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Someone has suggested that creating a hosts file is a good way to prevent trackers and other unwanted sites accessing a computer and has told me of certain ready made packages. For the non-geek home user do you think creating a fileor using a package is a good or bad idea? As well as advantages are there any pitfalls? If one opts for a package can the listed sites be added to or otherwise modified? Of the listed have you any to recommend, with warts as well as beauty spots?
The "Hosts" file is very useful for blocking access to unwanted sites including those likely to infect the PC, advertising sites, porn sites etc. What it does is to redirect the blocked site's URL to the address 127.0.0.1 (the "loopback" address to your own PC). Therefore, if a forum page links to an advertising site such as "ad.uk.doubleclick.net" and you put this address in your Hosts file, your browser can no longer access the site and the Ad doesn't appear.
Some viruses actually place the URLs for AntiVirus sites in the Hosts file to prevent you from accessing them to get help with removal.
The Hosts file has no extension but is a plain text file that can be opened in Notepad. In XP, it is in the path:
For a good "ready made" Hosts file, have a look at click here
<<< As well as advantages are there any pitfalls? >>>
There shouldn't be. If you find that you are unable to access a particular site, you can check to see if it has been included in the Hosts file. The Hosts file already exists in your PC, so "nasties" can add AntiVirus sites to it anyway. The question is whether to replace what is effectively an empty file with a ready made one.
<<< If one opts for a package can the listed sites be added to or otherwise modified? >>>
Yes, just open it in Notepad and edit it in the same way as with any other plain text file.
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