Author Topic: Host Files  (Read 3134 times)

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Offline ChuckRJr

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Host Files
« on: January 07, 2017, 09:26:03 PM »
I got sidetracked into HOST Files.  I am now running HOSTSMAN which is a nice program. I then downloaded MVPS Host file with over 10K entries.
Question: How this all works.  DNS is disabled. 
I assumed only sites in the HOST file would be translated as there is no indication not to use a site.  There is NO reference to FIREFOX, yet it comes up fast. There are references to sites that seem to have ads. 
How are these sites filtered?

Online Corrine

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Re: Host Files
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 12:40:15 AM »
As explained in Blocking Unwanted Connections with a Hosts File, written by Winhelp2002, the developer of MVPS HOSTS file:

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Windows automatically looks for the existence of a HOSTS file and if found, checks the HOSTS file first for entries to the web page you just requested. The 0.0.0.0 (prefix) is considered the location of your computer, so when an entry listed in the MVPS HOSTS file is requested on a page you are viewing, your computer thinks 0.0.0.0 is the location of the file. When this file is not located it skips onto the next file and thus the ad server is blocked from loading the banner, Cookie, or some unscrupulous ActiveX, or javascript file. 

Yes, only sites listed in the HOSTS file are blocked.  It isn't browser dependent.  As to how the sites are filtered, Winhelp2002 has spent many, many hours over the years maintaining MVPS HOSTS File, adding and removing sites as appropriate.  You can see the sites it blocks by viewing the text file version:  http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt.



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Offline ChuckRJr

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Re: Host Files
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 03:28:44 PM »
Interesting. Thank you for the clarification.  I tried a few of the entries and FIREFOX could NOT find the server. This indicates it is blocked. 
I had DNS client on manual and stopped but it is now started with a logon. DNSCACHE service is also running.

Offline satrow

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Re: Host Files
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2017, 04:43:02 PM »
Most modern machines/fast connections can cope fine with a small > moderate sized hosts file, if you do notice a slowdown, test with the DNS cache turned off and disabled.

For extra security, you could add the hpHosts and hpHosts(partial) lists, the latter is updated several times per day, so check daily, or during each session for updates to them.

(My preference is to have Ad/Tracking blocks setup in the browser using the uBlockO extension (Original) and security/malvertising blocks in the hosts file (mine is 13.5MB) with DNS caching off.)

Offline Zootopia3000

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Re: Host Files
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2017, 03:26:04 AM »
Host file ad blocking lists can break some sites somewhat, but more so cause some videos not to play on a site by site basis. I leave ad blocking to uBlock Origin browser addon and use Spybot to make entries into Hosts file to block known malicious sites. Spybot's malicious sites Host file entries are comparable to Spywareblaster's Restricted Sites entries. I have NO IDEA why Spywareblaster doesn't add this feature for the Hosts file. For Microsoft Edge the best available ad blocking addon is currently Adblock Plus.

Offline Zootopia3000

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Re: Host Files
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2017, 03:53:55 AM »
D'oh, I just saw Corrine's post stating uBlock is now available for Edge. Yay. Now installed. Now I just need Video Downloadhelper for Edge and I may just switch to Edge permanently.

Offline satrow

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Re: Host Files
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2017, 11:59:44 AM »
Host file ad blocking lists can break some sites somewhat, but more so cause some videos not to play on a site by site basis.

That seems illogical, if you use the same blocklist, you should get the same results by either method. I've tried a lot of different permutations over the years and I've not witnessed what you described.

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I leave ad blocking to uBlock Origin browser addon and use Spybot to make entries into Hosts file to block known malicious sites. Spybot's malicious sites Host file entries are comparable to Spywareblaster's Restricted Sites entries. I have NO IDEA why Spywareblaster doesn't add this feature for the Hosts file.

I customise uBlock's lists to suit my own setup and personal annoyances :)

SpyBot's entries aren't updated frequently enough compared to the malware and hpHosts lists available (the latter is pretty much replicated in MBAM Premium's MWAC component). I don't think it's comparable to SpywareBlaster's Restricted sites list, either. Frankly, it just feels outdated now, though the scanner can sometimes pick up things that others don't (though whether those things are active or just traces, or even false positives, I don't know).

I prefer not to have one software to do multiple tasks, it would likely make troubleshooting more complex, requiring several reboots to get back to a working state after a bad update. With separate software/lists, and some knowledge on how each works, drilling down to the 'faulty' component or blocklist line can be done on the fly.

Even when using a full-featured AV suite, I never install the full package, only the parts that are really needed with my setup, even then, I create exclusions as well.

Also, when using a 3rd party firewall and the Windows firewall is disabled, the Windows firewall can still block access (outgoing seems to be most common), requiring several changes and reboots to gain clearance. Some recent 3rd party firewalls/AV suites are now being designed to tie in with the Windows firewall, which should reduce those, already rare, occurrences.