SelfControl - A free Mac application to help you avoid distracting websites.

SelfControl is a free and open-source application for macOS that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application.

Devices

  • Mac

Price

Functionality

SelfControl is the strictest website blocker. It blocks access at the network level to all the applications using TCP/IP protocol. Even if you reboot your mac or remove the application you must finish your break.
You need to insert the password everytime you want to start the application.

How to install

  • Download from https://selfcontrolapp.com/
  • unzip
  • Drag-n-drop in the Application folder
  • The first time you start it, MacOS will tell you this application is not signed by Apple developper, you need to add an exeption

Configuration

Start the Application from the Application folder and set you white or black list. !!!!! White list on SelfControl is dangerous nothing using the network but the site your list will work.

Conclusions

Good point:

  • It is a real blocker. It is based on the network settings and any web browser can be used.
  • Free under GPL License.
  • Really easy to configure.

Bad points:

  • You need to type your password when you start it.
  • There is no way to stop it.
  • The whitelist blocks also your email

SelfControl is an application made by geeks for geeks, I would not recommend it to not-tech savvy users.

Forest - Stay focused, be present

Put down your phone and focus on what’s more important in your life.

Devices

  • Web Browser Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
  • iOs

Price

  • $2 for the iPhone version

Functionality

Forest is able to block websites access on multiple devices with a web browser plug-in. Each break allows you to grow a tree. You get points while you growing virtual trees. You can redeem your points and allow the NGO Trees for the Future (Trees.org) to plant real trees. To use this feature you need to buy the iOS App.

How to install

  • Visit the site with the browser you want to set-up and click on “Name of your browser Add-ons”
  • iOS : In the app store

Configuration

Web browser :

  1. On the plugin configuration page add websites on the black list (or the white one)

iOS App:

  1. Open parameter and adjust your preferences
  2. Set the timer and start

Gamification:

Forest  partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on the earth. When users spend virtual coins they earn in Forest on planting real trees, Forest team donates our partner and create orders of planting. https://trees.org/

Quote from trees.org about forest.
« Forest is a popular productivity app that helps people beat their phone addiction and manage their time in an interesting and pleasant way. Users can earn credits by not using their cell phones and plant real trees around the world with the credits. With Forest, users can have a delightful experience to spend less time on their cell phones, focus on what’s more important in their lives, and keep our environment green. »

Conclusion

Good point:

Freedom is a very powerful interface to block usage of websites on all web browser during a length of time, you can schedule break during the day.
The app interface is complete.
Simple to use and the gamification is a good motivation to take a break and focus on important things.
Plug-ins are free and you don’t need an account to use them.

Bad point:

There is no synchronization of the lists which is not  convenient.
Two mode for the plugins the white list is the list of site you can use and block all others, the black list is the list of site that you block.
The iPhone App is not a web blocker, It just forces you not to use another App during the break.
It is addictive 😉

Forest is an application to help you focus on your work more than doing a digital detox.

Freedom - reduces distraction

Stop being distracted by your laptop. Freedom is the app and website blocker used by over 750,000 people to reclaim focus and produc­tivity. Experience the freedom to do what matters most.

Devices

  • Mac
  • Windows
  • iOs

Price

  • $6.99/month if you buy it every month cancel anytime
  • $29 annually. 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
  • $129.00 forever. 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee.

How to install

  • Mac : Download from there website
  • Windows : Download from there website
  • iOS : In the app store

Configuration

  1. You create a login / password on  https://freedom.to .
  2. After the installation, the app will in install the plugins on all your web browser and use the blocking functionality of iOS.
    • For iOS there is a non-trivial step but it is very well explain during the installation
  3. You have to configure your setting on their website.
  4. The setting is to create the blocking list or choose one made by the app of websites.

Functionality

Freedom is able to block websites access on multiple devices from lists define on the app or on the web interface. You can configure this list from the web interface or any app on any device allow to use your setting. It is also able to block the usage of App installed on your devices, the setting has to be made on the device it is not possible to do it on the web interface.

Web interface:

Choosing websites blocking list from the web interface :
There are already prepare list, a set of website clickable and the possibility to add any website.
Choosing the length of the break and the list of devices where you want to do your break.

When you start all the selected devices start to block the selected app and websites.

App on mac:

Like on the web interface, you can use only the Mac App to setup everything
You have to use the App on the Mac to define the list of Applications to block.

Conclusion

Good point:

Freedom is a very powerful interface to block usage of apps and websites during a length of time and you can schedule a break during the day.
From the web interface you can set up the list of devices, the block list and schedule everything from the web interface.
The app interface is complete.

Bad point:

It is really expensive.
You need an account on their system and they have lot of information about the usage of your apps.