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How and why to edit your DNS Hosts File

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How and why to edit your DNS Hosts File

What is DNS?

DNS, or the Domain Name System, is a system that allows users to access websites and other internet resources using easy-to-remember domain names instead of IP addresses. DNS translates these domain names into the IP addresses that computers use to connect to each other. When you type a URL into your web browser, your computer contacts a DNS server to resolve the domain name into an IP address. DNS servers are provided by your internet service provider (ISP), but you can also use public DNS servers like Google Public DNS or Cloudflare DNS. Your ISP’s DNS server likely has a good reputation and is fast, but it may not always be reliable. Public DNS servers are usually very reliable, but they can be slow. You can improve the speed and reliability of your internet connection by editing your DNS hosts file. A DNS hosts file is a simple text file that maps domain names to IP addresses. When you edit your DNS hosts file, you’re telling your computer to bypass your ISP’s DNS server and use the custom DNS server of your choice. Editing your DNS hosts file is a relatively simple process, but it’s important to be careful when editing system files. If you make a mistake, you could cause serious problems with your computer. It’s always a good idea to create a backup of your system files before making any changes.

What is the hosts file?

The hosts file is a text file that maps hostnames to IP addresses. -It is used to resolve hostnames to IP addresses. -When you type in a URL into your web browser, your computer will first look up the hostname in the hosts file. -If it finds an entry for the hostname, it will resolve the hostname to the IP address specified in the hosts file. -If it does not find an entry for the hostname, it will then try to resolve the hostname using DNS. -The hosts file can be used to block websites by mapping the hostname of the website to a fake IP address. -For example, you could map www.example.com to 0.0.0.0 . This would cause your computer to resolve www.example.com to 0.0.0.0 , which is an invalid IP address, and you would not be able to access the website. -You can also use the hosts file to redirect websites. -For example, you could map www.example.com to 127.0.0.1 . This would cause your computer to resolve www.example.com to 127.0.0.1 , which is the IP address of your local computer. So, when you try to access www.example.com , you would actually be accessing your local computer, and not the website itself.

How to edit your DNS hosts file?

The hosts file can be found in the following locations.

  • Windows: C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts
  • Linux: /etc/hosts
  • MacOS: /etc/hosts

Once you’ve found the location of your hosts file for your specific operating system, all you need to edit it is a simple plaintext text editor. You can use Windows Notepad, TextEdit on the Mac, as well as command line text editors like vim or nano on Unix based systems.

You will need to make sure that when you’re editing this file that you do so with an account which has administrator privileges as this is a protected system file.

Why would you want to edit your DNS hosts file?

There are a few reasons you might want to edit your DNS hosts file. One common reason is to block certain websites that you don’t want to visit. For example, you might want to block websites that are known to host malware or that are blocked by your network administrator. Another reason to edit your DNS hosts file is to improve your internet speed. By editing your DNS hosts file, you can change the IP address of a website’s server from its default address to a faster one. This can speed up the loading time of websites, especially if the default server is slow or overloaded. Finally, you might want to edit your DNS hosts file if you’re having trouble connecting to a website. For example, if you’re trying to connect to a website but it keeps timing out, you can try changing the IP address of the website’s server in your DNS hosts file. This might help you connect successfully.

Conclusion

Editing your DNS hosts file is a great way to improve your online security and privacy. By blocking malicious domains, you can protect your computer from phishing attacks, malware, and other online threats. You can also use your DNS hosts file to block ads and speed up your web browsing experience. If you’re not comfortable editing your DNS hosts file yourself, there are a number of tools available that can help you do it. Just be sure to research any tool you use to make sure it’s reputable and safe.

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