Large hosts file delays browsing?

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by mike21, Jun 26, 2007.

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  1. mike21

    mike21 Registered Member

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    Hello, I was using the mvps hosts file with the DNS service disabled, in order to avoid decrease in browsing speed.

    However someone told me in another forum that a large hosts file (such as mvps) delays my browsing speed, regardless of DNS disabled or not.

    Can you please confirm that?
     
  2. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    I cannot confirm but MVPS is one of the smaller HOSTS files anyways.

    OTOH the Bluetack HOSTS files is much bigger (~2MB) so it might cause a slowdown though I havent tested it.
     
  3. octogen

    octogen Registered Member

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    I have used bluetack's, mvps and hpguru's hosts files and none of these slowed me down. Aside from having the DNS client disabled, make sure you have a program that will act as a local server, such as "edexter" or "nohttp" running in the background. This should take care of some issues asociated with using a hosts file. FWIW, I've chosen MVPs hosts only because of its concentration on filtering out "bad" websites.
     
  4. mike21

    mike21 Registered Member

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    Thanks, I just downloaded edexter. What kind of issues associated with using a hosts file edexter takes care of?
     
  5. octogen

    octogen Registered Member

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    You're welcome. Aside from preventing slowdowns, two issues that come to mind are:

    1. The "page not found" message you get embedded in a page that has hosts filtered by the hosts file. Edexter can either substitute an image a user chooses or just leave the space blank.

    2. Having to repeatedly hit the back button to go back to a page that has hosts file-filtered ads. If you have edexter running this doesn't occur because the browser thinks that the hosts that are in the hosts file are from the local server, which in this case is edexter.

    Hope this helps.

    Edit: Added "Aside from preventing slowdowns" and "Hope this helps".
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2007
  6. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    I don't think using large hosts file brings any merits.

    1. They are difficult to browse in search for entries.
    2. They cause overload on servers due to constant DNS requests.
    3. They can slow down the browsing.
    4. Their protection level is negligent. Even if a hosts file has 10 million entries, it is about 0.1% of registered websites.
    5. Someone else decides for you what content is OK / not.

    Mrk
     
  7. mike21

    mike21 Registered Member

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    Thanks again for your help. Could you please clarify how the eDexter prevents slowdowns?

    Please clarify if you consider mvps a large host file.
     
  8. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    This shouldn't be a problem since (a) there is little need for most people to review their hosts file and (b) even Notepad has a search function that can take you to a specific domain entry in the file.
    Not so - if an entry is present in a Hosts file, no DNS request is made. So a large file is more likely to reduce load on DNS servers.
    If the hosts file includes ad servers (thereby acting as an ad filter) it is much more likely to speed up browsing. The only delay reported with large files is with Windows' own DNS Client Service.
    Hosts files targeting malware will tend to list the most heavily used malware domains so will have a greater impact than their size may suggest. They cannot provide 100% protection alone though, so should be considered as a supplement to other security. In addition, the hosts file will likely have no effect for anyone using an anonymising proxy for Internet access since in most such cases, the domain lookup is done by the proxy itself.
    That can be either a positive or a negative - it depends on the criteria of the list and the integrity of its author(s). For the examples given above, as long as people take the time to check what a specific hosts file aims to cover, the good should outweigh the bad.
     
  9. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    You're right about no.2, I was not clear enough.

    Most people using Hosts Files also use various AS scanners and to make their scans reasonably fast, they also disable DNS cache. Now, this causes the overload of servers due to constant and repeated requests.

    Mrk
     
  10. octogen

    octogen Registered Member

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    If the browser sees that the address for certain hosts is the local computer, i.e. 127.0.0.1, it is going to look on your local computer for a server. After a while it will timeout, thus causing some delays. If you have edexter, the browser will think it has found the server and there is no timeout. Some people get around the timeout by replacing "127.0.0.1" entries in the hosts file with "0.0.0.0". (except for the entry for localhost) to avoid delays; someone more knowledgeable may explain why this is so. The problem that I see with using this is that you still get the embedded error meassages. Hope this helps.
     
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