The Most Distracting Websites to Block at Work | CurrentWare

The Most Distracting Websites to Block at Work in 2021

A man stares amazed at his laptop

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



How to Block Distracting Internet Sites at Work

BrowseControl lets you block employees from accessing distracting websites through:

  • Category Filtering: Block websites with the help of a predefined list of URLs. The category internet filter database is continuously updated so you can easily stay ahead of new websites as they appear.
  • URL Filtering: Add specific URLs and domains to a block list (blacklist) to block just those pages or block all websites except for a select few that are added to an allow list (whitelist). 

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.

Why Do Companies Block Websites?

Increase Employee Productivity by Blocking Distractions

A woman in professional attire stares off-screen, distracted

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.

Protect Sensitive Data From Employee Theft and Hackers

data leakage prevention - how to protect your data

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.

Improve Internet Speeds by Reducing Excessive Bandwidth Usage

An Ethernet router with five RJ45 cables connected to it

Streaming a 4K Ultra HD Netflix video consumes 7GB of data per hour. In 2017 Netflix reported that 37% of its users admitted to using the streaming service while at work.

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.

Reduce Workplace Harassment

While a computer use policy is an essential part of controlling employee internet use, it’s only part of the solution to preventing internet abuse in the workplace.

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.

The Ultimate List of Websites to Block at Work

Screenshot of the URL filter from BrowseControl, CurrentWare's web filtering software

To block these websites in BrowseControl simply copy and paste them into Notepad and save it as a .txt file. Then, go to BrowseControl > URL Filter > Blocked List> Import to import the .txt file. All of the URLs will then be added to the Blocked URLs list. Any duplicated URLs will be automatically filtered out.

