YouTube is one of the most addictive digital platforms in the world. That is because it is the source of almost any kind of information. You can find tutorials for almost every activity, such as cooking videos, coding lessons, and tips for around the house. It is also a popular source of entertainment, such as celebrity gossip, music videos, and sports highlights.
The platform hosts millions of videos, with hundreds more added every minute, providing a constant flow of content to your feed. That is why some people are considering doing away with YouTube altogether. However, that can be challenging when all you have to do is open your desktop browser and google the site, and it is at your fingertips.
Luckily, you can block your browser from accessing YouTube. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to block YouTube on Explorer, but first, let us look at some reasons why you might want to block YouTube.
Reasons for Wanting to Block YouTube
Several factors may prompt you to block YouTube on Explorer. Let’s talk about them down below.
Often, whenever you log on to your YouTube account to watch a video, you watch several more unintended videos. That is because the YouTube algorithm learns your content consumption patterns and recommends videos that will pique your interest. Therefore, YouTube is addictive by design.
The Google-owned platform generates money through viewer engagement; hence, it has systems to keep you logged on longer than you intended. As a result, you may waste time on the platform, ruining your daily schedule by pushing back your activities. Consequently, blocking YouTube becomes the best way to improve your time management and reduce binge-watching tendencies.
Disconnect from the Online World
One of the most detrimental effects of the internet and platforms like YouTube on society is limiting physical human interactions. Many people connect with the rest of humanity via social media, which affects their social skills and mental health. One may block YouTube to train themselves to interact more with their physical environment. For example, instead of rushing to watch a cooking tutorial on YouTube, you can sign up for cooking lessons to meet and interact with the teacher and other aspiring cooks.
Another effect of untamed consumption of YouTube videos is a drop in productivity. If an employer witnesses productivity fluctuations, they might consider blocking websites like YouTube to ensure employees concentrate on their roles and responsibilities. The same can also apply to parents who do not want their children to waste their time seeking dopamine rushes while watching YouTube clips. Instead, they could concentrate on more meaningful activities. For instance, parents can block YouTube on Explorer to encourage their children to focus on their studies or extra-curricular activities like sports.
YouTube uses a substantial amount of data, with some estimating the site’s data consumption to be several hundred megabytes (MB) of data per hour. That means if you habitually consume a lot of YouTube content, you risk hitting your data limits earlier than expected. Consequently, you might have to renew your data package earlier than its stipulated usage period or pay extra for the bytes of data you use over the data limit to continue enjoying internet access. Paying for data after exceeding data caps can be very costly, hence the need to restrict YouTube access.
Avoid Misleading Content
Sometimes users can come across content spreading misinformation or disinformation that can manipulate one’s opinion on varying societal issues and topics. The misleading information can be especially harmful to young children and teenagers who are still developing and likely to accept false information as fact without second-guessing it. As such, blocking YouTube is one of the methods people can employ to protect vulnerable minds against misleading information.
Avoid Harmful Behavior
Like other social media platforms, YouTube exposes people, especially young children and teens, to harmful behavior by the general public that may be detrimental to their well-being. The comments sections of videos can have offensive language and expletives. Moreover, content creators and commenters can experience cyberbullying on the platform, which can cause adverse effects on mental health.
How to Block YouTube on Explorer: Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Open Notepad
The Notepad application is the best way to block YouTube on Explorer, as it only requires adding several lines to a “host” text file.
So, the first step is to open the Notepad app. To open the app, search for it on the taskbar search menu.
When you see it in the results, right-click on it to reveal a drop-down menu, then select Run as administrator.
Step 2: Select Open File
Once you tap Run as administrator, the computer will open an empty notepad.
Tap File on the screen’s top left corner, then select Open in the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Find the Host File
After clicking Open, you will see a dialogue box offering the option to select the file you want to open. You have to navigate the path to the necessary host file.
Follow the path: Local Disk C>Windows>System32. Scroll down the list of subfolders within the “System32” folder until you find a folder titled “drivers.” Select it, then press Open.
Select the etc folder in the drivers’ subfolder, then press Open.
Once you open the etc folder, you will notice at first that it is empty. Don’t worry as that is because it is displaying text documents, meaning you have to switch the search parameter to All Files. Go ahead and do that by clicking the dropdown menu.
