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How to Edit The Local "hosts" File on Your Computer  Print this Article

Edit your computers' hosts file

Your hosts file allows your computer to directly translate a domain name to the IP address specified in the file.

Editing your hosts file enables your computer to override a particular DNS record for a domain. This can be useful when you want to test your website, prior to making permanent DNS changes.

To edit your hosts file, add a new line containing two entries to the end of the file. A line should contain a hostname (or domain name), and the IP address that you want the site to resolve to and the address.

For example, to point www.domain.com and domain.com to a specific IP address a hosts file might contain the following entries:

67.43.4.226 nolaninteractive.com
67.43.4.226 www.nolaninteractive.com

The same entries could also be written in a single line:

67.43.4.226 nolaninteractive.com www.nolaninteractive.com

Instructions for locating and editing the hosts file on the following operating systems are outlined in this article:

After you add the domain information and save the file, your system begins resolving to the specified IP address. After testing is finished, remove these entries.

Windows

Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista use User Account Control (UAC), so Notepad must be run as Administrator.

For Windows 10 and 8

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type Notepad in the search field.
  3. In the search results, right-click Notepad and select Run as administrator.
  4. From Notepad, open the following file: c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts
  5. Make the necessary changes to the file.
  6. Click File > Save to save your changes.

For Windows 7 and Vista

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories.
  2. Right-click Notepad and select Run as administrator.
  3. Click Continue on the Windows needs your permission UAC window.
  4. When Notepad opens, click File > Open.
  5. In the File name field, type C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts.
  6. Click Open.
  7. Make the necessary changes to the file.
  8. Click File > Save to save your changes.

Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad.
  2. Click File > Open.
  3. In the File name field, type C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts.
  4. Click Open.
  5. Make the necessary changes to the file.
  6. Click File > Save to save your changes.

Linux

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Open the hosts file in a text editor (you can use any text editor) by typing the following line:

    sudo nano /etc/hosts
    
  3. Enter your domain user password.
  4. Make the necessary changes to the file.
  5. Press Control-x.
  6. When asked if you want to save your changes, answer y.

Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.12

Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.1.5

  1. Open /Applications/Utilities/NetInfo Manager.
  2. To allow editing of the NetInfo database, click the padlock in the lower-left corner of the window.
  3. Enter your domain user password and click OK.
  4. In the second column of the browser view, select the node named machines.

    The third column contains entries for -DHCP-, broadcasthost, and localhost.

  5. In the third column, select localhost.
  6. From the Edit menu, select Duplicate. (The quickest way to create a new entry is to duplicate an existing one.)

    A confirmation alert appears.

  7. Click Duplicate.

    A new entry called localhost copy appears, and its properties are shown below the browser view.

  8. Double-click the value of the ip_address property and enter the IP address of the other computer.
  9. Double-click the value of the name property and enter the hostname you want for the other computer.
  10. Click the serves property and select Delete from the Edit menu.
  11. From the File menu, select Save.

    A confirmation alert appears.

  12. Click Update this copy.
  13. Repeat steps 6 through 12 for each additional host entry that you want to add.
  14. From the NetInfo Manager menu, select Quit.

    You do not need to restart the computer.

Mac OS X 10.6 through 10.12

  1. Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  2. Open the hosts file by typing the following line in the terminal window:

    sudo nano /private/etc/hosts
  3. Type your domain user password when prompted.
  4. Edit the hosts file.

    The file contains some comments (lines starting with the # symbol), and some default hostname lines (for example, 127.0.0.1 – localhost). Add your new lines after the default entries.

  5. Save the hosts file by pressing CTRL+x and answering y.
  6. Make your changes take effect by flushing the DNS cache with the following command:

    dscacheutil -flushcache

The new settings in your hosts file should now be active.

 

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