Block or Redirect Unwanted Websites Using HOSTS File

The hosts file is
one of the
interesting and
useful feature of
both Windows and
Linux operating
systems that
provides many
handy options in
addressing network nodes. For instance,
you can use the hosts file to block
annoying ads, pop-ups, banners, porn
sites, or even redirect one website to
another.
In this post I will show you how to play
around with the hosts file to accomplish
some of the above mentioned jobs.
What is a hosts File?
The hosts file is just like any other
computer file that is used by the
operating system to map hostnames and
domain names on to their corresponding IP
addresses.
In other words, when you type "google.com"
on your browser's address bar, your
computer will look for the hosts file to
see if it contains the corresponding IP
address for the domain name you typed
(google.com). In case if no entry is
present in the hosts file, the request is
then passed on to the DNS (Domain Name
System) server to obtain the IP address.
hosts File vs. DNS
When it comes to resolving the hostnames,
the hosts file is given the first priority
over the Domain Name System. In most
cases, the hosts file remains unconfigured
on the operating system and hence the DNS
is used by the computer to resolve the
domain names to their corresponding IP
addresses.
However, if the hosts file is found to
contain a valid entry for a given hostname
or domain name, then this is picked up and
used by the operating system.
Where is the hosts File Located?
Windows: In case of the Windows operating
system, the hosts file is located at:
%systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc
\hosts
NOTE: In most cases this should be: C:
\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
Unix/Linux: In case of Linux it is
located at:
/etc/hosts
How to Block a Website?
To block a specific website, all you have
to do is just add a new entry for that
site in the hosts file. I would prefer to
backup the original file and create a new
one instead of modifying it. So, if
something goes wrong, you can just delete
it and restore the original one! Well,
here is a step-by-step procedure on how to
create a new hosts file on Windows:
1. Go to "My Computer" and you should see
the "Menu bar" on top. In case of
Vista and Win 7, just click "Alt" to
unhide the "Menu bar".
2. Now in the menu bar, click on "Tools ->
Folder Options". In the "View" tab
uncheck the option that says: "Hide
extensions for known file types" and
click on "OK".
1. Open a new text pad (New Text
Document.txt) and rename it to: hosts.
You will get a pop-up message with a
warning. Just click on "Yes".
Please note that the renamed file
hosts should not have any extension
such as hosts.txt.
2. Open the hosts file using the notepad.
Now let us assume that you want to
block the sites Facebook and Youtube
on your computer. For this all you have
to do is add the following lines to
your hosts file:
127.0.0.1 facebook.com
127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com
127.0.0.1 youtube.com
127.0.0.1 www.youtube.com
Each entry should be placed on an
individual line. The IP address and the
hostname should be separated by a space
or a tab. In this way, you can block
any given website by just pointing it
to the IP address 127.0.0.1.
3. Navigate to %systemroot%
\system32\drivers\etc. Here you
should see the original hosts file,
rename it to hosts_bak. Just copy and
paste the new hosts file that you have
created. That's it. You've now
successfully blocked those websites
from loading on your computer.
If you are using Vista/Win 7 you may
have to take ownership of the
original hosts file before renaming it.
How to Redirect a Website?
Suppose you want to redirect
Friendster.com to Google.com, all you
have to do is just add the following lines
to your hosts file:
74.125.236.72 friendster.com
74.125.236.72 www.friendster.com
Here 74.125.236.72 is the IP address of
Google.com. To find out the IP address of
any given website, just go to command
prompt and ping it. For example: ping
google.com. You should get a ping
response that displays the IP address
From now on, whenever you type
"friendster.com" on your browser, you will
be redirected to "google.com".
How does a hosts File work?
Whenever you block a website using the
hosts file, you point it to the IP address
127.0.0.1 which in fact is the IP address
of your own computer. In other words, the
IP 127.0.0.1 points to your own computer
and doesn't exist outside.
So, whenever you type the URL of a website
for which an entry is present in the hosts
file, your computer will load the IP as
127.0.0.1 instead of the actual one and
tries to establish a connection with this
IP address (127.0.0.1) but fails. As a
result the website doesn't load at all.
The redirection of the website works by
pointing the domain name of one website to
the IP address of another website (as
configured by the hosts file) instead of
its original IP address. So, whenever you
type friendster.com, it is pointed to
Google.com's IP address and thus, the
Google page loads up instead of the actual
page from friendster.com.
How to Block the Annoying Ads?
I have found a great solution to keep all
the annoying ads, banners, pop-ups and
other parasites at bay by using a pre-
configured hosts called MVPS hosts file.
This hosts file contains a long list of
entries to block all those annoying ads
and pop-ups that usually load while you
are surfing the Internet. You can also
receive regular updates on this to stay
up-to-date. You can download MVPS hosts
file from the link below:
Download MVPS hosts( http://www.winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm )
If you are playing around with the hosts
file and something goes wrong, just delete
the hosts file itself and rename the
original file from hosts_bak to hosts.
This should bring back everything to
normal. I hope this post on hosts file
will help you block unwanted websites on
your computer
-go hacking
. Waiting for your comments.

Comments

  1. DreamHost is the best hosting company with plans for any hosting requirements.

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