In the updated list of files, select hosts, then press Open to allow you to edit the document.
The final path to the required host file is C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc.
Step 4: Add a New Line of Instructions in the Opened File
The host file looks as such when you open it:
Proceed to place the cursor on the last line of instructions and press Enter twice to jump to a new line.
Then, write the following:
- 127.0.0.1 and press the spacebar several times, preferably five or six times or press the Tab key once for better consistency.
- Type the link address of the website you want to block. In this case, youtube.com and press Enter.
Step 5: Add More Lines of Instructions
Given that several variations of YouTube’s link address exist, you must add several more lines of instructions to block the site successfully; otherwise, someone can use alternative addresses to access the site.
Follow the exact instructions as in the previous step. That is:
- Write 127.0.0.1, press the tab key, then write the address.
- The second address will be “www.youtube.com”
- The third address will be “https://youtube.com”
- The fourth address will be “https://www.youtube.com”
- The final address will be “m.youtube.com”
Step 6: Save the File Changes
The penultimate step is saving the changes to the host file to block the website successfully. An asterisk symbol (*) in front of the filename at the top left corner indicates you are yet to save your modifications.
Click File in the top left corner under the file name, then click Save on the dialogue box that appears.
Step 7: Clear the Operating System’s Cache
A computer’s operating system keeps a temporary database called the domain name system (DNS) Cache of all the recent web addresses you visited and tried to visit. Not clearing the DNS Cache after blocking a website would still allow access to the site.
Restarting your device is the most straightforward way to clear the DNS Cache. However, if you find restarting your computer inconveniencing, you can follow the following steps to clear the cache.
Go to the computer search bar and type Command Prompt or cmd. Then, select to run the program as the administrator.
When the Command Prompt program opens, type ipconfig/flushdns and press Enter.
Now, you can open Explorer and type in any of the YouTube web addresses, and you will find that you cannot access the website.
How to Unblock YouTube on Explorer: Step-by-Step
After blocking YouTube, you may want to unblock YouTube. That may be because you, your employees, or your children have reached your productivity goals and want to reward yourselves with entertainment or because you need vital information accessible from the website.
Unblocking the website is a straightforward process. Just follow the first three steps on How to Block YouTube. That is, opening the Notepad application as its administrator, then using the Open function to access the host file located on the C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc file path.
Once you open the host file, follow the below instructions.
Method #1: Deleting the Instructions
Step 1: Delete the Several Lines of Instructions
Go to the bottom of the page and find the instructions for blocking YouTube. They are:
- 127.0.0.1 youtube.com
- 127.0.0.1 https://youtube.com
- 127.0.0.1 https://www.youtube.com
- 127.0.0.1 www.youtube.com
- 127.0.0.1 m.youtube.com
Highlight the five lines of instructions and delete them.
Step 2: Save the Changes
Click File at the top left corner of the host file, then click Save to make the changes permanent. You can now use any of the five web addresses to access YouTube.
Alternatively, after opening the host file, you can follow different steps to unblock YouTube on Explorer.
Method #2: Using the Hash Symbol
Step 1: Modify the Lines of Instructions Dedicated to YouTube
Instead of deleting the five lines of instructions that block YouTube, you can modify the lines to make them ineffective. You do so by adding the hash symbol (#) in front of every line.
Step 2: Save the Modifications
After adding the hash symbols, click File, then Save to make the changes permanent. Then, proceed to your browser and type in YouTube’s web address to access the website.
Difference Between the Two Methods
The modifications in the second method allow you to unblock YouTube on Explorer in a manner that lets you block the website again quickly.
In the first method, deleting the lines of instructions means you must type them again when you want to block YouTube again. However, when you want to block YouTube again in the second method, delete the hash symbols (#) you added, save the changes, and clear the DNS Cache.
YouTube is a great platform as it offers entertainment and opportunities to learn new skills. However, YouTube contains some harmful information. It can also encourage poor habits, hence the need to block the site.
The steps for blocking YouTube are very straightforward; you can complete them in several minutes. Feel free to block the website if you think it does not positively contribute to your life anymore.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Alexey Boldin/Shutterstock.com.