Welcome, tech aficionados! There’s no doubt that Mac computers are as sleek and reliable as they are complex and intricate. For instance, navigating the landscapes of Mac personalization is a task in itself. Some of the customization features are located easily, but others are concealed within the system files.
In this guide, we are excited to talk about one such clandestine power that remains hidden from sight. If you haven’t guessed it already, we are talking about the enigmatic territory of the Hosts file. Most users are unaware of this hidden gem and, hence, lose out on leveraging its potential benefits.
The Host file Mac prowess lies in shaping browsing experiences and network functionalities. If you tinker with this operating system file, it will unveil a concealed realm where you can harness, tailor and reshape your Internet browsing experiences. From blocking malicious websites and pesky ads to redirecting network traffic and boosting browsing speeds, playing around with this file means unlocking myriad opportunities.
So, without further ado, let’s discover the beneficial reasons to consider manipulating or modifying the Hosts file on your Mac computer.
Beneficial and Legitimate Reasons to Consider Editing Mac Hosts file
- Blocking trackers and ads
By tinkering with the Hosts files, you can redirect specific domain names to a local IP address. This helps in blocking access to those websites.
So, whether you want to improve the browsing speed and privacy or block unwanted tracks, ads or malicious websites, you can modify the Hosts file.
- To enhance the development and testing of websites
Web designers and developers can utilize the Hosts file to map domain names to their local development services. This allows them to thoroughly check and test websites before they are deployed online.
This method is considered much more convenient and reliable than external servers.
- To access blocked websites
It is generally recommended not to access websites that are blocked in your region due to legality concerns and security risks. However, if you need to access such websites, you can tinker with the Hosts file to bypass the regional restrictions.
- To boost the DNS resolution speed
Unreliable and slow local DNS servers are a reality, and they can put a damper on your workflow. It is possible to modify the Hosts file so that it directly points particular domains to their IP address. This can help bypass the DNS server so that the website’s loading speed is enhanced.
- To manage local network access
If you want to redirect internal network resources like file servers or printers to particular IP addresses, you can use the Hosts file. This helps in streamlining and simplifying the process so that there are no complex configurations.
Please note that modifying the Hosts file on Mac comes with lots of benefits, but when you are tinkering with this operating system file, you must exercise caution. If the editing is not done correctly, it can lead to unintended consequences and risks, such as preventing certain features from working or blocking legitimate websites. Therefore, remember to back up the original files before proceeding with the edits.
Steps to Edit the Hosts File on Mac
To ensure you are not editing the Hosts file incorrectly, here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can edit via Terminal. Please note that you will need a password and other administrator privileges to proceed with this.
Open the Terminal application on your Mac and then access the Nano text editor to edit the Hosts file. In the Terminal window, enter sudo nano /etc/hosts and press Return. Enter the administrator password if prompted. Then, you will be in the Nano text editor.
Although this editor may appear intimidating to newbie coders, you will quickly get the hang of it. Using the arrows on the keyboard, position the cursor right beneath the text that will be appearing on your screen in the editor. Here, you will enter the alternative IP address > press the Tab key > and enter the domain name.
If you do not have any alternative website in mind or want to block access to a website completely, all you have to do is enter an invalid IP address. With this, the traffic will always be redirected to your system.
Once you are satisfied with the edits, save the changes and exit the Nano text editor by pressing Control + X. You will return to the Terminal window.
While you are making changes to the Hosts file, ensure the edits do not interfere or get confused with the information coming from the DNS and the Hosts file. To ensure this, enter sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder > press Return. This must be done before exiting.
You can also edit the Hosts file via TextEdit if you are not familiar with Terminal.
The Bottom Line
So, the reason why you may want to edit the Hosts file may differ, but you must agree that it comes in handy in certain situations.