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Is there a way to create a wildcard domain in the Windows hosts file.

I tried this *

This does not work, is there maybe some other syntax I should use?

I am working on Windows 7

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You might want to edit your title, "wildcard" instead of "wildcart" – Millhouse Apr 28 '10 at 15:11
@Millhouse: Was bugging me too. ;) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 28 '10 at 15:17
i just answered a question on doing this with DNSmasq on ServerFault (not on windows, obviously, but on a router running DD-WRT/OpenWRT it's doable) – quack quixote Apr 28 '10 at 15:19
Thank you guys I will check this out. – Saif Bechan Apr 28 '10 at 15:44
XP SP2 included a castration of the host file - Assumed reason is people were using it to block ads while browsing. This is a guess as far as I know Microsoft has never revealed why they did this and why they are rolling it forward to everything since. If you are able to put in a proxy server between your PC and the internet, then you could put in a block for what you wanted. – bvaughn Jun 8 at 15:22
up vote 29 down vote accepted

There is not. The hosts file isn't very clever, you have to list every subdomain individually (including www and no-www)

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An answer to a very similar StackOverflow question worked well for me.

Wildcard Support on XP at hostsfile. Enjoy.

Basically, this program Acrylic works as a DNS proxy for your local machine. Just point your Local Area Connection to, then edit the AcrylicHosts.txt in a very similar manner to the regular hosts file -- only with wildcards!

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Acrylic works great, but can confuse you if you are trying to access a machine with a dynamic IP address. I have machines connected to my home network, and I use a dynamic dns to set the ip for the domain name. I use Acrylic on my laptop and I was gone for a few days, in the mean time my ip changed, but Acrylic remembered it as being the old ip, and I couldn't access the site. But running the "Purge Acrylic Cache Data" program took care of the problem. – leeand00 Apr 13 '12 at 17:00

It's another syntax:

Some examples to explain it:

  • .com this line will block all outgoing dnsrequests ending with .com
  • will block all outgoing dnsrequests ending with
  • will lead all outgoing dnsrequests ending with to

You block/lead all second (third,fourth...) level urls with the top(second,third...) level url in the hosts file.

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Given the last sentence, I assume is not blocked by the first line, but only when adding – Arjan Jul 21 '10 at 20:52
moonfern, I do not agree with your list. WILL NOT block all outgoing DNS requests ending with, all it will block is, not or or the like. – user43866 Jul 25 '10 at 5:32
That is definitely not the case on Windows, moonfern. – Owen Blacker May 27 '12 at 20:41

Dnsmasq is what you need but it doesn't work quite well on Windows. So I wrote an alternative on Windows called DNSAgent.

You can use regular expression in rules. There is also some advanced features like customizing cache TTL, non-standard-port DNS server, compression pointer mutation, etc. Open sourced under MIT license.

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first, i agree with phoshi that its not possible to do what you want in the hosts-file of windows (neither on unix).

secondly, you have to get control over the result of a request to dns. one option is to use your own dns-resolving on your router (dnsmasq, dnscache+tinydns, bind, whatever, see quack's comment) and tweak it or to use a dns-resolver on windows which you can control as you want.

see here for a list of dns-resolvers, check for the "wildcard" column, maybe powerdns or maradns or posadis is something that fits your needs.

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pDNS is a free portable windows hosts file replacement with wildcard and questionmark support. It acts as personal dns server (very similar to DNSmasq).

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You might want to disclose your association with the software in the answer as per the faq. It looks like a pretty cool piece of software (which i will try on a VM later) but we do have rules on promoting your own stuff. I also note its on mediafire and its an alpha version - what would be the licence of the final version, and do you intend to update the answer with newer versions? – Journeyman Geek Jul 5 '12 at 13:26

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