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Powerful URL Blocking

Focus makes it easy to block any kind of website you can think of. Its goal is to make common blocking scenarios simple and complex scenarios possible.

It accomplishes these goals through two different URL blocking modes: Simple and Advanced URL blocking.

Simple URL blocking

The default mode for blocking is Simple URL blocking and this allows you to just specify a domain or URL to block.

Domain

For example, you can specify just the domain facebook.com and Focus will block the following URLs:

  • http://facebook.com
  • https://facebook.com
  • http://www.facebook.com/newsfeed
  • https://newsfeed.facebook.com/
  • etc…

Path


Or you can specify more of the URL like facebook.com/newsfeed then Focus will only block:

  • http://www.facebook.com/newsfeed
  • https://www.facebook.com/newsfeed
  • https://newsfeed.facebook.com/newsfeed


But will not block

  • http://www.facebook.com/about
  • http://www.facebook.com/messenger
  • http://newsfeed.facebook.com/updates

Wildcards


Finally, you can specify wildcards (*) to add even more flexibility.

If you specify facebook.com/*/about then Focus will only block:

  • http://www.facebook.com/messenger/about
  • http://www.facebook.com/newsfeed/about
  • http://www.facebook.com/corporate/about


But will not block:

  • http://www.facebook.com/messenger/contact
  • http://www.facebook.com/newsfeed/contact
  • http://www.facebook.com/corporate/contact


Simple URL blocking works for nearly all cases and is extremely flexible. However, sometimes you need even more control. That’s where Advanced URL blocking comes in.

Whitelist Exceptions

A really simple but powerful way to add exceptions to blocking is to add a plus sign (+) before a URL. This tells Focus to add an exception for this rule. This makes it really easy, for example, to block all of Facebook except a certain URL.

  • facebook.com
  • +facebook.com/importantWorkPage

Advanced URL blocking with Regex

Advanced URL blocking is available when you need more even control over URL blocking, and provides direct access to regular expressions.

Regular expressions in Focus are denoted by a beginning and ending forward slash.

For example, the following expression blocks Facebook.com:

/https?://(www\.)?facebook.com/

When is this useful?

When you have a really complex URL to block that can’t be expressed with regular Whitelist Exceptions.

For example, say you wanted to block access to something that Focus doesn’t handle by default, like FTP.

With regular expressions, you could add the following rule and block a specific FTP server:

/ftp://ftp.ed.ac.uk/

Of course a much more complex rule can be used, and the Whitelist Exceptions can actually be used in conjunction with regular expressions to create whitelist rules that are even more powerful:

/ftp://.*/

+/ftp://ftp.ed.ac.uk/

This rule would block all FTP servers, but allow ftp.ed.ac.uk.

Watch Tutorial

Watch a tutorial on how to block websites and apps using Focus.

Need help?

Contact support@heyfocus.com if you have any questions about Focus.