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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Should you use a 'Hosts file' hack on Windows?




    LANGALIST PLUS

    Should you use a 'Hosts file' hack on Windows?


    By Fred Langa

    All Windows versions allow you to use a Hosts file as a way to block ad-serving and malware-infested sites. Although it's possible to use Hosts files for that purpose, there are good reasons not to. Here's how they work and why they're impractical for most PC users.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/should-you-use-a-hosts-file-hack-on-Windows/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Hi Fred,

    In relation to the WiFi issues that Dave was having, I have just completed two days of VERY frustrating problems with my home WiFi network. Won't bore you with too many intimate details (messing about with ipconfig, clearing DNS caches... on and on from tips resulting from many google searches) I found out that my dropouts were being caused by a pair of wireless headphones that my wife got for Christmas. Even though they weren't in use, they occasionally fired up all by themselves to trickle charge their batteries. That charging period my be a couple of minutes, or a couple of hours, but due to frequency interference, they wiped out the network that was served by a repeater access point located in very close proximity to the headphones.

    Bit more investigating to go to see if relocating the charger, changing channels on the WiFi or throwing the headphones out the window will offer a more permanent solution than what I do now; simply keep the headphones switched off at the wall until they're needed.

    Cheers, Andy.

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    Hi Fred,

    I agree with your conclusions but you seem to have forgotten the main purpose that I and many others use the HOSTS file for. I use it not to prevent malicious sites subverting the DNS but to eliminate the adverts. Most of these adverts are delivered to the browser by their originating site and thus incur time delays. Those that come embedded of course cannot be stopped this way, but nothing is perfect.

    Keep on with the column I still enjoy it.

    Alan

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacNala View Post
    Hi Fred,

    I agree with your conclusions but you seem to have forgotten the main purpose that I and many others use the HOSTS file for. I use it not to prevent malicious sites subverting the DNS but to eliminate the adverts. Most of these adverts are delivered to the browser by their originating site and thus incur time delays. Those that come embedded of course cannot be stopped this way, but nothing is perfect.

    Keep on with the column I still enjoy it.

    Alan
    Firefox NoScript and the general category of Do Not Track browser Extensions will do the job for a lot of ads. I use both. In Chrome, Abine's DoNotTrackPlus isall it takes for me.

    I only go after ads which slow page loads or cover pages completely, and the above Extensions get rid of almost all of those. I am not against having a few ads show up on Web pages, as long as they don't slow down or crash my web browsing.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Hi Fred
    On the Hosts file question, you didn't mention an alternative option - using DNS servers that do block bad sites. OpenDNS is one example, though the stronger blocking is in commercial products. Researching this, I also run into Norton ConnectSafe (dns.norton.com), free for home use. It has porn and non-family blocking as options as well. These services are about malware hosting sites and don't block ads. But as Bob mentions above, that's easily fixed with browser extensions.

    The DNS servers are set on the router or, if you want per PC settings, on the PC. DNSJumper is a handy free tool for easily changing a PC's DNS settings, testing your fastest DNS options, and so forth.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Hosts file as an ad killer.

    Hi Fred,

    I use my hosts file as a ad killer. Personally, I can't stand those mouseover popups. I read along while moving my mouse so I have this garbage popping up in my face interrupting the flow of my reading. So I edited my hosts file to send those links to oblivion. I originally looked at the prepackaged hosts files but thought that they were too bloated and would probably slow down browsing, hence my home rolled solution. Currently, its not even 60 lines long, but it stops konterra, intellitxt, doubleclick and vibrantmedia just to name a few widespread troublemakers. Trust me, the few broken ad-links that show up in the margins of webpages don't make me cry, and none of those sites are tracking me as a bonus.

    Dave

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    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dargoth11 View Post
    Hi Fred,

    I use my hosts file as a ad killer. Personally, I can't stand those mouseover popups. I read along while moving my mouse so I have this garbage popping up in my face interrupting the flow of my reading. So I edited my hosts file to send those links to oblivion. I originally looked at the prepackaged hosts files but thought that they were too bloated and would probably slow down browsing, hence my home rolled solution. Currently, its not even 60 lines long, but it stops konterra, intellitxt, doubleclick and vibrantmedia just to name a few widespread troublemakers. Trust me, the few broken ad-links that show up in the margins of webpages don't make me cry, and none of those sites are tracking me as a bonus.

    Dave
    You may want to share your hosts file.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  8. #8
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    I'm not going to say it perfect. There may be some useless lines in it.

    ***Back-up your existing hosts file!!!!*** - Just good common sense.
    ***Standard disclaimers apply!!!*** - It's not my fault if you bork your system!

    ********************************Starts below this line**************
    Code:
    # Copyright (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.
    #
    # This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.
    #
    # This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each
    # entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
    # be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
    # The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one
    # space.
    #
    # Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
    # lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.
    #
    # For example:
    #
    #      102.54.94.97     rhino.acme.com          # source server
    #       38.25.63.10     x.acme.com              # x client host
    
    127.0.0.1       localhost
    ###### ADDED BY DAVE 5-22-11
    
    127.0.0.1  kona.kontera.com
    127.0.0.1  us.intellitxt.com                               #don't know if you can block all us.intellitxt.com like this
    127.0.0.1  firingsquad.us.intellitxt.com                # or if you need to do this for every one --- I'm leaving it in
    127.0.0.1  compnet.us.intellitxt.com                   # just to be sure
    127.0.0.1  ign.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  guru3d.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  devshed.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  examnotes.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  experts.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  forbes.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  icentric.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  itxt2.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  lmcd.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  penton.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  rydium.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  toms.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  tribal.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  images.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  quinstreet.us.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  qsstats.com
    127.0.0.1  uk.intellitxt.com
    127.0.0.1  vibrantmedia.com
    127.0.0.1  itxt.vibrantmedia.com
    127.0.0.1  usads.vibrantmedia.com
    127.0.0.1  usnews.vibrantmedia.com
    127.0.0.1  www.vibrantmedia.com
    127.0.0.1  text.burstnet.com
    
    127.0.0.1  appetyze.com
    127.0.0.1  googleads.g.doubleclick.net
    127.0.0.1  adchoices.com
    127.0.0.1  adwords.google.com 
    127.0.0.1  intellitxt.com
    ***********************ends above this line*************

    Dave
    Last edited by dargoth11; 2013-03-06 at 21:50. Reason: remove site formatting

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