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How to Block NSFW content on Reddit

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If you set up a porn blocking system on your devices, you might run into an issue where certain websites aren't classified as “Adult Content”, so they aren't automatically blocked. In such cases, you have to decide if you want to block “gray-area” websites that might also host unwanted content.

Reddit is a useful website for many people. However, it also can open up a major issue in your porn blocking system since certain sections of reddit contain Adult Content (NSFW subreddits).
In such cases, you might have used our blocking system to make it really difficult to compulsively access websites categorized as Adult Content. With Reddit unblocked, however, now you can access content that is counter-productive to your mission of a porn-free life.

In many cases, people decide to completely block reddit. However, there are useful subsections of reddit that have nothing to do with explicit content. For example, the pornfree and nofap subreddits are particularly useful if you are looking for support on your journey to live a clean life. Furthermore, the finance subreddit has helped numerous people with financial advice. It's commonly suggested to edit your reddit user profile settings to block NSFW content. Because this method is so easily circumvented, we suggest alternative approaches.

If you find that Reddit is useful to you and you don't necessarily want to block the entire website, this guide will show you how to use it safely. 

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Block Images

If you examine the source code of Reddit, you'll notice that images use a different address than reddit.com. Reddit uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to host their images. This means that you can block those CDN's, which will allow you to access reddit without images, GIFs, or videos.

 

Go to a subreddit with images. Right click an image and open it in a new tab.

Copy the domain of the image (preview.redd.it in this case)

Click into one of the posts

Copy the domain for that image as well. Reddit uses one CDN for images on the feed (list) view and a different CDN for the images loaded when you click into a post

Block images using the preferred method in your blocking system. Just so I can demonstrate this, I'll just use the hosts file blocking technique to block the two CDN's from reddit. However, you  might want to use a DNS filter to block the CDN's on all of your devices.

Open reddit in a new private browser window and navigate to the subreddit to make sure images are blocked.

 

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Blacklist specific NSFW URLs

This approach involves using a URL filter to block pages within a website. You'll need to configure an application that specifically supports URL blocking or filtering. There are numerous applications that can do this on smartphones and computers. You cannot filter URLs with a DNS Filter - DNSFiltering services can only block entire hostnames/domains (reddit.com) - they can't block parts of a website (reddit.com/r/somebadsubreddit).

Ideally you should designate a device that you use reddit on and then block reddit on your other devices.

On the device you use reddit, follow these steps to block NSFW urls:

  • Designate a device that you'll use reddit on (ideally a laptop or desktop computer)
  • On your other devices, block reddit using our recommended approaches in the techlockdown guide. In summary, you could use a DNS Filtering service that allows blocking customization. Alternatively, you can use a blocking application on your specific device to block reddit.
  • On your designated Reddit-browsing device, download a blocking application that supports URL filtering/blocking.
  • Copy the list of NSFW subreddits from this reddit post
  • Add these URLs to your blocking application

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Whitelist safe URLs and blacklist everything else

The most comprehensive approach is to use a URL filter that supports regular expressions. Then, you block everything on reddit by default, but enable access to specific sections that you use regularly.

 

For example, using a blocking application like Cold Turkey, create a new block.

  • Add reddit.com to the list of blocked websites
  • Under website exceptions, add a safe URL like “reddit.com/r/nofap” and add a star to the end of it to unblock all subsections within /r/nofap.

 

Now you'll only be able to access /r/nofap and any comments or threads within that subreddit.

Refine this process with your Reddit profile (if that's important to you), so that you can access your notifications and profile information. You'll also want to add all subreddits that you use regularly to the Website Exceptions list (remembering to use a * to unlock child pages within the subreddit).

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Final Thoughts

In some cases you might find that Reddit has no use to you at all. You might use our suggested techniques to filter out NSFW content, but you find that you use reddit as a form of unhealthy escapism and to procrastinate on the important things in your life. It's counter-productive to use websites like Reddit that provide endless content. The algorithms that drive these endless-content websites keep you hooked by hijacking the reward-center of your brain. This often results in countless wasted hours with little to no value provided. In such a case, it's better to completely block Reddit using a DNS Filter like the one we provide. 

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