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How to Build a Website Blocker in Python?

Written by Rahul Lath

Updated on: 07 Dec 2023

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The internet in today’s world is packed full of fascinating information and irresistible distractions. Whether it’s for productivity purposes or parental controls, sometimes there is a need to block certain websites. If you’re familiar with Python, you can create your own website blocker. This tutorial will guide you step-by-step on building a website blocker using Python. This script could be especially useful during working or studying hours to keep distractions at bay.

Python is an excellent language for this type of project due to its readability and the wide variety of libraries it offers, making it possible to implement complex tasks with relatively few lines of code. This tutorial will introduce you to some of these libraries and show you how to use them to build a website blocker.

Essential Python Concepts for Building a Website Blocker

Before we dive into the process, let’s take a quick look at some key Python concepts that you’ll need to understand. This includes familiarity with basic Python syntax, file I/O operations, working with libraries and modules, and understanding time manipulation in Python.

Understanding the Concept of a Website Blocker

A website blocker is a tool that restricts access to certain websites on a computer. These tools can be useful for a variety of reasons, such as increasing productivity by blocking distractions, setting parental controls, or enhancing cybersecurity by preventing access to harmful websites.

How Does a Website Blocker Work?

The basic concept behind a website blocker is fairly simple: it prevents your browser from loading certain websites by redirecting the website requests. One way to do this is by manipulating the ‘hosts’ file, a local system file that maps domain names to IP addresses. By adding entries to this file, we can redirect requests for certain websites to another IP address, such as the local host, effectively blocking those websites.

Different Types of Website Blockers

There are different types of website blockers, including browser extensions, software applications, and system-level blockers. This tutorial focuses on building a system-level blocker using Python, which can block websites across all browsers on a computer.

In the next section, we will be setting up our Python environment and installing the necessary libraries for our Python website blocker project. This would help us to create, implement, and enhance the website blocker. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a functional Python script that can block and unblock websites based on your specific needs.

Setting Up Your Python Environment

Before starting with our Python website blocker, it’s crucial to have a suitable Python environment. Here are the steps to set it up:

  1. Installing Python: Python can be downloaded from the official Python website. It’s recommended to install the latest stable version.
  2. Setting Up Your Code Editor: While Python comes with its own basic editor (IDLE), you might prefer a more feature-rich editor like PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, or Atom.
  3. Installing Necessary Libraries: Python’s standard library is very extensive, offering a wide range of facilities. For this project, we’ll mostly be using built-in Python libraries, so no additional installations are required.

Steps to Build a Website Blocker in Python

Now that our environment is ready, let’s dive into building our website blocker:

  1. Importing Necessary Libraries: We will need the time and os libraries for this project. The time library allows us to handle time-related tasks, and the os library gives us access to the underlying operating system.
import time import os

Creating the Block Function

Our website blocker function will add the websites we want to block to the hosts file, redirecting them to the localhost.

def block_websites(websites_to_block): with open(hosts_path, 'a') as hosts_file: for website in websites_to_block: hosts_file.write(' ' + website + '\n')

This function will take a list of websites to block and append them to the hosts file, effectively blocking them.

In the next section, we will discuss how to set up the unblock function, implement time restrictions, and add user customizations to our Python website blocker.

Setting Up the Unblock Function

The unblock function, as the name suggests, will reverse the action of the block function. It will remove the websites we have blocked from the hosts file.

  1. Writing the Unblock Function: This function will open the hosts file, read its contents into memory, remove the lines corresponding to the blocked websites, and write the contents back to the file.
def unblock_websites(websites_to_unblock): with open(hosts_path, 'r+') as hosts_file: lines = hosts_file.readlines() hosts_file.seek(0) for line in lines: if not any(website in line for website in websites_to_unblock): hosts_file.write(line) hosts_file.truncate()

This function opens the hosts file, reads its contents line by line, and rewrites only the lines that do not contain any of the blocked websites. The truncate function is used to remove any remaining lines.

Implementing Time Restrictions

Our Python website blocker will also include the ability to block websites only during certain hours of the day. This is useful if you want to prevent distractions during work hours, but allow access during leisure time.

  1. Adding Time Restrictions: We’ll use a while loop that checks the current time and either blocks or unblocks the websites accordingly. We’ll use the time library to get the current hour and compare it to our desired start and end times.
while True: if START_TIME <= time.localtime().tm_hour < END_TIME: block_websites(websites_to_block) else: unblock_websites(websites_to_block) time.sleep(60)

This loop will continue to block and unblock the websites every minute, depending on the current time.

Adding User Customizations

Next, we’ll add some user customizations to our script. This will allow the user to specify which websites to block and during which hours.

  1. Accepting User Input for Websites and Time Range: We can use the input function to get this information from the user. We’ll ask the user for a comma-separated list of websites to block and start and end times (in 24-hour format).
websites_to_block = input('Enter websites to block (comma-separated): ').split(',') START_TIME = int(input('Enter start time (24-hour format): ')) END_TIME = int(input('Enter end time (24-hour format): '))

With these added functions, your website blocker is now operational.

Testing Your Website Blocker

Once you have completed writing your Python script, it’s time to put your website blocker using Python to the test.

  1. Running Your Python Script: To run your Python script, you can navigate to the location of your script in the command prompt or terminal and use the python command followed by your script’s name.
python website_blocker.py

Before running the script, ensure that you have administrative privileges as you need to modify the hosts file which typically requires such permissions.

  1. Troubleshooting Common Errors: If you encounter any errors while running your script, they are likely due to one of the following reasons:
  • Syntax Errors: Make sure you have followed Python syntax correctly.
  • Permission Errors: As mentioned above, modifying the hosts file requires administrative privileges. Make sure you run your script as an administrator.
  • Incorrect Time Range: If the start time is greater than the end time, your websites will not be blocked correctly.

Remember, debugging is an essential part of programming. Don’t get discouraged if you run into issues.

Enhancing Your Website Blocker

After you’ve created your basic Python website blocker, there are numerous ways to enhance it:

  • Adding a User Interface with Tkinter: While our website blocker works well, it currently only operates within the command line. By using Python’s built-in library Tkinter, we can add a graphic user interface (GUI) to make our application more user-friendly.
  • Implementing Additional Features: Consider adding features such as a custom block list for each day of the week, or functionality to block all websites within certain categories (like social media or video streaming).

Ethical Considerations and Responsible Use

While building and using a python website blocker project can be a great learning experience, it’s important to consider the ethical implications:

  • Respecting Privacy and User Autonomy: If you plan to use this website blocker on a network you manage, make sure you inform network users about the blocker. Deceiving users or blocking websites without their knowledge can be considered a breach of privacy.
  • Legal Implications of Misuse: Misusing a website blocker to limit access to information or services can have legal implications. Always use this script responsibly and for ethical purposes only.


Building a Python website blocker is not only an excellent Python project for beginners, but it’s also a practical tool that can be used in real-life scenarios to enhance productivity and focus. Throughout this guide, we’ve covered a range of topics, including understanding how a website blocker works, setting up your Python environment, and the step-by-step process of building a website blocker in Python.

We’ve seen how to create the blocking function, set up the unblocking function, and how to implement time restrictions and user customizations. You’ve also learned how to test your website blocker and how to troubleshoot common errors. The knowledge doesn’t stop there; we also touched on enhancing your website blocker with a user interface and additional features. Lastly, we considered the ethical implications and the responsible use of your website blocker.

Congratulations on building your website blocker using Python! With the foundational Python skills you’ve practiced in this project, you are well on your way to mastering Python. The beauty of Python lies in its extensive applications – from web development to data science, and from automating mundane tasks to tackling complex computational problems. If you wish to learn Python in more depth and speed up your learning curve, check out our Python live tutors who can provide expert guidance tailored to your needs.

As a next step, you can explore further possibilities such as building a web scraper, a data analyzer, or even a machine learning model. Python is a universe waiting to be explored! Happy Coding!


Can I block websites permanently using this Python script?

Yes, you can block websites permanently by running the script indefinitely. However, you must ensure that the websites you want to block are included in the websites_to_block list and that the script is running with administrative privileges.

How can I add more websites to the block list?

You can add more websites to the block list by adding them to the websites_to_block list in your script.

Is it possible to schedule different block times for different websites?

While our basic website blocker does not have this feature, you could modify the script to include a dictionary where the keys are the websites and the values are the times to block those websites.

What should I do if the website blocker isn’t working as expected?

Make sure you are running your script with administrative privileges since it needs to modify the hosts file. Additionally, check your block and unblock times, and the names of the websites in your websites_to_block list.

Can I use this script to block websites on other people’s computers?

Technically, yes, but only if you have their explicit permission. Unauthorized use can lead to serious legal consequences.

What are the potential legal issues related to using a website blocker?

While using a website blocker for personal use is generally legal, unauthorized use on other networks or computers, or using it to block access to information or services, could potentially lead to legal issues.

How can I enhance this basic website blocker with more features?

Consider adding a user interface with Tkinter, implementing a custom block list for each day of the week, or adding functionality to block all websites within certain categories.

Written by by

Rahul Lath

Reviewed by by

Arpit Rankwar

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