to be uncomfortable with phrases like "root directory." ES File Explorer makes the process simple. Just follow our directions step-by-step, and you'll be fine. If you’re more of a power user, though, know that ultimately the tool you use for this process is less important than the process itself.
How to Block Websites on Android Phones: Step by Step
Blocking websites on an Android phone is a relatively simple process. Even so, it always pays to be careful when messing with system files. When editing any such data, your first step should ALWAYS be to backup your system settings just in case something goes wrong. If you aren't sure how to do this, follow the “General settings and preferences” part of this Computer World guide.
Step 1: Download and open ES File Explorer
Follow the download instructions in the Google Play Store for ES File Explorer. Once the download finishes, you can run the program by tapping its icon on your home screen. Follow any onscreen prompts required to set up the application for your phone.
Step 2: Navigate to your device’s “etc” folder
To block websites on Android, you need to edit a file called the “hosts” file. This root file helps your Android device know where to find websites you or anyone else ask it to display. To find the hosts file, hit the menu icon in the top-right corner and select the “Device” option under the Local menu. You should see a list of folders. You want the one named “etc.” Tap on it to open the folder, then continue with the directions below.
Step 3: Open the hosts file in using ES File Explorer’s Note Editor
Once you’re in the “etc” folder, scroll down until you see a file named “hosts.” That’s the one that you need. Tap it to open the file. When you do, a small window should pop up asking what kind of file it is. You should see an answer that says “text.” Tap the word text. Your device will ask you what program you want to use to open the file. Answer with "ES Note Editor," which is a part of ES File Explorer.
Step 4: Edit the file with the websites you want to be blocked
To start editing the “hosts” file, hit the three dots in the top right. This will open another menu; tap “Edit.”
Now comes the part where you will list out the websites you want to block. For each website, you want to block, add a new line to the file by hitting the “enter” button on your keyboard. Next, write “127.0.0.1” and then the website’s address on the line. For example, to block the website BlockedWebsite.com, write out:
Repeat this process, starting with a new line each time, for each website you want to block.
You will need the specific web addresses for the sites that you want to block. While this is a cumbersome process, it will ensure that your child's device is protected from known malicious sites, pornographic content, and other sites that you wish to restrict.
Step 5: Restart your phone
Once you’ve finished listing out every website you want to be blocked from your device, you need to restart it. This will tell your phone to give the hosts file a new look and see what’s changed. Once you’ve done that, you’re all finished, and any website you want to be blocked should be blocked.
Hopefully, this tutorial answered any questions you had about how to block websites on Android phones. If you need any further help, look for other helpful tutorials available on our site.