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  1. What's My DNS?
  2. Hosts File

Hosts File

The hosts file is a file located on your computer that is used as the first step in the DNS lookup process for DNS hostname resolution.

A common use for making changes to this file is to test changes to DNS records before making them live on the Internet as well as setting up custom hostnames for local testing.

Provided below is instructions on editing this file on various operating systems.

Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 & 10

The hosts file for Windows is located in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts.

In order to edit this file, you will need to do so as the local system administrator. This can be done by right clicking on the shortcut to your favorite text editor (which can be as simple as Notepad) and choosing the Run as administrator option.

Once you have this file open, the format is very simple. On a new blank line you need to enter the desired IP address followed by a space (or tab) and then the hostname you would like to assign to this. You can add additional hostnames departed by spaces (or tabs) as well.

This process will create a local DNS A record on your system.

For example: example.com

or multiple hostsnames at once: example.com www.example.com mysite.com

Unix / Linux

The hosts file for Unix, Linux and other Unix like operating systems is located in /etc/hosts

Mac OS X

The hosts file for Mac OS X is located in /etc/hosts for quick access although as this file is a symbolic link with the actual file is located in /private/etc/hosts. Editing either file is fine.