How to Block Websites on Microsoft Edge – Step-By-Step Guide

Microsoft Edge app in play store. close-up on the laptop screen
Microsoft Edge, the default Windows browser, has few options to block websites. Follow this guide to learn an effective alternative method.

Unrestricted internet access is generally considered a right and a utility, but there are situations in which it would be best to limit the websites that can be reached by the user.

Parents may want to protect their children from the content of certain sites while others may want to keep themselves away from websites they consider a waste of time.

To serve the needs of those looking to block certain websites, many web browsers have a built-in option to do so, except Microsoft Edge.

Despite the option not being built in to the browser, there are ways to block websites when using Microsoft Edge, which will be discussed below.

The Problem

Microsoft Edge, the successor to Internet Explorer, has limited options when it comes to blocking websites. While there are parental control options built into the browser, they can easily be bypassed and can be difficult to set up.

Furthermore, you must set up Microsoft accounts for all your family members, a fairly lengthy and tedious process, before you have the ability to apply the parental controls.

Read on if you want to learn how to block websites on Microsoft Edge without having to go through these steps.

Blocking Websites Using Windows Drivers

For this to work, you need to be logged in to your computer as an administrator. Once you’re logged in, complete the following steps:

  1. Open File Explorer and go to the drive where Windows is installed. This is usually the C Drive.
File Explorer

Open the C drive

 2. Open the Windows folder followed by the System32 folder and then open the drivers folder.

Windows Folder

Open Windows folder

System32 Folder

Open the System32 folder

Drivers Folder

Open the drivers folder

3. Search for the hosts file, right click it and hover over Open with. Click on Notepad in the menu that appears.

Search the hosts file and open it with notepad

Search for and open the hosts file

4. When the file opens, type the following in the section shown in the image:

<localhost address><space><website address you want to block>

(e.g. 0.0.0.0 www.twitter.com)

Enter the mapping entry

The hosts file

5. You can add as many websites as you would like. Press Enter to go to the next line and enter another address.

6. Once you have entered all the websites you want to block, save and close the file.

To test your work, try opening one of the sites you entered in the hosts file. You should see that Microsoft Edge will display an error as it cannot reach the site.

Blocked websites

Blocked websites

So, What Exactly Did You Do Here?

The hosts file we just edited is a default sample file used by Windows to learn about different hosts. It is a sort of hosts’ name resolution table.  

Any domain name mentioned here with an IP address is mapped to that address. Using the example above, www.twitter.com has been mapped to the IP address 0.0.0.0.

Therefore, whenever “www.twitter.com” is entered in the browser, instead of going on the internet to reach the site, the browser will simply be redirected to the IP address 0.0.0.0.

An added benefit of using this method is that you will be unable to reach any of the websites you mentioned in the hosts file through any browser, not just Microsoft Edge.

The hosts file is used by the TCP/IP protocol, which helps web browsers access the internet. Since it is used by all of the browsers on a single computer, any changes made will be seen across all browsers.

What If I Can’t Open the Hosts File?

If you aren’t logged in as an administrator you may not be able to open the hosts file.

If that happens, simply change the properties of the hosts file using the following steps:

  1. Right-click the hosts file and select Properties from the menu.
hosts Properties

Right-click to access the menu

2. In the Properties dialogue box, click the Security tab.

3. Click the Advanced button near the bottom.

hosts Properties Security tab and Advanced settings

Security tab and Advanced options

4. In the Advanced Security Settings for hosts dialogue box, press the Change Permissions button and then the Add button.

Change Permissions and then press Add

Change permissions and then press Add

5. Click Select a principal and then enter your login ID or Windows username in the Enter the object name to select box.

Select principal and then enter the object name

Add your username

6. Click OK after confirming that your user has the editing rights for this file.

Allowed permissions

Check Modify and Write permissions

If prompted, enter the administrator username and password.

Following these steps will allow you to block any website you do not want to access on your computer.

This facility can be used to ensure that your time on the computer is not spent on entertainment or social media sites, and to keep your children from safe from anything inappropriate they may accidentally stumble upon.

Alternatives

You may feel like trying out other tools to do the same job for any number of reasons. You may not have the rights to access the Windows folder or to modify any of the system files.

In such cases, you can try using third-party tools to do the job, such as:

1. OpenDNS, which can block any websites in a similar fashion for all browsers.

2. A blocking tool like FocalFilter.

3. You could tinker a little with your modem or router. But the downside of doing that would be that you will be blocking these sites for anyone connected to your network and not just your computer.

4. And finally, you could go back to the drawing board and start planning to set Microsoft accounts for the whole family and then use parental controls.

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