Marshall Adult Education




Tech Tip:  Blocking an Internet Site on Your Computer 

Here’s a Tech Tip that some parent’s might be interested in.  If you have young children, there may be sites that you do not want your child to have access to.  One of these sites you have no doubt heard about –  Well, if you don’t know what myspace is, check out this link:


If you are concerned about this site with youngsters in your house, there are some simple ways to block it on your computer.  Here is one way.


When you type in the domain name,, your computer has to ask your internet service provider (ISP) for the IP address.  An IP address is a series of 4 numbers separated by dots (Example:  Your ISP has a Domain Name Server (DNS) which looks up IP addresses for domain names.  When it gets the IP address for the domain name you typed in the Address Bar, it can contact the site and it will appear on your computer. 


Here’s an example: You type in  Your computer contacts the DNS server at your ISP and they find out that the IP address is  It contacts that site with that IP address and CNN appears on your screen.  Pretty cool!


OK, so what if you could give a false IP address for – or any other website, for that matter..  Then your computer would not be able to connect to the site.  Well, you can.


Well, there is a file on your computer called the “Hosts” file.  It acts just like a DNS server.  When you want to go to a website, you type in the name of the site (the Domain Name) and when you press Enter, your computer looks in the Hosts file first to see if the IP address is there.  Well, of course, it will not be there – unless you have put it there.


Well, you can put it there.  You can open the Hosts file and add any domain names and IP addresses you want.


Here’s how:

  1. First, you need to find a file on your computer called “Hosts.” 
    If you are using Windows XP, it is located in the C Drive, in the Windows folder, in the System 32 folder, in the Drivers folder, and in the etc folder
    (Did you get that?  Here’s exactly what you do:  Double-click on the C Drive, double-click on the Windows Folder, double-click on the System 32 Folder, double-click on the Drivers Folder and double-click on the etc FolderWhew – that’s a lot of double- clicking.)

    If you are using Windows 2000, follow this path:

    If you are using Windows 95, 08, or ME, follow this path:
  2. Did you find the Hosts file?  Now double-click on the Hosts file.  You will get an “Open With” window asking you to “choose the program you want to use to open this file.”  Scroll down to Notepad and double-click on that. 
  3. OK – as you see, the Host file is open.
  4. There is some data in this file already – mostly information stuff.  Read it if you want.  Any line that is preceded with a # symbol is information.  The information here is just telling what the Hosts file is all about and how to use it.
  5. Now we are going to add our own domain names (web sites) to this file – like (that’s a domain name). 
  6. Go to the bottom of the file and on a new line, type the following 2 lines exactly as you see them here (press return after the first line:  <RETURN> <RETURN>
  7. Press CTRL-S to save the file. 

You did it – you added My Space with a phony IP address to the Hosts file.  Now open up Internet Explorer and type in the address bar and press Return.  You will go to a page that says, “This page cannot be displayed.”  Note:  If you use Google, you may get a page created by Google with a link to My Space.  Click on the link – then you will get the “This page cannot be displayed” page.  Google is always so good about wanting to help you out.


So, now you can add any web sites (Domain Names) you want to block to your Hosts file.  Use the same phony IP address, 


One last thing - Parents need to take control of internet usage in the home.  Here are some links with suggestions on how to supervise the use of the internet at home.




Lyon County Government Center  •  607 W. Main St.  •  Marshall, MN 56258  •  (507) 537-7046

E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education