With faster Internet connections, web surfing is a breeze these days. And the number of websites keeps on increasing. There are safe, informational websites that you visit now and again and there are websites with adult content that are not suitable for small children and young adults. There are also harmful websites that look quite like an ordinary site but may be full of viruses and other applications that will hijack your personal information and create havoc on your stored data and your computer. If you have young children who also use your Mac for web surfing and you want to be assured that your children will not be able to visit restricted websites, you can set it up with some applications to make blocking and unblocking Internet sites as easy as possible. Here are some tips on how to block and unblock Internet sites on a Mac.
- You can go to the OpenDNS website and sign up for a free account if you only have one Mac computer to protect. This is for individual use and you can add up to 25 websites to your white list or your block list. Read more of the features that are included in the free service from the website. OpenDNS also offers a family pack for up to five users. The fee is $9.95 per year and this will allow you to block up to fifty domains. The service also gives your computer protection against phishing and botnet. Business users can use the service at the rate of $5 per user per year.
- You can also use CovenantEyes. This application will monitor all the websites that are visited by a user. When you sign up for the service, you can set up the preferences to block mature content for children and set up Internet filtering levels based on the age of the computer users. After you have signed up for the service and paid the annual fee, you will be able to download and install the software. The website has a tutorial on how to install the software on a Mac OS X 10.4 and higher.
- If you have some have technical background on how to work with a Mac and change some of its operating system scripts, you can use the Mac’s Terminal to change the hosts file and add the Internet sites you want to block one by one. This is done by opening the Terminal window and making a back up of the original hosts files so that you can have a restore point should something happen. You do this by typing this command line in the Terminal window – sudo /bin/cp /etc/hosts /etc/hosts-original. Once the backup has been made you can start editing the hosts file by typing this new command in one line in the terminal window sudo /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit/etc/hosts to call the TextEdit window. This window will show you a list of command lines that should not be edited in any way. You can only add the new command line right after the last entry in the TextEdit window. It you want to browser to move back to the localhost or the Mac system when a restricted website is visited, type in 127.0.0.1 followed by a space and the URL of the website to be blocked. Hit the enter key to move to the next line and follow the pattern to enter another website URL. After you have finished entering all the websites, exit the TextEdit window and save your file when prompted. Move back to the Terminal window and type dscacheutil -flushcache. This will flush the Mac’s DNS and effect the changes that you have made. Reboot the Mac afterwards.
- If you have installed the free version of OpenDNS and the Covenant Eyes and you want to unblock the websites, you can just move the application to trash. Covenant Eyes can be uninstalled from your system. You have to provide your Covenant Eyes password to get an uninstall code. If you have edited the hosts file, then you have to restore the original hosts file to remove the blocks that you have made.
If can be a challenge to set up filters to block websites from being visited when you are using a Mac but with the help of some software that are available today the process is much easier. With some technical expertise and you know your way to tinker with the Mac’s system, you can also set it up to block and unblock websites without installing any software.