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How to Edit the Hosts File on Android (and Block Web Sites)

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Whether you want to prevent your child from accessing Facebook or are simply sick of the advertisements that litter webpages, a custom hosts file can come in handy.

Note: This requires a rooted Android device.

How to Edit the Hosts File on Android

The easiest way to edit the hosts file on your device is to use the Android Debug Bridge, so go ahead and set it up. Once you’re done, navigate into the folder where ADB is located and type cmd into the location bar, which will open a command prompt in the current folder.

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Once the command prompt opens run the following command to see what devices are attached to your PC.

adb devices

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Next you need to download the host file from your device so you can edit it.

adb pull /system/etc/hosts F:\hosts

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Then navigate to where you saved the file and open it with notepad.

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Now comes the fun part: adding the host entries. Really, you can do anything you want for example, you can use your host file to block ads from appearing on websites instead of using an app like AdBlocker, or in our case we can just block a website like FaceBook by redirecting it to localhost – you will have to search around to get the exact domains to block. When you’re done adding the entries don’t forget to save the file.

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Finally you will need ADB to push the file back to your device.

adb push F:\hosts /system/etc/

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That’s all there is to it. Now I can’t browse to Facebook from my device.

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Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 03/19/13

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