How to Troubleshoot when Websites are not Blocked
There are some cases when websites in the blocklist are not being blocked. It can be caused by a number of reasons such as incorrect settings, browser, or even your antivirus/firewall (to name a few).
Here are some things you can do to fix this issue:
Check your Focus Plan Settings
This is where you should start. Most of the time, an issue is being caused by how you set up your Focus plan. Here are some examples:
The RegEx box is ticked – There is no need to tick the RegEx box unless you are using Regular Expression to match the items in the blocklist/allowlist.
For regular website URLs, window titles, etc., keep the RegEx box blank.
Items in the wrong list – The Blocklist tab is where you add the websites/apps you would like to block. The Whitelist tab is where you put the websites/apps that will be allowed. Interchanging these tabs would surely mess up your plan.
Note: the Allowlist tab takes priority over the Blocklist tab. This means if you add the same website on both the Blocklist and Allowlist tabs, the Allowlist function wins and you would still be able to access this website.
Incorrect Type – There are some cases where the mistakes are clear when you take a second look.
The example below shows facebook.com set as application name is added in the Applications tab.
Expired end date – Ever tried running a plan only for it to stop as soon as you start it up? Check the end date in the Scheduling page (5/6) and see if it’s set to a date earlier than today.
Try an Alternative Browser
To further isolate the issue, you can test if blocking works on different browsers. Sometimes the issue happens on just a specific browser and works on everything else.
The Helper feature of FocusMe is designed to show you information you can use to block a website or program. It can also be used to test if FocusMe can detect the URL in a browser.
To start Helper, right click on the FocusMe icon on the system tray and then select Helper.
Tip: If you can’t see FocusMe in the System tray, click on the arrow to show the hidden icons
Helper shows information about the current active window. The example below displays information about Google Chrome and the website it’s currently in
One thing you can do with the Helper feature is to check if FocusMe can detect the URLs on the browsers. If the URL line in Helper is blank, that means FocusMe does not detect the websites on that specific browser. Try this out on different browsers and check for differences.
The example below shows the URL line blank. This would mean FocusMe is not detecting the URL from this browser.
There are 2 common workarounds for the above example, should it happen to you:
- Block websites by title (ie. “Youtube”) in addition to URL blocking (ie. “youtube.com”):
- Block the browser you’re having problems with and use another one.
Whenever you encounter something like this, please consider letting the support team know about this either by phone, email, or chat (contact details can be found at the bottom of the page).
Blocking by Title
If URL blocking doesn’t cut it, you can also block websites via their title.
To do this, click on “Add” in the Websites page (2/6)
Go to Custom tab and type in the name of the website you want to block (in this example, we’ll be blocking Netflix). Set the type to “Title” then hit “Accept”.
You should see the new item added in the Blocklist. Please note that the type is set to “Title” instead of URL.
Add Antivirus Exclusion
It’s possible that your Antivirus/Firewall software is preventing FocusMe from working properly. What you need to do is to allow FocusMe or add it in the Exclusions list.
The method to do this differs depending on the Antivirus/Firewall program you’re using.
Here’s how to do it in Windows Defender:
- Go to Start -> Windows Defender -> Settings -> Exclusions -> Add an exclusion -> Exclude a folder
- Add C:\Program Files (x86)\FocusMe6 (or wherever you installed FocusMe)
- Restart your computer.
Note: For MacOS Users, the location is /Applications/FocusMe
There are some issues where reinstalling FocusMe is the way to go.
You can download the latest version of FocusMe here: https://focusme.com/download/
There is usually no need to uninstall FocusMe before reinstalling it. However, if you prefer to do a clean installation, you can uninstall first.
After FocusMe is installed it’s a good idea to restart your computer.
If all else fails, the next best thing is to let Customer Support know about your issue. You can reach them via phone, email, or chat (contact details at the bottom of the page).