What is a host file?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by New Raider, Dec 4, 2003.

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  1. New Raider

    New Raider Registered Member

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    Pardon my stupidity, but what's a host file, and is it good to have one?

    I am a total newbee at security and computers in general.

    As far as I know, a host file was generated by my ISP when I signed up.
    Can I really get another without harming that one, and why do I need it? o_O
     
  2. Douglas

    Douglas Guest

    Re:HOST file returns!

    Hi New Raider,
    Whenever you type in an address or click a link, your host's file is consulted first for the IP address. People, including myself, use it to block ads and certain bad sites.
    What happens is that if the bad site is on the hosts file listed as 127.0.0.1, which is the address of your own computer, the site or ad cannot be reached.
    Here is a good link that explains alot:
    http://accs-net.com/hosts/what_is_hosts.html

    I can't answer your ISP question, however. I'm sorry. I'm sure someone will come along who can.

    Regards,
    Douglas
     
  3. Douglas

    Douglas Guest

    Can anyone explain to me why an ISP would generate a hosts file?
    Quicker DNS resolving?

    Thanks,
    Douglas
     
  4. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    The host file is natural to every Windows operating system, it was put there by Microsoft. If you use Windows, you have at least one host file, and possibly several; it was there when you bought your computer (unless your hard drive was completely empty and you hadn't loaded Windows yet).

    Acadia
     
  5. Douglas

    Douglas Guest

    Re:HOST file returns!

    It was pointed out to me that this could be minsconstrued by people who are new to computers.
    127.0.0.1 is the IP number of all computers, not just a particular person's .
    Sorry for the lack of clarity.
    Regards,
    Douglas
     
  6. MakoFusion

    MakoFusion Registered Member

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    127.0.0.1 also called "localhost"

    Programs that wait for an online connection standby listening on this IP...

    This is your own computer within the LAN or WAN as only you would see it. Sort of like I'm on the inside and looking out so thats why my compter is "localhost" to me and your computer is "localhost" to you.

    If two people were standing face to face and I ask them to turn 90° to the left what would be the result. A third party observer would see they are actually facing completely opposite directions. But to each of them - if you were in their own shoes to say the least - 90° left is a quarter turn left from the direction each were facing. They used 0° as the starting point and can turn anywhere within a given 360° mathimatically with an infinate number of solutions to which direction and angle they can turn. In this sense all IP addess other than 127.0.0.1 are simply not my computer as far as I am concerned because it is my starting reference. In this case that would be my computer which turns or directs traffic to any other computer connected to it.

    Since every little thing on a webpage has to be requested such as ads, pictures, bodies of text, icons, and virtually every URL within the source code of a page you can actually save bandwith by letting your computer look for junk servers on your own computer instead of out onto there wherever there is.

    127.0.0.1 www.outwar.com

    This says to my computer alright whenever a request for www.outwar.com is found just loopback saying its been answered for anyway. But the request packets actually never made it outside your computer so it just comes up blank and we move right along to the next request. Saves time, bandwith, and even makes a system more secure if the server being blocked collects data like spyware does.

    An ISP would want to give out their own HOST file probably because it wants you to be able to connect to all its own pages, trusted 3rd party sites, and even sometimes crappy spyware servers. Because many people don't know about the file ISPs use this advantage to serve in the best interest of the ISP more often than your own privacy.

    Many trojans today actually alter HOST files to include damaging servers for you to allow access to. Instead of putting 127.0.0.1 they put both the IP address and DNS name so your computer connects even faster to a given site. The computer does not have to look up the DNS name first from www.nameitsomethingwithwords.com to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx which is how computers want to talk to each other online. To protect your HOST file you can use SpyBot's feature or make it a read-only file.

    I have actually covered 2 ways HOST files can make your internet experience faster. Block requests for the bad and increase speed for the good. For all your favorite sites you can put the actuall IP address and DNS name to save time in translating the request from text to numbers.

    In space which direction is up?
     
  7. Amerk_5

    Amerk_5 Registered Member

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    Dansville, NY
    You can use CIP to import your bookmarks, get their IPs & save them in your Hosts file.

    I use my Hosts file to both block bad sites & quickly get to my favorite sites. The most updated Hosts file for ad blocking that I use can be found Here.
     
  8. MickeyTheMan

    MickeyTheMan Security Expert

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    http://pages.infinit.net/carbo1/hostfile.html some additional info
     
  9. yokenny

    yokenny Registered Member

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    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Excellent analogy. :)

    Posted by: MakoFusion
    I believe that it is the Universal Resource Locater (URL) name.

    A moderated forum for adding and deleting items to a good HOSTS file is:
    http://www.hostboard.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=7596

    The site to download the latest Dec. 12th update:
    http://webpages.charter.net/hpguru/hosts/hosts.html
     
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