Nothing is truly free. Everywhere we go, if something is advertised as ‘Free’, there’s a good chance that somebody else is just covering the bill.

The public radio is open to all and everybody can freely listen to it. Songs, news, and talk shows are all streamed right across the country and you can pick and choose your favorite stations without anybody telling you that you can’t listen to one or the other.

Many of us may say that the public radio is free, but it’s really not. The radio host needs to be paid a salary, the equipment needs to be purchased, and a building needs to be rented to get you this ‘free’ radio. It’s those advertisements that we listen to that cover the bill for us.

The same thing goes for the internet.

Like the radio, internet websites are open to the public and viewable by anyone at any time. The advertisements on the page are what pay the bills for the websites and give you free access.

Free access is great for us, but the advertisements on websites can sometimes be a pest and annoyance. Popups, auto-playing videos, and ads before a video stream can really be a downer.

Not only can advertisements be a pest, there is a plethora of malicious advertisements on the internet that can cause harm to your computer and browser. So, why not shield yourself against all advertisements on the internet?

Developed by the MVPs.org website, the site provides a totally free HOSTS file that blocks literally thousands of advertisement websites from connecting to your computer. The HOSTS file maps these advertisement websites to a void IP address known as 0.0.0.0.

The MVPs HOSTS file works based on the Windows operating system and is not a browser extension. This means it works on every browser, every application, and even Windows itself. Nothing on the PC, with this HOSTS file installed, can contact or connect to any website on this list.

The following guide is for Windows 7 and higher and the Windows account must have administrator rights.


Configuring the MVPS HOSTS file


1. To begin, use a web browser and go to MVPS.org .

2. In the center of the page, there is a download link called hosts.zip. Download this file to a convenient location on your computer.



3. Extract the zip file and open its contents.



4. Inside the extracted folder, there is a batch script called mvps.bat. Run this batch scriptas an administrator.



5. You should see the following prompt.



6. Afterwards, restart any open web browsers and advertisements from sites listed on the MVPS host file should disappear from web pages or display a “Check your connection” error message in their place.


Turning off the MVPs HOST file


In some cases, you may want to disable the MVPS HOSTS file. A reason would be to access a URL that is being 'blocked' by the MVPS file. Turning off the MVPS HOSTS file can be done in two different ways.

Option One: A manual disable.

1. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\ file path on your system.

2. Inside this folder will be a object named HOSTS with no attached file extension. Rename the current HOSTS file to a new name, like HOSTS-MVPS.



3. In that same folder path, you should see a file labeled HOSTS.MVP with a 1KB file size. This is your original, unaltered HOSTS file. Rename this HOSTS.mvp file to HOSTS with no attached file extension.

Note: Do NOT include a file extension on the HOSTS file.



4. Restart any open browser windows and the MVPS HOSTS file will be disabled.

Option Two: Using a third party tool.

1. Navigate to the MVPS.org website and download their RenHosts.bat file.
2. Save the file to a location on your desktop and run the batch file as an administrator.
3. The RenHost.bat will automatically disable and enable the MVPS HOSTS file without any interaction.




General Comments


The MVPs hosts file does a fantastic job at blocking nearly every advertisement on the internet. Moreover, the best benefit it can offer you is protection against malicious advertisements. Even if you were to accidentally click on a malicious advertisement, the HOSTS file would block it from connecting to your computer.

Unfortunately, the MVPs HOSTS file is not perfect. It does block 'safe' advertisements like Google Ads, because it is protecting you against Google’s tracking analytics. This can be seen as a positive and negative.

Luckily, the HOST file can be edited and these problems can be resolved. By using a tool, such as HOSTS File Editor or Notepad++ , users can edit their HOSTS file and remove the key that it is blocking. For example, if you wanted to connect to redirector.googlevideo.com, then you could remove this entry from the MVPs HOSTS file and the browser would be able to then connect to it. Or, the HOSTS file could be turned off temporarily and then turned back on after the connection has been made.

This neat and powerful tool for your computer is offered for free by the MVPS.org team. However, donations are accepted and I ask that donations are considered, if you do use this tool on a daily basis.

© 2017 Justin Vendette