Hosts file resides in all operating systems and is used to map the domain names to IP addresses. This file is used before an application tried to use a DNS server to lookup the respective IP address for a domain name. Even though an application can also bypass looking up the hosts file and directly resolve a domain name through a DNS server, most of the programs respect hosts file. It is of great importance as it can also be used to block access to domain names using hosts file if desired.
If you want to manage the hosts file easily, then you can use an open-source tool called Hosty. Being an Electron based app, it is very bulky for what it does. This program is somewhat confusing to use because it does not display already existing entries from the hosts file. It displays only the entries added by itself.
Adding new entries to the hosts file using Hosty is pretty easy. You have to first create a new group and then you can add new entries to this group. Using the group based model makes it easy for you to manage hosts entries for a particular purpose. For example, you can create a group named “Yahoo” in order to block all the domains related to Yahoo services, or you can create a group named “Malware” to block all the known malicious domains.
There are provisions to export and import the hosts entries. The entries are exported in the form of “.hosty” files. This also means that the exported entries can only be used through the Hosty program itself. The exported “.hosty” file contains only the group based entries added through Hosty. So if you want to export all the hosts entries to making a backup, you will have to do it manually.
Conclusion: Hosty is an open-source cross-platform app to manage the hosts file. It is great at allowing you to add group based entries to the hosts file, but does not allow editing previously added entries.
You can download Hosty from https://github.com/fiahfy/hosty/releases.