Using The Internet Hosts File

Whenever you click a Web link or type a URL into the address bar, your browser sends the request to a DNS server on the Internet, which then looks up the IP address and sends it back to your browser, a process that can take some time. To eliminate the delay, add the IP addresses and host names of the sites you visit most often to your Hosts file. Your browser looks for addresses in that file first, skipping the slower DNS server if the address is there.

In Windows XP, the file is located in the '\System32\Drivers' folder. Double-click the file to open it in Notepad or your default text editor. Enter the IP addresses and host names of your commonly visited sites (each entry should be on its own line). List the IP addresses in the first column, and the corresponding host names in the next column. Separate the two columns by at least one space, and list each pair on a single line.

To find the IP address of a web site, click 'Start' then 'Run' and type in 'cmd', then press Enter. Type in 'ping', a space, and the host name, then press Enter. When you're done, save the file with the same name to its existing location.