Are distracting websites draining the productivity of your employees? Web filtering software is crucial for enforcing your internet use policy and keeping employees focused on their tasks. After starting your free web filtering software trial this introductory list will help you start blocking internet sites at work.Table of Contents
BrowseControl lets you block employees from accessing distracting websites through:
BrowseControl’s web filtering policies can be customized based on specific users, devices, and departments.
To make URL filtering easier BrowseControl allows you to import URLs from a .csv or .txt file. The URL import feature automatically ignores duplicates, allowing you to easily source and implement additional website block lists from the internet.
For further granularity, internet restrictions can also be modified based on the time of day using the internet scheduler, allowing employees to access unproductive websites during their breaks. This approach allows you to balance the benefits of blocking internet sites at work with the desire your employees have to browse the internet.
A modest amount of cyberloafing might be fine, but unmanaged internet access will become a major time sink. Blocking distracting websites keeps actively disengaged employees from sneakily wasting time by playing computer games and browsing social media sites.
Even for the best employees websites like social media and news outlets are designed to keep us hooked and spending far more time than we may realize. By proactively blocking distracting websites you can keep employees focused on their tasks by removing the temptation to scroll just a little bit more.
The internet is a valuable workplace tool, but it’s also a serious cybersecurity risk if employees are given complete access to it. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing websites, malware-infected domains, and unauthorized cloud storage accounts are all significant threats to sensitive corporate data. Web filters are a critical layer of defense for protecting networks against these high-risk websites.
Employees that use the company internet to stream videos waste valuable bandwidth and ruin the productivity of their coworkers by dramatically slowing down the speed of the internet.
A web filter works alongside a computer use policy to stop employees from accessing NSFW content such as pornography, hateful, and violent websites. By blocking websites that contain this content you can reduce inappropriate web usage that would otherwise contribute to a hostile work environment.
This list of distracting websites to block at work is far from complete. The internet contains millions of web pages and new sites pop up every day. For the best results, monitor employee internet use for unfamiliar websites and block websites based on content categories.
Social media is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with family and friends or connecting with like minded communities. Unfortunately the addictive nature of these websites means they can easily become a major distraction.
Shockingly, a survey from Pew Research found that a whopping 77 percent of employees admitted to using social media during work hours. Unless your employees are managing your company’s social media account, these platforms aren’t going to be needed for work.
Tumblr is a social blogging platform where users follow and engage with other blogs. Content shared on this platform includes videos, images, animated gifs, links, audio, and text.
Who would most likely need work-related access to Tumblr:
How to block Tumblr in the workplace:
Facebook is a well-known (and commonly abused) social networking website. Users can connect with friends and family by sharing status updates, images, links, and comments. Facebook includes an instant messaging feature that allows employees to chat with their contacts.
Who would most likely need work-related access to Facebook:
Twitter is a microblog where users share short-form status updates of up to 280 characters. Users follow and interact with other accounts by commenting, liking, and retweeting (reposting) status updates. Posts are found by following other accounts and hashtags (keywords).
Who would most likely need work-related access to Twitter:
How to block Twitter in the workplace:
Pinterest describes themselves as a “visual discovery engine”. This image-focused website is a digital representation of a pin board where users collect and organize their favorite posts into collections. Common uses of Pinterest include finding and maintaining collections of recipes, DIY projects, and “mood boards” for creative projects.
Who would most likely need work-related access to Pinterest:
How to block Pinterest in the workplace:
TikTok is a social media platform where users share short-form videos that are commonly synced to sound clips from music and pop culture. While TikTok is more commonly used as a mobile phone application it is also available through their desktop site. Recent bannings of TikTok due to security and privacy concerns have led to some employers blocking the website for more than just productivity reasons.
Who would most likely need work-related access to TikTok:
The occasional bout of browsing funny images or reading light-hearted articles can help employees blow off steam between intense work periods. Unfortunately these websites can quickly turn from occasional glances to full-blown time theft when employees abuse their internet privileges.
BuzzFeed is an entertainment site that hosts celebrity gossip, articles, listicles, quizzes, and videos. Content that is on BuzzFeed is sourced from staff writers, user submissions, and sponsored content.
If you would like to block BuzzFeed in the workplace be sure to add both their primary domain (Buzzfeed.com) as well as their news domain (Buzzfeednews.com) to your BrowseControl block list.
Who would most likely need work-related access to BuzzFeed:
How to block BuzzFeed in the workplace:
Imgur (pronounced image-er) is a website that is entirely dedicated to hosting images and animated gifs. It differentiates itself from other image hosting websites with its community engagement features such as search, comments, and voting systems.
