A Hosts file is a file that almost all computers and operating systems can use to map a connection between an IP address and domain names.

Where Hosts files really shine is by letting you block ads, spyware sites, malware sites, and tracking sites. It does this by blocking your computer from connecting to annoying sites. Specifically, you can list the sites you never want to visit in the Hosts file and give them the loopback address of or using IPv4 addressing or ::1 for IPv6 addressing. To use any of these, you must first make a backup of your existing Hosts file. On some operating systems you may not have one. I typically rename my existing file hosts.old.

You then create a file named "hosts". You never use an extension with the name, such as hosts.txt, you just use "hosts".

After you've done this, you can install the hosts file in one of the following locations:

For Windows, use "C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts"

With Linux or MacOS X, you login as the root user, or use sudo, to move the master hosts file to "/etc/hosts" or on some systems to "/private/etc/hosts". For example, the shell command

sudo cp ~/hosts /etc/hosts"

will move the file "hosts" from your home directory to its home in the etc directory.

Once the host file is in place, you'll see the effects immediately. You don't need to reboot, or, for that matter, reopen your browsers.

You should see a much cleaner and faster internet experience. If you run into problems, revise the hosts file using a text editor if you can see which address is giving you trouble. For example, the how to make the internet not suck (as much) hosts file blocks all Windows 10 reporting domains by default. To fix this you can either delete the offending entry or you can place a # at the beginning of the line and your machine will ignore it.

If all else fails, you can just delete the new hosts file and replace it with the old one. You did make a backup of it right?

All this will take you a bit of time and effort, but I think you'll find that your increase in speed and privacy and drastic drop in ads will make it worth your time. Enjoy.

Click here to update your hosts file.