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How to Stop Tracking Systemwide

The technology known as the “PiHole” has become quite ubiquitous over recent years. The PiHole allows you to create a DNS server that stops tracking entirely, across your entire network. However, what happens when you need to leave home. What happens when you go to work or go to a local coffee shop? Now, you’re once again vulnerable to cross-site tracking, maybe not in your browser that has an extension like DuckDuckGo, but with the many apps that may be installed on your system. That’s when you need to stop cross-site tracking systemwide. Luckily, thanks to the way PiHole is set up, that process is extremely easy to do.

PiHole is a great way to stop tracking systemwide
Awesome Screen Used for a PiHole

Thank you for Steven Black and his community for creating and uploading this list, available at https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts

Step 1: Download Hosts File

First of all, you need to download the hosts file. Click the button below to get an up-to-date hosts file created by PiHole themselves!

How to Stop Cross-Site Tracking Systemwide on Mac or Linux/Unix

Now that you’ve downloaded the file, assuming the “hosts.txt” file you just downloaded is in your “Downloads” folder, open “Terminal” and type the following command. Type your password when prompted:

sudo install -m 644 ~/Downloads/hosts.txt /etc/hosts

Once the file is installed, you should notice the difference immediately. You may need to reboot to clear the cache, but after that you should be good to go. All your apps and websites will now be prevented from using third-party trackers.

Note: This file gets updated regularly. Make sure you visit this article more often as new trackers are discovered. If you do not remember the link to this article, it can be found at https://infotoast.org/aka/hosts.

See also  How to Block Ads with Unbound DNS Server

How to Stop Cross-Site Tracking Systemwide on Windows

Windows is not much different, but the location of the file is a little bit different.

NOTE: We’ve received some concerns pertaining to this. Windows appears to not be able to access sites after performing this tutorial. However, if you encounter this issue, please step away from the computer for five to ten minutes. The issue appears to resolve itself and it works fine afterwards. If you continues to encounter trouble, please join the Info Toast Matrix

Go to Start, type “cmd”, right-click on Command Prompt, and click “Run As Administrator”

Run Command Prompt as Administrator

Now, type the following command and press enter:

copy C:\Users\<yourname>\Downloads\hosts.txt C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts


All you should need to do after this is reboot your computer. This should clear the DNS cache and you will be free from advertisements or trackers for your entire system, regardless of where you go (unlike PiHole which only works for local networks)

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  1. In the host.txt file it blocks domains critical for certain apps to function. Steam and Discord stopped working and I had to enter recovery mode to use the command prompt to fix it because windows wouldn’t let me overwrite the file since it was in use.

    1. I’ve seen this issue before on Windows. It appears all that needs to happen is to step away from the computer for five minutes and the problem will resolve itself.

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