Monday, July 09, 2007

Hosts File Update

The MVPS Hosts File was updated yesterday.

What is a hosts file? It's a very useful piece of kit that sits in a little folder not bothering anyone. When you tell your browser that you want to go to a particular website, the browser will convert the address you typed to a bunch of numbers called an IP address, before it connects to the website it will check the hosts file to make sure it's got the numbers right. If there is nothing there, then it will connect.

That seems straight forward enough, but why have a hosts file when your browser always goes where you want it to go.. well if you think about it, sometimes it doesn't. Lots of websites have adverts on them.. some of these ads try to connect to a separate server so they can dump a tracking cookie into your system. Or, maybe you are searching for something and inadvertently click on a link to a bad site which could infect your computer with something horrible. This is where the hosts file comes into it's own. If you have an entry in your hosts file like this;

Then if your browser tries to connect to, when it checks the hosts file it will just come back on itself because the IP is your computer.

So... a hosts file is a very useful security feature to have on your computer, it's not much good though if it isn't kept up to date. The MVPS hosts file is updated regularly. See for more information, tips and installation instructions.