So sh0rtie what is this advert blocking thing all about ?
Web adverts can be simply blocked by using a specially formatted text file called a “Hosts” file which is a list
myself and numerous others have painstakingly compiled to now over
60000 (verified) known banner advertising companies and providers along
with hostile websites that have been discovered (popup providers, spyware, dialers ,scams etc).
This file tells your computer to try to and access
itself whenever a banner advert is requested from a server that is in its "black" list, but instead
of contacting the advert server your computer tries to request itself, and as your machine doesn't
contain any adverts (if you are not running a web server) nothing will be shown.
Will this stop cookies and popups ?
Certainly, it will stop cookies ,hostile scripts in fact
(not just web traffic) from any server in this “Hosts” file (over
50000+ servers and increasing daily)
Can this increase my connection speed ?
Quite simply Yes, your browser will never ask for the adverts in the first place, usually most banner servers are
already slow or overloaded, that would normally make you wait longer to see an advertisement as you have to wait for those to download too, and as these advertisers will be blocked your connection speed should be improved , very handy for dialup users.
Can this file be removed after install?
Sure, any problems simply delete this "Hosts" file from where you
put it and reboot. You'll be back to viewing all those lovely adverts and popups in no-time at all ;).
Have you tested this file ?
Yes this file has been tested on numerous platforms,
and all blocked servers have been verified that they actually exist (if they resolve to IP's) and works as expected in:
- Apple - Macintosh OS8/OS9/OSX 10.1/Jaguar
- Microsoft - Windows 95/98/ME/NT4 SP6/2K SP3*/XP (Pro/Home/Media)/2K3.NET/Vista/PocketPC
- Unixes - BSD Linux/Mandrake/Debian/BeOs/SuSe/Knoppix/Red Hat
*NB : Windows 2000/XP/NT based systems do not to like very large “Hosts” files such as this and will act
sluggish every 25 min for 5 min with 100% cpu resulting in a dns cache timeout error in the event log,
This is a known MS OS bug and can be resolved
in most cases,
if the workaround
doesn't cure it then this “Hosts” file will not be compatible with your version of Windows
and is best removed to stop this behaviour, make sure you use the workaround before
NB : Older Macintoshes (ie: v8/9) will need this file
instead as the standard “Hosts” file may not work ,as the format
of the file is different to a standard “Hosts” files format (this file has 40000 verified entries but isn't updated as often, check within the file for last update).
This dedicated Mac version is not
for OSX (v10 and above) as it will work with the standard “Hosts” file format.
Where can i download this magic file then ?
Click the "Block Adverts" text on the heart
and then you can download the version you require in a Zip file or plain text, or use the dropdown menu on the left to select a specific version for your computer.
You will need to save it to your desktop or harddrive before opening (otherwise by some zip quirk it may appear empty if you run/open from this location) as this file is Zipped on the fly. (approx 200k)
If you have trouble using Zipfiles an unzipped plain text version is available here
(r-click and “save target as”) (approx 500k).
Macintosh OS8/9/Classic owners can click here
for a zipped version or
for a non compressed version or again just use the dropdown menu to select the correct version.
So how do install this file ?
Simply unzip & place this “Hosts” file in the relevant directory (logged on with Root/SU/Administrator privileges in most cases):
|Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME:||C:\WINDOWS\|
|Microsoft Windows NT/2K:||C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC\|
|Microsoft Windows XP/2K3:||C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC\|
|Macintosh OSX/10.*:||/etc/hosts (link)|
|Macintosh (non OSX) method #1||Place the Mac Hosts file in the Preference folder. re-name it "Hosts" (exact case matters) shutdown, restart.|
|Macintosh (non OSX) method #2||Copy the Mac Hosts file to your computer re-name it "Hosts".|
In the TCP/IP Control Panel, choose 'Select Hosts file' Select this file, close and restart.
Linux users note :
Please see Stuart Hanzlik's informative site
regarding the procedure for installing Hosts on Linux based systems if you are not sure how to use,
a real goldmine of information about Hosts files and their usage.
(of course if you are running Linux then you probably already know how to install and use a Hosts file,
careful not to overwrite any important entries if you are using hosts in a Corp setting and you will probably need root/su access:)
Also note :
Linebreaks in these files are in PC DOS format, so on some systems
you might need to convert this file to Unix linebreaks if you have problems, in *nix this can be achieved by:
cat hosts | col -b > newhosts
For exact usage see man col (-b switch should work with most Unix flavours) or try dos2unix if you have it installed in your distro.
How do Un-install this file ?
Simply rename or delete this file from where you placed it (see above for locations).
I run a webserver on my machine will this affect me ?
