Windows® XP HOSTS File
Microsoft® Windows® XP uses a computer file named hosts file. The file is used to map hosts name to IP addresses. This file is used to resolve IP addresses. The hosts file acts like an address book in which it is possible to associate a domain name to a specific IP address. This address can be used for multiple processes including blocking unwanted hosts, speeding up navigation across websites and creating shortcuts etc. To allocate domains to specific IP address, your computer has to first determine if the address is not its own local IP address. If not, then the computer attempts to perform the resolution process using the hosts file. Then the computer looks at the DNS server of the ISP; finally, your system looks at all DNS servers which are currently online.
- Internet resource blocking
- Increase browsing speed
- Test the network
Internet resource blocking
Microsoft® Windows® XP hosts file give your system security against malicious resources. If you add certain entries to these files like local address 127.0.0.1, the file will block online advertising, or the domain of known malicious resources and servers which might contain different threats. You can do this by adding entries for those sites to redirect requests to another address that is a dead-end or harmless destination. You might be able to filter resources that work for local machines only. You can solve this problem by adding transparent HTTP or DNS proxy servers.
Increase browsing speed
If you are using hosts file, you can see your browsing speed increasing gradually. This is because you are adding IP address to the hosts file. In other situations, you might need to ask DNS sever for the IP address. Then you have to wait for a long time for the response of the DNS which sometimes becomes much time-consuming. With the hosts file you can quickly access a local file.
As you are managing a large Internet Data Center, you might need to use test machines or use development servers for your customer applications. When you are connecting to the development server, you can use the hosts file to test these machines. If you change the domain name in the DNS Server to point to the development server everyone on the Internet might be able to connect to the server. If you are having hosts file, then the changes in the domain name becomes local to testing machines and not to the entire Internet. Thus, unauthorized access is blocked.