If you will be blocking Imgur at work, you will also need to block filmot.org as it is a direct mirror of Imgur. Unfortunately, blocking the imgur domain can have unintended side-effects if work-related websites are using Imgur to host images. Leaving the domain unblocked and monitoring employee computer activity with BrowseReporter instead can help address misuse of the website.
Who would most likely need work-related access to Imgur:
How to block Imgur in the workplace:
Much like Imgur, 9GAG isa website dedicated to hosting images and videos. The user-generated content hosted on the platform typically focuses on memes and other non-work content. 9GAG also hosts potentially NSFW content, though in order to view the content an employee will need to sign up for an account and manually disable the content filter.
Who would most likely need work-related access to 9gag:
How to block 9GAG in the workplace:
4chan is an anonymous imageboard website where users access content-specific communities centered around topics such as anime, video games, music, and politics. 4chan includes several NSFW communities that are readily accessible from the homepage of the websites.
Who would most likely need work-related access to 4chan:
How to block 4chan in the workplace:
While Reddit is considered a sort of social media site, it is primarily a forum for user-submitted images, videos, and text content. Though it is more often used for non-work purposes, Reddit can be used productively. In addition to memes and pictures of cute animals, there are entire communities that are hosted on Reddit that employees can access to learn more about niche topics.
As for NSFW content, there are subreddits on Reddit that contain adult content. While Reddit does offer content filtering to hide NSFW content, employees could easily access the content by turning off these settings.
Who would most likely need work-related access to Reddit:
How to block Reddit in the workplace:
Unless your employees are tasked with tracking down materials and quotes, online shopping websites are certain to be a workplace distraction. These are the five most common culprits for online shopping.
Examples of online shopping websites:
How to block online shopping in the workplace:
*Note: If you have developers or other related staff that use Amazon Web Services for cloud hosting, data storage, and related services, you will need to use BrowseControl’s user-level permissions to allow them access to Amazon.
With the exception of YouTube, these streaming sites are almost guaranteed to be used for non-work-related purposes. Video streaming is the greatest contributor to network latency. With BrowseReporter you can monitor employee computer activity for excessive bandwidth usage and block any commonly abused websites with BrowseControl.
Examples of video streaming websites:
How to block video streaming in the workplace:
According to a 2013 Forbes article a survey by Nielsen found that 25 percent of working adults admit to looking at pornography on a computer at work. Inappropriate internet use leads to the creation of a hostile work environment. Your company can stay one step ahead by proactively blocking porn websites in your network using BrowseControl’s category filter.
Examples of porn websites:
How to block porn in the workplace:
Websites that host violent or shocking content can be incredibly upsetting for employees. Using BrowseControl’s category filter you can proactively block access to these types of websites by blacklisting the “Violence” category.
Examples of violent websites:
How to block violent websites in the workplace:
Due to their intimate and personal nature the use of online dating sites in the workplace can make employees uncomfortable. In addition to stipulating your company’s expectations of appropriate internet use in your acceptable use policy you can proactively block these websites.
Examples of dating websites:
How to block dating websites in the workplace:
Sports fans around the world build a great sense of camaraderie by hosting streaming parties and talking about the latest events. Unfortunately once these streaming parties start happening discretely during work hours your network can suddenly become bogged down with sudden bandwidth spikes. Habitually checking the latest stats for fantasy rosters and calculating playoff chances can also become a distraction.
Examples of sports websites:
How to block sports websites in the workplace:
Early morning news updates before work helps keep employees informed of the latest world events. Unfortunately the news can become a distraction when these websites are continuously monitored throughout the day.
This can be managed by blocking news websites during work hours and allowing employees to access them during breaks. This can be accomplished using BrowseControl’s Internet Scheduler.
Examples of news websites:
How to block news websites in the workplace:
Actively disengaged employees may misrepresent the time they spend on tasks by doing the minimal amount of work and spending the rest of their work day on internet gaming sites. Thanks to BrowseReporter’s employee internet monitoring features you never have to worry that an employee is stealthily gaming on their workstation.
Examples of online games & gambling websites:
How to block online games & gambling websites in the workplace:
”As a ‘novice’ I was able to set up with help from support in about an hour. Previous software took forever and didn’t work as advertised; this software worked right out of the box. It allows my workers to use the internet and make money for the practice without distraction/temptation to use personal websites/email/shopping.”
– Gerard B., Office Manager
Want to block distracting websites more efficiently? The website category filtering feature of BrowseControl makes it the best internet filter for blocking distracting websites. Rather than searching for URLs manually, you can take advantage of our constantly updated database of millions of URLs across 100+ content categories.