These days, many applications automatically connect to the Internet in order to provide you with various services or to check for updates. While this is, generally, a good idea (you don't want your browser to have restricted access to the Internet), in some cases you might wish to restrick the access for several specific apps. For example, it is recommended to block certain games that you child enjoys, so that he or she won't be able to play it online with other users without your supervision. Or, if you are concerned about your privacy, you can block various programs from automatically sending your data to their servers.
If for this or that reason you are interested in blocking some apps from accessing the Internet, then keep reading the guide.
Use Windows 10 Firewall to block programs
The easiest way to block any installed application from accessing the Internet is using Windows Firewall and setting an outbound rule.
The first thing you will need to do is access the Windows 10 Firewall settings. You can either open the Control Panel, search for "Windows Firewall" under the "System and Security" panel, and click on the "Advanced Settings" list item or, you can simply perform a search using the built-in tool and click on "Windows Firewall with Advanced Security" option (as seen in the image below).
Search for Firewall Settings
Once you have done that, a window will appear that will provide you with various options. To block applications from accessing the Internet you will be required to create an outbound rule, so, click on the "Outbound Rules" list item from the left panel (see image) and then click on the "New Rule" option on the right side.
After tou ckick the "New Rule" item, a helpful wizard will appear and you will be able to set up a new rule. Keep in mind that these rules can help you block not only programs, but also ports, attached devices and even services from connecting to the Internet. If you want to block a specific application from accessing the Web, then you will have to check the "Program" radio button and click on the "Next" button. Normally this option is selected by default, but it is always a good idea to make sure that it is actually checked before proceeding to the next step.
Next, you will have to provide the path of the program you want to block. You can either manually input the path (like "C:/Program Files/AppFolder/app.exe") or simply click on the "Browse" button, navigate to your application's folder and select the executable (EXE) file.
Once you have provided the required path of the program you want to block, proceed to the next step where you will have to check the "Block the connection" radio button in the available list of options.
This next step is quite important, so you might want to give it a bit of extra attention, since you will determine when this rule will take effect. Here, you are provided with three options that will help you block the access to the web of an application in various scenarios. You can choose to block the program only when a computer is connected to a corporate domain ("Domain" option), block it only when it is connected to a private network or a LAN ("Private") or deny the access to the Internet when your PC or laptop is connected to a public network, like Wi-Fi networks in airports, coffee shops or other not trusted locations ("Public"). Again, depending on your needs, you can check one, two or all of these options.
For example, if you use a laptop at home (which is considered to be a private network) but you also use it quite often in hotels, airports and coffee shops (which are public networks) you can easily block certain applications from accessing the Internet whenever you leave your house by creating a rule and only checking the "Public" option.
This final step of the rule creation process will simply ask you to name your rule and, optionally, add a description.
Now that you have completed all of the above mentioned steps, you will see your new rule in the "Outbound Rules" window, form where you can easily disable or erase it with a simple right-click. You can even add extra parameters (like providing special access to certain users or remote computers) by clicking on the "Preferences" option when right-clicking on the rule.
Use third-party programs to block applications
Even though the Windows Firewall provides you with a fast, simple and efficient way to block the access to the Internet of any desired application, there are also several third-party tools that can help you do that. There are many antiviruses that come with their own built-in firewalls (like Zone Alarm, AVG or McAfee) which are capable of blocking programs from accessing the Web, but the list is too big and too diverse to describe the process for each of them. In addition to virus protection tools, there are also plenty of parental control applications that can help you restrict the access of specific programs to the Internet. Tools like SentryPC, Net Nanny or Qustodio can help you block applications from accessing the web as well as specific online content and provide you with many other useful features.
As you can see, there are many ways to block your applications from accessing the Internet. The choise is entirely up to you: using Windows Firewall or opting for third-party software. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comment section below.