Hosts file in Windows ME.

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Quimbler, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Quimbler

    Quimbler Guest

    What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using the
    Internet?

    Thanks.
     
    Quimbler, Jan 30, 2005
    #1
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  2. Quimbler

    Toolman Tim Guest

    "Quimbler" <> wrote in message
    news:ctjlif$90p$...
    | What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    | hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using the
    | Internet?
    |
    | Thanks.

    Excellent question! There are numerous websites that you really don't want
    your PC to go to, right? Like sites that want to auto-install crapware on
    your computer, sites known to be infected, etc. If a program (IE, others.)
    attempts to access one of those sites, a hosts file can tell your computer
    to look for it locally - 127.0.0.1 - so it never actually gets where it is
    being told to go. And the crap it's looking for never gets to your computer.

    I've loaded the hosts file from this web site:
    www.everythingisnt.com/hosts.html
    and it's good. And if you sign up for their mail list, they will tell you
    when updates are available. I've received NO spam at all from these good
    people!

    When I surf the web, my browser shows errors in the blank spaces where used
    to be that were 'blocked' by the hosts file. To clean that up some, I
    downloaded Black Hole Proxy - which sends a blank page back to the browser,
    getting rid of the error messages. So now, all I have are blank spaces in
    web sites where that web page used to have ads/code that were inserted by
    web sites that are on the blocked list.
     
    Toolman Tim, Jan 30, 2005
    #2
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  3. Quimbler

    PC Guest

    "Quimbler" <> wrote in message
    news:ctjlif$90p$...
    > What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    > hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using the
    > Internet?
    >
    > Thanks.


    Quimbler

    The short answer is none if your ISP is providing you with DNS services.

    However a local 'hosts' file can mean reduced access time, conflict
    resolution etc.

    Probably it's best use for the average surfer however is to 'manage' access
    to undesirable websites.

    There is a good explanation and older anti scum host files here

    http://accs-net.com/hosts/what_is_hosts.html

    A more recent anti spy/spam/ad/scum host file is included in Spybot Search &
    Destroy under the advanced tools option. (Thoroughly recommended)
    Home page here

    http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

    Cheers
    Paul.
     
    PC, Jan 30, 2005
    #3
  4. Quimbler

    Ben Drenkin Guest

    "Quimbler" wrote in message news:ctjlif$90p$...
    > What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    > hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using the
    > Internet?
    >
    > Thanks.


    I use it for ad blocking. It will keep ad servers like doubleclick from
    downloading their tracking cookies if you aren't blocking third party
    cookies some other way, and make pages load faster since you don't have to
    wait for their ads. For instance,

    127.0.0.1 doubleclick.be
    127.0.0.1 doubleclick.com
    127.0.0.1 double-click.com
    127.0.0.1 doubleclick.d4p.net
    127.0.0.1 doubleclick.de
    127.0.0.1 doubleclick.net

    will block some doubleclick ads. If you search the web you can find hosts
    files set up for ad blocking.
     
    Ben Drenkin, Jan 30, 2005
    #4
  5. Quimbler

    Mellowed Guest

    Now that was very useful. Thanks.


    "Ben Drenkin" <> wrote in message
    news:2VdLd.11168$...
    > "Quimbler" wrote in message news:ctjlif$90p$...
    >> What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    >> hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using the
    >> Internet?
    >>
    >> Thanks.

    >
    > I use it for ad blocking. It will keep ad servers like doubleclick from
    > downloading their tracking cookies if you aren't blocking third party
    > cookies some other way, and make pages load faster since you don't have to
    > wait for their ads. For instance,
    >
    > 127.0.0.1 doubleclick.be
    > 127.0.0.1 doubleclick.com
    > 127.0.0.1 double-click.com
    > 127.0.0.1 doubleclick.d4p.net
    > 127.0.0.1 doubleclick.de
    > 127.0.0.1 doubleclick.net
    >
    > will block some doubleclick ads. If you search the web you can find hosts
    > files set up for ad blocking.
    >
     
    Mellowed, Jan 31, 2005
    #5
  6. Quimbler

    Jim Byrd Guest

    Hi Quimbler - First, you should understand that the original purpose of the
    HOSTS file (BTW, it should always be named this way - all caps, no
    extension) was to provide a local (therefore fast) translation from URLs to
    IP addresses for frequently visited sites (typically your Favorites). It
    can still be used this way (I do so, for example - there are utilities
    available such as CIP, http://dl.winsite.com/bin/downl?500000007704 which
    will convert your Favorites to IP's which you can then saveas and then copy
    into your HOSTS file), but has also come to be used to block ad/malware
    servers. See here for some good info about this use:
    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm This site also has downloads for
    some utility programs which you will find useful if you decide to use a
    HOSTS file such as RenHosts.bat,
    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/RenHosts.bat, and lockhosts.bat and
    unlockhosts.bat, http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/lockhost.bat, and
    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/unlockhost.bat. The lock and unlock files
    can be used to protect the HOSTS file in between UPDATES so that it doesn't
    get hijacked by malware, while the rename hosts program will allow you to
    easily enable or disable the HOSTS file (while keeping the correct naming
    convention). As to size/performance - with any relatively modern computer
    the delay added by the HOSTS lookup overhead should be negligable for even
    moderately large HOSTS files (typically 250KB to 500KB) used for ad/malware
    blocking. If you use it also for DNS-to-IP caching as I refered to above,
    the time saved over going out to the net for DNS lookups will offset this
    many times. If fact you may notice some speedup in "normal" address
    browsing.

