The host file is a good way to keep unwanted sites out of sight.
For a  tutorial on the host file, visit Gorilla's place
Steve Martin Keeps a great host file updated regularly.
 
 
Jack also maintains an extensive Host File and can be obtained here
 
Spyblocker also comes with an extensive hostfile.
 
 
IE-SPYAD is a Registry file (IE-ADS.REG) that adds a long list of known advertisers, marketers, and spyware pushers to the Restricted sites zone of Internet Explorer. Once IE-ADS.REG is "merged" into your Registry, most direct marketers and spyware pushers will not be able to resort to their usual "tricks" (e.g., cookies, scripts, popups, et al) in order to monitor and track your behavior while you surf the Net.

Please note that IE-SPYAD will not block banner ads in Internet Explorer. What this Restricted sites list of known advertisers and spyware pushers will do, however, is:

  • reduce the number of obnoxious script-based popups that clutter your
    screen and force unwanted advertising on you;
     
  • block the cookies typically attached to banner ads and which are used to
    monitor and track your travels around the Internet;
     
  • prevent the use of ActiveX, Java, and scripting -- active content
    technologies that can be used to compromise your privacy and security;
     
  • protect you against auto-installing crapware from spyware pushers (e.g.,
    BonziBuddy, Gator, Lop.com, et al) that can invade your system, monitor your
    computer and Internet use, and trash your PC.

This Restricted sites list is based in part on info from:

 
 

AD SHIELD

AdShield is a freeware banner ad blocker that improves browser performance and usability by suppressing the download and display of ad images, pages and popups. Even if you have a fast connection to the Internet you'll benefit from improved browser window and browser cache utilization. Download your free copy today!  (only works with IE ! )

 
 
Just a word of warning :  Some win2k users report problems using very large Hostfiles.
A solution that works for many:  While logged on as Administrator, go to the Control Panel and open Administrative Tools. Next, open up Services and double click on DNS Client and change the setting to Disabled
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect to the Internet if you can't see this image.
                                          
  Connect to the Internet if you can't see this image.
 


Ok now you have your host File, and you understand how it works.  How do you maintain it ?  Nothing can be easier with Ray Marron's HostessConnect to the Internet if you can't see this image.
 
 
 
 
Of course, The Host file can also be used for faster DNS resolve by putting your favourites, for example, in the host file.
Fastnet99 can automate that task for you
 

Overview

FastNet99 is a network utility that will speed up your web browser every time you want to connect to a web site on the Internet, by avoiding time consuming DNS lookups. It provides all the tools you need to help diagnose network problems and get information about users, hosts and networks on the Internet or on your Intranet. It combines DNS Lookup, Ping, TraceRoute, WhoIs, Finger, Time Synchronizer, KeepAlive and more...

Communications on Internet are based on IP addresses. An IP address is the address of a TCP/IP stack, so if your machine runs a TCP/IP stack, it will have an IP address. When you dial up, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assignes you an IP address. An example of IP address is 207.68.137.62, that is a sequence of digits that aren't very easy to remind. Therefore when you make your request to your web browser you use the URL address, for example "www.microsoft.com". Your browser may know the IP address associated with the URL simply making a DNS request.

DNS (Domain Name Server) is a service offered by your ISP; it consists of a huge table of URL names and the corresponding IP addresses, so your browser may know what is the correct IP to use for satisfying your request. However, a DNS server cannot hold all exisisting URL-IP addresses but it is linked to other DNS's throughout the world in a hierarchical manner. In other words your web server may ask for informations to another linked DNS until it reaches a "master" DNS server that should have the complete list of IP addresses (there are only 5 "master" DNS servers in the world). This means that your request could imply many requests to other DNS servers while you are expecting for the right reply.

FastNet99 is based on the same idea; it holds a local table of DNS-IP addresses (the Hosts file located on your Windows directory) and tell your browser to check that table before asking the DNS at your ISP. Therefore there is a local search without generating TCP/IP network traffic at all. DNS lookups occur whenever you use URL for finding an Internet resource - so mail, FTP, gopher, IRC can all benefiit.

You can manage the table of URL-IP address, by adding entries you are interested in. If you add those DNS lookups that take the longest time to satisfy them, you can take a greater advantage of it.

Besides, you can block unwanted sites by adding entries to the hosts file with the Local IP Address (127.0.0.1). Your machine will not be permitted to seek access to these servers via the Internet, because it will direct your browser to the local computer in search of these sites. Since these are not on your local computer the servers will not be contacted. In this way you can block ads and spyware.