• How to Use Your Computer’s Hosts File to Block Tons of Malware, Porn, and Other Types of Websites

    How to Use Your Computer’s Hosts File to Block Tons of Malware, Porn, and Other Types of Websites

    Whether you’ve given a computer to your child or just want to keep things clean on your own machine, blocking sites that serve malware, porn, social networking, and gambling en masse is useful. And while there’s lots of third party software out there for the job, the hosts file is a built-in option for every major operating system.

    The hosts file is a simple text document checked by your computer every time you connect to a domain name, meaning you can use it to redirect requests to sites you’d rather your computer not be able to access. We’ve shown you how to edit your hosts file on Windows, macOS, or Linux; here’s how to use that power to block entire categories of websites on any machine using a beautifully curated list found on Github.

     

    How to Block a Single Website

    Let’s say you want to block an individual site, like Facebook. Doing this is relatively straightforward. First, open your hosts file, then add this single line to the end of the document:

    0.0.0.0 www.facebook.com

    Save the document, and you will no longer be able to access Facebook in any browser. (If you can, try clearing your DNS cache or restarting your computer.)

    So why does this work? The text we added, 0.0.0.0 www.facebook.com, is two things: an IP address followed by a URL. By adding these two things in order, we’re telling the computer to route all requests for facebook.com to the IP address 0.0.0.0, which is not a routable address. The result: the site fails to load.

    That’s the basic principle. Now let’s soup this approach up and block everything.

    Everything.

    Block Malware, Porn, and Gambling Sites En Masse

    If you want to block entire categories of websites—malware, say, or porn—you’ve first got to track down every single URL associated with those activities. Happily, the unified hosts file repo on Github has done this work for you. A curated list combining the efforts of many other communities, this page offers hosts files for blocking several combinations of categories.

    All of the files block adware and malware, but many block other things such as porn, gambling, fake news, and even social networks. Find the combination of things you’d like to block, then click the link to the raw hosts file.

    Select all the text, copy it, then paste it in your hosts file. Your computer will now block all of these things.

    That’s right: no more porn. No gambling either. Guess you’ll just have to do some work.

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  • Why Is the Dialogue So Quiet on My HDTV?

    Why Is the Dialogue So Quiet on My HDTV

    We’ve all been there: the characters on screen are talking and it’s way too quiet so you crank up the volume only to be blasted by a loud explosion two seconds later. Why is the dialogue so quiet and what can you do to fix it? Read on as we show you how to tame wild swings in TV audio output.

    Why Is There Such Variation In Volume?

    It’s a situation nearly everyone can relate to. You’re sitting there watching TV and suddenly the characters are talking in hushed tones about something important. You can’t hear what they’re saying very clearly so you turn the volume up until you can. Everything is perfect and you can hear their conversation clearly and then BOOM—a car crash, explosion, or sudden shift in action blows your eardrums out as the volume level skyrockets relative to the quiet conversation to which you were just listening.

    Why does it seem like so many TV shows and movies—especially action films—swing so wildly in volume levels? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you can narrow down a common source of variable volume in different content to a single issue. Many can combine to create an annoying TV viewing experience. Let’s first take a look at of the issues that can cause this volume variability before we jump into what you can do about it.

     

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  • How to Run Android on Your Computer

    How to Run Android on Your Computer

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    Android isn’t largely thought of as a desktop operating system, but if you’re curious about how Google’s mobile OS works, running it on a device you already have isn’t a bad idea. This will give you an idea of what to expect on a phone or tablet, all without making a single change to your laptop or desktop since you can easily do this from a flash drive or memory card.

    Step One: Prep Your Drive (or Card) and Install Android

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  • 18 Useful Tricks To Speed Up WordPress & Boost Performance

    18 Useful Tricks To Speed Up WordPress & Boost Performance

    Last updated on August 18th, 2016 by Editorial Staff
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    18 Useful Tricks To Speed Up WordPress & Boost Performance
    Do you want to speed up your WordPress site? Fast loading pages enhance user experience, increase your pageviews, and help your SEO as well. In this article, we will show you some of the most useful tricks to speed up WordPress and boost performance.

    Speeding up WordPress to boost performance

    1. Choose a Good Web Host

    Choosing a web host will be the most important decision for the success of your site. If you are not on a good web hosting service, then everything else you do to speed up your site will simply fail.

    If you are just starting out, then we recommend Siteground. They are an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, and are known to provide top-notch service.

    If you can afford to spend a little more, then go with WPEngine. They are a managed WordPress hosting provider which means they will take care of all things WordPress for you.

    For more recommendations, check out our guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting.

    2. Use a Caching Plugin

    WordPress is written in PHP, which is a server side programming language. This means every time someone visits your website, WordPress runs a process to fetch the information and then display it on the fly to your user.

    WordPress page cache explained

    This process can slow down your site when you have multiple people visiting your site.

    The solution is to use a caching plugin.

    Instead of generating every page on the fly, your caching plugin will serve a cached version of the page to user’s browser.

    We use W3 Total Cache on WPBeginner, but this plugin hasn’t been updated in a long time, and we will be switching soon.

    We recommend that you use the WP Super Cache plugin. See our guide on how to install and setup WP Super Cache on your WordPress site.

    3. Use CDN

    Many files on your website are static such as images, CSS, and JavaScript. These files normally don’t change. However when a web browser is downloading your page, these files can stop it from displaying the page to your users.

    CDN or content delivery networks solve this problem by serving your static files from their servers across the world. This frees up resources on your server, makes your website fast, and improves user experience.

    Continue reading  Post ID 2242