43things.com
 4chan.org
 82apps.com
 8tube.xxx
 8ch.net
 8chan.co
 9gag.com
 9to5mac.com
 abcnews.go.com
 addictinggames.com
 addthis.com
 agar.io
 airbnb.com
 albinoblacksheep.com
 allmyfaves.com
 allthingsd.com
 allvid.ch
 alternativeto.net
 amazon.com
 andkon.com
 angel.co
 aniwey.net
 aol.com
 appsandoranges.com
 ardmediathek.de
 arstechnica.com
 artsy.net
 ask.fm
 auroravid.to
 betali.st
 bet365.com
 bidvoy.net
 biqle.ru
 bitvid.sx
 bleacherreport.com
 blogspot.com
 bloomberg.com
 blowcomics.com
 bo.lt
 boingboing.net
 bored.com
 branch.com
 break.com
 briskfile.com
 bud.ge
 bufferapp.com
 buildandshoot.com
 bumble.com
 businessinsider.com
 buy.com
 buzzfeed.com
 cad-comic.com
 camelcamelcamel.com
 canada.com
 candybox2.net
 candystand.com
 cheapassgamer.com
 cheezburger.com
 chime.in
 chrome.google.com
 circleme.com
 cloudtime.to
 cloudy.ec
 collegehumor.com
 comcast.net
 coolrom.com
 cracked.com
 craigslist.org
 crunchbase.com
 crystalmathlabs.com
 cubers.net
 cull.tv
 cultofmac.com
 daclips.in
 dailydot.com
 dailymotion.com
 dashnet.org
 deadspin.com
 delicious.com
 desura.com
 deviantart.com
 devour.com
 digg.com
 disneyplus.com
 divxme.com
 divxstage.to
 dpadd.com
 draynor.net
 drive.google.com
 dropvideo.com
 dzone.com
 ebaumsworld.com
 ebay.com
 edition.cnn.com
 eeemo.net
 elderscrollsonline.com
 engadget.com
 entervideo.net
 espn.com
 espn.go.com
 estream.to
 etsy.com
 evernote.com
 explosm.net
 extensions
 facebook.com
 fark.com
 feedly.com
 filenuke.com
 flashx.tv
 flixster.com
 fluther.com
 forbes.com
 foundation.bz
 freakshare.com
 funnyjunk.com
 funnyordie.com
 game-oldies.com
 gamepedia.com
 gamovideo.com
 gawker.com
 getglue.com
 getprismatic.com
 gigaom.com
 gizmodo.com
 gocomics.com
 goodvideohost.com
 gorillavid.in
 grindr.com
 greevid.com
 hivereader.com
 homestarrunner.com
 huffingtonpost.com
 hulu.com
 hunch.com
 idowatch.net
 ifttt.com
 imgur.com
 indieflix.com
 indiegogo.com
 instagram.com
 invisionfree.com
 io9.com
 itunes.apple.com
 jalopnik.com
 jezebel.com
 jukejuice.com
 justin.tv
 kag2d.com
 kickstarter.com
 kinja.com
 knowyourmeme.com
 koalabeast.com
 kongregate.com
 kotaku.com
 kurzweilai.net
 launch.co
 leetscape.com
 letwatch.us
 lifehacker.com
 livejournal.com
 liveleak.com
 loadingartist.com
 lofog.com
 longform.org
 makeuseof.com
 mashable.com
 match.com
 medium.com
 metacafe.com
 metafilter.com
 minecraft.net
 minecraftforum.net
 miniclip.com
 minus.com
 movdivx.com
 movpod.in
 movshare.net
 mp4upload.com
 mspaintadventures.com
 myspace.com
 myvideo.de
 nayavideo.com
 neatorama.com
 neodrive.co
 netflix.com
 newegg.com
 newgrounds.com
 news.google.com
 news.ycombinator.com
 newsblur.com
 newsle.com
 noowit.com
 noslocker.com
 nosvideo.com
 novamov.com
 nowvideo.ch
 nowvideo.co
 nowvideo.sx
 nowvideo.to
 ok.ru
 oload.tv
 onlinegambling.com
 openload.co
 openload.io
 overstock.com
 pandodaily.com
 path.com
 pbfcomics.com
 penny-arcade.com
 pheed.com
 pinboard.in
 pinterest.com
 play.google.com
 playedto.me
 playreplay.net
 pof.com
 polygon.com
 pornhub.com
 popurls.com
 potluck.it
 powvideo.net
 primeshare.tv
 promptfile.com
 purefreetoplay.com
 quora.com
 qz.com
 rapidvideo.com
 rapidvideo.ws
 raptr.com
 raptu.com
 realmofthemadgod.com
 reddit.com
 redtube.com
 rottentomatoes.com
 rsbandb.com
 runeclan.com
 runehead.com
 runehints.com
 runehq.com
 runemonkey.net
 runescape.com
 runetrack.com
 runetracker.org
 runeweb.net
 runewise.net
 salmoneus.net
 scape-xp.com
 sendvid.com
 shared.sx
 sharesix.com
 sharethis.com
 slashdot.com
 slashdot.org
 slate.com
 slatestarcodex.com
 slither.io
 smbc-comics.com
 snapzu.com
 snopes.com
 sortable.com
 southparkstudios.com
 speedvid.net
 speedvideo.net
 spring.me
 stagevu.com
 steampowered.com
 stellar.io
 store.maxdome.de
 strawpoll.me
 streamcloud.eu
 streamin.to
 streamplay.to
 stumbleupon.com
 stylee32.net
 swiftirc.net
 teamcoco.com
 teamfortress.com
 techcrunch.com
 techmeme.com
 techvibes.com
 theneeds.com
 thenextweb.com
 theoatmeal.com
 theoldreader.com
 theonion.com
 theverge.com
 thevideo.me
 thevideobee.to
 thevideos.tv
 tiktok.com
 tinder.com
 tip.it
 titanfall.com
 tmz.com
 transformice.com
 tumblr.com
 tweettabs.com
 twitch.tv
 twitter.com
 uptostream.com
 userscloud.com
 userscripts.org
 usersfiles.com
 userstyles.org
 ustream.tv
 valvesoftware.com
 veehd.com
 venturebeat.com
 veoh.com
 versus.com
 vgcats.com
 vice.com
 vid.gg
 vid.me
 vidabc.com
 video.tt
 videosift.com
 videoweed.es
 videowood.tv
 vidgg.to
 vidlox.tv
 vidto.me
 vidtodo.com
 vidup.me
 vidzi.tv
 vimeo.com
 vimple.ru
 virtualnes.com
 vivo.sx
 vk.com
 voat.co
 vodlock.co
 vshare.eu
 vshare.io
 wallbase.cc
 wanelo.com
 watchers.to
 wholecloud.net
 wikia.com
 wikipedia.org
 wimp.com
 wired.com
 wish.com
 wizards.com
 xkcd.com
 xvidstage.com
 yoleoreader.com
 yourvideohost.com
 yourworldoftext.com
 youtube.com
 youwatch.org
 youjizz.com
 ytmnd.com
 zdf.de
 zetaboards.com
 zifboards.com
 zybez.net
 zynga.com

