Learn how to use advanced blocking in Focus, including regular expressions and allowed site exceptions.

Advanced URL Blocking

Focus aims to be simple, so the default blocking rules should handle most cases. But sometimes you need a little extra power when blocking. There are two primary methods for advanced blocking, Allowed Site Exceptions and Regular Expression Blocking.

Allowed Site Exceptions

When using the Allowed List Focus will block everything except for the sites in the list.

But sometimes you need a more complex ruleset, for example blocking a list of sites, but then allowing a few exceptions on that site.

A really common example is blocking all of Facebook, but allowing a single page (maybe a work page), you could do that with two rules:

facebook.com
+facebook.com/allowthispage

The first rule should look familiar, it just says to block the entire Facebook domain. The second line is where things get interesting.

The second line has a + before it, which means "allow this rule". By doing that, we're telling Focus to block all of Facebook EXCEPT facebook.com/allowthispage.

If we wanted to allow another page on Facebook, we'd just add another rule, like this

+facebook.com/anotherpagetoallow

All together, these rules block all of Facebook EXCEPT the two pages at

  • facebook.com/anotherpagetoallow
  • facebook.com/allowthispage

Pretty quickly you can see how Allowed Site Exceptions can be used to build powerful blocks.

Regular Expression Blocking

If Allowed Site Exceptions aren't powerful enough, Regular Expression (regex) Blocking can handle almost anything you throw at it—but be careful, writing regex is usually for programmers.

For a rule to use Regular Expressions, it should start and end with forward slashes (/). For example, here's a rule that lets us block Google searches for the term golf:

/https://www.google.com/search\?q=.*golf.*/

This guide won't cover regular expressions, but there are plenty of tutorials if you're looking to get up to speed.

And if you have any questions, please contact support.



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