Increasing Internet speed is an uphill battle. Especially when you are on a dial-up connection, It is vital that pages load fast enough to let you do the task efficiently and effectively. Web sites today are loaded with parasites like Unwanted Adverts, banners, Pop-ups and page counters. When you have ample bandwidth and computing power, the extra load these parasites put on your connection is negligible. The situation becomes very annoying when you are on a dialup connection. These unwanted parasites consume a larger percentage of your bandwidth and increase the page load time. These also put a stress on your processor and the computer suddenly becomes very sluggish.
In order to avoid this we apply various tweaks and tools to the task. We disable popups and Java Scripts. We use firewalls, anti-virus, anti-malware and God knows what else. Less than 50% people know that you can avoid 70% of all that is useless and dangerous on the Internet by just a few entries in your HOSTS file (if you are on Windows based PC).
In time ancient and still now, when you try to type an address in your browser, your OS first try to read the HOSTS file to determine the IP address of your destination. If it is not found there, It then goes to your ISP’s DNS Server and so forth…
Ever wondered why localhostÂ always points to LOOP BACK IP 127.0.0.1? Its because your HOSTS file says so. You can find the host file at following locations
Windows Vista = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Windows XP = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Windows 2K = C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Win 98/ME = C:\WINDOWS
Linux/Unix = /etc/hosts
AppleÂ = System Folder:Preferences and in the System Folder itself.
The HOSTS file is normally without any extension. You can open it inÂ notepad. It contains a few lines of text that can be edited. for example if you add following line and save the file.
All request meant for google would simply be routed back to your own PC and you will not be able to see google Website on your computer. (you can really make a mess out of your friend’s computer.. I see that devil grin on your face).
With magical powers like this HOSTS file and boast your Internet speed and enhance your browsing experience. All you have to do is to block all the unwanted destinations on Internet by pointing them to 127.0.0.1.Â Most of the times a good HOSTS fileÂ will not only speed up the loading of web pages (because you don’t have to wait for all those ads and banners and hit counters to load) , it will also protect your privacy andÂ increase security by blocking domains that try to track your browsing habits. Its a nice “Extra layer of Protection“