Host rules. How can I block a website or exclude it from being blocked?

  • February 27, 2024
  • min read

Host rules. How can I block a website or exclude it from being blocked?

There are times you want to block certain web sites for devices that are either your own or that you are managing.
Emsisoft Web Protection is part of the full Emsisoft program and also has the option to filter for contents and to create more custom rules compared to the Browser Security extension.

How to add a new host rule:
Open Protection Policies in your Workspace, choose the desired Policy Group (We suggest to make generic changes on the Group Level) and scroll to: Custom Host Rules under: Content Filtering

Open it and click on: Add

Then you can specify if you want to use a simple text based matching on the host name/IP, or a more complex Regular Expression based matching pattern. See: What is RegEx?

How to change custom host rules:
Double-click a rule or select a rule and click: Edit to open the edit window. Host rules feature the following actions:

We recommend using the default setting “Block and notify” so that you will know immediately when a connection has been blocked. This may keep you from wondering why a certain website has not loaded.

How to import a third party hosts file
The hosts file is part of Windows and is located in c:\windows\system32\drivers\
It is used for overriding DNS settings by redirecting certain domains to certain IP addresses in a targeted manner. Various hosts file lists are available to download online and this has been a popular method used by people to build their own form of “web protection” with tools that come with Windows.
Malicious domains are then redirected to the local IP or the invalid endpoint, which both neutralize them.

There are some disadvantages to this approach, though. You never know when a connection has been redirected, and a large hosts file can slow down your system’s performance. There are also no automatic updates, so you have to keep your hosts file list up-to-date yourself.

If you wish to use third-party hosts file lists, we recommend you import them directly into the local Emsisoft Anti-Malware program instead, by using the “Import hosts file” option which allows you to import individual entries as well as larger lists in one go.

Open the local Emsisoft program and click on: Web Protection

Then open: Import hosts file

Click on the 3 dots:

And search and select the location and the hosts file you want to import:

Unlike using a custom Windows host file, importing a third-party list into Emsisoft Anti-Malware’s Web Protection, will not slow down your system. Use of third-party lists is purely optional – most entries are already on the built-in list that is frequently updated.

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