If you hate ads, you’ve probably already tried an ad blocking solution like AdBlock Plus (ABP). If you’re reading this, you probably also discovered the huge negative impact of in-browser ad blocking on browser performance. And so now you’re trying HostsMan instead.* Unlike ABP, however, HostsMan doesn’t make it obvious which hosts file sources you subscribe to. Enabling all of them sounds like a good idea, but doing so hoses some functionality such as social sharing bookmarklets.
I’m still testing HostsMan in lieu of ABP on my Windows 7 64-bit and Windows 8.1 August Update 64-bit PCs, but so far the following hosts subscriptions have blocked ads without compromising useful features:
- MVPS Hosts
- Peter Lowe’s AdServers List
- Malware Domain List
You can also add AdAway‘s** list by doing the following:
- In HostMan’s Manage Update Sources dialog, click Add Source…
- Enter an appropriate name in the Name (ex: Example’s hosts file): field.
- In the File name or URL: field, enter https://adaway.org/hosts.txt.
- Click Test Connection to ensure you entered the right details.
- Click OK.
- Force an update from HostsMan’s main window.
You don’t have to reboot for changes to take effect, though your internet connection might hiccup while the OS becomes aware of the new hosts file.
More specific reasons I disregard the remaining hosts sources:
- hpHosts (all): far too aggressive and insufficiently specific.
- Cameleon: not updated often enough. As of this writing, the most recent update was in April 2014.
Sadly, Cameleon’s state betrays one major downside of ad blocking using hosts files: they aren’t updated nearly as frequently as ABP lists. EasyList, for example, is updated daily. Of the sources I recommend, the most recently updated is the Malware Domain List at October 31, 2014. Peter Lowe’s list was updated on October 10, while MVPS and AdAway were updated on September 30. Yikes.
**AdAway does for Android what HostsMan does for Windows. However, it needs root permissions and you definitely need to reboot between hosts file updates as there’s no other way to make the OS aware of the changes.