Steven Black’s repository consolidates several reputable hosts files and merges them into a unified hosts file with duplicates removed. A variety of tailored hosts files are provided with targeting for adware/malware, fake news, gambling, porn, and social media.

The adware + malware unified hosts file contains over 93,000 unique domains, with more domains being added on a regular basis.

Here’s how to use it with BrowseControl:

  1. Copy + Paste the Raw Hosts files you want to use in a text editing program of your choice (I recommend Notepad)
  2. Remove all extraneous information from the header/footer (you will be left with a large list of URLs with 0.0.0.0 in front of them)
  3. Use your text editing program’s Find and Replace Tool to remove all of the 0.0.0.0’s (find 0.0.0.0 + leave the Replace With box blank)
  4. Using the URL import feature, import 1000 URLs at a time until all of the desired URLs are added. For performance and stability reasons BrowseControl’s URL import feature must import no greater than 1000 URLs at a time, so you will need to split this hosts file into multiple files.*

*Note for Step 4: Since there are so many domains in this hosts file, you should consider using automated tools to split the 93,000 domains into separate files with 1000 rows each. See this article to learn how you can how to split a .CSV excel spreadsheet into separate files.

Artists Against 419 maintains a database of fraudulent websites and makes this data available as a public service. You can find their database here.

“The Phishing Database is a continuously updated archive of structured and searchable information on all the phishing websites detected by OpenPhish. In addition, the database contains metadata that can be used for detecting and analyzing cyber incidents, searching for patterns and trends, or act as a training or validation dataset for AI applications.” – OpenPhish

OpenPhish maintains feeds of phishing websites. These feeds have over 20,000,000 URLs spread across more than 88,000 phishing campaigns. As new URLs are discovered they are added to this list.

Examples of Distracting Websites to Block at Work

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.

1) Social Media

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

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:

  • Marketers
  • Graphic designers

How to block Tumblr in the workplace:

  • Add Tumblr.com to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Social networks, Mixed adult

Facebook

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:

  • Marketers

How to block Facebook in the workplace:

  • Add Facebook.com to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Social networks

Twitter

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:

  • Marketers

How to block Twitter in the workplace:

  • Add Twitter.com to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Social networks

Pinterest

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:

  • Graphic designers
  • Marketers
  • Project planners 

How to block Pinterest in the workplace:

  • Add Pinterest.com to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Social networks, image and video hosting, mixed adult

TikTok

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:

  • Marketers

How to block TikTok in the workplace:

  • Add TikTok.com to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Social networks, online video or audio

2) Memes, Time Wasters & Funny Images

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

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:

  • Not applicable (unless you work at BuzzFeed)

How to block BuzzFeed in the workplace:

  • Add Buzzfeed.com to your URL block list
  • Add Buzzfeednews.com  to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Nonsense and time waste

Imgur

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:

