Opinions on using the hosts file as opposed to uBlock, Privacy Badger, etc.

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by Rigz, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Rigz

    Rigz Registered Member

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    I usually just keep my hosts file updated with the list at http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ as a way to redirect traffic from certain hosts to block their ad related services.

    What do you guys think the pros and cons are of using the hosts file vs one of the other available software options? I always figured using a tool already built into the OS might have less of an impact on system resources than installing additional plugins, or other software.
     
  2. Infected

    Infected Registered Member

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    Why not just use them both? I use ublock and also hostman to edit my host file.
     
  3. Rigz

    Rigz Registered Member

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    For whatever reason, I was worried it might end up being too redundant to use both.

    Really though, I guess that in today's world the system resources used by software like this is pretty minuscule compared to the amount of memory, and processing power today's computers have.

    Time to stop living in the past. I'm not using the old 486sx with 4mb of ram anymore... having to use a boot disk to free up enough memory to play Wolf3D haha.
     
  4. Martin_C

    Martin_C Registered Member

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    The main difference are that one solution are redirecting and another are blocking.

    Big difference.

    Blocking in browser can produce its fair share of problems.

    Redirecting systemwide can be catastrophic. Especially if your solution are auto-updating the list.
    You will risk that carefully chosen hosts are redirected to a very unpleasant place and not just to localhost or that a few very needed hosts are suddenly redirected to localhost.
     
  5. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Only reason I use both is because uBlock doesn't support Metro apps. Oh and to block some Microsoft data collection servers.
     
  6. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    Hosts files are free, simple and effective. I've had no problem in combining them with other forms of domain filtering. Redundant overlapping block lists are not a bad idea. If there is a gap in one in one list, it has a chance of being covered in another.

    The other thing I like about using hosts files is that I'm often surprised by what is blocked by them. Like the "Liverperson" domains that Microsoft Support uses. I had to disable the hosts file blocks to be able to use the live chat support. Google sent emails from those domains to the spam folder.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015
  7. driekus

    driekus Registered Member

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    I agree, the host files is a great free option. I use adblock and ublock and find they are both great options. You have nothing to loose using both solutions.
    Just remember the hosts file is not the panacea of protection. Microsoft (and I am sure others) can bypass the hosts file by going straight to an IP address. They have only done this so far in the context of windows telemetry. As far as browser side blocking goes I dont think it is currently a concern.
     
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