hosts file

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hosts file

A text file on a networked computer that was used to associate host names with IP addresses. A hosts file contains lines consisting of whitespace-separated fields giving an IP address followed by list of host names or aliases associated with that address. The name resolution library software can use this file to look up the IP address for a host name. The hosts file is "/etc/hosts" on Unix and "C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts" or "lmhosts" on Microsoft Windows,

Hosts files have now been almost entirely replaced by DNS, in which distributed servers provide the same information. A hosts file can still be used to override DNS for testing purposes or other special situations.

HOSTS file

A text file in a TCP/IP network that specifies the IP addresses of computer names and domain names. It is used to convert a request by name to a numeric IP address on the local network or the Internet.

Testing and Quick Retrieval
HOSTS files are used to override the DNS system for testing purposes so that a Web browser or other application can be redirected to a specific IP address. In addition, by explicitly stating an IP address in a HOSTS file, a website can be retrieved more quickly, because the multiple transmit/receive steps a normal DNS query takes have been eliminated. See DNS.

Denying Access to Websites
websites can be denied access from a computer if the URLs of those sites are added to the HOSTS file and directed to the loopback address of For example, the following entry in a HOSTS file prevents users from reaching YouTube or eBay.

HOSTS File Locations
In Windows, the HOSTS file is in the \windows\system32\drivers\etc folder. In the Mac, it is in /private/etc. The first line of a HOSTS file contains the following. See localhost.   localhost
References in periodicals archive ?
It also blocks illicit changes to your registry, prevents downloads of unwanted software, stops any changes to your windows host file or startup items, and freezes all attempts by hackers to gain access to your computer.
exe, which modifies the system host file to prevent access to a large number of web pages related to IT security.
Using Steganos Security Suite, you can encrypt your data and then pick a host file, such as a digital photo, in which to hide it.
The changed host file disables the user's anti-virus software updates, leaving the user susceptible to further malicious activity.
Pharming corrupts local DNS servers or a PC's host file to direct Internet traffic to malicious sites.
Research from the report also indicates that spyware--pop-ups, hijacking home pages, redirecting searches and using host file and DNS poisoning--generates an estimated $2 billion in revenue annually.
The features of Ipswitch WhatsUp Professional include detailed monitoring and customisable network topography with SNMP SmartScan, ICMP discovery or Host File imports automatically provide a customisable network map as well as enhanced monitoring and alerting.
When opened it silently runs a script which attempts to rewrite the host file of the targeted machine.
Worms are programs that replicate themselves from system to system without the use of a host file.
Oracle VM: Kroll Ontrack supports file formats including VHD, VDI and VMDK, which can be used by Oracle VM and Oracle VM VirtualBox, and has solutions to address guest and host file system corruption, deleted virtual machines and snapshots, internal virtual disk corruption, RAID and other storage/server hardware failures and deleted or corrupt files contained within the virtual disk.
The tool allows users to update their system's host file quickly and easily by blacklisting known malware spreading websites.
But computers always check a local host file for such a catalog first--and that local host file overrides information contained in the Internet's Domain Name Servers.