LeechBlock FAQ


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the LeechBlock extension.

Where can I find some examples to illustrate the different settings?

Check out the examples page.

I think I've found a bug. How can I contact the developer?

Please direct bug reports to: [enable JavaScript for address]

I've forgotten my password! How can I recover it?

You can recover your password from Firefox's own password manager:

Can I block only some areas of a site?

Yes, by appending a path to the domain name of the site.

For example, you could enter google.com/reader to block all Google Reader pages while allowing all other Google pages.

Can I use wildcards when specifying sites?

Yes. The wildcard character (*) can be used match any number of characters except forward-slashes (e.g., *.com will block all dot-com sites and * on its own will block all sites).

If you want to match any number of characters including forward-slashes, use two wildcard characters (**).

Can I specify exceptions, i.e., sites not to block?

Yes. The exceptions prefix (+) can be used to specify sites to allow rather than block (e.g., *.com +www.somesite.com will block all dot-com sites except www.somesite.com).

Can I easily block or allow all local files?

Yes. Simply put FILE or +FILE in your list of sites to block or allow all local files.

I'm trying to block sites overnight, but the block isn't working. What am I doing wrong?

LeechBlock won't recognize a time period like 2100-0600 because it expects the time period to be within one calendar day. Bear in mind that there is no obviously correct interpretation of a time period like 2100-0600 when only some days of the are selected for blocking sites.

However, you can probably get the result you want by splitting up the time period like this: 0000-0600,2100-2400

What does the Load from URL field do?

The Load from URL field allows you to obtain the list of sites to block from a URL (e.g., a text file on a web server). The list will be loaded every time a new browser window is opened. This feature is useful if you have LeechBlock installed on multiple machines and want to avoid having to update the settings on each machine in turn whenever you need to change the list of the sites to block. (Note also that if you put $S in the URL it will be replaced with the number of the block set and $T will be replaced with a UTC timestamp in milliseconds. The latter can be useful for avoiding caching problems.) If you don't understand any of this then you almost certainly don't need it!

If in doubt, just leave the Load from URL field blank.

What happened to the countdown timer in the status bar?

Since version 0.6, the countdown timer has been redesigned as a toolbar widget. To display it, follow these steps:

The options for one of the block sets are all disabled and now I can't change the settings! What happened and what can I do about it?

The options are disabled because you selected the option Prevent access to options for this block set at times when these sites are blocked and now those sites are blocked (hence the options are currently inaccessible). The purpose of this option is to allow users to prevent themselves from easily changing the settings once the sites have been blocked, but in a way that doesn't prevent access to all LeechBlock options.

If you really need to change the settings for the block set before the blocking period has ended, you can do so as follows:

If you can't access about:config then you need to swallow the red pill.

How can I block Google's cached versions of sites as well?

To block all cached pages, add **search?q=cache to the list of sites to block. To block only cached pages from a particular site, e.g., www.somesite.com, add **search?q=cache*somesite.com to the list of sites to block.

How can I stop myself from circumventing LeechBlock by changing the system clock?

There are several ways of doing this on Windows. (If anyone knows of any solutions for Linux or MacOS, please pass them on to me!)

On Windows, if you're not a member of the Administrators or Power Users groups then (by default) you shouldn't be able to change the system clock anyway. If you are able to change the clock, you could try one of these solutions:

Solution #1: Hide the clock from the Taskbar

Right-click on the Taskbar, select Properties, and uncheck the option Show the clock. Easy to undo, of course, but adds an extra layer of inconvenience.

Solution #2: Change the permissions using the Group Policy Editor

You can restore the original permissions by re-editing the policy and adding the Administrators and Power Users groups back to the list.

Note that the Group Policy Editor is not included in the Home Edition of Windows XP, Vista, and 7, in which case you could try...

Solution #3: Use an elevated command prompt

Go here for detailed instructions (scroll down to "Option Two").

Solution #4: Use third-party software Clock Guard

I've never used Clock Guard and I can't vouch for it, but it may do the job for you.

It's all gone horribly wrong. How can I start over with LeechBlock?

Carefully follow these instructions to start over with LeechBlock:

Are you going to make LeechBlock available for Internet Explorer or Google Chrome?

Sorry, no. I simply don't have the time, inclination, or expertise to port LeechBlock to other browsers.

However, LeechBlock isn't a sophisticated piece of software by any stretch of the imagination, and it's open source, so my hope is that someone else will create versions of LeechBlock (or something even better) for other browsers.

Is there a community support forum for LeechBlock?

Yes, here: http://leechblock.freeforums.org