Focus Better and Get More Done

FocalFilter Start

FocalFilter is a free productivity tool that helps you focus by temporarily blocking distracting websites. After the block timer runs out, your websites are available for you to view again.

  1. Run FocalFilter.
  2. You choose which websites to block.
  3. Set how long they should blocked for.
  4. Get more work done.

One Block, All Browsers

FocalFilter was built to work with every web browser including

Adding a Website to FocalFilter

FocalFilter Edit

Just copy and paste the address from your browser's address bar.


(If you don't see a "www" in the address bar, then don't add it when you paste into FocalFilter.)

The list of blocked sites is saved for the next time you run FocalFilter.

You can't reach FocalFilter's controls while it is blocking sites, and terminating it or uninstalling it before the time runs out will not remove the blocks. If FocalFilter is still installed, you can remove the blocks early by rebooting your computer.

Installation Instructions

FocalFilter works on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
You can download it for free here (the latest version was released November 2012).

Note: Some security or antivirus software may stop FocalFilter from working; please let us know if you have problems of this type. Also, the site-blocking tool Cold Turkey may prevent FocalFilter from working. If FocalFilter doesn't work for you, see the Related Tools section below for other software you can use instead.

To run FocalFilter, your PC must have Microsoft's .NET Framework version 4. If you don't already have it on your PC, our installer will let you know. You can install .NET here.

Windows 8 users: Like users of other Windows versions, you may have to completely exit and restart your browser for the blocks to start working (or for the blocks to go away once the blocking time is up). On Windows 8, exiting the browser can be confusing, and so can restarting Windows while FocalFilter is blocking sites, so please read this.

Windows XP users must either be an administrator, or run FocalFilter as an administrator. You can it run as an administrator by right-clicking the icon and choosing "Run As..." and then giving the administrator password.

Related Tools

The site-blocking tools Leechblock for Firefox and StayFocusd for Chrome should always work (regardless of what security software or other software you have installed), because they are browser add-ons. And they have a great set of features including time of day based blocking. LeechBlock is harder than StayFocusd for a sophisticated computer user to sneak around while it is blocking sites. If you don't want to be able to get around these tools by switching to Internet Explorer, you can hide Internet Explorer by following these instructions: Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows XP.

Cold Turkey is similar to FocalFilter but has extra features. For example, you can add more sites to the block list even while the tool is blocking sites. And the paid version lets you block programs (like games) as well as websites. Unlike FocalFilter, it won't stop blocking if you reboot before time is up. Because Cold Turkey is similar to FocalFilter, it may (or may not!) be blocked by security software that stops FocalFilter from working. Cold Turkey website blocks are harder for a sophisticated computer user to sneak around than FocalFilter blocks, because Cold Turkey stops you from manually changing the system settings that it modifies. Note that Cold Turkey may prevent FocalFilter from working.

Freedom completely disables your Internet access for the amount of time you specify. It's available for Windows and Macs.

If you are a Mac user and you want to block particular sites in all browsers, check out SelfControl and Anti-Social.

And one of us found the book The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination helpful.

FocalFilter Fans

FocalFilter has been recommended by many people including CNET's Nicole Cozma and CBS Radio's Jan Ziff, and bloggers have published FocalFilter how-to instructions in Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Vietnamese.

Contact Info and Credits

Contact us at .

FocalFilter was written by David Gelbart, Shan Naziripour, and David Gong. This is what we look like: