HostsMan - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

HostsMan

CNET Editors' review

Hosts files translate human-readable domain names--"yoursite.com"--to machine-readable IP addresses. HostsMan is a free yet powerful and comprehensive tool for managing, merging, updating, disabling, editing, protecting, and duplicating hosts files from a single interface. It packs some useful extras, too.

We chose to install HostsMan and its documentation but not the optional HostsServer, a local HTTP server for browsing with custom hosts files, or the HostsOptimizer, which is designed to prevent delays caused by the DNS Client Service. HostsMan's installer also gave us the option to disable our DNS Client Service and make a backup of our current hosts files on installation; we chose the latter option. HostsMan's tiny interface has just three icons: Disable Hosts, Update Hosts, and Open Hosts. The program also has a system tray icon for quick access to most functions. The File menu includes an Import/Export option, while the Hosts menu accesses updates, duplicates scans, backups, and exclusion lists. We found some interesting extras in the Tools menu, such as the HostsMan Editor, a DNS cache flusher, and a Command Prompt option. HostsMan created a basic hosts file list when we clicked the scan button. The program displayed the number of hosts names in its small primary window. When we clicked the big H icon, HostsMan disabled all hosts, turning the icon from green to red. Clicking the icon again toggled the hosts on and the icon back to green. We clicked the Folder icon and opened the HostsMan editor, which displayed our hosts files in a list view. We were able to edit and modify these files in various ways, including directly editing IP addresses. We could even insert entries and type in comments. The Possible Hijacks button seemed interesting, and we like the ability to open hosts directly in Notepad.

HostsMan does much more than we can explain in limited space, but it proved easy to use at every turn, with plenty of documentation and assistance. It adds a powerful capability to Windows, and while it's not for beginners, those who need it will wonder how they got along without it.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 10

  • 5.0 stars

    "Does it's job"

    February 24, 2012  |   By slix19

    Version: HostsMan 3.2.73

    Pros

    Small, does it's job, easy to use.

    Cons

    None really, but default backup option might be good rather than unchecked by default plus ability to run automatically in Vista/7.

    Summary

    Does it's job well. Might be nice to have a compatible version running in the background in Vista/7 (needs admin rights to run so can't run properly at startup). If you update manually now and then though it's fine.

    Maybe the SHOUTING 'bookerking' ticked one of the ad blocking options - these are reported to block some sites falsely. Also if you have a customised hosts file for some reason (web dev, ad servers, corporate) and you don't choose backup and the 'Merge' option it will cause problems.

    This is down to the knowledge of the user though, not a fault of the software as such - it does it's job and pretty well. May be backup by default would be good rather than an option, an perhaps a warning?

    Certainly not justified calling it 'HORRIBLE'.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Messed Up My PC on WIN7 64bit"

    August 15, 2011  |   By bookerking

    Version: HostsMan 3.2.73

    Pros

    None JUST HORRIBLE

    Cons

    COULD NOT ACCESS THE INTERNET AND HAD TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS TO FIX MY ISSUE...A SIMPLY UNINSTALL DID NOT FIX MY ISSUE.

    Summary

    I HAD TO DO A IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS AND RESET THE HOSTFILE.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Must be used daily I find."

    December 10, 2009  |   By bernard1938h

    Version: HostsMan 3.1.57

    Pros

    The program is easy to use and does get rid of the overloaded Hosts file and back to the original file as set up by Windows

    Cons

    Clicking on the link to stop programs writing to Hosts file does not seem to always work. After about 18 hours after using I find that the Hosts file has become contaminated with a nasty that redirects your browser to unwanted sites.

    Summary

    The biggest problem with this software is that the option to prevent writing to the Hosts file is short lived as some things always penetrate this option and get written to the Hosts file. One particular bit that always gets in is a redirection of FireFox browser that takes you to a malicious site after being directed to "www.redirec.com\index.php"
    This can be temporarily cured by running HostsMan again but the situation returns within 24 hours.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Keep Malware Out"

    November 18, 2009  |   By Burnout_90

    Version: HostsMan 3.1.57

    Pros

    Blocks websites and annoying ads using IP, easy navigation, large database (HPHosts), updates frequently, small download.

    Cons

    If legit website is redirected from a blocked ad website, it will not show up. Have to run as admin in order to enable. (will turn gray indicating hosts are disabled)

    Summary

    HostsMan is probably the best program I've downloaded. It blocks websites using your default IP so when browsing, the reported page will not be able to connect. It has a default large database, using reported websites from HPHosts with currently over 120,000 blocked websites. It updates almost everyday, and adds many websites in just one update. The program does not take much, with less than 10MB when installed. But, IP redirection is a problem. If a legit website is previously redirected by an ad blocked website, it will not load. For example, a legit sponsored ad search result on Google is clicked. Normally, it will first be directed to an ad website, then redirected to the link. In HPHosts, it blocks the first ad website, so you can not proceed to that legit website. It also requires admin rights to run, but is no big problem.

    Updated on Nov 18, 2009

    EDIT: Not HPHosts, I meant Hostsman in the last bit.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great to add to your anti-malware arsenal"

    September 3, 2009  |   By windyplain

    Version: HostsMan 3.1.57

    Pros

    I've used this for years without problems. This fixes some bugs & it works even better than ever.

    Cons

    I'm not sure.

    Summary

    Works like a charm :-)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "An essential overlooked security app"

    May 28, 2007  |   By Saturnreturn04

    Version: HostsMan 2.0.1

    Pros

    i find it strange that download.com don't mention a hosts file in their articles about online security. one of the most essential pieces of online security there is is a hosts file. you place the ip address/http address etc of something you want to block from ever connecting to your computer into it, and it never will. this program is one of a few great ones that lets you create your own hosts file, or download one already made. it's best to download an already made one (i recommend the MVPS one from the choices it gives you), and then import anything into you it you want afterwards (you will however have to re-add these things when you do an update). I've been using the MVPS hosts file with this app for nearly a year now, and it has blocked so many online threats from connecting to my computer i dread to think what may have happened without it. it's also great for blocking adverts, as a lot of addresses of adds are included in the already made hosts files. this is great for speeding up browsing as you dont have to wait for the adds to load up, it also blocks pop up adds.

    a hosts file should always be a part of any article on internet security, though it is very overlooked, and rarely does. this is something that i cant understand, and has to change.

    Cons

    Nothing, it's all good

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent ad/spyware blocker"

    November 28, 2006  |   By Topper

    Version: HostsMan 2.0.1

    Pros

    Adds block rules to your Hosts file for known spyware, malware, and ad sites. Easy to use and lots of features with the included editor. Allows you to update and merge multiple hosts lists at once.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Best HOSTS file monitor/editor"

    January 22, 2006  |   By CableguyTK

    Version: HostsMan 2.0.1

    Pros

    Its free.

    Provides free updates with well-known HOSTS file sources.

    Provides a built in editor to allow for quick editing of the HOSTS file without manually opening it.

    Provides a quick lock on the HOSTS file to prevent any program or virus form changing the HOSTS.

    Provides a tool to do an IP look up on a DNS and vice versa.

    Minimizes to the system tray.

    Very nice XP-looking interface.

    Runs very fast.

    Cons

    Not many.

    I guess automatic updates would be a nice addition.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "really handy, block the crap!"

    November 30, 2005  |   By hereiamreviewing

    Version: HostsMan 2.0.1

    Pros

    Very handy for updating hosts file. You can easily prevent a lot of spyware, malware, spying, ads, etc from bugging you and infecting your computer. Recommended by MVPS hosts website. Check it out at:

    mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

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  • 4.0 stars

    "good"

    November 14, 2005  |   By pixhuel

    Version: HostsMan 2.0.1

    Pros

    es el unico que me ha solucionado los problemas de hijacks en el pc

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