Currently all the servers in this file point to the ip 127.0.0.1 (localhost)
if you run a webserver on the computer you surf from you will need to open the “Hosts” file
in a regular text editor (wordpad/bbedit/vim etc) and replace 127.0.0.1 for 127.0.0.3 or another non-existant IP address (255.255.255.255 also works well),
alternatively you can simply download this dedicated Hosts file for servers with the ip pre-set at 127.0.0.3
(zip format) or
(non compressed) you will need to rename this file "Hosts".
I Use a Mozilla based browser, but after installing Hosts i keep getting an annoying "connection refused.." error dialog.
This is a "bug" in Mozilla (version 1.1 and below) due to the browser not having a built in error page (or enabled by default in later versions) when a website/adserver cannot be contacted,
therefore an alert dialog is used instead of error page.
If you have Mozilla 1.2a
or above or Firefox 1.5 and below
you can add to your user preferences file (prefs.js)
in your URL bar, scroll down the list till you find
, double click on it and set its value from false
This will stop the annoying dialog popup as later versions have the option to replace the dialog with a built in error pages similar to MSIE's.
though this isn't enabled by default yet (Firefox 1.5 and above has fixed this).
I installed it but now i can't visit site X
Then probably the site in question is in the "black" list and is stopping your visit,
check when you access the site does your taskbar/statusbar say "connecting to 127.0.0.1" or if your title says "Gif Image 1x1 pixels" if so
then it is most likely within this file, in which case you will need to open
this “Hosts” file in a text editor (wordpad/bbedit/vim etc) and search
for the line that contains the address of
the site that you want to visit and simply delete that line or place a # before the
line which deactivates that particular entry,
then reboot (old systems) or re-flush your dns (Windows users use start>run> and type nbtstat -R and restart your browser), and you will then be able to visit the site in question.
This Hosts file is compiled to be extremely comprehensive
and to get the best out of it
some people might find they need to edit it manually to remove certain sites for their own
browsing preferences (using the above instructions).
Web sites will not be intentionally placed in this file if they have had no observed hostile activities or privacy breaches,
and with banner advertising only the
server from which the advert banner originates will be blocked and not
the whole site.
The sorts of activity that determines addition to this file are:
adverts, banners, multiple popup windows /exit pages, webbugs, script/java exploits, privacy breaches, dialer droppers, user tracking and hit counters,
viruses, spyware, malware distribution, circle sites, spammer sites, underhand practices etc.
If a site is visited and they have these kinds of activities active, then they will most likely to be entered into
this Hosts file by myself or other users who contribute to this project.
Hey did you know there are some sites that don't belong in this file ?
As this project is a collaborative effort with many users from around the globe contributing sites
invariably mistakes can and will be made, this is because not all the sites can be verified by myself that they
are indeed breaching your privacy/security or exhibiting offensive behaviour, if you do find sites that don't belong in this database
please e-mail myself
or alternately you can simply upload
a list of sites with the filename "badsites" (or a similar such identifying filename)
with where possible a reason for its removal and i will remove it from the database as soon as possible, as it would be beneficial
to the project and everyone using it that the database is relevant and correct as legitimate sites should not
You can also check the suspected site using Mcafee's SiteAdvisor facility
for inclusion criteria).
I installed it and now my Windows XP/2000 machine hangs every 10 minutes and/or is slow with 100% CPU usage
This seems to be a bug in Win2K/XP as it will not handle large Host files such as this one, it can be worked around by
2 different methods
the first simple method is as follows..
- Locate the hosts file you installed and rename to hosts.txt (this will disable it temporarily)
- Right Click on "My Computer" on the desktop and choose "Manage" (or Start menu > run > and type services.msc)
- Scroll to the "services" section and locate "dns client" r-click on this and choose "properties"
- Stop the service and from the dropdown choose "disable"
- Rename "hosts.txt" back to "hosts" and you should be able to use the Hosts file as normal,
a reboot might be required to get it working fully (or you can type nbtstat -R at a command line prompt).
This method has been known to work on many WinXP/2k* setups without any adverse effects.
* This method is also known to work for some
XP users who experience slow network startup and/or IE or OE is very slow to start, the procedure to disable the dns client is the same as above.
Of course if you still have problems or cannot connect to the Internet after implementing this workaround it is advised you do not use this
Hosts file and restore the "dns client" back to an "automatic" state and restart the dns client.
Alternativly you will need this software
and see this
for implementing an advanced dns
solution (for expert users only).
I installed it and i can still see some banners what's going on ?
