Things to do to Improve your Internet Surfing Experience

This info is intended primarily for Windows computers - not for MAC, UNIX, Linux, etc. But some of these tricks (like editing the hosts file) will work across platforms.

  Switch to Firefox  
Firefox extensions I have installed

Block known Ad Servers

Tighten your Browser's Security

Opt out of Yahoo Beacons

If you insist on using Internet Explorer...

  1. If you are using anything other than Firefox (with the possible exceptions of Chrome, Opera and Safari) to surf the web, you are missing out on the premium web experience. Firefox is the latest browser from the Mozilla Organization. Firefox gives you a vastly superior surfing experience than Internet Explorer.

    Firefox is ready to use "out of the box" but it also is very extendable - see Tools > Add-ons > Get Add-ons > Search to download various applets. Click here to see the Firefox extensions I have installed.

    You should also switch to Thunderbird as your email client if you are using Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express [both of which are very insecure] or if you are using Netscape or Mozilla [Thunderbird will be familiar, but much better].

  2. You can kill some of the most annoying and bandwidth hogging ads by adding the following entries to your hosts file:

    The hosts file can usually be found on Win/NT/2000/XP at

    The hosts file can usually be found on Win/Vista at

    The hosts file can usually be found on Win/95/98/ME at

    Use NotePad to edit the hosts file - you can just cut and paste the above.

    The address is a bogus address within your own computer, so attempts to download anything from the above known advertising sites will result in only a text message of "Network error Unable to request URL from host Connection refused" rather than wasting a lot of time downloading an ad you don't care about with possible Active-X or Java weirdness. For an even more complete hosts file, click here.

    You can even run a tiny webserver at to serve the redirected requests and return a blank page or image. lhwsrv is such a web server, designed exactly for this purpose. It can be download here. Add it to your Start > Programs > Startup folder to remove the error messages normally generated by your browser when it seeks something from You can even convert it to a Windows Service by following the instructions here. More help is available by running lhwsrv -?

  3. Nothing ruins a surfing experience like wiping out - tighten the security of your browser. Also you can set your Browser's Preferences to enhance your experience; click here to see how I set key Firefox options, click here to see how I set key Mozilla options, click here to see how I set Internet Explorer's Advanced Options.

  4. If you are still using Internet Explorer, stop doing that except when absolutely necessary! It's insecure and userhostile.

    If you are using Firefox (or Mozilla), use the Options (or Preferences) dialog to disable popups. For more info for Firefox, click here; for Mozilla, click here.

Opt out of Yahoo Beacons
Implement Send Page in FireFox
For an even more complete hosts file, click here 2015/07/13
Tiny web server that listens at & returns blanks for all requests
hosts file from "how to make the internet not suck (as much)"
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Leigh Brasington / EmailAddr / Revised 15 July 15