Internet Speed: How to Increase with HOSTS file

Posted on 01 October 2008

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 localhost  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

Apple  = System Folder:Preferences and in the System Folder itself.

The HOSTS file is normally without any extension. You can open it in  notepad. It contains a few lines of text that can be edited. for example if you add following line and save the file.

127.0.0.1 www.google.com

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.  Most of the times a good HOSTS file  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 and  increase security by blocking domains that try to track your browsing habits. Its a nice “Extra layer of Protection

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9 Responses to “Internet Speed: How to Increase with HOSTS file”

  1. kamikaze.cockroach says:

    Use 0.0.0.0 instead of 127.0.0.1. 127.0.0.1 actually exists (even though it is your own PC) so requests made to this address will continue until a timeout (unless you have a firewall which responds to SYN with REJ). 0.0.0.0 is non-routeable so it will instantly fail at the IP level (faster than TCP or HTTP).

    I’d also recommend the host file manager called hostsman. http://www.abelhadigital.com/
    Besides automatically downlaoding, auto-updating and merging multiple host files, hostman can also replace IP addresses like mentioned above and remember exclusions (domains in one of the host files that you trust).

  2. R. MAK. says:

    @kamikaze

    Nice Suggestion about 0.0.0.0
    I have included your suggested tool in the post

    R. MAK.s last blog post..Internet Speed: How to Increase with HOSTS file

  3. web talk says:

    nice suggestion. i also remember some years ago a nice trick which let you tweak your MTU and other parameters…in the end i gave up when i went from dial-up to adsl. if you are looking for speed another nie thing is to download one of those browser that just load text leaving all the img and junk out

    web talks last blog post..Tricks to improve Firefox download manager

  4. MysteryFCM says:

    Nice article, and thank you for the hpHosts ref ) (hpGuru hasn’t ran it for almost 2 years now though – it’s now ran and maintained by me).

    Just an additional note, you need to modify your Google ad filter as it’s currently advertising rogues ;o)

  5. kerr says:

    Thank you for this post! I use Linux but the hosts file works just great. I am on a slow dial up link and this hosts tweak as well as your “How to Double Firefox Browsing Speed On Dialup Connection” has made the experience from barely usable to bearable! Thank you!

    I was trying to find something that could do some of the speed dial services that ISP’s offer and this seems to address some of them.

    Anyway in firefox to reduce the image quality so pages with really big images would load faster? Thanks again!

  6. R. MAK. says:

    @kerr.. I am glad that you liked it.

    Me too is forced to use a dial up connection and I am glad that you shared the tip to reduce Firefox image quality to increase speed.. that is brilliant..

    Thanks.

  7. John says:

    Another way to increase internet speed is to use Internet Cyclone an internet optimizer that will speed up your internet connection.


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