Well after checking the obvious (it must be called Hosts with no extension),have you got it installed in the correct location for your Operating system ?,
check to see if the banners image is coming from a different server than the one you are visiting (r-click on banner and choose properties to see the web address of the images location)
This is because some websites serve their banners/adverts from the same site as the content,
in those cases a Hosts file will not
block them as it would stop access to the entire site which isn't the idea,
this Hosts file blocks access only
if they have a seperate advert server to the main one and it is in this Hosts file, otherwise adverts will be seen.
If you use a specific web proxy (specified by your ISP's internet settings) then this Hosts file will not work as using a explicit proxy bypasses the Hosts file functionality.
Please remember to that this file while being very comprehensive cannot include every banner server in the world and has included only the well known advertisers and mainly english speaking websites.
If you wish to have 100% advert free browsing then using something like Junkbuster
proxy or Mozilla's open source AdBlockPlus
(recommended) for Firefox and Mozilla (all platforms) and an appropriate adblock filter file
which will remove 99.9% of adverts and clean up the gaps in the page.
How do i know if the file is working ?
Quite simply, can you see this site
?, if you can still see those sites than the
Hosts file is not working and you should check your settings and installation.
Does this file have a virus or spyware in it ?
No it doesn't, its only a plain text file so it cannot do any harm to your computer,
there are no install programs or executable files just a simple single text file.
Any sites listed within it are checked to make sure non-hostile sites are not included.
Some Anti-Spyware programs might create false positives, they should be set to ignore only this file.
When is this file updated?
Daily/Weekly/Monthly, simply just check back for updates on a regular basis or
simply add your name to the mailing list (and yes your mail is safe with me) and when i update a significant amount
of new servers i will send you a quick email, as i usually just trickle new servers in everyday.
If you want to be removed from the list just enter your subscribed email
address / name and choose unsubscribe from the menu and you will be removed automatically.
Please try to make sure that any spam filters you have do not block wduk10[at]hotmail.com or this sites mail server (same IP as this site)
Linux/Unix users can use this shell script
for wget to automate updates (courtesy of Rocco Stanzione).
I installed it and i now have broken images and boxes where the banners where
This is because as far as your browser is concerned the banners on the page now do not exist,
you can stop this by using a small application called eDexter
which will replace the broken images with a clear (invisible) image or even one of your own choice,
then pages will also load much faster as the browser no longer needs to wait to timeout for the blocked server.
Whats different about this Hosts file to other similar projects ?
This Hosts file project concentrates on verified
that is servers that have been manually checked for validity and that
they are up and running and resolve to a valid IP address (via DNS lookups),
other Hosts file projects tend not to verify their entries and so usually contain massive amounts of
invalid, duplicate and non-existant domains/entries which isn't the idea,
accuracy is more important than quantity here.
If you would like to check your own Hosts file for non-existant entries
and are a Windows user see Eric Phelp's batch script site
for examples, its (slow but accurate (if anyone has any quicker and more accurate ways, let me know
Where can i get more information on using a Hosts file ?
You can get more information on a Hosts file and what it does from Wikipedia's entry
or from a Google search
Can I help at all ?
Hey thanks , well sure if you have a Hosts file already and would like to add it to this
version you can upload it here
do not worry about duplicates too much as these will be removed
on addition, of course if you can seperate your entries from the main ones that would make things a lot simpler
just please try to make sure your file is a plain text file or a .zip/.rar/.gz file and in the format of
And i will add it to the next release when the entries have been checked,
please try to upload only the sites you have added and not a duplicate of this Hosts file as this helps keep the duplicates down.
You can check suspected malicious websites using SiteAdvisor here
On behalf of everyone i thank you for your contribution :)
If you have trouble uploading
the file as an attachment.
Is there any technical support for this file ?
Not directly, you install this entirely at your own risk
If you need help with a “Hosts” file, ask in Usenet
newsgroups or various technical help
message boards around the Internet.
Due to the multitude of possible installation locations, differing machine configurations and operating systems
i cannot really help with your specific install or config questions, if it doesnt work i cannot help you, this file is released as working WFM
but if you have a general question, want to say thanks or even just want to popup a mirror/distribute these files
you can send me a email to wduk10(á)hotmail.com
and i will try to answer your questions
as soon as i have the nearest opportunity.
Is this file licensed for commercial use ?
This file is free and open source and is released under LGPL license conditions
Why did you do this ?
Because i think your security and privacy matters,
even if other more unscrupulous companies and websites don't,
and yes you might design banner ads or work for an
advertising company but that doesn't mean you
have to look at them while you surf :)
Please support your favourite sites by way of subscriptions/donations/buying merchandising if you can.
Enjoy an advertising free Internet !
Andy Short (sh0rtie)