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What do I need in order to block and filter certain Web sites?

I need to learn a way to block specific Web sites or domains from access on the Internet so I can filter sites. Is it necessary to use some software or can we do this from Windows or any freeware as well?
You can add the DNS name of the sites you'd like to block to the hosts file within Windows and associate them with the local loopback address, 127.0.0.1. But that solution is clunky and hardly scalable. You'll want to invest in third-party software or get ISA Server from Microsoft.

This was first published in January 2006

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