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Latest Articles

Hosts File Editing

Arrow Image Everything to know about hosts files.



Hosts File Editing
Author: Regit

What is the hosts file?
The host file is like your computers address book of IP’s. Your browser first checks to see if the site you are going to is listed in this book. If it is, then you will connect directly to this site. If it is not, then your browser first contacts a DNS service for the IP address of the site you wish to connect to, then connects to the site.


Where is the Hosts File?
Linux/Unix /etc
Windows 95/98/ME %windir%\\
Windows NT/2000/XP %SystemRoot\\system32\\drivers\\etc\\
Mac OS System Folder: Preferences or System folder
Mac OS X /etc
OS/2 & EComStation “bootdrice”:\\mptn\\etc\\
Netware SYS:ETC/HOSTS
Apple System Folder: Preferences and in the System Folder itself.


What is the advantage to editing a hosts file?
~Ad Blocking
If you are tired of dealing with ads and pop-ups, then you can tell your browser not to load them. This is done very simply. First, you need to find the IP address of the ad server. Then using your localhost or “loopback” IP address, do the fallowing:

127.0.0.1 ad.server.net
or
0.0.0.0 ad.server.net

What this dose, is makes a loopback connection. This means that an ad from that server can no longer be seen on your computer. Your browser dose not connect to the site that the ad is coming from any longer.


~Faster Site Loading
You can put the IP addresses for the site that you want to connect to, so each time you connect to that site, you don’t have to ask a DNS services to translate the name into the IP address. This will speed up access to the site, because your computer no longer has to contact other systems to find the address of the site you are connecting to.
Example:
216.239.57.99 google.com


~Blocking of unwanted sites
Much like blocking ad servers you can do the same thing to block unwanted sites. If you manage a network or even if you are a protective parent that is trying to protect your child from viewing unnecessary sites, then simply add something like this into your hosts file:

127.0.0.1 othersite.com
or
0.0.0.0 othersite.com

This will redirect the web browser from the bad site to your loopback connection, or basically to a blank page.


Hosts File “Hijacking”
~What is hosts file hijacking?
This is when the hosts file has been corrupted by a person or program so that when you try to connect to a site, lets say example.com, you will instead be taken to othersite.com.


~How to fix a hosts file hijacking
Open your host file, and make sure that this line is in it:
127.0.0.1 localhost

This is the default loopback connection (as stated before). If there is anything other then that, then that dose not necessarily mean that it is bad. There are programs out there that do add to the host file, that are not harmful.


Useful links
Wikipidia ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_file
MVPS ~ http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

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