What it does
You can use a modified HOSTS file to block ads, banners, 3rd party
Cookies, 3rd party page counters,
web bugs, and even
most hijackers and possibly unwanted programs. This is accomplished by blocking the
connection(s) that supplies these little gems. The Hosts
file is loaded into memory (cache) at startup, so there is no need to turn on, adjust or change any settings with the
exception of the DNS Client service (see below).
Windows automatically looks for the existence of a HOSTS file and if
found, checks the HOSTS file first for entries to the web
page you just requested. The 0.0.0.0
considered the location of your computer, so when an entry listed in
the MVPS HOSTS file is requested on a page you are viewing, your computer
thinks 0.0.0.0 is the location of the file. When this file
is not located it skips onto the next file and thus the ad server
is blocked from loading the banner, Cookie, or some
Example - the following entry 0.0.0.0
ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by that DoubleClick Server to the web page you are
viewing. This also prevents the server from tracking your
movements. Why? ... because in certain cases "Ad Servers" like
Doubleclick (and many others) will try silently to open a separate connection on the webpage you
are viewing, record your movements then yes ... follow you to
additional sites you may visit.
Using a well designed HOSTS file can speed the
loading of web pages by not having to wait for these ads,
annoying banners, hit
counters, etc. to load. This also helps to protect your
Privacy and Security by blocking sites that may track your
viewing habits, also known as "click-thru tracking" or
Data Miners. Simply using a HOSTS file is
not a cure-all against all the dangers on the Internet,
but it does provide another very effective "Layer of
In case you're wondering ... this all happens in microseconds,
which is much faster than trying to fetch a file from half way
around the world. Another great feature of the HOSTS file
is that it is a two-way file, meaning if some parasite does
get into your system (usually bundled with other products)
the culprit can not get out (call home) as long as the
necessary entries exist. This is why it's important to keep
your HOSTS file up to Date. Get notified of
MVPS HOSTS updates.
Special Note: new Windows 10
users ... the MVPS Hosts file installs just fine, no need to make
Simply follow the
instructions for Windows 8.
MVPS HOSTS now includes entries for most major parasites, hijackers and unwanted Adware/Spyware
Started providing a HOSTS file in 1998 ... and proudly still the #1 rated HOSTS file on
||To view the HOSTS file in plain text
form. (484 kb) (opens in new browser)|
The text version also makes a terrific searchable
reference for determining possible unwanted connections.
[right-click - Select: Save Target As]
Important Note: The HOSTS file now contains a change in
the prefix in the HOSTS entries to "0.0.0.0" instead of the usual
This was done to resolve a slowdown issue
that occurs with the change Microsoft made in the "TCP
loopback interface" in Win8.1.
This change in the
prefix should not affect everyday users. I've had some feedback that COMODO antivirus, and System Mechanic seems to
have issues with the "0.0.0.0" prefix ... to resolve this
You can use the "Replace" function in Notepad to convert the
entries, or either of these freeware utilities (see below) has an
option for converting the entries from "0.0.0.0" to "127.0.0.1.
This download includes a simple batch file (mvps.bat) that will
rename the existing HOSTS file to HOSTS.MVP then copy the included
updated HOSTS file to the proper location. For more information
please see the Windows version that applies to you ...
|| Windows 10/8 requires
special instructions see here|
| Windows 7 requires special instructions
|Win Vista requires special instructions
When you run the (mvps.bat) batch file - right-click and select:
Run as Administrator. Once updated you should see another prompt that the task was completed.
Some users may see a pop-up from certain Security programs about
changes to the HOSTS file. Allow the change ... however if you
see this pop-up (changes to the HOSTS file) at any other time ... investigate.
Download Information: (checksum info is on the HOSTS file itself not the
MD5: B15466F5708F97411F5F52E95A0700F2 SHA-1:
Manual Install Method - Unzip in a "temp" folder and place in the appropriate
- If you are having trouble downloading or extracting the HOSTS
file [click here]
Note: the below locations are for the typical default paths, edit as needed.
The actual location is defined by the following Registry key:
Windows DNS Client Service
In most cases the DNS Client Service is not needed, it is
recommended to turn it off. These instructions are intended for a
single (home-user) PC. If your machine is part of a
"Domain", check with your IT Dept. before applying this
work-around. This especially applies to Laptop users who travel
or bring their work machines home. Make sure to reset the Service
(if needed) prior to connecting (reboot required) to your work Domain ...
To resolve this issue (manually) open the "Services
- Start | Run (type) "services.msc" (no quotes)
Win8 users - Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services
- Scroll down to "DNS Client", Right-click and select: Properties - click Stop
- Click the drop-down arrow for "Startup type"
- Select: Manual (recommended) or Disabled click Apply/Ok and restart.
File Editor includes an option to turn off the DNS Service [screenshot]
When set to Manual you can see that the above "Service" is
not needed (after a little browsing - when set to Manual)
by opening the Services Editor again, scroll down to DNS Client
and check the "Status" column. It should be blank, if it was
needed it would show "Started" in that column. There are
several Utilities that can reset the DNS Client for you ... [more info]
Important! If you are using Network Discovery then the DNS Client
service is required and should not be set to either Manual or Disabled.
Workaround for using the MVPS HOSTS file and leaving
the DNS Client service enabled (set to: Automatic)
- If you find after a period of time that your browser seems
sluggish with the DNS Client service enabled you can manually
flush the DNS cache
- Close all browser windows ... open a "Command Prompt" from the
Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > Command
Win8 users - Charms Bar > Search > (type)
command prompt > Select: Command Promt (left pane) Ok the
- (type) ipconfig /flushdns (press Enter) Then close the Command Prompt ...
A better Win10/8/7/Vista/ workaround would be to add two Registry
entries to control the amount of time the DNS cache is saved. (KB318803)
- Flush the existing DNS cache (see above)
- Start > Run (type) regedit
Win8 users - from the
Charms Bar, select: Search (type) run and select Run (left
pane) and (type) "regedit" (no quotes)
- Navigate to the following
- Click Edit > New > DWORD Value (type)
- Click Edit > New > DWORD Value (type)
- Next right-click on the MaxCacheTtl entry (right
pane) and select: Modify and change the value to 1
- The MaxNegativeCacheTtl entry should already have a
value of 0 (leave it that way - see screenshot)
- Close Regedit and reboot ...
- As usual you should always backup your Registry before
editing ... see Regedit Help under "Exporting Registry files"
For all other
Questions, Issues and Solutions - see:The HOSTS File FAQ
detailed Download and Extract Instructions - see: Download Help
Hosts File Editor ... great little freeware program with all the
features of Hostsman ...|
Other Programs using the MVPS HOSTS file
Linux and Mac Users
Although I do not use either Linux or a Mac, I often get requests for "How To" on
that system, so here are a few resources:
Various Troubleshooting Articles