  • Roles that require access to images externally hosted on imgur
  • Roles that visit third-party sites for research (the sites may be hosting images on Imgur)

How to block Imgur in the workplace:

  • Add Imgur.com to your URL block list
  • Add filmot.org  to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Image and video hosting, mixed adult, image block
  •  

9GAG

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:

  • Not applicable (unless you work at 9gag)

How to block 9GAG in the workplace:

  • Add 9GAG.com to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Nonsense and time waste

4chan.org

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:

  • Not applicable (unless you work at 4chan)

How to block 4chan in the workplace:

  • Add 4chan.org to your URL block list
  • BrowseControl Category: Porn, forums

Reddit

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:

  • IT/Programmers
  • Marketers
  • Sales people
  • Graphic designers

How to block Reddit in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • Reddit.com
    • pcottle.github.io/MSOutlookit
    • Redditp.com
    • Jimmyr.com
  • BrowseControl Category: Forums, user generated content

3) Online Shopping

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:

  • Amazon*
  • Wish
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Etsy

How to block online shopping in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • Amazon.com
    • Amazon.ca
    • Wish.com
    • eBay.com
    • eBay.ca
    • Craigslist.org
    • Etsy.com
  • BrowseControl Category: Shopping

*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.

4) Video Streaming

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:

  • Twitch
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Disney+
  • YouTube

How to block video streaming in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • Twitch.tv
    • Primevideo.com
    • Netflix.com
    • Disneyplus.com
    • YouTube.com
  • BrowseControl Category: Legal Movies, Online video or audio, Image and video hosting, Movies

5) Pornography & Adult Content

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Porn

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:

  • PornHub
  • RedTube
  • YouJizz
  • 8Tube

How to block porn in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • PornHub.com
    • RedTube.com
    • YouJizz.com
    • 8Tube.xxx
  • BrowseControl Category: Porn

Violence

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:

  • WorldStarHipHop 
  • Best Gore

How to block violent websites in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • Worldstarhiphop.com
    • Bestgore.com
  • BrowseControl Category: Violence

Dating

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:

  • PlentyofFish
  • Tinder
    • While Tinder is most commonly used as a mobile phone app, many of its features are also available through their website at Tinder.com
  • Match
  • Grindr
    • While Grindr is most commonly used as a mobile phone app, many of its features are also available through their website at Grindr.com
    • You will also want to add Web.grindr.com to your blacklist. This is a web app that is designed to disguise the service as an email platform so employees can discreetly access their messages while on work computers.

How to block dating websites in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • Pof.com
    • Tinder.com
    • Match.com
    • Grindr.com
    • Web.grindr.com
    • Bumble.com
  • BrowseControl Category: Dating

6) Sports

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:

  • ESPN
  • National Football League (NFL) website
  • National Hockey League (NHL) website
  • National Basketball Association (NBA) website
  • Bleacher Report

How to block sports websites in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • ESPN.com
    • Nfl.com
    • Nhl.com
    • Nba.com
    • bleacherreport.com
  • BrowseControl Category: Sports

7) News

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:

  • CNN
  • Huffington Post
  • USA Today
  • Wall Street Journal
  • New York Times

How to block news websites in the workplace:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • CNN.com
    • Huffingtonpost.ca
    • Huffpost.com
    • USAToday.com
    • WSJ.com
    • NYtimes.com
  • BrowseControl Category: News and magazines, Politics, 

8) Online Games & Gambling

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:

  • Add these URLs to your block list:
    • AddictingGames.com
    • bet365.com
    • Miniclip.com
    • Onlinegambling.com
  • BrowseControl Category: Gambling, Games and toys 

FREE TRIAL: BrowseControl Website Blocking Software

”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.

Sample categories:

  • Pornography
  • Social Networks (Social Media)
  • Shopping
  • Computer Games
  • Virus Infected

Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu is a Product Manager with CurrentWare. He enjoys helping businesses improve their employee productivity & data loss prevention efforts through the deployment of the CurrentWare solutions.