    --
    Please respond in the same thread.
    Regards, Jim Byrd, MS-MVP



    In news:ctjlif$90p$,
    Quimbler <> typed:
    > What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    > hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using
    > the Internet?
    >
    > Thanks.
     
    Jim Byrd, Jan 31, 2005
    #6
  7. Quimbler

    Joel Rubin Guest

    On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 14:09:41 -0800, "Toolman Tim"
    <> wrote:

    >
    >"Quimbler" <> wrote in message
    >news:ctjlif$90p$...
    >| What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    >| hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using the
    >| Internet?
    >|
    >| Thanks.
    >
    >Excellent question! There are numerous websites that you really don't want
    >your PC to go to, right? Like sites that want to auto-install crapware on
    >your computer, sites known to be infected, etc. If a program (IE, others.)
    >attempts to access one of those sites, a hosts file can tell your computer
    >to look for it locally - 127.0.0.1 - so it never actually gets where it is
    >being told to go. And the crap it's looking for never gets to your computer.
    >
    >I've loaded the hosts file from this web site:
    >www.everythingisnt.com/hosts.html
    >and it's good. And if you sign up for their mail list, they will tell you
    >when updates are available. I've received NO spam at all from these good
    >people!
    >
    >When I surf the web, my browser shows errors in the blank spaces where used
    >to be that were 'blocked' by the hosts file. To clean that up some, I
    >downloaded Black Hole Proxy - which sends a blank page back to the browser,
    >getting rid of the error messages. So now, all I have are blank spaces in
    >web sites where that web page used to have ads/code that were inserted by
    >web sites that are on the blocked list.
    >

    On the other hand, Brian Livingston noted a hijacker that wrote to the
    hosts file. Since the hosts file is equally part of Unix/Linux and
    Windows, they might be able to get that exploit to work on both
    systems.

    I've seen a program which went through your favorites and wrote out a
    host file with the IP's - the idea being you didn't have to do DNS
    resolution on your favorites any more so you could surf slightly
    faster. The problem was that when the sites changed IP you got errors
    and might not immediately understand the reason.

    I think the original reason was to give names to the nodes on an
    intranet without needing DNS resolution.
     
    Joel Rubin, Jan 31, 2005
    #7
  8. Quimbler

    Toolman Tim Guest

    "Joel Rubin" <> wrote in message
    news:B7mLd.2789$...
    | On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 14:09:41 -0800, "Toolman Tim"
    | <> wrote:
    |
    | >
    | >"Quimbler" <> wrote in message
    | >news:ctjlif$90p$...
    | >| What is the point of the windows/hosts file? It maps IP addresses to
    | >| hostnames, but in what situations would this be necessary when using
    the
    | >| Internet?
    | >|
    | >| Thanks.
    | >
    | >Excellent question! There are numerous websites that you really don't
    want
    | >your PC to go to, right? Like sites that want to auto-install crapware on
    | >your computer, sites known to be infected, etc. If a program (IE,
    others.)
    | >attempts to access one of those sites, a hosts file can tell your
    computer
    | >to look for it locally - 127.0.0.1 - so it never actually gets where it
    is
    | >being told to go. And the crap it's looking for never gets to your
    computer.
    | >
    | >I've loaded the hosts file from this web site:
    | >www.everythingisnt.com/hosts.html
    | >and it's good. And if you sign up for their mail list, they will tell you
    | >when updates are available. I've received NO spam at all from these good
    | >people!
    | >
    | >When I surf the web, my browser shows errors in the blank spaces where
    used
    | >to be that were 'blocked' by the hosts file. To clean that up some, I
    | >downloaded Black Hole Proxy - which sends a blank page back to the
    browser,
    | >getting rid of the error messages. So now, all I have are blank spaces in
    | >web sites where that web page used to have ads/code that were inserted by
    | >web sites that are on the blocked list.
    | >
    | On the other hand, Brian Livingston noted a hijacker that wrote to the
    | hosts file. Since the hosts file is equally part of Unix/Linux and
    | Windows, they might be able to get that exploit to work on both
    | systems.

    True - the hosts file can be write-protected though. IIRC, Spybot Search &
    Destroy includes that option.

    | I've seen a program which went through your favorites and wrote out a
    | host file with the IP's - the idea being you didn't have to do DNS
    | resolution on your favorites any more so you could surf slightly
    | faster. The problem was that when the sites changed IP you got errors
    | and might not immediately understand the reason.

    Interesting idea! But you're right - a lot of web sites do change too often.

    | I think the original reason was to give names to the nodes on an
    | intranet without needing DNS resolution.

    Yeah - I have some of my systems set up that way at work because one program
    (written in Java) on the local PCs don't use DNS.
     
    Toolman Tim, Feb 1, 2005
    #8
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