Hosts File Editor is Tools for easily modify windows hosts file without having to open the %SystemRoot% folder
What is Host File?
Hosts File is a computer system file in the form of plain text file (hosts) which is used by the operating system to point hostname or domain name into IP addresses.
If we type the URL rhino.acme.com above, we will be redirected to 22.214.171.124. This is the computer IP address at which the site rhino.acme.com is being kept.
Access Denied when Editing Host File
The Host File is located in the system folder of your computer, more precisely in the, SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts. That said to be able to edit it you need to have administrator right privilege to access it. Without having the administrator right, you will not be able to edit this file, following the warning message “Access Denied errors” upon trying to change, add, and edit the hosts file.
Hosts File Functions
The Host File can be used for various purposes, such as:
1. Block annoying Ads and Banners. You may have visited certain websites that have poor display having full of ads and banners. This obviously is annoying. In order to cope with this problem, you may use adblock add-ons or you may also block the URL of the ads directly with the host file. So you do not have to see the commercial ads in websites, also your internet connection will not be used for this wasted traffic.
Example: 127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net
2. Block p*rn and social media sites. To prevent your children from accessing p*rn sites or social media sites like block facebook, you can block those sites by using the host file.
Example: 127.0.0.1 facebook.com
3. Redirect Website. This can be used to redirect access from p*rn sites and social media sites to more valuable sites. For instance, redirecting facebook site access to Wikipedia as well as redirecting any access from certain p*rn sites to youtube.
126.96.36.199 facebook.com # Redirect facebook to Wikipedia
188.8.131.52 www.facebook.com # Redirect facebook to Youtube
In order to get the IP address of certain website, you can use Command Prompt and type “ping www.urlsites.com”.
Example: ping www.wikipedia.org
Pinging www.wikipedia.org [184.108.40.206] with 32 bytes of data:
Top 7 Host File Manager & Editor Tools for Windows
There is plenty of software that can be used to make it easy for you for editing the host file. All the tools described below are freeware.
Notepad is built-in windows software. All computers running windows have this tiny sized software. It can be used to edit the host file easily.
You just need to open your Notepad and make sure that you choose “Run as Administrator” before opening the program. You can then browse the hosts file located in %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.
Despite the easiness of use, there are, however some rules to follow in editing the host file by using Notepad. Some of those rules are:
- Each entry should be kept on an individual line.
- The IP address should be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
- The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one space.
- Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual lines or following the machine name denoted by a ‘#’ symbol.
2. Hosts File Editor
The software has quite small size, it is only 976 kb. You need to install it first before using it to edit the host file.
It has modest and easy-to-use interface. It shows host file in form of table with three columns consisting of IP address, Host Names and Comment.
It has archive feature where you can save multiple version of your host file.
For instance: ads blocking version, social media blocking version, and p*rn sites blocking version. Its use is that of, for example, while working you can activate the social media blocking version of the host file to help you focus more on your job. After finishing the job you can activate others version of the host file by choosing other archive or even disable the host file.
Download Link: HostsFileEditorSetup-1.0.0.msi [ 943 kb]
3. Host Mechanic
Host Mechanic is developed by Hackerpunk1. It is a freeware with 201 kb as its size.
It has very simple interface, with form IP Address and Form Site feature that can be used to add them into the hosts file.
Nonetheless, the host mechanic does not have feature of editing the hosts file, rather just add, restore and delete the host file.
Download link: Host-Mechanic.zip [107 kb]
4. Host Profiles Management
Host Profiles Management is Free and Open Source Software. It is produced in various versions of windows and also Linux.
It is portable and has size of only 210 kb. The interface is very simple as well, the hosts file editor in text form, almost the same as when you use notepad.
You can add, delete, and edit, and even then can click apply & Flush DNS.
Download link: HostProfiles 1.2 for Win.zip [ 134 kb]
5. Advanced Hosts Editor
Advanced Hosts Editor. This small tool has size of 254 kb and it is a freeware. It has simple interface with two tabs, assistant and host file editor.
There is particularly one feature that I like the most in this tool, it is the feature of last visited hosts. With this feature, we can see what sites are recently loaded, and if there are suspicious activities you can then block them right away if necessary.
As for the Tab Hosts file, it is the usual tab editor as found in using the notepad.
Download link: Advanced_Hosts_Editor_1.3_Beta1.zip [ 253 kb ]
6. BlueLife Hosts Editor
It is portable and has size of 500 kb. It has simple user interface, almost like the Hosts File Editor.
However, it has more complete features, such as: editor, import, export, backup manager; flush DNS cache and enable or disable DNS client service.
The editor itself has feature of resolving domain name. In addition, you can also view the host file in the editor either in text form or in table form.
Download link: bl_hosts_editor.zip [ 495 kb ]
It has two versions, installer version [2.84 MB] and portable version [3.39 MB]. I personally recommend using the portable version so that you do not need to install it.
It has quite complete features, they are:
- Hosts Editor, having option to edit using text editor (notepad) and also HostMan Editor. You can add, delete, and edit the host file as well as add Comments.
- Built-in hosts file updater. You can download the hosts file from various host file provider like MVPs.org
- Enable/Disable hosts file. To be able to access the sites that you have already blocked temporarily, like social media for example, you can disable it.
- Scan hosts for errors, duplicates and possible hijacks. This feature is useful for checking whether there is a mistyping when you add the IP address and also the Host Name.
- Hosts file backup manager, functions as tools to backup the host file.
- Exclusion list. If you don’t want to block certain sites, then you can put the URL of the sites by using this feature.
- Import and Export. This feature function is to add list(s) into the host file that you downloaded previously from reputable provider sites.
Download Link: HostsMan_4.5.102.zip [3.5 MB]
With the help of the tools described above, we can easily change, add, delete, and even disable the host file, and most importantly, they can be used free-of-charge (freeware).
After personally testing the 7 hosts file editor tools above, I think that Hostman is the most complete and highly recommended tools.
Nevertheless, I personally edit the host file most of the time with Notepad.
It is worth mentioning that I am interested in the feature that Advanced Hosts Editor provides in the assistant tab, that is, the last visited hosts.
Note: Make sure to always run the above tools with the option of Run as Administrator.
What Host File Editor do you usually use?
What kind of sites that you block in your host file?