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The Windows HOSTS file is a way for you to redirect a domain on your local machine to any IP address that you specify. There are a lot of reasons for doing this, such as a web developer testing a website locally or even making certain sites inaccessible by pointing them back to your machine (a common method used for ad blocking). The HOSTS file is not something most people work with each day, but if you are one of the few that are regularly making updates to it this is one tool you’ll love.

HostsMan Editor provides a GUI to managing what could ordinarily be an overwhelming file. Some people may have hundreds or thousands of entries in their HOSTS file, and that makes changing it quite a pain without a manager like this. On more than one occasion I’ve found myself creating duplicate entries, which can then cause confusion when trying to figure out why a change I’ve made isn’t necessarily taking affect (when duplicate entries exist it’s normally the last entry that is the accepted one).

With the help of this free and portable HOSTS file manager you can make things a little easier on yourself. You can backup/restore HOSTS files, make changes, validate entries, bulk update IP address references, enable/disable the HOSTS file, and more. You can even go a step further and subscribe to HOSTS files that others have created (such as ones for ad blocking), and have them automatically merged with your own HOSTS file. It’s a great app to keep in your back pocket for those times you have to update the HOSTS file.

HostsMan Editor Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)