aniketpanjwani edited this page Mar 14, 2018 · 62 revisions

Q: Are you planning on making a Windows, Linux, or iOS version?

No. But the source code is free and others have.

Try these for Windows:

Try this for Linux:

  • Chomper - GPL and allows you to create blacklists/whitelists of domains and/or specific URLs.

iOS is too restricted and the App Store does not allow GPL code - get mad at them. But if you ask nice and pay him well Simon Remiszewski might build you one of these.

Q: How do I block a website?

To block Facebook, you would add facebook.com to your block list. Sometimes websites have different domains for different functions, and you may need to block all of them to get it working fully.

Q: Are there any other instructions?

Choose Help --> Get Started from the menu bar in SelfControl to see a quick tutorial. If you want pictures (although outdated), see this article from TheNextWeb.

Q: How do I disable SelfControl once it has started?

You can't. That's the idea. Just wait.

"But, but but..." you say.

Seriously, chill out. It's not the end of the world.

The timer will run out and the internet will come back again. In the meantime, you may find comfort in curling up in a ball under your desk and rocking back and forth for a while.

Q: I deleted the application, will that do anything?

No. (Except maybe cause problems with the block disappearing at the proper time. Don't do it!)

Q: I did some stuff with the terminal that I read on a cool tech site, but it didn't work, what do I do now?

We don't know what you did or why you would follow instructions found on the internet before reading this FAQ. Lesson learned right? Good luck!

Q: SelfControl's timer is at 00:00 and I can't start a new block. And I'm freaking out!!!

Sometimes SelfControl is unable to clear itself. If you're using SelfControl 2.0, just wait ten seconds at 00:00, and a button labeled "Stuck? Stop block manually." will replace the "Add to Blocklist" button." Click it and remove your block manually! You may need to restart your computer after removing the block manually to get it working right.

If you are running a pre-2.0 release of SelfControl, follow these instructions, then upgrade.

Q: Is SelfControl compatible with VPNs?

No, SelfControl will not block websites properly if you're using a VPN. This is not technically feasible, unfortunately.

If you are using a "partial VPN" like Junos Pulse Secure or Cisco AnyConnect to connect to corporate/university servers, please ensure it is disconnected while SelfControl runs. These applications have a tendency to save your networking state when they connect and restore to that state when they disconnect - so if you turn them on while SelfControl's running, and turn them off after it finishes, your block will "mysteriously" come back.

Q: I upgraded my Mac while SelfControl was running, and now it's stuck blocking my websites. HELP ME!

That's not a question, but I'll help you anyway. First, download the latest version of SelfControl from selfcontrolapp.com (replacing your older version). Then open it, and the timer should read 00:00 (assuming the block should be over). Leave that timer window open for 10 seconds, and the "Add to Blocklist" button will change to "Stuck? Stop block manually." Use that to remove your block.

Q: Can I make the block time or intervals longer?

Yes, and you can learn about it here Tweaking Max Block Length and Block Length Interval.

Q: Other sites I didn't list are getting blocked, why?

We block all sites that run on the same servers as a site on your block list. For some larger sites, this can be surprising.

Q: The block is over but I still can't access the site or can only access part of it, how can I fix it?


  1. Refreshing the page.
  2. Clearing your cache (what does clearing your cache mean?)
  3. Restarting your browser

If that doesn't work, set the timer for 1 minute, do another block, and try again once the time has expired.

Q: I blocked a website with SelfControl but I can still access the site, what do I do?

First, try:

  1. Refreshing the page
  2. Clearing your cache
  3. Restarting your browser

If that doesn't work, SelfControl blocks websites based on the machine the site is hosted at, not the actual website address. Sometimes this won't work that well. Try adding other subdomains of the website (e.g. new.facebook.com in addition to facebook.com).

Q: Some websites are looking really weird/ugly after I started SelfControl! What do I do?

This seems to be an issue with Firefox, mainly. Clear your browser cache, restart your browser, and your problem should go away.

Q: SelfControl says it is disabled, what do I do?

This is usually because you have nothing on your blocklist and/or the timer is set to 0.

Q: Can I specify ports instead of web addresses?

Yes. using :port or *:port notation, gives some flexibility. For example, if you wanted to run torrents and do nothing else, the following steps might help:

  1. Set as a whitelist
  2. Add an entry for *:6881, or whatever port number your client is set to use (check your settings).
  3. Add entries for the trackers you use, for example to allow The Pirate Bay you would add tracker.thepiratebay.org:80.
  4. Add any other things you want to whitelist.
  5. Start! You can use File—> Save to save blocklists for easy loading later.

Q: Can I save my blacklists and whitelists?

Yes. Under File > Save. Or Command-S. Just like saving everything else on a mac.

Maybe you could even post the file on your website to share. Unless it's embarrassing.

Q: Can I run SelfControl from the command-line?

You sure can! Check out Running SelfControl from the Terminal for details. Advanced users can use the CLI to write scripts that make SelfControl do what they want.

Q: Can I edit my black/white list once i have started SelfControl?

No. And that's the point, so think before you act.

Q: Can you add ________ feature that is really important to me?


BUT hey, you could do it. This is a free and open source project and you are welcome to alter the software however you like. Or you could hire someone to. It might cost less than you expect. We'd also be interested in seeing your code and incorporating your possibly awesome ideas so consider forking the project here on GitHub.