Hey there, tech-savvy pals! Today, we’re going to unravel the mystery of using your macOS Hosts file to block pesky or potentially dangerous websites. If you’re tired of losing yourself in the depths of the internet when you should be working or just want to add an extra layer of security, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in and make your online life a little more manageable.
What is the Hosts File?
Think of your Hosts file as your computer’s personal address book for websites. It connects domain names (like www.example.com) to their actual locations on the internet and their IP addresses. When you tweak this file, you have the power to reroute website addresses, effectively cutting off access to those sites.
Locating the Hosts File
Now, I won’t lie; finding your Hosts file is a bit like hunting for treasure. But worry not; we’ve got a map to guide you to its hidden lair. Just follow these simple steps:
- Open Finder: First off, locate that friendly smiley face icon in your Dock and give it a click to open Finder.
- Go to Go: At the top of your screen, you’ll see a menu bar. Click on “Go.”
- Access the Folder: Among the options, you’ll find “Go to Folder.” Click on it.
- Type the Path: Now, this is where you enter “/private/etc” into the blank field and hit “Go.”
- Locate Hosts: You’ll see the “hosts” file lurking there. Grab it and drag it onto your desktop for safekeeping.
Editing the Hosts File
Now that you’ve got that Hosts file in the open, let’s get down to the fun part – editing it. Here’s how:
- Open with TextEdit: Right-click on the Hosts file, and from the menu, choose “Open With,” then pick “TextEdit.”
- Edit Hosts File: Add the IP address you want to block and follow it up with the website’s URL. For example, to banish www.distracting-site.com, type “0.0.0.0 www.distracting-site.com” at the end of the file.
- Save Changes: After your editing wizardry, click on “File” and give “Save” a friendly tap.
If you are looking for a more detailed way to quickly edit Mac’s Hosts file, click https://setapp.com/how-to/edit-mac-hosts-file. However, if you are not fully convinced with what is on the Setapp blog, you can continue looking at the ways to block websites using the Hosts File.
Testing the Block
Now that you’ve worked your magic on the Hosts file, it’s time to see if it did the trick.
Empty the DNS cache
Clearing your DNS cache is a good practice to ensure that your changes take effect. As follows:
- Launch the Terminal: Look for “Terminal” in the Applications Utilities folder or with Spotlight.
- Put the Command in: Enter “sudo dscacheutil -flushcache” after typing it. The password to your computer may need to be disclosed.
Run a Block Test
After making the necessary adjustments, launch your reliable web browser and attempt to visit the website you just banned. If all goes as planned, you’ll get an error message or the well-known “Page not found” notification.
Taking Out Blocks
What happens, though, if you decide to go back and view the website that was blocked? Not to worry! Here’s how to release it once more:
Open the Hosts file once more
Return to that reliable Hosts file. To find it and launch it in TextEdit, take identical actions.
Take Out Entry
Track out the point at which you banned the website and remove it. Remember to save your modifications!
Clear DNS Cache Again
Return to Terminal, type in “sudo dscacheutil -flushcache,” and hit Enter for good measure.