Ivy's Power Tips


This page will tell you how to use the "HOSTS" file to speed up the web sites you view and a trick to block web sites you don't want to view.

Before you can view a web site your browser has to translate the web site name into the site IP number. It does this by looking up the site name on a central computer which has a list of all the IP numbers. Then it uses this number to contact the web site and request the page. This lookup takes time.

You can save this time by keeping an index of IP numbers on your own computer. Your browser checks a file called HOSTS to see if it has a listing for the site you wish to visit. If it's there it doesn't need to contact the domain name server. By adding the site you visit most often to this file they will load faster. A very simple HOSTS file looks like this:
The column of numbers on the left are IP numbers. The names on the right are Internet domains. One IP and domain name per line with at least one space between them. If this was your HOSTS file, your computer would not have to search for the IP number when you wanted to visit a page at and the pages would load faster. The same applies to

You will notice the first five sites all have the same IP number. That number is the IP for localhost or your own computer. The other four sites are sites that serve up ads.

But those are not the IP numbers of the ad site. When an ad is called from one of those sites your browser is tricked into looking for it on your computer instead of the ad site computer. Unless you happening to be running an ad server, you will get no ad. Of course if you love pop-up ads and sites that track your web surfing patterns don't use this trick.
Before I tell you where to find the HOSTS file, I'll explain how to find the IP numbers of Internet sites you want to add to your HOSTS file. You will need to open a MS-DOS window. If you don't have a shortcut on your desktop, go to Start/Programs/MS-DOS Prompt. Start MS-DOS. A window will open with some text and a command line that looks something like this:
MS-DOS Shortcut
MS-DOS Window
I'll show you two commands to use to find out the IP number of a web site. The first is called 'Ping' and the second is called 'Trace Route'. Before using these commands, you should know that some webmaster consider it impolite to 'Ping' them. It's kind of like staring, so don't ping the same site too often.

To use Ping, at the MS-DOS Prompt type 'ping', then a space, the domain name for which you want the IP number. The domain name does not have the "http://" part and nothing follows the ".com". You can not ping individual web pages, just the main site. After you type the command (shown in green) you press 'Enter'. If done correctly you will get a box like this:
Look at the line that starts with "Pinging". The number on that line and in brackets is the IP number for You can now ping additional sites to find out their IP numbers. Now you cam either learn how to enter this information into the HOSTS file or learn how to perform a Trace Route.

I want to know more about Ping.


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