What is SysMate – Host File Walker?
SysMate – Host File Walker helps you edit, backup, restore and delete the Windows Hosts file.
How editing a hosts file can be useful?
The Hosts file is an IP (Internet Protocol) address mapper. Each IP address in the hosts file in assigned to a host name or Domain Name Server/Service (DNS). This DNS-to-IP process is analogic to the contacts and phone numbers stored in your mobile phone’s phonebook. Each time you want to call someone you don’t have to remember his/her mobile number, you just choose and select the name and the phone dials the number associated with it. Similarly the DNS does the same thing, each time you try to access a website let’s say jcplaboratory.org you don’t have to remember the four block IP4 address. Instead you just type the address (jcplaboratory.org) in your browser and the DNS resolves the IP address for you.
Now imagine you can derive a DNS name to another IP address. That’s exactly what the hosts file empowers you to do and to help you in that we have created SysMate – Host File Walker.
Where can it be used?
- Diversion. There are various usage for such a tool but the most common is to divert someone who wants to load a particular website to another or to a fake website. For example if the hosts file of a computer has mapped the DNS name “jcplaboratory.org” with the IP address of Google, each time someone tries to load jcplaboratory.org in a web browser he would end up being on Google.
- Give names to your network devices. You certainly know what a network router is, what’s its job and you’ve probably been accessing it from time to time to adjust settings to maintain your network either at home or at work. Routers normally have a physical, static IP address usually like this 192.168.1.1. With the hosts file you can map your Router’s IP address with a url. For instance you can use www.myrouter.com mapped with the IP address of your Router. So each time you need to access your router just type the url into a browser instead of an IP.
- Access Restriction. You can use SHFW to prevent someone from accessing a website. Simply map the undesired website DNS name with a local host / loopback address. (Usually 127.0.0.1)
How does SHFW work?
You don’t need to care about the hosts file. SysMate – Host File Walker has been designed to cater for the hosts’s file structure, entry insertion and DNS to IP conversion. So you don’t need to know the IP of either the DNS you are diverting from or the one you are porting to. SHFW automatically resolves the IP, detects for conflict within the hosts file and warns you to make changes.