It takes time to send your request to a DNS server, have the server look up the proper IP address to resolve the name, and then send the IP address back to your PC. You can eliminate that delay by creating or editing a local HOSTS file on your own PC that contains hostnames and their corresponding IP addresses. When you create one, XP will first look into the HOSTS file to see if there’s an entry for the hostname, and, if it finds it, it will resolve the address itself. That way, you won’t have to go out to a DNS server and wait for the response before visiting a web site. The HOSTS file is a plain text file you can create or edit with a text editor like Notepad.
You’ll find an existing HOSTS file in C:\System32\Drivers\Etc\HOSTS. The file has no extension; it is named only HOSTS. Open it in Notepad and enter the IP addresses and hostnames of your commonly visited web sites, like this:
126.96.36.199 oreilly.com 216.92131.107 simtel.net
Each entry in the file should be on one line. The IP address should be in the first column, and the corresponding hostname in the next column. At least one space should separate the two columns. You can add comments to the file by preceding the line with a #, in which case the entire line will be ignored by the file, or by putting a # after the hostname, in which case only the comment after will be ignored. You might want to comment on individual entriesâ€”for example:
188.8.131.52 gralla.com #still in beta
When you’re finished editing the file, save it to its existing location.